Star Trek Online vs. Star Wars: KotOR Online

Ten Ton Hammer examines the strengths and differences between the two biggest upcoming sci-fi MMO contenders: Cryptic's Star Trek Online and BioWare's Star Wars: KotOR Online.
One of the biggest differences between Star Wars and Star Trek lies in the pacing of the two IPs. From the first day it hit the air waves, Star Trek was a slow-moving, intellectually stimulating sci-fi series. Due to the lack of high tech special effects, Star Trek had to rely on intelligence, wit, and the thrill of new experiences to win over their core audience. Rather than titillating viewers with action-filled sequences, the continued series relied on snappy dialogue and a small bit of sex appeal. Any ship combat in the show was generally more of a head-to-head sort of confrontation that seemed to orbit around intimidation, bluffing, and scare tactics rather than any sort of physical skill. Physical confrontations often resulted in bar brawl showdowns with the "beefier" of the races involved winning the day. Of course, no one could stand up to the Vulcan nerve pinch, or a solid blast from a phaser.

Star Wars, on the other hand, has always been about high-flying, daredevil antics with a focus more on the physical demands of both space combat and ground battles. In the very first scene in Star Wars, the tone for the entire series was set when dozens of Rebel troops ran down a hallway in an attempt to withstand the onslaught of an Imperial regiment. Shots were fired back and forth as troops ducked for cover or tried to maneuver there way over fallen comrades. Ships combat was played out on a similar scene, with the space vehicles constantly dodging and maneuvering around the larger, bulkier capital ships, hoping to score that one lucky shot that could take down a shield generator.

It's easy to see the differences between Star Trek and Star Wars fans with this sort of pacing in mind, and it will be equally different in the two MMOGs as well. Although Cryptic has stated that ground combat in Star Trek Online will be fast-paced, we have been assured that space combat in STO will be tactical and slow-paced. When the Knights of the Old Republic MMOG is released, rest assured that space combat in that game will not be slow-paced. Star Wars has always been dedicated to the idea of in-space dog fights.

Since the Star Trek license hasn't been used for a video game worth mentioning in the past several years (not since 2000, anyway), I don't think an MMO based on the IP will do as well as KotOR.