To boldly go where Cryptic is going
Cryptic has released a gameplay trailer and a webcast from their presentation at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.
Pretty interesting material. While I cannot say I am a huge Star Trek fan (or pyjamas SciFi in general) I do enjoy watching TV episodes from time to time.
It seems that combat may be a significant part of the game, although perhaps not the dominating activity – which is good. But most likely more prevalent than in some of the TV series; the PvP aspect of the game will be between Klingon Empire and Starfleet, with more factions coming later. But the game will not be a PvP focused game, which makes good sense.
Neither will it be a level-based game or any “traditional” (read fantasy-oriented) classes/professions, but there will be specialisations for the captains/commanders – and everyone will command their own ships.
I am not surprised that they are not aiming for high end machines, that casual play times should be fine and that it should be playable by “children of all ages”. Cryptic is one game company that gets that part I think. And I guess the parents for the most adorable person asking questions in the webcast are happy also 🙂
Since I play a fair amount of Guild Wars nowadays some of the elements described of selecting and recruiting your crew and gaining information on explorations sounded at least in concept similar to Guold Wars skill managment. Especially since the crew you select to bring on missions may be important for the outcome. That is certainly a welcome aspect of the game.
Diplomacy do not seem to be in the game yet, but considered – they were still discussing how to translate that into game play. Trading seems it will be a significant part of the game also, with conflicts around resources. Main focus for conflicts will not be resolved through combat as I understood it, which is inline with Star Trek in general.
In addition to be given missions from central command there will also be events; one event that was indicated was Borg invasions – which also was part of the game trailer. This sounds a bit like the Rikti invasions in City of Heroes/Villains, remains to be seen how that turns out.
Their preference is to get everyone to play in the same single universe and they can support that from a technological perspective, but no promises are made in that regard.
If I heard it correctly, there is a /demo_record command (or similar function) in the game, which I am quite happy to hear. I have used it fairly often in City of Heroes/Villains and it is a great function to record in-game play.
They have a planned date for when the gamer will be ready, but not public. They did say “less than 3 years” though. Jack Emmert pointed out that this is less time than it takes for many previous MMOs and that part of that due to their toolset. While this is certainly a big deal from a development perspective I think that this is only to be expected from decent game companies.
Make your first MMO – lots lessons learned from mistakes and better understanding of what is involved. Second MMO – refine the toolset and way of working, take the time to make it right. Third MMO – start to reap the benefits from what has been made before.
This seems that this is the case for Cryptic here. Similarly this is what may be the case for Funcom and their Secret World MMO. Other game companies with a number of titles behind their belts (SOE, NCSoft, Turbine etc) – I am not so sure. But that is a whole other topic.
Right now I am just curious to see how Star Trek Online evolves. But as I said, I am not a huge Star Trek fan so I do not have that much opinion on how it should be. I am more interested in how they will solve their design challenges.