How Cryptic Saved Star Trek Online | STOked S01 E14

How Cryptic Saved Star Trek Online | STOked S01 E14

STOked Season 1 Episode 14: We detail how Cryptic acquired the right to a Star Trek MMO, what big well known company almost acquired STO and turned it into a console only game!
Plus we cover the news of a new book based on Star Trek Online, and what you can expect. We’ve combed through the latest Cryptic staff interviews and have picked out the best bits from them all, and share them with you!

THEN – We cover the Live streamed beta leak and what the public reaction to Star Trek Online was, and we cover the latest round of game play videos and screen shots!

DISCUSSION:

The Complete History of the Star Trek Online IP:

Feb 2000: Announced at a financial meeting that Verant (which later became Sony Online Entertainment) obtained the IP to make a Star Trek MMO. This title was slated to be released for both PC and PS2 (!), but was abandoned less than 6 months later when Verant instead shifted most of their production to SWG. This version of STO was quietly abandoned
http://pc.ign.com/objects/794/794740.html

2004: Perpetual Entertainment announces development of “Star Trek Online”. PE (or P2 Entertainment, later) was also developing a “Roman” themed MMO (Gods & Heroes) which never made it past Closed Beta. In January 2007, just a few months after beginning G&H Closed Beta, a massive wave of layoffs swept the company and after another wave hit in September, PE announced they would be exclusively focusing on STO. In order to quell rumors that the company was going under, a series of screenshot releases and interviews were held that were later reported to be completely bogus, or concept-level creations ONLY.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_Entertainment

November 2007: An article was released that Perpetual may be bought out by an investor known as Gravity Co., Ltd – a korea-based company that intended to change the game into a non-subscription-based MMO that would instead charge RL money for in-game items and advancement.
http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50065

In January 2008, Perpetual filed Bankruptcy and liquidated their assets. Almost immediately following the collapse of Perpetual, the IP and all of PE’s work was obtained by Cryptic Studios. Utilizing the Cryptic Superhero engine, development progressed very swiftly. And by Auguest of 2008, in-game footage was available & revealed at the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas (the announcement of STO, and reveal of this footage, was co-hosted by Leonard Nimoy).

Food for thought:
Star Trek will have existed for 44 years at the time of release (since 1966)
Despite the eventual success of Star Trek, creator Gene Roddenberry nearly filed bankruptcy in the early 70s after several other TV pilots/pitches were rejected by many studios.
Due to lackluster box office draw, Roddenberry was forced by Paramount to relinquish creative control to future sequels after the release of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”
Over 15,000 fans attended the 2009 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention (vs approx. 8,000 @ Blizzcon 2009)

NEWS:

STO Novel: “Needs of the Many”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/143918657X/?tag=thelinactsho-20
Michael A. Martin — has written books in the “Enterprise” timeline.
Won’t release until after STO is out. Trek today reports “it will have 340 pages, and the release date is set for March 30th, 2010”
Pre-Order at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/143918657X/?tag=thelinactsho-20

STO has a Rating!
“T” for Teen (Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes)

STO is up for “Most Anticipated of 2010”
http://www.massively.com/2009/12/03/massivelys-end-of-the-year-readers-choice-awards/
Only noteworthy adversary is FF XIV. And maybe DC Universe.

“Tweet in Klingon” (Twitter) and “Trek Me” (Facebook)
http://www.startrekonline.com/node/659
The klingon tweets annoy me. Not a very good translator, anyway.
Trek Me was fun for for about 10 minutes.

BETA LEAKS:

Over two hours of footage was leaked on MMORPG.com’s forums (justin.tv)
Has since been removed. Showed tutorial gameplay – space & ground combat.
Generally well-received! Made people excited!

ARTICLES:

Massively.com — Community Q&A with Zinc
http://www.massively.com/2009/11/25/space-combat-star-trek-online-community-qanda-answers/
Discusses the “need” for combat, both in the story and as a game
Firing arcs & power management discussed, driving a tactical feel to space combat.
“Fun comes first, with IP accuracy a close second.”
Klingons: Have to drop shields to cloak (susceptible to AOE torpedo spreads and such?)
Shuttles (crew-fueled abilities) can be shot down! And countered via a “Security Team” BO ability.
Subsystem targeting: Science vessels can do this innately, but BOs are better at it for a single system (Weapons, Shields, Engines, Aux)

Boomtown.te — Craig Zinceivich interviewed
http://rpg.boomtown.net/en_uk/articles/art.view.php?id=18916
Diplomatic missions: “… the point of these is to figure out a problem, locate evidence or a missing person. These missions flow naturally thru talking with NPCs and exploring the environment.”
Learning Curve: “Minute to learn, lifetime to master.”

Ten Ton Hammer — Gear Information
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/77337
SO MANY SLOTS: Weapons, Shields, Armor, Kits, Devices… and MORE for your Boffs!
MORE SLOTS IN SPACE! Weapons, Shields, Hull, Deflector Dish, Station Upgrades/Mods
Kits = Class specific. Visual additions (belts, shoulder harnesses, etc)
This is the first time Cryptic has made gear important in a game (CoH, CO – not important). Trying to find a balance that will enable gear to augment and customize a character, instead of define it.

MMORPG.com – Hands On Preview
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/352/feature/3780/page/2
Some more thorough Character Progression info (Careers and Sub-classes of skills)
Tactical = Soldier (Damage), Security (Tank), Special Ops (Stealth)
Engineering = Technician (Buff/Debuff), Fabrication (Turrets/Pets), Combat (manipulation of the battlefield) –?
Science = Research (group buffs/debuffs), Scientist (individual buffs/debuffs), Medical (healer)

IGN.com – Developer Diary w/ Matt Highison: “Re-creating the Borg”
http://pc.ign.com/articles/105/1050342p1.html
“No return” from assimilation. Whole limbs & torsos are removed/replaced for the new borg.

Gamerant.com – Interview with Daniel Stahl
http://gamerant.com/exclusive-star-trek-online-interview-robk-3807/
Additional interiors post launch? “With so many ships, and everyone wanting a different configuration, there needs to be a lot of options to make it live up to Cryptic’s customization standards.”
Fleet Actions (20+ players? We keep getting different numbers.) can take place on ground or in space.
Any announcement of future projects (whatever those will be) will not come until after the release of Star Trek Online.

Computer & Video Games – Interview w/ Al Rivera
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=228783
A LITTLE more Klingon ship information, but not much (BoP, Raptor, Battle Cruiser (Neg’vhar, Vor’cha), and Super Carrier)
Traits: “There are about 60 species traits. Most are passive, but a few can be activated. Some are obligatory to the IP like Vulcan Nerve Pinch, Mind Meld, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Empathy, etc. Others are more implied by the IP or simply make good MMO mechanics, like Improved Strength, Logical, Warrior, Soldier, Stubborn, Spiritual, etc. Some traits are unique to certain species, and some are generic. The way it works is you first pick a species. Every species gets 4 traits. If you choose a specific species you will get 1-3 traits that are auto assigned to that species, and you can choose the remainder from a generic pool. Species specific traits are typically better than those in the generic pool, but the more species specific traits a given species has, the less generic traits the species has access too. If you choose to create your own species, you do not get any species specific traits, but you can choose all 4 of your traits from the entire generic pool, so you can make some interesting combinations not available to any specific species.”

Massively.com — Space Combat Hands-On
http://www.massively.com/2009/12/01/hands-on-with-star-trek-onlines-space-combat/
Walk-thru of some key commands: Thrust on Q/E, WASD, Power Level Presets
“Space combat may get to a point — we’re talking after release, here — where players can do it so deftly that it becomes somewhat boring, but I kind of doubt it. Every battle offers different challenges depending on the configuration of the enemy forces.” (We can assume this is somewhat in reference to things like launching fighters, boarding parties, minefields, and more.)
Article includes a handful of new screenshots! (Romulans, and weird Fed ships)

Techulous — Interview w/ Dan Stahl
http://www.techulous.com/news/exclusive-interview-star-trek-onlines-daniel-stahl.html
Crafting is not crafting. It’s either “replicate and trade” or “survey and collect” for rewards.
PvP Instancing: Arena, Objective, or Assault. (No definitions available)

MMORPG.com — Bridges & Boffs
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/352/feature/3792/Star-Trek-Online-Bridges-Bridge-Officers-Preview.html
“Each time the player earns a new ship, they get to select from a group of prefabricated bridge areas. The team is close to launch and they didn’t want to bite off more than they could chew.” … meaning no customization beyond just picking which one to use, for now.
There are plans to add other iconic locations, such as the Captain’s Ready Room that could store trophies and other personal items.
Akin to player housing, no piloting functions included.
Boffs: Full customization of name, features and RACE (this is not what our beta tips told us!)
Smaller ‘cast’ than the TV shows, due to combined/general classes. No helmsmen, no counselors, no morale officers. Boffs are more well-rounded, though you can choose their skills to focus on particular skillsets.
8 abilities (1 per rank, 1 ground & 1 space). All visible when you acquire a Boff to help you plan accordingly.
Boffs are groupmates, buffs, collectibles, and a tool to allow captains to adapt to different situations, all in one tidy little system.

VIDEOS:

From a France company – Andy Vasquez
http://www.youtube.com/user/unificationfrance
Each shot is only ~40seconds, not much new information, but fun to watch.

Cryptic – Fleet Actions
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfebtpXOY3w
Quick shot of Astrometrics (aka Sector Space)
Crystalline Entity (with an odd ship in the foreground – three nacelles?)
Camera flies thru the wings of a Romulan ship – AWESOME
DOOMSDAY MACHINE

Cryptic – Belly of the Beast
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds4KbG3eCk4
More combat and big beautiful explosions
DS9 combat shot

SCREENSHOTS:

10 Shots over at IGN: http://media.pc.ign.com/media/142/14270158/imgs_1.html (Including RAD Klingon shot)
5 shots over at curse.com http://www.curse.com/articles/sto-en-news/617080.aspx

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