Star Trek Online Preview - 18/08/08

Trek fans have been waiting quite some time for news on this PC and console MMORPG for which development was taken over from Perpetual Entertainment by City of Heroes and Villains devs Cryptic Studios. Can the game live up to the fans’ expectations?

With the recent large-scale reveal of the game for the first time under Cryptic at the Official Star Trek Convention including the first gameplay footage, an FAQ has surfaced giving detailed features and information regarding the game. This preview aims to summarise these and suggest how they will materialise in the final version of the game, set for release in under three years, according to the co-founder of Cryptic.

The game is an MMORPG as stated, and is set in the epic universe of Star Trek. The game is located around 30 years after the tenth Trek film, Star Trek Nemesis, in 2409. Technology has moved on and the universe is in strife. Cryptic have designed everything for the game from the ground up, and while Perpetual's concept art has been used, they are keen to emphasise a much smoother development process from within. Main features include the characters and ships of the Klingon Empire and the Federation. Playable races however should include Human, Vulcan, Andorian, Klingon, Orion, Gorn and more (Borg can, for example, be spotted in the gameplay trailer). Cryptic also say we'll be able to make our own innovatively foreheaded races with their own attributes and looks. Gameplay will take place on planets, in space, and on board ships. It looks pretty epic so far, while obviously still in the midst of development.

It sounds cracking in principle,

The economy of the game has also been outlined. With no currency in the Federation, trade and economics will take the form of Ferengi-like bartering of goods. Other forms like reputation may also play a part in a form of 'economy'. Expect territory and frictions over resources to be the most frequent contributor to this sphere of the game.

Something which has been a little unclear so far is just how far wide ranging the rank system will be. Cryptic have said that every player will be a Captain but they have since clarified that this does not restrict roles as much as one might think. In Star Trek a Captain is anyone in command of a vessel (even if that is not their technical rank), and they can have completely different roles, jobs and attributes. Examples are given: 'Consider Jean-Luc Picard, Beverly Crusher, Worf and Kathryn Janeway. Picard was an archeologist and diplomat, Crusher was a doctor, Worf a security/tactical officer, and Janeway was a scientist. Each eventually chose a career in command and became ship captains.' They know their stuff! While you will begin the game on a smaller vessel, the ultimate aim is to choose a career path (Engineer, Tactical Officer, Doctor and Science Officer are the ones mentioned so far) which will affect how you organise and command your vessel and its crews, and earn a good reputation and more responsibility through your exploits to be able to command larger vessels. No restrictions on vessel types depending on your career path will occur.

Travelling to the far reaches of the galaxy is going to be great.

Star Trek Online should be accessible to any MMO or Sci-Fi fans, rather than Trekkers only. There will be great depths of Star Trek lore for those looking for it, but the game won't barrage you with technical references and unfathomably complicated linguistics unless you want it to. References to all the films and back catalogue will be there that will satisfy 'even the most devout Trek fan'.

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