This Ask Cryptic answers a variety of questions from our avid Star Trek Online fans. Will there be joystick control? Will there be non bi-pedal races? You're going to have to read more to find out! And as always, thank you to our development team for taking the time to answer these questions.
Will there be a galaxy wide map which is directly linked to the territories? e.g- If a federation fleet takes over a few star systems, will it show up on the map so everyone is constantly updated with their fleet's boundaries etc?
Yes and no. The star systems that are going to be changing hands are in the Klingon / Federation neutral zone where PvP and indirect PvP will be taking place. The systems within the Neutral Zone will change loyalty between the two factions, and their status will show up on the sector level map. The actual high level map itself is not going to change territory lines.
Would you be able to use the joystick to control your characters and starship?
You should be able to do that. All of the commands may not map, depending on what sort of joystick you have but, since the game is being built for the PC as well as the console, you should be able to hook up a joystick to your PC and play that way.
Since the Federation has evolved beyond money and the need for it, how will the galactic economy work and flow for the Federation and indeed the Klingons? Will there also be opportunities for cross-faction trading?
The Federation may have grown beyond the need for money within itself, but the rest of the galaxy hasn’t. Even within the Federation there is a sense of credits: transporter credits and replicator credits. You can’t simply decide one day that you want a starship and then get one, you have to have enough credits for that. Outside of the Federation, there’s a thriving galactic economy that uses gold pressed latinum. You, as a Starfleet officer, will participate in that economy on behalf of the Federation. As for cross faction trading – we’re looking into how black markets might fit into the game.
Are playable races all going to be bi-pedal humanoid types? Or are we going to have a wide variety of sentients ala USS Titan?
At launch, yes. Most player characters are going to be bipedal, although there will be additional body and costume options (like tails and maybe different leg options) that allow you to push the boundaries of that. Hopefully we can add things in later because we know everybody wants to play the Horta.
What steps is your development team taking to learn real astrophysics? I'm curious to know how much I will learn when exploring, for example when I enter a unknown solar system, and I find that the star is a red star that does not burn as hot as (earth's yellow star) the sun - will the planet that orbets the star (if it containes life) be the correct distance from it to be in that window where life can exist? Or will it be random and not really true all the time? (fantastical like)
There are members of the team with strong backgrounds in science, astronomy and even astrophysics. This knowledge certainly informs the design of the game. That said, our focus is to make sure the game is fun and playable – not to create a simulator. The problem with just modeling real space is that it’s boring: there’s an awful lot of space in space. It’s like watching a movie in which someone packs a suitcase to go somewhere.
We all know that packing a suitcase usually takes longer than five minutes, but a good director is not going to make us sit there watching a character just pack a suitcase for an hour. Likewise, we’re not going to make you go through empty and uninteresting space. Where we can, we’ll make the game match up with real space. For us, though, it’s far more important that the game looks cool and plays cool.
We want you guys to be blown away by the settings and environments; we want the game to make a larger than life impression on you. That’s a much higher priority for us than whether or not the planet has a proper orbit or every space station is perfectly placed in a good Lagrangian point.
Is it possible to purchase, capture, or steal ships of the opposite faction? For example, can a Federation officer acquire a Klingon Bird of Prey, or maybe even a Romulan Warbird or must you be a member of those factions to access those ships?
There will probably be episodes where you get to commandeer starships from other factions. But you don’t get to keep them. You can’t, as a Starfleet officer, get a Klingon Warbird and pimp it and then go jaunting around the galaxy doing your Federation work. You have to use the ships that belong to your faction.