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Gearing Up in Star Trek Online – An Exclusive Interview with Cryptic Studios - Page 2

Posted Mon, Nov 30, 2009 by Dalmarus

Ten Ton Hammer: That brings up a good point. What sort of storage capabilities do you have? Is there a bank-type thing or a vault on your ship where you can store all your goodies? You know, for all the pack rats in us?

Dan
: We've been making some modifications to that, but the way it is right now, is that you as the captain have a personal inventory that is shared amongst all your entities. So, for example, there are a certain number of slots you have and right now, everything goes into those bags or whatever you want to call them. We call them transfer bays or cargo bays. Those cargo bays are shared among all your people. So when you get an item, or pick something up, it just goes into your cargo bays. You don't have to switch to a certain person and look at their cargo. It's all shared amongst the player.

Ten Ton Hammer: That makes sense. What about tiers of gear? Are there separate tiers up to and including an epic weapon or armor set?

Joe: Yes. The gear progresses. It's sort of in a traditional fashion. We have your basic gear, which is just a baseline item. We'll have gear that is less common. We're using a color system to differentiate the rarity of items. The additional rarity adds additional mods.

So like, I have a gun that does 10 points of damage, that's the baseline item. I have a gun that does 10 points of damage and it has a 2% chance to crit, so that would be less common. As you'd expect, as you progress through the game, your character will have more and more of the rare items.

We do plan on having some really high-end stuff in there for players to discover.

Ten Ton Hammer: Cool. When you get bigger and better ships, do they have more slots where you can attach more upgrades?

Joe: Yes, they do. They also introduce some extra characteristics. So the ship you start the game with is pretty vanilla. I hate to use the phrase, but it's probably the most accurate. When you get past your initial beginning and get your first promotion, Starfleet will offer you opportunities to try other ships that have different characteristics.

Dan was talking about his Escort ship earlier. It's sort of like a Defiant in that it's fast, it's aggressive, and it's agile. Maybe a little thin on some of its defenses, but it's definitely of the good offense/good defense type. Then you have a science ship that offers a different type of gameplay where you'll be using different types of powers and things. And then we've got the classic cruiser which is just your stalwart, tough ship. It's flexible, capable, lots of people, and is just a good, tough ship.

Dan: I've found that the different classes of ships, because as you progress you do get more and more slots in your ships, but they're specific to the characteristics of that ship class. For example, in my tier one Escort, I have more slots to put tactical gear in. So I can upgrade my torpedoes, my phasers, and my beam weapons, but I don't have a lot of options for upgrading my shields, engineering, or my science capabilities.

That's kind of an interesting dynamic because I may get some really good gear, but because I'm in an Escort ship, if I get that really awesome science mod, I've only got one slot to use it in. You've got to really pick and choose what you put there.

Joe: The other thing too is the ships also determine the bridge officers you assign, so you'll have more seats for more officers and the more advanced ships open the door for more advanced bridge officers and powers. So if you have a high-ranking science officer, he won't necessarily be as capable in an Escort class ship as he would be in a science vessel. You can also staff more science officers in a science vessel than you can in say an escort.

Ten Ton Hammer: All right.

Dan: We should also probably mention that certain gear is level capped or rank classed. Like I can't just get that awesome tetryon beam and put it in my light frigate. It doesn’t really work that way.

Ten Ton Hammer: Right. Are you able to pick up armor and weapons from space missions and conversely, are you able to pick up ship upgrades from ground missions?

Joe
: Yes. From the missions themselves, yes. The normal drops are still restricted to their domains so you'll never see a Klingon warrior drop an impulse engine. With the missions themselves, we're not trying to restrict ourselves because frankly, so many of our missions are blended. You don't typically do a mission that is all ground, or all space. A number of our missions have a ground and space component to them. So I guess we should say that mission rewards you get for complete the mission could be a ground or space item.

Ten Ton Hammer: With the rewards for these episodes and these missions, do you have an option to select and choose your reward?

Joe: Yes. We're trying to make sure that that's the case.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is that an intelligent system where it will recognize what your ship or class is and hence, offer an appropriate item or will it list out everything, whether you need it or not?

Joe: At the moment, the system isn't so intelligent it can say, "Oh. You're this class and have this type of ship so I'll offer you these items," It's much more generic. So we've been trying to make offerings that provide some real choice.

So for example, let's say you get a kit for completing a mission. There are three types of kits because there are three types of officers. So we'll give you a choice of multiple kits. Like one for each class.

But there are also cases where the choice is more generic, like an engine. So we'll give a choice of the high efficiency combat engine, the high-speed engine, or the balanced engine. We try to have a mix of both to try and make sure we keep it interesting.

Dan: I find myself always spending time trying to figure out what loot I want which I think is good. Because it means I really have to make a choice. I want it all, but I can't have it all, you know?

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you'd like to let our readers know about the gear in STO?

Dan: Joe mentioned it earlier, but I think this is the first time that Cryptic has really pushed heavily to make gear an important part of the game. Cryptic's known for being able to customize your character and altering your appearance, so this is really exciting for us because not only are we allowing you to do that, but we're now allowing you to get gear that then supplements that costume. That's something that we've worked really hard to sort of find the right balance between allowing you to look the way you want to look and yet let the gear also kind of define your character.

Ten Ton Hammer: Very cool. Thanks a lot for taking the time out to talk with us today.



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