Welcome to the 9th volume of Star Trek Online's Ask Cryptic! In this volume, we talk about Character Customization. Will there be unique races? Will there be limitations? You're going to have to read more to find out.
Are there any unique races that members of the development team have come up with, just in the course of noodling around with the character creator, that might show some of the diversity and flexibility of the Character Creator? What's the most outlandish Awen-original species to date?
Currently we’re focusing on the IP races. There are so many of them in the Universe and we think fans really want to see that. We’re creating as many of those as possible. We’re also creating a handful of races that have been mentioned in the IP but have never appeared on screen before. CBS has been great and allowed us to define what these races look like, so those will be in the game. As we create all those costume bits – facial bits, body bits – we put them into our character creator so we can repurpose them for a new race, or users can repurpose them for a new race. We’ve also created some new custom pieces to throw into the character creator, so players can create completely new races as well.
To date, we’ve mostly made lots of crazy alien mixes for fun. Although it’s most important for us to focus on getting the key Universe races into the game, expect to see all sort of unique and strange new alien races in our exploration content.
Will there be limitations to which faction a player can associate a race with? For example, even though the Orions are nominally associated with the Klingon Empire in-game, might I be able to associate my Orion character with the Federation?
Officially no, unofficially yes. As we’re making all those races, al the pieces are going into the character creator. When you create a new character you’re going to be able to pick from a number of predefined races for that faction. However, you can also create your own. So there will be pieces in there from Klingons, Jem’Hadar, and many more. You can mix and match however you want. You can make a green woman and call yourself an Orion and serve on a Federation ship. The back end of the data won’t show you as an Orion, but you can call yourself an Orion. For all intents and purposes, you’re an Orion. For that matter, you may see pieces in the creator that you could use to recreate a race we don’t even have in the game. Say, a race you saw on Voyager. If you want to, you can create a back story for yourself, saying you’re from that race, from the Delta Quadrant, and you escaped a Borg ship, which is how you ended up in Federation space.
If we create a customized race from scratch, will we be able to add any traits or abilities to that race? Possibly through the use of a skill points system or something? Or if we don't want an ability like empathy or increased strength (such as with Humans) will there be an option for increasing certain other abilities like diplomacy or tactics for example, to compensate for this?
Yes. All the races will have racial attributes and characteristics. When you create your own race, you’ll be starting from scratch. You can make them look like whatever you want and, at some point in character creation, you’ll be able to choose their attributes. Players will have several racial skills or abilities to choose from. You’ll be able to define that race. You can mimic different races out there or create something completely new and unique.
Will there be options for non-organic life? For example, androids or rock people? Can these have game play effects, for instance androids don't get sick but they might suffer the effects of energy dampening like with the planet Sisko and O'Brien were trapped on (DS9, Paradise)?
Definitely in the game there will be non-organic life-forms; androids, rock people, Tholians, and so on. In character creation that goes right back to the previous question. You can create a character who looks like an android, or call yourself a hologram, and give that character abilities and traits in keeping with that choice. For example, if you’re an android, you may be able to choose radiation resistance as a characteristic. Additionally, you’ll be able to add bridge officers to your staff who may be androids or holograms, or something new, and they would have special abilities appropriate for them.However, you won’t be able to look like a Tholian; you’ll have to choose a bipedal humanoid.
If I make a custom race, does it have to be named, and if it is named, does it get entered into the database making it easier for others to actually play as that race?
When you make a custom race, it doesn’t necessarily go into the database, but you will be able to share that information with other players if you want to. If you have a friend who comes in, you can share that race with them. Then the two of you could say, “Hey, we’re this new race, the Cryptonians (with a C!). And we all look like this and we all have these abilities to make awesome games!” And you can share that with all your friends, and they’ll be able to load that as the basis for their character. They can change details – hair, or facial features, or costume – and create another character of that same race.