star trek online

Star Trek Online Goes Free-To-Play

I enjoyed playing Star Trek Online and think giving a Free-To-Play option is a good move.  Along with many fans, Eric and I played Star trek Online when it first came out.  It's huge fun for fans of Star Trek and those who like getting into the story of the game.  They did a great job with ongoing story and an evolving galaxy.

As an MMO player my hardest choice is picking which MMO to pay a monthly subscription for to play.  I find with more offering free play options I can go back and forth between them and then paying for the one that I am mainly playing at that point in time.  After all there are those times when one wants to swing a sword and cast spells and other times when the mood strikes and piloting a Prometheus class ship into combat against a Klingon bird of prey sounds like a blast.  This option also allows those unsure about getting into the game a way to try it out and make an informed choice, aka get hooked.

Cryptic will not restrict the play for the free-to-play options which is smart.  In other words both options will get to level up to maximum level, explore the whole galaxy, join fleets (aka guilds), enter into pvp which is a lot of fun in STO, and have access to all of the classes. 

The main difference between the free-to-play option and the subscribers is the conviences and perks that does not have main game play impact.  For instance subscribers will get more storage slots for items and credits, create fleets, have more character slots and additional bridge officer slots, and vet rewards.

I hope this move will allow Star Trek Online to continue and to bring back some of those players who had to make the hard choice and left.

Star Trek Online Mission Play

Star Trek Online
Image via Wikipedia

Good news about the development of Star Trek Online and hope for game play.

Episodes within Star Trek: Online are meant to let the player feel as if they’re playing an episode of Star Trek itself. The writers and developers of the game went though over seven hundred Star Trek television episodes before sitting down and writing their own for the game.

First, I like that they are calling missions episodes.  That is very inspiring.  Secondly, requiring the writers and developers to watch and be familiar with the shows is a big plus too but did they get the spirit of the show?

Included in the episodes are themes, dialog and dramatic moments, all designed to “look, feel and play like Star Trek."

I really like that they are going to set up the game play more like an episode of Star Trek.  What they have to say about the use of drama and including 3 "seasons" each containing 14 episodes of play at the start is inspiring.  I still have some questions though.

  • Will each episode include in some moral, ethical question or social exploration of the human condition that was at the heart of all Star Trek?
  • Will the missions assignment have some means of randomness or include in random missions so that the game does not come across as playing through a linear storyline?

(via TrekToday)

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Star Trek Online's History from 2379-2380

Kestral has posted the history from 2379-2380 on the Star Trek Online Official Site.  The post tells the story from the end of Star Trek Nemesis to game start focusing on the other races, particularly the Cardassians and the events in the Federation itself. 

I wish it was written more as a story and less as a timelkine, but it is still interesting.

Star Trek Online Details Revealed

startrekonline We have finally seen Star Trek Online, and while they shared a lot of good information, I don’t think they showed nearly enough gameplay footage. Before we get into the details, I have to say that I am encouraged by the amount of knowledge Cryptic showed about setting and types of stories that are told in the Star Trek series, but the arrogance of the team and the fact that they brought up the nerfing of characters in their first release of gameplay footage worries me.  Grant it, the comments where made in jest, but I am uncomfortable with any developer talking about who to blame for messing up a game while that game is still in development.  I can only hope they will stay true to the vision they laid out and not sacrifice the setting and the story in a vain grasp for popular appeal.

Game Development

Developers Must Watch Series

Cryptic made it mandatory for all of the developers to watch at least one entire series of Star Trek.  They are mining the series and the books to provide detail to the setting as well as inspiration to guide gameplay systems.

Built on the Champions Engine

Star Trek Online is being built on the Champions Online (available in April) game engine.  As soon as they got the license, they began building content and in-game systems.  Once Champions Online comes out we will have a better idea whether this is a blessing or a curse.

Game Takes place Post Star Trek Nemesis

Star Trek Online will take place after the events of Star Trek Nemesis.  Relations with the Klingons are breaking down, and the Federation is in a state of turmoil.  The developers are using the books and series for setting information, especially for information regarding the state of the galaxy after the film.  The films and series are considered hard canon, while the books are considered soft canon.

Windows Only on Release

Cryptic will not have a Linux or Mac version on first release , but left the window open for future version.  They are planning to release the game in less than three years.

Graphics and Requirements

The animations in the game are going to be hand drawn rather than relying on motion capture.  Having played City of Heroes/City of Villains, I am encourage by this.  Any company that can make superheroes look and act naturally in the setting should not have much trouble with aliens and starships.

The game will be playable on as may  computers as possible so, like World of Warcraft, it will be playable on laptops as well as towers without requiring an expensive overhaul of your gaming system.


startrekonline_planet Character and Ship

Every player will be the captain of their own ship.

Play as one of the classic races or create your own with what was described as a City of Heroes style character designer which will give the player many customizable features.

Captains will have a specialty: science, tactical, navigation, diplomacy, or medical.

Gameplay will be squad based.  Each captain will recruit NPC staff they will bring with them on away missions with their own skills and talents.  They will effect away missions, and possibly even the ships stats.  Control over the away teams will be more like City of Villains than City of Heroes where the captain will be able to issue orders and have them carried out.  Players will be able to recruit staff from the races they encounter.

Star Trek Online will not be a level based MMO.  The abilities will be determined by the crew and new ships will be earned as a character gains renown.

The exteriors and interiors of Ships will be customizable.  Within the parameters of the ships class, each vessel will be customizable.   Even the bridge, engineering sections, medical, and holodecks.  I wish they would have said more about the holodecks.

Missions and Tours of Duty

Star Fleet or the Klingon High Council will issued players tours of duty.  In the way this was described, it sounds like you might also receive random distress calls as well as making first contact with randomly generated races.

The Borg or the Tholians will randomly invade. I presume this will be handled like a Rikti in City of Heroes.

Cryptic is planning several style of mission for varied gameplay:

  • Combat
  • Exploration
  • Science
  • Diplomatic

I hope they do not make these noncombat missions into nothing more than running  around clicking on things.  The possibilities are endless if they take advantage of them.

Groups and Guilds

Players can team up in task forces to work on missions together.  They can also band together into fleets.  Fleets are required to have:

  • Star Bases
  • Ship Yards
  • Resource Gathering.

Player v Player

Star Trek Online will not be a PVP centric game.  At launch, PVP will be between the Klingons and the Federation.


Cryptic hopes have the game take place on a single server so everyone will play in the same world.

I hope to get into the beta, and I wonder if we should start recruiting for the fleet now.

Leonard Nimoy to Announce Star Trek Online Footage

startrekonline_alphaquadrant I am counting down the days until the webcast from the Roddenburry Theater on Sunday, August 10 at 1:30 PDT, and now the wait pulls on me more than ever:

We are thrilled to announce that legendary Star Trek actor and director Leonard Nimoy will be our special guest at the reveal of the first gameplay footage from Star Trek Online! (STO)

I can see it now, Nimoy’s legendary voice narrating the adventures displayed on the screen.  I only hope they are not bringing him in just to say, “Roll tape”  or “May Star Trek Online live long and prosper.

If you just can’t wait…

Get the original 1971 ASCII-based adventure here (thanks to Geekend)