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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > Star Trek Online. Interview with Craig Zinkievich, Cryptic Studios

Название: Star Trek Online
Разработчик: Cryptic Studios
Издатель: Atari
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
Core 2 Duo 1.8, 1 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card
Core 2 Duo 3.0, 2 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card
Игра вышла: 02.02.2010
Рейтинг: 7.1

We have enjoyed playing Star Trek Online in the past few months, but even more we start to like the developers' approach to enhancing the game in various ways as well as listening to the community. We all remember the Official Forum topics in the beginning after the launch date, where some users begged to raise up the difficulty level in the game, and voila, here it goes, since you already can find a working difficulty slider in the game. Surely, while playing we have come up with some questions about the past, the present and the future of Star Trek Online. We addressed them all to Craig Zinkievich, who is the key person responsible for improving Star Trek Online for the fans of the game.

- Please, introduce yourself to our readers. What's your role in the development team?

My name is Craig Zinkievich, and I am the Executive Producer for Star Trek Online. My role is to oversee the entire development process of the game. I work with art, design, programming, Q&A, and production. I make sure, we are all on the same page and make hard decisions about what will go into the game now vs. a later date.

- Tell us about your career in the game industry. What game projects did you work on before?

 I was a producer and designer for both City of Heroes (2004) and City of Villains (2005). So I've been a Cryptic veteran for quite a while now. It's been a great ride and I'm looking forward to my future here. 

- It was really satisfying to see, how fast the team is always fixing the important problems during the Beta Test as well as after the launch day. In your opinion, what went wrong with the launch of Star Trek Online?

- I think that overall we had a pretty smooth launch. Obviously, there are things we could have done better. I think we were a little overwhelmed by the amount of people that were playing, but we quickly reacted to that. We increased our server capacity to ensure people could play the game when they wanted without having to wait in a long queue. We lucked out a little bit in that most of our big technical issues came up during the Open Beta, so we had some time to fix problems that could've become launch problems.

- Speak about the most important March and April updates that were released for Star Trek Online.

We released Season One and the 1.1 Update to that. They both featured some great new content additions and a slew of bug fixes. Season One: Update One also featured a mission difficulty slider, which introduces greater risk (including a death penalty) for greater rewards at higher levels. Our community was very interested in a greater challenge, so we were really glad to be able to create that for them.

We also released new Special Task Force missions. Those are endgame, Five-man missions that develop more of the Star Trek Online story and demand a higher level of teamwork from players than normal missions.

We are continually going to add more and more updates, which will also be important. We only want to improve the game and make it better.

- What is ahead for Star Trek Online in the six coming months?

- We are going to be releasing Season Two and probably Season Three after that. You may see a new faction sometime in that timeframe, but don't consider that set in stone.

Fixes will depend a lot on player feedback, what hasn't been working the way it should be and so forth, so it’s really hard to say what exactly those will be. Then there will be fixes to the combat systems and things such as crafting to make the overarching Star Trek Online experience even more positive.

- Life of a Hybrid character in Star Trek Online is more difficult, than for those who strictly tend to follow class-defined career paths. What were the reasons for the limitations for piloting a ship not belonging to an inital class here? What can you advise to people stilling willing to manage such characters?

If you're interested in Bridge Officer training – it is probably best that you focus a little more on towards the skills that you're most excited about training. That being said, we are planning on adding trading of fully trained Bridge Officers in a future update – this should really help with you being able to get bridge officers with Tier 3 skills outside of what YOU can train.

The seats on the different ships are to make sure that they all have their own flavor. That there was a reason to choose a cruiser over an escort. It wasn't just the speed and turning rate that made the ship play differently.

Piloting a ship "not belonging to an initially selected class" is quite doable for most – once you can trade for high-trained bridge officers from other players - it'll be attractive to even the most hardcore of the min-maxers!

- As I see, new Engineering Reports became really popular in the community. Are you happy with the feedback coming from the fans of Star Trek Online? 

- We're extremely happy with the feedback we are getting from the community. It's great to see their opinion on the game and then getting the feedback on fixes we need to make. Having that communication is important because they can tell us what they would like to see in the game and then we can communicate what we’re working on and what fixes we have made. So, it's a good back forth.

- What do you think about the Death Penalty in MMORPG-games in general and about its suitable place in Star Trek Online to satisfy hardcore gamers without making the casual ones upset?

- I think we did it pretty well. We offer a difficulty slider so those who like the game just how it is can leave it on the normal difficulty setting and those wanting a greater challenge can try it at a harder setting. In general, I think death penalties are a mixed bag. It really just depends on the game and its design, and making the death penalty work within that designed framework. Many times, they can just be arbitrary and not really offer anything, but other times they can be fun and challenging because you have to think more about what you’re doing.  So it really just depends.

- What can you say about the latest special benefits for your LifeTime Subscibers? Will you make more of such content for the most loyal fans in future?

 We actually just announced our Veteran Rewards program, which applies to anyone who's had an account with us for specific periods of time. We're giving away titles, respecs and even a free Captain's Yacht. You can check out all the rewards here.

- How do you plan to develop the Klingon story content in Star Trek Online?

 We are continually adding new PvE content in for Klingons. In Season Two, we plan on adding some substantive new Episode missions unique to the Klingon faction, and that's only the beginning of what we have planned for them.

- What's your favorite Fleet Action in Star Trek Online and what changes have you prepared for this area in the coming months? How will you improve the current ways of a player-to-player communication to ensure that if someone new randomly joins a group of people completing a Fleet Action, the fun won't be spoiled for all because of someone not knowing or obeying the rules (i.e. like it often used to happen with the Crystalline Entity mission)?

 I have to say that "Gorn Minefield" is still my favorite. There's something about continual advancement through a map that really lets me and my teammates get into that cycle of gameplay - taking down a squadron after squadron of ships quickly. But if you slip up (and there's always one guy in the group who ALWAYS does it) you can pull many, many, MANY more groups by accident. It can go smoothly, or get super hectic, really quick.

We're always looking into better ways for players to communicate with each other – but we have to continue make sure that that the objectives for these large scale battles are clear, and that the "rules" are easy to comprehend.

- Seeing more ship interiors, walking around a glorious Starfleet vessel and participating in fierce boarding actions defending own ship is a feature that many users would like to see implemented. Can we hope it will happen and what options can be offered here to the players?

We are working on ship interiors now. We want to open this world up more. Remember these ships are huge with many rooms and areas throughout the ship. So we're determining what part of the ships players want to see, what we can add in, and what gameplay can accompany those areas of the ships. But ship interiors are on the way. We want to do them right, so we're not taking them lightly.

- In what directions will you expand the social aspect of the game? More social areas? More casual wear? More group activities?

You got it! We will add more social areas, more casual wear and more group activities. We definitely want player to have that social aspect of the game. We're currently working on developing a Dabo mini-game for players to enjoy together in social areas, too. We think that's a great reason for people to congregate in our existing social hubs, and works really well inside the Star Trek universe and setting.

- In what ways do you plan to update the crafting (Memory Alpha) section of the game?

In the most recent update (Season 1.1 supplemental) – we drastically change the way that the Memory Alpha system is played. We initially added the system in as a fun side-system. Allowing players to collect data from all over and bring it back to Memory Alpha for cool loot. It was probably short-sighted, but I never imagined that people would judge it as a full-fledged "crafting system". However – players really grabbed onto it as such, so we just finished a major rework of that system. You can actually track how much you've "leveled up" your crafting. The items open up slowly over time as you gain more research skill in the 7 different areas of research. We've also done various other improvements that set a pretty solid foundation for a system that we can continue to add more items, recipes, components and skills to as the game keeps evolving.

- Some people are asking your team to add simple and entertaining mini-games to Star Trek Online. What do you think about that and such a possibility?

We will be adding mini-games to Star Trek Online such as Dabo. We'll probably add others in the future but the thing with mini-games is that they can be tricky to do right so you really have to take your time with them.

- Share some ideas about new items for the Star Trek Online Cryptic Store that could be available this year.

The Cryptic Store is a living, breathing entity. We're always looking at new items we think our players want in order to augment their experience. We're still testing the waters, here, but big sellers so far have been costume pieces and ship variants, so expect more of those in the future.

- Thank you very much for your time! Keep up your great work making Star Trek Online even better!

24.05.2010 10:31, Unicorn


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Интервью: Star Trek Online. Интервью с Крейгом Зинкевичем, Cryptic Studios
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Star Trek Online ["Ship: Galaxy", 00:57, mov, HD 720p]
Star Trek Online ["Tips and Tricks: Expose-Exploit", 1:18, wmv, HD 720p]
Star Trek Online ["Special Task Force: The Cure", 1:00, mov, HD 1080p]
Star Trek Online ["Expanding Universe", Part 2, 3:05, wmv, HD 720p]
Star Trek Online ["Expanding Universe", Part 1, 2:40, avi, HD 720p]
Star Trek Online ["New Content", 1:30, mov, HD 720p]
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Star Trek Online ["Ship: Cerebus", 00:56, avi, 640x368]
Star Trek Online ["Ship: Discovery", 00:56, avi, 640x368]
Star Trek Online ["Exploration", 1:06, avi, HD 720p]
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Star Trek Online [BTS: Zachary Quinto Voice, 1:11, mov, HD 720p]
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Star Trek Online ["The Future Past: Part 1", 2:31, wmv, HD 720p]
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