In terms of sheer fanservice, Star Trek Online succeeds wildly. It embraces continuity in such a way that anyone close to the franchise will immediately be dashed on waves of nostalgia. Cameos bring up familiar names, places and plots, to the point where precious inventory slots will at some point be burdened with an abundance of Tribbles. There’s hardly a phaser or photon torpedo out of tune, hardly a miscellaneous forehead-alien that gets glossed over, the soundscape is alive with soothing pings and whirrs, and the jargon is as abstract and vaguely technical as it has ever been. Aesthetically, it’s all my childhood dreams of living in a starship brought to virtual life.
But as much as the world looks and sounds familiar, there’s something very off with the whole affair. The problem isn’t so much tedious plotting, writing, or routine play mechanics. Granted, a part of the shortcomings are due to its structure as an MMORPG – and my usage of the term "MMORPG" should clue you in on how completely uninvested I’ve been in that particular scene. But to be perfectly frank, there’s enough nerd-nectar to keep me casually on the hook for seasons to come, cross-galactic fetch missions be damned. I’m already content with building a collection of ships named after characters in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Just toss me an Enterprise-D after 100 hours of gameplay, and I’ll come out of it happy.
What I can’t reconcile is the tone of everything.