Take It To The Bridge: Star Trek Online

By Jim Rossignol on November 18th, 2009 at 8:46 am.


Having seen a bit of the ship-to-ship and man-to-alien combat in previous Star Trek Online footage, we’re still waiting to get an angle on what will be central to the game: doing diplomacy, managing your crew, commanding a Starship, and all that Federation jazz. No change in this trailer, but it’s starting to look a lot more polished than previous in-game footage. Moreover, I think it’s pretty easy to be cynical towards this, but the truth is this game is likely to light a commercial touchpaper and become very popular indeed. It’s not just a popular licence, but I think it might just be different enough as an MMO to drag people away from established games. There’s a definite thirst for interesting MMOs right now, and this is certainly going to qualify. The site is crammed with new screens, and they’re now taking beta applications.

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41 Comments »

  1. Marmaduke says:

    Did I spy the arch from the City on the Edge of Forever episode, or something similar?

    • Dante says:

      The Guardian of Forever features heavily in the mission they’ve been showing journalists, so yes.

  2. TotalBiscuit says:

    Ground combat is still a concern. Ship combat looks solid but I dislike the idea of pumping disruptive blasts into your foe. The personal shield plot device concept was introduced in Elite Force for the Hazard Team but these are just normal guys, they shouldn’t be running around with personal shield generators.

    • damien says:

      ensign johnson, of the red-shirted away team union, would disagree with you emphatically.

    • dadioflex says:

      “ensign johnson, of the red-shirted away team union, would disagree with you emphatically.”

      Funny! :)

    • manveruppd says:

      Yeah but is that the most ineffectual union in the galaxy or what?

  3. Bravedave says:

    I agree completely. Whilst I look forwards to managing the distribution of power to different subsystems as a combat mechanic (makes a change from click ability, wait for cooldown, click ability etc) I am concerned that ground combat will be just like a standard MMO with phasers. I hope it is great though as it has the potential to capture the visual splendour of EVE (hard I know) but remain accessible to new, casual and/or solitary gamers.

    ps. Someone should totally make a communicator to use as their mike for voice chat. In fact, I think I will. So there.

  4. teo says:

    What’s every MMO’s ecxuse for looking worse than EVE?

    • Dominic White says:

      The same reason why a ton of people still play the original Counter-Strike. It runs on pretty much every machine known to man, so it reaches a much larger audience.

      I agree that I’d love to see more MMOs that even look half as fancy as EVE, though.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Well, for one if a game looks too good, it’s possible people will become afraid their rig can’t run it(whether or not it actually can), and thus won’t sell well.

      See:Crysis.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Folks seem to forget when they claim that EvE is so beautiful, is that it’s also bloody empty. It’s space and ships and occassionally some rocks. Maybe a station if you’re lucky. That’s it. With environments that sparse, with more going on in a square mile of Farcry 2 than in entire sectors of EvE, heck even one of WoW’s cities renders way more than the busiest sectors of EvE. Consider this, they’d damn well better have good looking ship models and backgrounds.

    • manveruppd says:

      Well, I don’t know how many shaders and polygons they put on an Eve ship, but, going from screenshots I’ve seen, they certainly are imaginative in their ship design, which I think accounts for a far greater part of why people praise the game’s looks.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      This game is on the same engine as Champions Online. If they expect it to be playable on slower computers they have an awful lot of optimization work ahead of them.

  5. TauQuebb says:

    Eve is finished, this is in development still.

    • Bravedave says:

      Exactly. And the visuals do seem to have improved in more recent videos. Here’s hoping. The one bit I’m not keen on however is the ship explosions. It just seems too quick and clean. I know it may be neccessary to keep the game smooth but theres just something about the way ship are often portrayed as slowly breaking up and drifting apart, almost a tragic nobility (assuming you cant see all the crew members dying in the cold hard vacum of space).

    • Stromko says:

      The on-foot combat seems to move and look exactly like Champions. Except I’m sure you can’t fly or throw cars or anything awesome like that.

      A cover-based combat system would have made much more sense for the setting, and then any shot that doesn’t kill you (or a humanoid enemy) should display as a miss. Not did Star Trek guns almost always kill in one shot, and every prolonged battle involved people taking cover and firing over it, but the way you just stand there and get shot every second while your health bar is whittled down makes it look like every traditional MMO to date.

  6. Zerotime says:

    “The tricorder states that this canned beverage is… delicious?”

  7. Metalfish says:

    Is that a can of lynx body spray? (Or “axe” my transatlantic chums).

    Also why are the federation the only star-sailors (rofl) to have non-native species for crew members?

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Not a Trek fan so I might be wrong but isn’t the whole point of the “Federation” exactly that, it is a collection of different civilizations working together due to them being relatively small individually (greater than the sum of it’s parts and all that)? Where as the other empires are older and/or more expansive & thus are able to be mostly comprised of one type of sentient beings?

  8. EthZee says:

    That guy on the right has hella beard. That, or he’s really excited about something.

  9. Dave says:

    “Eve is finished, this is in developement still”

    O_o Eve will never be finished, one of its greates failing and one of its greatest accomplishments in my humble opinion.

    As for Eve just being a couple of ships and a station if your lucky i beg to differ. Go to some Deadspace Dungeons/Sleeper sites and theres all sorts of pretty stuff (theres always the giant fleet fights to consider aswell) not to mention the new planet graphical update arriving in the next expansion.

    Anyway enough about Eve this is about ST:O. I am a terrible die hard trekkie (well, i watch(ed) it a lot) and this game give me the shivers (the good ones not the bad ones). RPS holdings may have to find itself a new CEO when ST:O arrives on our ancient computing devices that still use keyboards spacelol. Of course the worry is it becomes POTBS in space. Bob! there was some wasted potential!

  10. Dave says:

    Website stole my post so heres the tl:dr version

    Eve is finished? lol.

    Eve has lots of stuff if your in the right places (deadspace/sleepers sites) plus 500+ man fleet fights, rendertastic.

    ST:O makes me hard. Looks like RPSH may need someone else as CEO once its out.

  11. Noc says:

    I still stand by a statement I remember making when I first heard about this thing: My interest in it will be directly proportionate to how many problems you can solve by reversing the polarity of things.

    Unfortunately, since I haven’t heard any talk of reversing polarities, prospects aren’t looking good.

  12. CMaster says:

    Having played the expo demo, I’d have to say it’s pretty generic MMO, with Champions/CoH level bad storytelling devices and number-key-mashing combat. Space combat, while probably appealing to some was pretty “meh” too.

  13. Hermit says:

    There was a playable build of this at the EG expo, and the ground combat did come off as rather dull. Your standard “click target” followed by mashing 1 to fire, and occasionally pressing 2 and 3 to fire other things.

    That said, it’s by no means finished. It could really benefit from a more action-oriented control scheme on the on-foot sections though. Champions Online had a Third Person action mode, so hopefully this will too.

    Aside from controls, combat felt too static for my liking – no dives for cover, no Data-esque epic manuevers to dodge attacks or traps. Hopefully the game will have some sort of hand to hand option too – Kirk would never have relied on a Repeating Phaser Shotgun +2.

  14. Walruss says:

    HAHA! Now it’s like that Goldeneye poster. I can’t not see it.

    • EthZee says:

      What I said? It’s true. From now on you will only see :D MAN

  15. Wulf says:

    Sigh.

    Have space game, any space game, there will be Eve fans crowding around it and trying to prove how horrible it is compared to their beloved overlord (who seems to have the lot of them brainwashed!)… watch how they swarm like locusts, and rant at you like some crazy old drunken Irish bloke on the underground who you really wouldn’t ever listen to. They’re bloody cultists.

    “X game doesn’t have explosions as good as Eve.”
    “X game sucks, no one can do mothership combat like Eve.”
    “X game is inferior to Eve, as motherships blow up better in Eve.”
    “X game looks horrible, there are better looking ships in Eve.”
    “X game isn’t as diversified as Eve.”
    “X game’s PvP is shit compared to Eve, no one does ship to ship combat like Eve.”
    “Eve is going to better than X game, because I’m an Eve fan!”
    “Eve gives great head, have I mentioned I love saying Eve?”
    “All… hail… Eve… *dribble.*”

    And this is why I don’t take Eve fans seriously any more. Not that I ever did.

    It’s not that I have anything against praising a game, I just don’t like these tactics. When people go en masse to the thread of a completely unrelated game and rant about how inferior it is to Eve, it has to give one pause to wonder, especially since it’s happened in Every Single Damn STO Thread Thus Far.

    Take off the mind-control collars all ready guys, eesh! :p

    • Cabbs says:

      Good Lord, man. A couple of graphical comparisons sets of such an nonsense?

      Not to mention that as STO is moving straight in on EVE territory, there will be alot more direct comparisons in the future. Will you roll out this rant every time?

      On-Topic: This continues to interest me. Some fleet battles with a little less abstraction could be fun.

  16. Cooper says:

    They have to get ‘all that Federation jazz’ right. I don’t want another space shooter, what I want is a properly story-driven MMO (and that means meaningful choices and diplomacy etc. not reduced to silly mini games) that doesn’t rely upon combat as its main mechanic.

    Not that I think I’ll ever get that. I should probably divert my hope to the upcoming Old Republic game for the story driven aspect though.

  17. DarkFenix says:

    Former EVE player here, and I’m not gonna defend it, it was boring as shite after a while. However, STO looks terrible. Seriously, a space game has no excuse to look crap, there’s so little to render comparitively speaking. The animation also looks beyond awful. These two combined shatter any possible immersion the game can have.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Trek, but STO just looks like it’ll be shit. I’ll wait for SWTOR instead, that game has given me an enormous e-stiffy already.

  18. TooNu says:

    It is being made by Cryptic and at some point Bill Roper has been involved…no thanks.

  19. Adam T says:

    Boy Howdy, the social simulation engine is quite flexible! Clearly our blue prosthetically forheaded friend must consider carefully between the Energy Drink’s +2 Energy, or the Cigarette’s +1 cool. But will the captain bed the hot alien chick? Get down to the canteena, and find out if she’s green all over!

    Ohyeah!

  20. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Not really sure I see the point of being able to walk around your own bridge. I mean, whatcha gonna do? Can you even invite your buddies? What happens if you’re dicking about inside and get attacked? All sounds very odd to me.

    My guess is that it’s STO’s equivilent to player housing and maybe that you can decorate your bridge with rewards or something.

  21. Crush says:

    LOL for some reason when I saw the banner picture I thought they guy on the right in green had a huge grin on his face but thats actually his beard (thought the black area was some strange smile as the white line on top looked like teeth).

  22. Railick says:

    It is odd the high requirments for this game when compared to the videos they are releasing. It seems to be the models were better in Voager Elite Force :P

  23. Starky says:

    I second that, unless they are planning hundreds of player on screen at once, KotoR looked better than it, and some of those ship bridge backgrounds look like they were ripped right out of a HL1 fan mod.

  24. geldonyetich says:

    I’d feel better about Star Trek Online’s odds if Champions Online wasn’t festering in unfinished mediocrity right now.

  25. Tim says:

    STO trailers in sum: Blam blam blam. Photon torpedo. Beam down. Blam blam. Beam up. Borg explode.

    Yet, can’t think of a single episode with a plot line like that. Many didn’t even have a single blam. Most actually had dialogue, mysteries, exploration, discoveries, dilemmas – and the odd blam thrown in.

    STO: all blam, all across the universe.

    • Dante says:

      The vast majority of games advertise themselves with combat first, regardless of how many other elements are included.

      Accounts from various previews seem to suggests plot driven ‘Episodes’ feature heavily.

  26. Pappy13 says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    What’s every MMO’s ecxuse for looking worse than EVE?

    What’s EVE’s excuse for it’s gameplay being worse than every other MMO?