Trekkin’ in Style: Rihannsu Style

Hello and welcome to Trekkin’ in style, a monthly column that will attempt to delve deeper into a relatively unexplored aspect of STO by reviewing current and upcoming costume options.  I’ll be talking about what additions I think the game could use as well as which I personally think should’ve never been included.  On occasion I might spotlight other players in game that have an outfit that (for better or worse) I simply can’t ignore, so look out, you might find your picture on here someday.  On occasion I’ll also talk about fashion on Star Trek shows and movies as well as cosplay, of which I happen to have done some recently in Star Trek Las Vegas.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Romulans are coming!  On May 21st 2013 Star Trek Online will launch its first expansion.  With the launch of this update players will have the option to play the highly anticipated and popularly requested Romulan faction.  I’ve had the chance to play the closed beta for the content and today I’m going to go over some of the new uniforms I’ve had the joy of sampling.  Be warned, this article may contain spoilers.  Before we get started though, I want to remind everyone that these costumes are in the BETA phase and are subject to change.

When I first created my Romulan I was a little disappointed at the incredibly small amount of parts available to me.  At first glance it seemed as if Romulans would be suffering the Klingon’s fate at the tailor and only have a handful of uniforms.  I kept a positive outlook though and reminded myself that this is just the BETA phase and that more uniforms might be added later.  Knowing a bit about the Romulan backstory I proceeded to create a very simple peasant looking outfit.  Considering most of the uniforms at the beginning have a rather rustic feel to them it wasn’t hard to achieve the look I wanted.  One thing I’ll say that I was pleasantly surprised to find was that unlike Klingons, Romulans get a FREE skirt right off the bat!

After creating my character I launched the game and was greeted by an AMAZING tutorial.  Assuming that like the KDF and Fed I would get a free costume change at some point in the tutorial I took a look at some of the costume combinations worn by some of the NPC for inspiration, little did I know what I would be in for.  When I finally reached the point in the story where I did get my free costume change I was surprised to see that I had also been granted NEW uniforms.  By joining the Romulan Republic’s military I had unlocked new gloves, chest gear, bracers, belts, pants, jackets and undershirts.  This is the point where I had a complete nerdgasm.  Story driven costume unlocks isn’t exactly new to STO.  Feds unlock a jacket when they reach max level and KDF players unlock various sash styles as they level up through the ranks but never before have players been granted uniform unlocks as part of the storytelling process.  Now that I was a soldier and had been “issued an uniform” I proceeded to ditch my peasant’s garb and make myself a uniform worthy of a soldier.

After a few more missions I reached a point in the story where I had to make a choice that would affect the course of my story.  Did I want to work with the Federation or the Klingon Empire?  After some consideration I decided to go with the Federation.  It was at this point that I realized that joining the Federation unlocked yet another set of unique “Federation” themed uniforms.  One thing I liked about this uniform was how it had some influences inspired by the faction I chose to ally myself with but it was still very much a Romulan Republic uniform.  There were no Starfleet insignias, comm badges, rank pips or UFP logos anywhere, and the traditional checkered pattern was still on the jackets.  One thing I especially liked about the “Federation” variants were the bracers.  Some of the bracers had LCARS display panels which could be dimmed down or brightened up, like the Korath’s bracers I talked about on the last issue.  However (unlike the Korath) the panels could be adjusted independently from the rest of the bracer.  This means that players can make the LCARS look as bright or dim as they want without it affecting the color of the rest of the bracer.

As the story progressed I reached a point where my character briefly teamed up with a Romulan NPC who had chosen to ally himself with the KDF.  This was my first glimpse of what I might have been treated to had I chosen KDF instead.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that although the uniforms had some obvious differences inspired by their respective allies they were overall very similar.  This to me was a good thing, since after all we weren’t meant to be Federation officers or Klingon officers.  We were simply Romulan Republic officers working with different groups of allies.

I continued leveling, not expecting any further costume alterations or additions.  I figured any further costumes would most likely be part of the subscriber rewards program or placed in the C-store, since there is already a bundle pack available that offers one new uniform unlock.  Little did I know how wrong I was.  Thanks to a series of events (which I will not go into detail about) I found myself working for the very people I had been led to believe were my enemies.  An organization that may or may not have the best interests of the Romulan people in mind and with my acceptance into their ranks came yet another uniform.

Soon after the addition of this uniform to my wardrobe came the end of my beta testing.  I had reached the requested level and didn’t want to expose myself to anything further, so that I would have some surprises in May.  Inspite of the fact that this was merely a beta test I have to say that I was extremely pleased with what I saw.  The costumes while a little buggy were extremely detailed and beautiful and are sure to please players whose tastes in clothing range from simple to extravagant or something in between.  In spite of the bugs and glitches the Romulan faction is looking like the single best addition to STO since launch.  It is rich with both style and substance and I can’t wait to see what the finished product will be like.  For details on the process behind designing Romulan Republic uniforms check out Legacy of Romulus Dev Blog #12.  Til next time, peace and long life.

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