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nuqneH, roleplayers! In just over a week, the MMORPG world will be enlisting a new universe into the ranks, one that some of you may be familiar with. Star Trek Online will beam in on February 2nd, and despite having more bugs and crashes during the last couple weeks of open beta testing than even tribbles can count, it's looking to finally bring that much needed sci fi gaming fix to MMORPG gamers.
This roleplayer has certainly been looking for a high quality IP in which I can get my space truckin' in on, and I bet I'm not the only roleplayer out there who feels likewise. STO is the best one I've played so far that holds that promise. Anarchy Online and EVE Online both have their positive points, to be sure, but they just don't have that quantum spark that keeps my attention as long as Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft have.
However, this isn't any official review of STO. This article is addressed to my fellow red-shirt roleplayers, those of us who are anxiously awaiting the creation of our very own Federation or Klingon Empire avatars, of being in command of a starship and boldly going - well, you know. What I'm sharing here are the top Star Trek and STO resources that I think roleplayers should bookmark. I scanned the vastness of the Web and found these fascinating websites that hold the most vital information I think STO roleplayers will need to begin their space faring careers. Engage!
Star Trek Online
First STOp is the official website for Star Trek Online. The menu selections across the top of the site lead to info about the game's development, for the most part. However, Cryptic Studios and the site designers did well adding in a lot of basic data that roleplayers may find very useful.
The STO Manual should be the first thing read, as it covers basic gameplay aspects. Here you'll find descriptions of the two main factions (United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire), the three available professions (Engineering, Science, and Tactical), and the fourteen pre-constructed species that make up the Federation and Klingon Empire. Yes, the Vulcans, Klingons, Betazoids, Orions, and others are here, but sadly the Romulans are not. Don't warp out if you're favorite species isn't here, for STO has added another 'race' to each faction, called Alien, that allows players to design their own species to play. Just imagine what you can do with that!
I've often heard that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who know about Star Trek, and those who are dead. Well, believe it or not, during the open beta, I saw what was to me an incredible number of players admit they have never watched anything Star Trek related! That in itself is all the more reason to make sure you know the story, and the official website handles this in a couple of ways.
The first is by briefly addressing the Star Trek Timeline, and specifically how it relates to the latest Star Trek movie. Based on the theory of quantum mechanics and the existence of parallel universes, "Star Trek Online is set in the "prime" Star Trek reality. This is the timeline of the five television series and the first 10 movies."
STO actually begins in the year 2409, and the story of events leading up to the current year are told in the series of posts called The Path to 2409. It's a well-written history lesson as it applies to the game, and recommended to roleplayers who want to get their STO RP correct. The posts are now three pages full, and you'll have to click to page three to begin the reading the posts from the beginning.
You can search Google all day long for everything the Internet has to offer up on Star Trek, and probably still be reading light years from now. No need for that. Just go to Memory Alpha, and find it all there.
Since November 2003, Star Trek fans have made use of Memory Alpha and its' wiki format to so far create 31, 311 articles pertaining to anything you may ever want to know about Star Trek. Roleplayers, this may just be the only website you'll need to reference for all you STO RP sessions. The Society and Culture Portal leads to documents on all the races in the Star Trek and STO universe, along with items about their art, government, military, clothing, religion, language, and law, amongst others. This section should help roleplayers create and develop any character they wish for play in STO.
Treknology & tlhIngan Hol
Aside from being one of the greatest sci fi franchises in our history, Star Trek is also well known for a couple other elements in popular society: the Klingon language (tlhIngan Hol), and its' technology ('Treknology'). A substantial amount of the world's currently existing technology was first seen as a mere prop or some gadget in the original Star Trek TV series (1966-1969). Apart from J.R.R. Tolkien's work as a philologist (which helped in the creation of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), perhaps no other entertainment sourced-language has had as widespread an audience as the Klingon language.
Therefore, it behooves roleplayers in STO know their qanwI' from their marwI', and to know the difference between a nacelle and a Jefferies tube. Memory Alpha has a very good primer on Klingonese under the Languages section, but for greater depth into the speech, click over to The Klingon Language Institute. The Klingon language wiki page is also a solid base to use for reference on short notice. You social media mavens out there may also be interested in Tweet in Klingon, a Twitter application that changes your English into "highly useful Klingon phrases". On the science side, Trekmania.net has 'Treknology' of the Federation, a listing of popular Trek tech items to familiarize yourself with. The Physics and Star Trek wiki page has detailed explanations about cloaking devices, impulse drives, weaponry, shields, and many other tech items. These websites may be more than enough to get your characters walking and talking in proper STO fashion, and if they aren't, just let me know and I'll find more!
Know Your Ship!
STO differs from every other MMORPG I've played in that you actually take on two very different entities, and you switch between the two depending on your mission. On land, or in a star base, you'll be in human or humanoid form. In space, you'll be controlling your ship. If you wish to know more about Star Trek spaceships, then look no further than the Star Trek Intelligence website, " a collection of information about starships and technology from the Star Trek television series and movies combined into one easy to use database format." The ST-I Starship Database is a fantastic source of info about Federation, Klingon, Borg, Romulan, and other classes of ships. I'm not sure that every ship here is included in STO right now, but I bet you may find it interesting and educational reading, nonetheless.
February 2nd is approaching at warp speed, so log into your favorite LCARS terminal and get to these websites before Star Trek Online arrives. As always, if you have another quality website to share, or just want to talk about roleplaying in STO (or any MMORPG), enter your thoughts into the Comments section here, tweet them to @RoleCraft, or join the RoleCraft Facebook Group and sound off there. Until next time, keep your hailing frequency open, and role on!