Star Trek QnA with Lead Designer

1. Can you tell us who you are and your position on the development team?

I’m Glen Dahlgren, lead designer of Star Trek Online from Perpetual Entertainment. While I’m happy to discuss the design for our game, you have to remember that we’re still very early in the development process. What I’m describing are intentions, rather than realized features. Things can and likely will change.

2. With the Star Trek series being around so long we are aware there are a lot of “Trekkies”. How do you plan to attract non ‘Trekkies’ to play the game?

Star Trek Online’s reason to exist doesn’t just depend on its license. STO is based on a strong and compelling design that pushes the genre forward and addresses many of its outstanding problems. STO provides content for fans of multiplayer ‘both fast-action and strategic’as well as those players interested in role-playing and socializing. That said, the game also takes full advantage of the Star Trek property, which has MMOG written all over it. The convergence is an outstanding game, enjoyable by more than Trek fans, in a rich and well-loved universe.

3. The 24th century is the time period for the game. What part of the Star Trek timeline is this in terms of TV Episodes?

STO is set some time after the last movie (i.e. Nemesis). This gives us the freedom to create a new storyline and new tech, but still have the game occur in a time-frame familiar to fans. Also, since STO’s unparalleled license covers everything that Star Trek has put on screen, you can expect content from every era, including the original series.

4. You stated that ships will be moving environments. If you crew a ship will you be ‘stuck’ out in space for long periods or can you return home whenever you feel like it?

For much of the game, your home is your ship, although I doubt you’ll ever feel stuck. The starship is a big focus of this game. Star Trek has always been about living and exploring in a ship with a talented crew; this game captures that. We’re making lots of areas aboard the ship important, such as the Bridge, Quarters, Sick Bay, Recreation Area, Holodeck, Transporter Room, Engineering, and a lot more. Feel free to explore! ? You’ll also be leaving the ship quite a lot anyway, on away missions, on the holodeck, on shore leave, and potentially to contested battlegrounds.
What’s more, you’ll always be able to transfer to other ships, and eventually get assigned to homeworlds or starbases’ but the game is designed to invest players in their crews, so I doubt people will want to jump ship often.
The player’s progression really takes advantage of this ship-centric view. A character with command aspirations starts as a crewman on an NPC commanded vessel, graduates to temporary command assignments (where he can start recruiting his own bridge crew), then eventually obtains a permanent commission of his own ship. Of course, those who don’t want to focus on command can hone their skills in the various departments: engineering, flight control (conn), medical, science, and tactical/security.

5. Will you be able to ‘Transport’ say from one planet to another or will you have to wait and travel via a ship?

Most ‘planets’ are not built as persistent territory; they are presented as dynamic zone away missions. When you finish your mission, you transport back to your ship.

6. Can you explain more about combat in space? How will the crew affect the ships combat decisions? Will the players view change in battle?

Every role (science, tactical, flight controller, engineer, medic, and the ship’s captain) has vital interdependent tasks to perform during ship combat. While it’s possible to solo a ship combat experience (with the help of NPCs), only a talented, well-trained, and team-oriented crew can truly master the dynamic. Combined with the invasion elements of the ‘ship assault’ dynamic, this means that even ground combat specialists will have fun, and is the basis for the extended PvP design (to be introduced post-launch).

7. If a player is merely on a ship do they have to be involved in the battle or can they choose to trust the crew?

That depends. On the larger lower-level starships, much of the player-crew will be involved in the many activities provided by the ship (social content in the rec area’like movies and casual games’the holodeck, away missions, etc.) so not everyone has to be involved if the ship itself enters combat. The smaller player-commanded vessels will likely want all of their crew to engage, either participating on the bridge or defending and repairing the ship elsewhere.

8. Will NPC’s make decisions or will you have influence over them?

Both, especially depending on rank. NPC department chiefs assign missions, but NPC ‘red shirted’ security officers will listen to you on away missions, and potentially take orders.

9. The Star Trek universe sis HUGE! Will a player be able to warp to the farthest reaches of the galaxy or will you be releasing ‘areas’ as you progress through development? Will players be limited to a few planets at first?

STO is mission-driven, so players will go where they are needed. The storyline leads them to vital destinations, and opens up parts of the galaxy the Federation has yet to explore.

10. Are there Solo ships available for the players that tend to keep to themselves?

Solo content will be available for players of every level.

11. When going on ‘Away-missions’ do you have to be with fellow players, NPC’s or can you have a mixture of both?

Most away teams will consist of player characters, although important and difficult missions will mix in additional specialized NPCs as necessary.

12. Will you be including Epic, rare quests to the game? For example could I randomly be transported to the Liquid Universe or deep in Borg space through some kind of space anomaly?

Landmark missions and story arcs (strings of story-related missions) are both planned.

13. Will there be content for players who wish to explore as well as those that wish to fight?

Yes, although the story sets the stage for a rather turbulent time, and Starfleet will find its military quite necessary.

14. Will areas and influence be limited to race? For example could a Human live on the Klingon home world happily?

He could, but most players at that level will gravitate toward joining or finding a good starship crew.

15. Will players be able to climb to an Admiral in Starfleet, controlling the power they posses or will players be limited to the positions and influence they can obtain?

The most tenacious and dedicated players will, indeed, be able to become admirals and gain the appropriate powers (and responsibilities).

16. Will star ships be customizable or will there be a list to choose from?

Upgrading, modifying, refitting, and repairing starships are important parts of engineering. When a player finally obtains his first command, he’ll likely receive an old jalopy. Working with his crew to evolve one’s ship is another dimension to evolving one’s character.

17. Will players need a certain skill or level in order to use certain ships?

There are lots of skills necessary to operate starships’ the more skills your crew has learned, the more effective they’ll be in a fight.

18. Can players / guilds customize ships with markings, colors, etc?

Not sure yet.

19. Can players live on Space Stations and Star Ships as well as planets?


20. Will players be able to find more powerful, unusual weapons and rare items and artifacts?

Yes. Much of this type of equipment will come out of ongoing modification upgrades, or battlefield hybridization of alien and Federation technology.

21. The website at the moment is basically the FAQ and a message board. Is there work on an official site for the game or will you stick with the message boards for now?

We are working to put an official Star Trek Online website together, but we’ll likely wait to launch this site until we have more actual assets to share.

Share the Post:

Add address