STO: Klingons and PvP Q&A with Cryptic Studios

Updated Mon, Dec 21, 2009 by Dalmarus

Any 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: How PvP centric is STO? Will federation players who choose not to participate miss out on important parts of the story?

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 beginning.

Ten Ton Hammer: Ok. So PvP is instanced. How do you enter these instances to get into the PvP combat? Can you choose your foes?

Zeke: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: So is the matchmaking suited to appropriately leveled players?

Zeke: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: That makes sense. Do you plan on having PvP-only equipment and upgrades?

Zeke: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: So PvP leveling up and ranking up is sort of separate from the PvE levels then?

Zeke: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: Cool. So will there be PvP Leader Boards?

Zeke: 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.

Ten 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?

Zeke: 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 exercise.

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.


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