Friday 23 July 2021

Star Trek Online introduces more Discovery ships and Voyager concept design

Star Trek Online have added several new ships to the game recently, including 32nd and 23rd century designs from Discovery, plus a concept art version of an advanced Oberth class that Voyager almost was. Continue below to check them all out.

First up, from the 32nd century fleet is the Courage class, one of the vertically oriented designs seen in the far future.

The STO team have given this design an odd twist, in that the ship has duel specialisation depending on its orientation. In one direction (I think the flatter end) it is a science ship, but if it flips the other direction (I think the tall end) it becomes a tactical destroyer. Here's how they describe it working:
The Courage-class utilizes a unique directional matrix to allow the ship to quickly transfer its functionality between being focused on Science and Research, and being a resilient Destroyer. The ship's default configuration is outfitted for scientific pursuits, but it can be quickly reconfigured on the fly by switching into Tactical Mode.

When this transformation is initiated, the ship's orientation will be reversed. The ship's Shield Systems will lose integrity while this power is instead rerouted to Hull Integrity (-Shield Capacity, +Hull Capacity). Access to Sensor Analysis, Subsystem Targeting, and the ship's Secondary Deflector Dish will be disabled, while the Experimental Weapon becomes available.

Enables Tactical Mode:
Upgrades Lt. Commander Tactical/Command station to Commander Tactical/Command
Enables Experimental Weapon
+20% Maximum Hull Capacity

Disables Science Mode:
Downgrades Commander Science/Command station to Lt. Commander Science/Command
Disables Secondary Deflector, Sub-System Targeting, and Sensor Analysis
-20% Shield Capacity

In tactical mode the ship has an experimental weapon, the Coherent Integrity Projector. Here's how it works:
The Coherent Integrity Projector leverages your ship's structural integrity fields to generate a harmonic projectile that deals heavy kinetic damage to your target. A portion of this damage will bypass the target's shields. The damage inflicted by this weapon scales proportionally to your Maximum Hull Capacity at the time it is fired (scaling starts at 100,000 and continues up to 250,000).

Here's the in-universe backstory for the ship:
Centuries of starship design tradition from races across the Milky Way galaxy have allowed certain aspects of their construction to be matters that are designed by-rote, and rarely questioned or re-examined. Deflector dishes and emitters are mounted in the front, while impulse engines belong in the back, as an example. However, once in a while a group of ship designers decides to be courageous and inventive enough to buck trends, and explore new possibilities. The Courage-class is the culmination of similar exploration, as a starship designed to treat directional bias as a matter of purpose and forethought, rather than an afterthought.

This unique vessel is supported by a series of subsystems that allow the ship to transform its capabilities by reversing its direction. In its default configuration, a large secondary deflector and specialized set of sensors and emitters fuel the ship's scientific pursuits. However, by reversing its orientation, the ship's systems are redirected into a bulwark of defensive tactical capabilities that would not be out of place on its battlecruiser peers.
Here's a video of the ship in action:

Like so many STO ships, there's a bit of a gamble to get this ship, as you have to win a ship shot as one of the possible prizes when you buy a Research and Development Pack or a Duty Officer Pack in order to get it.

The Ship Talking podcast has released some additional images showing off the design. See their tweet for a couple more.

The ship also comes with a console you can use on this ship or elsewhere, the Force Translator:
This technology suite is capable of translating the force of your starship's forward movement, combined with its mass, into destructive energy that can be immediately released upon nearby enemies. This energy translation stops all movement of your starship briefly, but is made more dangerous based on how massive your ship is (represented by Max Hull Capacity) and how quickly it was traveling at the time of activation (represented by Flight Speed).

For further details of the Courage class, see STO's blog.

To add further variety to your fleet, four ships are offered in the New Genesis Bundle, which STO have broadly themed on The Wrath of Khan and The Search For Spock due to sort-of variants of the Miranda and Oberth class being featured.

Inspired by the Oberth class is the new Grissom class. The design is based on a Jim Martin concept design for the USS Voyager as an Oberth variant. Here's the in-universe story.
The design of this quintessential science vessel has finally been updated for the modern era, while maintaining as many of the unconventional charms of its original design as was possible. From the sensitive sensor equipment housed in its semi-detached lower mission pod, to the tightly packed and heavily-shielded warp nacelles, this updated design has inherited many of the unique benefits of its famed lineage, while also benefiting from the enhanced engineering standards present on Federation vessels of the early-25th century. This upgraded design has been named after the ill-fated science vessel responsible for surveying the equally ill-fated Genesis Planet, which bore the design of the original Oberth-class into some measure of note.

The ship comes with a console ability, the Phased-Space Membrane:
This technology was adapted from scrapped technology found amidst classified documentation, which was originally tested aboard the U.S.S. Pegasus. It is capable of forming a thin membrane of phased space just beyond the ship's deflector shields. This envelope negates the physical properties of hostile sources of physical and kinetic damage that attempt to pass through it, by forcing them to phase out of normal space. Hostile energy is also affected, but the field takes time to charge-up in order to have an impact. Simultaneously, the field can also charge-up over time to bestow benefits on the ship's outgoing torpedo weapons.

This experimental technology draws a great deal of power from the ship's Auxiliary Subsystem while active, and will turn off automatically if that subsystem is drained to zero, or goes offline. Manually enhancing the ship's Auxiliary Subsystem while the field is being generated (such as using Batteries) can allow it to be maintained longer.

Naturally the classic Oberth class look is also included in the pack:

Alongside these, themed as a relative of the Miranda class, we have the Clarke Multi-Mission Command Cruiser, the latest in STO's 25th century reinterpretations of Discovery's 23rd century fleet (one of their nicest adaptations I think), this time based on the Malachowski class.

Here's the in-universe background for the design:
Starfleet has a longstanding tradition of coming to the aid of other starships in need, regardless of their allegiance. In light of this established standard operating procedure, it is no surprise that the brightest engineers among its ranks have chosen to focus the design of one of their newer ship classes specifically on the role of providing support and aid to other vessels in need. The Clarke Multi-Mission Command Cruiser was purpose-built to serve as the vanguard of reinforcement fleets, bringing with it a wide array of potential life-saving technology in the form of its Command Specialist capabilities. Additionally, despite only being a mid-sized cruiser, this vessel boasts a hangar bay able to house a wing of support vessels of any configuration its captain sees fit to equip.
This also comes with a console ability, which includes making a planet! The Genesis Seed:
Although the Genesis Project was ultimately a failure for its intended purpose, the ramifications of the various cutting-edge research that went into its development are still studied and adapted for newer applications by ambitious scientists and engineers with some regularity within the Federation.

This latest iteration is built to leech energy and matter from foes in the region near the unstable planetoid that is created when the device is detonated in space, manifesting as Radiation damage and power drain. The planetoid will utilize the gathered resources to grow in size and power until it quickly reaches its explosive finale, further damaging and disabling foes within the blast radius, and will do so more rapidly if there are a large number of enemy targets within its vicinity.

This console also provides a passive bonus to Drain Expertise, and Radiation Damage.
STO concept artist Hector Ortiz has also shared some concept art for this new design:

Also included is the 23rd century Malachowski class, and both the Malachowski and Clark class have been added to the Federation Light Cruiser family, which means parts from the ship can be customised in combination with those from the Miranda class, Centaur class, and the various variants of those classes, giving the chance to create some unique ships of your own.

Here's a video of the two new classes in action. For further details of the bundle, see the STO blog:

Finally, one other bit of Hector Ortiz concept art. His caption says it all:
Molor's Flaming Sword. Is it practical? Nope. Does it even make any sense? Like hell if it does. Sometimes cool goes over practicality. This is one of those cases. I think this would make a nice prop or toy!

For more Star Trek Online coverage, check back through my STO tag, and for articles looking at starships in all forms, see my ships tag.

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