Star Trek Online: Second Interview

Recently I spoke to Craig Zinkievich Executive Producer for Star Trek Online at Cryptic Studios who was kind enough to do a detailed follow up to our previous interview. I want to thank Craig and Ivan for this interview for Skewed and Reviewed.

GVK: Roughly how many variations of ships will players have access to and how will upgrades and customizations be handled?

There are more than a dozen different starship classifications – we call them configurations – on the Federation side. Within each of these configurations you can customize your ship’s appearance. Switch out the nacelles, the pylons, the saucer, the bridge, change the color details or windows … the team has done some incredible stuff!

Our goal with the configurations is to let players create the ship they want, but also to help other players know what kind of ship someone has and what it can do at a glance. “I know that’s an Akira configuration, so I know about how powerful that guy is. I know what his ship can do.”

Now, there are a lot of aspects to your ship that aren’t cosmetic – what weapons you have, what systems you’ve upgraded, how your deflector dish is configured, what skills your bridge officers know – that really define what it is that you can do. The choices you make in how you build your ship and crew will determine what kind of role you play in the game. You’ll be able to upgrade your equipment and train your crew throughout the game.

GVK: How will player customizations be handled?

Cryptic is known for offering amazing customization options for characters, and we’re continuing that with Star Trek Online. You will start by either choosing one of the well-known races of the Star Trek Universe – Human, Vulcan, Klingon, Gorn, etc. – or creating your own race with the Alien Creator.

I think the Alien Creator is really exciting. Players will get to use their imaginations to add new races to the Star Trek Universe, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.

GVK: With ship combat, will players be able to shift power to weapons, shields, and engines during combat?

Definitly! That’s what ship combat is all about in the Star Trek universe – so that’s what we’re trying to capture in STO. Space combat is designed to be a paced and tactical experience. Positioning, timing, power levels, monitoring your shields, and utilizing the abilities of your bridge crew are all important to being successful in starship combat.

GVK: How is resource gathering handled in the game will there be salvage in space?

There will be a variety of ways to gather resources. Rewards for completing missions and tours of duty will be a big part, as well as gathering, crafting and trading.

There will be some salvage in space or on planets – you might find a cool piece of technology that you want to study or find a way to use on your ship – but Federation captains don’t loot corpses.

GVK: How will ship navigation be handled and how will the game handle travel times between locales?

Space is BIG. We want to retain a sense of that grandiose scale, but it’s not fun to have to spend days and days traveling between planets. There will be a number of options such as wormholes and transwarp conduits to speed travel times.

But since exploration is a big part of STO, there will be times when the best thing to do is pick a direction and see what’s out there!

GVK: Will the game have an alliance or guild system and how will this be handled?

We will have guilds – we call them fleets. We’re still working on our fleet systems, so stay tuned to to learn more.

GVK: Will players be able to board other ships for away and combat missions?

Our Episodic content takes place in a variety of locations – in space, on planets, and onboard ships and space stations. Just like an episode of one of the shows, you will be visiting a variety of locations during a single story.

GVK: Is there a limit on how many play controlled ships can be engaged in a battle?

Teams have a maximum of five players. A lot of content is designed for team instances. But there are also large scale Fleet Action where many teams will need to work together to complete.

GVK: What sort of random events will the game have and will there be seasonal special events?

There will be random events along the lines of a Borg invasion or attack by a quadrant-threatening entity. As far as seasonal events go … we’ll have them, but we’re not going to be releasing any details yet.

GVK: How will players acquire ships and will they be limited with lower end ships at first?

Yes – you’ll start out in a smaller light cruiser and as you advance through the game other ships open up to you. Some are larger, but some are more specialized as well.

GVK: Will The Holodecks be used in the game?

We’ll have holodecks – they’re too much a part of Trek to leave out. But they’re tricky. They’re so powerful that everyone on the team has their own ideas of what to cram into them.

So we’re still working on what you will be able to do with a holodeck. Maybe you’ll be able to play Champions Online!

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