What really drew me into Star Trek Online are the Featured Episodes. When I was younger, my father loved Star Trek and I, like the impressionable youth that I was, fell in love with it as well. When Star Trek Online released I won’t lie, I went immediately after work and picked up a copy. Like many other players who jumped into Star Trek Online in the beginning, I was not in love with the game. The graphics were great, the space combat was nice but repetitive, the leveling system was confusing, traveling was boring, and ground combat took way too long and wasn’t a lot of fun. So yeah, it had a rough start. I did not resub for another month.
A few months pass, and like clockwork, the community is up in arms about the half-baked release of the game. Their anger was well justified. Cryptic took one of the greatest IP’s in IP history, and was not living up to it at all. Throughout all of this turmoil, though, I noticed a ray of hope: communication. Unlike say, Blizzard, who rarely if ever communicates directly with their community (because why would they, their numbers speak for themselves), Cryptic studios needed to turn around to their audience and go, “Yeah, you’re right. We were pressured to release and we’re sorry about that, but give us time and look at what we can do”. In the few months after release I have never seen a studio communicate with their players as much as Cryptic did. Even to this day, I think Cryptic wins the crown of “Most Communicating MMO Company”. Even if what they were saying was fan service, it kept coming. Not only that, but you could almost hear the excitement and passion in their posts. The makers of Star Trek Online were really working hard to make the game everything it could be.
And then they released the Featured Episodes. This is where, not too long before I got married, I whipped out my wallet and plunked down the money for a lifetime subscription. The Featured Episodes harken back to the origin of Star Trek, the weekly television show. Emulating that format, the Featured Episodes consisted of a weekly installment mission that released every Saturday for 5 straight weeks. These series all stayed within a singular plot and told a story, and the best part is that it’s all sanctioned by CBS. Meaning any content released for Star Trek Online becomes Star Trek canon. Done. I was sold. The first real Star Trek canon since Enterprise (which I didn’t watch, really) and it’s in an MMO? Star Trek Online may have had its issues, but this was a genius move.
In the month of May 2012, Star Trek Online will be sending all the Featured Episodes into reruns, meaning that if you play the episodes during this time period, you’ll earn the special rewards given when they were initially released as well as extras.
May 3rd – May 9th: Spectres (The Dividians) : This was the second series Cryptic released and it involves a broken down space station, time travelling, gambling, and, of course, the Dividians. One of the missions released around Halloween and involves a crazy hologram gone haywire while exploring by only the single beam from your flashlight. Very nice.
May 10th – May 16th: Cloaked Intentions (The Romulans and Remans): By far, the best Featured Episode series Cryptic has done to date, from fighting with your shuttle inside a giant space station, being forced to fight in hand to hand combat in an arena, to invading a Romulan city! Plus, I think Obisek, leader of the Reman resistance, is one of the best characters created in Star Trek Online to date.
May 17th – May 23rd: The 2800 (The Dominion): The latest featured Episode series released revolving around the capture of Deep Space 9, the series includes huge space battles, the fantastic environments of Bajor, spacewalking on the outside of Deep Space 9, stopping prison riots, and making deals in the Gamma Quadrant.
May 24th – May 30th: Cold War (The Breen): The first series that Cryptic released has to do with a search around Defera Space for the secrets of the Preservers, the race that seeded the galaxy which gave rise to the many cultures of Star Trek. Puzzles, lots of daily missions, and battles against the Breen.
Missions that are similar to an episode of Star Trek are truly what gives Star Trek Online its charm, and why I think a lifetime subscription was one of the best purchases I ever made. I highly suggest that if you’ve never played the game, now is a great chance.
– The top picture is found on the Star Trek Online website and is owned by CBS Studios, Inc.