Welcome to Season 14

Season 14 has arrived!  This season is filled with new content, returning characters, and an amazing reveal almost a year in the making.  This past summer General Martok was found alive, broken out of prison in grand fashion, and reunited with the Klingons.  Just last month, captains in Star Trek Online were able to team up with Captain Geordi La Forge on a mission near the Nexus – last seen in Star Trek Generations.  With Season 14, Captain La Forge is back in the captain’s chair of the U.S.S. Challenger, and he’s been working with the fledgling Lukari/Kentari alliance to build a habitable colony world that will reunify their people.  There has been a mystery swirling around the motivations of the genocidal Tzenkethi, and the first major puzzle piece will fall into place with the featured episode “Melting Pot” that releases today.

In addition to this great new chapter in the Tzenkethi Crusade, captains will be able to participate in a wide variety of new content that is all focused around this brand new Lukari/Kentari colony.  Captains will be able to head to orbit and defend the colony from space, as nearly any enemy group will approach and attempt to gain access to the protomatter technology of the Lukari. 

The Tzenkethi are the most interested in expanding the destructive power of their protomatter technology, and will actually assault the colony itself in order to obtain more of it.  10 captains can work together to clear the beaches of the colony of a massive Tzenkethi invasion, and coordinate with Geordi to get them off the planet altogether. 

Captain Tzen-Gravu is also stepping up the scope of the Tzenkethi Crusade through a brand new Red Alert.  Captains will be tasked with defending planets from the Tzenkethi’s new protomatter weapons, with failure meaning the loss of an entire world. 

All of this content is built around the amazing new Lukari/Kentari Colony, and fleets will be able to build their own full 5 tier Fleet Holdings on this colony world.  This is by far the largest holding fleets will have access to, and it’s packed with amazing visuals, fantastic new rewards that include a unique T6 ship that can be provisioned once the colony is completed, and brand new gameplay options.  Fleets will be able to call on up to 20 fleet members to participate in a holographic invasion of the colony world, where everyone succeeds and fails together, and the rewards increased based on the group’s willingness to either take a reward payout or press on for more!

To round out Season 14, we’re proud to announce the Miracle Worker specialization!  This new primary specialization will allow captains to live out their Scotty, Geordi, or O’Brien dreams of being the behind-the-scenes miracle worker that makes their captains look good.  By progressing in this specialization, you will unlock a variety of abilities that give you far more adaptability in combat. That’s good, both for yourself and your group.  This specialization will also release with a full suite of ground and space bridge officer powers that will give captains the ability to make tweaks to their favorite builds and see the full depth and potential of being a Miracle Worker.

Season 14 has been an amazing journey for the entire STO development team, and we’ve had an amazing time playtesting it, both internally and with the community on our test shard.  We have Geordi back on an adventure, major reveals in our Tzenkethi Crusade arc, a wide variety of new queued and event based content, the largest fleet holding we’ve ever built, and a brand new primary specialization to give our captains new opportunities to progress. All of this combines into an amazing release that is live now!

Thanks for playing, and I look forward to seeing you in game!

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Neverwinter: Tomb of Annihilation is Live!

Greetings, adventurers!

Starting to get wanderlust after making safe the streets of Neverwinter? Yeah, us too. Luckily in Neverwinter, there is always adventure to be found!

Tomb of Annihilation starts with Sergeant Knox asking you to look into a dreadful death curse afflicting people across Faerûn. You begin your investigation in Helm’s Hold, where many victims of the sickness have gathered for treatment. As you find clues, you are offered to set up an expedition, funded by a secret patron to the Jungles of Chult hoping to find a cure. Helped by Tristopher Chettelbel you secure supplies and a ship, as well as advertise (LFP) that you need adventurers. Some gladly volunteer, like the famous Volothamp Geddarm, eager to gather more material for his books. Some are volunteered to represent Neverwinter, while others “jump” at the chance at adventure! 

After a long and harrowing journey to Chult, you arrive in Port Nyanzaru, an exotic new hub for endgame players. Most all the conveniences can be found in Port Nyanzaru, as well as some found nowhere else. Along with the new story quest line chasing down the cause of the death curse, you can Join Volo’s monster hunt with a new “Hunter’s Mark” game. Treasures abound in the ruins of the jungle, or in pirate lairs, for those who can get access to treasure maps.  To top everything off, we have a new campaign with great new gear!

Some Travel Tips:

The jungles of Chult are deadly. We’ve said this before, but I’m going to stress it here: team up. The creatures of Chult certainly do when they are hunting you…
Once you’ve unlocked the secrets of the death curse, a new dungeon, Tomb of the Nine Gods is ready to explore.
Have your khyek from Sea of Moving Ice? Try it out on the Soshenstar River!
Repeatable Adventure Quests are a great way to procure treasure maps.
The King of Spines is named that for a reason.
Whatever you do, do NOT snicker at Nanny Pupu’s name.
Searching and exploring will turn up cool stuff.
Sunscreen. Seriously.

 

Let me put on my dev hat for a bit. When we began to work on River District last year, our art team also started working on assets to build Chult. At that time we had one “jungle” looking plant. It has been a lot of work, and I am super proud of the team in not only what we’ve achieved but the daily excitement level to show off each step.

Our goal with Chult was to create a really new place to explore. It has been a great adventure creating this module and we look forward to you sharing your adventuring stories with us… should you survive…

 

Cheers

Thomas Foss
Lead Designer

 

For more details on all the new features and the development of Tomb of Annihilation, check out the Dev Blog Hub!

 

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Announcing Neverwinter: Tomb of Annihilation

On July 25, venture into the jungles of Chult! Based on the storyline announced during the Stream of Annihilation, the new expansion will bring:

– New Hub: Port Nyanzaru

– New end-game Dungeon: Tomb of the Nine Gods – careful, it's filled with traps, puzzles, and doom!

– Discover the wonders of Chult in a brand new campaign! Navigate down the Soshenstar River and meet new and familiar faces!

– Join Volo’s hunt for exotic monsters. Remember, you are the best bait.

 

We will be bringing details on these features and more in upcoming developer blogs! In the meantime, check out the interview with Lead Designer Thomas Foss originally aired during the Stream of Annihilation.

Watch live video from dnd on www.twitch.tv

Tomb of Annihilation will stomp into Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at a later date.
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Developer Blog: Great Hall Environment

Hi everyone! I’m Jeff Miller, Environment Artist on Neverwinter, here to talk to you about the newest addition to the Stronghold map… the Great Hall!

Way back when we created the stronghold map we really wanted to give guilds access to the interior of their castle but we wanted to do it right. We decided then that the scope of the stronghold map just didn’t give us the time we really wanted to give to an interior space. I really wanted this space to be a place guildies could just hang out or go full role play mode. There was also talk about building something that was true to the stronghold map and let players decorate the Great Hall.

It was pretty exciting to start talking about the great hall during our initial M11b meetings. We already had the base ideas down on what we wanted, so it just came to building it. These were the main goals we wanted to hit when we started working.

Social Role Play space for guilds
The space must exist in the stronghold map, no loading into a different map
Players can customize the decorations with in the Hall
Sit able chairs

 

As with every environment I work on, the first step is to gather reference. This could also mean working with the concept team, but in this case I felt I could find the reference I needed to build the space. I didn’t start empty handed though. The main style and art for the great hall had already been created for the exterior of the castle. I just wanted to excite inspiration for layout and décor through reference. These are a few I found:

The main things I took from these images are things like weapon wall layouts, how wood paneling is used on the walls and ceilings, fireplaces, overall room shape, etc.… Overall I really think we nailed it in game. Taking these elements and converting them to the Neverwinter look and feel was an amazing project.

Building the actual room got very technical very fast, as with almost everything associated with strongholds. The size of the room was dictated by the exterior of the building. Since one of our goals was that the room existed within the stronghold map this meant limited space. If we had chosen to load into a different map size wouldn’t have been a constraint, but we felt very strongly about being able to just run inside. This ended up being fine since the size of the room felt pretty good. 

The next tech hurdle was lighting. We have a hard cap in how many light/light sources can affect a single prop/object. The room itself is considered a prop/object when our game engine looks at it. So the walls, floors, and pillars all have these rules applied to them.  To allow multiple lights in the room the room needed to be split up into pieces so that the lights would work properly.

Once the room was built, materials applied and in game. It was time to decorate! I couldn’t however decorate exactly how I wanted because in the end our goal was to make sure the players could control the decorations. Working with the designer we came up with decoration plots. These are just preset spaces in which a decoration could fit. For example a wall slot could have a book shelf or a large painting. The types of decoration plots we made are pretty large. There are rugs, chairs, tables, walls, banners… just to name a few.

Once the types of decoration plots were set, I had the task to come up with all the different types of decoration props/objects that could fit. It gathered up as many as I could and built some new ones that are specific to the great hall. Here is a shot of all of the possible props.

The final step was to put all of these props into the room in such a way that worked with the design setup. I filled the space with the props to create a finished look that I liked. After that I grouped props in plot types. This made sure that you would never get a painting where a statue should be. The next shot below shows that final state. The beauty of the great hall system is that your great hall will look different than mine because you have all the control. You may have green rugs instead of red. Or you may like having the Deathly Guardian statues instead of the lions. It really is awesome!

We are really excited for you and your guild mates to get ahold of this update and see what you all come up with! Also this system is expandable, so in the future we can add more decoration props to the mix! 

Before I wrap up here I wanted to share one last bit. I really wanted guild mates to be able to sit at a table together. I’m so excited to say that Sit Tech now exists in Neverwinter! There are some things to note here though. The first is that only the chairs within the Great hall are sit able. No other chairs in the game will be…yet. The reason for this is that since we didn’t launch Neverwinter with this tech, chairs have been used in such a way that would break. An example of this is there may be a chair that is buried under debris or knocked over on its side. If we simply applied sit tech to all existing chairs we would run into a problem of players getting stuck or just look broken. So with that said, any new chairs moving forward will have sit tech applied and during our bug fixing time we eventually will get to other chairs in game from older maps.

Jeff Miller
Neverwinter Environment Artist

Developer Blog: Great Hall

In the forthcoming Shroud of Souls module, we are excited to debut a new feature for Strongholds: the Guild Great Hall. The Great Hall is the building at the heart of your stronghold, and the aim is to give guilds a space they can customize and decorate as they choose. Up until now, the doors to the Great Hall have been firmly closed. With this new module, those doors are thrown open and you and your guild mates can go inside and start decorating!

Inside the Great Hall you will find four large tables surrounded by chairs, an imposing fireplace, and two flights of stairs leading to a gallery above. To the right of the main doors as you enter you’ll find a new contact, the Decorator, who can guide you through some of the things you need to know. The Decorator is also the contact you need to talk to in order to donate furniture and decorations to your guild. These items are stored in your guild’s warehouse (which works a little like the guild’s main coffer).

Decoration items and furniture can be acquired from stores and events in Neverwinter, but primarily they need to be crafted by skilled players. The majority of the items you can put in the guild’s warehouse come from Masterwork Professions, including tables, chairs, rugs, statues, and more.

Once you have some items in your warehouse you can tell the Decorator you want to start decorating, which causes each of the locations you can decorate to sparkle. Interacting at any of these spots opens a window of available furniture or decoration items for you to choose from.

Select the item you want to place and it appears at that location. If you remove or replace an item, it is returned to your guild’s warehouse. When you’re done decorating, go back and tell the Decorator and the locations return to normal.

There are over 90 locations in the Great Hall you can decorate and several pieces of furniture or decorations for each type of location. In forthcoming releases we’ll continue to expand the selection and introduce new and unusual decorations.  If you want to see more about the items you can place in your Great Hall, take a look at this article by Jeff Miller, which talks about the art of the Great Hall in some more detail.

Happy decorating!

 

Simon Lucas
Utility Designer

Announcing Neverwinter: Shroud of Souls

Warning! This article contains spoilers for Neverwinter’s latest expansion, The Cloaked Ascendancy! If you want to discover the story on your own, play through that first!

On May 2, the threat upon Neverwinter continues with the release of Shroud of Souls! When breaking the warding runes on the Kelemvorite Crypt, Lukan set free the necromancer Morlanth. She has now vowed to raise an army of the dead and overtake the city of Neverwinter. It will be up to you, hero, to continue defending the city!

Shroud of Souls will take adventurers to Evernight, a twisted reflection of Neverwinter inhabited by both unsavory living residents and the undead. Heroes will also enter the Shard of Night, a spire from the Plane of Shadows belonging to the Netherese.

This update also brings new features, new storylines, and great new content for guilds!

New feature: Loadouts – Swap between Builds to manage the different needs and roles of your character!

New Guild Content: The Great Hall – A new customizable gathering place in your Stronghold for your guild!

New Stronghold Structures – New temporary structures to give boons for your guild!

New event: Stronghold Siege – Guilds will need to defend their Stronghold against attacks in this new guild event!

New Storyline – A new story arc following the adventures in the River District!

New Lockbox with the new Celestial Stag Mount and updates to item level system!

 

Over the next few weeks we will be releasing Developer blogs on the various new features and content that await you in Neverwinter: Shroud of Souls!

To leave us your feedback on the upcoming release, please visit the Preview Forums!

 

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