Star Trek Online: Season 12 and the 7th Anniversary
There’s a lot going on in Star Trek Online at present. The game is currently celebrating its seventh anniversary which means there’s a chance to earn a new Tier 6 Lukari Ho’kuun Science Vessel, via the repeatable Omega Molecule Stabilization anniversary event. Season Twelve has also just launched, with the featured episode Of Signs and Portents. The story continues with Starfleet’s joint exploration with their new ally the Lukari, and features actor Tony Todd reprising his role of General Rodek. There is also the addition of the Lukari reputation faction, along with two new Tzenkethi Space Queues and Battlezone. If this wasn’t enough Cryptic have also added a new Kits and Modules Research School to the existing R&D system as well as a new lock box, featuring 23rd Century ships and technologies.
As ever, Cryptic have been generously giving away free items from the C-Store over the course of the anniversary week, including uniforms, skills points, ships slots and drydock spaces. Furthermore, the console version of the game continues to grow, with the recent PC expansion Agents of Yesterday being ported to Xbox One and PS4 next month. Executive producer Stephen Ricossa stated in a recent anniversary letter that “2016 was not just another amazing year for Star Trek Online, but the best year we’ve ever had” and is confident that the game will thrive this year. “There are even more fantastic releases planned for 2017, and a continuation of the current story line that will grow and weave as it takes us well into 2018”. Marketing spin notwithstanding, the abundance of new material across multiple platforms appears to show that Star Trek Online is doing well in the current MMO market.
Conversely, at a time when STO is thriving, other MMOs are either treading water or in some cases facing imminent closure. Turbine will be shutting down Asheron’s Call at the end of January and it doesn’t look as if there’s likely to be an eleventh-hour rescue from a third party. In fact, Turbines exit from the MMO industry to focus on mobile games, indicates that the MMORPG as a genre is no longer considered as lucrative as it was a decade ago. Many developers have learnt the hard way that creating a World of Warcraft clone that produces the same level of financial success, is nigh on impossible. Star Trek Online, like LOTRO, endure mainly because of the popularity of the core IP and the inherent loyalty of the fan base.
Where LOTRO, under the auspices of Warner Bros. never fully tied in to the Hobbit feature films, it will be interesting to see if the new TV show Star Trek Discovery gets incorporated in to STO. Bearing in mind that Cryptic have so far included direct lore references from all previous Star Trek shows and even the J J Abrams movies under the guise of the Kelvin Timeline, then I’d say it’s more than likely certain. Enjoying such a cordial business relationship with the rights holders CBS, certainly seems to be proving healthy for STO. It’s curious that matter of the game license has never become such an issue among the fan community as it has with LOTRO. In the meantime, there’s plenty of content to explore in STO, ensuring my regular presence in the game for the immediate future. As a lifetime account holder, I feel that I always have the option of taking a break from the game, should it require it but so far, since May 2015 I’ve been pretty much continuously kept busy. Not bad for a seven-year-old MMO.