STO: Legacy of Romulus - Rising From the Ashes
Can Star Trek Online rise to its former glory with the upcoming expansion, Legacy of Romulus?
It's no secret that Star Trek Online holds a special place in my heart. Of all the MMOs I've covered over the years, itÂs the only game for which I purchased a lifetime subscription, represents the first Ten Ton Hammer community site I helped create from the ground up, and is the licensed product of one of my all-time favorite franchises. Even so, within 6 months after launch, I rarely played again. With very few exceptions, once I've quit playing a game, that's it. I don't go back for anything more than the cursory glance around to see what may be new. Even then, it's without any genuine interest but more out of a sense of bored curiosity. But that, my friends, is about to change.
On May 21st, hot on the heels of the latest Star Trek movie premiere weekend, Perfect World is releasing STO's first true expansion, Legacy of Romulus. This free-to-play expansion will add an entirely new faction to offset the Federation of Planets and Klingon Empire. Players will finally be able to do something we've been begging for since launch - play as a Romulan and bring glory to the Empire!
Personally, I can't wait. That itself is nothing short of a minor miracle. For any game company to get a player who has been gone from their game for years genuinely excited about that game again is unheard of. In fact, in my experience, I can't think of any game that has managed to pull that off. I've waited for years and dreamed even longer about the possibility to command a Romulan Warbird - easily one of the most gorgeous starships ever created. My patience looks like itÂs about to pay off in spades.
There are a number of significant reasons to play the new faction other than the desire to fulfill long held wishes. New ships, new reputations, new skills, and a dual-layered story line featuring a rift in the Empire between the Remans and Romulans are all new additions to the game. Denise Crosby has also reprised her role as Empress Sela and will be involved in a storyline allowing you to delve deep into the political intrigues of the Empire.
Knowing that the coolest race (yeah, I said it), awesome new warships, and the political machinations of the Empire may still not be enough to entertain all Star Trek Online players, a new enemy will also be introduced. They may not have a name beyond "The Silent Enemy" yet, but they look extremely dangerous and intimidating - just what you want in an adversary worthy of the Romulan's attention.
As well as introducing new elements of gameplay to Star Trek Online, the team has also been busy improving two aspects of the game that were both clunky and occasionally downright frustrating - the Trait system and User Interface. With the new expansion, you'll now be able to customize and rearrange your previous traits and unlock new ones. No longer are you stuck with vaguely explained traits that would be with you forever from the moment of character creation. You are also no longer confined to a small number of traits to choose from for each playable species. You will be able to choose from a large pool of old and new traits regardless of race now.
Making this easier will be the redesign of the game's UI. Back in the day, it wasnÂt for no reason that I created a Space UI Guide - the UI was complicated, cluttered, and not user-friendly. The differences between the old UI and the new are staggering. Things will now be easier to locate, read, and comprehend than in previous iterations.
The Romulan Empire itself has always been appealing for Star Trek fans, due in no small part to its overwhelming similarities to the Roman Empire of ancient Earth. That appeal comes with the double-edged sword of extremely high expectations and the cost of failure. Will the wait be worth it in the end? Time will tell, but the Perfect World team deserves credit for getting an old player like me excited again after all these years.