Just how innovative is STO? What will make STO better and different? Ship customizations, vivid character creation, intense PvP on the ground and in space, possible PC/Console hybrid, where console and PC units can connect to the same sever - and explore together sounds like a good start to me.
To me, STO is going to go where no MMO has truly gone before. The level of customization that Cryptic is said to offer is staggering,b ut wait, haven't we seen great customization before? Haven't we all played Spore? Or perhaps another Cryptic game known as City of Heroes? There's a difference here, and that is content. Yes, Spore isn't an MMO, but let's take a deeper look. The customization is down right innovative, if not the best there is on the game market. However, afterwards there isn't much to chew on to keep you hooked. That is where STO will hopefully not make that mistake.
When it comes to gaming, Star Trek fans have been frustrated, to say the least. Trek fans do not have a company like Lucasarts to find developers to churn out great games every year. We, the fans, have been screaming for a good Star Trek game for a very, very long time. The original STO was dropped by Perpetual and picked up by Cryptic last year, and in my opinion, this was the best thing to happen to the franchise.
Starting off as the Captain of your vessel for Starfleet or the Klingon Defense Force, players set out on journeys to explore strange new worlds, engage each other in PvP on the battlefront, take missions from your faction to further gain wealth and rank, create ship names and hull registries, and customize your bridge crew with different abilities. Crew members can be different races, genders, and have unique features to make your journey more interesting, and hopefully make it seem more real. What would a Captain do without his bridge crew anyway? The only con I can think of coming to us at launch with STO, is the inability to have ship interiors, which Cryptic has already stated this on their to-do list in a later updates such as an expansion or content patch. I guess we can't always get what we want, Jim.
This brings us to our next innovation, ship interiors. Personally, I was glad to hear Cryptic is going to delay player's ability to walk around freely on their ships (announced at the NYCC). First, hear me out! With how vast all the ships, space stations and facilities on both sides Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Force are, you’re talking about hundreds of hours of development time. I would rather wait to hopefully see great interior designs on my Bridge and Captain's Quarters rather than to see some rushed, buggy environment where I can lag through the halls and get stuck in a wall, you know what I mean? I wouldn't mind seeing something similar to what Star Wars Galaxies did with the expansion Jump to Lightspeed, but of course in a better fashion.
PvP is also going to where no other MMO has gone before. Ground combat is said to be a lot of run and gun, duck and hide, fast paced action. Whether or not to set your phasers to stun is completely optional! Hand to hand combat has been talked about, the most promising looking thing that I’ve seen is the ability to beam aboard an enemy vessel and take on your foes, face to face. Instead of a fast paced, Star Wars style space battles, STO will feature a more strategy involved combat system. I've seen a few notes from STO's developers stating that it will be more of a normal Star Trek fight: powering shields, moving power around the ship to compensate for damage or diverting more power to your phasers and photon torpedoes. PvP is said to include maneuvering around an enemy vessel to further damage its exposed side, or to pummel its engines - so that the enemy's vessel is a sitting duck… classic naval engagement. Early stages of PvP seem to be happening on the ground and in space, although Cryptic hasn't released much information about PvP. I'm going to bet a lot of players will be especially interested in this aspect, meeting their foes with rapid phaser fire or pulling a Worf maneuver, RAMMING SPEED!
Last but not least, community. I have been following STO since Perpetual had the IP, and really started catching on with Cryptic. The community, put simply, is fantastic. The boards are filled with great conversation and debate, and the flaming is kept at a minimum. I'm very pleased to see the good natured individuals and the fleet’s already forming in the Star Trek Online community. I know the talks will change dramatically with release, I only hope they will actually be a part of the solution and not the problem. The bottom line is that the community will support the game. If the players are not behind the game, especially with an IP like STO, things can get ugly. Luckily, Cryptic seems to be avidly listening and giving feedback to what the future players have to say.
There are many reasons why STO will go where no MMO has gone before, many of which will show up in the near future. And if STO is going to play as good as it's looking, then beam me up.