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Cryptic Studios | Play Now
MMORPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 02/02/10)  | Pub:Perfect World Entertainment
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Interviews: Launch Day Interview

By Jon Wood on February 02, 2010

Launch Day Interview

What, if any changes have happened between the end of open beta and launch day that players might be interested in.

STO Team:

We've been concentrating on bug fixes and tweaks to the UI, as well as balancing of PvP, and some changes to the starting gear for Klingons. We're doing our best to make some "quality of life" upgrades to make things just a bit more fun, especially since there's only a week between the end of open beta and launch.


Numerous comments from open beta testers state that the game will have difficulty sustaining a long-term population. What will be done to retain players beyond their first "free" month of gameplay?

STO Team:

We have a lot planned for after launch. We had things that we initially wanted to get in at launch but had to make hard decisions about moving it back. The nice thing about this being an MMO is that we can constantly add in new content. We have new exploration stuff going in, new endgame episodes that we'll be adding in every couple of weeks, new PvP scenarios and more ground fleet actions. These are to just name a few things we'll be adding in not too long after launch. We're also doing our best to keep players informed of what's in the chute. If you check out our "What's Next" page, you can see some of the stuff we have planned:

Star Trek Online will require a subscription fee to play, but also gives players access to the Cryptic Store. What items are offered in the store and how does it affect gameplay?

STO Team:

It's fairly limited right now. It will include the Ferengi and Klingon races to be playable for the Federation side at launch. We want to get an idea of what players want before adding much more. But we're sticking to the notion that if it affects gameplay, there will be ways of attaining whatever is available in the store in-game.

Many open beta players have complained that the missions are repetitive. Why is this, and is more variation planned in the near future?

STO Team:

We definitely have plans for more exploration and more diplomatic missions. Also more fleet actions will be included. There are a lot of things that we are looking to add in the game that gives it great variation and different styles of gameplay. One of the things people have been talking a lot about is more interaction on your ship, so that is one thing we're looking at now.

Can you tell us about any short term changes that may be coming to the Klingon faction, which many players feel is still not complete or polished enough to be included in the launch product?

STO Team:

We've done some tweaks to the Klingons and will continue to. Clearly, players are looking for a more rounded experience when playing the Klingon faction. Not too long after launch they will get more PvE missions and more exploration content. We'll continually improve them and add in new content for them along the way.

There are many who criticize the heavy use of instances in the game. Can you give us the rationale behind the original decision?

STO Team:

Sure! It's an MMO so we want players to feel connected and that they can team up with their friends and play. Also at the same time it would lose its Trek feel if everyone was in the same map trying to defeat the same bird of prey. You never saw Picard run into another captain camping the same Q spawn.

Space is vast and often in the shows and movies they were out there by themselves or only with a few other people. So it came down to wanting players to have the ability to socialize and team up with friends, but we didn't want everyone crammed into the same map.

Can you speak to critics who believe that this game was "rushed out the door" by Cryptic?

STO Team:

We did have a very ambitious target date, but we also knew we could do it. Bear in mind, much of the work that typically goes into an MMO's "five-year" development cycle is engine/tech creation, or in some cases, revenue generation. We made up for a lot of that time in two ways: We're using the same engine we'd been developing for five years for Champions, and when we merged with Atari, we no longer needed to shop a concept to a publisher for a year while we kept the staff small.

We've been fully staffed on this project since you first heard about its existence. So really, that two-year number is the meat and potatoes of what consumers see. It's the art; the living, breathing design; the content; and the gameplay changes we've made after getting the game into people's hands for real testing and feedback.

Star Trek is Cryptic's second major MMO launch in recent memory. Can you give us an idea of some of the differences between the launch of this game and Champions Online?

STO Team:

I'd say we were less nervous and excited, but that would be a lie. This is like having your second child. Just because you remember the first one's birth doesn't make the second one any less scary/exciting/fun. The one thing we have taken from the Champs launch is to expect to be surprised by something. In this case, we were very surprised by the redemption rate we had in open beta. The sheer number of people who logged in, and stayed logged in, was humbling. Since then we've upgraded our server capacity and have plans to further smooth that out for launch.

What elements are first on the "to-do list" for updates now that the game has gone live?

STO Team:

Well first out of the gates will be more endgame stuff, more PvE for Klingons and more exploration contents. Of course any bug glitches we notice and tweaking to balance. That's just to name some of things, but there will be quite a lot of goodies we will be adding not long after launch.

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