Star Trek Online (STO) is a science fiction MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios and published by Perfect World Entertainment, as part of a larger fan culture (Star Trek) it tends to draw in a wide variety of players. The game also has a notably tight community that produces content, provides feedback, and extends from in-game community to external groups.
Captain Timber Wolf appeared for an MMO Anthropology interview to speak to us about his experience playing the game and how he has interacted with the STO community.
While he has been a player for approximately two years, his interests in ship-building (a mainstay of the mechanics of the game) has led him to become part of feedback and assistance community media such as The Pilot Review Show and The SHOW. Both are representations of community-led media productions that speak to the current nature of STO as a game, the reaction of the community to changes, and provide thoughts and analysis of a wide variety of things that affect the player community.
As mentioned above, Star Trek Online differs from other MMORPGs in that not only do players receive the standard paper-doll RPG character through their captain; but in STO players also receive a starship, which also has paper-doll elements and must be outfit, equipped and (in many cases) can also be dressed up aesthetically. Just like captains have careers (the class analogue in STO) starships also have a class analogue in that they can lean towards one career (or several) allowing players to greatly modify their gameplay style by what ship and equipment they choose.
For example, in Star Trek Online there are three careers: Tactical, geared towards outputting firepower; Science, geared towards aiding allies, weakening the enemy, and controlling the battlefield; and Engineering, geared towards shrugging off attacks and providing resistances to allies. Starships can lean towards any of these roles, allowing a Tactical-oriented captain to choose to fly a Science-oriented starship.
The variant play available for space combat in STO and the ever-increasing variety of starships to choose from makes room for the community to build, suggest, and adapt as the game changes. This large spectrum of approaches to play gives rise to community media (as above) required to provide the foundation for understanding how to meet certain goals (be it increasing damage output, or battlefield control, or providing support).
Speaking to Timber Wolf today gives the MMO Anthropology viewership a little bit of a window into the the way the STO community has attempted to tackle the spread of this information.
Broadcasts mentioned by Timber Wolf in the show:
Timber Wolf can be found on YouTube:
The Pilot Review Show
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To thank him for that lovely intro animation here’s Chris Warren