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Star Trek Online

is a MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios based on the popular Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry. The game is set in the 25th century, 30 years after the events... read more

7.2
Genres MMORPG
Platforms PC
Developers Cryptic Studios...
Engines
Status: Released
Release: 02-Feb-2010

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is a MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios based on the popular Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry. The game is set in the 25th century, 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.

Star Trek Online is the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game within the Star Trekfranchise and was released for the Microsoft Windows platform on February 2, 2010. At launch, the game required a game purchase and a recurring monthly fee. On January 17, 2012, it relaunched with a tier of free-to-play access available. After a public beta testing period, a completed version of the game was released for the Apple Macintosh platform on March 11, 2014. The game can be downloaded for Windows from the Perfect World Entertainment platform Arc Games or from Steam, or from Perfect World Entertainment as a standalone launcher for Mac. As of January 30, 2014, the game had 3.2 million players.

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Setting

Star Trek Online is set in the year 2409, thirty years after the events of Star Trek Nemesis. The alliance between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire has collapsed, and both sides are once again at war. The Romulan Star Empire continues to deal with the fallout of the loss of their homeworld twenty two years earlier (as shown in J.J.Abrams' Star Trek reboot), while the Dominion rebuilds its forces. The Borg Collective has re-emerged as a major threat.

Each player is the captain of his own individual ship, utilizing any and all officers who have access to a ship, including the player's character. In keeping with naval tradition, anyone who commands a ship, regardless of his or her actual rank, is considered a de facto "captain". Currently, there are three factions available: Federation; Klingon; and Romulan, and players can create characters from any of these factions at level 1. Previously, Klingon characters could only be unlocked at and after level 25, and Romulan characters were not available. Bridge officers have a separate progression, including the purchase of skills and equipment, and can be promoted to higher ranks by their ships' captains.

The game features references to several famous storylines, ships, and characters from various Star Trek television series. The story unfolds in the standard timeline established within the televised Star Trek series, mostly ignoring the events presented in Abrams' Star Trek reboot, which is set in an alternate timeline. However, it does follow the plot from the reboot - the destruction of Romulus - that is within the "prime" Star Trek timeline. One confirmed reference to Abrams' film was revealed when Zachary Quinto announced at the 2009Spike TV Video Game Awards that he will be voicing dialogue during the game's tutorial. Leonard Nimoy is heard for all of the gameplay and exploration voice-over samples. TheLCARS computer system dialog is voiced by a Majel Barrett impersonator.

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Gameplay

In Star Trek Online, each player acts as the captain of his own ship. Players are able to play as a starship, controlling the ship's engineering, tactical, and science systems by keyboard/mouse or using an on-screen console. Players can also "beam down" and move around as a player character in various settings with access to weapons and specific support and combat skills relating to their own characters' classes. The two combat systems are intertwined throughout the game: away-team missions feature fast-paced "run-and-gun" combat, while space combat stresses the long-term tactical aspect of combat between capital ships. Both are offered in concert with the Star Trek storyline and emphasize ship positioning to efficiently utilize shields during space combat, as well as the player's away team's positioning in consideration of flanking damage and finding various weaknesses to exploit during ground combat.

Player customization

The game features a variety of ship classes which can be used by all players. Playable ship classes utilize one of three templates for appearance (additional ones can be unlocked/purchased in C-Store and using alternate methods) and can be "kitbashed" together or recolored to make a unique ship. Ship classes are not restricted based on a player's specialty; any class of starship is available using only the player's rank as a prerequisite, however, a player's earned skills often correspond with one or more ship classes and must be considered carefully before choosing. Respecialization (Captain Retraining) is available to aid in selecting different abilities or to change ship classes by spending points on another class. A player can also switch between any of his ships (purchased in-game or earned) at starbases and can even choose older ships the player no longer uses.

Uniforms can either be created in the character creation phase or via the tailor found on various starbases. New styles can be used, or, depending on which retail copy or C-Store Pack has been purchased, access to uniforms seen on the various TV shows are available. Costume parts are broadly available across all characters, but certain parts have restrictions based on factions played or gender.

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Playable races

During character creation, players may select a canonical race from the Star Trek universe, each with its own inherent racial traits, or choose to customize his own unique species. The majority of playable races are exclusive to either the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire, or the Romulan Republic. However, a few exceptions are playable by more than one faction. While the majority of races come standard, additional races may be purchased from Cryptic's online C-store.

Character advancement

Players will find new officers as they level up with various special abilities who can be recruited to the player's crew, or used to train their existing crew members with a new ability that the player's character may not have to offer. New Bridge Officers can be recruited in this manner, or hired/released at an appropriate starbase. Individual combat successes offer Skill Points and Expertise (formerly called Bridge Officer Skill Points) as the main reward. Skill Points are the main "Experience Points", which are spent in a skill tree. Skill Points are also used to level up the player's captain, with each rank requiring a fixed number of points spent on their skill tree to receive a promotion. Expertise points are spent separate of Skill Points, affecting only Bridge Officers. A captain needs to spend a certain amount of Expertise as well as Energy Credits to promote a Bridge Officer to a higher rank, but progression of a Bridge Officer is always limited to one rank beneath the player's captain up to the Commander rank. Increased Bridge Officer ranks add new abilities and functionality to ships that a player can trigger on command while in space, as well as added automatic skills for Bridge Officers to use in ground combat missions (Unlike Space Skills, Ground Skills are used by the Bridge Officers automatically as NPC characters, although a captain can direct the Bridge Officers to attack or defend with simple team commands). Captain and Bridge Officer skills are organized between both systems, with each skill improvement applying to either space combat or ground combat only.

Crafting

Star Trek Online offers a skill-based crafting system that differs from the more conventional item generation features found in most MMORPGs. By collecting various particles or data samples throughout the universe, players are able to craft items of varying degrees of level to help them in their missions. As a player's crafting skill level increases, they gain access to a wider array of more powerful items. Players may craft different types of weapons, shields, or engines for their ships, along with equipment, and weapons for ground missions. All come in degrees from common to ultra-rare.

Currently, a player may raise an attack Horta from hatchling status through the crafting system.

Note: Crafting system has been changed in Season 9.5 and it is now referred as R&D (Research and Development) under Duty Officer menu.

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Player economy and rewards

Upon completing missions, players gain Skill Points, Expertise, various credits like; Fleet Credits, Fleet Marks (Both released in Season 6), Dilithium (replacement for the old marks system released in Season 5), Energy Credits, and Gold-Pressed Latinum (currency used in the Dabo mini-game). The paid currencies are ZEN (the microtransaction currency of Perfect World Entertainment titles) and Lobi Crystals (as an indirect purchase in the C-Store, or through Lock Box reveals) using real world money. On most assigned missions, players can choose a single prize from a multitude of reward items related to one of the above-mentioned ship or personal equipment categories. Equipment is organized in a similar arrangement to skills, applying to either ground equipment (kits, weapons, personal shields, and body armor) or spaceship parts (consoles, weapons, shields, deflector dishes, ship devices, engines and hangar pets). Equipment can be purchased from various NPC's at starbases, or through the Exchange (a silent-buy player market) utilizing only Energy Credits, or directly from Equipment Dealers at Earth Space Dock using only Dilithium. Advanced equipment for both space and ground is available through projects requiring Marks - Fleet Marks for Fleet (guild) projects, or Omega/Romulan Marks for the personal Reputation system (introduced in Season 7).

Equipment that is rare or uncommon in value may bind to a single character or to that player's account (allowing the item to be used by any character on that account via the Account Bank, or in-game mail system) on purchase. This limits resale value once used; if a player equips a character-bound or account-bound item, they lose the ability to sell it later without heavy restrictions on the value of the item. Equipment not bound to a player can be resold on the Exchange for Energy Credits to other players without restriction. If bound, equipment can be resold to any vendor for 40 to 50% of the item's value depending on vendor and location, given to another character via mail or Account Bank (only if account bound), or simply be discarded in the ship's replicator (this game's version of a recycler) for a third of the item's value. Locked items cannot be sold and include pre-order bonuses, mission-specific items, and unlocked veteran reward items.

There are also "Requisitions", or a single point toward a specific type of free item for the current character's class. For example, as a part of normal advancement, a player can receive a ship requisition from their current mentor contact for a particular class of starship at any Starbase after a major rank change (Ensign to Lieutenant, Lieutenant to Commander, etc.) This requisition is redeemable only once, and only allows purchase of a ship that matches the rank ability of the character (once becoming a Lieutenant-Commander, Lieutenant ships are no longer available to requisition: getting another Lieutenant class ship costs Dilithium or Zen.) Requisitions are also issued through the Duty Officer system to purchase uncommon, rare, or very rare duty officers.

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Teaming

It is possible for players to pool resources in a number of ways. Missions are issued from Starfleet Command for Federation characters and The Klingon Defense Force (KDF) forKlingon Empire characters. Players can then join together on the ground or in space to complete these missions. Gameplay is fully cooperative and dynamic events serve as one part of the game. Teaming can be done using "Open Teaming" (which automatically joins up with a team running the same mission), or through traditional ad-hoc or search methods used in other MMOs. A fleet is the term for guilds in Star Trek Online, and is formed among a group of players. Fleets allow access to a central fleet bank, a chat channel, a Fleet Starbase as well as other fleet 'holdings' that can be upgraded and advanced by completing projects (Introduced in Season 6), and allow a fleet insignia to replace their faction logo on their starship as well as on their uniforms. Also in Season 6, special raids and 'fleet actions' have been released which are only accessible to players if they are currently in a fleet.

Special Missions are available that require teamwork as a prerequisite to accomplish a larger task. Fleet Actions are available in-game that require the cooperation of a number of players to complete a ground mission together. Special Task Forces are considered 'End Game' content and allow max level characters of multiple factions to unite to defeat a common enemy, currently only the Borg Collective, but plans are in the works for Tholian Assembly as well as Iconian Special Task Force missions in future seasons. Deep Space Encounters are spread across all maps in what is known as 'Sector Space', and allow players to team up to clear a field of a number of combatants or space mobs in open-space battle. A neutral zone exists between Federation and Klingon space that allows Player vs. Player combat between factions. Combatants queue up on a match map in space or through the PvP queues (currently as of Season 6 accessible from the drop down menu under the mini map) and fight the opposing faction to meet a single objective (defeat all, timed match, capture the flag, etc.).

Genesis System (Exploration missions)

There is a capability to explore new star systems in the game. Players will be able to explore inside of uncharted star systems, and might find anomalies that open new resources and technologies, or uncharted planets offering random diplomatic or combat missions. In Season 2, a variety of missions in the Genesis system were added to the Diplomatic XP system, which over time grants non-combat missions, additional titles, and special items.

The exploration clusters were removed in Season 9.5. The Duty Officer Assignments regarding the exploration clusters are unchanged and can still be accessed via a location near the previous enter/exit points before the removal of the clusters.

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Fleet Actions

Similar to raids in other MMORPGs, Fleet Actions are special missions in which up to 20 players must cooperate to achieve a common goal. These missions can take place both in space as well as on the ground. Contrary to the name, players do not have to be members of a fleet (Star Trek Online's guilds) to participate in some of these maps. However in Season 6: Under Siege special 'fleet action' maps and queues were released that do require a player to be currently in a fleet to participate. As such these special fleet actions reward a currency known as Fleet Marks in addition to Skill Points and Expertise that can be spent on projects through the fleet's holdings section via the fleet menu accessible from under the mini map to be used to help advance the fleet's starbase and other 'holdings' and projects.

In the Starbase 24 mission, the earliest accessible Fleet Action, players must work together to destroy 50 Klingon ships to protect the titular facility. Additionally, players can choose to beam down to the surface of Starbase 24 to complete various objectives.

Players who contribute the most in these battles are ranked upon completion and the highest-ranking contributors are awarded with powerful items ranging from green (uncommon), blue (rare), to in some instances purple (very rare) qualities.

The Foundry (User Generated Missions)

On December 2, 2010, The Foundry went in open beta on Tribble, the test server. 

The Foundry allows players to create their own missions and story-arcs that other players can play and then rate and comment upon. It was initially scheduled to be released on Holodeck, the live server, on February 24, 2011. The February 24 date was again pushed back due to the active Reman Featured Episodes and has been released to the Holodeck as of March 29, 2011.

In August 2012, the Foundry received a major upgrade and overhaul which added more customization options, easier access to maps and generating story content, as well as adding additional maps and objects that can be used by players to craft more advanced and higher quality missions more easily. It is to be noted that despite these major upgrades, the Foundry is still very much under constant development with new features and bug fixes added a few times each major game update or Season.

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Duty Officer System (Offline progression)

Introduced with Season 5, the Duty Officer System allows players to assign NPC characters called duty officers to tasks both on and off the player's ship. Once the duty officer is assigned to a task, no further input is needed from the player to ensure its completion. This method of game play is optional, and players earn in-game rewards for utilizing it. This system equates to essentially offline character progression, as missions occur in real time (whether the player is signed in or not) and one of the rewards for completed Duty Officer missions include XP as well as points in Expertise that can be used to advance Bridge Officer NPC's on your ship. Another reward is points towards various Duty Officer XP ranks in Diplomacy, Science, Exploration, etc., with higher ranks leading to character prestige abilities (Transwarp to DS9, etc.) and new player titles as well as free Rare/Very Rare Duty Officers. Limits to offline progress involve the number of Duty Officers available, Assignment slots available (current maximum is 20), and the types of Duty Officers and consumable inventory owned, as certain missions have prerequisites. Mission durations range from as short as 15 minutes to as long as 48 hours; duty officers used for a mission are unavailable for other missions until that time expires.

In Season 6 (In Season 9.5 it was changed again for the same reason), the Duty Officer system and menu underwent a significant update to make the menu easier to navigate as well as make projects easier to understand and clarify the rewards that will be granted if the assignment is successful. Lastly, the listing of the assignment's rarity in which the more rare an assignment is, the more the rewards are multiplied if the assignment has a 'Critical Success' or superior outcome.

In the future, Cryptic has talked about future plans to release an App for mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, as well as other smartphones and tablet computers that will allow players to manage their Duty Officers even when away from their main computer, however no specific time table has been released for when this feature will be available.

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Development

Initially, Perpetual Entertainment developed the game from 2004 to 2008 until its bankruptcy in January 2008. The license to develop the game and art assets were transferred to Cryptic Studios; however, the code remained with Perpetual Entertainment and its Perpetual Game Engine.

Cryptic Studios officially announced the development of Star Trek Online on July 28, 2008, as a countdown timer on Cryptic's web site reached zero and the new official site was launched. A letter was sent out from Jack Emmert, the game's online producer, detailing some aspects of Cryptic's approach.

Cryptic originally announced (and since released) a Windows version of STO. During the Las Vegas conference in August 2008, Cryptic announced that there would be neither Linuxnor Mac versions for the original launch, though they did not rule out the possibility of later port releases. As of 11/11/13, the STO Mac version was in open Beta, and by 3/18/14, it was released, though highly problematic. Console versions were announced several months before the release, with no specific console platform specified, but Cryptic has since announced that all console versions of their games are on indefinite hold due to difficulties "on the business side of things," largely referring to the fees assessed by Microsoft for their Xbox Gold premium online gaming service and the difficulty in asking a player to pay both that and the Cryptic subscription fee to play a single game.

Star Trek Online was released in North America on February 2, 2010, in Europe on February 5, 2010, and in Australia on February 11, 2010. Customers who ordered the game in advance were able to gain access to the game on January 29, 2010 (before the official release date), via a bonus 'head-start' which was included with pre-order packages.

Las Vegas Star Trek Convention 2008

On August 10, 2008, the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention was held at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Leonard Nimoy and Cryptic Studios Chief Creative Officer Jack Emmert together revealed the first gameplay trailer, featuring various Federation and Klingon starships in combat with each other and Borg vessels, as well as footage of a Klingon squad boarding a Federation ship's bridge. The release date was not publicly revealed except that it would be less than three years.

Beta test

Star Trek Online's closed beta test officially began when it was announced on October 22, 2009. Cryptic Studios offered guaranteed beta access to users who bought 6-month and lifetime subscriptions to Champions Online. However, the offer did not explicitly state how early in the beta process the access would be granted. Some pre-order packages included access to the 'open beta' running from January 12–26, 2010.



This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Star Trek Online, which isreleased under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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