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Star Trek Online has been taking advantage of finally running concurrently with the TV show. Last year saw developer Cryptic launch the Age of Discovery expansion, and on the cusp of the MMO’s nine-year anniversary, a new update will continue to delve into the Discovery universe, as well as introducing the ruthless Captain Killy. Check out the teaser above.
Even after some overhauls and the 2016 makeover, STO is pretty creaky. Ground combat is worlds better than it was at launch almost a decade ago, but it’s still shallow and looks a bit naff. The space combat, though? Stellar. It’s real-time with some tactical sensibilities, but the real treat is just designing the ships. Not visually, which remains a bit limited unless you shell out real money, but the components you cram inside them let you make all sorts of different different warships, bristling with phasers and torpedo launchers.
It’s the missions that I’m really enjoying replaying, however, which isn’t something I could say for many MMOs. The writing quality isn’t all that consistent, but the storylines all feel like classic Star Trek fare, even structurally, and they’re bursting with nods to the shows and cameos from Star Trek actors, most recently Discovery’s Mary Wiseman, who plays Ensign Tilly.
Tilly’s Mirror Universe counterpart, Captain Killy, is the star of the Mirror of Discovery update. Evil Tilly and her crew were in the Mirror Universe’s ISS Discovery when it was believed to have been destroyed by Klingons, but it actually hopped over to the regular universe. Players will find her on the planet of Pahvo, where they can meet Captain Killy and stop her from destroying a planet.
I really like the idea of the MMO fleshing out bits from the show like this. We never actually saw the real Captain Killy, since she was presumed dead, so this is the first time we get to meet the character. Trion Worlds’ Defiance did something similar with the show of the same name, though it never really capitalised on the relationship beyond some events loosely linked to things happening on the show and some brief cameos. It’s still around, though the show was cancelled in 2015.
The update will feature two new episodes, available to all factions, as well as the return of the Omega Molecule Stabilisation event. Collect enough particles and you’ll net yourself a new T6 Vulcan scout ship from Discovery. A new system that offers daily challenges and account-wide performance boosts will also be included, with more details coming before the launch on January 23.
A Discovery expansion is headed at warp speed toward Star Trek Online.
New story arc Age of Discovery marks the first time in Star Trek Online's history that the game will be updated in-line with a currently airing Star Trek series.
Age of Discovery, which is set in the year 2256 during the height of the Klingon War, features Cadet Tilly, who fans of Star Trek Discovery will know well. She's lovable, determined and just a little bit annoying, but key to Discovery's charm.