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?
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.
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?
: Yeah, you're making a
character in the Klingon Empire. There's a big story involved in it.
They sort of bore down on the Gorn and brought them into their fold
more or less forcibly and there's kind of a story with how they wound
up getting all of the allies they have.
Ton Hammer: How will PvP affect PvE balance and vice versa?
We always try very hard to balance the game with PvP in mind from
the beginning. The powers are meant to work the same way in PvP as they
do in PvE. As a player, you wind up wanting to focus more on certain
powers because they're more useful in PvP than PvE. PvE is kind of a
safer environment because you're opponent is not as smart. So there are
definitely powers that are more advantageous in PvP than they are in
PvE and vice versa. But we built it so it operates the same. So you
don't have powers that function differently on your enemies depending
on what style of gameplay you're choosing.
Ton Hammer: What else can you tell us about the PvP in Star Trek Online?
One of the things we want to make sure people realize is that PvP
is open from the get-go, rather than being an end-game feature like in
some other games. It's rank-banded throughout. It's some thing that you
can do at any time. It's a full advancement track on its own, so if
that's the style of gameplay you like, we really tried to make sure
that you could play that way.
We've got different kinds of maps depending on what it specifically is
about PvP that you like. There are different options for you. We've got
arena maps, which are just kind of the one side versus one-side battles
where all you really care about are kills.
We have our war zone maps. They're actually kind of competitive PvE
environments where when you get in, it's a static map and there's an
objective that is mostly PvE focused. You're trying to finish the
objective and get more points than the other team but it's on a map
where PvP is enabled. So if you decide that the best way for your team
to finish before they do is to start PvPing with them, that's a
perfectly viable strategy. That's kind of a nice step for people who
aren't hardcore PvPers but are interested in getting a look at what
it's like. It gives them a map where even if no opponents show up,
there's still something for them to do. They can still complete it. And
when the opponents are there, it's not necessarily a full-on PvP
battle. It just kind of depends on the attitude of the players and the
And then we have full-on scenario PvP
maps where there are certain objectives you're trying to go after.
You're mostly going against other players although there are some
computer mobs on the map as well. They're more direct conflict oriented
than the PvE maps.
We've got an assault map
where you've got to take forces from your side and deliver them deep
into the enemy side. The further into the enemy location you go, the
more points you get for delivering them.
We've got an area control map where you are trying to lock down key
locations for your side. It's sort of a ticket runoff system where each
side has a score at the beginning and when one side is controlling more
of the locations than the other side, they're removing points from the
other team. So you're trying to get the other team down to zero for
control of the game.
Those are the two big ones that objective based, but really
PvP-focused. And then we're also working on bigger and more epic
fleet action sized maps for our launch. So what we get in at launch
isn't the end of PvP. It's sort of leading up to a bigger and more
grandiose map for the next patch.