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MPC: So there are 16 different ship types in the game?
CZ: Yes, there are 16 total configurations total, from three ship classes with five ships in each tier, plus the first Light Cruiser. But within each configuration, we want you to be able to customize your ship’s appearance.
MPC: Like designing your character in any other MMO.
CZ: Yes, but still want you to be able to look at somebody’s ship, and know what configuration and class that ship is in.
MPC: Does the game have the “hot rod” style Enterprise from the new Star Trek movie?
CZ: [Laughs] No, we don’t have the new J. J. Abrams “hot rod” ship in the game yet, but we do have access to that in terms of our license. We’re focusing on filling out and rounding out what [the Federation of] 2409 looks like.
[Craig then loads up several ships on a computer, including ones based on the Intrepid, Excelsior, Miranda, and even Prometheus classes that will be recognizable to hardcore Star Trek fans.]
Our artists have done a fantastic job designing these ships and the elements that’ll let you customize each configuration.
MPC: Let's talk about the ground-based away missions.
CZ: When you go down to a ground mission, you always play in a five-person away team. If you’re playing by yourself, you beam down with four bridge officers. If you’re teaming up with other players, you’re going to all go as captains.
MPC: Sounds like that would be against protocol!
CZ: Yeah, it’s funny. You have protocols like the Prime Directive, but those things never come up in the shows unless they have to break them! So, yes, you’re constantly breaking protocol by beaming down, but it wouldn’t be fun just to sit on your ship.
But this is another one of those places where you can change your style of play depending on which Bridge officers you slot. You can choose to bring medical officers if you’re playing with a Leroy Jenkins-type player one night, or bring a tactical officer if you’re going on the offensive.
MPC: Which player in a party gets to decide who to bring down, if you’re not playing with a full roster?
CZ: The team leader gets to assign which players go in the away team slots, and who has control of extra slots.
MPC: And the biggest group you can play with is five players?
CZ: Exactly, it’s five people per normal instanced team, which is the same for instanced space battles. There are larger persistent areas, like large fleet actions, where you can have dozens of ships. The same goes with large away missions, where you can have several teams [of five players each] on one planet at once.
Bridge officers on the ground are fully-functional MMO pets. They’ll follow you, use their abilities, and go into combat. If you want to, you can micro-manage them. You can tell them to stay in one spot, be aggressive, and even set their targets before combat. You can ask them to use special abilities on the ground, like healing or setting down minefields. Ground combat is fast-paced run-and-gun. It’s about maneuvering around your enemies and flanking them from the side, which does more damage. As a Captain, you can equip yourself with two weapons that you can switch at will, including melee weapons and martial arts skills.
MPC: And what kinds of things are you doing on away missions? Just killing everyone?
CZ: Just think of all the myriad things you’ve seen in an episode of Star Trek. For example, after you dispatch Klingon ships above a planet, you may have to beam down to the planet to save the locals from the Klingon landing party. Some missions ask you to recover artifacts and others have you following people back in time.