Star Trek Online and the Traveling Problem

Beam me up Scotty!  Yesterday at PennyArcade they had a comic that illustrated the possible problem that might arise in the upcoming Star Trek MMO with traveling.  As with any MMO, developers must decide how easy traveling will be in the game.  How early should the player get a mount or vehicle.  Will there be teleporters?  Quick travel areas?  However with Star Trek, none of those things are needed if you can just beam from your ship to anywhere you want.

I’ll admit right now, I’m not a Star Trek fan at all, I’ve probably seen about a dozen episodes of the various series throughout my lifetime and 2-3 of the movies, but one thing I do know is that people can beam pretty much anywhere.  So how will this affect gameplay?

In the FAQ on the Star Trek Online website, states the everyone will be the captain of their own ship and as they gain skill will be able to command larger ships.  So perhaps the smaller ships will not have beaming capability until you reach a certain level.  This would delay the issue a bit, but what happens when you do eventually get a ship with the capability of beaming? Can I beam directly to where the quest tells me to go?  Perhaps traveling will be mostly in space?  But I do have warp drives, so perhaps not.

Many gamers including myself despise long traveling and see it as a waste of time and not actual gaming.  AoC was a good example of how not to do traveling.  There were many respawn points on a map and when you die you could pick any point to respawn at, which was a good way to travel around the map, however you had to die to do it.  Why they didn’t make it an option use these points when your alive is beyond me.   Just one of the many reasons that caused me to quit the game.  I did regularly ask other players to kill me so that I could use the respawn points, as being killed by another player did not give you a death penalty.   So with Star Trek Online perhaps having the ability to beam yourself anywhere will drastically speed up the game and bypass the grind of having to walk around everywhere.  However if they decided to restrict beaming, it will be interested to see how the community responds.

At this point I have no interest in Star Trek Online, however that could change if I start to hear good things about it.


  1. Im about on par with you for Star Stek experiance, but it seems to me that the teleporter is the perfect way to do instances. I mean, if the quest is to find some random thing/place/person, then you don’t know where it is exactly. So you get teleported to the instance. Same with warp drives.

    These things could also work like the griffons do in WoW. Fast travel (well, much faster, but you see my point), but only to places you have been before.

  2. In the TV show there were plenty of things that could block transporters, odd mineral formations, overloaded engines, ion storms, weird fields, not to mention the fact that you can’t beam through things that are shielded. I’m sure plenty of them will show up in the game.

    If you are looking to figure out what’s going on in STO, you should check out my blog Boldly Play.

  3. The transporter and warp drive concepts are both a great way to get rid of the mythical “meaningful travel” which never really existed to begin with. Notice WAR doesn’t have it either? Concentrate on the fun, not the tedium.

    Klingon attack somewhere? Gather up your Federation friends and warp to their location to fight. That’s the fun part. Or would you rather group up then spend 3 hours watching stars fly by while at warp 9 for the sake of so-called realism? That’s called tedium.

    Transport down to a planet with your NPC (or player) crew for an Away Mission to ‘Kill Ten Tribbles’ and bring back ‘5 Undamaged Tribble Furs’ as proof to the quest NPC. Get in the mission, however, and as Aram suggested, the transporter will be blocked so you don’t have an easy emergency escape until the mission is complete.

    It’s Guild Wars’ “map travel” but with Trek’s lore as the reason it works.

  4. Some good ideas here, but just wanted to comment on the concept that people can beam “anywhere”. I think there would be some limitation on this, in Trek lore. For example, you can beam down to a planet from your ship, yes, but you couldn’t beam down to that planet if your ship was on the other side of the galaxy, or something. There would be limits.

  5. Right, you’d have to fly your ship to the system and orbit the planet first. But again, that could easily be warp speed (map travel) and *poof* you’re at the planet. Transport (map travel) to the surface and *poof* you’re doing normal MMO stuff like Kill Ten Gorn.

    The series/movies/novels all had various limitations on transporters not being able to get a lock on people to get them into or out of situations, as well, so I can see it being used as a limitation of where you can go at a certain rank (similar to limiting progress by level in level-based games) or from being an easy out of a bad situation.

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