Going Klingon - A Star Trek Online Q&A with Zeke Sparkes
Questions by Benjamin J. de la
Durantaye, Executive Editor, Ten Ton Hammer
Answers by Zeke Sparkes , Star
Trek Online (Cryptic Studios)
Klingons have been the hot topic of Star Trek Online for the past couple of weeks and it has sparked a lot of discussion. The recent announcement that Klingons will be PvP
centric has the community posting furiously. Some love the idea, some
hate it. Ten Ton Hammer wanted to get to the grit of the topic, so we
spoke with Zeke Sparkes of Cryptic Studios. If there's one man that
knows about Klingons in the game, it's Zeke.
style="width: 296px; height: 640px;" alt=""
align="right">Ten Ton Hammer: In regards to Klingon versus Klingon
will players be able to vie for power in the empire with this type of
Zeke Sparks: The fiction
behind the combat is that there is always inter-house rivalry
going on within the Klingon empire. The player created houses
function like fleets do for the Federation. All of the rising to
power, titles, and responsibilities are determined by the players.
There are two major reasons (two houses) for the Klingon versus
Klingon PvP, namely House Martok and House Duras due to the current
High Chancellor Gempock being backed by house Duras.
When a player jumps into PvP there will be two sides and those sides
will be in support of one of the two major houses. There are no
long-term ramifications for the sides and the effects on the players
but provide the reason for the two sides during this time of war.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will players be able
to do content for both of the houses or
will they need to pick a side?
Zeke: There is really no mechanic for picking a side; their
position will be more influenced by which side of the PvP conflict is
in need of players.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there any sort of
faction rewards for that kind of action?
Zeke: There is a set of PvP rewards but there are no specific
rewards for either of the two houses, you won't be completing quests
for House Duras or Martok. Players get ranks and medals for their
efforts which are used for rewards.
Ten Ton Hammer: So what would happen
to a Klingon if they could get into Federation territory, or can they
even get there?
Zeke: At launch the only place they can co mingle is the Warzone
near Eridani Sector Block and that is in Deep Space K7 by Sherman's
Planet and where the Klingon's outpost is located. That is where the
is the heaviest. And while there can be both Klingon and Federation
ships, no combat happens in sector space, so challenges would have to
be issued or go to the PvP maps for that area to engage each other.
Ten Ton Hammer: Klingons will still
have to accept challenges then; they won't be open game?
Zeke: Yes, in sector space the combatants will have to
issue and accept challenges. There are open world PvP maps where there
are fleet actions and it is open PvP.
combat - Klingon style
Ten Ton Hammer: Martial combat is a
large part of Klingon tradition. Will we see more melee weapons for
Klingons than on the Federation side?
Zeke: You can bet on seeing Bat'leth at launch and we have
weapons in the game and we're working on players being able to use
them. There is a big difference between just putting weapons in the
game and incorporating more mechanics. We tend to add more attacks
along with weapons which creates something of a combo system. Depending
on what order you execute your attacks will determine what powers
become available and you'll unlock more moves. The Bat'leth has an
series of moves, not just the weapon. This is just one example of how
it's more complicated than just adding weapons. We want to make sure
it's cool and exciting and not just another weapon in your hand.
Ten Ton Hammer: How does a new Klingon
start? There has been discussion of no tutorial. Where do they go to
begin and what's available to them to start progressing?
Zeke: There is no tutorial for how the ships fly or the ground
combat works, but there is a tutorial of the Klingon gameplay and you
get introduced to the backstory and different functional areas of
Qo'nos great hall. It's a beautiful and immense hall, and the
artist has done a great job with it. Your first mission will require
to prove yourself prior to the people of the hall even speaking with
you. Then the people will walk you through the areas and introduce you
to the different styles of missions that are available. Some will be
deep space incursions for example and then you'll also be introduced
into the warzone that we discussed last week.The goal is show you all
of the various options.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are there other
differences from the Federation side, that are more Klingon, like honor
Zeke: You definitely gain honor to earn favor and loot which is
different from the Federation side.
Ten Ton Hammer: And this honor will be
gained by PvP kills, and completing missions?
Ten Ton Hammer: Do Klingons have a
separate list of accolades (achievements)?
Zeke: Yes, we have a different
set for them. A lot of them are similar but others are completely
different because they don't make sense for non-Federation players.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there any shared
content between the Federation and the Klingons?
Zeke: That is a bit of a tricky question because our primary
focus is to make sure the Klingon PvP kicks butt, however we are also
looking at getting the high end content to work with the Klingons. The
opportunity is there, the story makes sense, and we certainly want to
make that content available for them both. The desire is there, time is
the only question for us right now. Whether that is available at launch
or comes in later is still to be determined.
Ten Ton Hammer: So, the question on
everyone's mind: Is there a way to
progress a Klingon without ever doing and PvP?
Zeke: Yes, you can. PvP is certainly the focus of the content
but if you want to just do the PvE, that is certainly possible.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there a sufficient
amount of PvE content to spread through all of the level ranges?
Zeke: Yes, you wind up facing bigger and badder forces
depending on what rank you are so you'll be fighting Federation forces
and then Romulan forces and winding up with Borg forces. Again though,
the focus really is on the PvP play for the Klingons.
Ten Ton Hammer: Initially Klingons
were not going to be a playable race, at what point did you bring
Klingons in as an option and decide that they did need to be available
Zeke: The choice to include them as a playable race and the
choice to include them at launch are two different things because we've
been working on them since they are such a large part of the IP. We've
always been working on them, and how they would be different from the
Federation. The question really was whether or not we could make it fun
and get it all done prior to launch. It makes sense for players to be
able to be the super awesome Klingon Warrior. I'm sure the team working
on it knew they would be ready for launch, but for me it was the
ability to play a PvP match and de-cloaking right behind a Federation
ship that had no idea I was there. From there I knew we had to get this
into the game, it was a matter of working with the team project
management and getting it in.
Bird of Prey in the Qo'nos System
Ten Ton Hammer: Speaking of the ships,
can you tell us about the Klingon Carrier?
Zeke: Sure, the carrier is the largest ship in the
Klingon progression, the thing is huge. It is an internal design, and
we wanted to make sure the Klingons had something completely different
from the Federation. The Klingon ships are all forward facing, fast
attack, so we used that to make them feel different from the
The general idea is that while it is big and tough, its main role is
to launch smaller ships that are more strategic. You will get
configurable bays for different kinds of ships you can launch.It flies
completely different than any other ship, it is so massive that you
have to be very conservative when you fly it. You have to think much
further ahead because when you cut your engines to stop, it does not
stop right away, it takes a while.
Ton Hammer: What are some of the
other perks for playing a Klingon that you won't get as a Federation
Zeke: Speaking of ships, one of the best perks is the ships
you'll be able to fly. They are awesome. All of the Klingon ships have
cloaks, however, not all have the ability to cloak while in combat
(except for the Bird of Prey that can re-cloak during combat). Cloaking
is a dangerous affair though, as your shields will be down so if you
get caught it can hurt a lot very fast.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there a way for
enemies to detect cloaked ships?
Zeke: Yes there is, but there a careful balance. If we give
every ship the ability to be cloaked but every enemy the ability to see
through cloaking then it doesn't work. The Federation ships have
different ways to try to detect cloak so Klingon players will have to
learn how to stay away from those detections. It brings up a cool cat
and mouse game prior to the combat starting. Cloaking gets more
interesting after the early levels when we're less nice and start
coordinating cloaking traps and things like that..
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything else
you'd like to tell us about the Klingons today?
Zeke: The Klingons are ridiculously fun to play. In
addition to making your own custom race, you also have access to two
more races when you join the Klingon Empire. The history that Christine
Thompson has written highlights the very involved storyline as to why
the different races are allied with the Klingons. Some of them are more
strong-armed into working with the Klingons and others are more like
allies, regardless they are all definitely working together.
Ten Ton Hammer: Great, thank you very
much for your time.
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