Star Trek Online

We see how the MMO is faring - and what the future holds...

Star Trek Online was one of the most anticipated MMOs of the year before its release in February.

Despite a whirlwind of hype and popularity, reviews were fairly unspectacular - and it hasn't quite emerged as the 'Warcraft-challenger' many hoped for.

However, it has dug out a robust community - and, says developer Cryptic - isn't going anywhere yet.

We caught up with the studio's boss Craig Craig Zinkievich to get the full story on the game's progress - and its future...

How is STO faring now we're a few months into its lifecycle?
Very well. We've been really happy with response to the game, as well as the number of people who have committed to the game for the long term. It's given us some room to plan for more than the immediate future, which I think is incredibly important in MMOGs.

We're not just looking month to month, but year to year. We wouldn't have been able to do that without the support of so many fans.

Do you expect it to be able to continue for years to come, or does it have a finite life?
We will continue to support Star Trek Online as long as there is a demand for it. If players keep playing the game then STO could easily be on the scene for years to come.

Is there enough interest in the title to warrant a sequel?
I'm not really sure it makes sense to create a sequel in the MMO market. Typically, you see an MMO called a sequel because either a new team worked on the property or the original team wanted to reboot their IP.

With Star Trek, the beauty is the story is never really finished, so as the IP continues to grow, so can we. Barring a new edition of our engine, I can't really see us doing a sequel.

What would you say STO's biggest success has been?
The thing we probably did the best was space combat. I think that's engaging and captures a lot of the Star Trek feel.

What criticisms from players and reviewers have you taken on board - and how will you implement these either in the current STO game or future iterations?
We try to take all of the criticisms to heart. Listen to what they say and then see if it's something we can do to fix it. Some of the fixes we can address in a short amount time but others take a little longer, but regardless we try our best to address it.

I'd say an example of some criticism we've received and acted upon is the game's death penalty. We originally shipped the game with only a minor penalty when you die - you respawn a few moments away from the action.

But our community voiced their opinion, and a great many people wanted to enjoy a bit more risk in their gameplay. So we created a difficulty slider, which pairs additional risk - in this case an injury system, where if you die, you accrue some debuffs - with additional reward.

We've got normal difficulty, which is exactly what's there now. Players uninterested in a death penalty can play on normal like nothing ever happened. But we also have advanced and elite settings, which make enemies tougher, increases some rewards and also features the death penalties we designed.

You said recently that the title wouldn't be coming to consoles. Do you think it's possible to make a successful MMO on consoles?
Possible? Yes... It's just very time consuming and a lot of work is involved. We decided it would be best for us to focus our efforts on the PC side of things.

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