Paragon Studios kicked out their “coming soon” blurb for Issue 20, called-tada!-Incarnates. Of course, one could make a strong argument that this probably should have been the title of the LAST Issue, but eh. That’s life for you.
The list of features, curiously, is devoid of anything to do with being an Incarnate-although thanks to hints and blurbs, it’s pretty apparent that the “Incarnate Trials” will be done with this issue; the BAF raid is one of them, although it’s not explicitly mentioned as such, and there is another raid mentioned as well-which is also likely to be Incarnate related. Both are Praetoria-related as well, and more on that in a moment.
Also not mentioned are any movement with the other Incarnate Slots. There’s indications on the forums that they could be on deck with I20-three or four of them-but nobody’s indicated anything about them actually being ready for I20; it’s all from sneaky screenshots from what may or may not have been an inadvertent leak. Two new task forces, of mid-range levels; actually, one TF, and one strike force, meaning one hero exclusive and one villain exclusive. Villains have complained for years that there was no SF available at that level range, so this is a boost for them. There’s also a system in place for those aforementioned raids to allow easier coordination between large groups; I get the impression that this will be similar to other raid interfaces in other games.
One minor annoyance is the push the Praetorians are getting. I get that they’re the “impending danger” in-game right now, especially since the Going Rogue expansion put them front and center; however, it’s looking more and more like it’s the only game in town for Incarnates. Worse yet, the leaked info from the new Incarnate Slots indicates that one of them will grant a character a pet-and all the options are Praetorian ones. Yeah…that’s going over real well in the forums. I’m not thrilled with it myself; just means for me, though, that most of my characters simply won’t use that slot. If there’s a level shift associated with that slot, oh, well. I’ll just have to content myself with being at -1 effective level as the rest of the Incarnates out there. Given some of the apparent missteps of the devs lately (the idea of required raiding/TFing for Incarnate Shards didn’t go over well, and they seemed slow to find an answer to that), I wonder if someone spiked their punch with Stupid-Juice.
I can’t make that accusation with the devs over at Cryptic these days, though. The Featured Episode series featuring the Romulans and Remans hits its finale this weekend, and the last couple episodes were solid works. The first one involved following the Reman Resistance to one of their bases, and confronting their leader. The neat part: what happens after you confront him. You can choose to accept him as a legitimate leader forced to desperate measures against the Tal Shiar, or you can choose to try to arrest him for harboring the very, VERY illegal thalaron weapons. Which you choose determines which opponent you have to deal with. I would’ve liked to see that choice followed up in the next episode, but no joy.
I forgive ’em, though, because the latest episode was terrific. The devs fail in math for one of their puzzles, and they demonstrate one of the issues of having a larger map than what we’re used to (and it’s a biggie!) when it comes to waypoints; but the atmosphere of the episode was solid gold, featuring your captain and him alone-thrust into an arena to fight and survive! It introduced more melee weapons-swords and Vulcan lirpas-and you can’t go wrong when you get some very classic TOS-era music playing as you fight in the arena. (Hell, that alone made the episode for me!) Cutscene use was done well, but I’m iffy on some of the voice-overs. I swear that the voice of Obisek has changed from the first episode to the latest, for example.
The devs did take some heat recently with a C-store item; they released an “open jackets” uniform. The outcry? Not enough cleavage for female officers. See, there was a vote a ways back on what uniforms the players wanted to see, and their vote was based upon an image from a PC Gamer cover with…well, let’s just say it was zipped down further than one would expect from a Starfleet officer. So when a more modest version hit the C-store, outcry city. I’m with the devs on this one, though; the characters are Starfleet officers, not dancing girls. I did have to laugh a bit, though, when one dev justified it by saying they needed to maintain their T for Teen ESRB rating. Given how other games with the same rating have NO trouble going that route, and given the existence of the Orion Slave Girl outfits over on the Klingon side, that was REALLY the wrong justification. Which is proof positive that nobody bats perfectly every time.
Indications are that future C-store items on the planning deck include TOS-era starship interiors; this would presumably include a bridge pack. Now there’s a purchase I can get behind…well, I would if I had gotten the TOS Constitution cruiser. It’s on my list of things to do when my lifetime sub matures in July; I figure that TOS stuff will be ready at that point.