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Star Trek Online Preview

Blake_Morse By:
Blake_Morse
12/15/09
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE MMORPG 
PLAYERS 1- 999 
PUBLISHER Atari 
DEVELOPER Cryptic Studios 
RELEASE DATE 12/31/2069
T Contains Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

To boldly go where no MMO has gone before.


Space, the final frontier…I’m sorry I had to do it. How many times in my life will I get to use that in such perfect context as this? I have come from the year 2409 to bring you news of Star Trek Online and its impending release to the masses of gamers on the interwebs. The upcoming MMORPG has had Trekkies mumbling and speculating since its announcement and now with its release only months away, Cryptic is finally letting some details leak out of the reactor core.

click to enlargeIt's been thirty years since the events of the last Star Trek film. As some of you may recall, it ended with the universe being all peaceful and lovey-dovey between species. But it seems that without Jean-Luc around to keep bitches in check, diplomatic relations have taken a turn for the worse. Those wacky, forehead-looks-like-an-STD Klingons have seceded from the Galactic Federation and are back to their war-mongering ways, which makes for a much better video game setting than peace throughout the cosmos. I mean, who wants to go on a five-year mission to seek out new lifeforms and hug them?

Hell no! I wanna blow up some Romulan war vessels with some photon torpedoes and vaporize Cardassians with a phaser. And that’s exactly what you can expect from this game. Action takes place in both spaceship battles and on away team missions. Space combat is spot-on, exactly what you would hope for. Your deflector shields and those of your enemies are broken into four quadrants, which should make positioning key in battles. After you wear down an opponent’s shields with some lasers, you can start blasting away at the hull with torpedoes for a nice zero-g fireworks display.

click to enlargeAlong the way, you’ll have help from your own custom NPC bridge crew. They're essentially pets who give your ship various attributes and have their own set of unique skills on the ground as well; a science officer, for example, may give your shields a boost or maybe carry some grenades on foot. Think of it as getting your own pet Diana Troy or Spock to do with as you see fit. If you don’t have any friends with you to do away missions, your bridge crew will take up the empty slots. And since they can be killed, only knocked unconscious, no one has to wear the red shirt.

Ground combat is more of a traditional MMO set-up but with the addition of a very Halo-esque shield component. Your actual health won’t recharge and you can still be knocked out, but it does add some run-and-gun style action. Overall, there should be about 80 hours' worth of episodic content that will have you visiting some places that should be familiar to anybody who’s watched any of a long list of Star Trek incarnations.

But since it takes place 30 years after the last film, don’t expect to go bar hopping with Kirk and Ryker for some strange green tail. Still, intergalactic players like those two are bound to have some kids floating around in space somewhere, so you might run into some folk’s relatives or next of kin along the way. You can also expect 100 hours of algorithmic exploration content, which is a fancy way of saying randomly generated dungeons - well, dungeons in space - and PvP content as well.

click to enlargeCustomization is going to play a big role in just about everything you do, starting with the creation of your Federation Captain avatar. You can make him/her/it any number of pre-existing Trek species or create your own new race of beings. Did you make penis-monsters in Spore? This is your chance to make that race whose heads oddly resemble genitalia that you've always dreamed about. Once you've created your virtual Janeway or Jean-Luc, it's time to put them behind the helm of their very own wessels. You'll be able to customize  your own version of the Enterprise with every detail down to the windows at your discretion, and some big, fat spinning rims.

Star Trek Online is looking to deliver the quintessential MMO for hardcore fans and those of us who sometimes catch Star Trek reruns on Spike TV late at night and enjoy a good space adventure. Look for it to launch February 2, 2010 on PCs throughout the universe.
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