Star Trek Online Hands-On PreviewBy Billy Berghammer - Posted Sep 04, 2009
With Champions Online just released, Cryptic Studios is finally ready to let gamers get hands-on with its next MMO title, Star Trek Online. And here at PAX, the studio gave gamers their first taste of what their next MMO will be all about. Taking place 30 years after Star Trek Nemesis, everyone in the world creating a character will instantly become a Captain – either Starfleet or Klingon. No more slogging among the ranks – you’ll start commanding immediately which could make the game extremely interesting from the beginning.
The demo shown on the floor today demonstrated the new Episode style quest structure. In an episode there will be multiple acts followed by a finale – which Cryptic stated would take approximately 45 minutes to complete. Comparative to a long quest chain in other MMOs, this one started in space where I dropped my ship in the mix of three Klingons looking to char my tail. Users will have quite a bit of strategies to enter into a battle – tweaking shields to maximize beam weapons, or alternating which officers are seated on deck, which will differentiate buffs or weapons at your disposal. Since these space vessels are rather large combat wasn’t as fast paced as something like X-Wing or Wing Commander – but it was still exciting to blast apart some pesky Klingons. Plus when you take out a ship and their warp cores breach, the effect acts like an AOE attack and can affect other enemies nearby.
After finishing off the space threats, word came that a new Klingon base was being built, and it was time to beam down a team to investigate and dispose of any nuisances. Ground combat is mainly centralized around three attacks – primary, alternate attack, and physical attack – and in my case was made up of a phaser shot, a phaser stun, and a rifle butt. After dispatching the Klingon forces, the finale returned us back to the guardian planet for even more ground combat. Overall the ground combat felt pretty tight, and while I can assume our characters were a little top heavy in regards to balance, the gameplay was fun – albeit short.
While it’s tough to demo an MMO in a short time span at a show like PAX, Star Trek Online is showing some promise. Starting as a Captain is very smart, and although there won’t be numerical levels, advancing through the ranks to Admiral status is going to be interesting. Even though we only got a taste, I’m looking forward to Cryptic not being so secretive about PvP combat, and what it will be like to play as the Klingons. Star Trek fans should keep this game on their radars.