Questions by Benjamin J. de la
Durantaye, Executive Editor, Ten Ton Hammer
Answers by style="font-style: italic;"> Al Rivera , Star
Trek Online (Cryptic Studios)
Nothing is more iconic than style="font-style: italic;">Star
Trek space going vessels. In style="font-style: italic;">Star
Trek Online players will gain
access to many of the ships we've grown to know and love from the
movies and television shows. From the Enterprise, Discovery and Defiant
to the deadly Bird of Prey, players will get to fly them all. This week
we discuss the types of ships, upgrades and progression available for
ship captains throughout their careers. Al Rivera from Cryptic also
answers questions about cloaking and we dive deeper into the Carrier
class after learning about them in our href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/78574">Klingon
Without further ado, on to the interview.
Ton Hammer: After hearing about
the Klingon Carrier ships, what are some of the other special ships
that will be available?
Rivera: They are
special! [laughs]. The carrier is unique in that there is only one tier
above it unlike the other categories. For instance there are four types
of cruiser, four types of science vessels and five types of Birds of
Prey, but there is only one type of Carrier. The Carrier unlocks at the
level of General on the Klingon side. You also unlock
the battle cruiser and the high end raider and raptor on the
Klingon side. The ship tree progression is a bit different on the
Klingon side than the Federation side.
Ton Hammer: Are there any items
that you can slot on a ship that will affect its appearance?
Al: There are no items that
players can slot to alter the
appearance of their ship. We talked about this, but we really wanted
people to make their ships look the way they want within the
configuration of that tier. We don't want the best engines to affect
the look because then everyone's ships would start to look the same. We
added the ability to change looks on the ground with kits. As you
change out your kits, you change the appearance of your avatar on
Ton Hammer: Can a ship last an
entire career or will players be upgrading ships often?
Al: Players will be upgrading
their ships every time they
improve in rank. For example, from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander
you will unlock options to new ships so you will be changing
ships. That is quite a while that you'll spend in that ship. Towards
the end of your career the difference between the new ships gets
smaller. You could stay in some ships like the Galaxy class but in
general you'll want to upgrade. You can keep up to eight ships in your
inventory, oh inventory is a bad word, you can own up to eight ships at
a time. When you upgrade you don't have to lose your other ships. Also
at top tiers such as Admiral, there are six ships that are comparable.
You will very easily be able to swap between those six depending on
what the mission is. There is an Assault Cruiser, Star
Deep Space Science Vessel, Reconnaissance Science Vessel, Fleet Escort,
and a sixth ship (escort who's name escapes me) that you can choose for
end-game. So there is quite a bit of "alting" available as you swap out
ships and load outs. That is a large part of what the end-game is going
to be, alting between these different ships.
Ton Hammer: When you upgrade your
ship, is it available for purchase only or will there be ship rewards
for missions or things like that?
Al: When you get
promoted you are rewarded one ship of
your choice. You go to the ship requisition office and pick out that
ship for free. If you want to purchase additional ships it will cost
Energy, which is one of the currencies in the game.
Ton Hammer: When a ship is
upgraded can you use the previous load outs on other ships?
Al: Yes, they are all
interchangeable so ship items are locked
by rank of the captain. Players can put the bigger items on their
smaller ships if they like. When you get a new ship, it comes with the
lowest grade of items expected for that tier so that it has something
in each slot. Chances are though that you've acquired better items for
those slots from previous ships and will bring those along. So when you
get a new ship you'll bring your favorite guns and shields and put them
in the new ship's slots. Likewise as you get new stuff, you can
retrofit your old ships as well. Probably what will happen is that
you'll acquire some items that will be above your rank and you'll store
those until you can use them and then re-load out your other ships.
Ton Hammer: We talked a little bit
about cloaking last time, how exactly will cloaking work? How
often can cloaking be done, and how can a Federation ship spot a
Al: Sure, I can tell you a
lot more about that. There are two
types of cloaking in the game that the Klingon forces have access to,
the standard cloak and battle cloak. All Klingon ships have the
standard cloak which can't be used in combat. This is typically used
when people are sitting in hiding when there are a few decoys nearby.
Players will attack the decoy and the larger ships will uncloak and be
right on top of them. The Bird of Prey ships for the Klingons also have
a battle cloak which can be used in combat. This way they can duck in
and out of combat by cloaking. The effective way to deal with cloaking
is that when ships cloak their shields
drop so it leaves them
vulnerable. A smart play against a Bird of Prey would be to hold off on
the torpedo salvo until it starts cloaking and then hit it when the
shields are down as it goes into to cloaking.
Also, there is a tug-of-war going on between cloaking effectiveness and
sensors. Sensors will allow you to see cloaked vessels, so science
vessels will have better sensors than other ships. The more power you
pump into your auxiliary systems, the more effective your sensors will
be and you can increase your sensor range. Cloaking is not perfect, if
you get too close to an enemy ship even one with bad sensors, you'll be
able to be seen. You're still invisible, kind of transparent, but if
you get close enough the enemy will see a wobbly effect and you'll
be targetable. As you increase power to your sensors, you'll
that farther away.
On the other side, if a Klingon pumps more power into his axillary
systems, he'll improve his cloaking ability which will allow him to get
closer without being seen. It really provides an interesting situation,
like the Birds of Prey and their strafing runs. The Bird of Prey has
guns that are more effective up close but the closer they get the
higher the chance they'll be seen before they drop out of cloaking
(especially if they are attacking a science vessel). If they want to be
more stealthy they have to put more power into axillary but then
they'll have less power for the weapons.
There are also a number of powers that will reveal a cloaked vessel. A
tractor beam will disable someone's cloak so a science vessel that is
really good at both sensors and tractor beams could lock a tractor beam
on it or do a sensor scan on the enemy so other players could see it.
There is also warp plasma as a defense that if someone flies
through it will disable the cloak.
There are a number of counters to cloaking and a number of things
Klingons can do to improve cloaks. Skills also improve both of these.
If you pump skills into science and sensor scans you'll improve your
cloak detection. Likewise if you improve you auxiliary systems, you can
improve your cloaking. It should be an interesting balance going
between both sides.
Ton Hammer: Was there anything
else specific you wanted to mention about ships before we wrap up, or
maybe provide more of an overview?
Al: It might be a good time
to make sure everyone understands
how the ships are broken out into different classifications and tiers.
On the Federation side you start off with a light cruiser. Each type of
ship is called a configuration. Those configurations define a ship's
shape, profile, and its functionality. When you see a light cruiser it
will look like a Miranda class vessel, so no matter what players to do
customize it players will be able to recognize it and know what its
When you increase in rank, you gain access to one of three types of
vessels, Science, Escort or Cruiser. You will have skills that are
specific to those vessels. Ship type will have nothing to do with your
profession, so you can be a Science Officer and use a Cruiser
any of the three. Science Vessels are supposed to be more like Voyager,
Cruisers like Enterprise and Escorts like Defiant. There are then five
of each of those vessels. As you increase in rank, you gain access to
the next tier.
On the Klingon side, it's a bit different. Each player starts with Bird
of Prey. When you increase in rank you upgrade to a Bird of Prey
Raptor. When you increase in rank again, you can get a Bird of Prey
Raptor Battle Cruiser or Carrier. So it's a little different
progression. Bird of Prey is more of a hit and run assault vehicle,
while the Carrier is huge and really slow and has two hangers. It
starts with fighters in the hangers that you can launch, but you can
swap out and launch Birds of Prey or Power Siphon Drones, so there are
a number of different ships that you can launch from the
Ton Hammer: The Carrier's ships
that come out of the hangers, are those controlled like pets or are
they on their own?
Al: You have limited control
over them. When you launch the
healing drones, they will fly around circling your ship repairing your
shields as needed so there is no control. If you launch fighters they
will attack an enemy that you target and will come back to your ship if
you de-select the enemy. You can also have them attack one foe while
you attack another. The Birds of Prey are a lot smarter, they will
cloak in and out of combat and if you have no enemy selected they will
automatically cloak. There is limited control on where you can send
them so they are mostly independent and work as support to your
Ton Hammer: If the ships from the
Carrier's hanger are destroyed in combat, can you make new ones?
Al: Yes absolutely you can
make new ones, it's not like they
are destroyed and they're gone, they are not a consumable. Depending on
what you have loaded into your hanger you can launch different things.
For instance you can launch four fighters from a hanger, but you can
only have four out at a time and then you can't launch more for a
certain amount of time. If the fighters die before that recharge time
is up you have to wait. If one of the four ships dies you can launch
one more after the recharge, so you still have four out. This prevents
you from stacking them.
style="font-weight: bold;">Ten Ton Hammer: That
quite a bit, thank you very
much for your time.
style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold;">
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