Star Trek Online Previews and Interview

Last weekend's Penny Arcade Expo has provided us with some more Star Trek Online coverage, this time in the form of two hands-on previews and an interview with executive producer Craig Zinkievich.

The first preview is at IGN:
Because you are a captain of a large warship with theoretically hundreds of thousands of crew on board, ship combat is more about managing the power on your shields, engines and weapons at the right time rather than zipping about like a fighter. The objective is to knock your enemy's shield down, and as soon as it's down, to get that photon torpedo salvo off. The ship I was flying had forward and rear facing photon torpedoes, as well as forward phaser beams with a wide firing arc for knocking down enemy shields. You use the Q and E keys to control the throttle but once it's up at full throttle, you can pretty much forget about the forward movement and concentrate on the pitch and yaw, which are controlled by the WAS D keys. During battle, you can also control the amount of energy your shield, engine and weapons get, depending on where it's needed most. As Craig pointed out, the officers on your bridge can also make a big difference. In the demo session, I had a Science Officer with a tachyon beam power that lowers enemy shields, and a Tactical Officer who had photon torpedo salvos, a combination that worked out pretty well in taking down the three ships in my encounter.

The other is at Massively:
All the away missions will always take place with five characters, whether they're your bridge crew or other players. If you do go down with your bridge officers, it offers a very cool immersion factor when you see the guy who was just on your UI sitting at the science station on bridge now carrying a phaser rifle and following you around a strange alien planet. Like all other things in STO, your away team makeup is configurable. So if you want to load up on tactical guys and run in guns blazing, you can. You can also play more carefully with a support or balanced team, depending on your play style.

And the Q&A is at That VideoGame Blog:
TVGB: So what was your basic concept behind Star Trek Online?

CZ: Well when we got the license we sat in a room and were like '˜ok, what sort of game should we be making with STO?' It's not a case where we said '˜ok, its Star Trek and an MMO lets just apply it.' There are a number of key features that really drove us in the way that we designed the game. The setting the game is set in 2409 which is in the near future after Next Gen and Voyager, 22 years after the Hobus Supernova blew up Romulus and sent the guys back in time. So we wanted it to be familiar and yet a new setting for people to explore. Everyone is a Captain in STO. We thought about making the game where you were the engineer down in the transporter room pusing a button for 20 hours a day and we figured hey most people probably want to fly a starship so lets focus on that for now. It really is about space and ground and moving between the two, even within a single setting or event.