The next big thing™ MMO is coming out soon and it looks to be a fairly popular one. Star Trek Online has been in some sort of develop by a couple of different companies for quite a few years. Finally, Cryptic Studios (developer of Champions Online) have a finished product to unleash on the masses and excitement is starting to build.
Syp (Bio-Break) has a nice write-up about the Collector’s Edition on his blog and it looks like they are putting out a pretty nice C.E. for the game. Interestingly enough, they had no C.E. at all for Champions Online, which tells me they are probably counting on ST:O to be a much more popular title than Champions was.
I am really torn on ST:O for a variety of reasons. On one hand, it would be nice to see a good sci-fi MMO for once. Excepting Eve Online, no sci-fi MMO has ever caught on and garnered tremendous success. I was really hoping Tabula Rasa could do it but, in the end, it failed miserably. Maybe ST:O is the one to do it. The feature list certainly seems impressive enough. Heck, the ability to actually walk around on the bridge is almost worth the price of admission for quite a few folks.
But, I am really hesitant to get excited about the game. For one, I am not the world’s biggest Star Trek fan. I always found the show to be mediocre and the movies (with the exception of Wrath of Khan and the newest one) to be fairly bad. I was a Star Wars fan growing up and Star Trek was the province of nerds talking Klingon and telling each other to “Live long and prosper”. Yes, I know I am a nerd as well, but whatcha gonna do?
Secondly, Cryptic just released Champions Online earlier this year. It is hard enough to support one newly released MMO, much less two newly-released MMOs at the same time. Cryptic, as far as I know, is a pretty small studio and that is a lot to ask of them. Newly released MMOs need a whole lot of attention for the first few months as they exhibit all the growing pains that the genre is noted for, Champions Online is still experiencing them. Now they are going to release a brand new MMO? Something has to give.
Finally, the biggest reason I am hesitant on ST:O. I believe to do a Star Trek MMO properly there has to be a whole lot of innovation involved. It has to be an innovative game and I just don’t think Cryptic has it in them. I have not found their prior MMOs to be particularly innovative and I worry that Star Trek Online will follow the same path. This quote (found in this video from IGN) sums up my innovation worry quite nicely:
“Resourceful Captains will also be able to recognize and utilize the different classes of starships. Cruisers as tanks, science vessels as support and escorts for lighting strikes.”
Now, forgive me if I am wrong, but that sure sounds like the standard “holy trinity” of tank/healer/dps that we have seen in every MMO for the past 10 years and, to me, that is horrible. Absolutely horrible. Space combat should be fast, exciting and different from slogging through an instance in WoW, yet they are sticking with the same tank/healer/dps based combat? Ugh.
I hope I am wrong. I hope Cryptic nails this one and makes a sci-fi MMO worth playing but I have lingering feelings that I am correct and we will see more of the same with Star Trek trappings. Guess we will find out in a couple of months.