In a preview post up on IGN, the guys over there managed to get a preview of Star Trek Online and record down some of their observations. The demo itself follows the trials and tribulations of a Federation Ship that's escorting a Vulcan ambassador to a Vulcan monastery. Along the way, however, the team is ambushed by Klingons who claim that the Federation Ship is harbouring a shape shifter. Of course, the Federation Ship refuses to stop, and so combat ensues. What was interesting to hear about ship combat was when IGN noted that "an energy management slider allows players to divert power to their shields, weapons, or engines depending on the tactical needs of the moment. Each ship has four shield facings --front, back, left and right -- and learning how to manoeuvre within your firing arcs to strike your opponent's weak side is key to success here." To me, this sounds like there is a great deal of potential for some very tactical forms of ship to ship combat.
Additionally, IGN previewed some of the more traditional combat, and they noted that a lot of it seemed to be "relying more on long range weapons and the support of your AI-led crew. You can give them specific orders if you like, or just set general rules of engagement and let the AI handle the specific actions." While I'm not a very big fan of AI controlled party units, this does suggest that Star Trek Online will be great for people who enjoy doing solo missions as well. Either way, it sounds as though Star Trek Online is definitely shaping up to have some potential for fans, although they will certainly have a difficult time competing with Aion, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft.