The very first Star Trek video game I ever played was a cheaply programmed space combat simulator on DOS, featuring a duke-fest between the Enterprise and an infinite wave of Klingon ships. I remember back then feeling pretty disappointed that the combat was the be-all, end-all of the game — that’s it?
In fact, the only Star Trek game that’s come even close to balancing combat with all the other elements that make Trek Trek was Star Trek: 25th Anniversary — and that was in nineteen-ninety-freaking-two — which added adventure and problem-solving elements to the equation.
So every time I hear anything about Star Trek Online, it worries me that all that’s being blasted from Cryptic’s loudspeakers is combat, combat, combat (and character customization). Yeah, sure, combat’s a big part of MMOs and a slightly significant part of Star Trek, but Trek isn’t an action show at the heart — it’s a space opera with adventure overtones. So here’s my question before I start thinking “That’s it?” of this upcoming title: what is there to do and experience outside of combat? Is this just the same DOS-era combat simulator updated with fancier graphics, or is there depth past the combat layer? After Champions Online, which is also combat-centric to the exclusion of almost all else (and creating a shallow world as a result), do I have a cause for concern?
I guess what I’m looking for is how much of a “living world” (or living universe) will STO have for us beyond the quest/combat model. I find that MMOs rich in features such as crafting, pets, player housing, social hubs, achievements and so on are ones that I tend to want to inhabit longer — I’m able to plant deeper roots as a result. At least from some reports, STO has a good Trek “vibe” to it.
Here’s what I’ve been able to dig up, and I’d love to hear more if you know something I don’t!
- “Diplomatic missions”
- Walking around the bridge – Cryptic’s shoehorned this in as a semi-last minute feature, allowing players to explore their virtual bridge and use it as a social hub. Will it be? Who knows!
- “Star Clusters are a part of the exploration content of STO. They provide endless procedurally generated combat and non-combat missions for both ground and space.”
- Memory Alpha – This seems to be a collection feature, where you pick up relics and info on missions, bring them back, and if you finish a collection you get a nifty reward or new ability.
I contacted Cryptic and sent them ten questions along this line of thought — no word yet, but if they respond, I’ll be glad to post their perspective!
P.S. – Awesome to hear that they’ve also snagged Leonard Nimoy for a few voiceovers as well!