Last night, in celebration of First Contact Day, I spent some time checking out Star Trek Online’s limited-time Utopia Planitia research facility. The added addition of the orbiting Mars shipyard is to give players the chance to meet the new crew of the Enterprise-F and pick up a replica of the Phoenix, humanity’s first warp capable vessel. The area will only be around for another couple of days, so head on over to check it out. I’m a little disappointed in Cryptic for not going all out and making this another hub for visitors of the Sol system to visit, but their reasoning is that in the Sol system, there is already Earth Space Dock and Starfleet Academy (and not to mention the entrance to the Captain’s Table) and they don’t want to make the Sol system TOO crowded.
They also made the Utopia Planitia facility map available as a Foundry asset. The Foundry is Star Trek Online’s player generated content creator, so having this map is another great asset to Foundry authors to use in their stories. However, it doesn’t come off as that great as the OLD Earth Space Dock map, before it’s revamp, is still the only ESD map available. The follow pet is nice, but follow pets tend to follow at a very long distance away from your ship, and so you can barely see them as you’re traveling. So as far as game incentives, the event isn’t that spectacular.
It’s in the non-gaming parts, though, to where this event shines. The best part about First Contact Day is getting to meet the new Enterprise-F crew! Since anything relating to Star Trek canon has to first get the thumbs up from CBS, that makes the new Enterprise and its crew, along with any official missions in Star Trek Online, full Star Trek canon. This is why, a long time ago, I purchased the lifetime subscription for the game. I grew up a Star Trek fan, and just love the series as a whole and wanted to be a part of any emerging canon. Star Trek Online isn’t the best MMO out there, it certainly has its flaws, but its the passion for Star Trek and the IP that makes Star Trek Online so great. I may jump from game to game, but because of this, I truly call Star Trek Online home.
P.S. – To be fair, they did create an entire new mission for the Klingon faction called ‘Alpha’, and I have yet to try that out. I’m sure my view on game incentives will change after I get the chance to play it.