GameSpy recently got the chance to preview Star Trek Online (STO) and they have released the first of a three-part look at the game. Part 1 of the series examines the PvE content of STO with its episodic content, but the article also delves into the the design of episodic content and how the gameplay is being made to allow players to aid others without getting locked out of their own content.
The five-act dramatic structure is the template behind nearly all of STO's episode designs, just as it was for most of the television shows. While the episodes aren't all structurally built around five different maps, the format provided Cryptic with an easy template to follow, and the episodes should mimic the feel of the shows.
The article also touches on the exploration portion of the game, which allows players to put the main story on hold to check out some of the other content around the galaxy and content through the Genesis system.
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