Well if you know my blog, then you know I rarely review games on here unless they’re really super important and even then I don’t go into great detail. Well.. maybe I don’t, who the hell knows? Anyways! I’ve started playing Star Trek Online about a month ago and I wanted to get my first impressions down in writing in case anyone cares. Since I like to end on a positive note I’m going to review the negative first, then the positives last.
My first complaint that was immediately noticeable when I first logged into the game. I was lost.. not only was I lost but this is the first MMO in a long time that I was lost with no way to find my way to the most basic of needs. The map I started out on was in the starbase (space maps aren’t that bad because they do put little circles around where you’re supposed to go. My first mission was to find the admirals office. I had no clue that I was to use the wall signs to try and find it. When hitting the M button, I looked for a ! or a check mark to find my way to my first mission giver. Needless to say I found nothing like that. After wandering the station for about 10 minutes I found where I was to go. Personally I don’t think it should be that difficult, but after I got used to the signs it wasn’t too bad. This however doesn’t help the Klingon side of the game where you start out on Qo’nos (the Klingon home world). There was no signs.. nothing important on the map. It literally took me running around to every nook and cranny to find people to give me missions. There are moment in the game when I’m not a mission that where I’m supposed to go is still difficult. If I’m in a new place I relive trying to find the most basic of needs. Looking for a doctor without him being in a room with a gigantic label “SICKBAY” is pretty much a futile effort.
Secondly I noticed almost immediately that most all of my space missions are single player. Maybe that because I’m not actively looking for a group, because honestly most of the people you see are about 50 levels above you and could give two shits about your piddly rescue mission. It started me wondering why I’m paying 15 dollars a month to play with myself when a single player game of Starfleet Commander would probably offer the same amount of enjoyment. There have been a couple of instances where I’ve called my friends in for a mission that bugged out and it was fun to watch them destroy every bit of an enemy with little effort. I personally think they should group you with other people starting the same mission. This isn’t as bad of a negative and wouldn’t be something that would prevent me from playing the game. It’s not as bad as my next complaint
Third!! Away missions. I’m not sure if anyone over at Crypic has actually watched a Star Trek episode in their lives, but not every away mission requires the captain. In fact most of them don’t so that his or her life isn’t in jeopardy. Bitching about that aside Cryptic’s solution to making you group with other people is to give you AI players which you can customize their abilities and inventory. Unfortunately the only thing you can’t customize is their stupidity level. Say I have a room full of enemies but I only want to pull the first 2 or 3. Well my most obvious solution would be to get their attention and have them come to me. Unfortunately my crewmen think it’s a better idea if they run to all four corners of that room agroing everything in the whole place so that they kill us all. You can see why this is a bit of a problem. So I figured, I’ll make them stay put with the rally point option. That’s a good idea in theory, however they just don’t like staying there, it’s boring. So they run out anyways because obviously being hacked to death by a Bat’leth is just more fun. There should be a slider that tells goes from “Retarded” to “Albert Fucking Einstein”. However there is no slider so they’re all stuck on absolute moron. So what should be a neat tactical maneuver ends up being a twisted show of 4 monkeys trying to fuck a doorknob.
I’m not done with away missions yet, thank you! Assuming that you’re lucky and your band of idiots doesn’t wipe your away mission you have to become a tank. I don’t care what roll you’re supposed to play, a tank is what you are.. Get used to it. No matter what the biggest, hairiest, most blood soaked Klingon will come running straight to you and start fucking your shit up like you were a piece of blood pie. There’s really no active interdependency between the characters. You really don’t have a healer that can do any sort of real healing, there’s not a tank (unless it’s you) and pretty much everyone is DPS. After playing WoW I can see how this formula really doesn’t work. There are occasions where everything will just work out fine despite the cards being stacked against you. Then there are times where you literally have to respawn 4 to 5 times to kill a group of 4 Klingons. Might strategy is to work on one and let the others beat the shit outta me until I can come back and kill the rest. This strategy would work if you didn’t accumulate ‘wounds’ every time you respawn. The only way to fix the wounds is to go to a doctor (sorry, none on board your ship at the moment, you must fly back to a starbase) or use the randomly picked up items that will fix certain parts of your body. Also no.. just beaming back up to your ship will not do it. I’m not sure how things work in this starfleet, but the one I’m in there is no ship in the galaxy that actually has a doctor on it. The few that exist are all back on a far away starbase. I guess in this future of Star Trek, doctors are few and far between so we gotta keep them safe! Also EMH (emergency medical holograms) aren’t around either. I will say that I’ve heard rumors of this being fixed in the future and all I can say is about damn time.
Also.. not to beat a dead horse, but the ship’s damage is the same way. There’s not one engineer on your ship that can fix it’s problems without this special loot. Not really a huge deal though I guess. After all this time playing, I’ve gotten used to the injuries, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying.
The economy of the game is a little fucked up, but that’s not really a huge complaint. I was about to make about a million credits the first weekend I started playing which was kinda funny, but I’m not complaining about that.
I will say a couple of small thing bug me… There’s almost nothing to do as far as story with the Klingons. The missions for them are almost 100% PVP or dailies. This is one of the first MMO’s I’ve actually fallen asleep playing when I was supposed to be battling Romulans for the 35th time. I’m baffled on how there are such high level Klingons with there being so little to do. I guess some people can stand the repetition, but I cannot, it’s boring.. SUPER BORING.
I seriously question if anyone that works there knows anything about Trek. I mean have any of them ever watched an episode? The Federation is NOT the kind of people who go in guns blazing. I mean for heaven’s sake there isn’t even a ‘open hailing frequencies’ button for some angry alien to tell me to fuck off. Instead I go in just shooting and killing everything I can. There’s more diplomacy on the Klingon side of things. At least there some missions with them that I’m helping people instead of blowing them away with every weapon in my arsenal. I question any game that doesn’t allow me to hail before fighting. I don’t care if they already hate me. The Federation is first and foremost a peaceful organization and not a military dictator ship bent on ruling the galaxy. Also there really are no repercussions for the small bit of dialogue choice that you do have. If I tell them to “DIE YOU MOTHERLESS FUCKERS” or “Can we work this out?” it ends the same way.. I get the same credit and no real reason to even talk to them. I guess that’s why I can’t hail anyone, because it honestly doesn’t matter anyways. I’m just going to blow them away.
Now to end this on a positive note!
The game itself is beautiful. There have been many times I’ve been so super impressed with the visuals that I forget all about the bad stuff. Some of the space levels are very impressive and leave me wanting to explore more and more about space. Yes, I’ll probably run into enemies that want to kill me while I’m there, but there are occasions where it’s worth it.
The couple of scenarios on the Federation side (none on Klingon worth mentioning) that involve defending the federation against a Klingon assault where you’re fighting with other Federation players is probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Healing one anothers ships and beaming over engineering crews to help other people is a bunch of fun. I wish there was more missions involving other players, because it really does tie together a lot of what the Federation is about. Pulling together and helping each other fight an encroaching foe.
Another thing I love is the stories they have made for the Federation involving all sorts of previous plots from the series. I will say that I think whoever wrote the stories did a great good job.. Though I would serious suggest more voice overs. There’s only so much text I can read in a night before I start skipping over everything and getting right to the action. I will say that there’s only two aspects to the game. Away missions which are plagued by evil AI and space battles. I guess that’s about all there was in the series too :)
After all this you might be wondering if I like the game… well I will say it’s a love hate relationship. Some days I can’t get enough and others I feel like throwing my mouse through the monitor. I will keep playing though! The curiosity of what lies next is too great for me to resist. I don’t know what will happen when I’ve hit level cap.. Most likely I’ll quit playing, but I’m also waiting for the new Star Wars MMO to come out. That might easily steal me away from my trek addiction.