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Star Trek Online: STO - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com columnist Scott Jennings has been playing Cryptic's Star Trek Online and today uses his article to talk about the game, pointing out the good, the bad and the ugly.

Scott Jennings

As I mentioned in an earlier column, I found my inner Trekker unable to resist Star Trek Online’s siren song. Yet it’s difficult to turn off the analytical game designer part of my brain, even when thinking up silly names for your starships, so an interesting topic for today’s column, I believe, is a look at how Star Trek Online shapes up as an MMO as opposed to an outlet for my nerd-Trekkery. I’ve been playing it for a little over a week now (achieving “Lt. Commander 6”, or level 16 out of 50 in other words), which while not enough to conclusively file a review is enough for a first look at some of what Cryptic is trying to accomplish with the game. So, unlike the earlier piece, which was more about me and what a sad, sad little Star Trek fan I am (and only slightly about raised expectations regarding beta programs), this is more a look at Star Trek Online as it stands on release.

Read STO - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • CodenakCodenak HullPosts: 418Member Common

    I agree on all points, except one, i don't regard token cash ins as "crafting" in any way shape or form.

    However, i only played to last day of open Beta and decided this was not a game for me, so whether anything has improved since then i cant really comment on, but it doesn't sound like it.

  • chillz420chillz420 moline, ILPosts: 16Member

    "Your first ten levels aren’t as fun as the rest of the game. You’re given a single ship, the Miranda class light cruiser, which just isn’t very good – it doesn’t have the survivability of cruisers, nor the maneuverability of escorts, nor the special abilities of science vessels. By level 8, you’ll most likely have exhausted the available story line missions and will find yourself grinding deep space encounters just to get a decent ship. This is not the best first impression; experience point requirements for the 5-10 levels should probably be greatly lowered."

    I agree with the miranda class as ur first ship...but u can change the appearance and mix/match somthing diff but yes the overall ship itself...maybe not the best ship choice. But then what newbie ship should have all of what you stated?  i should think none...it shouldnt b a cakewalk with this sweet uber ship at your disposal at level 1

     

    The part about you exhausting the available story line by level 8?  what story line are you talking about?  because my missions under the klingon front seem to keep comming as im 16 now and i have a quest log stuffed full of things to do...yes some repeatables but mainly things i have yet to get to...heck i was actually passing up lower level quests and not even realizing it.  so i guess im a bit confused on how you burned through all the content by level 8....idk maybe i read what you said wrong :/

    and as far as the xp required....did u at all go through the game in the lower levels just playing and not even realize you had leveled?  i know i did....i went through the first 10 with ease really and i started this game as newbish as they come.

    if the progression is so slow and content is lacking...idk why  a few ppl that i know are already rear admirals.....idk in my eyes i think more content is needed for sure.

    did ya know you can re-do missions you've completed if your with a buddy who is currently on them?  AND you get XP for completing them again?  depending on level but im 1 higher than a buddy...he helped me with a few missions last night...and got all the same xp, bo pts, etc....minus about 45pts on each.

    atleast ya get something for helping out on something you already did :)

  • TechleoTechleo Grants Pass, ORPosts: 1,984Member

      Good article. In the end the game just seems to be missing the necessary interactivity to be a really good MMO. For instance the game takes the simplest path to tell stories. Instead of weighting the consequences of your actions your really just a puppet. Games such as Anarchy Online, UO , EvE and a few others make good use of the choice and consequences system. Take for instance the sequences we are told to disable klingons to save a diplomat. To my knowledge the Federation Crews often stunned there enemies before they killed them. They hailed ships to give them a chance to explain. This entire segment of ST Lore is missing and it seems such a shame to waste a mechanic such as this. 

      In anycase I'll keep playing the game for now. It has its good moments and it definitely has its share of bad ones. I actually am finding it extremely fun to write a captains log with the supplemental notes system. Sadly I tell a better story then the game does hehe.

  • TuxedoSLYTuxedoSLY Ultima Online Correspondent Cape Girardeau, MOPosts: 93Member

    Nice plug for Eve at the end there, Kenny Rogers.

     

    Been playing STO since beta and it is a lot of fun, but I just don't see it being a long time gaming experience. I also enjoyed Champions a ton when it came out, and then it too became kind of a chore. Cryptic has this way of slapping me right in the face to get my attention, then tell me her dads home and we'd just have to sit on the couch doing nothing for a long period of time with the hope of fun later.

     

    I tells you, in MY day, this UO thing....

  • artemisentr4artemisentr4 fresno, CAPosts: 1,431Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Techleo


      Good article. In the end the game just seems to be missing the necessary interactivity to be a really good MMO. For instance the game takes the simplest path to tell stories. Instead of weighting the consequences of your actions your really just a puppet. Games such as Anarchy Online, UO , EvE and a few others make good use of the choice and consequences system. Take for instance the sequences we are told to disable klingons to save a diplomat. To my knowledge the Federation Crews often stunned there enemies before they killed them. They hailed ships to give them a chance to explain. This entire segment of ST Lore is missing and it seems such a shame to waste a mechanic such as this. 
      In anycase I'll keep playing the game for now. It has its good moments and it definitely has its share of bad ones. I actually am finding it extremely fun to write a captains log with the supplemental notes system. Sadly I tell a better story then the game does hehe.



     

    I agree with this. Choices would go along way in making STO more of a ST game. Not everything should be about killing everyone. Diplomacy needs to be there as well as exploration.

    As far as the MMO part. I agree that they dropped the ball here. I have no problem with the instances in sector space, missions, quests, PvP and spacedocs. There are too many players to open any of them up to everyone.

    What I would have like to have seen is planets available to explore. Not just a small rectangle instance, but a large world with an expanded size to the instance. A place to meet and greet as in most MMO's. It would have been nice to see large open sector space that could take a long time to find anything. New planets with quests for some nice items as well as harvesting areas. This entire exploration sector should also be open PvP.

    There is so much they could do to change this game in a more ST direction. More than just the eye candy and sounds from the IP. They have the cash with the $20 million bonus from Atari to develope loads of content and change things around. I just hope they do it. This game could be a huge cash cow for Cryptic if they get it right. It is a good foundation they have started with. I enjoy the combat as is, it is just content and a lack of choice.

    “How many people long for that "past, simpler, and better world," I wonder, without ever recognizing the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”
    R.A.Salvatore

  • chillz420chillz420 moline, ILPosts: 16Member
    Originally posted by artemisentr4

    Originally posted by Techleo


      Good article. In the end the game just seems to be missing the necessary interactivity to be a really good MMO. For instance the game takes the simplest path to tell stories. Instead of weighting the consequences of your actions your really just a puppet. Games such as Anarchy Online, UO , EvE and a few others make good use of the choice and consequences system. Take for instance the sequences we are told to disable klingons to save a diplomat. To my knowledge the Federation Crews often stunned there enemies before they killed them. They hailed ships to give them a chance to explain. This entire segment of ST Lore is missing and it seems such a shame to waste a mechanic such as this. 
      In anycase I'll keep playing the game for now. It has its good moments and it definitely has its share of bad ones. I actually am finding it extremely fun to write a captains log with the supplemental notes system. Sadly I tell a better story then the game does hehe.



     

    I agree with this. Choices would go along way in making STO more of a ST game. Not everything should be about killing everyone. Diplomacy needs to be there as well as exploration.

    As far as the MMO part. I agree that they dropped the ball here. I have no problem with the instances in sector space, missions, quests, PvP and spacedocs. There are too many players to open any of them up to everyone.

    What I would have like to have seen is planets available to explore. Not just a small rectangle instance, but a large world with an expanded size to the instance. A place to meet and greet as in most MMO's. It would have been nice to see large open sector space that could take a long time to find anything. New planets with quests for some nice items as well as harvesting areas. This entire exploration sector should also be open PvP.

    There is so much they could do to change this game in a more ST direction. More than just the eye candy and sounds from the IP. They have the cash with the $20 million bonus from Atari to develope loads of content and change things around. I just hope they do it. This game could be a huge cash cow for Cryptic if they get it right. It is a good foundation they have started with. I enjoy the combat as is, it is just content and a lack of choice.

    I agree with what you said as well....hit the nail on the head about darn near everything...games good....could be epic if they choose do impliment some more options as far as what you can explore/do while exploring.

  • nekollxnekollx Glendale, CAPosts: 570Member

     Good article all together but i'm kinda disapointed how you glossed over the "costume bug" these were pre order item, people paid extra for them. And here we are, 10 days later and they still arent working and the devs havent said anything about them since the 4th.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    Any game that let's players achieve max level in a week has serious issues, especially when there is not much end game content yet.

    This game has far too much instancing in it, nothing wrong with instances except when overdoing it.  How hard was it to glean that it was a huge issue in Age of Conan?  Only braindead designers ignore prior problems other games have had in this genre.

    Then to throw in the included item shop.  While it is not a big deal at the moment, once subscriptions expire that will be a very tempting income source.

    Far as I am concerned this is another failed MMO launch.  It remains to be seen if Cyrptic will ever finish it enough to be a decent game.

     

  • seanseanseansean los angeles, CAPosts: 119Member

    I've played it from the last day of headstart until yesterday. there's just no "there" there for me. unfinished, poorly-designed shit. I keep hearing about this 20 mil bonus. if that's why cryptic put this turkey out in it's current form, then I hope that 20 last them a long time, because damn few people will plunk down any cash for a cryptic product again. Greed, thy name is Cryptic...

  • jaxsundanejaxsundane milwaukee, WIPosts: 2,776Member

    Nice article and I have to agree with most of it but I'm not too sure how you ran out of non repeatable content as I played open and closed beta (which required many restarted characters) and very rarely if ever had to repeat quests and it has been the same sincew launch two characters both LTC and no repeats until I got my main close to Commander but I also have to add with this toon I now skipped a whole lot of the early quests so it's no surprise I missed out on a bunch of skill points I could have gotten.

    If people are looking for a game to change the face of mmo's this is not the game but what is there right now is really fun and if nothing else I can say that Cryptic may have hit on the "cookie cutter" sci fi mmo.

    but yeah, to call this game Fantastic is like calling Twilight the Godfather of vampire movies....

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ozmodan


    Any game that let's players achieve max level in a week has serious issues, especially when there is not much end game content yet.


    This game has far too much instancing in it, nothing wrong with instances except when overdoing it.  How hard was it to glean that it was a huge issue in Age of Conan?  Only braindead designers ignore prior problems other games have had in this genre.


    Then to throw in the included item shop.  While it is not a big deal at the moment, once subscriptions expire that will be a very tempting income source.


    Far as I am concerned this is another failed MMO launch.  It remains to be seen if Cyrptic will ever finish it enough to be a decent game.




     

    That's a major gripe right here. If Cryptic has shown one thing. Then that's the fact that they are very poor at maintaining an MMO.

    Champions Online was hugely neglected, because they shifted their main focus to STO the moment CO was launched.

    Now with the very strong rumor floating around that they are already working on a third project (D&D MMO).

    Who says they are not going to do the same with STO now and start shifting their focus again on their third project?

    As so far, it just seems that this company's sole strategy (especially seeing their marketing strategy with lifetime subs and extra ordinary amount of effort in pleatora of ingame bonus items to maximize retail sales) is focussed on launch and launch profits only.

    Pretty much like how game studios work who produce standard (non MMO) games.

    And to be honest. It pretty much already shows. Just have a look at the official forums. It's gotten totally out of hand.

    Since launch, the whole communication level plummited to an almost non-existent level. And players are getting more angry and more frustrated each day. Especially with all the issues going on.

  • AirwrenAirwren Normal, ILPosts: 646Member

    Thanks for your reflections and thoughts Scott.  You did a nice job of presenting some of the good aspects while not glossing over some of the bad.  I do have to ask you, if you respond to these posts, if you happen to play Darkfall.  I base that on the screenshot of your ship name which made me LOL but there is also a Rick Astley in DF.  Not so common of a character name choice so I thought that may be you. lol

  • KryogenicKryogenic Pensacola, FLPosts: 663Member

     hahaha You sneaky, Russian, bastard... 

    He snuck in a link to EVE online at the end. I laughed pretty hard at that and am still laughing while typing up this reply.

    I wish I liked EVE's gameplay. I find it too sterile, but it's definitely the best example of a persistent, player controlled world. And damn CCP for being so dedicated to that game. There dedication makes me want to jump in again and try to convince myself that I enjoy the gameplay. If the skill system wasn't real time training and the ship to ship combat wasn't so RTS-like, I'd happily play it to the exclusion of everything else.

    Hell, if they added in "AMBULATION" (Said with dramatic basso and accompanied by a drum roll. Seriously, it's lame to try to spin and hype up walking like that.) as well as revamped the ship to ship combat and skills system, I'd venture to say that their population would more than double.

    Arguably, it wouldn't be the same game, but it would certainly be a fun and engaging one.

  • VagelispVagelisp AthensPosts: 448Member

    I think that games based on exploration should not be so instanced as STO is. I didn't get the impression that i was playing a massive game and i did not find it interesting exploring square areas with npc crew members.

    Anyway don't think it's bad as an online game but a very bad mmorg and i see no reason to spend 15 per month for it since Mass effect 2 does much better at a lower price.

  • InteritusInteritus Vancouver, BCPosts: 136Member
    Originally posted by Airwren


     I do have to ask you, if you respond to these posts, if you happen to play Darkfall.  I base that on the screenshot of your ship name which made me LOL but there is also a Rick Astley in DF.  Not so common of a character name choice so I thought that may be you. lol



     

    Rick Astley is an infamous singer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

  • farudimfarudim GibPosts: 48Member

    As it is now.

    The game only goes to lvl 45, not 50.

    The story missions stops at lvl 42.

     

    Like it or not - just facts.

  • GylfiGylfi LlandlowPosts: 660Member

    There are few fucking boring quests, the rest is randomly generated missions(which means no babysitting/hand holding)?

    I wanna play!!

    I miss random generated missions so much, i hate fixed quests, with their fixed destinations, fixed rats count, fixed all.

  • Mopar63Mopar63 Carbondale, ILPosts: 296Member
    Originally posted by Ozmodan


    Any game that let's players achieve max level in a week has serious issues, especially when there is not much end game content yet.
     



     

    This is as much an issue with the game as the players so I am less inclinced to be bother by this from a game point of view.

    I thought the review was solid and well done pointing out every aspect of the game.  This game is a good game but not a great one and it could be.  As for the success or failure of this game I have no doubt it will succeed. Trekkies are a loyal and die hard crew. The ONLY way this game fails is if Cryptic does nothing. If they make and effort and improvements as well as increase content this game will do fine and be likely 1 million subs strong if not more.

    I see a lot of people thinking there should be more exploration. I understand this but you need to understand exploration would be BORING! The Star Trek show only accounted for a TINY fraction of the time the Enterprise spent in space. Exploration of the kind people seem to want towuld involve literally hours of doing nothing but looking.

    The exploration missions they have now are okay and could be better but you have to be careful and rmember that while this is Star Trek it is also a game. If they make it where diplomacy and exploration play a much heavier role they risk ruining the fun to basically having you stand around while two people talk over their issues and your science officer spends hours watching scanners.

     

     

  • dirtyklingondirtyklingon parry sound, ONPosts: 158Member

    1-10 is slow but there is ample missions(consisting of episodes and patrols which you stated were randomly generated bu t are not) to do with out resorting to do the repeatable DSE missions more than once.i even skipped one mission that i could not complete solo.

     

    overall not a bad early review, not entirely accurate but not bad.

    KERPLAH!

  • MacAllenMacAllen Portland, ORPosts: 55Member

    Guild Wars is an MMO.  You list it here, on your site, MMORPG.com.

  • EvileEvile Roc City, NYPosts: 534Member
    Originally posted by Kryogenic


     hahaha You sneaky, Russian, bastard... 
    He snuck in a link to EVE online at the end. I laughed pretty hard at that and am still laughing while typing up this reply.
    I wish I liked EVE's gameplay. I find it too sterile, but it's definitely the best example of a persistent, player controlled world. And damn CCP for being so dedicated to that game. There dedication makes me want to jump in again and try to convince myself that I enjoy the gameplay. If the skill system wasn't real time training and the ship to ship combat wasn't so RTS-like, I'd happily play it to the exclusion of everything else.
    Hell, if they added in "AMBULATION" (Said with dramatic basso and accompanied by a drum roll. Seriously, it's lame to try to spin and hype up walking like that.) as well as revamped the ship to ship combat and skills system, I'd venture to say that their population would more than double.
    Arguably, it wouldn't be the same game, but it would certainly be a fun and engaging one.

    If EVE had STO ship controls that would be sweet.

    I hate point and click. They need to let people keymap turning!

    image

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member

    Very nice article. Good to see that people start to realise and question if heavily instanced games like MMOs really are MMOs?

    There is the famous saying: If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is probably a duck.

    Apply it, but reverse, to this game. It says it is a duck, but does it walk like a duck? Swim like a duck? And quack like a duck?

    I dont think so, no.

    However, as this artical pointed out, just one persistant zone where fleets could fight for control of starbases, for example, would go long ways to make this game feel like an MMO.

  • joelweismanjoelweisman Kalamazoo, MIPosts: 2Member

    While I am enjoying the game (primarily as a diversion from other online games that I've grown weary of), I can't help but find myself constantly thinking of things that would make the experience more interesting.  Here are a few...feel free to add your own:

     

    1. Achievements - This one kinda of requires a solid foundation of content before it's feasible.  Been to every sector?  Achievement.  Killed 1 each of Gorn, Klingon, Romulan, and Borg in ground combat?  Achievement.  Done it with your bare hands?  Achievement. 

    2. Rare quests granted by rare item drops - Instead of looting yet another personal shield generator, how about a strange alien artifact that sets off an interesting quest chain?

    3. Rare spawns: Klingon Aces, Notorious Villains, etc.

    4. Ability to beam down to ANY large planet and at the very least have a random encounter generated.

    5. Ability to beam down to special large planets and have it be like you dropped into Tabula Rasa.  In fact...BUY Tabula Rasa and implement it as the away team component to the game. 

    6. I see a lot of trader ships lurking around various systems....why can't I have a cargo ship and haul goods from place to place to earn money a la every space sim in the last 20 years? 

    There are so many ideas that SHOULD have been borrowed from other sources ...  and don't even get me started on ideas from TOS/TNG episodes...how about beaming down to a world of Chicago style gangsters?  Or having to cooperate with Mark Twain?  Or rescue a station from it holodeck gone awry. 

    Sigh.

    -- JWW  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    who | grep -i hottie | date | cd ~; uptime; unzip; head; touch; finger; mount; ramsize; gasp; yes; unmount; sleep

     

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by joelweisman


    While I am enjoying the game (primarily as a diversion from other online games that I've grown weary of), I can't help but find myself constantly thinking of things that would make the experience more interesting.  Here are a few...feel free to add your own:
     
    1. Achievements - This one kinda of requires a solid foundation of content before it's feasible.  Been to every sector?  Achievement.  Killed 1 each of Gorn, Klingon, Romulan, and Borg in ground combat?  Achievement.  Done it with your bare hands?  Achievement. 
    2. Rare quests granted by rare item drops - Instead of looting yet another personal shield generator, how about a strange alien artifact that sets off an interesting quest chain?
    3. Rare spawns: Klingon Aces, Notorious Villains, etc.
    4. Ability to beam down to ANY large planet and at the very least have a random encounter generated.
    5. Ability to beam down to special large planets and have it be like you dropped into Tabula Rasa.  In fact...BUY Tabula Rasa and implement it as the away team component to the game. 
    6. I see a lot of trader ships lurking around various systems....why can't I have a cargo ship and haul goods from place to place to earn money a la every space sim in the last 20 years? 
    There are so many ideas that SHOULD have been borrowed from other sources ...  and don't even get me started on ideas from TOS/TNG episodes...how about beaming down to a world of Chicago style gangsters?  Or having to cooperate with Mark Twain?  Or rescue a station from it holodeck gone awry. 
    Sigh.
    -- JWW  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    who | grep -i hottie | date | cd ~; uptime; unzip; head; touch; finger; mount; ramsize; gasp; yes; unmount; sleep
     

    Nice ideas but please no holodeck stuff, it was the single most awful thing in Star Trek. I watch a space sci-fi to see space sci-fi stuff, not some cheap 1950 gangster story. Awful, terrible, hated every holodeck episode.

  • NesrieNesrie Medford, ORPosts: 648Member
    Originally posted by Yamota


    Nice ideas but please no holodeck stuff, it was the single most awful thing in Star Trek. I watch a space sci-fi to see space sci-fi stuff, not some cheap 1950 gangster story. Awful, terrible, hated every holodeck episode.



     

    I watched TNG to enjoy the cast and the story and space. I loved the concept of the holodeck.

    Back to the article, nice review. i still can't imagine why they would make the first handful of levels such a grind just to finally choose your ship. They should have at least thrown in a few instances (since everything is an instance) where you played each ship a few times and then got to decide maybe via a simulator of some sort.

    parrotpholk-Because we all know the miracle patch fairy shows up the night before release and sprinkles magic dust on the server to make it allllll better.

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