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Thursday, 1 August 2019

STO: Awakening brings the game back to the 25th century, with Paul Stamets and a starship from a comic!

Star Trek Online's narrative is heading back to the 25th century in it's latest update, Awakening, which launches in September.

But they've still keeping plenty of Discovery seasoning, with a holographic version of Paul Stamets around to help with mycelial issues, and pesky Disco-Klingons led by J'Ula having travelling into their future. Here's how they describe what's coming in Awakening:
During Age of Discovery, players witnessed J’Ula and her Klingon forces steal Mycelial technology, which pulled them forward to the year 2410. Captains must now follow this ruthless Klingon matriarch back to the 25th century to ensure she doesn’t corrupt the entire Mycelial Network in pursuit of her own dangerous agenda. Unfortunately, the insurmountable threat J’Ula poses to the universe also draws out the Elachi, who fear her actions will lead to the destruction of their home planet - and they will stop at nothing to protect it. In order to complete their mission, Captains must rely on the help of an astromycologist expert, a sentient hologram of the legendary Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets from the U.S.S. Discovery to help them track down J’Ula and repair the tears she’s caused in the fabric of space.

Awakening will also shine a new light on Patrols, with a system that makes them easier to find and easier to play – and offers new rewards. We’re celebrating this by launching five brand new Patrols with Awakening, that see you jetting around the galaxy with Stamets and STO favorites like Captain Kuumaarke, stopping Ju’la’s plans. In addition, there will be a Mycelial Event coming which allows you to earn a new T6 Elachi ship by completing the new episode, patrols and TFO.
Here's a teaser trailer, which is very much about teasing the Stamets-ness of things to come:



StarTrek.com have revealed a particularly cool thing coming with this update: STO is to feature a new ship from a comic! Stamets' former ship the USS Somerville appeared in the the Stamets-focused Discovery Annual 2018, illustrated by Angel Hernandez.

The ship only appeared in a few panels, but that was enough to reveal its Crossfield-style saucer holes, but otherwise rather more Defiant-like saucer-nacelle configuration.  That was enough for STO designer Hector Ortiz to flesh out the design to work from all angles, while filling in some details with influences from other ships, as StarTrek.com describe:
Hector started by drawing a top-down schematic of the Somerville as he interpreted it from its general shape in the comic. During this process, he had compensated for the drawing’s foreshortening and linear proportions to determine the relative scale of various elements of the ship. It was also unclear from the design of the ship and the angle of its presentation which way was actually forward. Given the importance of directionality in a 3D game environment, the team felt it best to use the curved part of the Somerville’s saucer as the ship’s front. This would help players intuit the direction their ship is traveling and felt consistent with the style of other Starfleet ships from Discovery.
The biggest question mark was the bottom of the ship, which is not visible at all in the comic. For that, Hector found inspiration in the Shepard and Walker class starships seen in Discovery. Both share a similar hull and deflector dish style, and that style integrated well with the circular nature of Somerville’s internal saucer.
Modeller Tobias Richter then brought the design to life, and after bouncing it back to STO's team to make it game ready. Here it is:




I like it! How about a non-canon bonus issue of the Discovery Starships Collection hey Eaglemoss?

STO have also released a few screencaps showing off their holo-Stamets and his fungus:







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