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Ships Overview, Roles, and Customization

Posted by Michael Bitton on Oct 06, 2009  | Comments

Ships Overview, Roles, and Customization -

A new article posted on the official Star Trek Online gives an overview of the various types of ships available in Star Trek Online, as well as  how they differ from one another. Also described, albeit briefly, is the type of visual customization players can expect for their ships.

Visual customization is described as:

Visiting a ship “tailor” will allow you to change the color of your ship, the nacelles, the neck and/or nacelle pylons, its saucer, its name, its registry number and so on. And since ships have paperdolls and Bridge Officer stations, the decisions you make in how you outfit the ship’s weaponry, impulse engines, shields, deflector dish and mods guarantee your gameplay experience will be unique to other players, but at the same time still feel like Star Trek.

Moving on from there we learn about the various ship types:

  • Bridge Officer station arrangement. Science vessels favor Science Officer stations, Escorts favor Tactical Officer stations and Cruisers favor Engineering Officer stations.
  • Utility. Science vessels are innately able to detect cloaked ships and are specialized in subsystem targeting. Cruisers have lots of crew, repair very quickly and lots of power to distribute across their subsystems. Escorts are the gunboats of the Federation fleet; they maneuver quickly and can equip cannons.
  • Size. Cruisers tend to be larger and less maneuverable than other ships. Escorts are smaller but nimble and feature a lot of firepower for their size. Science vessels typically fall in the middle.
  • Weapons capabilities. Cruisers, since they’re larger ships, have more gun bays. Escort ships can outfit high-damage cannon weapons, which other ships cannot. Science vessels are less weapon-focused but offer other capabilities and bonuses such as more powerful deflector beams, tractor beams and sensors.
  • Crew complement. Larger ships have larger crews, which affects hull and subsystem repair rate, as well as the effectiveness of boarding parties, the engineering team and crew-based skills your captain may have.
  • Modification slots. Similar to Bridge Officer stations, the different ships have varying room for special modifications that can be added to the ship to increase its effectiveness. Similar to slotted gems in other games, mods provide small passive bonuses that affect gameplay and can be interchanged at will.

The various ship types are also described in terms of their roles, and each role should sound pretty familiar to players of the genre.

Escort ships have the primary role of dealing a ton of damage through their access to heavy firepower, and will have a special boost to damage, speed, weapon power, and maneuverability, as well as the ability to load cannons, and make use of an extra forward weapon slot. These ships sound like "DPS" ships, if you will.

Science ships will fulfill the role of "Fleet support", with the ability to repair (heal) friendly ships, detect cloaked ships, and access to certain buffs,. debuffs, and control abilities that can turn the tide of battle. Science ships will  come equipped with advanced shields, innate subsystem targeting, and a bonus to Auxiliary power. Again, in simple terms, these ships seem to fulfill the group support role.

And finally, we have Cruisers. Cruisers are tough, and bear some resemblance to the traditional "tank" archetype, at least in the basic properties of the ship. The Cruiser has a large crew, which helps it stay in the fight longer and repair itself quickly. The Cruiser has more weapon slots than both the Escort and Science vessels, a bonus to power, and a large cargo space (inventory). The Cruiser will also have access to increased boarding party effectiveness, but what that actually entails in gameplay isn't really explained.

There is also no mention of aggro management or manipulation for the Cruiser, so if the Cruiser is indeed intended to be a tank, it does make you wonder why an NPC or a player would actually want to target one. After all, it would appear that the enemy crippling, fleet bolstering, and healing capabilities of the Science vessels or super high damage of Escort vessels would be a more immediate threat.

Read the full article here.

Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB
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