Star Trek Online Review: Discovery Unprecedented – Live Long, And Prosper

Live long and prosper in a universe that is constantly expanding and providing exploration a new definition. Star Trek Online makes the emergence of the millennia that people will witness and recount for years to come.  The space-adventure odyssey Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing game by developer Cryptic Studios (City of Heroes/Villains, Champions Online) captures the excitement from the Star Trek television series and gives players a journey in which they are constantly cultivating their love for all things Science Fiction. Star Trek is definitively not like any other MMO out there that focuses too much on traditional grinding gameplay, leveling pride and lust, and special glowing items found in the pits of some exotic mountain or crafted by a rare animal. While using certain traditional aspects, Star Trek Online keeps the underlying backbone on a skill-based system in which players can rank up from Ensign to Admiral and max out skills respectively.  Core gameplay mechanic that is efficiently detailed within Star Trek Online creates an imperceptible and ingenious balance with skills, abilities, and the central team-based life of a Captain to create an unheralded atmosphere in Space that is not as bitter or bland as other MMO’s that rely too much on repetition, difficult controlling schemes, and furthermore an unbalanced interface and system. With an ingenious gameplay design, incredible variety in gameplay mechanics of space and ground adventure that relies on a cleverly crafted skill-system to advance players in the universe, and the key facet of exploration and adventure both in space and on a microuniversal planetary level, Star Trek Online is undoubtedly the precedent of what a MMO can transcend in an entirely new and unimaginable way.

Star Trek Online begins similar to the Big Bang which created the universe as the setting: Character Creation. Before travelers actually set foot on the universe, they need to create their persona in Star Trek Online.  Customization throughout Star Trek Online constitutes an exemplar value that Cryptic Studios holds dear: the players are given full customization through an interface that is necessary, beautifully detailed, and precise to individual personalities. Players can choose any race authentic to the series or can create their very own race in the Federation, a choice that fans will be extremely pleased about than simple cut and paste series tactic customization options. Every race has a predetermined bonus that is expected: Vulcans are extremely intellectual and Humans possess Leadership and Teamwork qualities with ground combat. When a race is chosen, players have to choose their class and career type that determines the fate of the entire universe of that specific character. Star Trek Online starts customization through a unique series of options that makes it incredibly worthwhile to have individuality in the type of characters players become.

Cryptic Studios creates an unforgettable balance in gameplay mechanics from the inception of character creation in Star Trek Online. Star Trek Online makes the introduction to professions seamless regardless of the innate complexity and skill of each profession later on the game, which is something admirable for a game that presents and essentially delivers on the high standards of the Star Trek franchise.  Science Officers support friends with buffs and heals while weakening enemies, an Engineering Officer protects other players from harm and soaks up a tremendous amount of damage while controlling certain key-based tactics on the ground, and Tactical Officers control the tactics such as supporting the away team by drawing away enemy fire or setting up flanking stances. One key social and gameplay aspect Star Trek Online does beautifully is to balance every class in the MMO. There is no class better than the rest, and the critical thing that Star Trek Online makes very diaphanous to players is the fact that they are part of a larger universe in which there is no competition for ‘levels’ like other amateur MMO’s that build off of that need to grind endless nights just to reach some omnipresent level. Everything follows adaptation. Engineers Officers can further onto career types becoming Combat Engineers that focus on explosive training and Starship Combat Support, Technicians who focus on team technology, and the Engineer that is constantly setting things on the ground as Fabrication experts. Science Officers can be Researchers, Doctors, or Scientists focusing on Combat Control, Medical Assistance, and Enemy Damage respectively. Tactical officers follow in the same way through Soldiers who are focused on improving their Away team and Grenades, Special Forces with menacing Martial Arts training, and Security Officers that are built on Weapons Training and ally protection on the field. Once players are done choosing their character’s destiny, they are asked to name their character, and the ships currently stationed on, and are given the chance to write character biography. After this is done, the adventure begins as players know that the beautifully well-balanced gameplay core details and crafted professions system will have an incredible journey waiting beyond the Stellar Horizon.

Star Trek Online initiates every player post-creation where they set foot before expanding out into the universe: the ground. The breathtaking view Star Trek Online introduces players to centers on a large cabin with a space-port window showing the bright star outside, a symbol that is an indication of essentially a very minuscule part of the large unknown universe that lies ahead in the year of 2409. Missions are first assigned with an immediate sense of urgency and liveliness that thrusts players in the game’s storyline. Players start off as an Ensign hoping to be a Captain of his/her very own ship and ready to take action to save lives. Missions are incredibly varied due to the fact that Star Trek Online builds primarily on the four core facets of the franchise: Combat, Teamwork, Exploration and Discovery.  In turn, this makes Star Trek Online an incredibly varied game that never gets tiring. While certain missions still have a number count, it never feels like there is any repetition. Everything within Star Trek Online is fluid and dynamic due to not just the overarching universe and storyline, but also the intriguing storyline with each mission debrief. When arriving for a mission, Star Trek Online adventurers will face ground combat that engages with certain species that are hostile.  Players will begin on a solo mission that reveals ground combat and general weapon utilities such as the Stun Phaser Array and Basic Martial Arts in a control scheme that works with logic and rationale. Star Trek Online creates an essential dynamic with the primary foundations of the franchise and incorporates it into everything, especially mission design and structure. After enemies are defeated, Ensigns will begin to commandeer their own ship and are set off to the universe beyond the Earth SpaceDock through an incredible transition into Space and the vast unknown.

Space provides players a venue to travel to distant planets, systems, and moreover unforeseen galaxies in which discovery and combat phenomenally combine with various different ships of different races and ships yet to be discovered. Ships in Star Trek Online are not something Cryptic Studios took lightly or put as an add-on like many other games. Ships are as much a part of the Captain as much as Bridge Officers. Ships themselves are customizable both cosmetically and functionally. Everything about a ship from the nacelle pylons and saucers to every other component can be changed.  Players have to choose wisely and make decisions in how they outfit the ship’s weaponry, impulse engines, shields, deflector dish and space station modifications that make the gameplay further unique and ensures no one ever has the same ship or gameplay experience. Same classes in a ship type can hardly be compared. Once players reach the rank of Lieutenant Commander, they can select three ship types: Science vessels, Escorts and Cruisers. Every ship is unique and contains different Crew Capacity, Weapon Capacity, and Bridge Officer Capacity which allows players to determine a best fit for their class, specialization, and Bridge Officers. Star Trek Online once again takes an unprecedented stance in gameplay mechanics because no ship is better or even comparable to another. Everything leading up to Space, including the ship customization, provides a level of detail and balance that can be essentially meaningful to any race, and any player depending on individual customizations, class choice, and finally the differing kinds of Bridge Officers chosen. Star Trek online takes the very same balance in gameplay structure and design presented at the beginning of the game to space exploration and furthers it into new galaxies.

Space combat for the most part involves hull bays, and bridge officers with abilities. Hull bays need to be damaged for an enemy ship to be defeated. To help in this  are the specially chosen Bridge Officers in Space that also have special talents that can be utilized for ground combat later on in the game. Bridge Officers are an integral part to the teamwork mechanic that the Star Trek franchise is built upon. As Bridge Officers learn newer abilities, they can be a helpful part to the space combat structure and deciding if a certain ship has an advantage when compared to another one in terms of damage and defense alone minus actual ship type bonuses. When a hull bay is destroyed of an enemy faction and the mission is completed in Space, players can report back to Spacedock and receive Skill Points, Starfleet Merits, and finally Bridge Officer points that allows for extensive skill customization.

Skill customizations follow with abilities that strengthen as a base of skills. Skills, abilities, and other rewards can be unlocked as players naturally progress on their Merit-Based scale in the game. The skill system clearly reveals a detail not just for accuracy and preciseness to every skill with both ground and space utilization, but also displays the balance that makes the skill system work in the game so remarkably well in relation to every class, ship, and profession choice.

Space is a beautiful place in Star Trek Online and feels never-ending because it is definitively never-ending in the stretches of the universe map up to an unknown point 14 billion light years like actual Space.  The significant difference with Star Trek Online comes through the incredible balance with every item, ship, class, and character in the game having an identity and purpose that is unique and can be used at any point in time no matter what a merit badge presents. Star Trek Online creates a universe that is constantly evolving and changing gameplay design that will be hard to ever forget. Star Trek Online carries a bright torch in a repetitive and constantly dreary MMO world of repetition, grinding and level pride pointlessness, and misbalance in gameplay structure. Star Trek Online glows brightly with an incredible design and structure that can find a place in the bigger picture of the universe.

Star Trek Online: Just Brilliant

Star Trek Online accomplishes what few other MMO’s try to do: excitement, exploration, and real fun. The main thing about the exploration, which I feel should be mentioned, is the fact that Exploration is just that. You do not need to constantly go around different places (World of Warcraft, EVE) to gain quests to explore. The world just lets you explore without worrying about ‘levels’ or ‘danger zones,’ even though some zones can be dangerous. Most of the variety in Star Trek Online is based on the pure chance factor which is the most exciting factor that every MMO seems to miss these days.

Star Trek Online is definitely without a doubt going to be around for more than 30-40 years provided the development team has kids and trains them to work at their studio – or just finds like minded individuals constantly, which Cryptic Studios is constantly doing. Lifetime Purchase is definitely recommended for anyone doubting if this title delivers. It simply does.

Star Trek Online – One Step For Man, One Giant Leap To Go Where No One Has Gone Before

My father was a long-time season expert of the Star Trek Franchise since 1968. Naturally, I grew accustomed to his large DVD collection myself and remained increasingly skeptical about the title from initial announcements. How will they deliver on a name that sets such a high standard for delivering messages on race, warfare, authoritarianism, etc? I am glad to say my doubts are completely over. The combat did not concern me as far as Star Trek Online went, but surely what did concern me was the core mission elements: the storyline, the structure, the progression.

Star Trek Online simply radiates a level of energy unseen with incredible storyline that is genuine, and space exploration that is true to the series itself and what it stood for. While the game may not give way to many issues as the show’s complexity and themes demonstrated, it does do a great job at making sure every single person has fun in their own way or with friends.

I'm all about one thing: reviews that are easy to understand and make sense of.

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