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Star Trek Online

Ask Cryptic: Combat Roundup (Sept. 2)

By admin | Thu 03 Sep 2009 07:14:33 PM PDT

Captainfrotch: How will the cover mechanics work, will we just run behind a rock and peek around the corner and shoot, or will it have any aspects of a shooter, where you can fire while in cover?

First, you need line of sight to shoot a target, so you can run for cover behind a rock or something and not be shot. But more specifically, your personal shields on the ground regenerate quickly if you haven’t been shot – we call it a shield pop. So if you start getting in trouble, you want to run behind a corner really quickly, and your shields regenerate so you can rejoin the battle. We actually have a number of force field devices you can drop in the ground, which will provide cover for you to dodge behind.

It’s not a context-sensitive mechanic, where you push a button and go into a special cover mode with a defense buff or anything. The system is designed to keep you moving, not hiding behind things and watching your Bridge Officers fight.

Dominick-Kane: Phasors, Pulse Phasor Cannons, Disruptor beams, disruptor Cannons. - What can we see in terms of it's cooldowns. Can we fire the Cannon style weapons as single pulses (on low or NO cooldown) as well as volleys (with cooldowns?).

There’s effectively no cooldowns on phaser beams or cannons. Torpedoes have cooldown times. But the way it really works is with power levels. You start off with 100 units of power, which you can transfer between four different systems: Weapons, Shields, Engines and Auxiliary. Let’s say you put all your power into Weapons, so your energy weapons will do a lot of damage. You can fire two energy weapons at a time without losing some power on each phaser array, which lowers each individual phaser’s damage. So you can broadside an enemy with your fore and aft phasers and do a lot of damage. But a bigger ship, a Sovereign, for instance, can have up to eight weapons. Let’s just say you were nuts and put eight phaser arrays on the Sovereign. You can technically bring eight phaser beams to bear on a target if you broadside it, but as soon as you fire over two, it starts draining your weapon power. So you can get one big alpha strike, but it’ll drain all the power out of your energy weapons.

WarpVis: Will Attack Patterns/Defensive Maneuvers such as Picard Maneuver be available?

We do have attack patterns. Right now, we have attack patterns Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omega. They each have varying different effects. You execute them and you gain speed and maneuverability bonuses, and they also have special bonuses themselves. For instance, Attack Pattern Omega allows you to work free of tractor beams and other effects like that. They all give you a damage bonus, but in different ways. Attack Pattern Beta, for example, grants a damage bonus to one specific target, while Attack Pattern Delta is a protective pattern, so you do extra damage to anyone attacking a particular ally.

The Picard Maneuver, specifically, is crazy. It’s on the list as something we want to do, but we don’t know quite how to pull it off technologically. It’s going to require some special tech; hopefully we’ll see it in the game someday.

Cloaked_Warbird: Will there be a redudancy limit for the number on BOs? What I mean is would there be any point having 5 tactical officers over having just the one tacical officer? Do officers of the same type 'stack' and if so is there a limit to how many the player can 'stack'?

Each ship has a seating chart. The type of ship you’re using determines how many Bridge Officers of a certain type you can sit. Escorts have more tactical seats, Science ships have more science seats and Cruisers have more engineering seats.

As a working example, let’s take the Prometheus class Escort, you have Commander tactical station, one Lieutenant Commander tactical station and one Ensign tactical station. You also have one Lieutenant engineering station and one Lieutenant science station. What each ranked station means is Bridge Officers will only be able to access abilities from each rank’s ability group. (So if you put a Lieutenant Commander Science Bridge Officer in the available Lieutenant science station, he’ll only be able to execute abilities as though he were a Lieutenant. This is there to reflect a specific ship’s design and capabilities. The Prometheus is designed with firepower in mind, not scientific discovery.)

But really what the question is each Bridge Officer has his own abilities. Is there any advantage to having each one of those three tactical officers using a Photon Torpedo Spread? There is, but there’s a diminishing return on it.

Bridge Officer Torpedo skills have long cooldowns, but shorter global cooldowns. So if you had one Tactical Bridge Officer with Photon Torpedo Spread, you may have to wait a minute to fire the Spread again (you can keep firing regular torpedoes quite often). If you have a second a Tactical Bridge Officer with Photon Torpedo Spread, when the first one activates his skill, the second Tactical Bridge Officer’s Photon Torpedo Spread skill will go into a 20 second global cooldown. So your second officer’s Photon Torpedo skill will be ready before the first Tactical Bridge Officer’s Photon Torpedo Spread skill. So with two Bridge Officers with the same skill you can activate them twice as often – three times as often if you add a third Bridge Officer with the same skill. It may or may not be the most efficient use of your Bridge Officers, but that’s up to you.

Alien_de_jour: How reactive are the AI in ground combat? i.e. will they change their location, seek cover, or use defensive maneuvers / positions if they begin to draw a lot of fire? or will we need to manage their responses manually?

AIs have preferred ranges, so melee guys will try to close in and ranged guys will try to keep their distance – if you get close, they’ll back up and try to keep range. Different AIs have different scripting as well, so they’ll “prefer” to use different abilities over others. Some are healers, some call in support and so on.


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