Trekkin’ in Style: The way we were and could be again.

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.

In my first article I talked a little about the large amount of options a player has in the character creator and how a player could create virtually any outfit they wanted.  This time I’m going to talk a little about options we once had, lost, and in my opinion should get back.

First thing we need to understand about current clothing options in STO is that they’re divided by categories.  There are “uniforms”, which consist of clothing captains might wear while on duty.  The parts that make up a uniform typically consist of badges, rank pips, shoes, shirts and pants both original to STO and taken from Star Trek shows and movies.  Then we have “off duty” clothing, the bulk of which is made up of sweaters, robes, and jackets as well as a “mercenary set” available through the C-store.  A subcategory of “off duty” clothing called “formal clothing” is also available by purchasing the “21st century Formal set”.  All of these categories have the option to mix and match costume pieces within their own category providing the players a large number of options.  For example, I can wear a uniform shirt from the Next Generation uniform and a skirt from the TOS uniform, or a sweater top and a robe bottom from the off duty options.  However, cross category mixing isn’t allowed, meaning if I want to put on an off duty shirt and on duty pants it would be impossible. Even mixing a formal off duty item and casual off duty item is not allowed and that’s what I want to talk a little more in depth about.

Often in game I see NPCs wearing awesome outfits that are simply not possible for me to replicate because of the pieces used to create them and the restrictions imposed on the tailor.  Often I think how great it would be to create a semi casual look with a formal top and a casual bottom, or to be able to create a nice ensemble putting together uniform and off duty pieces.

The outfits you see in the pictures above were made possible due to an old glitch in the STO tailor that allowed for just that kind of mixing and matching.  When the glitch was first discovered I and many others had hoped it would turn out to be a feature instead, unfortunately that was not the case.  Even after it was announced that the new options were only possible due to the glitch and that a fix was in the works we hoped that the fix would continue to allow us to mix parts, once again that was not the case.  I’ll be the first to admit that this was one glitch I was sad to see them fix.

Currently the only place where a player can mix uniform parts and off duty parts is in the foundry. I stumbled on this discovery very much by chance while I was creating my first foundry mission, “Life Is But A Dream”.  While I was in the creating process I was unhappy with the majority of the default NPC options available to me so I decided to make some of my own.  It was then that I discovered that in this tool the restrictions that I was bound to in the in game tailor didn’t exist.  I was able to once again be creative and mix and match parts in any order I wanted and was ecstatic about it.  The following pictures are just four examples of ensembles that can be created in the foundry but not in the main game world.

Some of you may have noticed the Gorn in a Starfleet uniform and are probably thinking, “Gorn aren’t available for Starfleet”.  If you did, you would be wrong.  Players who max out their diplomacy get the opportunity to acquire exclusive bridge officers from the Klingon faction.  As of now the only available uniforms for these bridge officers are KDF uniforms.  However, since the introduction of these officers many players have requested for the option to place them in Starfleet uniforms.  I’ve always been of the opinion that more choices are better than less, especially in a game and even more so when it comes to character and environment personalisation.

In a recent spontaneous QA session (as part of the third anniversary of STO) executive producer Dan Stahl said:

[REDALERT] <Dev> Oaks@dstahl: We are going to be adding more costume options for the next big update – more than normal.

[REDALERT] <Dev> Oaks@dstahl: Character Creation Options are getting an overhaul for next update.

[REDALERT] <Dev> Oaks@dstahl: We are redoing our Character Creator for May – almost completely remade.

For a brief and fleeting moment (in what seems like ages ago) STO players had what felt like unrestricted access to personal clothing customization and it was wonderful.  We were given a glimpse of what we could create with no distinction between “on duty” or “off duty”, between “formal” or “casual” and it gave some of us a creative high.  Now in order to get an echo of what we had we have to go into the foundry in order to create costumes that we’ll never actually be able to use ourselves in game.  It’s one of my biggest wishes that someday the STO team will make away with those restrictive barriers that keep people from fully exploring the tailor and enjoying the full range of options that could be available to them.  Perhaps this upcoming update that Mr. Stahl talks about will bring us closer to that.  Til next time, peace and long life!

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