Archive for the ‘Star Trek Online’ Category

Star Trek Online: My Opinion

Star Trek Online

Star Trek Tip #1: Standing with your hands behind your back makes you look very captainy

I never got the Star Trek universe. The entire thing just seems so illogical, unrealistic and silly to me. Giant space ships manned by altruistic species, filled to the brim with innocent civilians and recklessly flying into danger all in the name of the greater good? It makes no sense. If Star Trek was “real”, the Federation would be run by an army of a thousand obedient Datas, the original having been cloned in a transporter “accident” not long after being discovered, whilst every human spends their entire life within the confines of the holodeck, acting out the dirtiest and most deprived fantasies they could possibly imagine. They wouldn’t need to eat or drink or even leave to use the bathroom because some clever Starfleet scientist would’ve no doubt discovered how to beam food directly into their stomachs and excrement directly out of their bowels. That is the world of Stark Trek. And let me tell you now, the MMORPG is nothing like it.

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Korea vs Star Trek. Korea Wins.

I cancelled my Star Trek Online pre-order from Amazon today. I certainly had my doubts when I ordered it but decided to take the plunge anyway, the thoughts of a sexy Borg Officer (Locutus of Borg obviously) standing by my side on the bridge of the USS Dorothy swaying me. However, even though I haven’t even finished downloading the beta yet, let alone try it, I’ve already decided that the game isn’t for me.

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Priests are scary, especially when they have legs for arms

Firstly, it hasn’t exactly been received by the blogging public with welcoming arms and glowing reviews. Lukewarm at best, some have even been downright negative and outright disparaging. Although the Star Trek universe and intellectual property appeals, I don’t have the time in my life to play games that just aren’t that good. Play less; play more quality was my MMORPG New Year’s resolution let’s not forget (blogging consistency or what?). Besides, Mass Effect 2 comes out on the 29th and that is definitely a game to get excited about.

Secondly, Amazon emailed me to kindly notify me that the game is going to be delayed in the UK from the 2nd Feb to the 5th and that I won’t receive my copy until the 10th. I can do the time but honestly, this has to be a sign from the Gods if I ever saw one. Bye, bye pre-order. Plus, Amazon already sent me my beta key so if a minor miracle does occur and Star Trek Online turns out to be just my cup of tea, I’ll just pop up to the shops and buy it.

Anyway, I’ve decided to use my refunded gift vouchers to pre-order Thirst on blu-ray instead. It’s a South Korean film by one of my favourite directors, Park Chan-wook (who made the exceptionally good Old Boy) and stars one of my favourite actors, Soong Kang-ho (from The Host and The Good, The Bad and The Weird, among other things). It’s had great reviews and is about vampires. What more could a guy ask for?

Foreign cinema is starting to appeal to me more and more these days as I find Hollywood becoming increasingly predictable and formulaic. There’s something refreshing about films that are made for the sake of art and don’t try to appeal to the mass market in order to turn the biggest buck. Asian cinema, especially Korean, is becoming increasingly exciting these days and turning out some great films that rival their Western counterparts in terms of scale and beat them hands down on characterisation and story.


I Pre-Ordered Star Trek Online

Title says it all, frankly. Even though I’ve been feeling (and still feel) very lukewarm towards the forthcoming Star Trek Online, I decided to pre-order it anyway. It was a combination of a beta-access (even though I recall swearing I’d never beta test another game) and head-start promise and some well-received Amazon vouchers as a Christmas present.

I Want A Khaaan! Emote

I Really Do Want A Khaaan! Emote

Although Direct2Drive are offering a “Digital Deluxe Edition” for £45/€50/$72 which comes with a bunch of goodies including a personal shield, original Star Trek uniform, KHAAAN! emote, NX ship registry prefix and access to the Joined-Trill race, I still decided to just buy the vanilla version from Amazon UK instead. Don’t get me wrong, those items are very tempting (especially the KHAAAN! emote) but I can’t really justify the extra cost for a few fluff items, especially for a game that I’m not totally convinced by. The Amazon version is only costing me £25/€28/$40 and it gives me an exclusive Borg Bridge Officer crew mate. No KHAAAN! emote but still, pretty cool.

As you may have gathered, I’m still very sceptical about the game and the more I read about it the more my cynicism grows. Oh how I worry Star Trek Online will turn out to be piss… but at least with low expectations all of the surprises will be pleasant ones. Yes, it’s with this pessimistic outlook on life (or at least MMORPGs) that I intend to guard myself from the ineviteable Anti-Hype-Letdown that seems to affect everyone about 3-4 weeks after a new MMO comes out. Age of Conan has no content? Really? Aion is a mega-grind-fest? Really?

Of course, I say all of that but then there’s always that little glimmer of hope that lurks depth within my brain and whispers to me, “y’know, maybe it will actually turn out to be good”. And hence the pre-order.


Star Trek Online Official Release Date

So it’s official: Star Trek Online will be released on 2nd February 2010 in the US and 5th February 2010 in Europe (hopefully the usual head start programs will apply and us Euros can get early access along with our American buddies). Not really surprised at such an early release date as after all of the tidbits of news I’d been hearing about STO, I was expecting it. Still, it does make me very cynical about just how polished and ready the game will be. Call me a pessimist but I’ve been playing MMORPGs for a long, long time now and seen my fair share of games being released when they just aren’t ready.

However, trying to objective about it all, maybe STO will be just fine and perfectly polished and good to go. Perhaps I’m too used to Blizzard’s relaxed attitude towards deadlines (turns out Starcraft 2 won’t even beta until next year) and thus feel that if something doesn’t take a dog’s age to release, then it won’t be ready enough. Cryptic may have been working on the game for years already or using some fancy new engine and tools which makes development a breeze so really I shouldn’t pass any judgement until the game comes out and I can try it for myself.

Still, I worry. See, I’m a worrier, it’s just in my nature. We haven’t had the slow build of hype over 36 months to prepare us for this game and the thought “they just want to get it out before Cataclysm destroys every other MMO along with Azeroth” keeps pervading my mind. However, with any luck time will prove me wrong and my worries will be to no avail.

P.S. I’ve decided to avoid the Star Trek Online open beta and just wait for the official release (or pre-order head start). I’m jaded with the whole beta experience and, right now, I feel like I can continue my internal hype machine enough to wait.


Star Trek Online – Pros and Cons

Screenshots and tidbits of information are being thrown steadily at us as the launch date for Star Trek Online approaches like a Borg Cube doing Warp 9.99. My internal hype meter is starting to quiver as I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Star Trek – I’m more of a Treky than a Treker though (if you know the difference then you’re more of a geek than me; if you don’t, you’re less of a geek). I guess the only thing keeping in my incredible geekness in check (some sort of neural-inhibitor, if you will) is that I can’t shake the overwhelming feeling that STO still seems pretty tacky and under-developed. Maybe we just haven’t seen any good quality footage of the game yet though.

Regardless of my fears, here’s a list of my personal pros and cons towards the forthcoming Star Trek Online.

Pros

  • It’s Star Trek! In a MMORPG! How can anyone not already be sold?
  • The character creator sounds fantastic. I love the idea of being able to make my own alien. Excellent idea and very well suited to the Federation (*cough* Communism) ideology.
  • Nice graphics. I say nice actually as a compliment there. They aren’t photo-realistic or amazingly slick like some games we’ve seen but I think that’s a good thing. I’m sick of games that require an IBM mainframe to run and, at the end of the day, nice graphics running well go a long way to making a game more enjoyable than an uber looking chug-beast does.
  • Made by Cryptic. Although Cryptic haven’t made the headlines like Blizzard they are a solid studio with some good titles under their belt and a lot of experience. Although I still have concerns about STO, at least I have confidence in the developers behind it.

Cons

  • First quarter 2010 release date seems incredibly soon. Will the game be polished enough? I’m tired of buggy, under-developed MMORPG releases.
  • Set 30 years after Star Trek Nemesis. Big shame, in my opinion, as I looking forward to adventuring alongside my favourite characters. Guess now our only interaction with Picard will be pushing his wheelchair around the Enterprise-F.
  • Space combat. Controversial, I know, but I’m not a fan of mixing genres. Space combat and ground based 3rd person games shouldn’t be mixed in my opinion. Please set your phasers to stun before frying me on this one.
  • Federation only PvE content. Assuming I’ve got this right, it seems like Klingons will be an unlockable race and will lack much of the content that the Federation get, pitching them heavily towards PvP only. Shame, as I would’ve loved to have played through proper PvE content for each of the major factions.

So there you have my pros and cons for Star Trek Online. Bit of a mixed bag and I can only going on what I’ve read so time will be the ultimate deciding factor here. Here’s hoping it will be a great game, more like the females of Angel One than the males.

P.S. If got that last reference then it’s time to get up from your computer, go outside and meet some real people. Either that or high-five yourself in the mirror.