Star Trek Online lead designer Al Rivera has told CVG that exploration will play a rather large part in the upcoming MMO.
As a matter of fact, there will be Star Clusters to explore where you can discover a new system, participate in non-combat missions or give you an opportunity to engage in battle. You can also acquire a new Bridge Officer if the exploration pays off, and these officers are more than “just pets”.
“These systems are procedurally generated, so there are endless planets and worlds to explore,” said Rivera. “Some of the systems you discover will have combat and others some will have non-combat missions. Many involve acquiring and delivering certain commodities like industrial replicators or medical supplies. There are also thousands of points of interest throughout space and on planet surfaces that can be scanned.
“You can bring this data back to planet Memory Alpha. Collect the right data, and you may learn how to create something new, or you may peak the interest of a prominent Bridge Officer who may offer to join your crew.
“What you can expect is that your Bridge Officers will often work something like mission Contacts. For instance, if you fly by a spatial anomaly, your science officer may speak up and say he detected some unusual activity, and prompt you to explore it.
“We want the majority of the content to be delivered in this manor so your Bridge Officers seem more alive than just pets.”
Game’s out in February.