Star Trek Online: I want to believe!

Listen, I’m old enough that I watched Star Trek when it was in first run. I’m talking the original series, ok? And I’ve watched all the other series, even Enterprise (which I enjoyed very much, thank you).

I don’t give a flying fig about The Force… I want phasers set to stun and a full spread of photon torpedoes.

The very first computer game I *ever* played was a Star Trek game. It was played on a tty connected via an 110 bps acoustic modem (you dialed the other side, waited for the screech of the modem then jammed the phone’s handset into a couple of rubber cups on the back of the teletype) to a PDP-10 running at Stony Brook University. The tty at my high school had no display…everything was printed on paper.


And yet when I played the Star Trek Online beta, I came away disappointed. The away missions felt pretty generic to me. The non-combat missions that some have really enjoyed were, to me, fun to play through once, but as an altaholic I can see them getting really tedious the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time you do them since they’re basically dialog trees.

Space combat was fun but felt extremely derivative of every other Star Trek computer game I’ve played. It’s about energy management (shifting power to a certain quadrant of shields, and concentrating fire on one quadrant of the enemy) and pumping as much firepower as you can into the enemy. It’s fun…for a few hours. But over the hundreds of hours one puts into an MMO? I just don’t see it staying fun.

So, as much as I really really want to love the game, I had pretty much written it off. But then people whose opinions I value started pre-ordering. And they have me second guessing myself.

Now that open beta is here, and the NDA has dropped, I’m really looking forward to hearing what these people have to say about Star Trek Online. I’m fervently hoping that I just missed something during closed beta, which is entirely possible since the beta was only open maybe twice a week and I didn’t get in very often due to my schedule.

One awesome feature I do want to point out though, is “Open Groups.” While in your ship, you spend a lot of time in ‘warp space’ where there’s no combat, but then you have to (of course) drop out of warp to do battle. When you do you essentially enter a public instance…it might just be a random sector of space but often it’ll be a star system. If someone else is there, you can kind of ‘auto-group’ with them to do whatever mission is going on in that system. Being the anti-social prick that I am, this means I can get into a battle with other players and enjoy that experience without ever saying a word to them.

And space battles are much, MUCH more interesting and fun when its more than just you in your single ship.

Anyway, let’s go bloggers! Tell us about your STO beta experience!

[Update: Tipa is blogging at Warp 9! Check out her Star Trek Online posts.]

8 thoughts on “Star Trek Online: I want to believe!

  1. I wonder if Cryptic manages to piss me off some more before I even logged in for the first time, besides that I wonder the same as you: Will this have any lasting appeal?

    The shift between planetary away missions and space battles and the quite instanced nature make me wonder if this game would not be better served by a F2P Freemium model instead of a subscription. But as I know Cryptic, they like double-dipping a lot (Sub+Item Shop)…

  2. If STO were F2P like DDO, I’d give it a permanent spot in my collection. As it stands, I am really going to have to hear phenomenal things about it for it to get my limited gaming attention. And from what I’ve heard so far is that it’s good, but not spectacular. The open beta has me interested, so I’ll probably give that a shot. I think Champions jaded me a bit much.

  3. Thanks for the link to Tipa I really enjoyed her Klingon review and posted a link to it on my blog Pete. Thanks for your thoughts also. I am undecided as to whether I’ll buy this game at the moment, I could go either way.

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