For many years, computer game players have been enthralled with the idea of a Star Trek game. There have been a few that have tried to make games with elements of the Sci-Fi entertainment icon as the central theme. There was an original "Kings Quest" type game in the 90's, then Starfleet academy which was a more interactive exprience, but still lacked the true ability to impact the destiny of your characters. You were locked into the story and your characters were limited to name only... not all that entertaining for many.
Still later, came the RTS (real-time strategy) Star Trek Armada... along with numerous others. Such were space battle based, but lacked the technological ability to integrate away mission type interfaces and space battles.
Today's latest endeavor is from Cryptic Studios, and is simply entitled Star Trek Online. This is a massively mutliplayer online (MMO) game with all elements of space battle and away missions all inclusive. The beta is currently in progress and the game is drawing closer to release.
Currently the interface is not extremely intuitive, with inventory equipping and controls somewhat difficult to manage, especially during battle. It is easy to find yourself struggling with 15 keys simultaneuously on the keyboard. It has been suggested that Cryptic build support for joysticks to ease the difficult keyboard selections.
On the other hand the graphics are pleasing and overall the in game experience is exciting. Many of the game elements lend themselves well to team play, especially in space battle mode. The mini-map while currently in space battle mode not useful since it does not indicate 360 degree direction works well for away missions.
Away missions at this point are a little simplistic, but each day new enhancements are being made to improve the interface and game experience. Future options will allow users to play as various species such as Borg or Klingon and also allow duels.
Overall, the beta has been successful and Cryptic is currently expanding their server farm to prepare for the release of the product. The players interviewed so far while in-game have been pleased with the game experience and the graphics. Many great suggestions have emerged from players and Cryptic has taken many of the ideas for the game from players themselves which makes for a great experience for all.
MMO games typically charge a fee on a monthly basis for access to the game servers and cannot be played without this access.