STO Klingons require unlocking - Cryptic

Joined by Romulans, Cardassians later.

Cryptic Studios has told Eurogamer that the playable Klingon faction in Star Trek Online will be locked initially, but once open, offer a very different style of advancement to the Federation.

"The Klingon gameplay will unlock, but not deep in the game - it will take several hours to unlock the ability to create a Klingon player," Craig Zinkievich, executive producer on STO, told us.

He explained that playing Klingon will be "drastically different" to playing Federation, and lack "the full-on story-driven" questing. This may sound similar to Monster Play in Lord of the Rings Online - which opens at level 10 and offers a 'bad' faction for 'good' avatars to war with - but the Klingons will offer more.

"We'll be offering full-on character advancement: you will create a Klingon player, you will have his ship, he will level up," he said.

"The content that they will be experiencing is a lot more focused on PvP - fighting the Federation, fighting House versus House within the Klingon empire. So it is a full-on character with advancement, with items, with bridge officers as well. So it's a lot more than the Monster Play."

The two sides - Klingon and Federation - will work together at times, too - resolving larger issues or battles. Plus, the Federation will have its own 'good' Klingons: "you can't really make a Star Trek game these days without allowing people to live out their Worf fantasy," admitted Zinkievich. But on the whole, he added, they are a "strong, bad arc" throughout the Star Trek Online experience.

They won't be alone for long, however, as Cryptic has earmarked "plenty" of factions earmarked for future inclusion.

"As we developed the game we made a list of all the races, all the different factions people want to play: the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassians will come back - there's a huge number who want to play as them, but not within the Star Fleet, not within the Federation," said Zinkievich. "So, plenty of different factions that can be and will be added after launch."

That launch will be early next year, following an open beta several weeks beforehand.

Head over to our full interview with Cryptic's Craig Zinkievich to find out a lot more about Star Trek Online.

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