By PWE_BranFlakes @ April 4, 2013 at 12:00pm
[Terilynn] There seems to be a lot of either confusion or just plain dissatisfaction with the fact that Romulans will be forced to "ally" themselves with either the KDF or Federation by the time the character reaches level 10. However, you and others from Cryptic are maintaining that the Romulans will remain their own independent and complete faction. Can you help explain just how they are supposed to be both?
[dStahl] Here’s a quick history of how factions were implemented at launch in Star Trek Online and how this applies to the Romulan Republic.
STO launched in 2010 with two playable factions, the Federation and Klingon Empire. Each faction had exclusive species, costumes, and starships. Faction rules were established. If you purchased a starship for the Federation, you could not unlock it for your Klingon captains because it was a different faction. We didn’t have to create that rule or add factions, but we did so because it fits the fiction of Star Trek Online where these two groups are at odds. We could have easily said everyone is in the same faction and let everyone mingle, but that didn’t fit our future story goals.
Remember that at launch, the KDF had no PvE missions and couldn’t play Federation missions. FED and KDF captains couldn’t team together. So even though the KDF were PvP only, they were created as their own faction in our game engine so that they could retain the unique species, costumes, and starships in the playable game.
Within a few months after launch, we made the commitment to include a PvE path for KDF captains. We openly stated that in order to get KDF missions, we would ensure that almost everything we created from that point forward would be playable by all factions. In fact nearly every mission we’ve created in the last 3 years has been playable by both the FEDs and the KDF.
For the most part, the only faction specific missions we’ve created were a few here and there to help fill out the KDF mission list. We’ve also relaxed some of our faction restrictions for playing missions together and introduced cross-faction teaming. So even with a lack of exclusive backstory, the KDF have always been a unique faction in STO because it fits the story we’re telling.
So not only are we going to be filling out the missing levels for KDF, but in May we are introducing a third faction, The Romulan Republic. If you have been paying close attention to the storyline in STO, then you’ll recognize the Romulan Republic as the group of survivors who attempt to found a new Romulan capital on Mol’Rihan (New Romulus). They are led by D’Tan, a student of Spock who has worked much of his life towards a reunification philosophy
The Romulan Republic is at odds with the Romulan Military and the Tal Shiar, both of which are led by Sela, who declared herself Empress and essentially disbanded the senate. These are Romulan civilians who’ve decided to stand up against the oppression of their government. Much like the Bajorans in the Deep Space 9 series, they’ve been labeled terrorists and are seeking the aid of other nations for protection. In some ways, the Romulan Republic is reflective of political divisions making headline news in our world today.
Just like the other two factions, Romulans have exclusive species, costumes, and starships that cannot be used by the other factions. When creating a Romulan in STO, captains will start at level 1 and progress through the Romulan Republic Fleet for the rest of their career. They’ll report back to Fleet HQ or their exclusive new zone being added to New Romulus depending on where they are in the story. While these citizens will start out in old ships they’ve managed to come by, they’ll eventually gain access to new Republic ship designs and, when they’ve achieved proper rank in the Fleet, famous Romulan Warbirds such as the D’Deridex. By the time they complete their unique story and finish the Romulan Feature Episode series, they will have achieved a major victory against the Tal Shiar and will gain access to even more powerful ships in the future.
So to answer the original question, when a Romulan Republic captain makes an alliance with one of the other two factions, they are accepting the aid from the faction they chose. This opens up the ability for the other faction to arm the Romulan Republic as they attempt to overthrow the Empress and restore their government. D’Tan and the Republic are attempting to establish a planet in contested space and the Federation and Klingons agree on many conditions. These allies are willing to equip the New Romulans so that they can defend themselves against the Tal Shiar, but they want different things in return. The Federation wants to pursue reunification, peace, and trade in technology. The Klingon Empire view this as an opportunity to arm rebels and destabilize the Tal Shiar further, given them the opportunity to scoop up territory in Romulan space.
In game this takes shape when the other factions ask for a foothold on New Romulus were they open up an Embassy to share technology and gear. They also ask for help in constructing and defend their Starbases on the war front, but let’s get one thing clear – The Romulan Republic isn’t about to start taking orders from other factions. Yes, they are in a delicate situation, and they may end up having to kill a few Federation or Klingons along the way, but their goal remains to restore the Legacy of Romulus. These allies not only have the means to help protect the Republic and New Romulus, but they may each have more intel on the Tal Shiar than D’Tan does. Thus Romulan captains are acting liaisons between the Republic and the intelligence community of the ally.
Thus, Romulans continue to report to their Fleet and gain ranks as a Romulan Republic captain even after choosing the aid of an ally. Romulan captains aren’t going to get a call from Admiral Quinn asking to go save the S.S. Azura nor will they be asked to join Kahless in fighting the Fek’ihri. You’re not all of a sudden a Federation cadet or Klingon warrior. Whether you’re a FED, ROM, or KDF captain, the tutorial and backstory for your faction will remain exclusive.
What this means in gameplay terms is that there are a host of new episodes and missions that were created exclusively for the Romulan Republic. They have several exclusive mission journal tabs. These episodes provide the backstory of how the Romulan Republic approached the other factions and negotiated the founding of New Romulus. It shows a different side of the conflict leading up and through the Romulan Feature Episode series and introduces a new enemy that is a unique threat to the Republic’s goals.
Once that back story plays out, the Romulan captains will still have all of the shared missions in the Cardassian, Breen, Borg/Undine sectors, the Feature Episode Series in each, and all the shared end-game events and STFs to play, just like everyone else. Just like it has been since we started making Featured Episodes 3 years ago.
[Terilynn] Many Klingon fans are happy that the faction is finally getting filled out but are still feeling dejected because their faction's great news seems to be getting swept under the Romulan carpet. Does Cryptic intend to pitch the KDF faction in the new expansion in order to draw new players to the KDF and if so, how?
[dStahl] One of our primary goals with Legacy of Romulus is to attract players that have either never played Star Trek Online or that only played at launch. So while we are finally addressing Klingon levels 1-20, our messaging is focusing attention on the Romulan story because it’s entirely new and exciting for Star Trek fans no matter what faction you’re interested in playing.
[Terilynn] Will the new Romulan faction have full access to a Duty Officer system?
[dStahl] Yes. Romulan captains and ships will be able to use the Duty Officer System and we are adding Romulans and Remans to Duty Officer Packs. We also have exclusive Romulan DOFF packs planned in the near future. Romulans will be able to completely outfit their ships with Romulan/Reman DOFFs and BOFFs. FED and KDF captains will also be able to obtain Romulan and Reman bridge officers. We also plan to offer Romulan Republic flavored Duty Officer Missions.
[Terilynn] Can you clarify how ships will be able to be used? Will Federation/KDF players be able to fly Romulan vessels? Will Romulan players be able to fly KDF or Starfleet ships?
[dStahl] This is where Romulan Republic captains have an advantage. Not only can they pilot their exclusive Warbird class ships with singularity cores, but they also gain the ability to command ships of their ally, much like Kira Nerys would command the Defiant while still wearing her Bajoran Militia uniform.
Romulans also gain access to the Fleet Ships of their chosen ally as well as any Romulan Republic only Fleet ships. They can also fly any limited edition lock box ship as well.
One potential disadvantage to commanding an allies' ship is that Romulan Captains have a unique species space trait called subterfuge which provides a bonus to cloak and decloak ambush damage. If a Romulan is flying a ship without cloak, they are not getting the most out of their trait.
To clarify, this alliance does not extend in reverse. FED and KDF captains will not be allowed to command Warbirds. The deal that D’Tan makes with these factions when New Romulus is established is for Romulan technology (via the Reputation System) but that doesn’t extend to Republic ships.
[Terilynn] You've mentioned that some of the new material is targeted to be up on the Tribble Test Server in early May. What material might we see before then?
[dStahl] We plan to have the first half of the Romulan backstory available for a closed beta later this month, with the rest of the Romulan and Klingon additions available for testing in early May.
[Terilynn] There seems to be a bit of confusion about the ability to unlock Reman play. Can you clarify if a current Federation or Klingon player be able to unlock Reman play by accessing the Romulan reputation system, or will that only be limited to completing Romulan reputation as a Romulan player?
[dStahl] All accounts will have the ability to unlock the Reman species, which is an exclusive species to the Romulan Republic, in one of two ways: they can either purchase the species unlock, or they can earn it by achieving maximum tier in the Romulan Reputation with a captain of any faction. A FED or KDF captain that has already achieved max tier in the reputation has already unlocked the Reman species and it will be available for them when they go to create a new Romulan character after May 21.
[Terilynn] For those who might not have seen your response as to what, exactly, Alien-gen characters are, can you clarify?
[dStahl] The Romulan Republic will start with three playable species: Romulans, Remans, and a limited form of the custom alien creator (alien-gen).
We are greatly limiting the number of species we are starting with because the Romulan Republic is a very personal story from the perspective of a Romulan citizen. We acknowledge that some species may have been accepted (read conquered) into the Romulan empire. However, for the most part, Romulans have been a xenophobic society where other species are treated with varying degrees of disrespect.
While we will consider other fan requests, we are starting with this trio because it fits the story we are telling. Even then, we are restricting custom aliens for the Romulan Republic even further by limiting it to a Subscribers only unlock. If a non-subscriber/non-lifetime member wants to play in the Romulan Republic on May 21, they must play as either a Romulan or Reman.
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Thank you for the questions. We’re thrilled that there is so much excitement about the expansion. We recognize that there will be more questions and so we’re working to get the expansion Beta started up very soon. Keep in mind that we’re an MMO and the game will continue to evolve. Stay tuned for more details on how you can play a Romulan on TRIBBLE and see everything first hand before May 21.
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