MMOs,
the Final Frontier: These are the voyages of Captain Sardu. His
continuing mission, to explore strange new virtual worlds. To seek out
new sci-fi MMOs and new mittens for his robotic kittens. To boldly go
where no one gone before!



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Craig
Zinkievich was on hand to answer fan questions for our weekly
Loading... Live Vooncast.

OK, so I’m no Jean-Luc Picard, but I couldn’t
resist opening with a monologue for the newest episode of href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/features/final-frontier"
target="_blank">The Final Frontier
in light of our recent Loading… Live Vooncast that featured
a guest appearance by Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer for href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/117"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online.
While Ten Ton Hammer was able to snag an href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/62988" target="_blank">excellent
interview with Craig from the
show floor at the New York Comic-Con ‘09, our panel
discussion with Cryptic Studios unfortunately didn’t leave
time for STO questions from the audience. Thankfully, Craig was able to
make a guest appearance for our weekly Vooncast on somewhat short
notice, as the BioWare discussion on combat in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1422"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old
Republic
I mentioned a few weeks ago was cancelled under mysterious
circumstances involving a five pound salt lick and two rubber penguins.




*waits for the rumors to start flying*



Seriously though, it was awesome that Mr. Zinkievich was able to make
it, as it gave us the opportunity to let listeners ask questions about
the upcoming sci-fi beast otherwise known as style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online.
This is
the point where I’d normally point and laugh at everyone who
wasn’t able to attend, but I realize that would just be mean
(or get me stunned by a few thousand phasers).
So instead I just wanted
to let everyone know that we’ll be posting the full Vooncast
for your listening enjoyment later this week, and for those of you who
prefer giving your shiny new ocular implants a work out, we also have a
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64508" target="_blank">full
transcript of the discussion
available. How awesome is that?



In the meantime I wanted to touch on a few key points that came up
during the discussion, and hopefully provide some further insight into
what makes STO tick for both long-time Star Trek fans as well as those
of you who may be less familiar with the franchise. I was just kidding
about the pointing and laughing by the way. I’d only do that
if someone caught you with two rubber penguins and a five pound salt
lick!


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Star
Trek is different things to different people.

“Star
Trek is different things to different people”

style="font-style: italic;">
C.
Zinkievich – Stardate 2190.9




Although a dizzying array of topics was discussed last week, the above
quote from Mr. Zinkievich really stood out for me. Having been a part
of pop culture for decades, the Star Trek IP is easily one of the most
recognizable in all of sci-fi. Yet each of us may have a unique point
of entry into the Star Trek universe that ultimately helps shape our
perspectives on what makes the IP so fascinating, and what the name
evokes when thinking about it in MMO form.



For example, I could have only been 3 or 4 when I saw the original
series for the first time. Even if the Next Generation had never come
into existence, Star Trek had already left a permanent mark on me. To
this day I can’t read a sci-fi novel and picture anything
other than bright, solid tones and sleek lines unless a setting is
explicitly described as being otherwise. style="font-style: italic;">Blade Runner
still looks horribly wrong to me, as my initial imaginings when reading
Do
Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

have a very distinct Star Trek vibe. Or more recently, I think last
year’s href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
TV spots backfired in a way, because the moment I see William Shatner
on screen all I can think is, “That’s no shaman,
that’s James T. Kirk!”


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That's
no shaman, that's James T. Kirk!.

That said, I realize each of those experiences is uniquely my own, but
will no doubt shape any expectations I might have for style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online.
While I might make it my personal mission to find a way to infest enemy
ships with hundreds (or thousands … even millions!) of
tribbles, another player might decide to master more traditional
methods of space combat. Still others will spend countless hours
meticulously attempting to recreate a favorite race seen only in one
obscure scene from Voyager. The cool thing about the Star Trek IP and
Cryptic’s approach to the MMO is that each of those things is
entirely possible. OK, maybe you won’t be able to infest
ships with tribbles, but that won’t stop me from trying!



Another key element of Star Trek has always been exploration, which is
how Kirk and the Enterprise crew ended up getting into all of those
wacky adventures to begin with. Just before opening up questions to the
audience during Thursday’s Vooncast, I was given the
opportunity to ask Mr. Zinkievich a couple of questions pertaining to
exploration, or more specifically whether there would be any kind of
achievements linked to pure exploration, and if they might unlock
anything either faction-wide or simply for your individual character.
The responses given were excellent of course, so rather than attempt to
paraphrase them, here’s a short snippet from the forthcoming
transcript of the event:


“Even for
people that just want to go out and explore, there
has to be a, not a checklist, but some sort of achievement to it.
Accolades, medals that kind of count what you’ve explored,
seen, what you’ve discovered and track what you’ve
brought back to the Federation. So there’s definitely going
to be all sorts of medals and accolades that you can achieve by
exploration.



We think right now the majority of the medals and accolades that you
get through
exploration will be personal. The things that you open up
will either be personal, or you’ll be able to share them with
your friends, like the location of this really cool planet that you
found.



The majority of the faction-wide rewards that you’ll be able
to open up will really be located within the indirect PvP content that
we have planned.”


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In
STO you'll get to share the locations of planets you discover with your
friends.

Captain’s
Log – Stardate 2230.9




The developers at Cryptic Studios fully realize that it would be
impossible to create a Star Trek Online that’s all things to
all people. What they can do, however, is create the most enjoyable MMO
experience they know how within the Star Trek universe. They
didn’t simply sit down one day and try to force the IP onto a
predefined MMO template, but rather looked at Star Trek as a whole and
began building a game around the strengths of the IP.



As Dalmarus href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/63231" target="_blank">recently
discussed, the ability to create
your own races
within the game is an incredibly exciting, unique element that Cryptic
is bringing to the table. The studio’s approach to episodic
content will no doubt be another big hit with fans, as gameplay will
somewhat mirror the flow of an episode from the numerous series. These
are just two examples of why STO will make for an excellent sci-fi MMO,
but there are plenty of others waiting to be discovered!



Be sure to share your thoughts on style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
right here in our
forums, or if you prefer, you can send a virtual carrier pigeon
directly to href="mailto:[email protected]">my inbox! Until
next time, dear readers, live
long and prosper!


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.

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