STO: Explore, Discover, And Laser Dudes

By Jim Rossignol on December 11th, 2009 at 5:52 pm.


The sheer amount of promotional materials pouring out of the Cryptic/Atari for Star Trek Online seems to suggest that MMO means to come out fighting. It’s got some serious competition to go up against, even if we discount all the other bajillion games coming out in the early part of next year, there’s going to be the looming threat of The Old Republic, which threatens to suck up sci-fi fans like a space-hoover when it arrives. Nevertheless I’m quietly confident that STO is going to do well for itself. There’s just something about the setting that I think will click. If Cryptic can get the exploration and ship-management stuff right it really could be worth, er, beaming up. New trailer below.

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30 Comments »

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  1. Nick says:

    against the wall perhaps.

  2. Helm says:

    “Nevertheless I’m quietly confident that STO is going to do well for itself.”

    I wonder what urges people to make these predictions.

  3. Walsh says:

    Why are MMO character animations consistently terrible?

    • NuZZ says:

      *Hopefully* because they’re busy with the rest of the game.

    • Howl says:

      The ships look quite bad too. They suddenly twist about on their axis in a lot of vids that I’ve looked at. They don’t seem to have any weight or inertia.

  4. Pardoz says:

    If Cryptic can get it right, it could be a good game. If pigs flew, umbrellas would need to be much more robust.

  5. trindermon says:

    I sooo want this to be fun, i dont care if it has flaws, as cryptic as stupid as they have been cant said to not content patch there games, but please. make it fun.

    • irongamer says:

      The combination of the various game elements could be awesome.

      Ship exploration and battle.
      Planet exploration and battle.
      Upgrades to both away teams and ships.
      Character and ship stats.
      Playing with friends.

      I’m not holding my breath on this title being super fun but I’ve wanted to play game with these elements for a long time. X2-X3 and Freelancer are the games I have played that have come the closest to those elements, obviously those titles don’t have all those elements.

      I haven’t really kept tabs on Dust and how it interacts with Eve so maybe there is something there.

  6. Aganazer says:

    To be fair, they should include the 30 seconds worth of load screens between each of those scenes in that video. It would give a much more accurate representation of ‘actual gameplay’.

    • DMJ says:

      @Aganazer: The video is about 25% developer/publisher/major tech contributor splash screens. I think that just about covers it.

  7. DXN says:

    Some of those character animations seem to be playing awfully fast… !

  8. irongamer says:

    Is that an energy drink in his hand or a Tricorder “wand”? =)

  9. Railick says:

    The comment on the space hoover made me think of Megamaid :P

  10. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Some forums I frequent have shown me a player-made trailer (well, player-cut, really) which consists of bits and pieces of official ones.. put together rather nicely, I found.
    –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbgvxQ765e0&annotation_id=annotation_109219&feature=iv

    voice of dissent

  11. westyfield says:

    Fire phasers!

    I’m still holding out hope for this one, the ‘away team’ system and the exploration really intrigue me.

  12. EthZee says:

    Yay, the silly picture is back! I will remind you all to look at the third Klingon on the right-hand side, who appears to have a rather big grin.

  13. Jozzy says:

    I saw some gameplay footage of this game, the planet exploration bit. The animation of all the players and npc’s looked totally wrong. As an avid mmo player I am used to crappy walking, running, fighting and falling animation but this game seems to set a new standard, and not in a good way.

    might have been early beta, but I am going for a wait and see approach with this game.

    aah, it’s this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq8XQXxdMAQ

    Aparently not early beta…

    • Shalrath says:

      Is this guy using a controller or something? He looks utterly lost when confronted with having to move.

  14. Axton says:

    Did someone mention The Old Republic?

  15. Erlam says:

    Out of curiousity, how long after release do you guys think it’ll be before there’s a ‘Borg Invasion – everyone vs. the Borg!’ expansion. Four months? Six?

  16. TotalBiscuit says:

    Are those.. are those shield effects? Please tell me they are.

  17. Wulf says:

    I hope that’s one of the Stargates from the Original Series in the background there, right before the end. I think many people have forgotten how great TOS was, and how it preceded a number of popular Sci-Fi shows and their ideas by quite some time.

    Hell, the cartoon even had a furry, so that’s open-minded right there. …yep, still got some of my love for Trek. Not so much TNG on, but I always did like Neelix and the Doc of Voyager, they had some great moments.

    I hope we get to meet Garry 7 again, AKA the 12th Doctor.

  18. bill says:

    @Wulf:
    I can’t say i’m a huge Star Trek fan, but i did enjoy the odd episodes of the original series…. i rather like that they were all disconnected and not part of some overarching plot. Ordinarilly I wouldn’t know what you’re talking about, but I just caught that Gary 7 episode on tv last week…. 12th doctor seems about right – or maybe just another timelord ;-)

    • bill says:

      @ RPS Web Overlords:
      That last reply refused to register and display a “click here to cancel reply” no matter how many times I clicked on the reply button, so i didn’t expect it to work. This one, oddly, seems to have displayed a “click here to cancel reply” first click, so i’m expecting this on will work.

      Testing 1 2 3

  19. snv says:

    The more i see about STO the lower my expectations drop.
    Too bad i find Star Wars’ Fairy-Tale-in-Space setting boring

  20. Lachlan says:

    I’m going to stand up to the naysayers and say STO actually looks quite good. I like the use of a setting which is all about exploration and discovery Out In The Depths Of Space to actually /explore/. If there’s enough stuff out there to find, and occasionally Sort Out, then the game can live up to its promise. There are SF fans (myself included) who don’t /want/ to hit everything with a laser sword every ten seconds.

    Its curse will remain the geekiness of the Trek franchise. You can cheerily discuss your raids in Northrend around the water cooler these days, but even with the recent film making Trek a little more respectable, they’ll struggle against easy ghettoization.

    I remain hopeful. At the very least, I’ll try the demo/trial period and see if I have fun.

    • Howl says:

      I can’t help but feel disappointed that they had the universe at their disposal but seem to have made a class based, group combat orientated, holy trinity fight-em-up in the mold of every other MMO ever, with different models and skins. Like taking a MMO mold and trying to fit Star Trek into it, rather than the other way around, which might have produced something unique and groundbreaking.

      If they offer lifetime subscription before you’ve had a chance to try it then I’m steering well clear but I’m interested enough in the IP to give it a shot otherwise.

    • Wulf says:

      @Howl

      I can see what you’re getting at, and to be honest I’d rather a Doctor Who MMO, because for all my love of The Original Series, Star Trek did all it could to make its races uninspired and boring from TNG onward, whereas Doctor Who retained its sense of brilliance. I cannot tell you how pleased I was to see absurd races like the Judoon and the Vashta Nerada in the new series, it’d all make for such a more interesting MMO Universe.

      But TOS did have this rather lovely aspect of mind-boggling alien technology which the Federation had no clue about, and the writers loved playing with that idea. In TOS (but not later series), the crew would come across some bizarre planets with some truly amazing technology, ideas that would be featured in later Sci-Fi shows. I love that TOS actually had stargates, timegates, a time traveller with a magical Deus Ex Machina device, and so on, It was the only era of Trek that lived up to that feeling of adventure that Doctor Who does, and that’s why the Doc’s still going whilst TOS has fallen apart.

      If they go with the more later seasons, especially if they opt for the ultimately dull, tedious, and mediocre wartorn DS9 age as their primary focus, it’s just not going to be interesting. But I have to say, the planet exploration looks kind of promising, the finding of alien tech does too. I was most pleased to see a peculiar alien spire there, with many Feds gathered around it, staring at it, and thinking “WTF is this?!” That’s what I remember of Star Trek, going out into space to see what’s out there and being baffled by all the races who’re so far beyond the Federation.

      From TNG on though it became incredibly Earth-centric, Earth was the center of the Universe, Earth was Starfleet headquarters, Earth had the best technology in the Universe, Earth had the bests philoosophers, and travellers from Earth could best the most enigmatic alien races without batting an eye. I call these the Gods, how egotistical are we as a race? era.

      But yes, if the explorey, findy, be-baffled-by-y bits live up to TOS at least, it could be fun.

      At least I saw Gorn there!

  21. Metaldog says:

    Here’s how I would make a Doctor Who MMORPG:

    Anybody remember the episode “The Five Doctors”? Ancient Time Lords (such as Rassilon) used to scoop up various aliens and drop them into an area known as the “Death Zone,” where they would have to fight each other for survival, to the amusement of the Time Lords. This was known as the Game of Rassilon. In the new series, Gallifrey has been destroyed, and the Death Zone with it, but Rassilon was immortal and we have no way of knowing if he was destroyed or simply set free.

    Perhaps Rassilon has returned. Perhaps he has built a new Death Zone and a new Time Scoop. Perhaps he’s ready for you to play… the Game of Rassilon.

    Think about it: all sorts of playable races from throughout the series, old and new. Races that used to fight against each other forced to team up for survival. Races that are time-sensitive, or who can use mind control or pseudo-magic as a weapon. Other races that are entirely dependent on heavy firepower. Various technologies that could be combined to create more powerful weapons or better defenses.

    Of course, since the Time Lords are gone, players would be unable to play Time Lords… which means less players named The Doctor or TH3 D0C7012 or Dokter Hoo… or whatever. However, various time lords could conceivably appear as NPC’s (explanation: they are holograms created by the Matrix, which is also under Rassilon’s control and is fighting against him from within his own game). I wouldn’t recommend using specific time lords for the npc’s, though, just generic ones.

    I’m envisioning it as a sort of new treatment of DAoC… various alien races team up and form three or more factions, establish safe havens in which they can craft and repair and farm low-level nasties for raw materials and XP… and then the Death Zone would be where they would go for the PvP action.

    Each race could have its own method for respawning. Sontarans would just get a new clone. Cybermen and Daleks and Mechanoids could develop a method for uploading into a new body. Humans could develop a life-saving teleport that moves you straight to a revival station at the moment of death (which is probably something the Judoon already have). Ice Warriors would immediately go into hibernation and surround themselves with a cocoon of ice upon imminent death, and would then teleport to a thawing station. Ood and Rutans and Axons and Autons have hive-minds, so it doesn’t matter if one body dies… another will simply take its place. And new races could be discovered at any time…

    But anyways, to stay on topic… From what I’ve heard about Star Trek Online so far, I think I’ll have to give it a pass. I would have loved to play a Ferengi and amass large quantities of latinum and a gaggle of wives to caress my ears while I fly around selling tribbleburgers and tribblefur hats… and then I’d make first contact with some prehistoric planet and have them make me their god… muhahahahha!