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Thread: STO Player Progression

  1. #1
    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Default STO Player Progression

    Latest "Ask Cryptic" is about player progression. In reading this I thought it sounded a lot like Eve's ship progression, which in itself isn't bad. Even's been around a long time and while it's not the biggest MMO, they certainly have done some things right to last this long. I thought I would strike up a conversation about it here:

    Welcome to the 15th installment of Ask Cryptic, where where we put the questions you ask to our development team. In this issue we discuss player progression. Read more to learn about Star Trek Online!

    Sklarz: Are we limited to one branch? say I'm Engineering and I go down maintenance and then later I decide I also want to do some in Modification. Are we limited to one branch or can we go all out and get them all?

    You’re not limited to any branch; you can acquire all the skills within your profession. You can start going down the Maintenance branch, but it’s not really a branch in the traditional sense. You can pick and choose any skills you want. But different tiers of skills become available as you rank up. The skill system isn’t technically a skill tree – lower-rank skills affect higher-rank skills, but there aren’t any prerequisites for the most part (more on that later).

    For example, if you’re a Tactical officer, you can take Starship Energy Weapons training, or Starship Projectile Weapons training. You gain access to both of those skills as a Lieutenant. When you become a Lieutenant Commander, Beam Weapons, Cannon Weapons, Torpedo Weapons and Mines become available. At that point, if you put all your points into Starship Energy Weapons, you can go back and put points into Projectile Weapons training, or you can put it into Torpedoes.

    At the next rank, Commander, there’s Phaser, Disruptor, Photon and Quantum skills. What you’re getting is more specialized skills. So if you put all your points into Energy Weapons, then Beam Weapons, then Phasers, you’ll be really good at phaser beams, generally good at all beams and OK at all types of energy weapons. You’d be not so great at disruptor cannons at that point, because you didn’t put anything into Cannons or into Disruptors, but you did put some points into Energy Weapons.
    There is one true skill tree in the game, and that is the ship trees. Some of your skills govern your ability to captain certain types of vessels. You start off in a light cruiser based on the Miranda class, but from there your decisions will affect what ships become available to you. For instance, the tier 1 Escort is based on the Saber class. In order to fly the tier 2 Escort, you’ll need to have spent points to learn how to fly the Saber. You can put points you want into Science, Cruiser or Escort, but you can’t fly a tier 4 Cruiser just because you can fly a tier 4 Escort. You’ll need to learn how to pilot the previous Cruisers first. But you can fly every ship in the game on one character, if you invest the points.

    Mach789: By the time I reach Admiral, will my skills be locked or will I be able to max out every skill eventually?

    You can max out every skill eventually. We plan to keep adding skills to keep ahead of people, and by the time you’ve progressed through the endgame content, you’ll only have about half of the total skills you can acquire anyway.

    We do need to clarify one thing, which is in regard to this question and the previous one: The profession you choose – say, Engineer – will limit the ground skills available to you, but not the space skills. So as an Engineer, you can still buy Photon skills (Tactical) or Sensor skills (Science) in space, but on the ground you only get access to Engineering skills. The ground game is more traditionally class-based, whereas in space you’re more limited by the type of ship you fly. We want you to be able to go into different ships and mix up your skills as much as possible.

    Liquidblaino: if I'm a Lt Cmdr and I need to spend X skill points to be offered a promotion, does it count if I spend those points on Lt skills or just Lt Cmdr skills? Can I even go back and spend points on skills in the lower ranks?

    You can go back and spend skills in lower ranks. You don’t need to spend X skills in a particular rank to be promoted; it’s just X skills total. For the sake of discussion, let’s say as a Lieutenant you need to spend 100 skill points (this is not the real number) anywhere to become a Liuetenant Commander. When you’re a Lieutenant Commander, it’ll take 300 skill points (again, not the real number) to rank up to Commander. It doesn’t matter where you spend those points; you can spend them on the ground, in space, in Lieutenant skills, in Lieutenant Commander skills.

    That formula is true for you and your Bridge Officers. Bridge Officers follow the same path as you. They have much smaller skill sets, but their progression works the same.

    Liquidblaino: What is the primary mechanism for earning skill points? Will these be awarded by Episodes and kills like experience in CO? Or will these be awarded for acting in a fashion in accordance with my faction?

    They’re primarily rewarded by mission completion and kills, but there are other ways you can gain skills, too. There are “missions” like “Protect the Ambassador” or “Explore this Sector” or “Discover this many systems/special anomalies,” which don’t feel like a traditional MMO mission. So it’s missions, but the missions aren’t just “go here and kill 10 guys” or “go here and clean out this dungeon.” Star Trek missions are about exploration and doing things. You go out and look for things and go on Tours of Duty, which require you to go out and discover things, or explore sectors of space.

    Numerous: Will there be a respec option?

    It doesn’t exist yet, but we’re figuring out how to do it.

    Numerous: Will PvP award experience?

    Yes! You can rank up entirely just by participating in PvP.
    "You start off in a light cruiser based on the Miranda class" - Nice!
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    Ascendant Ashenhand
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    I'm an Eve player and huge fan of CCP. Anything that Cryptic takes from CCP's bag of tricks makes me happy.

    I'm trying really hard not to get overly optimistic about STO but it's a challenge.

    It's looking gooood so far.....

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    so its going to be ship to ship based combat?

    I just don't feel that I have a grasp of the basic premise of how this game will be played.

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    It's both. It's going to be space combat but then you can beam down to planets then it becomes more like a classic MMO. In a very basic comparison, it's like Eve (space combat) and Mass Effect (ground based team combat) combined. At least, that's what I gathered so far.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    if they can put in a lil more action than eve's ship to ship combat that would be sweet. I realize it won't dog fighting though.

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    Read the review that PC Gamer did. They go through a "mission" involving both space combat and ground combat. There is some dog fighting in the space combat... because you have to maneuver around opponents to damage various shields, or get out of the arc of their weapons etc. Basically, read the review.

    http://www.pcgamer.com/pdfs/Oct09_StarTrekOnline.pdf

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    must... not... ... . get... ...optimistic......

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    In the mean time, check this out:

    http://trekmovie.com/2008/08/02/the-...ek-model-kits/

    More re-issues and new models on the way
    2009 re-releases will include the AMT versions of Enterprise E and the Polar Lights 1/350 scale Enterprise A. Round 2 has the license for all versions of Trek except the animated show and the 2009 movie (although they are hoping to secure those rights). The first new kit for 2009 will be a 1/1000 scale kit of the Akira class U.S.S. Thunderchild (from Star Trek First Contact). There are also plans in 2010 for a 1/350 scale kit of the TOS Enterprise (which will be an amazing 30" long when assembled and incredibly detailed).

    USS Thurnderchild coming in 2009
    (click to enlarge)
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    Ascendant Ashenhand
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    That kind of has a Klingon look to it.

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Dev chat tonight at 7. Not sure the time zone. IRC channel #STO for about 30 minutes.

    edit: I was wrong: it's at 11:30 (GMT -7) a.m. Pacific time. that's a wierd time and not only did I miss it, I was working anyway. Ho well.
    Last edited by Kaane Feiwong; 09-22-2009 at 02:28 PM.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    Josh Ferguson, Content Designer
    Favorite Character: Morn (DS9)

    /giggle

  12. #12
    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Here is the transcript:

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> Hello everyone, and welcome to today's dev chat! With us today is Steven "Snix" Nix, our Combat Systems Designer. He'll be answering your questions about player progression. To ask a question, please join #stoquestions and post it there. You can also discuss the chat in #talktrek.

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> <SenatorPardek> My major concern is will there be penalties for cross-class skills, especially in Space. Will my Engineer take a penalty for tactical skills? What if I want my Scientist to fly a Galaxy Class or Excallibur Class, will I be at a disadvantage? Is ground and space totally divorced or do costs change depending on your profession?

    <snix> Space skills represent your ship and its crew, so they are open to all players. Characters do gain a handful of career specific space abilities (clickable powers). On the ground, skill selection is restricted to the character's chosen career.

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> <ghost202> More info on Kits plz, what they, are how they unlock, etc.

    <snix> Kits are career specific items that provide a collection of abilities (clickable powers). The abilities are usually grouped into a collection that emphasizes a particular career specialty. The player may only have one kit equipped at a time, but they may swap kits out of combat to change their character's current selection of abilities, thereby changing their current speciality (or spec). Kits are acquired through mission rewards and exploration.

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> <Zeroth> In CO, during the End-Of-Open-Beta event, at level 40, all the powers was quite overwhelming. What kind of tools do you have planned for dealing with not just our own skills, but those of our BOs efficiently?

    <snix> On the ground you may set up your BOs to use their abilities automatically or by request, so you can manage how much direct activity you perform. In space firing your ship's weapons occurs often and is your focus, but your BO abilities are used at more discreet moments. Even after you've acquired several officers, activation of their abilities occurs

    <snix> at a slow enough pace so as to not be overwhelming.

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> <Zeroth> What kind of benefit will we gain from levellling up a skill to its max?

    <snix> Skills earned at lower ranks cover broad categories of improvement. Maxing out the Lieutenant skill 'Starship Projectile Weapons' offers a slight improvement to any projectile weapon fired. Maxing out the Commander skill 'Photon Projectiles' offers a significant improvement to photon projectiles specifically, but would not improve quantum projectiles.

    <snix> Abilities are generally improved by three different skills in combination. For this example, firing a photon torpedo would be modified by a character's 'Starship Projectile Weapons', 'Starship Torpedoes', and 'Photon Projectiles' skills, providing up to 100% more effectiveness over an unskilled character with similar gear.

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> <herocreator> You mentioned that you will be advancing through the ships. How exactly will the mechanic work to acquire them? Will it be mission based, where you do a big mission for your faction that requires the ship so they give it to you or will it be more traditional, requiring the player to "purchase" them (though without money I am not sure how it would work).

    <snix> Characters gain the right to command larger ships by advancing in rank. As part of a rank promotion, they acquire one new ship of the appropriate size. In order to gain additional ships of that size, extra Merit with Starfleet must be expended.

    <Bizarro_Rekhan> <flosche95> In the Ask Cryptic #15 it sounds like I can spend my skillpoints as I want to. Let's say I have earned 10 skillpoints. Can I spend 3 in ground skills, 3 in spaceskills and another 4 to learn to fly a new shipclass or are there differnt types of skillpoints for the diffent types of skills?

    <snix> You can spend your skillpoints as you like, on skills that are available based on your earned rank. Those include your career specific ground skills, as well as the cross-career space skills that represent your ship and crew.

    <BizarroDaeke> <captainbrown> How will BO skills differ from player skills. And will there be some overlap? For example if I choose the tacitcal path for my captain can I still gain access to some of the science path skills by having a well trained science officer?

    <snix> Player skills differ in that they influence your personal abilities, as well as the performance of your bridge officers and ship. Bridge Officer skills focus on discreet abilities, like how well they can use the 'High Yield Torpedo' ability.

    <snix> Your character's choice of career influences their personal skill selection, but your officers have their own careers and you can spend skillpoints to improve them even if different from your own.

    <BizarroDaeke> <JBJeremy> In a skill-based system, there are no levels to indicate the difficulty level of a particular encounter or mission. What steps are you taking to ensure that players will be guided toward participating in content that matches their current skill levels?

    <Cryptic_Geko> Although players don't have a true level, we basically extrapolate a level based on Skill Points spent. In a less esoteric way, critters have a level. Basically, we extrapolate the expected effectiveness of a player based on how many skillpoints they have spentand critters will "Con" to them accordingly.
    <Cryptic_Geko> So we expect a player with, say, 100 skillpoints spent to be doing "X" dps and have "Y" defense/HP, and we have critters that are build to fight a player with "X" and "Y" - and those critters will con evenly to that player.

    <BizarroDaeke> <[LF]NiomoLire> Question: just to get a confirmation, we are allowed to get ALL the space skills from each profession. correct? in the Ask Cryptic there was a bit of restatement from one question to the other.

    <Cryptic_Geko> The short answer is Yes. All players get access to all space skill, so if you are a science officer, you still can get tactical and engineering space skills. However, there are some clickable space abilities that are profession specific, and all ground skills are restricted by class.

    <BizarroDaeke> <Zoberraz> Q: So, if we understand correctly, most player captain skills are passive abilities, whereas bridge officer abilities as mostly activable powers.

    <snix> Player skills that are purchased are passive improvements to their officers' and ship's ability. Players do acquire clickable abilities through rank progression (both space and ground) and augment this by acquiring Bridge Officers for space abilities and Kits for ground abilities.

    <BizarroDaeke> <Loekii> So can we ever 'gimp' ourselves with poor skill section? Or will any combination will 'con' evenly with other skill builds?

    <snix> The way skill selection is offered, you acquire very broadly applicable skills first. For example, one of the first skills is 'Starship Directed Energy Weapons' which applies to all energy weapons. These early skills are useful throughout the game, so while you are learning how to play and build your character the skill choices don't force or 'gimp' you.
    <snix> As you learn the game and advance in rank, more specific skills are offered that allow you to specialize. Even if you start down a specialist path, your choices and the cost of skill advancement allows for reworking your character.

    <BizarroDaeke> <WebGuest03> Question: We know that at some point a player may level up and learn all the skills in the game. Is there a restriction as to how many of these are available for use during combat. For example, if a player learns 34 skills can he mapp all 34 to buttons/keys and use them in combat. Is it the same for land and space?

    <Cryptic_Geko> You get to use/keep ALL your skills all the time. you don't need to pick them to make a "build". "Skills" are typically passive bonuses that are always active, so your Photon skill will improve all your photon attacks, and your deflector skill will make all deflector abilities better.
    <Cryptic_Geko> What you will have to do is pick the right weapons, items and Bridge Officers for your ship - so that is your "build". You make a similar decision when you choose your away team or your ground Kit and weapons.

    Last edited by Kaane Feiwong; 09-22-2009 at 07:10 PM.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

  13. #13
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    Kaane I'm sorry if I missed it, but are you in beta?

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Nope. At least, not yet. I don't think beta has started yet.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    I am really curious about the playstyle and thanks Kaane for the chat transcripts and Bodhi for the .PDF

    As an MMO player and life-long ST fan, I'm trying to imagine how the game would allow me to play some archetypes, besides a typical Star Fleet officer, or is that it, just Star Fleet to start?

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Star Fleet and the Klingon empire. Check out the "Path to 2049" on the STO website for some history leading up to the MMO.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    I'm probably picking the most overdone combo of them all.. but I'm going to be a human security/tactical type.. if I can't figure it out I'll blow it up!

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    if you need help with not getting optimistic bout the game just check how well cryptic is doing with CO since launch

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    Ascendant Ashenhand
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    Yea.. it's working...

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Well, on the positive side, it's a completely different team, different problems, balance isn't so much of an issue for classes, and at least space fights are ship to ship so it will be a one on one balance system. Ship size isn't really indicative to it's fire power, (ex: Enterprise vs Defiant). So, we'll see how things turn out.

    Till then, we can nerd out in other Star Trek stuff.
    Last edited by Kaane Feiwong; 09-24-2009 at 10:32 AM.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

  21. #21
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    I do look forward to seeing how the ship combat is. I always thought it would be cool to have bigger ships (like the Enterprise) have combat more like eve only a lil more action involved and smaller ships (like Defiant) have more of a Freelancer was just more RPG elements.

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    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    I like how the science ships will have tactical advantages such as better targeting and tractor beams. In groups, they will help the other ships break through enemy shields and improved subsystem targeting. The improved deflectors can transfer energy and shields to ships. They don't have the firepower, but will have the support skills to win the battle. So even if you pve and a science vessel, your ship will still have skills useful in pvp.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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    Hey Kaane thanks for keeping this thread alive, and answering all the questions.

    Is there a particular fan site that you like? I've been trying to keep up with just the official site and forums, and the amount of time it takes to sort through the chaff.. means I'm out of the loop. Is there a monkly business for STO?

  24. #24
    Ascendant Ashenhand Kaane Feiwong's Avatar
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    Not that I particularly like. I just stick to the main site for now. I try not to hang out in the forums due to the sheer amount of ...as you put it....chaff that's flying about. As well, if you see anything good, post a tread or something.
    You see in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. - Blondie

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