Less then 2 weeks way from the launch of the new Star Trek MMO, Star Trek Online, We interviewed Cryptic's Sr. Game Designer, Zeke Sparkes.

RarityGuide: How do you like designing content for Star Trek Online?

Zeke: Very much. I used to play this MuD (Text based game), TNG TrekMuse. It was a very cool game, and now I am happy that all the things I could do in a text game such as that one, I can now bring to life with a modern game with graphics.

RG: What's the most challenging aspect of designing content for Star Trek Online?

Zeke:
Star Trek is enormous. If you ask people what to expect out of a star trek game you can get many different answers, different versions of how they see the game. It's challenging to set a good version.

RG: So what is the "version" you are bringing us?

Zeke:
It's heavily influenced by Deep Space 9. A time of war, the conflict. That type of setting is perfect for the game.

RG: I've heard complaints that there is not enough exploration in Star Trek Online

Zeke:
There is a lot of exploration to do in the game. We have the Genesis System that allows us to quickly create new star systems with places to explore using systematic algorithms.

RG: So with this "Genesis System", is the Star Trek Online universe pretty much inifinite?

Zeke:
Not really infinite, but it is very big, and with the Genesis engine we can keep adding new locations so that the players have plenty of places to explore.

RG: How long would it take a player to explore all of the places in Star Trek Online?

Zeke: Just for the hand written stories, I would say 80 hours. But with he exploration system and genesis, they will never run out. Thousands of maps. When you enter a zone you get missions; It tells you who the antagonists are, who the protagonists are, there could be dozens of different protagonists in a system. As we add systems there will be more and more events as well.

RG: Some players complain that there is not enough chance for diplomacy in the game. That all missions are shoot em up missions.

Zeke:
We do have a lot of missions based on Diplomacy. But in the end, the story is a drama driven by conflict. So while we offer a lot of chances for diplomacy, you are also going to have to fight. Diplomacy-only missions are also harder to make. But we do hope to have some more focus on diplomacy in the future.

RG: How does endgame look like in Star Trek Online? Will a player still be challenged and have things to do when he hits the cap?

Zeke:
Yes. In addition to exploration , there's plenty of things to do in the end game. There is PvP. Patrol Missions. Challenging group experience missions.

RG: People say there is not enough Klingon content

Zeke:
Klingons are primarily focused on PvP now. But the game is constantly evolving, we are paying attention to what players want and you can expect more Klingon content in the future.

RG: What about new races?

Zeke:
We are constantly looking into what players want. We read the forums. We listen to the community.

RG: But I am sure many players want many different races added. Romulan, Ferengi, Cardassians, you can't add them all at once, how do you decide which one to add first?

Zeke:
Funny you should mention Cardassians. They are my favorite race. The best "Bad Guys". Unfortunately my favorite race is probably not going to be one of the first added. More people like races such as Ferengi, and Romulans. We look at what types of characters players create and figure it out. For example if we see that many players create characters that look like Romulans, we might add romulans as a race! We see a great importance in what the player base wants. We want it to be the best Star Trek Game ever.

RG: Ok so let's talk about your favorite race, the Cardassians. When do you run into then?

Zeke:
First there is the tutorial which involves the Borg. After the tutorial, The first area you get to is the Klingon-Federation  area. Second area has the Romulans. Then there are the Cardassians which are very interesting. We have "Good" cardassians who want to ally with the federation, and "Bad" cardassians who ally with the Dominion.

RG: This game is heavily influenced by DS9. So is Deep Space 9 itself (the starbase) in the game?

Zeke:
Yes!

RG: How early in the game can you get there?

Zeke:
Deep Space 9 is located in a more advanced area of the game. So normally you get there later in the game. But if you just want to go there to check it out you can go there right off the bat! You will have to avoid some enemy ships, but it is possible to get there early. And it is very rewarding - The designers did an great job of recreating Deep Space 9. There is very close attention to detail. Quark's Bar looks exactly like in the series. It's an  amazing experience.