Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online has just entered the closed beta testing phaser... I mean, phase.
On October 22, Cryptic Studios announced that Star Trek Online has taken the next step in its development and entered closed beta. What this means for you non-MMO gamers out there is that a playable build is now available and some lucky regular citizens get to participate in working out the game's kinks alongside Cryptic Studios' own testing team. For some reason, Star Trek Online always struck me as one of those MMOGs that would never make it through, even with the strength of the Star Trek franchise behind it. The fact that it's entering closed beta is a good sign.
Star Trek Online takes place 30 years after the series' last movie Star Trek Nemesis. Cryptic has already released a video revealing the game's backstory, though to summarize it begins with a civil war amongst the Romulan Empire that the Klingons take advantage of to reclaim what they feel is theirs from the Romulans. The Gorn, along with other races from Star Trek, also get involved, while the Federation does its best to try to keep the peace between everybody.
One of Star Trek Online's selling points is the ability to participate in both ground and space combat right at launch. On the ground you lead an away team, of likely all red shirts, while in space you must maneuver your ship while taking out your enemies with various types of weaponry. Cryptic's "Total Customization technology", will play a big part, allowing players to completely customize their ships, and even to create entire alien races. There are also "episode missions" that are supposed to make players feel like they're living through a full episode of the television show. I wouldn't mind if the game provides retro episode missions of assaults on the Borg and such, perhaps in the holodeck?
I know I'm excited about this one, even if it makes me collect 50 Ferengi ears to level up. It's a bummer that Captain Picard is either retired or dead, but I know Data is alive and kicking in some form according to this bit of lore, at least that's how it appears. To get in on the action, apply for the closed beta at the game's website.