can create the greatest game in the universe, but if it
isn’t full of more loot than players can imagine,
you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle with your
playerbase the moment it releases. We managed to track down Star Trek
Online Producer, Dan Stahl, and System Designer, Joe Harrington, and
convinced them to
enlighten us on the importance gear plays in this upcoming title from
Ten Ton Hammer: How exactly does gear work? Are there slots for your
character's gear such as a chest slot, leg slot, etc?
: Yeah. You
already know there's space and there's ground gameplay. On the ground,
your captain avatar has multiple slots like a shield slot for a
personal shield, a body slot for things like body armor. It has a kit
slot for the various types of kits your class can use. It has a weapon
slot with a primary and alternate so you can switch back and forth.
You also can equip your away team members. They have similar slots but
not quite as many. They have a single gun slot, a shield slot, a body
armor slot and a weapon slot. We also have consumable slots where you
can slot up consumables so you can use them even though
they’re in your inventory.
In space, your ships have some of the expected slots. You'll have
weapon slots in space. You'll have a slot for impulse engines, shields,
and deflector dish.
Ton Hammer: Okay. You mentioned that the away team has some slots as
well. What happens if a member of the away team dies? What happens to
: It stays on them. Most
of your away team members don't actually die. They become incapacitated
and so there's no permadeath in our game for your bridge officers
because it's sucks to rank a guy up to level 30 and then all of a
sudden you lose him and you're really mad.
Ton Hammer: So what would happen if you put one of your really good
weapons on one of your away team members and they became incapacitated?
Would you be able to take their weapon and give it to a different
member of the away team?
While you can do that though, I would say you're not really going to
because combat is so fast in terms of the encounters and most of the
time you have a medic with you. Your medic is probably going to try and
heal your away team member before you could equip his weapon.
Ton Hammer: Cool. Are there armor types for the different careers, such
as heavy or light?
Armor is more generic than that. It will have various statistics that
give you some benefits, various resistances, and some bonuses. The only
thing that's class specific is appearance.
The kits are class specific and that's what actually puts some of the
gear on your character. But is there armor that appears on your body?
One of the things that we're pushing for is that when you equip it,
your class's color should show. So if you're a science officer for
example and you put on the polyweave armor, then it tints blue. There
are different types of armors in the game, but there may be panels on
it that will change color, depending on which class equips it.
Ton Hammer: Is there any sort of cosmetic gear? Some thing that doesn't
serve any actual purpose apart from changing how your character looks?
For now, we're still focused strictly on gameplay gear. Later on, if we
make cosmetic stuff, it'll be mostly social. So if you're on Risa, you
may have some sunglasses. For now though, we're concentrating on
getting functional gear in the game.
Ton Hammer: That makes sense. So would you classify STO as an
item-centric game? Are weapons and gear going to be the main rewards
for completing missions in the episodes?
It's more item-centric than Cryptic has done in the past, but the
design approach is that character development and away team development
would be the primary focus. So as you get better ships, it improves
your baseline as you go up levels. As you advance and improve your
skills, you become more and more powerful. The items are meant more to
augment and be hooks for that. Items are still very important, but it's
not a design to make them a central focus of the game.
To kind of expand on that, I found that what items do for me is they
help differentiate me from other people in my class. So for example, we
could both be tactical officers and we skill up maybe a little bit
similar because we're both tactical and we have a little bit of
differentiation in our skills, but it's really the items that we equip
that really make us different.
Like I put turrets on my Escort last night and that was freakin'
awesome but not everybody does that because it drains your power
levels. Items really make you different from other players.
Ton Hammer: So you mentioned earlier different items will affect
different stats. Can you give an example as to the sort of stats they
Things like impulse speed in space when you're running around doing
things. Things like turning radius. Some f them impact things like
bonuses to damage types such as more phaser damage. Things along those
lines. The efficiency of engines, etc.
After just having gotten a lot of loot last night, there seems like
there's an improvement for just about everything. It's pretty awesome
the range of stuff you can get. I ended up with a bagful of stuff where
I was like, "Well maybe that will be useful when I want to do this one
mission," It's pretty cool.