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Star Trek Online webcast highlights

The Star Trek Online web cast revealed more info on the plans Cryptic Studios has for the upcoming sci-fi MMO. Here are just some of the highlights from the event which was headed up by Cryptic founder Jack Emmert (Leonard Nimoy's much hyped involvement turned out to be just a quick introduction to the game and to Emmert before he left the stage to let Emmert give his speech to the crowd).

The big event was the debut of the first trailer which Emmert stressed was all in-game action. The trailer showed off lots of space battles with Federation, Klingon, Borg and other ships along with some glimpses of the planet and inside-ship combat. The visuals certainly looked like the best looking Star Trek game ever made so far.

There's no announced release date yet although Emmert did say he knows what that release date will be and that it will be out sooner than some might think. He stressed that Cryptic will be aiming to release the game quicker than other MMOs since they already have an engine in place and they are now putting in content.

Emmert stated that the game will have three basic gameplay modes. The first was combat which will feature both tactical ship combat and planet side avatar combat. The second is exploration where people can actually explore deep space and discover new races and even use new technologies and races in their ships.. The third is trade where people can join up to form "fleets" that can create trade between planets and expand the economy to build more ships.

There will be two factions, Federation and Klingon, in the first release but more factions will be made available post release.

Character customization will not just include using established Trek aliens but also allow the player to make their own alien if they want.

The game takes place 30 years after the events of the last Next Generation movie Star Trek Nemesis. Cryptic plans to have a timeline that they will post on Star Trek Online's web site, year by year, ahead of the launch so people will know what happened in the universe between Nemesis and the start of the game's storyline (it sounds like the Federation and the Klingons are not buddy-buddy anymore)

While the movies and TV episodes are considered canon by Cryptic, they also plan to use elements from Trek comic books and novels as well, specifically mentioning the Starfleet Corps of Engineers and the USS Excalibur (the ship from the New Frontier series of books) as elements that might show up in the game. He also stated that they are looking to hire a Trek writer to help with storyline elements.

While it's not fully decided, Emmert said that he would like the game to take place on one big server a la Eve Online.

Looks like the game won't be coming out for Mac or Linux platforms at launch. However Emmert did say that for the PC they are looking to have the game run on as many systems as possible citing World of Warcraft as an example of a game that runs on pretty much any PC.

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