Monday, December 19, 2011

Get Your Energy Weapon Out of My Light Saber

Right on the heels of the recent (and may I dare add pathetic) media grab of William Shatner and Carrie Fisher's ridiculous 'Star Trek v. Star Wars' brouhaha, Cryptic Studios has, it seems settled it once and for all ...

And the winner is ... Star Wars.

Facing a potential flight of subscribers from a multitude of MMORPGs to the soon-to-be-released Star Wars: The Old Republic by Bioware, Cryptic it seems as freaked the fuck out and has rushed into two of its games (Champions Online and Star Trek Online) weapons, costumes and and a free playable archtype (CO) that are remarkably similar to those seen in Star Wars.

Also recently seen in STO, are "vedek" robes that were available and then oddly and surreptitiously  removed from the game. One of my fleetmates costumed his toon in those robes before the option was removed but we know they'll be back. This way people can dress their toons like Jedi.

Yep, you read that right - Star Trek Online will now have "energy" melee weapons (some are calling them phaser swords or energy bat'leths) that can be used as a weapon in-game and robes.

So - light sabers and Jedi robes ... in Star Trek.

A Cryptic developer has been credited with admitting to the odd move by Cryptic and that the weapon is meant to be seen as an "homage" to SWTOR.

An HOMAGE!?  Really!? You expect me to buy that line of utter bullshit?

Why would ANY company need to kiss up to a competitor? Puleeze, we all know what this is! It's a complete and desperate scramble to try to keep players, and worse it's utterly insulting to Trek fans.

Cryptic is trying to keep players by putting in knock-off light sabers into its game thinking that the player base might actually stay with STO if they can play with light sabers. As if players only play a game for a certain type of weapon.

It's not an homage! It's a dire attempt to copy one of the main differences between Star Trek and Star Wars and hope that it will bring in a few bucks and crossing fingers that Trekkies won't mind the blending of the IPs.

I'm so incredulous right now, it's hard to think straight.

If SWTOR suddenly put communicator pins, dilithium crystals or transporter pads into their game, if I were a Star Wars fan, I'd be pissed. So why would Cryptic think that as a Trek fan I wouldn't be totally offended by a thinly veiled attempt (or worse, some whipped-up excuse as "homage") to put light sabers into Star Trek?

The fact that CBS signed off on this is no surprise - if it has a chance to make money, then they'll sign off on anything, but I am profoundly disappointed in Cryptic.

A lot of people on the forums had a great idea and one that would sit well with canon-junkies like myself: instead of swords - use Ferengi energy whips. If Cryptic lacks the personnel to accomplish something that wouldn't be insulting to Trek fans - then dammit don't do it, but don't copy Star Wars because it's on the cheap and you can get away with it.

They've already introduced a scathingly vicious economy to a genre where money wasn't supposed to be an issue. They've introduced gambling by selling "mystery boxes" that will only reward an infinitesimal number of players and now they've introduced probably the most insulting thing of all:

Light sabers.

I am making a declaration here and now: I will NEVER use one of these weapons in game. I will boycott their use and stand up for the fans of BOTH genres by supporting what makes both of them so great - and that's what makes them different.

Now if you will excuse me - I need to go tune up my phase rifle so I can shoot the Jedi in Earth Space Dock.