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Star Trek Online Developer Blog

The folks from Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online have started this exciting new developer blog here at

Author: Awenyddion

Route 66 to Cryptic: A Cryptic Newbie's Take on STO - Joe "Rekhan" Blancato

Posted by Awenyddion Monday May 11 2009 at 8:55PM
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I got the phone call about two months ago. The good people at Cryptic HR phoned me with a job offer, and across the country I went, like a modern-day Tom Joad fleeing home for greener pastures in sunny California. Only instead of picking grapes and cursing creditors, I’m managing two communities ... and cursing creditors – some things never change.

Prior to my time at Cryptic, I was a game journalist. I ran my own gig at Giant Realm before the economy changed my plans for me, and before then I was an editor at The Escapist. Other than the tabletop game I created with a friend of mine, the closest I ever really got to game design was sitting in back rooms at conventions, prying information from developers large and small, then delivering what I learned to readers just as hungry for tidbits as I was.

Then came the Holy Grail: The chance to help make games instead of just talking about them. Truth be told, it wasn’t really a career I knew I was interested in until I got the chance to interview at Cryptic. I was happy in my role as a journalist, but once this new door opened, I was beyond excited to step through.

So here I am, wide-eyed and eager. I get to sit in meetings with Bill Roper and Jack Emmert and Craig Zinkievich every week – that’s access I would’ve killed for six months ago. The company is gigantic compared to a press shop. We have over 200 people here on the team; the largest company I worked for prior to this had 40. There’s free food and coffee and Star Trek episode screenings, and it’s awesome.

What’s also great is how much a lot of what I do as an online community representative feels like game journalism. I still talk to developers and share what they say with people. I post updates directly to a website, feed them out on Twitter and Facebook, and plan what we say and when we say it. And to make things better, I get to talk directly with our customers, which has been incredibly educational.

Spending time with the Star Trek Online community has taught me exactly how little I know about Star Trek. I’m a fan of the shows and can’t wait for the Abrams movie, but the knowledge some of our community members have is encyclopedic. I really dig that; it keeps us all on our toes. If we break canon, we hear about it. That’s a good thing, since we’re dedicated to creating a Star Trek experience, not just a great MMO experience.

In that vein, we’ve been doing a lot to reach out to Star Trek fans. The entire community team rocks Twitter, we’ve been running IRC trivia contests where we give out beta keys, and we pose Kobayashi Maru scenarios to the community every week. Just this week we instituted Talk Trek with Cryptic, where we invite the community to comment along with us on a pre-selected Star Trek episode. We’re always looking for new ways to engage our users, beyond the standard screenshot format. (Not to discount the traditional outreach stuff, though: We’re always updating the site with new images.)

I didn’t think I’d ever wind up on this side of the development/journalism fence, but it’s been a pretty great ride so far, and I’m looking forward to guiding the community up to and through launch.

Lt.Mitch writes:

He guys, what is that with you that everyone in your team has a need to express how feels to be in cryptic, to be a part of the team, to work on STO etc. Fine that you're so outgoing and so ego to tell us how cool it is to be a part of it. But i don't want to know all that stuff. Why don't you guys focus your energy in creating the game so many people are waiting for, or at least tell us about the gameplay, the interface, the characters, the RELEASEDTAE things the community realy wants to know. I don't want to agrue with you but i'm tired to read every week about a different teammember's feelings and impressions, instead of real important infos about the game.

Your Mitch

Tue May 12 2009 8:10AM Report
Isturi writes:

Well I for one know that if people are happy at work then that makes for a good work envorement. End result will be a QUALITY product. Thanks for giving us the look into your work eviorment. Now I wikk feel better when I play STO knowing good things come to those who wait.

Tue May 12 2009 10:14AM Report
Daveman424 writes:

Lt. Mitch, I think you may be confused about how a game company works. You can't ask the Community team to work harder on making the game, because that's not what they do. Each team has their own thing to do, and there can't be much crossover. Joe's doing his job, which is reaching out to communities and talking to them. I, for one, appreciate the effort.

Tue May 12 2009 10:44AM Report
mindmeld writes:

i for one like when you can feel the positive attitude from people behind hopefully that will extend to a great game which we dont know yet.


Wed May 13 2009 11:21AM Report
Thradar writes:

 I can understand your excitement, but the blog is titled "A Cryptic Newbie's Take on STO."  Next time please give is some actual info on STO.  You didn't say anything about the game, only how awesome Twitter, Facebook, free food, and Star Trek episodes are.  Thanks!

Wed May 13 2009 12:17PM Report
Ghostwise writes:

He's a community guy. What the hell do you expect. He has practically no involvement in the actual game hah.

Wed May 13 2009 12:53PM Report
Brain-dead writes:

I totally agree with Lt.Mitch...I dont really care how jazzed you are about working there. It's great, we're happy for you, but we come to this site to read about the games...not about how satisfied you are with your job. At the very least, please include some info about the game in ADDITION to your resume.

Wed May 13 2009 2:00PM Report
gjianop writes:

Alright already ... I agree with Lt Mitch.  Release the Beta ... Bring on the game.  I have an empire to build.

Wed May 13 2009 5:16PM Report
kiniku writes:

I have about as much interest in hearing about a job offer as you folks do of mine.  Bring us MMO information.  Not commencement speeches.

Fri May 15 2009 1:12PM Report
stefanbab writes:

Yea MMO INFO filter out the crap!! HEHE

Sat May 16 2009 5:07PM Report
Daily writes: In June of 2010 I requested that my subscription of Star Trek Online be cancelled. I like many was having a hard time in our economy and needed to cut back cost. I went to the website and logged into my account and pressed cancel. It showed canceled. Since I had already been charged for June I figured I would at least get to play one more month. However within 3 days my account would no longer allow me to log into the game. I figure ok and went about my way. Then come to find out Cryptic decided to keep charging me the monthly subscription fee all on their own. They stole money that I need to buy food and pay bills for my family of four. Did they care, NO! They stole food from my wife and sons mouth and they could care less. I CANCELLED MY SUBSCRIPTION! WTF! WHY did they keep charging me for a game I could not even play anymore? I don’t know why either. When contacted about it they refused to refund the wrongly acquired 2 months of fees. So now all I can do is post how horrible they treated another human being in these times, wherever I can. I am sure my family and I will make it because we have each other, but I hope Cryptic and all theirs goes under. I hope that one day they find themselves in the same situation. On top of that the game is par at best. Star Trek had ok playability; the game stagnated by level 20 and the PVP side of the game sucks. All and all the game barely rates. The only reason I played for as long as I did is because of the content being Star Trek. In the end that wasn’t enough. To keep playing and I would not recommend playing it ever. If you do, and decide to stop they will probably just keep charging you anyways. DON’T PLAY CRYPTIC MMO’s Also as far a City of Champions goes you really want to wait for DC UNIVERSE online in November. Wed Aug 04 2010 8:39AM Report writes:
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