To Boldly Go…

Space.  The Final Frontier.  These are the voyages of the blog Stuck in the World.  It’s continuing mission: To seek out new games, and new forms of entertainment…
My game of choice lately, if you haven’t guessed it, is Star Trek Online.  It’s an MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer Onling Role-playing Game, and I’ll never spell it out like that ever again) set in the world of, obviously, Star Trek.  It launched last month, and I decided to jump on-board after particpating in the Beta test phase.
Let’s start out with the bad, shall we?
Due to the “unexpected” number of people playing, the servers are a little outmatched.  This is causing lag, disconnects, unexpected downtime for maintenance, and a whole mess of nerdrage on their community forums.  Cryptic (the game’s producer) claims the numbers weren’t expected, but I’m not sure that’s a feasible explanation.  I mean, it’s STAR TREK.  You’ve got an entire population of nerds and creepy geeks chomping at the bit for anything related to Star Trek, right?  Plus, wouldn’t they know how many copies they sold?  I am, however, willing to believe that they didn’t expect the high amount of players, and that they realized they’d be lacking in hardware too late in the process to get new servers up in time.  At least they’ve acknowledged the problem and are putting more infrastructure in place.
The content is not what I actually expected, and lacking.  MMOs, in general, are all about doing the same “Kill x number of bad guys and talk to me when you’re done” mission over and over again.  In Star Trek Online (hereafter referred to as STO) the number seems to be 5.  I’m fine with it, though, because it’s not too many and combat is actually fun for me.  What I expected, though, was “Star Trek” type missions.  In other words, missions with story.  To their credit, they have some attempts at this.  There’s a group of miners that are on strike which you’re asked to go negotiate with.  There’s several missions where you have to run around and scan things and not fight at all.  But it seems a little “unpolished.”  I think, over time, this problem will get resolved.
The Klingon content is awful.  This is my biggest complaint about the game.  They added Klingons as a playable faction late in the game’s development, and it shows.  There’s literally a small handful of missions you can do that are not PvP (player versus player), which means your only viable means of gaining skills is through PvP.  They’ve acknowledged this is a problem, and they’re planning on adding more content for the red side, but there’s no ETA on that.
And that’s it for the bad.  Sure, there are some minor bugs and small features which annoy me, but it’s only been out a month.  With a persistent-world MMO, these problems will certainly get corrected over time.
So what’s the good?
Everything else.  No, really.  I love this game. That’s saying a lot, considering I’ve played most of the other Star Trek single-player games out there, and hated every one them.  The only reason I even tried this one out was because the Beta invite was a perk from my Champions Online account.
Some people complain about the name-dropping, such as meeting the great-grandson of Sulu, seeing the USS Kirk and the USS McCoy, or talking to the daughter of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres.  To me, however, that’s the POINT of playing in a Star Trek world.  If I’m playing in a world based on Forgotten Realms (from Dungeons & Dragons) you can bet that I expect to bump into Elminster, Drizzt, and the Seven Sisters.  (Wow, I’m a nerd.)  The name-dropping does not take away from the immersion at all for me.  It adds to it.
The character customization is exactly what I expected from Cryptic.  After City of Heroes (their first MMO), no other character creator could compare.  I expected a vast array of customization, from uniform options to body types to facial structure, and STO delivered.
The rate of advancement through the game is measured.  There are people who will complain that the game is too fast, and that max level is easy to reach in a matter of days.  Those same people say the same thing about every MMO they play, though.  They don’t actually play the game.  They rush it.  They find the fastest path to get the next level and they take it.  For me, games aren’t about what’s at the end, but it’s about the ride that takes you there.
So what’s my verdict?
Buy the game.  If you’re a Star Trek fan, it’s worth playing if only for the free month.  If you’re also an MMO fan, you’ll probably won’t mind the $15/month fee.  And if you do buy it, look me up.  My global handle is @Stuck, and I’m running the fleet named Sirius Business.  😉

2 thoughts on “To Boldly Go…”

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve been shocked it hasn’t wandered into my house yet, but it sounds like it might be worth a look!

  2. I’ve never gotten into MMOs like WoW or Star Trek. I think I should, but I know how I am. I get obsessed and then I can’t do other things like my homework and/or looking for a job.

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