Lok1: Why is combat so important in STO? Why does it happen frequently?
Al Rivera: There are several reasons. We wanted to build an exciting game that appealed to Trek fans and non-Trek fans (let's call them future Trek fans) alike. The epic space battles from Wrath of Khan to the Dominion War of Deep Space 9 offered great gameplay potential. We wanted to create something exciting, unique, and decisively Trek – and the tall combat mechanics of Star Trek offered an abundance of all 3. But combat is not the only option is STO. There are plenty of exploration, research, gathering and humanitarian opportunities throughout the STO universe.
-Drexel-: How will the use of our weapon systems and abilities be limited during combat?
That's a pretty big question, so let's focus on the basics. There are 4 power systems – Weapons, Shields, Engines and Auxiliary. During combat you will need to manage power between these 4 systems, which will modify one system at the expense of another. Your ship has a several weapons slots where you can equip weapons like beam arrays, cannons, torpedoes and mines. Your weapons and some abilities have limited firing arcs – for instance phaser arrays have a 250 degree firing arc, while cannons have a 45 degree firing arc. Many weapons can be fired at once, but firing too many energy weapons will drain your weapon power. Some weapons, like torpedoes have individual cool-down timers as well as linked cool-down timers, as are many Bridge Officer abilities.
ARimer: When fighting the Borg will it be as complicated as the TV show makes it with them adapting to your weapons and shields?
Fun comes first, then a close second is IP accuracy. Borg are mean and tough. They have many abilities that will allow them to do exactly as you described, but they can be defeated. I would not describe it as complicated – I would prefer to call them "challenging".
Ryan: How large an advantage will Klingons have with their cloaking systems?
Again, fun comes first – and that means that Klingon play must be balanced with Federation play. So yes, cloaking will have an advantage, but there is always a counter balance to that advantage. Birds of Prey can cloak in combat, but if you do, you have to drop your shields, and Birds of Prey are not the toughest ships in the fleet. There are also some skills and abilities that will help you detect cloaked ships.
FanBoy: What will happen when you "die"?
Well some people believe you go to heaven. Other believe we keep coming back over and over. In STO the death penalty is minor. On the ground you can wait to be revived from a Bridge Officer or another player, or choose to respawn at the last spawn point. In space you will lose some crewmen (not Bridge Officers), which you will eventually need to replace, and then respawn at the last spawn point.