Star Trek Online Beta Journal #2 - Customize and Optimize

Beta Journal

The first few hours of Star Trek Online can be summed up in a few words, character creation. As no surprise from the Cryptic Studios, the granularity offered by the character system is amazing. Every facet of a player’s character can be modified and yes there is a “bust” bar that goes to eleven. As many of you may or may not know, I’m not a big character customizer. It is common for me to hit the random character creator and be off and running. My mood is changing now that I have such a wide variety though. I can actually make a character that resembles people in real life (my neighbor won’t know he is a star). In addition to customizing your character, you can then customize other facets of the game, and that is something new and welcomed.

Look Ma, no hands.

The individual body part manipulation (wow, that sounds dirty) that is available through the advanced character customization really allows a player to create almost any look imaginable. I watched a bit of Austin Powers this weekend and the part about carney people having small hands gave me the idea to see how small I could make a character’s hands. The answer is very small. Between lengthening the arms and shortening the fingers and overall hand size, I could almost make the hands disappear. I just hope that doesn’t preclude my character from holding a weapon.

The selection process can be lengthy if you want it to be, but there are also some streamline options through the basic character set up. Of course there is always the Randomize button to make all of your choices for you.

Beta Quote

In addition to the size, color and shape of a character, players are given choices to add to the character’s attributes known as Traits. As with the previous log, I won’t dive into the numbers since we’re still in beta, but I can tell you that there are some tough choices to make right off the bat. Each race will have required traits and then a couple of points for players to pick and choose the remainder. With names like “Lucky” and “Stubborn” I’m sure you can find some you’ll like.

After the traits section, you’ll go right into the overall look of the character. As discussed above, the physical characteristics can be modified to great lengths. Once the physical looks of the character are complete, the player can also customize the uniform. Many Star Trek looks can be assembled so I’m sure fans will be pleased and Tim Gunn horrified.

What’s in a name?

As if you didn’t spend enough time on the art direction of your character, you can also spend a ton of time naming your character (including formal first, middle and last – and which order you want them shown) as well as your ship. This last one is critical because you’ll be out in space flaunting that name quite a bit.

The only thing better than me, is more of me.

One of Star Trek Online’s unique features is the inclusion of a player team of bridge officers. The bridge officers will be collected along the journey of the player through the universe and those officers can be customized to  great degree as well. Actually you can’t change the gender or race but everything is else is fair game. Being the narcissist that I am, they all look like me. I have visions of me beaming down with 4 other “Me’s” and laying waste to planets near and far.

Holy Ship that is a lot of options.

Last but certainly not least, players will be able to customize their ship including insignias. This won’t be available at the beginning (insert cliff hanger music here) but once you get beyond the introductory phase there will be some options. Depending on where you plan on spending most of your playtime, this might be the most important option for you. If you plan on being a space cowboy more than a landlubber, then you’ll want to personalize your ride as much as possible. No word on whether or not spinners will become available.

Business in the front, party in the back.

The personalization and customization options in the game are staggering. The beauty of the system is that the decisions are not daunting though. If you don’t want to spend oodles of time tweaking every facet of your character, then don’t. No harm no foul. If you do want to take that extra time though, Cryptic Studios has chef’ed up a huge menu from which to choose. Enjoy it a lot or a little, it’s all up to you. The biggest question is whether or not to go traditional Star Trek or branch out and design my own style. Which direction are you going to go?

Looking for more Star Trek Online content? Be sure to check out our latest exclusive interview to learn all about Klingons from Cryptic's Zeke Sparkes. We also have an excellent FAQ covering numerous aspects of gameplay, from combat to crafting and beyond.

Also, be sure to beam down to our Star Trek Online forums and join in on the discussions. Whether you want to voice your opinions on the latest STO news or just want to share some of your awesome Klingon haiku, Ten Ton Hammer's Star Trek Online forums are the place to be!

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