ready to launch into unknown sectors of space in 2009.
the past few years, many MMOG players have stated that fantasy
settings are beginning to grow stale in their sameness. Indeed, one of
the hallmarks of fantasy is a certain degree of conformity to unwritten
rules that define the genre. Names and locations may vary from one
setting to the next, but on the whole we know what to expect the moment
we hear a newly announced game will be fantasy-based. For some, this is
also the same moment they begin
to tune out. The spark of interest to
see which shade of green the orcs will be fades even before the first
Science fiction, on the other hand, has continually evolved over time.
While some clearly defined sub-genres have emerged, the very basis of
sci-fi is that anything is possible; the only limits imposed being that
of the imagination. Yet apart from a few notable exceptions, sci-fi has
remained relatively untapped as far as MMOGs are concerned. The good
news for players suffering from orc-itis is that in 2009, the online
gaming universe as we know it is about to expand upward, outward and
beyond the stars.
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Trek Online and Jumpgate Evolution – Light Years Apart
With such a dominant presence in the MMOG market and beyond thanks to
an aggressive advertising campaign that even brought href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/43"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online
into the living rooms of style="font-style: italic;">Battlestar Galactica
fans, its hard to avoid using CCP’s galactic champ as a point
of reference. Much like the tired cliché of WoW-clone
syndrome though, fans of upcoming games href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/117"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Jumpgate Evolution
will be the first to point out that beyond the obvious sci-fi setting,
EVE shares little in common with either title if you choose to look
beneath the surface.
Yet there are certain comparisons that can be made, as EVE draws a
strange parallel between Star Trek Online (STO) and Jumpgate Evolution
(JG:E). For anyone unfamiliar with the mechanics of either upcoming
title, or have no other point of reference, EVE provides a handy
benchmark. Any such comparisons will be kept to a minimum though, so
for now you can keep your nerd rage phasers set to stun.
database entry: Star Trek Online:
The Star Trek IP is one of the most recognized in all of sci-fi, with
fans of the series and films spanning generations. This has the
potential to be both a blessing and a curse for Cryptic Studios, which
needs to work twice as hard to please existing fans of the IP while
still creating an MMOG that appeals to a broader audience. In what
could very well be the first successful blend of space, shipboard and
ground combat, Cryptic’s plans for STO are certainly
ambitious. Whether or not this ultimately resonates with a larger
audience remains to be seen.
strange new worlds in Star Trek Online.
The central conflict in STO will see players siding with either the
Federation or Klingon Empire, both of which stand at the brink of all
out war. As a new chapter in Star Trek lore, this not only provides an
excellent jumping point for existing fans, but should also help anyone
less familiar with the IP to start the game on somewhat equal footing
in terms of knowledge of current events.
While not a singular focus, ship-to-ship combat will certainly play a
large role in gameplay. This is also where any comparisons to EVE begin
and end. Both games feature a more tactical approach to combat, as
players need to remain constantly aware of positioning, shielding and
available power among other things. That’s not to say combat
in STO will be any less engaging, and thanks to the ability to board
enemy ships and beam down to the surface of planets, it will offer a
high degree of variety as well.
database entry: Jumpgate Evolution:
While STO will attempt to bring a sense of familiarity to players with
more structured gameplay and brand name IP, JGE aims at captivating the
imaginations of those players who thrive on heading bravely into the
unknown. But to say the Jumpgate universe is any less rich in lore
would be folly, as the original href="http://www.jossh.com/join_today/index.html"
dates back to 2001 and remains in operation to this day.
Much to the chagrin of diehard fans, JGE has been unjustly compared to
EVE on a regular basis ever since first being announced by NetDevil. On
the surface there are certain similarities – in both games
players assume the role of pilot, their ship serving as their main
avatar as they engage in activities such as combat, mining and hauling.
As fans will quickly point out though, the two games are otherwise
Combat in JGE will be fast paced, focusing on player skill and
twitch-based gameplay more commonly associated with the FPS genre.
Tactical awareness will still be paramount, though expect something
similar to dogfights in the recent Battlestar Galactica series rather
than the slow-turning, naval approach of either STO or EVE.
Log: Stardate 1120.9
in Jumpgate Evolution will be fast and furious.
I can see Star Trek Online and Jumpgate Evolution co-existing quite
easily, as the experience offered will appeal to potentially different
segments of the same overarching sci-fi market.
The Cryptic developers certainly have their work cut out for them, as
STO could quite easily live or die by
the acceptance of existing Star
Trek fans. That in mind, Jumpgate has the potential to appeal to a much
broader audience. A lower barrier for entry and Jumpgate Classic to
draw experience from are only some of the reasons I recently href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/61314" target="_blank">predicted
mass market appeal for the newest NetDevil MMOG.
Then again, as Manfred Steiner from Philip K Dick’s style="font-style: italic;">Martian Time-Slip
might say, either game could be deemed total gubbish. But of all
possible scenarios, I see that as the least likely outcome.
Still, I can’t help but wonder what new galaxies are out
there, waiting to be discovered. And once they are, will we
be met with hostility, or with open arms? Though I can not see directly
into future events, intuition tells me it will be the latter.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.