STO Academy Bloghttp://blog.stoacademy.comLatest blog post from the STO Academyen-usCopyright 2010 by Attilio Vassallo. All Rights Reserved.Missing out on RisaI'm sitting here playing through the typical Summer Event stuff when I grabbed my floater, flew up... up... and away to reach my next destination, and then it dawned on me. Between these fancy jet packs and those fast surf boards, we're missing out on the beauty of Risa. Think back to your first visit to the Risa Resort. What did you have? A slow rental floater that didn't last long and your virtual legs. If you wanted to get any where on the island you needed to use either of those. I don't know about you, but I didn't want to keep spending Energy Credits for a rental floater. So I walked... uh jogged... around the island. Behind the Risa Resort there are tons of paths you can take to explore the island. Maybe even go off the path and explore what's in the forest. It may just be a virtual environment, but it does have some beauty to it. Afterall, Starfleet is about exploration. Think of it as a planetary survey without the paperwork. So I decided to set out on a quest. I would start from behind the Resort and try to make it to the river on the other side of the island without using a floater, board, or my map. I would also try to take paths that didn't look very direct, or maybe cut through the forest and tall grass (watch out for the Pokemon!) I enjoyed it, even though I somehow ended up on the same side of the island as the promenade and then had to back-track. I saw some critters, and various plant life. Once I made it to the river I ran along it. The water was a light blue and the sand a dark tan. In the distance was a Ferengi who wanted me to hunt temporal artifacts, but I told him I don't have the time. Get it? Temporal. Time? I crack myself up! Eventually I reached those rocky arches and made it my mission to find a way to the top of all three by foot. First I tried the direct approach but kept sliding down the side of the mountain. Eventually I found a hill that led higher up the mountain and eventually to the first two arches. Apparently there's some clipping issues with one of them, I was sinking into the arch and only my head stuck out. That was fun. The second arch was uneventful so I jumped down and headed to the third. Bad idea. I had to run all the way passed the 3rd arch and up the side of the island just to find a path to it. Finally found it, ran up, and monkey crossed my path. Scared the !@#$ out of me! Then I realized the only way to get up there was with a floater. So I caved in, grabbed my floater and went to talk to the Klingons up there. He was very rude and didn't want to each me Mokbara, so I stood in front of him, and hit the emote for it. I timed it perfectly so I was one step ahead of him and it looked like I was teaching him. In your face Klingon! This concluded my adventure on Risa. Put away your floaters. Hang up your board. Don't even look at the minimap. Pick a destination and just go explore for a few minutes!missing_out_on_risaThu, 16 Jun 2016 19:53:19 -0400TOS and Star Trek BeyondWith Star Trek Beyond on the horizon and a TOS expansion coming to STO, there's a lot of talk about Star Trek: The Original Series. Why do people love it? Why do we continue to revisit it in multiple forms? What makes TOS great? Let's explore the Star Trek Beyond trailer, the upcoming expansion, and TOS. The one thing we keep hearing about Star Trek Beyond is that it's going to be more like The Original Series. The first trailer came out and it was Star Trek meets Fast and Furious. Obviously no one liked it. Simon Pegg even said he was shocked at the trailer and that there was more to the movie than action. Trailer two just came out and not much has changed. We're back to a shoot 'em up film: "Our Captain will come for us. Mercy will be the last thing on his mind," spoken by Uhura. Whaaaaa????? I know Kirk and the TOS era was much like a cowboy film but come on! The Original Series definitely had it's share of action, but there was meaning behind it which still holds true today. Look at "Mudd's Women" which explores the fact that women should not be told how to look. "Space Seed", which introduced the beloved villain Khan, showed us that no one is superior despite what they may say or think. Let's not forget the race related topics. TOS showed us how racisim can be destructive if we don't let go of that irrational hatred ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"). It was also one of the first (if not the actual first) series to show an interracial kiss in "Plato's Stepchildren". To put this into perspective, the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 so issues related to race and discrimination were still fresh in people's minds making both of these important stories during this time. Battles, Kirk's love interests, spats between Spock and McCoy were all just plot devices to tell a much deeper story. Beyond the technobabble, action, comedy, romance, etc. this is the true reason why TOS is so popular. Unfortunately the recent reboot movies haven't been able to capture that... or rather they didn't want to capture it. They wanted action to capture the attention of people from around the world. It lacks the courage to tell important stories relevant to our a time, a courage that TOS had. With that being said, as fans we have to realize that Star Trek is and can be anything. It can teach us lessons, entertain us with action or comedy, pull at our heart strings with romance and friendship. This is why it can fit in any type of media. It's very versatile. Sure we may not love the new movies, but they have elements of Star Trek. Sure Star Trek Online may be mostly combat, but it has elements of Star Trek. This TOS expansion introduces a single story arc which allows us to visit a much beloved time in Star Trek history and meet characters that helped shape it. Yes it's going to be combat intensive because it's a video game, but it reminds of us the series. I can't speak about the types of stories that will be told during this arc, but I hope they explore important topics, even if on a small scale. I hope they allow us to reminisce about TOS and remember the lessons we learned. When all is said and done, Star Trek Online has a clear goal in mind. To bring every series in to the game. We've had an abundance of Voyager, and now TOS is next. TNG, DS9, and ENT have been explored a little but I believe will eventually have a larger presence in the game as well. If everything I wrote doesn't make sense then at the very least this can be the only reason why we have a TOS expansion. I'd like to hear from all of you about the upcoming movie, your thoughts on the expansion, and maybe even why you like or dislike TOS.tos_and_star_trek_beyondSun, 22 May 2016 21:22:21 -0400Agents of YesterdayTo boldly go! Fifty years ago Star Trek aired and with it came a legion of dedicated fans. It promised a better world for humanity with some amazing technology. All these years later, our very own technology has greatly improved. While it's no where near what we see in Star Trek, it has been able to bring us into the Star Trek universe. Now Star Trek Online is celebrating these fifty years with a new expansion, Agents of Yesterday. We will be able to create a Captain in the time after TOS ended, in the year 2270, with brand new stories and environments to explore. We'll also get to meet Chekov and Scotty. Walter Koenig will be lending his voice to the Chekov character, which I am greatly looking forward to. Taking up the role of Scotty is James Doohan's son, Chris Doohan. If you haven't seen him play Scotty yet, search for Star Trek Continues. In my opinion, he does his father justice and I'm truly excited to have him in Star Trek Online. This expansion will also be bringing a whole * of temporal related features to Star Trek Online. A new story, reputation, specialization, ships, and so much more. In my opinion, this is a good direction for STO to take. It almost allows us to see the early stages of a new era for the galaxy. We're not entirely ready for a unified galaxy with the Temporal Accords, but we're trying to be. This also opens the possibility to bring more characters to the game. Frankly I think it is only a matter of time before we see the crew of the NX-01. I know many people, myself included, are excited for this. To be able to take a step into history and be a part of the TOS era is extraordinary. How do you feel about it?agents_of_yesterdayMon, 09 May 2016 18:50:24 -0400Temporal Front ReviewWelcome to another Admiral's Blog. This time, let's talk about "The Temporal Front". What do we like about it? What don't we like about it? Most importantly, what does this mean for the story? Warning, spoilers ahead! As all of you who played it may have realized, this episode is essentially a copy of "Time and Tide", which is sort of a copy of "Surface Tension". You go to a meeting, talk to some people before it starts, then start the meeting, get interrupted by an attacker, and fight your way to the end of the story. Security is horrible! How many times are we going to have a meeting and let it get interrupted by people with weapons? Fine. Whatever. I don't want to waste your time complaining about the recycled plots. Here's something I did enjoy. I thought Cryptic did a great job with the cutscenes. They just looked so much better than most other episodes, almost like something from one of the shows. For me, they made the story come alive. I can't explain it, but when I saw all the ships headed for the gateway and going through it I thought, "this is awesome". The assassination attempts at the beginning was pretty cool too. Note, I said attempts. I don't remember reading anything about J'mpok's fate, and I don't believe he died. After you capture the assassin, if you go back to the meeting room, you see J'mpok writhing on the floor. Cryptic could have just as easily made him lay there motionless. Hopefully they don't leave J'mpok's fate unanswered in the next episode. That entire scene, including the attempt on the President's life, was fun to watch. The rest of the story was just ok. Clearly we're involved with the Temporal Cold War. A passing remark about Archer defeating Vosk was made. Frankly this was a missed opportunity to help out Archer and his crew. Even if we didn't meet any of them, but just doing something behind the scenes to help out would've been fun. I'm thinking something along the lines of "Trials and Tribble-ations". Maybe they're saving it for another episode? Overall I did enjoy this episode and think it was ok. It nudged the story ahead a little bit, but I couldn't even tell you in what direction. There's an inidcation that the Klingons are unhappy, but I would hate for Cryptic to breakup the alliance. We've been waiting six years to get to the point where both factions are officially allied, so it wouldn't make sense to end it after a few months. Vosk was dealt with in the past, so he's no longer our concern. Nothing else from this episode needs our attention. The only cliffhanger is J'mpok and as I said, I really don't think he died. Maybe Cryptic just wanted to tell the story of how Vosk went back in time. If that's the case then I'm ok with that. In the comments let me know your thoughts on this episode.temporal_front_reviewSat, 16 Apr 2016 18:24:08 -0400SkillPlanner Version 6!Update The new skill planner can be found at http://skillplanner.stoacademy.com Hey everyone! In the video below I give you a brief overview of my upcoming SkillPlanner version 6. Enjoy!   skillplanner_version_6Sun, 27 Mar 2016 23:24:15 -0400Daisy Ridley Body ShamedI know this blog is about Star Trek Online but I feel I need to take a moment to discuss something important. Let's hop into a transdimensional gateway and head over to the universe of Star Wars, specifically let's talk about Daisy Ridley. As most, if not all, of you know, she's one of the stars in The Force Awakens, and she was recently "body shamed". Frankly I'm a little sick of this because it seems to be happening too often. Let's take a step back in time to when the media portrayed most women as thin. That was the idea of sexy. The skinnier you were the sexier you were. I completely understand why parents didn't want their daughters growing up believing that they needed to look like this. It's unhealthy to not have self-confidence simply because your body doesn't match someone else's. It's also unhealthy to be ridiculed because of that. So there was a movement to show that women of all sizes can be beautiful. To build up their confidence no matter how they looked. I support this 100% and think it's great! Both men and women come in all shapes and sizes and we need to remember that. What I dislike is how this has turned the tables and somehow given people the belief that they should insult women who are thin, and try to shame them! What?! This has been going on for a while and most recently it happened to Daisy Ridley. A meme was generated in which there is a speech bubble where she says "I can't believe the unrealistic expectations I'm setting for young girls. Who cast me anyway? Don't they know real women have curves?" Are you !@#$ing kidding me? So she is supposed to be ashamed that she's thin? I thought the idea was to give girls confidence, not define their body type. By saying "real women have curves" you are defining how women should look and defeating the purpose. Part of Daisy's response included "Real women are all shapes and sizes..." which is 100% correct. Perhaps instead of shaming and insulting each other we should support each other. Understand that both men and women are not going to fit a mold and anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool who should be ignored. So Daisy I applaud you. You are indeed a great role model for all women. Not because you were cast as a leading lady. Not because your character is portrayed as a strong woman. Not because you have a certain body type. You are a great role model because you stood up for yourself and women around the world. So everyone reading this please tell yourselves and the women in your lives to not take crap from anyone. Try to live a healthy life for yourself, and never let anyone make you feel bad about the way you look.daisy_ridley_body_shamedSat, 12 Mar 2016 21:59:43 -0500Skill System ReviewAs promised, here is my review of the Skill System revamp. I don't plan on going into too much detail on how the skills affect various things in the game, but I do want to give you a good idea of what to expect if you haven't tried it yet. If you have, feel free to give your feedback in the comments. The first thing to notice is that the skill tree is divided into Engineering, Science, and Tactical. Anyone can spend skill points in any of these areas. For space you have a total of 46 skill points. Each skill uses one point. If you want to max out a career you will need 28 points. Why would you want to max out a career? Each career track has unlocks. After spending 2, 7, 12, and 17 skill points you'll unlock bridge officer abilities that you can create in the R&D system. The other unlocks are two additional skills that you'll need to choose between. Finally after spending 25, 26, 27, and 28 points you'll have access to some ultimate skills. You can have all of the ultimate skills but you'll need to spend a total of 28 points. For ground you'll only have 10 points and a single track. The unlocks along this track are just additional skills. Similar to space, you'll have to choose between two skills at each unlock. Since there is only one track, you'll be able to access all of the unlocks. In space, you'll only be able to fully unlock one track. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the skills. What's nice about them is the description. Not only does it tell you what the skill does, but it also tells you exactly what kind of bonus you get from it. What I also like is that you no longer need to spend multiple points in a single skill. You spend one point and you get the full benefit of that skill. Overall the skills are mostly the same. As mentioned above, some are now unlockables. Honestly, this is both a pro and a con. Some skills that you may really want might be out of your reach if you're not willing to spend enough points in that career track. Perhaps what Cryptic should have done was provide all of the additional skills as a potential unlock at each stage. Then you just have to choose one out of the list. You'll still have a total of four additional skills, but at least you can choose which ones to use. I do think this system is much better. What makes it better is the simplicity. Star Trek Online is a very complex game to begin with so having one of it's systems simplified is a plus. I do predict that players will need an adjustment period, especially those who have spent hours studying the current skill tree. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback. I'm sure there's much I didn't cover.skill_system_reviewWed, 02 Mar 2016 20:29:27 -0500Skill Tree RevampIt looks like Cryptic has decided to revamp the skill system again. This is either the 2nd or 3rd time they'll be revamping it. This revamp is designed to simplify the skill tree and make it easier for players to understand what skills do and how they interact with everything else in the game. I won't get into too many details (since the official blog does that) but I do want to review a few points. The first thing that I like is that we will not be earning small amounts of Skill Points as we level up. Levelling will now require Expertise Points. Once you level up, you'll earn Space and Ground Skill Points. I think this is a much better approach. Previously you needed to add points to skills slowly as you gained additional experience which made it difficult to plan ahead. At least this way you can decide what skills to put points into per level. Some of the previous skills are getting combined while others are becoming unlockables. This seems to slim down the skill tree in an attempt to make it easier to understand and beneficial to players. I think we need to learn more about this and actually see the skills in order to full understand it. The concept seems interesting, but I do feel a bit uneasy about it. Perhaps because this will greatly change a lot of players' builds. To be honest, I need more details before I can say if this sounds like a good or bad idea. I look forward to testing this on Tribble and urge everyone else to do so. The more people who test it and provide feedback to Cryptic the fewer bugs we'll have and the better this system will be. Don't wait until it's released to Holodeck and then complain about the bugs! I'll be sure to write a blog after it his Tribble and played around with it. I just want to let you know that my skill planner will reflect all these new changes. I guarantee you'll be happy. Now go ahead and share your thoughts about the upcoming skill tree revamp! :)skill_tree_revampFri, 19 Feb 2016 10:33:37 -0500Unofficial Episode TimelineSomething that STO has seriously lacked for a while is a timeline. We know in which order events happen, but we don't know when they occur. It doesn't really matter, but there are some cases where it would be nice to know. For example, if you were creating a mission in the Foundry and wanted to include stardates that were relevant. So I decided to do something about it. I'd like to introduce the Unofficial Star Trek Online Episode Timeline. This table contains every episode and fictional blog in STO including Earth dates and Stardates. How did I come up with such an amazing timeline? Well let me briefly explain. As Cryptic was releasing the Tales of the War I noticed they were using Stardates. I did some investigating and realized these matched up with the year 2410 using The Next Generation Stardate calculator. It was clear that Cryptic was trying to be consistent with the Stardates which made my job a lot easier. This also meant that the Stardates found in game when creating a log are inaccurate. Let's move on. Once I was able to place these blogs in order, including the episodes that related to them, the rest started to fall into place. One of the first things I did was look at canon references to see when graduation occurred at Starfleet Academy. I determined that April 24, 2409 was a good starting point. I also decided that all three tutorials would occur on the same day. From there I began to list out the episodes in order, and considered the fact that some episodes are shared by the same faction so therefore would have to occur on the same day. That meant individual faction episodes would have to happen in between. I'll admit, a lot of this was simply a matter of spreading out the episodes. Any of them that clearly belonged together, stayed together (i.e. Destiny, Afterlife, and The Gates of Gre'thor). Filling out 2410 was easier because of the blogs. Now it's simply a matter of continuing to include blogs and episodes in this timeline and hope that it matches up with Cryptic's plans. Perhaps they should take a look at this to get an idea of where they are headed. According to my timeline, we're already in July 2410! So there you have it! I hope you enjoy my unofficial timeline. I welcome all feedback, good or bad... actually just the good feedback :Dunofficial_episode_timelineSun, 07 Feb 2016 20:56:22 -0500Time and Tied Review, and more!"Time and Tied" has come... or gone... or will come? Time travel is very confusing! Anyway, I've travelled to the past, present, and/or future, played "Time and Tied" and have come back to the present that is now the past because you'll read this in the future... You know what? Here's my review of "Time and Tied"! Warning spoilers ahead. For starters, you can probably play this episode in 5 minutes if you skip all the dialog and cut scenes, but where's the fun in that? If you happened to pay attention to the dialog with Philip Crey you'll notice he mentioned he was on the U.S.S. Bozeman. I can't recall if this is the first time he made a reference to that ship or not, but either way it's a great connection to TNG. Cryptic continues to play the "Na'khul Card" and their key role in time travel. As each episode comes our way we get closer and closer to being involved with the Temporal Cold War. Since that's the case, I would be interested in playing an episode where we travel back in time to where Captain Johnathan Archer was sent back in time to World War II. In the episode we could travel back to that same time period and secretly help Archer and his crew restore the timeline. Similar to how Sisko helped Kirk in "Trials and Tribble-ations". Enough about my crackpot fan ideas, let's get back Time and Tide. Aside from the Na'khul becoming our enemy, we also see the rise of Noye (I hate that name). Avoid the Noye! He's more annoying than Tovan Khev. Although the story is very interesting. We accidentally wipe the Tuterians from existence while trying to stop the Iconians, one of them is Noye's wife. He finds out that we deleted his wife from an alternate timeline and flips out. Apparently the Tuterians are not really gone, they are in another dimension. They are the Sphere Builders from Enterprise. So here's the story. The Sphere Builders tried to invade Xindi space, but Captain Archer and the Enterprise stopped them. This set events in motion that eventually gave birth to the Federation as well as friendly relations with the Xindi. At the same time the Tuterians must exist somewhere in the Delta Quadrant and are evolving technologically. After a few hundred years we wipe them from existence and they become the Sphere Builders who Captain Archer has to stop in the past. The cycle begins again. Cryptic is really setting up and interesting story and I hope they are keeping a record of all this somewhere. When you actually sit back and pay attention to what they are doing, you start to see connections that you may not have noticed before. It's pulling me into the story more than anything over the past six years. So let me end this blog by saying that I really enjoyed "Time and Tied". It is making this new story very interesting and I cannot wait for. Not only that but the environments and characters they created and are developing are good. What are your thoughts on all this?time_and_tied_review_and_moreSun, 31 Jan 2016 23:04:02 -0500