Welcome to the latest installment of Ask Cryptic, where we put your questions to the devs. This edition is a general Q&A, so read on to see what's coming in Star Trek Online.
Q: Intrepidox: With the level cap increase, will there be a new tier of ships, and if so, will they make the current 5th tier ships obsolete?
A: We do not plan on adding an additional tier with the level cap increase that we are working on currently. That being said we definitely plan on adding in more ships in the 5th tier to offer some additional choices to players.
We have been kicking around ideas for what Tier 6 ships could be and how they would work in the STO universe already. Will they be retrofits of existing ships, “Super Defiants”? Will they need entire Fleets to pool their resources to create? We’ll continue to listen to the community’s feedback and decide as the time gets closer how exactly we will implement the next Tier of starships.
Q: Direphoenix: Are we going to see any adventures taking us beyond the Galactic Barrier or bringing some action from beyond it?
A: Season 2 takes you into another dimension, but the Barrier is not a factor. As we expand STO one of the questions we'll be looking at is what is the Galactic Barrier and what will you find beyond it.
Q: V-Mink: What other sorts of mini-games is Cryptic looking at? Stratagema, tri-d chess... dare I ask it, klin zha?
A: If the community wants it - we’ll keep adding minigames as time goes on. 3-D Chess is one that people keep bringing up – I think that there are tons of different ideas. We want to make sure that the minigames aren’t just social games that characters played within the shows, but that we end up taking some of the more “mundane” tasks in STO, scanning, searching, analyzing – and make them into active little pieces of gameplay as opposed to just hitting "F."
Q: V-Mink: What sorts of changes or improvements is Cryptic considering implementing to make Exploration missions more enticing? You did a good job with the Aid the Planet missions, are Explo missions going to be given some additional zing?
A: We’ve actually been building a Federation Diplomacy Corp feature that helps spice Star Cluster missions up quite a bit. Along with new mission types, Federation players can gain Diplomacy Experience while doing non-combat missions and work towards new titles and rewards based on their Diplomacy rank. They will also be able to request Star Cluster missions from a Diplomacy specific contact to get less combat oriented missions.
Q: Azurian: Are we going to see missions on Cannonical worlds like Vulcan and Andoria?
A: Yes! One of our goals for upcoming releases is to add more life to social areas like Vulcan, and that includes missions that you may find as you explore the galaxy. You'll see some of these in Season 2, and we'll be adding more soon!
Q: Grouchy.Otaku: Are we ever going to have BO 'Trait re-spec' for those of us who have missed any new BO Traits that are implemented?
We hope to get Trait Respecs in for player captains in a future update. Once we work that out, we can look into extending that option to Bridge Officers. At this point, it’s too early to say. Part of advantage of finding more Bridge Officers is that they have better traits. A common Bridge Officers may have traits like Basic Luck and Acute Senses, but a rare Bridge Officers might come with Superior Luck and Superior Acute Senses. So a Trait Respec for BOffs would be more tricky than one for players for players. (You should not be able to Respec out your Basic Luck for Superior Luck.)
Q: GotinDrachenhart: The new strobes are fantastic, the week before Cryptic broght them out I was telling a friend how I'd like to see them......ok so why is it only SOME ships that have them?
A: Besides just creating new ships we want to continue to make our existing ships look better as STO matures. The additions of strobes are an example of the dedication that our ship artists have to making the old ships look just as good as our newer ones.
This process however takes time, so rather than only releasing them once all of the ships have been updated we decided to get the updates to you guys as soon as we can and that’s why the strobes are only on some of the ships at the moment. You can expect to see them popping up on other ships as time goes on.
Q: Mistclaw96: are there going to be more missions involving Q?
A: Q is taking a break for Season 2, but I'm sure we'll see him again. You can't keep a devilishly handsome, omnipotent galactic entity down.
Q: Lorre_the_Loremaster: What happened to the idea of the "1st Officer" and if this does happen, how are they going to be unique compared to other BOs??
A: Assigning a First Officer is something that we still plan on letting players do. We are discussing exactly how they will come into play in the STO universe so I can’t give specifics at the moment but rest assured that we will definitely provide more details when we get closer to releasing the feature.
Q: Excalibur_Xbatou: As I recall there was a place in beta to were fleets would have been able to insert Fleet Logos , Anything like that coming into game play?
A: Absolutely. The Fleet Logo system was partially working during the Beta and we decided to hold off on that feature sets release until we could make it more robust. The entire Fleet Logos system is something that we have been working on recently and you should expect to see it hit Tribble soon.
Q: Jaesun: Will we ever see a Klingon ship for referral rewards?
A: I think that is a good possibility. Right now we are looking at bumping the level cap for the game, and that means trying to get new ships into the game for everyone. So those new ships will be getting first priority.
Q: Da_Moose: Any chance of making it possible to switch camera setups with a hot key? For example say Ctrl C for Chase & Ctrl F for Follow Target?
A: Try this:
It’s not perfect. If you go back and forth between "C" and "F" it’ll work like you ask – but if you hit "C" a couple times – you’ll end up cycling back to the camera mode you were on previously, rather than back to a default.
Q: Omegasyn6662000: Will we see more 'non-mission' based content? Things such as Games and other things to do in places like Risa, DS9, Captain's table, ect.
A: Absolutely. One of the things we have been focusing on—and will continue to focus on moving forward, assuming you all like what we’re doing—is filling out the great environments with more stuff to do. As just a few examples we’re adding more non-combat missions and plots in the social areas, games like Dabo, Trophies for your ship interior, the recent revamp of Memory Alpha and so on.
Q: Skyeraven: is there any plans to make crew interactions ? either starting relationship with crew members or completing special crew missions to give you crew members an extra special trait or powers.
A: We definitely want to add more personality to Bridge Officers. To be honest, at this point, most of these are only in the idea phase. Some options we have considered are personal logs, where you Bridge Officers would fill in on his own log based on things like what missions you took him on, or didn’t take him on, how often he would get knocked unconscious, how often he was trained or promoted, how often he was injured. Perhaps these experiences would affect the Bridge Officers and grant him new traits. Again, these are just early concepts at this point. In any event, we definitely will continue to add more depth to Bridge Officers so each will feel more unique and special.
Q: Jade Delphi: Will we see some sort of 'refit' or 'upgrade' feature that will allow us to continue to use the hulls/designs we like through upper tiers, instead of being forced up into the next tier of ship design to even be effective?
A: Something like that. We know this is a feature that has been often requested. We are working out the details now, and we may start with a few experiments at first and see how it goes.
Q: BlackLoki: Some may think it gets old, but would it be possible to have the traditional Borg "greeting" each time you engage them in a mission or DSE: "We are the Borg..." Not necessarily each combat encounter, but each initiation of a mission or DSE... the first exchange of gunfire.
A: It would be possible, but we tend to reserve audio clips like this for those special more cinematic moments in STO. That way when it clicks on you know something important is going on.
Q: Malagor: Will we see mission contents or story lines involving our bridge officers? I would like something to flesh out our BOs -- perhaps this can be on-going for an undissmissed BO; maybe even lead to a heroic end (ST2-or-Nemesis) or well deserved promotion to captain a ship that may assist you in a future scenerio (Sulu-UndiscoveredCountry) -- voice would be nice too?
A: This is a tough one. We’ve looked at doing this from a bunch of different angles and there’s just no getting around how complex something like this would be to cover all of the cases. The number of permutations involved with your Bridge Officers is pretty boggling. As a quick example just think about how differently we would need to write text for a typical Human, Vulcan, Klingon, Liberated Borg or that weird Bridge Officer you made with the flat head, scaled neck, and bulging eyes. On top of that a fair number of players (myself definitely included) wind up attributing personalities or stories to their Bridge Officers. That’s something we’re very conscious of and try not to infringe on. So now you have to worry about attitudes like Moody, Angry, Logical, Comical, etc. To add even more complexity it feels like compelling stories should involve their Careers as well. Important events for Science, Engineering and Tactical officers are usually pretty different.
That isn’t to say there aren’t ways to avoid those issues, but we feel instead of adding depth it would wind up so generic it would feel a little forced and hollow. It is something that is brought up often, we are constantly talking about ways to let people build up their Bridge Officers and get more involved with them. Some of the features we have on the plate for the future are specifically about trying to let players define and advance their Officers above and beyond Skills and Gear.
Q: chrystofer: Why are you offering welcome back promos, so early, do you think this makes Star Trek Online seem desperate?
A: No, we don’t think so. We’ve made tons of change and additions to the game since launch. All the STFs, Injury System, Difficulty Slider, Accolade system, tons more as well. These were all made based on feedback and requests from the community and players of the game. We don’t think that letting people know about the changes and trying to get those who might’ve left because we didn’t have a certain feature is desperate. Seem like good business sense. : )
Q: Nack: Will we see missions that involve functional shuttlecraft?
A: You bet! This was something we tried to get in for Season 1 but we had a few last minute tech issues and had to pull it back. We have since had those issues fixed and are starting to use it as one of the tools in our bag of tricks.
Q: Xaben – Are there any plans for any spacesuit-missions (running on your ship like ST8 or a mission on a demon-planet)?
A: The art and animation requirements for environmental suits are significant, and we have to use our resources wisely to get as much content out as possible. So environment suit missions are not planned at this time. If the demand for them is strong enough, we'll consider adding them to a future update.
Q: Magnuson: Are there plans and if so when can we expect to see random in game events? For example a random enemy faction incursion that requires a group to repel or random distress calls while traveling through sector space.
A: This is something we’ve always wanted to do but were never quite able to squeeze in. We don’t have anything like this on deck for Season 2, but we’re chomping at the bit to layer content like this on top of our existing world.