Star Trek Online: Agents of Yesterday
The third free expansion for Star Trek Online, Agents of Yesterday, went live today and there was much merriment and rejoicing among TOS fans. Cryptic have done a fine job in capturing the essence of the sixties shows. The new faction has a starter zone set in the 23rd century which features several stories that link to specific episodes from the classic era. There are Gorn in Gornkinis, neural parasites and Rumulans in knitwear. The game aesthetic is spot on and features a wealth of sound effects that are lore appropriate. Mind you, if you spend too much time on Taurus II revelling in your tricorder readings, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a Folsom Point.
The game writers then cleverly linked the old with the new via Temporal Agent Daniels who featured in Star Trek: Enterprise. Through this plot device your newly created character is brought forward in time to the 25th century of the prime Star Trek universe. However the latest expansion has even managed to find a way to include the alternative timeline from the recent Trek movies. There’s also a ton of new gear, a new skills specification and rep faction. Plus there’s a wealth of new ships including the Kelvin Timeline Heavy Command Cruiser [T6] (the JJ-verse Enterprise) and Intel Dreadnought Cruiser [T6], also known as the Vengeance-class. If that wasn’t enough to get excited about Cryptic have once again secured voice acting from the actors associated with the various shows both canonical and non-canonical, including Walter Koenig, Chris Doohan and Vic Mignogna.
If you’re looking for a new MMO to play and like the Star Trek IP, or if you’re a former player who’s drifted away, then now is an ideal time to return to the game. Regardless of some of Star Trek Online's faults, namely a somewhat clunky game engine and a lack of polish here and there, the game has constantly improved over the last five years. The stories are incredibly lore friendly and creative, space combat is immense fun and the much lambasted ground combat is not half as bad as it’s claimed. As for that tedious mantra that’s regularly trotted out about the lack of exploration, all I can say is try watching a lot of the TV shows both old and new. Exploration usually means flirting with a green chick, flying chest kicks, ripping t-shirts and blowing shit up.
Like many MMOs, STO has lots of game mechanics and systems that don’t immediately become apparent. However there is a wealth of information available online, via Reddit and Gamepedia. Plus if you join a fleet you’ll find lots of like minded players happy to share their knowledge. STO also benefits from not having to rely upon all the default sword and sorcery tropes you find in most other games of the MMO genre. At present, five years into its lifecycle, STO has a healthy player base and plenty of new content. It’s a game you can spend money on if you see fit, or play quite happily as a F2P player. It’s also has managed to keep me continuously occupied for the last year. Agents of Yesterday has just added to that and done so with a degree of panache. Not many MMOs can boast such a claim.
Update: I was fortunate once again when it came to opening a few lock boxes (okay another 20) and managed to secure a Vengeance class Dreadnought Cruiser. It really is a beast of a ship, although it handles like a sonofabitch, so it may be time to swap to the Pilot Specialisation to improve its mobility. I also ran both the new Special Task Force missions that have been added to the game, one of which "Days of Doom" is based in the TOS era and features the iconic Doomsday machine. It even includes music cues by Sol Kaplan from the original show.