Weekly Trek – August 29-September 4, 2016

Of all of the science fiction universes I enjoy, Star Trek’s is really the only one where I would actually like to live.  Star Wars has the whole Empire thing happening, which isn’t great, and, based on The Force Awakens, things didn’t all that much better once the Emperor got tossed down that shaft that had no business being in a throne room in the first place.  I love the Firefly/Serenity characters, but scraping by while trying to avoid the Alliance would suck.

No, Star Trek’s future is the place for me.  Sure, there are dangers (I definitely could skip any Borg encounters), but for the most part things are good.  Earth at the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation is a utopian paradise where poverty and hunger are things of the past.

Unfortunately, I cannot move to Star Trek’s 24th Century.  And believe me, I wanted to.  I used to fantasize about being picked up by the USS Enterprise-D and taken away to live with them in the future.  My desire to spend time there has also been a major motivating factor in writing my own fan fiction.

Writing is work, though.  What if I just want to hang out in the Star Trek universe?

The best option I’ve found is Star Trek Online, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) started by Cryptic Studios in 2010.  Star Trek Online (Henceforth to be called STO) is set in the Prime Star Trek universe (As opposed to the Kelvin timeline of the recent films) 30 years after Star Trek: Nemesis.  In this continuity, Romulus is gone (Check out J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film Star Trek for the reason why.) and the Klingons and United Federation of Planets are no longer allies. 

I will be honest here.  I don’t know a damn thing about what makes a good MMORPG.  I’ve never played World of Warcraft, and my experiences in these types of online games prior to STO was in passing at best.  I was never interested in the social aspect, and I certainly didn’t want to pony up for a monthly subscription.

When STO went free-to-play in 2012, though, I decided to check it out.  I fairly quickly played through the available missions at that time, and they are fine.  They mix ground-based activities with your away team (You and some computer-controlled non-player-characters from your crew) and starship combat.  The missions take you to many locations across the galaxy, including Deep Space Nine, and feature appearances by many of the various shows’ characters, voiced by the actors who played them.  I also enjoy visiting spacedock and wandering around.  Spacedock is where you can buy and sell equipment, get mission assignments, and obtain new ships.

My biggest thrill was getting to the point that I could buy an Excelsior-class starship.  The game includes many starships that you can get for free, but I had to pay actual money for the Excelsior.  It was completely worth it as far as I’m concerned because I can zoom around in my absolutely gorgeous USS Secondprize and not worry at all about the actual missions.

It’s been a while since I logged on, but I think I need to check back in.  STO recently released an expansion pack called “Agents of Yesterday” that is set during the time of the original Star Trek television series.  That could be fun.  And if I don’t like it, my character, Captain Travis Dillon of the USS Secondprize, can go back to enjoying living in the future of Star Trek.

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter