Star Trek Online Interviews and Preview

The publicity surrounding Cryptic's Star Trek Online seems to be ramping up, with five separate interviews and a preview recently making their way to the Internet.

The first and second Q&As are at Massively here and here:
Marix: Will ships of different classes (IE: escort/science/engineering) have different combat styles? Will a small Bird of Prey and defiant class move faster at impulse and do a lot of circling and swerving whilst a large engineering cruiser's moves slower and tries to punch in as much damage as possible whilst repairing itself?

Definitely. Escorts are the quick-moving, precision-striking ships of the fleet. They're not as hardy as other ships, but they're tough to hit and can fit cannons, which are high-damage, almost sniper-style weapons. Cruisers are big ships with a big crew and huge engines that provide them lots of power, so they can fit a lot of guns, send big boarding parties and repair their hull and subsystems very quickly. And Science ships can detect cloaked vessels, use tractor beams to hold other ships in place and expose a weak side, take out shields with powerful tachyon beams, and lend aid to other ships in need.

The third and fourth are at Ten Ton Hammer here and here:
Ten Ton Hammer: What sort of challenges have you faced with designing the UI?

Amy: So far it's just been the sheer number of controls. In space combat, for example, we've implemented sub-system targeting, where you can specifically target an enemy's shields or engine, or auxiliary batteries. So keeping track of other people doing that to your ship, and the status of you doing that to other ships can get very dense, visually. Trying to keep that as simple as possible without losing any of the functionality has been a real challenge. As well, there's power balances for four different categories that you have to balance to increase the effectiveness or your weapons and engines. Then each of your bridge officers has their own powers that they can bring to the table as well during combat, and that's true of ground and space. So there's a lot of management going on, and we try to design to make sure it's at least playable on a 1024x768 screen. So getting all of that information and trying not to overwhelm people, and trying to have it so they don't play the game through a tiny visible slit in the middle of the screen has been really interesting.

It's a good exercise to remind us all to keep it as simple as possible. You could just throw everything on the screen. Of course, the more we play it, the more familiar we get with the controls and the easier it is to lose sight of the fact that most people aren't going to have experience with the controls. We need to keep it accessible to people that have never played an MMO before, possibly; possibly never even played a computer game before.

The fifth is at Strategy Informer:
Strategy Informer: So you've begun the closed Beta what are you planning to get out of it, and what feedback have you received already?

Craig Zinkievich: Well you want to get the bugs out of the way but you really want to get feedback on what the players like and what they don't like. What parts were confusing? What they would like to see more of? Originally we said at launch we weren't going to do ship interiors but fans really wanted those and looking at it so did we. So we decided to put the bridge interiors in the game at launch.

And the preview is at Hooked Gamers:
All players in Star Trek Online will be able to command their own ships and, naturally, with the ships come their very own bridge officers. Besides the add-ons that you equip your ship with, the types of bridge officers you train and recruit will also determine the strengths and weaknesses of your ship. In short, engineer officers influence how maneuverable your ship will be and how much damage it can take before going down, while tactical officers influence general firepower and science officers determine just how effective you are at buffing or debuffing.

Outside the chaos of space conflicts, you will be able to beam down to planets and either explore or engage in run-and-gun gameplay. Think along the lines of the now defunct Tabula Rasa and you have some idea of how Star Trek Online's ground-based gameplay will play like. With the developers claiming the game to have a "system of infinite exploration", it sounds like there will be a lot to do both on ground and in the vastness of space.