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Star Trek Online - PC

Star Trek Online
  • Publisher: Atari
  • Genre:RPG, MMO
  • Developer: Cryptic Studios
  • Release Date:Feb 2, 2010
  • # of Players:1 player
  • ESRB:T - Teen (Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes)
  • Platforms:
Game Description:Set in the year 2409, Star Trek Online allows players to immerse themselves in the future of the Star Trek universe, exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations in an ever expanding vast universe. Command a starship as a Federation or a Klingon Captain, outfit it with custom systems and recruit, train and mold a crew into an elite force for exploration and combat. Missions take players into thrilling space battle, planetside for face-to-face combat and even inside starships.
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    3.6 / 5
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Star Trek Online Hands-On Preview
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Article_69027

Star Trek Online Hands-On Preview

By Morgan Webb - Posted Nov 11, 2009

Pick Me! I'll Boldly Go!

I need to be perfectly honest here, Cryptic Studios had me at "To Boldly Go." I grew up a Star Trek fan, and when I heard that an MMO was in the works, I rapidly set about the task of recruiting my friends to play Star Trek Online with me. I can't be a Starfleet captain without loyal officers, can I? Unfortunately I still have a little longer to wait before I get to take my ship for a spin, so until then I'll just have to be satisfied with the hands-on I got from Cryptic.



I'm a Born Leader

Star Trek Online would probably be more realistic if you started as an ensign and around level 20 finally moved up to transporter chief (probably the most useless job in the entire series). Cryptic knows, however, that we are not interested in being a low-ranking ethnic stereotype from the future, so everyone starts out as a starship captain, roaming the universe as master of a tiny pressurized domain. When you create your character, you have the option to either customize one of the known races, or create your own race with any number of forehead ridges and facial markings. Want a lizard-like neck frill and a bony occipital structure? It's yours, in a rainbow of colors. Then share your model with your friends so they can make a character of the same species. Your guild can be entirely populated by pink lizard people. I'm going to call them the Anoleans and you are all invited to join my species. Together we will take over the galaxy.

What may be a little confusing to people is that while you start out in command of a ship, you don't actually start out with the rank of captain. Instead of the standard numeric leveling system you will find in other MMOs, this leveling system is broken up into military ranks of 10 levels each. You are a lieutenant for 10 grades, up through the ten levels of admiral. It works the same as the leveling in other games, where you acquire talents and even access to new ships and crew as you level -- it's just the nomenclature that is different. Cryptic promises that there will be plenty of end-game content to keep the admirals happy.

Star Trek Online

Poor Worf

The game takes place 40 or so years after Star Trek: Nemesis, when the treaty between the Federation and the Klingons has broken down. You choose a side (OK, let's just be honest here and call them factions) and try to make your mark. Space combat is a tactical affair. You must keep your ship moving to spread damage taken over different parts of your shield, and you must position your ship so that weapons firing from the front or back will hit their intended target. You also have to monitor the amount of power available to each shield and boost it in an emergency. Your bridge crew, which you expand as you level, will also grant your ship special abilities, such as the ability to fire three photon torpedoes at once. The PvE battles I saw ranged from the simple takedown of two Klingon Birds of Prey to a pitched battle between my Galaxy class ship and a large battleship supported by a number of smaller vessels. I would have failed miserably if the developer hadn't jumped in to help me, as these space battles will take some skill and practice to get right. Especially since you are frantically trying to keep any one shield from taking too much damage.

There are a number of different ships available, from the Galaxy class (e.g. The Next Generation Enterprise) to small tactical ships, to science vessels, and everything in between. The different types of ships will give buffs of relative importance to different classes of characters, but as you level you will earn access to many different types of ships, so even if you are a science officer you can play with any type of ship you please. You can also choose from a number of different looks and paint jobs for each type of ship. There are so many cool options you may even feel compelled to stray from an exact replica of the ship from your favorite series.

Star Trek Online

Kirk vs. Picard

Captain Picard rarely went to the surface for an away mission, it put the captain in too much danger. Kirk always went, especially if there was a chance of first contact with an alien that looked even a little female. Your Star Trek Online character is old school in this respect: you lead away missions to ships and planets that can consist of up to 5 people. These 5 people can be any combination of real players and AI characters. For example, my buddy and I want to do a quest together, so he and I team up, he brings two tactical officers, and I bring along a medical officer in case any of them run off and get hurt. The ground combat is pretty fast-paced. You have a variety of weapons depending on class and preference, and some special and secondary attacks if the right opportunity presents itself and your enemy is open. Your bridge officers happily fight alongside you, blasting away at the Klingon scum (or Federation scum, if you're a Klingophile). If you are familiar with MMOs, you can think of your AI bridge officers as being similar to pets in other games. They help you on your battles and give you advantages both on and off the ship. Your crew is so important that Star Trek Online is mostly based around 5-man instances.

The Vast Emptiness of Space


Are you the only Trekkie among your friends? Don't worry if you can't get 5 people to play with you (though like me, you should start your campaign early, I'm recruiting fellow players through the wear-down theory). Your bridge officers seemed perfectly capable of helping you out of a bad situation, but in case they are a little thick, Cryptic will help you out. If you start an instance and a fellow captain is in the area right behind you, he may beam down into the same instance and you can tackle it together, and maybe you'll even make a friend. If your group is almost done with the instance, they'll give this Johnny-come-lately his own to start. This way you'll run into lots of other players and you'll overlap on the same part of a quest. That makes it a lot easier to help each other out.

If you're not interested in helping anyone out, you can of course set out to destroy them. What's an MMO without PvP? The Federation and the Klingon Empire sure do hate each other, and while PvP is not in effect everywhere, you can take out your aggression in the Neutral Zone or in battlegrounds.

Star Trek Online

To Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations

Star Trek is about exploration above all else, and while it would be impossible for the developers to make an infinite amount of content, it's not impossible for the computers. They can procedurally create novel systems and species to explore and meet so you'll never run out of places to...well...boldly go. The Anoleans are avid explorers, so I'll see you on the edge of the galaxy this February.

Comments are Closed

  • OzwaldZissou

    awesome super stoked for some online trekkin

    Posted: January 10, 2010 8:18 PM
    OzwaldZissou
  • BoydofZINJ

    I doubt anything will kill WOW. Frankly, I dont want WOW to die. It keeps the unwanteds in a place where no man should boldy go. (Bad pun) I hope this game does great - and will be a better version of EVE and online. The one thing I can not figure out is... the GUILD or CLAN issues...

    I would imagine you can not party with Klingons if your the Federationa nd vice versa. However, are there any guild or clan support in this MMO and how about large content and raids? Is it possible for a group of players (a clan or guild) to take over a sector of space for their "faction" ?

    Will there be invasions of Earth or Vulcan or Qo'noS?

    is it possible to gain sectors of space or lose them?

    Posted: November 16, 2009 4:08 PM
    BoydofZINJ
  • xplayfan1500

    I am surprised at you Morgan. I am a huge Star Trek fan too, and a long time pc gamer. So naturally I remember Starfleet Command 1,2,and 3. Star Trek has had a mixed past on the PC. S.T. Armada, Bridge Commander, Away Team, DS9 The Fallen, Voyager's FPS game(I forget the name, but remember how good it was?)

    Will they bring in any of the cool phenomenon from any of the series? How messed up would it be if you got caught in a time loop and your ship gets blown up every 8 minutes or so? Will Q drop by and nag you or send your ship to a distant part of the galaxy? Will you encounter time portals or things that make you go back in time to Earth's history? Will you find parallel planets? Come on I want to go to the gangster planet and do what Kirk wouldn't do.

    I think Star Trek Online won't be that good. Starship combat is fun, but can really get boring. Just flying around in circles, taking shots at another ship.ZZZZZZzzz. Yes it's cool to grind your way up to unlock bigger and cooler ships, but I'll be happy once I get the Defiant class ship. Rapid Fire Pulse Phaser Cannons ROCK, and she can run rings around the biggest starship. However will there be any strategy in the starship battles, can I hide in a nebula and ambush other ships? Since space is a 3-D enviroment can I use it all, or am I stuck on or around the same dimensional plane as my opponents? Can I use planets and asteriods to my advantage? Such as hiding from enemy sensors using the planet's magnetic poles or an strange mineral in an asteriod that can trick sensors?

    I know this comment is going long. My last concern is with the planetside combat. It seems very bland compared to other MMOs. You beam down, you explore, collect items and shoot others with your phasers. Star Trek doesn't have cool Force powers or the Spells from WOW. So what's the appeal of going down to a planet. Unless it's that gangster planet, or Roman ripoff planet, or the Nazi ripoff planet, or a planet where you beam down and get infected with a zombie virus and then you beam back up and your whole crew becomes zombies. But's it's that good kind of zombie that can still operate things, so you can take your USS Zombie around the galaxy creating chaos...

    Posted: November 15, 2009 9:53 AM
  • Datadude

    I have actually seen all the episodes of all the series, including the Animated Series and have moved on to the books and I love all of it. I am currently playing WoW and have vowed to quit as soon as I have STO. I am not your typical trekkie but am a huge fan. Can't wait for the game and I hope STO can live up to my expectations.

    Posted: November 14, 2009 9:33 PM
    Datadude
  • Zhumen

    I love Star Trek and other Scify but I have not yet heard enough yet to make my insides tingle. I hope more info about game mechanics and features come out soon. if it is all I hope for in one Game such as, "EVE" then I am all up for it. I like to see a Trek Economy like DS9, Federation Sabotage, and Borg encounters. Oooooo not to mention Trade systems and ship configurations. Please don't mess this game up. and keep out the spammers!

    Posted: November 13, 2009 3:46 PM
    Zhumen
  • AllyoftheForce

    Death to WoW

    Posted: November 13, 2009 1:09 PM
    AllyoftheForce
  • Croh

    Can't wait for this to be released. Have waited a long time for a Star Trek based MMO. Cheers.....

    Posted: November 12, 2009 5:03 PM
    Croh
  • temberwolf

    I have been waiting for this game ever since perpetual entertainment started development on it back in late 2004. I'm hoping the space combat will be similar to the SFC 1 and 2 or even better Klingon academy/bridge commander and not like SFC 3. I'm not saying SFC 3 was a bad game but it didn't hold true to the space combat I've come to love from the Star Trek series and movies. I'm also hoping the movement controls for ground combat won't be like Cryptic's City of Heroes where I felt like the controls sent me flying all over the place and not the direction I wanted, but will be more like a first person shooter with the option of third person view. Fall Out 3 is the game I have in mind for a good example. I guess I'll just have to wait for release and hope I get picked for beta testing. :D

    Posted: November 11, 2009 11:38 PM
    temberwolf
  • BigBuddyWill

    Can't wait for STO to come out.

    Posted: November 11, 2009 4:14 PM
    BigBuddyWill
  • deline

    I hope we can make lots of toons like in wow 10 per server and 50 per acc that be great. Also i be a Klingon because i am a Klingon.

    Posted: November 11, 2009 3:12 PM
    deline
  • rayken15

    looks cooler than I thought it would be. I may actually play this one. =)

    Posted: November 11, 2009 2:56 PM
    rayken15
  • drasham

    This game looks to be shaping up and I do look forward to it.

    Morgan:
    I'm sure that many of us would be very intrested in more info on player organizations, i.e. the guild equivilent, parties, and other social tools that will hopefully be present in the game.

    to PkrPlr4LIFE:
    I think it's inappropiate to try to comment on how you hope that it doesn't fall like "Star Wars Galaxies" which was devoloped by a different company in a difference game setting using different technology, without even stating what part or why.
    How many games have a growing fan base that's actually trying to re-engineer the server code base in order to play them again?

    Posted: November 11, 2009 1:03 PM
    drasham
  • PkrPlr4LIFE

    I personally can't wait for this game to come out. I have been watching Star Trek for years and have followed the series and the game waiting for them to come out. I feel confident in cryptic's abilities to handle this game which for so many people is going to be like a holy grail. This is the type of game Star Trek fans want. I can't wait for Feb.2nd 2010.

    The space combat seems like a lot of fun and seems to be played out the way it does in the show. I hope that the ground combat is just as entertaining.

    My biggest concern is that this game will fall like the original Star Wars Online did. I hope cryptic is able to make our dreams come true and waste lots of time.

    On another note we need another game like Star Trek Bridge Commander with the voice controls. I really enjoyed playing that game and wish that they would reboot or re do it with the new technology so you can really give your crew orders.

    P.S. Morgan if you really want to start a "guild" or whatever they are going to call it I'll be more than happy to join.

    Posted: November 11, 2009 12:18 PM
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