Ask Cryptic returns with answers on story, space, psionics, society, ships and logs. Thanks very much to our development team for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer these!
Given that the story and character of Star Trek are almost iconic, how will the story element be delivered? Will there be voiceovers or cut scenes?
Star Trek Online takes place about 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek: Voyager, in the year 2409. Many of the characters have retired, passed on or otherwise evolved. Certainly, some characters have very long lifespans, and many will have had children. Expect to see the descendants of some of your favorite characters, old enemies return and friends evolve. And definitely expect to visit familiar locations like Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, Deep Space 9, Qo'noS, Vulcan and many others, as well as strange and entirely new worlds.
How will psi-capable characters be handled (Vulcans, Betazoids, etc.)?
Expect to see some of these abilities represented in Star Trek Online. Some psi abilities are easier to represent than others. For instance, Ocampan or other telekinetic species present obvious gameplay elements. Others are much more challenging and are often simply used as plot devices on the series. It's not unreasonable to expect a Vulcan to be more resistant to psi attacks and control, or a Betazoid to have a bonus with NPC interaction.
Space is vast. Will it feel vast in STO?
Very vast! As we are constructing Star Trek Online, it is sometimes amazing to experience just how vast space is. We are paying close attention to the fine balance between delivering the true experience of vast space and keeping gameplay fun and engaging.
One inherited flaw that I have found in current Star Trek games is that the ships are not in scale with one another. For example, in Bridge Commander, the Defiant was as large as a Galaxy class saucer section, which is not canon. What will Cryptic's plans be with scaling of the ships?
We have been working on that recently, and we are in the process of defining ship scale and size ratios. Most of the time it is not a problem. But there are a few exceptionally small ships, such as shuttlecrafts, that become problematic. At true scale, they become nearly unperceivable when you are flying a ship the size of a Galaxy class, and that's simply not fun.
We want to deliver a canonical Star Trek experience, but we also want to deliver a fun game, so we have to find a balance. Expect larger starships, from escorts to battle cruisers and Borg cubes, to have their scale represented fairly accurately. There will also be some small ships in STO – take a close look at the trailer and you may see some.
Could we possibly expect to make our own "log" entries? Star Trek just isn't Star Trek without log entries.
Yes – log entries are an awesome idea with many cool applications. We've got a lot of ideas on how we can do this and to what extent you'll be able to view the logs on and offline – but the details are still to be determined. Make sure you tell us what you're interested in seeing out of this feature on the forums!
The Star Trek universe is based fundamentally on "we are better people in the future and work toward peace." Nearly all (successful) MMOs currently have conflict at the heart of the game. How will you balance the (very high) ideals of Star Trek with most people's need to "pew pew" the first person they see?
As we looked closely at the IP and built our story, we realized there were certain truisms we needed to honor. The Federation is an idealistic society that seeks to better themselves and others. It is a fundamental part of Gene Roddenberry's vision – the future will be brighter. Other societies like the Klingon Empire or the Romulans are not evil, but they are different. They are motivated by different values and handle situations very differently than the Federation.
But even in an idealistic society, there will always be conflicts and there will be those who seek to undermine those ideals. Conflict is a vital part of any drama, whether it is television, film or a game. Some of our favorite moments in Star Trek were in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the Dominion War and we want to capture the drama of that type of conflict. But wherever possible, we will offer alternative ways for players to solve conflict – as long as it's fun.