Star Trek Online: Beam Me Up, Scotty?
Anyone who follows my various blogs knows that I'm an avid Star Wars fan. What you may not know is that I'm quite the Star Trek fan as well. Am I a geek? Hell, yeah. And proud of it.
As with any flashy film or television franchise, Star Trek has a checkered history when it comes to video games. For every Star Trek: Elite Force there's a Star Trek: New Worlds.
I first heard rumors about a Star Trek MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game) in 2004. I had been a beta-tester on Star Wars Galaxies, which was my first MMORPG experience (I played Galaxies for another 3 years or so). I found the notion of a Star Trek game set in this format to be quite intriguing. As with Star Wars, Star Trek is a giant invention of worlds, beings, vehicles, and adventure. The possibilities were endless.
But the game's development seemed to go into limbo. It became one of those games that you hear about, but never see. Duke Nukem anyone?
In a nutshell, here's what happened: from 2004 to 2008, Perpetual Studios developed Star Trek Online-then went bankrupt. The licensing and all art design were transferred to Cryptic Studios, makers of the successful City of Heroes series of MMORPG games.
Set 30 years after the events of the film Star Trek: Nemesis, the game chronicles the crumbling of the Khitomer Accords (the peace treaty between The Federation and the Klingon Empire). They are now at war. Other alien species such as the Gorn and the Romulans have fallen in with one side or the other.
This doesn't sound like the Star Trek I know. You know, the "explore all worlds, seek out other life-forms" etc. It sounds more like a lot of ass-kicking.
Lots of promises were made concerning game-play. These include the ability to design your own captain and crew, (including hundreds of skills, weapons, armor, and equipment) and customizable Federation and Klingon ships that you command. It was also touted as being the first AAA MMO to contain both ground- and space-combat at launch.
AAA is just shorthand for saying, "Hey, we spent a ton of money on this game and its ad campaign."
MMORPG gamers (including myself) worry when we see this, as it usually implies just the opposite. In other words, while the company may have spent a ton on the product, we know that we're gonna get something that's full of glitches and probably unfinished.