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You know I see a lot of people hear talking about how STO does not have the ST feel becase of the lack of exploration and a shoot first mentality. I would challenge those two points and instead feel that this is more about play style than the game.
I am playing a Federation Science Ship Commander in game. I have yet to fire the first shot, following Star Fleet Mandates for this matter and only defend myself when I need to. If the orders are to remove a number of pirates from a system I attempt to hail the pirates and close distance, hoping for a diplomatic solution. There is no where in the game I have yet seen that you have to fire the first shot. This means the idea of a first shot stance is play style not game mechanic.
Next I see people talking about the need to destroy enemy ships. I get that to some extent but look at the foes. Klinongs nor Romulans surrender, it is basically beat them till dead or they kill you.
Finally we come to exploration. As a Science Captain I seek this out and have found a ton. In fact of my last 5 missions I have hunted down unexplained radiation, found an artifiact that was shooting down star ships, explore the fauna of an alien world, provided medical supplies to a world in need, traced an unknown signal and escorted a medical ship. Only one of those required combat.
I have found by simpling choosing a science oriented play style that there are exploration missions and a pretty good selection of them. This is not to say you will nto see combat becuase that is also part of Star trek and in a war setting is to be expected.
Also the more I play the more I like the instancing as done with this game. It allows me to fit the game into my life style instead of modifying my lifestyle to fit the game. With kids, owning a business, hosting a radio show, doing hardware and software reviews as well as the general stuff that life throws, I do not always have the 2 to 4 hours of game play to commit that so many MMOs seem to need to enjoy. With STO I play 30 minutes here, 45 minutes there and if I get the longer time I can enjoy it, all without the gaming being less fun for me.
I understand this game, just like EVE, WoW, LOTRO ands every MMO is not for everybody. However at the end of the day as I go back over all the discussions about this game, the good and I bad that I have seen I think I finally get it. This game is not that bad it just is not everyones idea of what a ST game should be. Play style more than the game itself will determine if you enjoy it or not.
I have a soap box and I am not afraid to use it.