Legacy of Romulus

For the past few months, Cryptic has been teasing something about the next big update in May. Dan Stahl, chief developer, started calling the May update “so much more than a Season” (their usual update terminology). For the last month or so, the teaser site had a timer on it that was counting down. It hit zero today.¬†romulan

The big reveal? In May they will be adding the first “expansion”, a new Romulan faction. This is a surprise to exactly no one. The teaser images were all very clearly Romulan related. This by itself is fairly innocuous as the last update featured a new Romulan zone and Romulans are a big part of Trek.¬†Given their statements about the scope of the next update and that people have been finding things buried in the code referring to a Romulan faction, its been assumed for awhile now that this was coming. With all the hype, anything else would be a disappointment.

Given Cryptic’s propensity for promising big and failing to delivery, I’m cautious about this one. They call it a full faction, which would entail new missions from 1-50, new ships for that entire range, new starbase and embassy. That’s a lot of work to do. Though, the Devs have said the team has expanded a lot in the last 6months so it’s not an unreasonable accomplishment.

Myself, I’m only mildly excited. I almost never play my Klingon character. It’s nice to take a Bird of Prey out every so often to blow stuff up, it’s just hard to spend time grinding to equip a second character. With the addition of the Reputation system last fall, its a lot of work to fully outfit a top level character. Even not going for top gear, it still requires a fair amount of effort.

One of the other reasons I don’t play my Klingon is the C-store. I’ve purchased more things than i should have there for my Fed toon. All of which is bound to the character or the Fed faction. There are lots of cool Klingon things but I don’t want to spend the money on them. Will all the best stuff for Romulans come via the C-store? Ie, if you want a D’Deridex warbird at max level you need to buy one.

I’m sure I’ll play a Romulan up to 50. And if it’s fun, probably make the effort to gear him up. I do like the Romulan ships. Leveling does not take a lot of time in STO and with new quests, will actually be fun.

How will the new faction integrate into the game? That’s the real question. Right now, all of the Featured Episodes and big rewards have been released in Federation and Klingon forms. The flagships, anniversary ship, 1000 reward ship and temporal lockbox ships all have two versions. Will Cryptic be retroactively releasing Romulan versions of all of these things?

Will PVP become a three sided event? That could be a lot of fun but I somehow doubt it. Most likely will see Fed v Klingon and Fed v Romulan maps instead of Fed v Klingon v Romulan. Though, that would certainly make me interested in PVP more. Knowing you have two opponents, who are also fighting each other makes things different.

There’s also the Reputation system. It will relatively easy to integrate the Romulans into the Omega faction. Everyone is opposed to the Borg. But the other faction is Romulan. Will the Romulans gain Romulan faction? Will this be unnecessary because they already have access to all that gear naturally? Or will it become something else? Though, maybe the people on New Romulus are different faction that you’ll be playing.

Those are some questions we’ll be waiting to hear the answer to over the next few months. And Cryptic is very good at dragging things out so I don’t expect many answers until actual release. Until then, the internet will have to contend itself with idle speculation.

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