Star Trek Online: Interview with executive producer Craig Zinkievich (November 2009) [english original]
We had the opportunity to talk with Craig Zinkievich -- executive producer of Star Trek Online at Cryptic Studios -- about the upcoming space-mmo.
Craig Zinkievich: Yes we just started the closed beta for Star Trek Online and are currently expanding this by inviting new players into experience the game. We hope to go into open beta early next year and then we will go where no game has boldly gone before when we launch in Europe of February 5th.
buffed: To what extent did the recent launch of Cryptic’s Champions Online (and the lessons learned from this) change the road to launch Star Trek: Online?
Craig Zinkievich: With Star Trek Online we are really lucky that we have recently launched Champions Online. The core technologies that STO is built upon – things like the database, mapservers, CS tools, back end systems – are the same ones that Champions uses. Every performance or stability improvement that was made because of Champs’ launch has benefited STO. At Cryptic we also feel very strongly about listening to our community, so the feedback that we have had from players who play Champions Online have also been considered for Star Trek Online.
Craig Zinkievich: Right now we’re polishing everything up gathering feedback both internally and externally. As we get more feedback from the beta we’ll tweak a few things here and there so that we can deliver an awesome game play experience.
buffed: We’ve seen and read a lot about federation gameplay – what’s different for the Klingon side?
Craig Zinkievich: Klingon Gameplay revolves more around PvP – both within themselves, but primarily with Starfleet along the Neutral Zone. There are planets and point of interest to encounter, raids, and some special missions, but for launch, Klingon play is more about social gameplay than story driven content.
Raumkampf: Wichtiges Spiel-Element in STO [Quelle: Siehe Bildergalerie] buffed: Will there be one server for all players worldwide or multiple realms for each region? If the latter, what are your plans for a chat-system (especially in terms of “looking for group”-like channels) that accommodates multiple nationalities?
Craig Zinkievich: Star Trek Online will be in one big universe where everyone is on the same shard. We’ll have limits to how many players can be at the same location before it instances off into a copy, but you’ll be able to quickly find your friends no matter where they are.
buffed: Are you using a system for death penalties if a player dies during a ground mission or if his ship is destroyed?
Craig Zinkievich: Player death in video games has never really been realistic since the days of the coin-op arcade when a single coin granted you 3 lives. MMOs are no different in that we want you to feel challenged when playing the game, but we don’t want your characters to permanently “die” and put a giant “Game Over” on the screen.
An example of how we handle death is that when your character sustains enough damage, they fall to the ground unconscious in the hope that an away team member will resuscitate you. If they do, then you are back up and in the thick of it. If they don’t, then you’ll be sent back to the last checkpoint on the map along with your NPC away team.
Das Außenteam: Am Boden seit ihr in STO immer in einer Gruppe unterwegs. [Quelle: Siehe Bildergalerie]
buffed: Roughly how many of these great episodes (missions) can we expect in the final game?
Craig Zinkievich: One of the features that really sets Star Trek Online apart is its Episodic Content. Our Episodic Content is designed to take you to a number of widely differing environments during a single game play session. An example of how the mission structure works, would be to begin with an attack on your starship in space – beam down to the planet to rescue some civilian caught in the crossfire. Beam back to a space station to recover stolen intelligence and end it with a climatic space battle for your escape.