Star Trek Online has a growing fanbase. Whether you play every single day without fail or if you dip in and out when you fancy a spin in a starship, this MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment is great fun to play. It’s had a lot of update attention from the developers too, not merely resting on their Federation laurels. The latest update to be announced for the Xbox version of the game has been recently released for the PC version, Season 12 – Reckoning. Perfect World Entertainment have now announced a release date for the update.
Before I come to that, let’s have a little look at the main features that this update contains. Season 12 – Reckoning will send players out on a mission with the Lukari to investigate an ominous new threat, the dreaded Tzenkethi. This update will grant captains access to a new featured episode, a crafting school, two Tzenkethi space queues and a full space battlezone.
Season 12 – Reckoning centres around the featured episode, “Of Signs and Portents”. Captains will join the Lukari on a mission to investigate the weaponised use of protomatter in a new region of the Alpha Quadrant. Further evidence leads you to the Tzenkethi, a highly intelligent, military-driven, advanced alien species who plan on using the deadly protomatter to build a bomb capable of destroying entire planets. You will team up with the legendary Klingon, General Rodek; voiced by Tony Todd; to form an alliance and find a way to stop the Tzenkethi from enacting a potentially cataclysmic attack.
Season 12 – Reckoning also unlocks some expansive new content for players to explore and discover, including the Lukari Restoration Initiative reputation. There is also a new Kits and Modules Research School, a full space battlezone and two new space queues, “Gravity Kills” and “The Tzenkethi Front”.
The PC version currently includes a new Lukari Science Vessel, the T6 Lukari Ho’kuun, to earn through daily anniversary missions and completing the new featured episode. The “Gravity Kills” space queue will see you lead an attack on a Tzenkethi protomatter facility to collect Hawking particles to drop their special defences. In “The Tzenkethi Front”, players will defend the Eta Serpentis system from a Tzenkethi attack. You can do this by turning their own protomatter weapons against them.
Star Trek Online welcomes Season 12 – Reckoning to Xbox One from the 18th of April.
Space, the final frontier. Who could have dreamed, 50 years ago this year, that Gene Roddenberry’s space cowboy series would have gained such a huge cult following in the time that its been on-air? There have been a few series-related games that have come out, so how will the latest and possibly the biggest measure up in the tale of the starship tape?
Star Trek Online is vast. The MMORPG from ARC Games, Cryptic Studios and long-time genre publisher, Perfect World Entertainment was released on console to coincide with the show’s 50th anniversary, after being out on PC for quite some time. It’s a great thing that the game has made that leap from PC to console as well.
As with most MMORPG’s, you start off by choosing a faction and character. Instead of your usual barbarians and wizards, however, you get the chance to become a Star Fleet officer, a Romulan Warrior or a member of the Klingon Empire. Your paths will take different turns depending on what you choose here. The Federation stands at war with the Klingon Empire once more. Other races are taking their sides and there are the usual incursions from series mainstays such as the Klingons, Gorn, Species 8472 (Undine), and the relentless Borg.
The action, as you’d expect from a Star Trek title, comes thick and fast. As a Star Fleet Officer, I was thrust straight in to commanding my own ship, after a little on the ground training of course. The ship you are assigned at the beginning is the base vessel in its class and as you progress through the many relentless missions (do they not get shore-leave?) that are thrust upon you, you get the opportunity to upgrade bits on it. This is quite fun, trying to figure out what you can afford and which bits give you the best balance, but you want to be in the thick of it, right?
The missions themselves follow fairly standard patterns. You fly into Quadrant Space. While there, you use the ship’s Impulse Engines to glide towards the system you need to be in. Once you’re within a few Light Years of that System , you can then engage Warp engines and arrive at your given destination. This is probably the most pedestrian part of the game. I found the time spent flying the U.S.S Determination within a few Light Years of Vulcan and wherever else I needed to be, a bit of a waste of time. Surely, it would be more sensible to warp to the Star System, then Impulse your way to the necessary planet?
Semantics aside, once you’re in the vicinity of your target, the mission follows a pre-determined path. Your task is laid out and you’ll either battle and prevail against overwhelming odds or you’ll scan an area or sneak up on something and listen in. In most missions, you’ll lead an away team beam-down too.
The away missions, while ignoring Star Fleet orders that the Captain and First Officer shouldn’t be on the same away mission, are interesting. They reflect the more traditional MMORPG third-person perspective and will have you following the directions on your map in the HUD to given locations. Here you’ll get to shoot your phasers at the enemy while trying desperately not to allow your shields to run out of power. There is usually a small side-mission to complete, such as fire-control or placing spacial charges although it does feel like you’re led around by the nose a little for these.
Complete your away mission unscathed and you’re likely to have found yourself beamed back to your ship and under immediate heavy fire from an escaping enemy. In truth, the ship to ship combat is the best part about Star Trek Online. Once you’re in range, the enemy will usually engage you on-sight. This is a good and a bad thing all at once. There are a lot of times where you’ll be outnumbered, and your targeting computer will only target one enemy at a time. Don’t panic too much though, once that ship’s shields are down you can usually defeat it with a well-placed full-spread photon torpedo or two then it’s on to the next, as long as you have enough hull integrity and shields left yourself.
The in-space fights in Star Trek Online are aided by the fact that the graphics are fantastic. There’s nothing like gliding your vessel to a dead stop next to the Enterprise-D or the U.S.S. Defiant. I only wish there were more open-ended missions rather than the regimented forays you have to go on initially.
It’s early days for Star Trek Online though, and this may change as the game and community develops over time. For now, I’ll content myself with the hum of the warp-engines during the ‘factor 5’ sequence and leave the ring of phaser fire and photon torpedos in my enemies’ ears.
Star Trek Online is a good start to what could, hopefully, be the defining Star Trek title for many fans around the globe. It’s daring to push to that Final Frontier and with a little mission tweaking it could be one of the few MMORPG’s that hold my attention for more than a few months. Overall, the graphics are good, with some slightly dodgy character animation, but the starship visuals more than make up for it. The inventory and upgrade mechanics feel a little clunky, but I put this down to simply getting used to how it all works, and there are a lot of options to get used to in this huge universe.
Star Trek Online should be the go to Star Trek title of choice. It’s sumptuous starship visuals and intuitive space battles lend themselves well to the genre and while the away missions are a welcome change, it feels as if the character animations and mission mechanics needs a little tweaking to get them just right. That being said, with the title being free to play, it’s a great introduction to a different kind of MMORPG.
Thanks to Perfect World Entertainment and Xbox for supporting TiX
Do we have any Star Trek fans in the room? Don’t be shy, hands up if you’re a fan. Gene Roddenberry’s massive cult universe has finally hit the Xbox One in the form of a massive Free-to play online experience.
Star Trek Online was released by MMORPG specialists, Perfect World Entertainment on Friday, coinciding almost perfectly with the classic TV show’s 50th anniversary and first impressions are good. I had the opportunity to give it a quick blast over the weekend and managed to take out some Klingons and Borg. These are just a few of the races that are included in the game, set across all of the sectors of known Federation space.
The game is a direct port of the PC version, with the full 92-key keyboard controls condensed down in to a handy controller-sized packaged, while still containing the fast pace of the PC original.
The console version also includes the Legacy of Romulus and Delta Rising expansions. Choose to start your adventure as a Star Fleet Academy graduate, a Klingon or a Romulan and quickly progress to captaining your own vessel.
The game isn’t limited to space-based battles either. There are a variety of planet-based and other vessel-based away missions for you to lead in a third person view. You even get your very own phaser rifle to play with.
Once you have your own starship, you can customise it in a variety of ways and get the opportunity to travel to classic Star Trek locations and interact with characters from the shows, voiced by original actors including Jeri Ryan, Michael Dorn and Tim Russ.
The console version includes upgraded lighting and graphics on the original as well as an improved, more intuitive UI.
Xbox One users will need a current Live Gold account in order to play but will get access to a free Steamrunner Blockade Runner. If you link your Arc account to the console as well, you’ll also get access to a free Wrath of Khan uniform.
Star Trek Online is available to play now on Xbox One. Make it so, Number One.
We were recently invited to interview Rob Overmeyer, Executive Producer on Neverwinter for Xbox One. If you haven’t rolled your character and got stuck into Neverwinter yet, you can read our huge three-part review here: Part 1, Part 2 and finally Part 3.
This is Xbox (TiX): When you aren’t busy working, and you are enjoying free time playing Neverwinter yourself, what race and class are you? Which is your favourite?
Rob Overmeyer (RO): I play all the time! My main is a Halfling GWF currently 2.7k on PC and a Halfling TR climbing the ranks on Xbox. I really like the GWF in group play and while I may not top the DPS charts I have been able to pull out a win in several dungeons after seeing most of the party go down. As for Xbox, although it’s a bit FotM to run a TR as my go to for PvP. I’m not running perma or anything but I like catching a cleric out of position and giving them a surprise. I also like the stealth-battle gameplay that can play out once in a while at a CP. Backcapping to find yourself in a 1v1 with another TR can be a lot of fun.
TiX: Describe to our readers what your role is day-to-day in terms of Neverwinter for Xbox One, including future Xbox One updates and DLC launches.
RO:I am the Executive Producer of Neverwinter PC and Xbox. Most of all my days are pretty busy and when I am not planning future modules and game direction, analyzing the business and looking at what we need to improve in the live game I am playing Neverwinter. My day usually consists of meeting with the team, leads and publishers to get a sense of where we are at and what is up next. I am a pretty hands on EP and I like to be a useful part of the development process. The reality is that I get to work with some great folks on Neverwinter and there is little better on the dev team than brainstorming cool new features and content to get to our fans.
TiX: Were you and the team pleased with how Neverwinter for Xbox One was received?
RO: Yes, we are very excited with how the game has been received and we are even more excited to keep bringing tons of really cool gameplay to our console fans. We did have some struggles in the beginning but we have been improving Neverwinter with each patch.
TiX: The Elder Scrolls Online is now out for console; are you a fan?
RO: I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls, what RPG fan couldn’t be? I think taking the Elder Scrolls online and offering a persistent multiplayer world was a great and logical next step. I have a ton of respect for the team and the work they did to take such a big universe with a fantastic history and fan following and get it online.
TiX: What is it like working alongside Wizards of the Coast?
RO: It is really fantastic to work with WotC. We meet every week and talk about what we are working on and get the business out of the way. It’s more than the normal approval process we get to talk about cool and new things that would be cool to see in our worlds. One of the most exciting things we get to do is go meet up with the designers and world builders at WotC and get a glimpse into what they are working on for the distant future. As a fan and a developer it is really cool to be able to see where the stories are going. WotC is a fantastic partner and we always have a fun time when we get to talking about D&D.
TiX: Had you, prior to working on this, played any tabletop games? If so which ones were they and did you draw any influences from them?
RO: I played D&D but more casually than most of my friends that played. I also played minis and became way more interested in the artistic aspect of table top games. I really got into painting minis of all kinds. Friends would give me boxes of minis and I would paint them. Most of my paints and bits were covered by my friends for painting their figs. I got into all sorts of board games like Betrayal and Zombies and still play them regularly.
TiX:A few outlets and communities have commented on how the Neverwinter console community is pretty mute and none existent. What’s your overall perception of this?
RO: Early on, shortly after launch we noticed the same things. When I would play I would talk in /Zone to get no response to LFG or even giveaways. It turns out there was a bug in chat that hid chat unless you were a friend with someone. We have since fixed that and the game chat is much livelier. It is a shame that we had the chat bug. It really made the game seem much smaller without the chatter. It’s all fixed now and people should give it a try.
TiX: What was the biggest challenge in porting Neverwinter from PC to Xbox One?
RO: Getting the backend working and integrated to Xbox One was a huge amount of work. Sometimes the task exposed bugs that we could fix but it also covered some up. Additionally, the controls were a tough one. We wanted to get them right and feel like we did.
TiX: It was recently announced that there would be five free pieces of DLC coming to Xbox One, including Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil. What can you tell us about these?
RO: Well, it won’t be traditional console DLC. These updates will be 100% free and will download automatically when you log in and patch. Just log in and get new content, classes, level cap increase, rewards and much, much more. Following the Tyranny of Dragons story the Xbox fans can look forward to 3 huge zones with a ton of content and rewards that feature more campaign content. There is also the Elemental Evil expansion that adds a new class in the Paladin, 4 new zones that take the player from 60 to 70 and some truly epic dungeons and encounters.
TiX:How well has the F2P model for Neverwinter gone down with console owners?
RO: It has gone very well. Gamers are fans of games and even bigger fans of good games. Neverwinter is the best free to play MMO on any console. Our fast paced combat feels fantastic on console and is a lot of fun. You can get in and play from start to finish with your friends and never miss out on any content because you don’t have that pack or DLC your friend has. It would be hard not to like that. Going forward I think that our free updates, events and expansions will continue to be well received.
Thanks to Crypcic Games, Perfect World Entertainment and of course Rob Overmeyer for their support.
You can read more about what is to come in Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat here and watch the trailer below.