Chances are that even if you don’t call yourself a fan of the Star Trek franchise, you likely know how passionate those devoted fans can be. Star Trek fandom is one of the most documented forms of fandom in history, with movies made about how dedicated those fans can be, and how that kind of passion informs everything about who they are. Also, that fandom can come together in great moments of unity for a lot of wonderful reasons.
This past Friday, Star Trek fans lost one of, if not the most defining icon in the history of the series, as Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. It was clear to anyone that had a social media account that countless millions were affected by that loss in some way, with a lot of fans wanting to pay their respects as best they could. Many of those fans came together to do just that in a virtual world modeled after the Star Trek universe that Nimoy helped to build almost fifty years ago.
Star Trek Online is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) — similar to World of Warcraft — that takes place in the Star Trek universe about thirty years after the events of 2002’s Star Trek Nemesis. In the game, you take command of your own starship as a new Starfleet captain, and can explore many of the fictional locales made famous across the six television series and twelve movies that comprise the Star Trek universe. You can beam down to Earth and walk the grounds of Starfleet Academy, travel to the Bajor system and board station Deep Space Nine, see the site of the infamous Battle of Wolf 359, or journey to the Klingon homeworld, Qo’onoS (pronounced “Kronos”). You can also visit one location that was very important to the culture and character of Spock: the planet Vulcan. The game’s staff honored Mr. Nimoy with a heartfelt remembrance when the news broke.
The fans still felt compelled to honor him even further, though, and it was reported by reddit user barnacle999 yesterday that roughly 1,000 players of Star Trek Online gathered across 20 instances of the game’s planet Vulcan in order to pay respects to Mr. Nimoy. The player captured a screenshot of the event in one instance, which you can see below.
It certainly seems like an appropriate place to honor the late actor and his iconic contribution to pop culture. Since Vulcan is, obviously, not a real place fans can visit, this digital facsimile, modeled ater the location he became so associated with, seems like a thoughtful, and dare I say logical place to congregate in honor of the man. In 2010 when the game was first released, Nimoy also provided extensive voice work for the game as Spock, which can still be heard by anyone who starts a new character.
The producers of the game also took notice of the fans’ outpouring of support. In a post on the game’s official forums, lead game producer Stephen Ricossa of Cryptic Studios also made an announcement about the future of planet Vulcan in the game when it receives its next update on March 5th:
I want to once again express my heartfelt condolences to the friends, family, and fans of Leonard Nimoy. Everyone at Cryptic Studios was saddened to hear of his passing and we want to make sure we never forget the cultural impact of the man or the character he played. To that end, the Star Trek Online team will implement a standing in-game memorial to Spock and Leonard Nimoy this Thursday March 5th with our regular weekly maintenance.
In this way, we hope to keep his memory as alive in our game as he is in all of our hearts.
It should certainly prove to be a great addition to the structures on Vulcan, and a welcome stop for anyone playing the game that would like to pay their own respects. In fact, I’m travelling there myself in my Defiant-class USS Avenger at warp speed.
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