Star Trek Online Overview (Now That the NDA is Gone)

I’ve been beta testing Star Trek Online as best I could, given time zone differences and game stability problems. Here’s my opinion at this point:

Conclusion:

– An “action Trek” rather than a “diplomacy Trek” that is probably Trek enough for most people. It’s a bit light on, but fun enough.

– In a better shape than Cryptic’s Champions Online was at this stage, but it still is very unpolished and very buggy.

– With more content still in the wings, I’m waiting to see what shakes out of open beta before considering buying STO. And then maybe another six months.

Combat:

– Ground combat is fun, if fairly simple. Having two weapons and a utility items slot plus and away team makes ground combat seem a bit more interesting than MMOs with 10 hotkeys where you solo. Also being able to dive roll as a defensive move is a nice touch.

– Space combat is slower and more tactical. I liked it, but it seems more limited – fire all weapons, rotate your shields to let the damaged ones recover, repeat until the target is dead – and could become very repetitive.

– A better version of Pirates of the Burning Sea‘s combat systems, if that means anything.

Crafting:

– Only fully implemented in the last patch before open beta, so I didn’t test it at all.

– Given it was only just implemented, expect bugs ahoy.

Character:

– Customisation of your officer is good. Customisation of your ships is better.

– Levelling up your character and your crew is also a fun experience… even if you don’t quite know what any skill / ability does until after you level it.

– You have to get to a certain level to unlock access to Klingon characters. Levelling / XP rates were recently adjusted so I’m not sure if this is hard or easy to do anymore.

Communication:

– Functional but not flashy.

– Hooks into the same system ChampO uses, so you can talk to people in that title if they are on your friends list (and vice versa).

Content:

– Pretty much all combat missions. Non-combat missions (at least the ones I saw) were laughably simplistic.

– The Genesis / Exploration system is apparently just a group of randomised missions (didn’t experience this content myself – it was only patched in just before open beta) that may not be enough to keep people occupied.

– Content in upper levels is generally untested by the bulk of players, since testing times limited how far players could progress.

Collectables:

– No idea.

Competition:

– Didn’t experience this myself. Some of the forums had very favourable opinions of ground combat PvP.

– The majority of Klingon content is PvP – they have limited PvE content at this point.

– The fastest way to level in closed beta was through PvP. Not sure if this is still true.

Community:

– Full of Trekkies / Trekkers / Trekkettes who all know what a Star Trek game should be. Lots of arguments over Star Trek lore and how STO breaks it / doesn’t live up to it.

– These same people will probably buy lifetime subs and be there forever.

Contingencies:

– Stability has been awful, at least for me. This would often mean I’d lose all the work I’d done in the ‘chapter’ of the mission and have to start again. Frustrating, to say the least.

– It’s all combat. I was expecting more exploration and at least some kind of diplomacy game, but this wasn’t to be (at this point).

– Lots more has been promised to be patched in prior to launch. Of course, this means it won’t be tested that well. In short: Cryptic’s beta test scheduling has been inadequate and to STO’s detriment.

– Star Trek is a poison pill of an IP: no-one can get it right enough for all the fans to love it. Unfortunately I expect to see this issue constantly flair up within this title’s community which is probably going to leave it quite a nasty one.

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