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STO Uplink: Atari Selling Cryptic And Other News

OK OK OK – it’s been awhile I admit. I’m not going to ramble on about my excuses for being so long, so I will just jump right into it!

Not a lot really happened with Star Trek Online between my last (first) post at Subspace Communique and last week.

We had a “Featured Episode Re-Run” – which was the players opportunity to grab a special reward that was offered during the episodes’ initial run and the C-Store was stocked with Oberth class ships and Section 31 uniforms … fun yes, but not something that warranted an article unto themselves.

Then last week a news bomb dropped on us – 3 hours before I was to begin recording for the podcast I’m involved in, “Podcast UGC.”  The following day I entertained the idea of writing a “newsy” bit for Subspace Communique, but then realized the cat was out of the bag and I wouldn’t necessarily be brining anything more to the table.

If you haven’t heard – Atari, who has owned Cryptic Studios for the past few years, announced it was in the process of divesting itself of Cryptic

Since Cryptic produces Star Trek Online – we expected the typical fan reaction: “The sky is falling!” While some players did indeed react in that fashion, I decided to wait a few days before taking the pulse of the players again, just to see if attitudes changed after everyone had time to digest the announcement.

What surprised me however – was the overwhelming attitude of the playerdom that this is, quite possibly, the best thing to happen to Cryptic Studios and Star Trek Online!

I won’t bore you with financial statement analyses or conjecture over which companies might be a “good fit” with Cryptic as a buyer or even any possibility that may exist for Cryptic to remain independent – but I will tell you that since Atari’s announcement, I’ve seen a shift in player morale – for the better.

I want to extend my personal best wishes to every member of the STO team at Cryptic and tell them to hang in there during what is, I’m sure, a very trying time in their corporate world. Whatever happens, we hold out hope it will benefit you and the game.

On the heels of the announcement that Atari wants to develop “casual online and mobile games” (read: Farmville-esque and other cell-phone tripe) we were greeted with the release of “re-mastered” missions on the “Tribble” server.

The Tribble server is the test server for Cryptic. As a means to flesh out any coding errors and other bugs in most efforts they produce, they push material to the Tribble Test Server first and players who choose to beta test those efforts can do so.

While I have not yet played the re-mastered versions of “The Doomsday Device” (yes – THAT Doomsday device!) or “Diplomatic Orders” (a mission most players refer to as “P’Jem”,) I have seen the AMAZING works via other players. A great way for you to check out the new material if you’re interested is to watch the most recent episode of STOked – which you can find right here.

They are, quite simply, gorgeous. New cut scenes and voice-overs add to what were always fun missions, but now look incredible! I am constantly impressed by the work coming out of Cryptic for this game.

To that end, Daniel Stahl, Executive Producer of Star Trek Online has a wonderful tendency to whet the appetite of the STO fandom by walking around the desks at Cryptic and snapping pictures and posting them to his Twitter account. (You can follow him at @Cryptic_dStahl) The pictures are usually images of a current project they’re working on – and we’ve known they’ve been working on “Starfleet Academy” for some time now. However the most recent snaps from Daniel Stahl show just how promising these new maps are!

The most recent look at The Golden Gate Bridge:

A view of one of the building exteriors:

An interior office shot on the Academy campus:

As an aside – he also posted some additional “badges” which will be coming shortly

AND FINALLY! (I know there was A LOT this time!) I can talk about something that has flared every Trekkie and every player of STO since it was announced!

A few months ago, Cryptic and CBS announced that there would be a contest entitled: “Design the Next Enterprise!”

You read that right – fans were invited to submit their ideas on how the U.S.S. Enterprise- F should look. The winner got bragging rights, a 3D rendering of the winning design, a new gaming computer and a lifetime sub to the game.

After what seemed like forever, the winner was announced last week. Congratulations to Adam Ihle whose design (shown here) took first place and is now currently being “tweaked” by Cryptic in order to make the class of ship playable in-game and will appear as the U.S.S. Enterprise-F as an NPC in what we believe will be a future “Featured Episode” series.

As you can imagine, Adam’s design has received both hot criticism and praise – not unexpected from a very passionate Trek fandom. I must personally cop out to the fact that I railed on the design until I found out that Cryptic’s personnel would be making changes to it – so I have stepped back and will be waiting with all the other fans to see what the final design will look like.

So – Season 4 is only about a month or so away and Star Trek Online is more beautiful than ever. I am hopeful that whatever corporate wrangling occurs over the next few months will only prove to be positive to the game, because it’s getting more and more fun to play.

Until next time – Live long and prosper!

Bye Bye, Robot: Official Licensed Star Trek Fine Art