Star Trek Online

GH12: March Madness Showdown – Part 2

GH12: March Madness Showdown – Part 2
Gamer Heroes

 
 
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Part 2 of our March Madness continues the first round of our Sweet Sixteen bringing in Nova, Sonic, Sonya Blade, Lara Croft, and more! First, we cover some news including plans for Star Trek Online’s First Contact Day celebrations, the Yooka Laylee Switch situation, thoughts on Splatoon 2 after the global test fire, plus a bit on the Starcraft 4K restoration. Then, we battle out the second four match-ups: Crash Bandicoot vs Sonic, Lara Croft vs Fenix, Spyro vs Sonya Blade, and Nova vs Big Daddy. We talk abilities, weapons, fighting styles, opportunity, and more until we determine a winner for each of the four matches. You’ll have to listen in to see who moved on to the quarter finals.

0:35 – Star Trek Online’s First Contact Day Celebration Details

5:40 – Yooka-Laylee’s Nintendo Switch Delay

7:40 – Splatoon 2 Global Testfire Thoughts

13:35 – Starcraft 4K Remastered Announced

18:20 – March Madness Part 1 Recap and Bracket Updates

21:10 – Crash Bandicoot vs Sonic the Hedgehog

31:10 – Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft vs Gears of War’s Fenix

50:30 – Spryo vs Mortal Kombat’s Sonya Blade

58:10 – Starcraft’s Nova vs BioShock’s Big Daddy

71:15 – Part 2 Recap and Quaterfinal Preview

What do you think of our second four match-ups? Did we get them right? Did we miss the mark? Comment or hit us up on Facebook to let us know! Then stay tuned for our Quarterfinals!

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Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer
Zach Story

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

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Derreck Mayer

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Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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GH12: March Madness Showdown – Part 2

Star Trek Online Now on Xbox One and PS4

Last weekend was Star Trek Mission New York, a Star Trek convention held in New York City for the first time in years. We were lucky enough to attend and even got a few cool interviews for the Screen Heroes podcast. One of the bigger booths was Perfect World’s Star Trek Online area which boasted playable demos on PS4 and Xbox One. The game went live on those two platforms two days ago on September 6th, making the end to a 6 1\2 year PC exclusive.

The Star Trek Online MMO has been around for a long time, getting updates, new factions, new content, and new expansions on a regular basis. In fact, they released a major expansion “Agents of Yesterday” just this summer, allowing players to jump back in time to the era of Kirk and Spock and eventually become Temporal Agents in the distant future. Star Trek Online was excited to show the world what six years of experience looks like with an all-new engine and they did just that this weekend at Star Trek Mission New York. Let’s take a look at some detail. First, what is Star Trek Online?

Star Trek Online is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online game where players can pioneer their own destiny as Captain of a Federation starship, become a Klingon Warrior and champion the Empire through the far reaches of the galaxy, or rebuild the Romulan legacy as the commander of a Romulan Republic Warbird.Star Trek Online Odyssey at Starbase

Key Features

  • THE DEPTH OF STAR TREK
    Captains can explore the galaxy, visiting all 4 quadrants, including 100+ iconic Star Trek locations. During these missions, they will interact with original characters from the television show voiced by Trek actors, including Jeri Ryan, Michael Dorn, Tim Russ and more.
  • YOUR MISSIONS, YOUR WAY
    Players can choose from three classic Star Trek factions (Federation, Klingon and Romulan) to create their own Captain and customize their bridge crew and starships for a completely personalized Star Trek experience.
  • EXPANSIVE CONTENT
    Star Trek Online on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One will launch with over six years of content, including over 130 featured episodes. The game will receive regular updates to include new locations and characters straight from the Star Trek universe.
  • UPDATED GRAPHICS AND CONTROLS
    A brand new UI and control scheme has been added, allowing players to navigate both space and ground combat with ease. Modern lighting technologies have also been added to improve the overall visual quality of the game.

Brining Star Trek Online to consoles required an entirely new UI, replacing the free moving menus of the PC version. The image below shows an example of this new UI while in space mode.

Star Trek Online Console UI

Over the years, Star Trek Online has been able to leverage canon characters by bringing in veteran Star Trek actors from the likes of Leonard Nimoy, Denise Crosby, and Garrett Wang, among others.

Star Trek Online Canon Characters

Even bigger news broke during the convention as the Star Trek Online team announced that coming soon, you’ll be able to physically print 3D models of your custom starships from the game. This includes custom components, colors, names, etc. The ships are a decent size too, around 10-12″ and leverage the latest 3D printing technology. Below you can see three different examples including the Odyssey class starship used for the Enterprise F in-game (center).

Star Trek Online 3D Printed Models

For more information on Star Trek Online, its jump to Xbox One and PS4, UI changes, content comparisons, and details on the 3D ship printing, listen to this week’s Screen Heroes podcast episode where I interview Al Rivera, Lead Designer behind Star Trek Online, pictured below.

Derreck Interviewing Al Rivera of Star Trek Online

As always, Star Trek Online is free-to-play, even on Xbox One and PS4. You can download the game at no risk, even if you’re a Lifetime PC member like myself. Start up a new faction character just to check out the new UI features and how well these ships handle a controller.

Do you play Star Trek Online? Comment below and maybe we can team up for a mission or two! Live long and prosper.

Star Trek Online Now on Xbox One and PS4

SH S2E11: Star Trek Mission New York

This week, we have a very special episode recorded live at Star Trek: Mission New York! This convention was in celebration of the Star Trek franchise’s 50th anniversary, which is officially Thursday, September 8th. We were lucky enough to attend and interview three fantastic people! First up, we have Kelli Fitzpatrick and Derek Attico. These two were both selected as part of the 10 whose personal Star Trek short stories were chosen for official publication in this year’s Strange New Worlds novel. This book series was annual from 1998 through 2007 but has now returned after its announcement last October with winners selected this past April. I was able to take some of Kelli and Derek’s time this weekend to talk about the experience and their process. Next, we were lucky enough to get some time with Al River, a Lead Designer for Star Trek Online, specifically focusing on the console launch of the game that hit PC over six years ago. The console launch happened yesterday, September 6th and is free-to-play on Xbox One and PS4. We go in-depth on the process of bringing the longtime PC game to consoles, details on UI changes, and more.

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Star Trek Mission New York Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart

Special Guest
Derek Attico
Kelli Fitzpatrick
Al Rivera

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S2E11: Star Trek Mission New York

Top 10 Star Trek Video Games

Star Trek’s 50th anniversary is here, so let’s take a look back at the best Star Trek video games. As with other fan service games such as Star Wars and superhero games in general, Star Trek games have been hit or miss, some good, some bad, and some really bad. The best ones do three things: they immerse you in your fandom, they make a decent quality game, and are most importantly, fun. The games at the top of the list have all three characteristics while those at the bottom may only have one or two of them. And the horrible ones have none of these. For simplicity, a game series is counted as a group and only distinguished if the games in the series are dramatically different in quality. Lastly, I’d consider the game as more or less fun if even a casual Star Trek fan would have fun playing it.

 

#10) Dominion Wars – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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Was this a good game? Probably not. Was it fun? Certainly. Often found on the $10 bargain bin at Walmart, this was a brutally simple game. Fly your choice of ships in the Dominion War. Plot was minimal, graphics only just adequate, and game play was underwhelming. But what it does have going for it is the immersion factor. From Klingon Bird of Preys to Galaxy Class Starships, you zipped around in space battles, blasting Cardasian and Jem’Hadar ships to dust. Sure it’s a bit shallow but it got the space combat down pretty well. Considering it launched at $10, it was much better than it had to be. It made no promises to greatness but still sparked some fun. Because of this it just barely squeaks at the bottom of the list.

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#9) Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – Crossroads of Time

Star Trek Deep Space 9 Crossroads of Time

Though not the best Star Trek entry in the 16-bit era, Crossroads of Time is still fairly respectable all things considered. It has a pretty decent story that isn’t just a simple rehash of what was seen on the show. It also does a decent job of immersing you in the Star Trek universe by having you control Commander Sisko on DS9 and interacting with the crew. In one particularly interesting mission you go back in time to the battle of Wolf 359 and have Sisko escape his doomed ship while fighting the Borg deck by deck. Pretty exciting stuff. The only drawback is that it isn’t terribly fun. It could be the limitations of the hardware, or even that they only had the early seasons of Deep Space 9 to work with, but it doesn’t really hold much replay value unlike other titles from the 16-bit era. Crossroads of Time squeaks in on the list but only just barely.

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#8) Star Trek: Legacy

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On the whole, it’s a decent game, not a great game but a decent one. It does great fan service by having a story narrative all the way from Enterprise to Voyager and back again. Not to mention, they got all of the actors of the Captains to reprise their roles, even Avery Brooks who doesn’t do many of these sort of things anymore.

The game is basically a starship game where you control up to four other ships, issuing orders while taking direct command of one of them. A great variety of ships are used against a variety of opponents throughout the history of the Federation. Though it plays better on the consoles than on PC it’s still a fairly respectable entry. What may hold it back is that its space combat is dumbed-down a bit, I guess a little “video gamey” as they might say. Nowhere near as complicated as Starfleet Command and even more simple than Star Trek Online, Star Trek: Legacy is just a little too flat. I’d describe it like the difference between the game series Ace Combat and something like Microsoft Flight Simulator except maybe not as fun. The game is fun to play for the fan service but its lack of originality and game play hold it back. Star Trek: Legacy is fun to play for a couple of hours just not fun to keep playing.

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#7) Star Trek Online

Star_Trek_Online_coverWhat to say about this one?  After the success of many other Multiple Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) quite a few studios tried to get the Star Trek license to make one for it. Cryptic Studios got the rights back in 2013 and the game is basically MMORPG with slight influences from Star Fleet Command. You fly your ship around for 2/3’s of the time and the remainder is on ground away missions. There are basically 3 types of vessels: tanks for Engineers (think large  lumbering Galaxy Class ships),  glass cannons (small Defiant types that hit hard and maneuver away), and the in-between classes (medium ships like the Intrepid Class) that specialize in more creative forms of space combat. Away missions have a similar model of tanks, glass cannons, and tricky science officers. But the best thing about Star Trek Online is its immersion. You can fly your ship to many places mentioned in Star Trek canon, launch your ship from Earth Spacedock, beam down to Starfleet Academy, warp to DS9, visit Quarks bar, warp to station K-7; the galaxy is yours to explore. Even visit Risa if you want. It’s just that there isn’t much to do when you get there.

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Guiding you along in this adventure is a pretty good story featuring many of the cast from the show including the late Leonard Nimoy whose voice narrates you along the way during key moments. Other actors from Voyager are there as well along with many of the ships and locations from Enterprise all the way through to the end of Star Trek: Nemesis. This is a pretty all encompassing game. There is just so much here for a fan to explore and this is what gets Star Trek Online so high on the list. That being said, the game is far from perfect. It mostly feels like a copy and paste from just about every other MMORPG out there, adding nothing of its own and often accomplishing much less game play wise.  Cooperative play is mostly nonexistent and neither is competitive for that matter. That and maxing your character out leaves next to nothing for a player to do except create a new character and do it all over again.

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The space combat is fun and exciting though not as respectable as it was in Starfleet Command. The RPG elements far over power the simulator aspects of game play. Often you’ll find yourself just mashing the space-bar instead of being thoughtful. The ground combat is downright dull and atrocious. They’ve done a lot to lessen the role of ground actions in the game but when it first launched the ratio was more like a 50/50 mix of space and ground action; now it’s more slanted towards space. But the ground is still horrible. If it wasn’t for the dull MMORPG elements and terrible ground game play this would be an incredible game. The Star Trek license is huge thing to have to make a game out of a fan base that is loyal and Trekkies are definitely the game player type.  But the flaws of Star Trek Online are too much to overcome and that’s what keeps this game out of the top spots. Then again, the game is free-to-play, so it doesn’t hurt to try it out. You just run out of things to do sooner than you may like. But you know what, at least it’s better than Star Wars Galaxies.



 

#6) Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

ST NESThis was a bit of a cross-platform game varying greatly from console to PC and mobile devices. Riding on the heels of the revival of Star Trek in 1993 with the success of The Next Generation all of the versions of the games did a superb job of fandom immersion in  The Original Series that had just turned 25 years old. On the NES you spent most of your time on away missions that were very reminiscent of classic episodes such as “Paradise Syndrome” and “A Piece of the Action.” Sure, the NES version wasn’t terribly original or innovated but it did alright as a puzzle adventure game. Spaced in between away missions there were some space battles to be had and the overall story worked well, not to mention the 8-bit take on the classic Star Trek songs is still awesome to hear. Not bad for the hardware limitations of the NES.

Star Trek - 25th Anniversary (U)

The PC version though was unique in that many of the actual actors where used from The Original Series. Just as with the short lived Star Trek: Animated Series, Shatner phones in his lines and is kinda lame but Nimoy, Kelly, and the rest of the cast are as wonderful as ever. The game on PC took the form of a point and click adventure and looks great in an old school 8-bit style. The game would’ve ranked higher if wasn’t for the lack of innovation or at least being a little dull. What it lacks in other areas it makes up for by being as immersive as it could be for when it was made.

ST 25 Game play

PC version of the game



 

#5) Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future’s Past

Futures_Past_box
This one was actually pretty darn good considering when it was made. It’s a basic action adventure game with ground and space scenes, but unlike Star Trek: The Original Series for the NES, it had an original story, not some hodgepodge mixture of episodes. It was a brand new story all of its own, and that’s saying something.

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On top of that it’s actually fairly fun. For a 16-bit game, it’s pretty immersive. The helm interface is how you would expect it to be on the show, complete with LCARS style and star system layout and organization. It goes in order from;  cluster, star group, star system, planetary system. Very logical. The ship’s computer database was very thorough. I mean, in the age before the internet it was a Wikipedia in video game form. You could look up anything from crew dossiers to phaser power settings. You could learn the difference and affects of setting 1 through 16. You could even look all the planet class ratings; understanding M and Y class planets was interesting. Everything about the game was pretty darn immersive and for a Super Nintendo game it was as good as Star Trek could get for when it was made.

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The only thing that holds it back is that it’s fun but not incredibly so. Sure Star Trek fans would love it but the casual fan wouldn’t be all that much into it. The best games have even a casual Star Trek fan itching to play it. It was good fan service and ahead of its time as far as immersion but was only moderately fun to play.



 

#4) Starfleet Command II: Empires at War

Star_Trek_Starfleet_Command_II_coverBased in the Wrath of Kahn era, Starfleet Command II is basically a starship simulator game and what that meant is that there is an emphasis on realism, as absurd as that sounds for science fiction. After all, realistic science is what Star Trek is all about.  The Star Trek universe has rules. You can’t transport through shields, torpedoes damage the hull more than phasers, you don’t have limitless power, etc. With those limitations, you control your ship the best you can by clicking power to various systems to squeeze more into the phasers, for example. Should you save up for a powerful shot or use quick bursts of phasers? If your opponent can’t maneuver, divert power to forward shields from the aft and flank’em.  If your target is a fast little sports car like vessel, wait until he gets close, use your phasers to drop his shields, send a volley of torpedoes to take out his engines and then maneuver to his blind side. You are master and commander of your ship and the stars are your battlefield.

The game feels like 24th century take on 17th naval combat. Maneuvering and timing are important and using knowledge of you ships capabilities are key. This was starship combat at its finest in the world of Star Trek video games. The first Star Fleet Command is alright but it’s at its best with the second one. They also made a third that has a pretty decent story but it doesn’t really add much to the already excellent game play, but on the plus side, it’s based in the Star Trek: First Contact era modernizing the whole affair.

starfleet-command-volume-ii-empires-at-war-image705248

Though the game is uniquely fun, innovative, and immersive, what holds it back from the top of the list is that it gets stale quick. Sure the combat is great but that’s all there is. Nothing outside of combat is relevant here. It’s all action and no deep thinking, no exploration or sense of wonder. Other Star Trek games capture it a little better.

starfleet-command-volume-ii-empires-at-war-image559116



 

#3) Star Trek: Bridge Commander

Star_Trek_-_Bridge_Commander_CoverartProbably the one of the most immersive games on the list, Bridge Commander puts you in the Captain’s chair commanding first a Galaxy Class, then later a Sovereign Class Starship. Like in Starfleet Command where you pilot your ship, in Bridge Commander you do so by issuing orders to the bridge crew. Precise commands make this more of a Captain simulator than a starship one but the result is the same, immersion and some great fan service, add on to that a decent story and game play mechanics. The game also had the voice acting talents of Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner reprising their roles, awesome. The only problem may be that it won’t appeal to the more casual Star Trek fan as much as the games higher on the list would.

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#2) Star Trek: Armada

Star_Trek_-_Armada_CoverartThe second best game on the list is a good one. Representing the often visited genre of real time strategy (RTS) you command fleets of often all too disposable starships. Four factions are represented; Klingons, Federation, Borg, and Romulans. If you wanted to relive the battle of Wolf 359 and see what it was like from both sides of the battle, then this was your chance. Add on top of that some interesting game mechanics such as being able to take over any ship by transporting your crew over, the Klingons and Borg excel at this, the Federation and Romulans not so much. Every ship had an unlockable special ability that changed how battles would unfold. On the whole, the game was a solid real time strategy game in its own right.

Star_Trek_Armada_screenshot_3

Sound was suburb and graphics are great for their time and was later ported over to Star Trek fan mods of other games. A.I. was pretty good too, so much so that they copied some of the code for Star Trek: Legacy. All of these come together for a game that not only die hard Star Trek fans would love but even a fan of real time strategy games can play and have some fun playing. It’s not perfect as the races aren’t terribly well balanced in player vs player maps. Romulans are way over powered oddly enough, but aside from that its an excellent game.

Star_Trek_Armada_screenshot_4

The game is fun and does great service but the final criteria of a great Star Trek game, immersion, is very much a part of it. Both the user interface and game controls look and feel like something that would be in the 24th century. Perhaps the most enticing part for the fans the Star Trek alumni reprise their roles from the show; Picard, Worf, Martok, and Selia all play prominent roles in the story that isn’t half bad for it being just a game and not an actual episode. It isn’t just a simple repaste of prior episodes but continues the story where Insurrection left off in epic scale, across time and space. If it wasn’t for the imbalanced multiplayer with the Romulans being overpowered this may have ranked higher.



 

#1) Star Trek: Elite Force I and II
STEF2_Cover

Does Star Trek work as an action based game? Even as a first person shooter? You better believe it does. Elite Force I was set on Voyager and Elite Force II was more of the TNG film era but both were spectacular.  Based on the Quake game engine, Elite Force was a blast to play, boasting a great single-player story and exciting multiplayer system. How many modern shooters can make that claim? Because of its solidly enjoyable game play, fans kept playing this one years after it released and kept modding it. This is because the game makers realized one thing, add a balanced multiplayer in and you add some replay value to the game.

Elite_Force_screenshot

Making the game a first person shooter naturally lent itself to some real immersion like no other genre could. In one multiplayer map you had a Klingon ship and a Federation ship battling it out using the ships transporters to go between. From the bridges to the corridors fans could phaser it out to see who was left standing.

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Aside from the action parts there was a lot of subtle detail. You could walk around freely on the decks of Voyager clicking on controls and interacting with the crew who where voiced by the actual actors from the show. You could even click the auto-destruct or even start attacking the crew. Sure you’d end up in the brig or worse but the amount of free will added to the immersion factor.

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The three factors of a good fandom are exemplified by the Elite Force games. They are some of the most immersive and do some great fan service but perhaps most importantly they are the most fun. To have all three of these factors in a fan game is why it is on the top of so many peoples favorite Star Trek games list. Hopefully with the new DOOM game maybe some love will be sent Star Trek’s way and a Elite Force III will be made. Hopefully we’ll all be walking aboard a deck of a starship soon.

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Did your favorite game make the list? Where would you rank these games? Comment below with your thoughts!

Top 10 Star Trek Video Games

Star Trek Online: Agents of Yesterday

With 2016 being the 50th anniversary of the famed Star Trek franchise, many fans are getting a taste of new content in the form of a new feature film, Star Trek Beyond, the announcement of a currently unnamed CBS All-Access TV series set to premiere in January 2017, the largest Star Trek Las Vegas convention to date, tons of new merchandise including the 3D chess set, and now a new major expansion to the Star Trek MMO, Star Trek Online. The game is in its 6th year and has evolved quite heavily since its inception. For those who don’t know, the game allows you to select a faction, the Federation (Starfleet), the Klingons, or the most recently added Romulans. You then get to move up through the ranks completing missions, getting more powerful ships, additional bridge crew, etc. It’s Star Trek’s attempt at World of Warcraft or EVE Online. It is free to play, by the way.

The new expansion, Agents of Yesterday, focuses on the classic era of Trek from The Original Series and will include voice work by the original Chekov, Walter Koenig and the son of Scotty, Chris Doohan, who has done work on Trek in the past. The expansion specifically takes place after the original show’s cancellation and focuses on the addition of new time travel aspects and Temporal Agents. Check out the details in the official press release below!

The 50th anniversary of Star Trek is here, and I couldn’t be more excited to announce our contribution to the celebration: Agents of Yesterday, the third full expansion to Star Trek Online!

Agents of Yesterday will allow players to create a new captain in Star Trek: The Original Series era and will set them on an adventure featuring classic story lines, locations, celebrities, and era-appropriate starships. In 2270, the year following the third season of the original series, the player will adventure with Walter Koenig, reprising his role of Chekov, and Chris Doohan, filling in for his father as Scotty. There is a new threat to the security of the Federation, and they are invading with hopes of overwhelming the past to destroy our future.

In addition to the ability to create a brand new Star Trek: The Original Series Starfleet captain, we will be introducing a new episode arc for players of every faction, the Temporal Initiative Resistance Reputation, a Temporal Operative Primary Specialization along with brand new Bridge Officer powers. Players who create their captains during the first six weeks of launch will also be able to participate in the new Temporal Agent Recruitment system for bonus personal and account-wide rewards, a new iteration of the popular Delta Recruitment system that released a year ago. This release is packed with content to keep you engaged in the classic Star Trek: The Original Series era – and beyond.

There isn’t a better way to continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series than by creating a Starfleet captain and engaging in some amazing adventures in that classic period.

This is only the first of many blog posts with detailed information on everything that’s shipping with Agents of Yesterday, so stay tuned and I’ll see you in game!

Stephen Ricossa
Executive Producer
Star Trek Online

Watch the official announcement trailer here:

Are you excited about the new expansion? Have you played Star Trek Online before? Comment below with your thoughts. Live long and prosper.

(Source: Arc Games)

Star Trek Online: Agents of Yesterday