By PWE_BranFlakes @ November 8, 2013 at 1:00pm
Federation Tutorial Revamp
And a star to steer her by…
With Legacy of Romulus, it was required that we create a new tutorial for the Romulan faction. We also wanted to make good on the promise of full Klingon content as well, which required that a tutorial be made for them. After we released Legacy of Romulus, we realized that both those tutorials were superior to what we had done in the past, leaving the current Federation tutorial a distant third when it comes to new starting experiences in Star Trek Online.
This obviously wouldn’t do, so we scheduled time to create a brand new starting experience for Federation characters, building upon what we learned from creating the Romulan and Klingon early-level experiences. We hashed out what a starting experience for Federation players should be like, and took inspiration from the movies, as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country all featured brand new crews. Some even had crews of cadets being thrust into action on their very first mission. This was what we wanted to emulate as your first Star Trek experience.
Of course, when Star Trek Online was first released, we didn’t have Starfleet Academy in the game, but now that map is available to us. This made it obvious to everyone that the player should start in SFA, as a Cadet getting their first Training Cruise assignment. We were also able to use the Class of 2409 as your background characters, named “extras” who would pop up throughout the first few missions, giving a real sense of crew and camaraderie before your character has had a chance to fill out their Bridge Officer slots.
One of these extras got a “starring role” as it were. Cadet Elisa Flores was created to become your first Bridge Officer, one with which you’ve shared some history. Flores has a real spunky personality that blends well with lots of players’ interpretations of how they want their characters to react to the world. She is your first real buddy that you encounter at Starfleet Academy and she even helps you get your current position on the ship. At first, you might think that she never takes things seriously. But when the stakes are high, you realize that she has a tendency to use comedy as a defense mechanism. As the tutorial progresses, her character evolves even further. When she gets deadly serious, you know that the odds are truly stacked against you.
When devising the story for the tutorial, we had a couple of objectives in mind. All throughout the game, there is mention of the Borg attack on the Vega colony. It’s built into characters’ backgrounds, into mission briefings and even has a Special Task Force that involves it. As such, this was STO canon and could not be changed. What we could do was expand upon it and give you an even deeper and meaningful role in the effort to save whomever you could from Vega.
The other objective was to establish the Klingon Front, since the first act of the Federation missions revolve around the Klingon-Federation War. We did this by introducing the character of Captain Kadek of the I.K.S. Chot. He has taken his Negh’Var deep into Federation territory to engage in a bit of piracy and marauding, luring unsuspecting vessels into a trap. Even though the player seems to get the upper hand on Captain Kadek before the space portion of the tutorial, the cloaked Klingon does his best to taunt you at every turn as you try to repair your ship and send out a distress call. These taunts make your eventual victory over Captain Kadek all the sweeter.
One thing that risked being left on the wayside was the work that Zachary Quinto did as the Emergency Medical Hologram for the original Star Trek Online Tutorial. We devised a way to work in the U.S.S. Khitomer into the story, and then looked at all the lines that Quinto had recorded for us. We were able to use several of his recorded lines in new dialog options. Players who have experienced the original tutorial will likely recognize lines being delivered in response to different actions by the player. New players will be none-the-wiser, and should simply be pleased with getting to interact with Quinto’s take on a 25th century EMH.
By the end of the tutorial you will once again find yourself face-to-face with Admiral Quinn, explaining your actions as acting Captain of your ship. This time, however, you will have a wealth of experience under your belt and even a full away team of Bridge Officers comprised mainly of characters you met and interacted with at Starfleet Academy and aboard the ship itself.
All in all, the new Federation starting experience is leaps and bounds better than what was there previously. It feels more “Star Trek” as well, taking its cues from various episodes dealing with Academy life as well as movies and episodes where Cadets are thrust unceremoniously into action on their first training cruise. Eventually the player will be able to take their own seat in the Captain’s chair and issue the order to “Engage!”
We are also happy to announce that existing Federation captains will be able to invite Elisa Flores to join their crew by speaking with the contact at Starfleet Academy near Lt. Ferra.
See you in-game next week for Season 8!
Matt "STODecker" Miller
Star Trek Online
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Click here to learn more about Legacy of Romulus, our free-to-play expansion for Star Trek Online. Advance your journey of rebuilding the Romulan legacy with a Legacy Pack purchase! Click on the logo below to learn more about it.
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