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Free-to-play Friday: Star Trek Online

Posted by: Travis at 12/13/2013 9:00 AM

Free-to-play Friday is a weekly series that showcases some of the best and most interesting free-to-play games currently available for everyone to try. Did we miss a favorite free-to-play game of yours? Post your favorites in the comments and we'll be sure to give it a try for ourselves.

This week's edition of Free-to-play Friday takes place in space, or known among Star Trek fans as the final frontier. This Friday's mission of exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and going boldly where no man or woman has gone before takes place in free-to-play, massively multiplayer role-playing game Star Trek Online from publisher Perfect World Entertainment and developer Cryptic Studios. While the game originally began as a subscription-based model, Star Trek Online switched to a free-to-play model last year with various tiers of access and available features.

Star Trek Online remains to hold the exclusive title of being the first and only massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Star Trek universe. Following the model of other massively multiplayer online role-playing games, players begin by selecting from one of the various Star Trek races which are separated into Federation, Klingon, and most recently-added Romulan. After customizing their character from a wealth of sliders and toggles, players set about tutorial missions that cover movement and combat in both ground and space environments. Differing from other massively multiplayer online role-playing games is the important bond between the player's character and their choice of starship. Earning experience and gaining additional levels in Star Trek Online award players with captain ranks that allow for the use of more powerful and impressive starships that include all of the franchise's favorites from the many types of Enterprises to a Klingon Bird of Prey.

As with other games developed by Cryptic Studios, there is a variety of content awaiting players to complete from the main narrative quests to player versus player combat. Narrative quests even begin with the iconic blue episode title text taken straight from Star Trek: The Next Generation. While some content is locked behind microtransactions through the in-game store, the majority of quests and other side activities are available through normal level progression. The large amount of premium items for sale within the in-game store is a bit daunting at first, yet players looking for a completely free experience can simply ignore them.

The game recently expanded with the release of the Legacy of Romulus expansion pack that added Romulans as a playable race in addition to the complete assortment of starships including Warbirds. Ultimately, Star Trek Online is highly recommended for fans of the franchise and especially television series and movies as the game provides an entertaining and worthwhile journey into the depths of space and beyond.

Star Trek Online is available now for Windows PC.