STO: Klingons and PvP Q&A with Cryptic Studios
game risks the wrath of rabid fanbois every day, but take an IP
with a fanatical fanbase like Star Trek, and you've got the perfect
tinder for flamefests around every virtual corner. The recent
announcement that Klingons would be PvP-only on set the boards alight
in record time so Ten Ton Hammer Executive Editor, Benjamin J. de la Durantaye sat down with Lead Content Designer,
Zeke Sparkes, to get some answers surrounding this controversal subject. style="font-weight: bold;">
Ten Ton Hammer: How PvP centric is STO? Will federation players who choose not to participate miss out on important parts of the story?
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Zeke Sparkes: No. We actually
just wanted to make sure that it was an alternate source of character
progression. If you don't want to PvP, you don't have to and if you do
want to PvP, that option is there for you pretty much from the
Ton Hammer: Ok. So PvP is instanced. How do you enter these
instances to get into the PvP combat? Can you choose your foes?
Some of it is instanced, not all of it is. There are several PvP
maps that are static maps so you can go there by physically going to
the location and beaming in like you normally would for any sort of
fleet action type map.
For the instanced ones, we have a queue system that you can enter and
it will wait until it has enough people on each side and then launch
the map for you. We also have a challenge system where you can set up a
request for somebody else to enter a PvP instance with you. Unlike most
dueling systems, it doesn't happen where you're currently at, but
targets one of the instance maps. You get to pick where you're going,
who you're going against, and hit the instance from there. So you can
wind up doing either.
You can hit the queue and much like what we did with Champions Online,
when you're queued, it'll send you to the location and when you're
done, put you back to where you were. You don't have to go to a
specific place to PvP. You can queue up where ever you are. All the PvP
maps have physical locations. They're actual locations in our universe
so you can go to that location if you want to and queue directly
through that link as well.
Ton Hammer: So is the matchmaking suited to appropriately leveled
Yeah. We actually band by rank. So we make sure that if you're
just trying to find a PvP match to get into and you're a lieutenant,
we're not going to put you into a PvP match with a bunch of admirals.
Ton Hammer: That makes sense. Do you plan on having PvP-only equipment
That's kind of a tricky question to answer. Technically, yes, but
probably not in the way that most people think. There is a set of
rewards that you gain only through doing PvP that are not part of the
same rewards you get through doing normal quests things. But they are
not really PvP-centric. We don't have a division in the gear. So while
the items might be unique to that avenue of advancement, they're not
going to gear you in such a way that you are only good at PvP and that
you're not good at doing PvE. We wanted to make sure that you could
sort of switch tracks and do whatever kind of character advancement you
wanted at any given time. style="font-weight: bold;">
Ten Ton Hammer: So PvP
leveling up and ranking up is sort of separate from the PvE levels
It's the same levels, it's the same progression system, but you
can level yourself up. You can get new ranks and make it to Admiral
just by doing the PvP gameplay if you want.
Ton Hammer: Cool. So will there be PvP Leader Boards?
There certainly are within the match so you get to see who did
the best within each individual game that you're playing. At launch,
the full sort of worldwide boards won't be there. Having individual
matches actually impact the gameplay is something that we're targeting
to try and get going for the next update or the one after that. We want
to make sure that it's cool and that it's meaningful, and that it's
just not a color on a map that switches or something like that. We want
to make sure that we do the system right when we get it in.
Ton Hammer: Right. So how does Klingon versus Klingon or Federation
versus Federation PvP work? Is it sort of like war games? What's the
story behind that?
Yeah. For the Federation, it's war games. You're just testing out
your ships versus the other ships, just trying to figure out good
tactics. The IP wrapped around that is that it's just a training
With the Klingons, it's actually a House battle. There's a lot of
strife and conflict inside the Klingon Empire and there always has
been. You wind up fighting on the side of one or the other major House
when you go into a Klingon versus Klingon map.
Ton Hammer: If Klingons can only be played after you reach a
certain level within the Federation gameplay, and Klingons are
primarily geared for PvP, are there any concerns about having a healthy
Klingon population? Do you foresee players wanting to PvP primarily
with their Starfleet characters since that's where they'll probably
spend most of their time since it has the most content?
style="font-weight: bold;"> Zeke:
I think what we've tried to do is
make sure that the Klingon play captures that sort of element like the
conflict and direct engagement. Do I think we'll have a healthy Klingon
population? Absolutely. We think that the Klingon play is geared
towards that kind of a population and we don't think we're going to
have a hard time captivating that subset of players. style="font-weight: bold;">
And just to be clear when you
say you have to unlock the Klingons through Federation gameplay, it
happens fairly early on. It happens within about the first five hours
or so of gameplay that you're able to unlock and play Klingons. So it's
not like you have to advance deep into the Federation storyline in order to
get to play a Klingon.
Since Klingon gameplay is PvP-focused and that's more demanding skill
wise than PvE, we wanted to make sure that players are comfortable with
how ships, space combat, and ground combat work before jumping straight
into the really PvP-focused gameplay. I think it's a really attractive
style of gameplay and that we're going to have a plenty-big Klingon
Ton Hammer: Are there any sorts of special perks or rewards in PvP,
apart from playing as a Klingon?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. They have their own set of perks. There's a
lot of overlap with the Federation perks, but there are
Klingon-specific perks as well.
Ton Hammer: Going into the story a little bit, what's the Klingon
motivation? Can they capture areas and pursue objectives other than
hunting Federation players?
Yeah. The entire universe has several stories that run through it
and towards the higher end, Klingon players are involved in those
stories. The Romulans are right on their border and reeling from having
just lost their home planet and are becoming more aggressive. There's
also the Cardassian area where the Dominion is trying to reestablish a
presence. Some of the True Way Cardassians [a Cardassian terrorist
group – Ed.] are trying to sign up with the Dominion to sort
of take back their territory, so they're getting more aggressive as
well. The Klingons can wind up getting involved in those things as
But again, the primary focus of the Klingon play is definitely the PvP
and the Klingon versus Klingon play or the Klingon versus Federation
play focuses that. So most of what Klingons will be doing is engaging
other Federation or Klingon players in PvP combat. The other story
elements do touch what's happening in the Klingon Empire, but the focus
of the advancement is definitely on the war with the Federation.
Ton Hammer: So will other races be able to join the Klingon
faction, or is it a Klingon-only club?
The Klingons are actually allied with several other races and as
always, we love our character creator so you'll be able to make your
own aliens that can join the Klingons. You won't be locked into just
playing a Klingon. They're allied with the Gorn, the Nausicans, and the
Orions as well. So when you make a Klingon, you have multiple preset
options for species that you can pick as well as the "build-your-own"
Ton Hammer: So when you make a Klingon, you're not necessarily
making a Klingon? You can make one of the other races?