CZ: Star Trek is not just about the captain and ship--it's about the crew too. One of the elements I'm really excited about is your "bridge crew." Throughout your career, you'll gain access to a number of player-controlled-but-AI-driven characters to name, outfit, customize, and level up. Your bridge crew helps drive the storylines you're on, gives your ship extra capabilities, and goes on away-missions with you.
When you're teamed up with other players, you'll definitely be going down to the surface along with them.
Craig : There will be several different tricorders, and various classes will use them in different ways. A medical officer will be able to do things with a tricorder that an engineer can’t, and vice versa. Your skills, and those of your Bridge Crew, will determine what you can do with a tricorder.
CZ: I think they are more in the capacity of pets where you will tell them what to do and command them, but one of the cool things that we are trying to do is to integrate them into the story so that allot of the alerts and events that happen within the game don’t get communicated to you via the user interface or flashing chat bubble, but instead are communicated through your bridge crew and bridge officers so that they are the ones that are letting you know what’s going on.
Sitting in ten forward and having a conversation with your first officer, probably not going to happen, but trying to make them have a life and be an important part of the ship is what our goal is.
Craig Zinkievich: It’s an interesting, parasitic relationship between the ship and the bridge crew. One of the things that the ship configuration defines are how many of what type of bridge officers can be on that ship when you’re in space flying that ship. You’ll have your stable of guys, but which ones are active or which ones are actually on the bridge is specified by the configuration or class of your ship.
Having said that, the coolest powers that are in the game currently for me are bridge officer powers, the things that your bridge officer has. You ask your Worf to line up the photon torpedo spread, you ask your Data to realign your deflector dish to send energy pulses back at the person who’s attacking you. So it feeds upon itself – the ship defines what sort of officers you can have on the bridge or what kind of permutations you can have, but then your officers really affect the way that your ship functions.
So if you get a more escort class ship, you’ve got more tactical guys, you’ve got more pew-pew. If you’ve got a science ship you probably have more seats for science officers on the bridge, and so the science guys can actually bring their really cool skills to the ship.
Craig Zinkievich: There’s definitely docking stations where you’ll do repairs, but also – it’s not your bridge officers per se, although some of the bridge officers have skills to help you repair your ship and do hull repairs. But it’s your ships greater crew that does that, and kind of the makeup of that crew that helps you repair your ship outside of combat.
Craig Zinkievich: Definitely. You’ll pick up different members as you play, or you’ll run across unique alien races that have unique, cool skills that you can’t get any other way. And whether or not you take one of those guys and recruit him into Starfleet or whether you ask him to train one of your bridge officers in those skills is really up to you. I mean, you don’t want to start off with Spock and then have to cut Spock loose just because you found some phat loot. So you’ll be able to train up your bridge officers. Some people don’t care, but personally I do – the attachment to the bridge officers is a big part of the game.
But the skills that they learn, the bridge officers will level up those skills. You get points that you’ll spend to say, look with this guy I want this skill to be better. They rank up along with you, so you have to promote them throughout the game. So there’s a lot of advancement for your bridge officers as well as you.
Craig Zinkievich: Yep, it all comes together to really define what role you’re going to play based on all of those things.
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.
No. That will not be possible. If you’re on an away team you must go, as your captain. You get to bring four other crewmembers, or players, with you. It could be players, crew members or other player’s crew members (the player must come with you as well – you can’t just kidnap their crew members without them).
In the early TOS days of Star Trek, Vulcans got all the love. In addition to the bonuses described above, Vulcans had superior vision, hearing, feign death, mind meld, a nictitating eye membrane, resistance to low oxygen and heat, and the list goes on and on. I don’t think Rodenberry has an MMO in mind when he created Vulcans. But as the shows evolved, I think you started to see the writers downplay the overwhelming physical superiorities of Vulcans quite a bit.
We’re going to have to tone it down and balance it a bit for Vulcans, and some of the other superhuman races, because we need to make sure that the game is fun and playable. We’re going about that a few different ways.
The different races you’ll be able to play or make will all have access to different racial benefits. Both for you, as a playable character, and for your bridge officers. So a Vulcan bridge officer will come with specific abilities or traits. Like advanced logic, which may translate into faster cool down times for their bridge officer powers. Or they may come with some racial traits like the Vulcan nerve pinch or telepathy or they may come with some more common abilities like a bonus to engineering skills or science skills. As a player, you’ll find that different races have different skills. We’re still working on what humans will have. It will probably be something like versatility: jack of all trades, master of none.
No race will ever be particularly better at any profession, because we want crews to have diversity. Vulcan logic isn’t going to make them better as science officers, but it may shorten their cool down times in general, which makes them valuable bridge officers. Andorians may have battle rage, which may mean that you do bonus damage under specific conditions. And so on. Different races will also have weaknesses, to balance it all out.