The launch of Star Trek Online is only a couple months away now, and more and more details of how the game will work are being revealed. This week we have info on the structure of the story arcs, Klingon gameplay, micro-payments, the expected customer base and more. Plus info on how the look of the game fits with Star Trek.
‘Four Hub’ Story Arc + Balancing fans & gamers + player sales targets + Klingon gameplay +more details
The Star Trek Online Team are regularly doing interviews. In an interview with MaximumPC, Star Trek Online Executive Producer Craig Zinkievich explains the mission structure of the game
The game is split into four hubs – Federation/Klingon (where you start), Romulan, Cardassian, and finally Borg at the end. We liken each of these hubs to a season of Star Trek, each season with a set number of episode missions based there. Each will have major and minor story arcs, as well as one-off episodes. There’s an overarching story arc for the whole game, so that always shows up in each hub, story-wise.
Each hub is split in sectors, where are high-level maps that you’ll use to fly between planets and spaceports. This is one of the persistent areas where you’ll see hundreds of ships flying around, in addition to the large fleet action zones.
Craig also explained how STO strikes the balance to appeal to MMO fans and Star Trek fans (who may not be regular gamers):
There are some compromises we’ve had to make, license-wise, like adding many phaser weapons variations [in addition to the two main types in Star Trek canon]. In terms of gameplay, our goal is to make a really deep MMO that doesn’t scare away someone who has never played an MMO before. For example, the power-level interface has a complex mode where you can move individual power bars, but there’s also a mode where you can use preset power levels for offensive or defensive stances.
With Buffed, Craig explained how Klingon gameplay will differ (at launch) from Federation
Klingon Gameplay revolves more around PvP – both within themselves, but primarily with Starfleet along the Neutral Zone. There are planets and point of interest to encounter, raids, and some special missions, but for launch, Klingon play is more about social gameplay than story driven content.
Here are some more of the highlights gleaned from latest interviews:
- The game economy will fit into the Trek genre and the basis will be" Gathering resources, inventing technology and understanding alien technology – and then trading those items and knowledge"
- Like with all MMO’s, Cryptic plans to "more stuff to do and more skills to gain" as time goes on (in future updates)
- Still planning on bringing Star Trek Online to a home console, but no details on which or when
- When your ship blows up you don’t lose it, it respawns at the beginning of a map, with damage
- Exploding warp cores will effect close-by surrounding ships
- Players of different ranks will be able to group together for missions
- Cryptic is not expecting to compete with the size of "World of Warcraft" with millions of gamers, and sees games like "Warhammer" and "Age of Conan" as models that work with a "few hundred thousand" players
- STO will be a subscription model (monthly fee), but will also have "micro-transactions" for "cosmetic things"
…for more, here are the links
- Craig Zinkievich interview with Strategy Informer
- Craig Zinkievich interview with Maximum PC (includes good basic overview of game)
- Craig Zinkievich and Amy Skopik interview with Ten Ton Hammer
- Craig Zinkievich interview with Buffed
- Community Q&A at Massivly
Modernizing the Look of Star Trek
Finally, tar Trek Online VFX Lead Michael Cavallaro has written a Developer Diary at IGN, going over the look of the game. In it he discusses their approach to the source material.
The effects changed from series to series and from movie to movie, and of course you have the J.J. Abrams version, which is different than all of them. If there is one thing we learned from Abrams it is if you make it cool enough, the fans will like it.
There are many occasions where we need to create an effect for an old IP element, and the only reference we have is from TOS Star Trek. We all know the budget they had for visual effects back then was small, so ours has to look better, but fans still know and love the original. Our job is to modernize the look but still keep the original feel so fans will immediately recognize the IP and be impressed by the updated look.
Star Trek Online comes out February 2nd and is available for pre-order now.