Star Trek Online Revealed

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This weekend marked one of the many dozen Star Trek conventions held around the world. The Hilton Las Vegas hosted this event put on by Creation Entertainment and quickly became a rare opportunity to see aliens gambling. By the way, Klingons are apparently slots players, Ferengi stick to craps.

Media Geeks was there to get a glimpse at Cryptic Studio’s latest Massively Multiplayer Online game based on the Trek franchise, Star Trek Online. STO marks the fourth big film franchise in recent memory to become an MMO, following Star Wars, The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean. Star Trek Online makes use of the Champions Online MMO engine, a follow up title to Cryptic’s City of Heroes and City of Villains games.

Spock himself, onhand for the show (promoting Paramount’s upcoming prequel), introduced the game as “The future of Star Trek” putting the series into the fans’ hands. Nimoy introduced Cryptic’s creative director who detailed the universe before unveiling actual gameplay footage to the convention audience and via live webcast of the event.

The game encompasses three primary aspects: combat, exploration and economy. New players immediately become starship captains belonging to one of two (so far) factions: Starfleet or Klingon. The game’s timeframe takes place following Star Trek: Nemesis, in 2409, and the once friendly species are no longer so friendly. Even as captain, players will lean towards certain career traits, like military, science, medical, etc… Building a command crew will be similar to owning ‘pets’ from other MMOs. Limited control over their AI will be granted, but jumping into specific shoes of a security officer just won’t happen. A general crew, jokingly referred to as ‘red shirts’, will also be at the player’s control, though they act more as a symbol of level or status than actual integral NPCs.

Each faction will be given missions handed down from a central command and will include combat and security, first contact and diplomacy goals. Players can conceivably discover new technology and new alien races to {ahem} assimilate into their own starships as new assets. Cryptic assured the audience that they would be sticking to existing Trek canon like glue, after having researched the multitude of films, television shows, books and comics even to the point of having a Trek expert writer on staff to keep them focused on authenticity.

That’s not to say customization has been tossed out. Like the “City of” titles, STO gives players a myriad of avatar customization options as well as ship customization (decals, configuration) within limits. Plus, part of what makes the MMO market so popular are the player organize guilds. In the STO universe guilds take the form of Fleets, and Cryptic promises that many missions will require fleets working together to complete. A quick read at the Cryptic online forums shows fleets already recruiting despite the title’s lack of a release date.

At a glance, Star Trek Online already looks like a contender among MMOs, especially with a thriving built in fan-base, just not necessarily one to dethrone World of Warcraft. Even so, it looks to be the most unique Star Trek experience this side of Will Shatner’s ‘singing’. Here’s the trailer:

Christopher Kirkman

Christopher is an old school nerd: designer, animator, code monkey, writer, gamer and Star Wars geek. As owner and Editor-In-Chief of Media Geeks, he takes playing games and watching movies very seriously. You know, in between naps.

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