We sat down with Cryptic Studios Executive Producer Steve Ricossa to talk about the future of online Trek, a replacement for the exploration system, and a quick post-mortem of the game’s previous expansion, Delta Rising. A good captain, after all, is always well-informed.
Massively OP: Now that Star Trek Online is concluding its Iconian War story arc, do the devs feel that it’s time for the game to branch out in a new direction? If so, what are the thoughts behind that direction?
Steve Ricossa: Absolutely! We’ve really enjoyed the journey through the intrigue and outright conflict of the Iconian War, but we’re looking forward to the direction we’re taking with New Dawn in Season 11. It’s going to be a time of optimism and hope for the alliance in this post-war era, while everyone still has to deal with the fallout of the war and how it concluded.
We feel the war will have a very satisfying, very Trek-resolution, and it will set the stage for our plans through next year. We definitely want to do something that’s fun story-wise, full of mystery at times, and leads to some excellent moments that will really make the next year stand out.
Will the admiralty system be a glorified Facebook timer game, a la World of Warcraft’s garrisons, will be a larger copy of the duty officer system, or will it offer more interactivity?
The Admiralty System will be similar but also build upon our existing duty officer system. You will be required to use your assets more strategically. The assignments will push you to use your ships tactically and the rewards will definitely be more significant. We want to create a system that allows you to make use of all of the ships you’ve earned, won, or purchased in a way that’s satisfying and gives players another avenue of progression.
This system will truly put players in the position of Admiral of the fleet of ships they amassed over time.
Delta Rising was the source of a lot of player criticisms, especially over the handling of the Tier 5/Tier 6 ship upgrades and acquisitions. What lessons have the dev team taken away from that expansion to improve the future of the game?
It’s always interesting to go back and review the feedback we’ve gotten with each release. While there certainly was some vocal criticism, we’ve seen the players at large enjoy it once they got to experience it for themselves. We always review player feedback on anything we plan to release or have already released and take that criticism into account for current or future changes. We learn lessons from every season and expansion, and we put those lessons to use while planning for the future of our game. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is to increase our communication and interactions with our fantastic players.
Will the Star Trek Online galaxy always and forever be in a perpetual state of multi-front wars?
Even in times of peace, there’s always conflict somewhere in the galaxy and the alliance, but the Federation is always there to help those caught in the middle of conflict. That doesn’t always necessarily mean war, but it means your shield emitters aren’t likely to gather much dust.
Will Star Trek Online ever receive a proper exploration system to replace the one yanked a while back?
We’ve had whiteboard-level discussions on how to create a richer and more expansive exploration system, and we hope to be able to get that design solidified and implemented sometime in the future.
What is the most popular starship models for each of the three classes?
Without digging into our data, the newest ships generally tend to be the most popular, with any ship featured from any of the different series or movies always in heavy rotation.
What is it like to bring in Star Trek actors to reprise their roles? What do the actors think of being part of an MMO?
It’s always an amazing experience to bring them back and get them into characters that in some cases, they haven’t played for over a decade. Over the past few years, we’ve built a reputation of being a great studio to work with, and one that wants to create meaningful story arcs for the characters these actors played for years. We’ve found that all of the actors we’ve hired have really enjoyed their time, enjoyed the direction we’ve taken with their characters, and spoke positively about us to their colleagues. Providing such a quality experience makes it easier to resign our veteran cast, as well as hire new actors.
Thanks for talking with us, Steve!