Beta is done! Have fun in the full game.
Also, it's free to play!
Developer: Cryptic Studios, who are also the developers behind City of Heroes/Villains and Champions Online.
Languages: English, Franšais, Deutsch
Release Date: North America- February 2nd, 2010 | Europe- February 5th, 2010
F2P Release Date: January 17, 2012
The year is 2409 (31 years after Voyager). Ten years ago, the peace treaty between the Klingon Empire and Federation of Planets dissolved. The two superpowers are now in a full-blown war. After the destruction of Romulus and Remus (and thus the Romulan Empire's central government) the once-mighty Romulan Empire is crumbling. The Cardassian Union is not faring any better. On top of this, there's the ever-present threat of the Borg, Species 8472 (now called the Undine), and many others.
You can choose to play as a member of Starfleet (Humans, Vulcans, Bajorans, Andorians, Ferengi, Tellarites, etc.) or the Klingon Defence Force (Klingons, Gorn, Nausicaans, Orion, etc.).
Later on, different groups, such as the Dominion and Romulans will be playable (that doesn't look very likely anymore, but you never know). Each species has both static and changeable bonuses. Everyone has a total of four constant bonuses for their captain.
In addition to faction and species, you must choose your career. Basically, science officers are the stat-buffers, engineering officers are good with machines and can place ground mines and turrets, and tactical officers hit hard and fast.
Combat is split into two main groups: Space and Ground.
In space, you must pilot your ship to make the most of the positions of your weapons, shield strength, and other various stats. Once you are within ten kilometers of an enemy, you may open fire. Energy weapons are effective against shields while torpedoes and mines are effective against hull plating. As such, your goal is to drain the enemy shield and destroy their ship without being killed first. This is easy at first, but eventually some serious tactics come into play. Ships also have classes, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses.
This comes in two flavors -- standard point-and click MMO combat and ~shooter mode~. In either you run around, use items and buffs, etc. The difference is that in shooter mode you have to aim. It's actually pretty cool.
Really, Star Trek has always been about teaching people lessons through stories of exploring strange new lands. I don't know if you'll learn a lesson from it, but the good men at Cryptic have definitely kept up with the exploration.
When you take exploration missions, you roam around an uncharted sector of space looking for strange readings. When you find one, you accept it and a sort of mini-mission. This is where the some of the real Star Trek lore comes into play. In the short time I played in the beta, I came across non-corporal beings that feast on children from the Original Series, a species introduced in The Next Generation, and a slight reference to Enterprise.
What if you don't want to do that? That's alright, because it doesn't really do too much (except get you MASSIVE amounts of dilithium and some pretty good experience points).
You will come across a lot of unidentified materials. you can whip out your scanners to point you to them at any time. What you do with these unidentified minerals, artifacts, and general riff-raff is take them over to the good scientists of Memory Alpha. At this massive complex in the Alpha Centauri Sector, you can use these materials to craft new and exciting things.
First-ever Federation Carrier
Season 6 comes in June.
Scene from The 2800:
Yes, there is a fleet (guild for the new guys).
It's called Fleetpunch Newman and to join, just post your handle (character@account) with some sort of indication that you want to join. Text is preferable, since grunting and pointing is difficult to convey over the internet.
Thanks for the free Wrath of Khan uniform, Metanar!
This is only good for new players. Includes Enterprise uniforms and free play time.
tl;dr: This is the best MMO ever. Buy it.