Diplomatic, exploration and scientific gameplay can occur in both gameplay modes, ground and space.
svetzBowman: What are the career paths and how will they play differently from one another?
There are 3 major professions that new players can select when they start a new character in STO, Tactical, Science and Engineer. These are very broad categories that have many different gameplay types within each.
One Tactical officer might choose a bunch of security skills and focus on defending your allies with abilities like Security Team, a power that beams down a few redshirts to guard a target. Another Tactical officer might specialize in Special ops abilities and will use their stealth module power to ensure they are always in position to maximize their flanking damage.
Each profession has a variety of specializations within it that will affect how each captain approaches a given encounter. Players are also free to experiment with abilities from multiple specializations within a profession so it almost impossible to say "tactical captains play like this" because we wanted to make sure to give players choice in how they built their captains.
Iaquinta: Can we swap friends out for Bridge officers as our ground crew?
Hey two questions from you! Is that allowed? (Yep, when they're good! -Editor)
Absolutely! This is one of the most exciting parts about ground play. If you are teamed and an episode sends you to a ground map you will beam down with the other player captains.
If you are in a group with less than 5 player captains the team leader will choose who gets to assign their bridge officers to the remaining slots on the away team.
curiousorange: Will there be wolves and will I be asked to kill 10 of them?
There won't be wolves but there are future space wolves and they bite pretty hard once they get their heads out of their breathing helmets .
There are some smaller patrol missions that can be seen as "go kill n number of these bad guys" but they are not the focus of the PvE content in STO.
The Episodes are where most players will spend the majority of their time doing PvE content and that content is very much not the "go here and click on N number of objects" type quests. Episodes in STO will send players to many different locations and have them do a variety of different tasks all within a single gameplay session.
Funnystuffz: Is it true that you are using the Champions Online programming for events such as being knocked off your feet etc? Will the animations be changed to not be a direct clone?
Star Trek Online and Champions Online are both developed on the Cryptic Engine, a proprietary MMO engine developed in house at Cryptic Studios, so by definition the two products share a lot of the same core features.
A huge advantage to working here at Cryptic has been the fact that we use the same engine across all of our games. We are able to have a designer mock up a whole bunch of ground combat features and assign the design some visuals, animations for example, before there was any direct animation support on the project. This allows us to get the game up and running a lot faster than we would be otherwise able to.
So to answer your question it is possible that at one point the animation that you saw in a screenshot or video was a identical to something that was in Champions Online but it will not look that way in the final game.
svetzBowman: Elaboration on how "found" items will be used in regards to increase knowledge? For example, does this mean there's some disassembly skill that will allow us to modify weapons or build better tricorders? If so, will we be able to share schematics with fleet members?
When players explore new systems and planets they might find some things like "alien artifacts" or "unknown alloys". Players can then take these objects to Memory Alpha, the central archive of knowledge for the Federation, to help the researchers there.
As players continue to help the researchers they can eventually unlock new equipment or merge one of their Starfleet compression rifles with one of these alien alloys and create something new and even more potent.
jrargalis: Can you use telepathy as an attack if you create a species with it or create a species in star trek that already has telepathy?
There are a set of abilities that we call species traits. When you pick a Vulcan for example you will receive by default the Logical trait which offers resistance to mental abilities such as confuse or placate. If you create a race that you want to have some telepathic abilities you can choose the Telepathic trait which might help you detect stealthed enemies.
There are tons of traits that players can experiment with to really make their species unique.
Super Healer: Are we restricted on where and when we beam down to a planet? For example can we fly to some random far off planet and beam down to the planet for no other reason than curiosity, or are we only able to leave the ship in strict quest lines or episodes. I really hope the universe feels big (like Eve) and not claustrophobic with barriers about where you can go (unlike the real universe!). Space is big, it should feel that way!
This question seems to have 2 big issues wrapped up in it so I'll try to separate them out for some clarity.
Beaming down to planets will be restricted to places that have points of interest on them. However, this does not mean that it will only be available for quest lines and episodes. There will be plenty of systems that can be beamed to that are just for social and other reasons. You can imagine meeting up at the Pon Farr pits on Vulcan with your friends or just checking out the beaches of Risa if you are in the mood to just chill.
The universe of STO spans many many sectors and even sends players beyond the alpha quadrant, add in time travel and players will definitely feel like they are visiting all kinds of different places. Another thing to remember is that space is deep as well as wide, so you might find a star cluster that doesn't move its location but offers countless systems for players to explore.