Hands On: Star Trek Online

By Kieron Gillen on October 26th, 2009 at 12:23 pm.

As I mentioned earlier, I spent a lot of the weekend at the MCM Expo. I eventually managed to tear myself away from my table and go looking for electro-entertainment. Alas, mainly console – or console versions of PC games we’ve already covered like Borderlands. And Assassin’s Creed 2, which I would have looked at, but I was scared away by the Marge Simpson cosplayer who looks as if they’d peeled Marge and was wearing her yellow skin as a skin-suit ala Silence Of the Lamb’s Buffalo Bill. However, Star Trek Online was there, and I spent some time getting familiar with what Cryptic have been up to…

This is, of course, a con demo, and they’ve deliberately kept it short, concentrated and sweet. It’s basically a short guided tour around three main parts of the game, before going for and end which was such a clever and Star-Trek-y note that made me have a lot more interest in where they’re going with it. Because, as everyone has said, Star Trek… well, it’s a tricky one to actually pull off. Walking a line between classic-trek fiction and the new movie semi-reboot – which I loved – it does kind of leave you wondering how it’s going to both work as a game and feel convincing and… well, side-step the communal RPS trad-MMO fatigue.

The three stages highlight the various forms of combat. After getting used to flying around with your ship a little, you warp into battle with three Klingon Birds of Prey. Are they Birds of Prey? I dunno, but that’s the only Klingon ship I know, so that’s all you’re getting. The ships move at the sort of pace you expect, with the combat based around circling and trying to line up banks of phasers. The vessel has a forward and backward arc – which means that in terms of actually hammering the opposition, the sweetest spot to place is in that broadside position where both banks can hammer ‘em. The twist is the photon-torpedoes, which can only fire directly to the front in a relatively narrow arc. The three ships go down swiftly, so I don’t get a chance to really explore it, but it’s certainly a non-traditional sort of combat for an MMO.

However, when we beam down on a mission, things are a little more familiar. Champions veterans will find things like the analogue controls on some power familiar – holding down longer to seem to maybe get more of an effect (Though the other power seems to go down, which may be some manner of sniping thing. I honestly couldn’t tell on the show floor). Also, a but rifle-butt attack to send people flying away from you. There’s two sections shown, one aboard a ship and the other down on a proper Star-Trekian quarry, where you get to biff a load of Klingons. So this is all somewhat familiar – but the twist is that you’re not alone. In a Guilds War fashion, you’ve got an away team who beam down with you, and you can seemingly give orders to. I say seemingly, because I was too busy blasting people.

So, promising if not spectacular stuff in the snippet – but then you get to the close. There’s some manner of hyperdimensional mysterious floating-portal guardian which you’ve fought your way to – and it’s a Star-Trek-esque enigmatic device. He talks that the Klingons have pretty much taken over this timeline – and the way out is to reset the timeline. When you do that… well, we’re back to the start of the demo. And it’s both a cute little way to reset the demo for the next person, but also about as Star Trek as it gets. That Cryptic are doing things like that even for little demos implies they want to actually engage with the idea of Star Trek in a more meaningful way than just having space-ships that look like a big plastic plate attached to a couple of washing-up-liquid containers.

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70 Comments »

  1. TotalBiscuit says:

    As long as it’s on-par with Champions in terms of fun value then I can see this being my next MMO. I’m a sucker for Star Trek and Cryptic seem to know what they’re doing with it. The ground combat does give me pause, everything I’ve seen so far as given the indication that it’s clunky, but then, that was pre-beta footage.

  2. Mac says:

    MMO’s really need to move away from the standard model of quest & grind until you bleed … a lot of people have been playing the same game over and over since Everquest 1 …

    Developers are scared to inovate, but look at the way it currently works. New game is released “find Badger Arse 1000″ – people flock to it hoping it will be the next great thing – massive server queues annoy folks, and within 30 days you realise that it offers nothing new, just the same old game with a new skin, so you jump to Find Badger Arse 1001 which funny enough is just the same as Find Badget Arse 1 to 1000, ad infinium

    I see little point in joining a new MMO, driving hard to reach max level where the game supposedly begins (WTF is that all about) only to find out that the game has been released 12 months too early and their is no end game.

    Lets not forget – the mighty WoW was initially released in a piss poor state – the only way to PVP was to duel someone on the same street, but over time it has been built on and polished – but at its core it is still EQ1 with a new skin, with all the best bits pinched from Turbine, etc.

    For me to pay a monthly fee, I want a game I can get fully emersed in and enjoy the ride – not feel asthough I need to race to max level.

    MMO’s should encourage group play – otherwise I may aswell play a single player game. But there should be something to do if you only have 30 mins to spare – you should not need to spend all of this time LFG.

    And for the love of god – stop trying to focus on creating a Facebook type interaction service – if i want facebook type things I will use facebook! (Reference to Bill “i’m a tit” Ropers interview for PC Gamer UK here – he thinks Champions Online will succeed because of the community tools … the only tool here is Bill “I fucked up the charging model for Hellgate and drove away a lot of customers” Roper)

    Fundamentally – an MMO should be fun and not just rely on people sticking with it whilst the developers do what they should have done prior to release.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      The MMO is well past it’s due date for some serious innovation. By which I do not mean some funky new gimmicks or new graphical style. I mean they way these games are designed to play needs to be fundamentally different.

      Really the only real requirement should be persistance and continuity. And FUN!

      I am pretty tired of the cookie cutter MMOs. So, this Star Treck could well be a bit different, but the article suggest not to me. Still, I shall hold my judgement until it’s here.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      “Lets not forget – the mighty WoW was initially released in a piss poor state – the only way to PVP was to duel someone on the same street” – This is not correct, PvP was fully available on launch, it just served no practical purpose.

    • meeper says:

      I’m not sure you can really say EQ had a quest component. The ‘quest’ stuff was so painful, and the rewards so paltry, that it was really just a grinding game until later patches.

    • Serondal says:

      EQ was a generally paiful game to play peroid when I first played it (Which was right after it launched) ever die in an area that just dangerous to you (But you can kill mobs if you handle it correctly) and then have your body go sliding off until it stops under a giant F@#$@# group of mobs you could never take and have to beg for someone of a higher level to help you get your body back ?: P

      When I first started playing WoW (Which was right after it was released once again) There was certainly PvP . I played on a PvP server and it had about as much point as TF2 has a point in killing each other. IT was a great deal of fun and added something to the boring questing and grinding. When you suddenly see an enemy sneaking up on you and you have to decide to fight or run (Or chase him if he runs) I actually really enjoyed it. I had some friends that enjoyed PvP was well (One of which was a night elf warrior who was VERY good at PvP , once he killed 5 hoard members that were all 2 -3 levels above him in a flurry of violence, then did it again when they all respawned and came back for more ;)

    • Wulf says:

      “a lot of people have been playing the same game over and over since Everquest 1 …”

      MMOs were quite different in the era of Everquest, it was Diablo without the exclamation marks in Everquest, which was even more horrible. Ultima Online did a better job, really, because it had fun crafting, one could even make houses and such, great fun.

      What Blizzard did was add exclamation marks, a la Diablo, to the quests whilst keeping the same Everquest level of grind. The idea of quests is a good one, the idea of quests as an excuse to grind is bad to the core.

      “Developers are scared to inovate,”

      A number of games would tell me otherwise, Champions Online has no end of missions which are genuinely fun and break the grinding rule, and as far back as Guild Wars we had those nice cinematic missions which were very nice and opened up new areas.

      “but look at the way it currently works. New game is released “find Badger Arse 1000″ – people flock to it hoping it will be the next great thing”

      You don’t know your MMOs, my good man. You’re stuck in the past.

      Here’s san example of a good CO mission: A bunch of civilians need an evac as Dr. Destroyer’s trooperbots have invaded an area, MARS soldiers will work with you toward this end, as it’s their job to do that, you have to fight back the trooper-bots, and use a smoke grenade to cause some confusion, then you have to cover both the civilians and the evac helicopters with the help of the MARS troopers until the people are safely on board.

      Watching those helicopters fly away was a thrill for me, there’s nothing about badger arses there. Now Champions Online just needs more of that. Cryptic clearly isn’t afraid to innovate with their quests, and the Nemesis stuff is really great to boot.

      If you think that all that a quest/mission can be is collecting X and returning it to Y, you need to cancel your World of Warcraft subscription and play something a little more recent.

      “massive server queues annoy folks,”

      Ohh, you’re basing this on bloody Aion, that explains so much. Not only that, but Aion is the only MMO in recent years aside from Warcraft that has server queues. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. There are no server queues in any of my favourite MMOs, by the by.

      “and within 30 days you realise that it offers nothing new, just the same old game with a new skin,”

      It’s sounding more and more like your MMO experiences amount to years in World of Warcraft, only stopping to play Aion, and I’m beginning to wonder if ‘gear’ is going to come into this…

      “I see little point in joining a new MMO,”

      So you don’t want to join a potentially innovative MMO because you’re afraid it won’t innovate, and then you complain about MMOs never innovating because you haven’t joined an innovative MMO?

      …my head hurts…

      “driving hard to reach max level where the game supposedly begins (WTF is that all about) only to find out that the game has been released 12 months too early and their is no end game.”

      So your idea is speeding through the levels, ignoring all the joy you’ll find on the journey, to hit the max level before everyone else and do raids? …and you’re asking for innovation? Your desires seem to contradict themselves. Innovation would be making the journey more interesting, so you take your time instead of rushing to end-game.

      “For me to pay a monthly fee, I want a game I can get fully emersed in and enjoy the ride – not feel asthough I need to race to max level.”

      You only need to do that if you’re playing a “PH4T L00TZ” MMO. Solution? Don’t play “PH4T L00TZ” MMOs. In playing CO, I’ve seen no reason to rush to 40, I have a bunch of characters who’re taking their time and just enjoying it. I’ve also found plenty of hidden things that many miss in their mad rush.

      “MMO’s should encourage group play”

      No, no they should not.

      I’m not a sociopath, but if I’m forced to group with someone who is then that MMO instantly loses my subscription.

      Here’s my take, I’ll keep it as simple as possible: If you’re so amazingly and totally socially dysfunctional that you can’t structure a sentence sapiently enough to ask me to group with you in a polite, reasonable way, then the game shouldn’t be throwing incentives my way to try to convince me to group with you.

      No matter how big a group of friends is, people can’t be together all the time, and this leads to one of the greatest evils of MMO gaming – Pick-up Groups.

      Champions Onlilne doesn’t force me to group with dysfunctional morons, thank goodness, I group with my friends, when I want to, when it’s convenient. And if you have no friends, and you lack the ability to make friends, then that’s your problem and you shouldn’t expect an MMO to make up for your social shortcomings.

      An MMO should never force, or even encourage, group activity. Group activity should happen because a group of people desire to get together to have fun, and for no other reason.

      An MMO that can be solo played from start to finish is the greatest invention imaginable in my opinion, because it means that you can just continue on your own path and your friends can drop in and out without any road-blocks whenever they want. That way, everyone is happy. And Champions Online even has sidekicking, so if a friend is a much higher level than me they can drop their level to help me out when we both feel like grouping.

      That’s how all MMOs should be, in my opinion. But I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree here, because something tells me that anyone who thinks that forced or even encouraged group play has a place in an MMO is someone who has a great deal of difficulty making friends.

      I mean, I’m a sour puss, generally a crusty old git, and I can make friends, why can’t you?

      “otherwise I may aswell play a single player game.”

      And what’s wrong with that? I cite Borderlands as an example, RPS found it was quite shit when they tried to play with four people all the time, but when they played largely single-player, grouping up in twos when it was convenient, they seemed to have a much more enjoyable time. That was my take on it, anyway. Why not play it as a single-player game until it’s convenient to group?

      My point is this: Which is better?

      An MMO which can work as group entertainment only and leaves you sitting bored and twiddling your thumbs if your friends aren’t around, or forces you to group with sociopathic morons.

      …or…

      An MMO which can work as both group and single-player entertainment easily, where you can group with your friends when it’s convenient, and play the game by yourself when it’s not.

      I know which I’d pick.

      An MMO being forced to group content only is an outmoded idea that’s quickly being left in the past. Why? MMOs need to become more diversified, they need to adapt to differing playstyles, they need to innovate, that’s what Champions Online is doing with its approach that allows you to do whatever you want. But it’s sounding more and more like you only want innovation where it suits you.

      Diversification is innovation, being able to play an MMO solo is innovation.

      “But there should be something to do if you only have 30 mins to spare – you should not need to spend all of this time LFG.”

      Something to do… like, oh… say… playing the game single-player until your friends come online?

      /facepalm

      “And for the love of god – stop trying to focus on creating a Facebook type interaction service – if i want facebook type things I will use facebook!”

      Why do you have such a huge problem with this? If it’s optional, then it’s awesome for those who do like it. By throwing a wobbly about a completely optional element that’s added to allow people to more easily socialise, you’re just making yourself look more and more like a totally unsociable spod.

      “(Reference to Bill “i’m a tit” Ropers interview for PC Gamer UK here – he thinks Champions Online will succeed because of the community tools … the only tool here is Bill “I fucked up the charging model for Hellgate and drove away a lot of customers” Roper)”

      So this comes down to personal attacks and the logical fallacy of X will fail because Y did?

      I see a bait and switch, you dropped your rant about innovation to bitch about how Champions Online is geared towards people who actually have friends.

      “Fundamentally – an MMO should be fun and not just rely on people sticking with it whilst the developers do what they should have done prior to release.”

      Agreed completely, but this is why developers tend to listen to the community. There’s been an outcry about Cryptic’s nerf-hammering in Champions Online, and what did they do? They promised to lay off the nerf-hammer and instead buff other powers up instead to balance, thus removing the need to nerf. Did they do that? Well, there hasn’t been a heavy nerf patch in aaages.

      This only applies if the developers don’t give a damn about what people think, and if we’re talking about Cryptic, then Cryptic tends to listen. I do concede that there are bad developers though, like a certain developer of a certain huge MMO who left their Tailoring crafting skill broken for six bloody months.

    • Serondal says:

      I think right now Eve is the best mmo out there, it gives you an open world where you have to make your on way. There are quests of course but you can also take contracts with other players and make your fourtune your own way.

    • Mac says:

      “Ohh, you’re basing this on bloody Aion, that explains so much. Not only that, but Aion is the only MMO in recent years aside from Warcraft that has server queues. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.”

      Based on Warhammer Online and Aion …

    • Mac says:

      I actually only played WoW for 6 months – spent a lot of time in Everquest 1 and 2, and the most time of all in Dark Age of Camelot …

      I’m sure we could all try and look clever by disecting someones post bit by bit – shame you come across as a bit of a cock.

      The general premise is that there are 100′s if not 1000′s of MMO’s in development, and the vast majority are developing a game by the numbers rather than actually pushing boundaries.

      You base most of your comments on Champions Online – I actually played it in beta and didn;t last more than 2 weeks when it went live – it’s just so MEH! The character designer is fantastic – but the rest of the game doesn’t grab me. If it floats your boat then fantastic – I wish you all the best with it.

  3. DMJ says:

    That. Is a hideous. Abortion. Of a starship.

    If you zoom in close you can see the chrome “spinnaz” and faux-fur back seats and flaming-skull decals on the impulse engines.

    But that’s just the Star Trek geek in me. If it plays well, I’ll even swallow my pride and captain the USS Pimped Out Ride.

  4. Pardoz says:

    Well, don’t forget Jack ‘I’m the textbook example of the difference between ten years of experience and one year of experience repeated ten times’ Emmert when discussing Cryptic tools.

  5. Kester says:

    I hope the away team is full of redshirts who quickly die by rubbish methods like tripping over and bumping their heads. :D

  6. Lobotomist says:

    Sounds like just another rubbish MMO. Based on same model of dangling carrot masking repetition.
    On top of that Cryptic Champions is faring very very poorly. It started bleeding customers even before first month was over. Many of my guild mates bought lifetime subscription, but played the game 15 days and left in boredom(what a waste of money)That speaks volumes on how STO will look like.

    MMOs today are kind of lost cause. Only game that can proudly call itself a MMO is EVE.

    And it seems it will stay that way for many years to come.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      It speaks nothing at all. Your friends were idiots for buying life-time subs for a game they evidently hadn’t played in beta and got bored of after half a month.

      All games are based on repetition, some merely hide it better than others. You don’t know anything about the quest component of the game, so making judgments on it at this point is extremely foolish.

      EvE also has terrible space combat, if this game doesn’t, then that in itself may be enough to make it enjoyable.

    • fulis says:

      Yeah, the MMO with the, by far, most intricate combat of any MMO has terrible combat

    • Catastrophe says:

      I found EvE combat to be slow and clunky and made you feel like you’re watching your ship battle rather than controlling your ship in battle. Not very immersive, but thats my opinion.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Haha, intricate, that’s a good one. Even the biggest EvE alliances acknowledge that EvE is a terrible space combat game and an astonishing open-world/economic sim. Even in large scale fleet battles it’s a case of focus on primary, press gun button and don’t get me started on the nonsense of POS warfare which hopefully Dominion will fix. I love EvE, really, but don’t make out like the combat is any good, because it isn’t. It’s thrilling because you put your ship, gear and clone on the line but that doesn’t make it ‘intricate’ or even any good.

    • fulis says:

      Shut up if you don’t know what you’re talking about
      “Even in large scale battles”? Even in those?
      Try ‘only’ (and FYI sniper fights can be quite interesting with the new probing system that means that dictors get warpins all the time)

      It’s not my problem that you haven’t experienced truly dynamic and exhilarating small gang combat in EVE. If you think the only thing to combat is pressing F1-F8 then, quite frankly, you suck

    • Wulf says:

      “Sounds like just another rubbish MMO.”

      Sounds like just another rubbish throwaway comment that signifies nothing.

      “Based on same model of dangling carrot masking repetition.”

      What game doesn’t do this? MMO or not? Every game I’ve ever played has both dangling carrots and repetition, you can’t single out a particular genre, never mind a particular game, for relying on the very mechanics which make up gaming.

      Even in a point & click adventure, you might encounter annoying-puzzle-#12 which completely stumps you, and you’re getting a bit fed up with the puzzles, but you push on to see what the next area will be, or to enjoy the next bit of funny/thoughtful dialogue.

      If you’re going to criticise something, try not to pick something that’s been a flaw of gaming for almost as long as gaming has existed. I loved Last Ninja, but it was the same repetitive punching people in the back of the head, and I did it to see just where it’d take me next, or what I’d be fighting next. In Uru, I worked to unlock ages, even though the mechanics for unlocking ages were very similar (seeking out the linking cloths, those cloths with the hand on them), and you can do this with any game.

      Granted, it’s a flaw in gaming as a whole, but it’s not a flaw with Star Trek Online, or with even MMOs as a whole. It’s just something that we, as gamers, have accepted. Do you honestly not see it in every game? Personally, I’d have to think that anyone who doesn’t has become far too complacent and trained, for any game with a sense of progression uses that progression to hide the underlying repetition, surely?

      Footnote: Yes, this affects Eve too. Mining, mining, mining, Gods this is boring, mining, but I do it to reach the carrot! So that my corporation can afford that shiny mothership! Yes, I must mine! And so on. I played Eve for a little while, and I found the repetition too heavy and the carrot not worth it.

      “On top of that Cryptic Champions is faring very[,] very poorly.”

      [citation needed]

      “It started bleeding customers even before first month was over. Many of my guild mates bought lifetime subscription, but played the game 15 days and left in boredom(what a waste of money)[. ]That speaks volumes on how STO will look like.”

      So, you’re now talking about the standard model of pretty much every MMO, ever? They all follow this basic pattern, and I’m surprised you’re scraping the barrel this much in order to find something to attack Cryptic with, but to me, that speaks volumes of how weak your position is.

      But allow me to illustrate: MMO starts off new, it’s a new thing! There are millions of idiots who’ll throw their money at something new without knowing whether they’ll like it or not. They find they don’t like it *gasp!*, and then they move on to the next thing that they’ll have a nerdgasm over. And then on to the next, and then on to the next. The subscription numbers will drop, and people will start to understand what that MMO is. Subscriptions will pick up again as people who are genuinely interested hop on, and subscriptions will continue to pick exponentially, perhaps reaching the numbers of the launch month eventually, or perhaps not. But that launch month will always see the most because of idiots who like to throw their money at anything without knowing what it is.

      I could write MMO on a piece of cardboard, put it in a shop, and leave it there. Someone would pay £40 for it, because that’s just how people are. Cynical, yes, but the behaviour of subscription numbers for every MMO seem to support my theory.

      This happened to Age of Conan, this happened to Warhammer Online, this happened to Lord of the Rings Online, this happened to Champions Online, this will happen to Star Trek Online.

      Nature of the beast, and of human stupidity.

      “MMOs today are kind of lost cause. Only game that can proudly call itself a MMO is EVE.”

      Eve, which suffered every single one of the problems you’ve described, and yet you’ve offered no evidence of why Eve should be more of an MMO than any other MMO. Eve started off with a large number of subscribers at launch, haemorrhaged subscribers, then picked some up again, and Eve also uses the carrot-on-a-stick to mask its own repetition, repetition which I find very jarring. From my personal viewpoint, Eve is a lesser MMO due to being more repetitive than most.

      And I think that’s why you feel threatened by Star Trek Online, it’s Eve, just less… boring.

      “And it seems it will stay that way for many years to come.”

      Or that’s how it’s always been, simply due to it being a standard mechanic for games development and human behaviour. And it will take a paradigm shift to change it, but the things you describe imply bigger problems than simply those of MMOs.

    • eot says:

      EVE is more of an MMO because the whole point of the game is interaction between players. Anything meaningful you could ever hope to achieve in the game would involve other players. Almost all the systems in the game are built to encourage it.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Hahaha fulis. You want to try and get elitist with me? Ok, let’s whip out the e-peens. Before your casual space spreadsheet MMO came out, back in the mists of time when men were men, women did not exist on the internet and graphics were for pussies, I and my cohort of internet heroes played MUDs. You want hardcore thrilling PvP combat where you put it all on the line? You want complexity? Well to start with fuck your graphical UI, what kind of simpleton needs that? Can’t type fast enough? Then you’re dead fool! Shouldn’t have stepped into the fire if you didn’t want to get burned. Oh, you lose your ship if you die? Big frigging whoop scrubs mcgee, in my day we had no insurance policies, no clones. We PvPed with Trolls, y’know what happens to Trolls if they go out in the daylight? Dead. Completely, entire character gone. You think getting your ship blown up is serious? How about dying, having all your shit stolen, losing levels and when you finally make it back to your corpse, finding that someone’s put your head on a pike for all to see and burned your miserable body? Intricate, demanding combat you say? Type or die sucker! Type or die! We don’t need no stinking kiddie macros, no shortcuts, better not typo that command fool or it’s months, possibly years of work down the drain for you! Oh what’s that? You find that too scary?

      Then go back to your internet spaceships, boy.

  7. Slink says:

    Interesting. I hope it has better music than CoX and Champions, at least. And I hope the away team missions aren’t just the same ones over and over with slightly different settings, like the missions in CoX are.

    I’m pretty sure the future of Star Trek gaming relies on this title. If it does well, then other games will be produced to capitalize that. If it fails, we probably won’t see another game for a long, long time.

  8. Cooper says:

    So, the main bits of Star Trek which so many people love – the story – gets relegated to a knowing smirk at the end of what seems to be pew pew lazors in space?

    No reason that the klingons were engaged other than they’re the baddies? No reason for the fighting in those places other than that they’re there for background to phazors go -sheeeeee-?

    That’s not the Star Trek I, and I imagine many others, like. I’m not a massive fan, but I love the TNG series when I occasionally catch re-runs. I already play EVE, that takes pew pew and makes internet space ships serious bizniss already, quite well, but fails on making a convincing world and good stories. That’s what I really want from Star Trek online: Good stories, and a way of playing that doesn’t devolve every mission into combat.

  9. Dan says:

    Nope, I’m going to play APB.

    • schmunkel98 says:

      OK that should be “the Starfleet Command series”. Need an edit button.

    • Vinraith says:

      Star Fleet Command was based on Star Fleet Battles board game rules, which is why it was so good (well, until the third entry in the series, anyway). I doubt a mainstream MMO is going to have combat that’s an eighth as interesting and involved.

    • schmunkel98 says:

      Surely the developers read this site and will implement that level of complexity in the game…

  10. Frohike says:

    This is absolutely true and the reason why I’ve been so wary of picking up another MMO since Final Fantasy XI. I tried WoW which had largely the same formula with some of the grouping incentives removed and a modernized interface, and immediately switched back to the older MMO because I didn’t want to start over with something that was largely the same.

    At this point, it will take a rather large shift in game design before I pick up another MMO, even once I put FFXI down (which I’m thinking is rather soon).

  11. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Yep, MMO’s suck.

  12. MadMatty says:

    A fresh take at MMO´s please!
    Its like Everquest 1-2, WoW, WAR, and AoC are the same game with slightly different interfacez………..zzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  13. Dante says:

    “You warp into battle with three Klingon Birds of Prey. Are they Birds of Prey? I dunno, but that’s the only Klingon ship I know, so that’s all you’re getting.”

    This one is the bird of prey:

    http://www.smallartworks.ca/Gallery/Klingon/Klingon1.JPG

    I was going to say that’s the only one I know of, but who am I kidding? There’s also the Vorcha and Neghvar classes (there’s probably some random apostrophes in those names somewhere), the rest I assume will have to be invented.

    Please god don’t let anyone by watching me write this over my shoulder.

    • Railick says:

      If they’re going to be screwing with the time line you might also fight against some D7 and K’t'inga as well don’t forget, they still used K’t'inga in DS9 all the way up to the end :) I think everyone’s favorite ist he Bird of Prey though. Personally I like the War Bird better, it is my favorite Star Trek ship. ( I know it is Romulan) With the Miranada class being my second favorite (They may appear in the game as well, they appear in TNG movies assisting the crew of the Enterprise after it has crashed onto a planet in Generations so they’re still in service if a bit old)

    • cliffski says:

      Another vote for the mighty warbird, or the defiant of course :D

    • Railick says:

      The defiant class star ship is cool as well I agree :) If they add Galaxy class as a starter ship I certainly hope you can seperate the saucer from the body for whatever silly reason you want to.

      Personally I think a Star Trek MMO would be much better if you had to manage the people on your ships lives and make sure they have all the supplies they need . . . then again with replicators I guess all you’d have to do is make sure you have enough crystals or whatever they use to keep the warp core running and powering the ship eh? (I hope you can eject your warp core in a last ditch effort to esplode enemy ships)

  14. Dante says:

    Defiant and Bird of Prey are the cool ones, clearly, and The Prometheus.

    Vorcha and Neghvar (probably with some apostrophes in there) are the only other Klingon ones I can think of, not as cool as the classic bird of prey though.

  15. Railick says:

    But much more powerful Dante :) And more up to date. d-9 is my favorite Klingonship if you include all the series.

  16. Railick says:

    As far as the game mechanics for combat in this MMO It looks to me it is going to be like Diablo in space. You have a little blue circle around your ship so you probably just right click where you want it to go on a flat 2d plane then right click or left click on an enemy ship to target it or attack it and it hit space to fore torpedos or something :P

  17. Walter Lippmann says:

    Wow…another MMO! Despite the dearth of satisfactory gameplay in all of these monstrosities, the same dweebs come out of the woodwork ready to bleed cash like no tomorrow. I suggest you addicts fill whatever void in your life your MMO-addicted habits are covering for, because damn, what a horrendous waste of capital (intellectual, social, and financial).

    • Dante says:

      You’re not getting it are you? The reason people are getting excited about the upcoming MMOs is that they’re trying to do something interesting and different with the genre. It’s largely the non MMO types that are getting exciting.

      And seriously, we’re all gamers, claiming someone else is ‘dweebish’ (where are you from, 1992?) or wasting their time is a bit rich.

    • Walter Lippmann says:

      @Dante

      Maybe I’m not getting it. All I know is that MMOs have tended to reflect the fact that game companies are corporations first and game developers second. Generating endless revenue for a sub-par gaming experience is not something I want to support. Maybe newer MMOs will be different, in which I will consider playing them.

      Regarding calling these people dweebs, well, I’m going to stick by that statement. All gamers are not created equal, so I don’t have a problem recognizing the difference between me and a beached whale that collects anime figurines. But I understand if you think I’m full of shit.

  18. PAK says:

    To those of you seeking innovation, have you tried “A Tale in the Desert”? I believe it’s been around since 2003 but always served by a small but dedicated fanbase. I just started a free trial and I’m VERY impressed. Persistent world, and continuity and all that, and a rudimentary quest system, but it’s all based around constructive/creative/expressive goals and developing positive and mutually beneficial relationships within the community. Players have a huge impact on the world, too, inasmuch as most of the settlements are player-constructed, players are allowed to write ballot initiatives that can be voted into law, and god knows what else.

  19. Belmondo says:

    Good review. I love that they are fusing both space and ground gameplay. Cryptic is promising the massive and expansive universe, which is open to exploration. I am psyched about this perspective. Earth and Beyond tried to do the same, but unfortunately failed. Star Trek online can bring an unparalleled level of freedom to the characters; you could travel anywhere and do anything you want. Definitely a new take on the genre.

  20. Railick says:

    The real question I want to ask is " Can we BE the Borg?"

  21. Chaz says:

    No picture of the Marge Simpson cosplayer, and after that intriguing description. I’m disappointed.

  22. Axess Denyd says:

    That ship combat mechanic sounds a lot like Pirates of the Burning Sea. And that was something that Pirates NAILED. The ship combat was awesome fun. Pity that the rest of the game was kinda crappy.

  23. Railick says:

    It's all relative Walter. compared to you that beached wale may seem bad but if you compare him to a beached wale that collects hentai figurines and posts pictures of them on 4chan all day long he looks a lot better :P

  24. Cooper says:

    Anyone remember Bridge Commander?

    That game but with less shooty more story and I’m in.

  25. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Sounds interesting but the more I think about it, the less I like the idea of space combat..

  26. John says:

    well to me I have played alot of MMO’s since EQ and each game seems to be a little better than the next and yes they all do the same things more or less..
    STO is the game I will be glad to take and get rid of the rest, with everything I have read about it and the things that are coming into the game, It will be the game of games. I mean what game gives you a universe that creates new planets, races etc? None that I know of… You get to explore, fight if you want or just enjoy your life as a captain of your own ship….
    Sure you will have to group at certain periods but its more of relaxing and taking your time with the game not rushing to be #1 on the first month….

  27. FFN says:

    Cooper: Cryptic have actually put a lot of effort into STO’s backstory for the events from Nemesis up to STO’s present for those that care to read it (other people, such as new Star Trek fans brought in by the new movie, will simply not care).

    http://www.startrekonline.com/fiction?page=3

    Basically, Klingons are baddies again because:
    - Gorn attacked a Klingon ship, tensions escalated
    - Klingons took advantage of Romulan crisises
    - The Federation insults the Empire by objecting to the war with the Gorn. Far-right elements of Klingon government push for war and evidently try to oust moderates like Chancellor Martok and Worf
    - stuff as yet unrevealed happens.
    - ???
    - Profit!

    If anything, the political intrigue and attention to continuity makes STO most like Deep Space Nine (particularly as, unlike most recent Trek series, actually bothered to mention politics of the Federation and other empires).

    While I too would like a good number of quests with Star Trekkie style peaceful resolutions, diplomacy and exploration, the balance of the game should still be combat, since that’s what keeps players interested. Going full on Star Trek mode would ultimately be detrimental to having a good game that normal people could enjoy.

    Honestly, it sounds like you want a single player console RPG, since they tend to deal with story-heavy RPGs.

    • Torgen says:

      “Going full on Star Trek mode would ultimately be detrimental to having a good game that normal people could enjoy.”

      So…

      People who enjoyed Star Trek for plots and story aren’t normal?

  28. Sonic Goo says:

    I hope you’ll understand pretty much everyone reading your unsubstantiated trollish statements will.

  29. Sonic Goo says:

    That was for Walter Lippmann. WTB working branching?

  30. Strapilus says:

    about innovative MMOS, I like innovation as well, but frankly I don’t like all innovation, and I like having the options of reverting to traditional settings as well as playing the innovative ways. I’m particularly displeased with the new twitch-basec combat trend I see in MMOs nowdays. SWG was ruining in this way, and I see other games traying to do the same, blending the “aim to deal damage” approach like Fallen Earth for example. For me, it’s utter rubbish, I prefer sticky targeting and action keys, When I buy an RPG, I’m not looking for a pseudo 3rd person shooter, OK? I’m not looking for an action game, I’m looking for a game with a character I can command to perform preset actions and skills. This is why WoW stills sees my money gladly, because it rocks and delivers on that genre.

  31. Setsuna1 says:

    personally i dont see why everyone is arguing about other MMO’s here. from what i can tell. and im pretty sure im not blind. it says Hands On: Star trek: Online not Champions online, not WOW, Not SW KOR and Not Eve. I dont see why people are coming on here insulting a game they probabily wont get. question its Fan base or even playability and try and promote the game they like playing. i personally dont like that. for one. i hope to share a drink with any person who agrees with my views in game. i hope most of you get the game. it will be fun hanging out with players who want to hang out. maybe kill a few NPC’s for fun. and do some quests. but for crying out loud stop with the arguments. they are pointless.

    on a side note, i say kudous to Cryptic Studios for turning the old star trek online in to this much more polished form. they’ve done an Excellent job from what i’ve seen.

    just a random question any one know if we’ll be able to fly a shuttle craft or something? i’d like to see that in game and i defintely agree the borg should be playable lol. though they should rework the System a bit for them. i mean they dont exactly use bridge crew. cus each idvidual Drone grants some Sort of skill to the cube, sphere and so on and so on

    • Deadend says:

      We talk about Champions because Cryptic just released the game, and it could have been great, except Cryptic made it fairly boring, and proceeded to release patches making it worse. It’s why every Sony MMO is met with skepticism, due to every other MMO they have done. Cryptic has a track record of taking fun, potentially mainstream MMOs, and making them boring grindfests that are really hard, unless you are playing an OP buildset. They did it Champions within a month, they took 2 months on City of Heroes. Star Trek will be the same, a great, fun, exciting MMO in beta.. and painful at retail time.

  32. Kai says:

    ok I can anwser all of these questions. first and foremost, is any MMo truly perfect upon release? and secondly all MMO/,s save EVE are all cut from roughly the same cloth. some are diffrent but the way you equip, the way you fight quests, and grinding are all the same. in STO it takes EVe strips it down and makes it the space game you always wanted to play. no more clicking in space and 5 miniutes later you ate still traveling towards that base you need to blow up in your little pocket. and at the same time I can swing around asteroids and delve into nebulas.

    Not enought time for a mission, dont worry jump to warp and go explore, or jump the theneutural zone and shoot soem ridgeheads, or weakling humans if you prefer. and if you have time quest. they average 30 min to to 1 hour. hence why they call them episodes. now not all are combat, some are couier, or retreval or maybee even needing to cure soem kind of diseese. what ever you do you can still progress your charicter without doing one or two of these. so you can soly PVP, quest, or explore. you will still progress.

    now preogression is diffretn to any other MMo save EVE. in the star trek universe there is no lvl1-99. it is a military wiht ranks. so that is how you “LVL” and you progress through these “lvls” by obtaining skukk points. you get these form completeing mission and exploring and PVPing. now. skill trees are not limited to what class you are, so I can be an engineer and put all my points into tactical, or science.

    now combat in immersive, there are diffrent tactics per class of ship. Sci ships have aces up there sleves, escorts hit hard, and cruisers are in a class of their own. each have their bonuses and weaknesses. Sci ships, got little D or O, but they can drop your sheids and launch a torpeedo up your deflector dish. target subsystems or help boost someone elsees sheilds. yotr tac vessils have generally smaller crews and not as much power output from their cores but they have the biggest guns. and your crusiers are ships like the USS enterprize. they have extra power extra room extra crew and have good D and O.

    so ground combat is something similar to star trek away team is you have ever played it. you pick your team and then you go down, you got mele weapons or ranged. you can hide behind structures or revive a fallen comerade. and you have abilities based on skill point use or profession.

    in a episode you verry between space and ground to give a feel or being immersed in the star trek universe.

    now what I think sets startrek online from anyhting is its customization. from ship name designation to bridge officers names, to uniforms bdges and race. in all this you can also customize the skills and equipment of everyone in your pool of officers. you can have multiple types of officers baes upon how many of each type of station you have. there are also upgraded weapons along with other upgrades.

    now you never actually loose ships, but what is there to stop you from going kamakazie left and right. crew. crew costs, what I dont know but it costs to replace a crew of anywhere between 50 to 1000.

    some misc things I liek are that just becasue you have a T5 ship dosent mean you are untouchable. it will be hard to kill you but it comes down mroe to skill and skills than just all out firepower.

    my last statement is this. blizzard gets it following becasue of its previous games. Strek will live and thrive becasue of thsoe ppl who will play for the love of star trek allowing the game to expand and grow and live.

    • Chaz says:

      Blimey that is scary. Its a cross between Marge Simpson and the thing from This Island Earth.

  33. Yargh says:

    wow, those are some scary eyes on Marge there.

  34. Lewis says:

    Played this today at Eurogamer. Loved the space combat. Less impressed by on-foot combat. And animations. Yuckers.

  35. CMaster says:

    Reposting my thoughts on the game from another thread:

    OK – first off I played the exact same demo as Keiron played here. So you can use that to outline what happens. It’s very much a single player experience. The chat window is there but inactive, and the whole thing feels like a demo of a single player party-rpg.

    The inital space-combat is well, awkward. Playing the game proper would probably eliminate my confusion with the controls, but I can say I am glad those Birds of Prey went down easily. Oddest thing was I couldn’t work out how to fire the weapons with the keyboard, having to click GUI bits instead. The ships handle pretty sluggishly as one would expect. The pseudo-3d nature is a bit dissapointing. You can pitch down and up, but only to a limit (45 degrees maybe) and there seems to be a ceiling on how high/low you can go from the intital plane. According to the tips there is some degree of power management too, presumably shields/weapons/drives but I didn’t really have the time or a clear idea of how to fiddle with these in combat. Shields themselves manifest as 4 quarter circles arranged around the ships that get thinner as they are weakened.

    Into the away-team stage. Combat is classic Cryptic going back to CoH days. Click on an enemy, then press a number key for each power every time you want to attack. Cue the next 10 minutes spent smashing 1 with the occasional 2 or 3. Also for greedily hogging the powerup items you are carrying once I realised you had more than enough to last you the mission. You are accompanied by a gang of AI teammates who follow along behind you bumping into each other. They didn’t make complete fools of themselves in combat however, so no real complaints. Both your guys and the klingons have an excess of health and shields, so it bears little resemblence to any ST TV or movie combat at this stage, unlike the space section and more traditional RPG girnd down the health.

    One of the cryptic guys there was enthusing about how so many of the writers were real trekkies, much as Keiron observed. The writing itself was certainly quite reasonable and the final conversation had many options, although didn’t explain itself wonderfully about the reset. However the game still suffers from CoH storytelling methods failings – all done through big text box popups, that only occur at the start and end of missions (and before each transport, but all that says is “klingons have gone here. Follow y/n?)

    Overall – not a game for me, I can’t stand that combat style. I don’t like the heavy, heavy use of instancing in a supposed MMO. If you like other Cyrptic stuff though, it looks like this could be a much more solid (if not very multiplayer) offering than Champions. The cryptic guys there were saying as much – that they were getting on much quicker and were much happier with STO than with Champions.

    • snv says:

      Thanks cmaster, that was the most informational bit i read about STO. And, well, it seems like they really do waste the licence.

      Same old, same old. No wonder i almost only play indy games nowadays.

  36. Spyhere says:

    Hmm…

    Personally kind of skeptica about this. Had a lot of experience with Cryptic in the past. Came into City of Heroes at the tail end of the ‘Cryptic Age’ and can definitely say that after NCsoft bought out the IP wholesale that the game has done nothing but get better.

    Although the Mission Architect was/is a bit of an albatross around their neck (a lot of dev time dedicated to it which could have been spent better doing something else instead of making an XP-farm machine and then having to spend a lot of time correcting that mistake) in my opinion however the expansion pack (Going Rogue) coming out in Quarter 2 next year is looking to be awesome.

    Cryptic was responsible for putting City of Heroes on life support (the large team of people working on it was reduced to just 15) while they went and tried to make Marvel Universe Online. Jack Emmert is known for being “I know what’s fun, doesn’t matter if the entire playerbase is saying otherwise, it’s fun” and has a pretty bad press on the CoH forums.

    Cryptic promised everything City of Heroes didn’t have with Champions Online (which was basically a new IP replacement for Marvel Universe Online after Microsoft and Marvel got told that WoW is an abberation and that expecting to match their numbers just isn’t possible and thus the pair of them pulled out) to the point where the list read like every common suggestion from the CoH forums was being implemented. However when it hit Open Beta the actual promises it had made weren’t quite as good as they had been shilled out to be. The Incredibles style art direction was a bit ‘ech’ in my tastes (the player characters were definitely in the ‘Uncanny valley’ and took a lot of tweaking to look more human or just go the non-human route) but the costume creator was good and CoH could definitely do with stealing some of the stuff it had implemented.

    I had high hopes for Champions Online, I honestly did. That was the worst thing, wanting to like a game really badly but annoying issues just pile up enough to make you go ‘eh…’ (among my group of friends it’s called the STALKER syndrome after S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear sky but that’s just our opinion on that game).

    Played from Open Beta until about 5 days left of the freebie month. The old Cryptic problems reared their heads again…they didn’t listen to the more intelligent sections of the playerbase which detailed what was wrong and instead went with the screaming section of the playerbase to listen to. Bill Roper made the frankly idiotic sailing analogy and said their stratergy was to overnerf and then buff a power instead of testing to find the sweet spot. This would lead to overnerf, overbuff, overnerf, buff type situation with powers. Personally I think bringing Bill ‘Hellgate:London’ Roper onto the project did more harm than good (and I think it actually hase…Bill is great at things like Diablo and Diablo 2 but he’s bloody awful at developing an MMO if the way he handled Hellgate and is currently handling CO are anything to go by)

    The last straw was when they seemingly nerfed a power purely because it had a similar name to an overpowered one (Particle mine was actually quite crap but it shared the word ‘Mine’ in the title with the actually overpowered Mini-mines) and nobody could honestly see why an already crap power had been nerfed and no justification for it came along. I just gave up at that point.

    There are rumour circulating that Champions Online has been shifted to a life support team (anybody noticing any similarities) and all focus shifting onto ST:O. CO could have been used by Atari (who now own Cryptic) to make some quick money while Cryptic developed their real heavy hitter.

    That’s the thing…if they pull out all the stops and actually work their asses off to make Star Trek : Online good, it’ll be awesome and obviously their heavy hitter (most people have heard of Star Trek whereas nobody outside of the Tabletop RPG fans had heard of Champions) but I’m worried they’ll completely fluff it the same way SOE did Star Wars: Galaxies (the infamous NGE incident…).

    As for spaceship combat, I’m waiting on Black Prophercy (I couldn’t ge into EVE, was just that bit too complicated for me and I’m not a Trek fan in the slightest) to be released.

  37. ianneub says:

    @TotalBiscuit Freakin’ hilarious. Thanks for the laugh. :)