If you are a hard-core Trekker, like myself, you have spent many a sleepless night dreaming about when a REAL Star Trek game would arrive. As a child, I dreamed of joining Starfleet, flying my own ships, meeting strange new aliens, and kicking the ever living crap out of the Borg. After two decades of waiting, Star Trek Online is almost here!
There has been a multitude of games made in the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force, Elite Force 2, Birth of the Federation, Star Trek: New Worlds, Star Trek: Borg, and many others. They even made one for the Game Boy way back in the late ’90s (remember the Game Boy?) Now, with Cryptic Studios running the show, it appears Star Trek Online will finally give Trekkies the Starfleet experience that they have been craving since James T. Kirk first hooked up with a green-skinned pole dancer.
There is only one problem: Everyone’s vision of Star Trek Online is unique. How is the team at Cryptic going to create a unique Star Trek experience for all of its players? How is it even possible?
Give Cryptic its due. They are tackling the most beloved TV saga of all time and from the media they have released, they are doing a great job. Let’s start with some of my favorite features:
When Cryptic studios unveiled the Character Customization screen for Star Trek Online, I was blown away. You can modify EVERYTHING about your avatar. Want to be an emotionless Vulcan? Done! Or do you prefer the blue-skinned Bolians? Easy! Make your character completely unique out of several preset races such as Vulcans, Bajorans, Humans, Bolians, and a few more. Each preset race has its own racial traits that provide bonuses.
Want to add your own creativity to the Star Trek Universe? Create your own new species to grace the digital universe, complete with racial traits that you picked. Be anyone (or anything that has two legs) that you want to be.
Perhaps you do not even care about character customization. If so, click on the “Random” button and let the computer pick something for you and it’s off you go at Warp 9 (or Warp 5, for you more environmental cosmonauts).
You also can choose your “class”. There are three different tracks to follow: Tactical, Engineering, and Science. To steal a Navy expression, “choose your rate, choose your fate”. Are you a fighter? Are you a builder? Are you an explorer? These are the questions you will have to ask yourself when building your avatar in Star Trek Online.
And the customization does not stop there. As a Starfleet Captain, you will need a Bridge crew to support you and being that the Captain is only as good as his crew, these “pets” are also customizable. With the exception of race and gender, you can customize just about everything else.
And of course, what would a Starfleet captain be without a ship? With four archetypes of ships (Light Cruisers, Cruisers, Escorts, and Science Vessels) there are plenty of ways to modify your ship and make it unique amongst the fleet. Colors, nacelles, saucers, deflectors, and body styles are all modifiable and yet still allow the user to determine what class ship he is up against.
The fun doesn’t end there though. As with most people, it is not what is on the outside, but on the inside, that counts. Each ship can have different items installed on their vessels and different Bridge officers, all with their own effects and modifiers to the ship.
With all these options, every ship will be one-of-a-kind in the fleet. And it is all designed by you. Everything from whether or not you are firing photon torpedoes or quantum torpedoes; phasers or disruptors; detecting cloak or phaser cannons. All of these decisions are up to you to determine how you want your Star Trek experience to unfold.
Finally, there is a Star Trek game where you can be you (or anybody else you want to be). Scheduled for release on February 2nd, 2010, get your pre-orders and play in the Open Beta now.
Make it so!