Archive for September 2nd, 2010


Contemplating Star Trek Online

September 2, 2010

Oh dammit, screenshot should actually look like she's pondering, not picking her nose.

Something tells me I should have listened to my instincts and written this post sooner, but it really didn’t hit me until a couple days ago when I looked at my blog categories on the sidebar and realized I have devoted more posts to Star Trek Online than any other game (*gasp!* Am I a STO blog?*)

Obviously, there has to be something about STO that distinguishes it from other games for me, especially when I acknowledge the fact I’ve spent considerably less time playing it than some of my other MMOs. And while I’m aware it flaunts itself as a casual game and is perfect for scratching the occasional itch I have for the impromptu space battle, quite honestly I don’t even think it’s a particularly exceptional game. Nevertheless, I have a good time whenever I’m logged in, but really, it’s a work-in-progress and the content between updates has always been too limited for my tastes, which explains my month-long hiatus from the game before Season Two’s release.

But STO is still special to me and I know why. It all started at a time when I was looking for good sci-fi MMO, EVE Online having not panned out and Star Wars: The Old Republic having been slated for a 2011 spring release, my eyes reluctantly turned to STO even though I knew practically nothing about it and had no idea what to expect. And I think I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw when I tested in open beta. And my husband is a big fan of Star Trek, so I knew this could be a game that both of us could play.

And as time went on, I discovered that STO is definitely a game where I have as much fun with it offline as I do online.

When I started blogging about STO, and met other bloggers who do, that was when the game really took off. The Combat Archaeologist/Adventure Historian, who also happens to be one of the first STO players I’ve met through this blog, wrote an article recently that pretty much says everything I want to say. The fact that everyone can play on the live shard, our little network became a fleet, and ultimately it’s the people I’ve come to know that keeps me playing and that keeps me coming back.

STO’s capacity for role play opportunities exposed me to my fleetmates’ creativity in the form of their stories. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re dramatic, but most importantly they have inspired me to share my own writings on STO. While something makes me tackle games like Lord of the Rings Online or Age of Conan with a relatively more serious attitude, for some reason writing about STO comes more freely to me, and I have no qualms about being silly with my character, or sharing my random STO escapades.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s an effect of the game’s casual nature, or it’s something inherent in the Star Trek franchise in general. Whatever the case, it’s great being able to write for and read posts from others who understand the little pleasures of this game.

Finally — and this is what’s really amazing to me — Star Trek is a franchise that has spanned more than four decades, spawned a multitude of  TV series, movies, books, comics, games…but it wasn’t until I started playing STO that I started paying attention to it. Before that, I knew virtually nothing about the Trek universe and I mean practically zilch. I was like, durrr, what’s a Tribble? The Holodeck, huh, what? I think the only exposure I had to the IP at that point was the 2009 JJ Abrams movie and a handful of The Next Generation scenes I’ve caught on TV when I was channel surfing but have never paid attention to.

Yeah, sad.

Assuming that most people gravitate to a game based on an IP because of an existing interest in said IP, and considering what a big Star Trek noob I was, I’m amazed STO even stuck with me at all. But stuck it did, and for me it was like a gateway to everything else Trek. I was aware of Star Trek growing up, of course, but never thought it was something I could get into. I was wrong about that, it seems. In the last six months I’ve devoured the shows, the movies, and even a couple books. I discovered that, hey, I actually like Star Trek! Who’d a thunk it? And I’ve missed out on it all these years.

So I guess I’ve got STO to thank for that. Also because now I actually friggin’ get all the pop culture references.