Star Trek Online Updated Impressions

Cryptic's massively multiplayer sci-fi adventure is getting closer to launch, and we checked it out at GamesCom.

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Set in the year 2409 (Stardate circa 86645.315), Star Trek Online kicks off 30 years after the events in Star Trek Nemesis, in the prime timeline rather than in the new timeline created by the events in the 2009 Star Trek film. Things aren't good in the 25th century: the Khitomer Accords have been broken, and the Federation and Klingon Empire are at war. To make matters worse, the Borg have returned to wreak havoc on the Alpha Quadrant.

Every person plays the role of a starship captain in Star Trek Online. You can take control of a Federation or Klingon Defense Force vessel, along with three bridge officers. "It's all about being a captain. That's the game we wanted to make," said executive producer Craig Zinkievich. Star Trek Online was granted an official licence from Star Trek owner CBS, and Zinkievich said the goal with the game was to "make it feel like the TV shows and movies," and from what we saw at GamesCom, it's on its way to achieving that goal.

The mission we saw involved ferrying a Vulcan ambassador to a monastery. En route our ship was hailed by several Klingon ships, who warned us that the ambassador was an evil shape-shifter and that we would need to beam him over to them, or die. Despite the immediate hostilities, the environment looked rather peaceful with our ship floating blissfully around the class-M planet and through a nearby asteroid field. In our intergalactic journey, we also saw some beautiful nebulae and planetary bodies in deep yellow and purple colours. At subwarp impulse speed, you can just coast along and take in all of the sights; however, when travelling at warp speed, you view the galaxy from an astrometric grid view. Despite being able to fly through space at warp speed, the Federation ships aren't particularly zippy with impulse power. Zinkievich explains that these are massive warships with more than 100 crew members, and space combat should reflect the size and scope of these awesome ships.

There are quite a few things to keep you occupied during the heat of battle. For a start, you can move energy from auxiliary systems to the weapons systems and shields. An icon around your ship is split into four quadrants, and these represent your front, rear, and side shields. The quadrants will visually display how weak or strong they are, and you can bolster a sector if you're taking a beating from any particular direction. At your disposal are forward-facing photon torpedoes and forward- and rear-facing phaser arrays. While the torpedo arc is only 90 degrees, the phaser arcs are much wider, and if you're able to broadside an enemy, you can use the front and rear arrays together for a more powerful attack.

In addition to shields and weapons, you'll be occupied with your ship's throttle and power levels and with commanding your bridge officers. You have access to multiple officers, but you can use only three at once. Each one has its own skills and abilities, so you need to take the right ones into battle. Zinkievich said one of his favourite tactics is to have his science officer use a tacyon beam to knock out an enemy's shields, and then use his tactical officer to destroy the craft with torpedoes. After taking care of the Klingon ships, we discovered that some of the Klingons had beamed down to the surface to attack the monastery, and we beamed down to follow them.

Away teams can carry two weapons. Our character had a phaser pistol and a rifle, so he could stun or kill. The phaser's visual effects look great, and we could see the air sizzle around the solid beam of hot energy. In addition to standard weapons, you can unlock other weapons depending on which faction and type of character you play as. One such weapon we saw was a stasis field, which was used to freeze one of the Klingons. You'll also unlock more-powerful weapons later in the game, and we're told these will be one of the bigger rewards.

Star Trek Online is shaping up to be a Trekkie's dream, with plenty of space and on-foot battles, plenty of diplomatic and research missions, and plenty of customisation of both the character and vehicles in the game. We look forward to spending more time in the Alpha Quadrant before the game is released, although that current stardate is unknown.

Discussion

76 comments
Dutchbutler
Dutchbutler

Like many others i am quietly optimistic ... hopefully it will turn out to be awesome! Any word if it is going to hit the PS3, or is it another Microsoft exclusive (PC / 360)

Lostat
Lostat

As the comment below, is this game confirmed for the 360? If so then ace! I have a laptop PC but would need to buy a new PC to run this game, so if I can play it on my 360 instead, on my HD TV then that would be fantastic for me.

InuHanyou1701
InuHanyou1701

Might be my first MMO... too bad it will have a monthly fee tho. That's what will keep me away. Is it really going to be on the 360 as well? The official website had a question regarding cross over PC and console gameplay (which went unanswered) in the FAQs but it's been removed now. =(

nevryn
nevryn

Few things here. First off this "update" is pretty vague and leaves out a ton. You can find out a heck of a lot more by visiting the game's site. For instance, the ability to make your alien look like whatever you want. Also, I'd like to point out that it's Cryptic making the game. For those of you that don't know, they made the original City of Heroes/Villians and more recently Champions Online that just released. As a result, based on previous games, this game is likely to be focused on player customization. So getting to design your own races, and hopefully your own ships. As for comparison to EVE, first off, EVE is just evil. I've played the game for over 2 years now off and on and really it potentially one of the most difficult MMOs to learn and play (for instance pvp losses are FAR greater than pve losses for death which is opposite of most MMOs) plus the game itself is complicated as hell (there's a nice graphic that shows the learning curve you can look up with google). Cryptic is all about ease of playing and catering more to the casual niche gamer rather than your hardcore WoW player (or EVE player) so most likely will not be much like EVE at all. Plus they mention in the article and the website there are ground missions, which EVE never had even close to. Overall I think the game will be much different from EVE for better or for worse. Only time (and beta testers) will tell if it actually is fun.

dprintz
dprintz

"It's all about being a Captain"? This guy doesn't understand Star Trek at all. If I wanted to be piloting a starship and fighting space battles I could just play Eve Online (which I do). I want to *get into character* - which means on-planet walking around, it means on-station interactions, sure blast salt-monsters, etc., but this game would be better riffing off of LotRO or Wow than going space-battle on us. I not a fan of Star Wars, but I'm more inspired by what I've heard about the KotOR MMO than this Star Trek attempt.

dbgoodin
dbgoodin

Can't wait, although I would like to have a choice of races such as Klingon, Ferengi or Cardassian

Neogenic
Neogenic

@ WarLokk1980 Hate to bring it to you, but there will almost allways be a monthly fee for these type of games. Most new MMO's have monthly fees to enable adequate server space & game development. This game seems to be shaping up pretty good. Hope it will stand up to the competition, also coming out that year.

Neogenic
Neogenic

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jabadahut12
jabadahut12

i dont even see how this this will be played

WarLokk1980
WarLokk1980

I realy do hope that their won't be a subscription charge. After all this is the pc we're talking about! Does anyone remember Microsoft charging pc users to use their Games for Windows Live service? Microsoft abolished that so I can't see this game costing in the £30 region and then having to shell out more. If it does cost extra to play I'll pay up but don't expect me to be happy about it. Nevertheless I'm waiting for this game with great anticipation and be sprinting to my local GAME store on release.

RadPie
RadPie

This is either going to be a huge hit a monster miss for me, I will try it out, but it'll be interesting to see how it turns out

OmegaFurion
OmegaFurion

Woohoo!! I can't wait to boldly go where no one has gone before with this game. They have not been able to make a solid Star Trek game that engages (pardon the pun) me since Bridge Commander. I think this one definitely will. : )

gravrdr
gravrdr

"There are quite a few things to keep you occupied during the heat of battle. For a start, you can move energy from auxiliary systems to the weapons systems and shields. An icon around your ship is split into four quadrants, and these represent your front, rear, and side shields. The quadrants will visually display how weak or strong they are" What about the Ventral and Dorsal shields?? All of the "new" 'Trek game producers should take a very detailed look at how Klingon Academy Handled ship to ship combat. No other Star Trek game has ever come close. Capt. Hughes IKS GraveDigger Klingon Academy Release Region: United States Release Date: June 15, 2000 Publisher: Interplay

anubite_gozen
anubite_gozen

I personally am unsure of this game, when the announcements first appeared about a Star Trek MMO. I was concerned coz at that time Eve online was a couple of years old and it was quite popular, and that STO would be just like eve with a Star trek Skin but i will hold judement till STO has arrived. I do not wish to start a riot but its irelevent when a game has come out or what its name is, a game is a game and its either good or it isnt.

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

Firstly, I just facepalmed more times in a second than I thought possible. Secondly, for the laymen still wondering what my original "EVE vs. STO" comment was, I'm going to explain it to you in simple, easy-to-understand terms. The preview up there sounded a lot like a game that has already been invented (ie. EVE Online). Thus my comment was a facetious comparison between the two games. I hope the confusion has been resolved. EDIT: Just to add on that because I just *know* someone will mention it - I'm not comparing the two franchises. So don't even start.

Lordloveflaps
Lordloveflaps

would be yummy if you could level up your own officers and customise them up some..

plague513
plague513

I cant wait for this game! Eve online? please do not make such awful comparisons.

agathalynn
agathalynn

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

agathalynn
agathalynn

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

There better be a fee for it infact im pretty sure they said there will be & it will be around the same price as other games during a conference they did (think its on there website), trust me F2P games are the worst games on the face of the planet. Much *infinity rather pay £10/month than pay nothing & have to spend £2-3 per item + event items like "boxs" that give random items for £2 a pop, anything from a health pot to a bazooka. are there fave tactic for ripping money out of peoples hands. as for being a £30 & your done game, i can promise right now it wont be. (MMO's cant run like that)

WarLokk1980
WarLokk1980

I know Toggy, Star Trek came out in the 60's and a lot of Sci-Fi was influenced by it. I'm looking forward to this game and on a side note I never got into Eve Online. Back on topic I really hope Star Trek Online doesn't charge a fee for playing.

Toggy
Toggy

lol at anyone calling Star Trek a knock-off to any modern idea today................... I cannot believe my eyes.... Star Trek.... knock-off something made in the 21st century................................ ahhhh eyes bleeding..

Ciot
Ciot

@DarthPlush In fact it is an old knock-off copy of star trek bridge commander. not from EVE Online. EVE Online is newer then bridge commander so that will make EVE Online an mmo-version of startrek bridge commander. i'm sorry to crush your comment that you didn't do some research first before you placed a senseless comment.

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

@Blank2k2 Firstly, it isn't a review, it's a preview, and from what they're telling us, it's looking like a knock-off copy of EVE Online only with Star Trek printed on the box. Sorry that you didn't quite grasp the concept.

TheCyberKnight
TheCyberKnight

I have high hopes for this game. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

100starz
100starz

I remember i was looking forward to this game six years ago. It's been taking so long i don't care anymore.

hort_wort
hort_wort

I'm going with the people saying it's *not* all about the captains on this one. I'd rather be a crew member any day. People can go where they want in shuttlecrafts, but team up to man starships. Requiring 3ish real live people to control a starship wouldn't be too much to ask, and it'd add a lot to the game IMO. I want to be the guy sprinting to the warpcore while the ship is in combat, not sitting there clicking a "fire torpedoes" button.

punisher41542o
punisher41542o

sithravage is on the money. star takes place on the ship as much as off the ship. wut is star trek with out data and the captains interactions. wut is star trek without kirk and bones messin with spock on the bridge. i mean that is the whole point of star trek. ship life with adventures off an on the ship. I dont know if the game will suck because of the lack of on ships interaction but it will be lacking for sure.

sithravage
sithravage

Does anyone agree that Star Trek universe doesn't only take place outside the hull of a ship? I want to see the inside of my ship, the bridge, ten forward, sickbay, my own captains quarters! what the hell is this game about? Star Trek is not just about captains! its about the interaction of the crew which doesn't mean npc's! This game is going to suck I am so sad...they forgot to build the inside of the ship! People want to play together on the same ship in an MMO! At least I do! What the hell another sucky Star Trek game...kinda like when Star Wars Galaxies forget to include spaceships when it first launched!

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

I just saw DarthPlush's post and had to reply, did he read the review at all? EVE Online... Star Trek Online.... absolutely nothing alike in any way what-so-ever. There's always one.

Mickeyminime
Mickeyminime

i would rather it be an online team mission, like elite force etc. You and other players work together to reach the opjectives, or if your team get scattered in different parts of the game, and you have to work your way to get together. but sadly not everyone gets what they want :(

Genexus
Genexus

SOOOO much potential...lets see what happens :)

jfolds1
jfolds1

I'd rather have 50 people in 50 ships, than haveing a crew of 50 people.. in fact i'd rather have enough people in ships to never see a ship npc ;)

Meejoe27
Meejoe27

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

huskerman34
huskerman34

i would be surprised if this makes it to the 360. how many mmo games were supposed to hit the 360 and never did ? Too many it would be nice if it did though.

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

I don't understand how you're saying that relying on other people to run things with you is not good. If people can get 50 people online to run old-school WoW raids, it's not that hard to find 5 of your good mates to get online at the same time and do some exploring. That being said, it can be catered to the solo player too, with NPCs manning the rest of the consoles, while you take on the role of being a cadet fresh out of academy and work your way up to command of your own ship. And I remind you, SW:TOR is doing it with their "flashpoint" encounters, so why can't STO? You could play by yourself on a small ship, etc. and once you organize some mates to come along with you you could team up and run a "flashpoint" or "instance" whereby all of you need to work together to do X mission. It really isn't that hard, but it looks like Cryptic is settling for the "easy to produce/easy to make money" motto that most MMOs seem to follow. In addendum, I'd like to point out that you could be easily "assigned" to a ship once you're fresh out of the academy, meet people there like you normally would, become friends with them, level up together, and eventually become officers and run your own ship. Is this so hard? Do people have no faith in teamwork anymore (and, in all honesty, that's what Star Trek was all about).

jazilla
jazilla

It seems that, in order to stay true to the theme of the movies/shows that they should lean more on story than combat. I would love to have an MMO that was story driven. Where you were captured often(like they are so often in TV and the movies) and you have to escape with using only your wits and that of the people in your party. It should be all about planet exploration. It just seems to me that armor/crafting/weapons and merchants is all pointless in this thing, but I don't see any companies willing to break the MMO mold as yet. I don't see them doing it here either.

calebhawkins
calebhawkins

I don't care that everyone is a Captain. That's good, IMO, or otherwise I would have to wait for the rest of the crew to log on before I could do anything. What does worry me is Cryptic's track record. Champions launched with only the barest of features. It's a combat game. Even more so than most other MMOs, it desperately needs more balancing and much more content (especially group content). CoH was the same way. The history doesn't make me feel good about STO.

mude
mude

@ rporter218 I second that.

rporter218
rporter218

To those of you that aren't thrilled with the idea of starting off as a Captain, I invite you to seriously consider the alternative, using the knowledge of your past MMO experiences. If you have no past MMO experience, then perhaps you can learn from mine. MMO players are prone to unreliability and all the symptoms of ADD. Relying on anonymous strangers to perform crucial functions aboard your ship in the heat of combat is a sure recipe for failure. All it takes is the wrong kid being called to dinner by his mom, and you're space dust. I'd much rather have an NPC crew and be solely responsible for the welfare of my ship. If other members of my fleet can't pay attention, that's their loss, because I'll be out of there at maximum f*cking warp.

thatmy
thatmy

ask Singaporean India Indians 2 help assist U lol.

skyydragonn
skyydragonn

Honestly I dont see this one becoming very popular, sure it's cool to fly around in starships and all that, but with space combat being so slow. and your options so limited (3 officers who only provde specific utilities) 2 weapons when on surface missions...I really only see die-hard trekkies forking over a subscription fee for this one. Sad because I had higher hopes for this one, given that SGW looks to be dead in the water, options for Sci-Fi MMORPG's are yet again almost nil.

silver_brow
silver_brow

Had me turned off at "It's all about being a captain". The captains of Star Trek were the stars of the show, but how many times did their supporting crew members pull their hot-shot asses out of the fire? Many missed opportunities with this franchise (starship guild-system??). I would have been one of those players who would have rather chosen a security officer or engineer. Instead, it sounds like they're going to cater to the Jedi-wannabees. Edit: What, is Jedi-wannabees ticking people off? lol

MrHandy
MrHandy

Do not know if want....

whitemute
whitemute

To those who are hating on this, all I have to ask is... "Where's YOUR game?" :)

DirkRendar
DirkRendar

Some of the comments don't take into account that this game is in alpha phase of developement. There is still plenty of work left. This gamecon demo is only a taste of what the actual release game will have in store. Can't really say the game is a 'fail' before it's even released. Wait and see...