Admirals Only - An STO Endgame Q&A with Zeke Sparkes

Updated Mon, Jan 18, 2010 by B. de la Durantaye

Questions by Benjamin J. de la Durantaye, Executive Editor, Ten Ton Hammer
Answers by
Zeke Sparkes, Star Trek Online (Cryptic Studios)

The launch of Star Trek Online is approaching quickly and one question on everyone's mind is "what about the endgame?" Cryptic hasn't spoken much about what awaits players at maximum level, and what carrots are going to be dangling to keep players interested pas the level cap. This week we spoke to Zeke Sparkes of Cryptic Studios who was glad to tell all about STO endgame.

Ten Ton Hammer: What is the level cap in Star Trek Online?

Zeke Sparkes: The level cap is Admiral Grade 5. Through normal progression you’ll be able to get into Admiral and a little into the Admiral rank so that you get to play with some of the cool big ships and big abilities.

Each rank has ten grades for a total of 45 grades in the game.

Ten Ton Hammer: After players reach Admiral 5 can they still earn skill and officer points that they can distribute?

Zeke:  They can still earn bridge officer points. Once they hit that cap they won’t be able to earn any more skill points for themselves. So what they’ll be focusing on is getting new bridge officers, building those bridge officers up, getting new equipment, getting new ships, that kind of thing.

Ten Ton Hammer: What is waiting for players at the end game?

Zeke:  We’re actually doing a rolling release for the endgame stuff. First, you’ll go through the regular content. Shortly after launch we’re going to unlock the Borg hub, which is where the end game is focused.

When we do that first unlock there will be a new exploration star cluster that you’ll be able to do dailies in. There will be a bunch of Borg deep-space encounters in that new sector. Since it’s a new presence for the Federation there is a whole lot of new enemies there. Then there are several episodes that lead into the real Borg storyline. We touch on the Borg periodically as you go through the game and then it sort of starts culminating here at the end.

Then we’ll be releasing really, really tough episodes that are locked in to be five-man team specific content. So if you do the ground missions, for instance, you won’t have your away team make up the rest of the team; you’ll have to have a total of five players to get in there and really do it. And they’re just kind of ‘cranked to 11.’ These are the really tough ones.

We’ll be unlocking three of those and then the end show piece is an even bigger, even tougher episode where you wind up going against the Borg Queen.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are these episodes all repeatable?

Zeke:  Absolutely. Depending on how far into the progression they are and how difficult they are, they have different lockout times for them. You won’t be able to do the Borg Queen daily, but most of the others you will.

We also have daily missions for the Star Clusters and PvP for endgame. All of those will give you access to endgame rewards.

Whether you want to do the really heavy instance-focused content, the PvP content or the exploration content, you’ll be able to advance and get the endgame rewards through that.

Ten Ton Hammer: These episodes include ground and space combat?

Zeke:  Absolutely. Like I said too, they are locked in as five-man. You could try it with less, but you’re going to have a hard time.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there a level requirement for them? Do you have to be Admiral 5 to access them?

Zeke:  You can try them earlier, but they are geared towards being Admiral 5 and many of them are actually leveled higher than that. So you really will need to have gotten some of the endgame progression under your belt before you can handle the tougher ones.

But, we’re really keen on letting you play with your friends no matter what the circumstances are. So you will be able to get into them earlier; it’s just going to be really hard.


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