Ten Ton Hammer: Can you take cover in
: The kind of cover that we
have is not the Gears of War cover,
where you lock yourself onto a cover. We have a Halo-like shield pop
where if you duck behind something, it blocks line of sight. You can’t
be shot through a wall or around a corner. If you stay out of combat
for a certain amount of time, your shield will regenerate.
Your shield is what takes most of the energy damage, whereas your body
takes the kinetic damage. So, if someone’s shooting you, they’ll have
to get through your shields before they can do damage. If someone walks
up to you with a melee weapon, it just goes right through your shields
and starts pounding on your body. That’s the trade-off between energy
ranged weapons and melee. Hand to hand combat, for the most part, is
going to ignore shields.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can your ranged
weapons be put onto different settings,
like set phasers to stun?
: The way ranged powers work
is that they’re all tied into the
weapon that you’re holding. Every weapon has three attacks.
There’s the standard default attack, which is the button to do steady
damage. Then, every weapon has a secondary mode. The secondary attack,
can be anything from a stun, like on a type two phaser, to area of
effect attacks, to other attacks. Every weapon is different. A sniper
rifle, for instance, has a regular attack, and the second attack is a
steady-aimed, high-crit rifle shot.
The third power is always some sort of melee attack with that weapon,
whether it’s a rifle butt, or a hand strike – something to keep people
away from you.
Weapons come in different flavors in the Star Trek Universe. There’s
phasers, there’s disruptors, there’s tetryon beams, all the different
colors of beams that you see in the show are all represented in the
game. And they all do different types of damage and are effective
against different critters.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there a way to
escape combat? Can you ask your ship
to beam you back up in a pinch?
: You always have the option
to get out of there. If you can get
yourself out of combat, and get to a safe spot, you can come back and
do it later. Then you can beam yourself back up to the ship and the
The nice thing is that if you’re half way through an episode you can
opt to finish it later. You can beam back up to your ship, and then
when you come back, you can continue it from where you left off.
Each act has a progress meter.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will all characters be
proficient at physical combat?
: Based on the weapon that
they have, everyone has at least one type
of melee attack. And obviously, any species, if they have no weapons
has basic punches and pushes.
Certain species have innate powers – for example, Vulcans have the
nerve pinch. In addition, depending on your career path, you may have
access to better melee abilities. A tactical officer will be much more
proficient at close range, assault, and hand-to-hand combat. They can
level up those specific abilities, such as martial arts. As they level
up in different abilities, they’ll end up with different sorts of melee
combos. Depending on how high you level up in those different
proficiencies, you unlock abilities to do other combos, like a
jab-jab-punch, or a leg sweep-kick-push. The more you advance, the more
fancy you’ll move around the battlefield.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do the episodes scale
to the player’s level?
: Episodes are a specific
level, simply because of where they exist.
As you progress through the hubs, content gets harder. That’s not to
say that all episodes are set that way, because we do have certain maps
and systems that do scale.
Because we have open instancing in the game and we’re trying to group
people together, we certainly don’t want a high-level admiral spawning
impossible creatures. So you can always go back and do an episode,
regardless of your level, but the difficulty of the episode will be
based on the recommendation. (If you go into your mission journal, it
will tell you the recommended level).
We do have a replay mechanism, so you can go back and replay episodes
if you team up with other people, and then we give you a secondary
mission that didn’t exist the first time you did it. This allows you,
as a high level player, to assist for a secondary reward, so there is
an incentive for you to do that.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything else
you’d like to tell us about
: The things I’m really
enjoying about ground combat right now are
the dynamics. Even by myself, I can outfit my away team to fill certain
There’s an expose and exploit feature I like as well. This is where
certain weapons will expose your enemy to critical damage, and other
weapons can then take advantage of that. So, for example, one of the
things I do, is I’ll give “expose weapons” to some of my away team
members. What they’ll do then, is try to find weaknesses in the
encounter. And indicator will pop up and tell you which characters are
weakened or exposed. Then, if I have an exploit weapon, I can then do
triple crit damage to that entity. It’s a fun dynamic because you can
have different people trying to create openings in the combat, and
others to take advantage of those openings.
Another thing that was recently added is flanking. If you have a team,
you can assign someone to flank your enemy, and that person will do
extra flank damage. You can become very efficient on the ground by
using those mechanics.