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Star Trek Online

Ask Cryptic: Player Progression 2 (Oct. 19)

By admin | Mon 19 Oct 2009 06:12:23 PM PDT

ramjam380:Following the previous discussions, there were concerns that large ship numbers of higher level players would end up cruising around in the big top-tier ships, especially since they are given automatically upon obtaining a certain rank. Will there be enough advantages particular to the lower-tier ships to make them worth using even if a player can access higher tiers?

There are five tiers of ships. At tier 5, there are two ships per category, so there are two top-end Escorts, two top-end Science Vessels and two top-end Cruisers. One is a ship from the existing intellectual property and one is created by Cryptic. We did this so there would be more variety at higher ranks. But the difference between a tier 4 and a tier 5 – the difference between a Defiant and Prometheus, for example – is more about differentiation than raw power.

It’s not a linear progression; it’s a difference of around 5 percent in terms of overall ship performance between tier 4 and 5. So the disparity between the two is very small. Effectively, a tier 5 ship is twice as good as a starting ship, and a tier 4 ship is 80 percent better than a starting ship. And that’s just the ship. Once you factor in your skills, your Bridge Officers and your items, the performance difference between the ships is very small, which means you can choose which ships you want to fly and when, rather than being forced into one ship just because it’s better than the others. It’s about letting players find the ships that accentuate their play style, rather than forcing people into one specific template.

But the bottom line is tier 5 ships are better than tier 4 ships. It’s a game of progression. You may like your flaming sword, but the level 50 sword is better than the level 40 sword. But if you do want to stay in a lower-tier ship, you won’t feel as underpowered as you normally would in other MMOs.

Veglargh: When you get a new BO at what experience will he/she be? Lets say I am an admiral, will that BO be fully experience for me or do I have to “level” him up from the bottom?

As an Admiral you’ll get Bridge Officers of all ranks. You’ll find fully decked-out Commander Bridge Officers, and you’ll find fresh Ensign Bridge Officers, and the opposite. You may find a “common” Bridge Officer that’s a Commander and has all his skills maxed, but his skills and traits are average. But you may find an Ensign who has no skill points invested, but offers rare traits and skills to your crew. So you can find an Ensign with high potential or a Commander who’s advanced through his career but isn’t anything special. Or you may get lucky and find a Commander who’s really awesome and all decked out. You run the whole range at any given time in your career.

Borek: In the Ask Cryptic, it was implied that, in space, the game will not be traditionally class-based, as opposed to ground. Still in space, will it be possible to only spend points in a given profession, say, Science? If so, will you still be able to solo and be effective while grouped (in space)? On another words, will you be expected or forced to mix up your skills while in space?

Absolutely not. You will not be in any way expected to mix up your space skills. We expect some people to specialize in one career, and we expect some people to mix it up a little.

If you are in a Science Vessel and you put all your skills into Science, you’re probably going to be really, really good at things like sensors, tractor beams, deflector dish beams, tachyon beams, gravitron beams, opening up subspace anomalies, transferring shield powers and all kinds of crazy, whacky, Science stuff like that. But your DPS won’t be as high, and you won’t get as much power out of your warp core, because that’s an Engineering thing. You’ll just be a really highly polarized buffer/debuffer/Science captain. It’s a completely valid choice.

We expect most people will spread their skills out into a little bit of everything, but really put a bunch of points into what they like. So if you’re a Science officer, you’re probably putting a lot of points into Science skills, but you’ll probably take some Tactical skills, because it’s a good idea to have a little bit of variety.

dudewhat: Once you have maxed out your character completely how will progression work? Is there a endgame for Star Trek Online? If so how will progression work once you have reached the endgame?

There is an endgame for Star Trek Online, and there are multiple options as far as content is concerned. But let us be clear when we say there’s an endgame: Everything we mention is available throughout the game, as well as the endgame. So, for instance, PvP is an endgame activity, but you can PvP throughout the whole game. It’s not like there’s only PvP at the end.

There’s solo and team PvE content available at the endgame if you want to just explore the universe. There are raids throughout the entire game, as well as fleet actions. Raids are instantiated episodes we’re internally calling “raidisodes,” whereas fleet actions are persistent zones that work like massive open missions, which anyone can join.

In terms of how progression works, once you reach Admiral in Star Trek Online, we don’t expect you to have more than half of your skills maxed. You’ll continue to add to your skills. The additional skills don’t necessarily make you more powerful on a linear scale; it’s more about increasing your options and flexibility within the game. Maybe you’ve filled out all your Science skills; now, perhaps you want to explore some Tactical skills, similar to what we mentioned in the previous question.

As you’re playing the endgame content – the PvP, the raids, the fleet actions, the exploration – all of those grant you access to new types of items that can only be found in those types of content. They’re special endgame rewards that differ depending on what you’re doing. So there’s lots of different content to explore while you’re continuing to skill up. Inevitably, yes, it will be possible for someone to max out a character, but by then we’ll likely have added more skills.

Of course, you can always say, “I’ve been flying Science Vessels all my career, maybe I’ll try flying Escorts now,” and spend points in your Escort skills to experience that part of the game.

Yesterdays_Enterprise: Can someone who has already completed a mission still join someone else who undertaking that mission? If they can will they still gain experience?

If you’ve completed a mission, you can join someone else who’s undertaking that mission and play through it again. You will not receive the mission rewards – say, a Bridge Officer or Sword of Kahless – again. You’ll receive skill points and experience, but at a reduced rate.

Because there is a risk from a design standpoint of people finding missions to repeat to powerlevel their characters, after you’ve replayed a mission, you can’t replay it again for a short period of time. This means you’ll be able to complete a mission and then help a friend through it, but will have to wait a bit until you can help another friend. You just can’t play through one mission over and over and over.


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