TGMT2010 Update

Well so far my little experiment is coming along well. I am currently playing Star Trek Online and I am enjoying it a lot. This has caused me to rethink the 1 week time limit on my trials. I may want to continue to play STO after one week, I have only been able to play about 3 hours this week and I may need more time to give it a fair review.

With Darkfall’s recent announcement I am changing the order of the games I am going to try. I am going to try darkfall next instead of Champions Online. This will be better because CO is so close to STO that it would probably not be a fair trial.

I really did not like Darkfall the last time I played it, but I have heard that they have made it much better (from darkfall’s biggest fanboy) and I am excited to try it again. I have always had this dream of the perfect sandbox game since I started playing UO. My hope is I can get past the little things that bugged me last time and enjoy the game. I really like the idea of a sandbox game.

If you could only play one MMO for the rest of your life what would it be?

Star Trek Online Review: Tier 1

I have finally made it to level 11 or Lt. Commander if you want to use the proper terminology and as I said I would write a review when I reached that level. So here it is!

Let’s just start this review by stating some facts to keep it nice and clear. I have played the game for a total of 16 hours in release and about 10 hours in open beta. This is not even close to enough time to do a full review of the game. I believe for a mmo that it requires at least 6 months to truly understand the game and to give it a real review. But I do think that 16 hours is enough time to tell if you like the game and it is enough time to write a first impressions kind of review which is what this will be. I only played one class and did not play a Kligion or any PVP.

Character Creation and Tutorial

I picked a human engineer as my first character. The character creator is fantastic just like all other Cryptic games. The tutorial is good the first time and is really bad the second time. It is way to linear and there should be a way to skip it the second time. I find this with most games that choose to instance the first few levels to let you get used to your character, for alts it sucks.

The game does a good job of teaching you the basic controls but does a terrible job of telling you what each skill does and how it affects your character.

Questing

The mission structure is again fun the first two or three times you do them. The patrol missions follow a very similar pattern and get very repetitive. You must go to 5 systems and then kill/scan/save/salvage 5 things around/on that planet. Each thing will be protected by 3 normal ships or 1 bigger ship. Rinse and Repeat.

The story missions are much better and are really fun to do but there are not enough of them to get you all the way up. They are like mini episodes of a show. They are very well done and I have even run into some characters from the series or offspring of the characters. It is really cool if you watched any of the Star Trek show. They are pretty long but if you get interrupted it will allow you to continue where you left off.

There are also these fleet actions also known as Public Quests. I only did one of these but I did it a few times and while it was fun the reward was terrible. I barely got any skill points and the loot was worthless. They need a lot of work to make them worth doing for me.

Combat

Space combat is very well done and feels very strategic. You have various systems to manage and choices to make when you are fighting; it is a very engaging and rewarding system. I have spent a lot of time fine tuning my tactics to kill as quickly as possible and it has been a lot of fun. There is so much that you can do and learn to make you more effective like picking your officers and training up your skills. It is one of those systems that is easy to learn but takes a life time to master. It is some of the best combat I have experienced in an MMO in a long time.

Ground combat is completely different than space combat and uses a different set of skill. Ground combat is more like your traditional MMO combat except you have 4 pets with you that you can train and level up. I find ground combat to be a lot of fun, sometimes it is a little long and gets frustrating but I believe that is because I put all of my training points into space combat so I am gimped on the ground. The ground combat does feel kind of added on and could use some polish.

Graphics

Well it is beautiful and runs very well on my mid range system.

Immersion

This is where the game falls apart. The game is very instanced and you have to zone 3 times just to go from a base to another system. It kills the massive feel of space and turns it into little areas to kill things in. There is no sense of exploration or of the vastness that is space.

Then we have sector space, probably the worse implementation of travel EVER. It is a big blue grid that is broken up into sector blocks (more zones) and it is supposed to represent warp travel. It looks nothing like space and just totally kills any immersions you may have had. It is just terrible.

Conclusion

The game is the best Star Trek game available and many will enjoy it a lot. But if you are a mmo tourist like me it is not a very long stop on your trip to find the perfect mmo. It is missing the depth to last very long for some one that is not seriously interested in the lore. Like most Cryptic games it does one or two things very well and totally fails at the other things.

I give it a totally random score of

90/118

Buy Star Trek Online

Curse you Cryptic!

I am about to make it to Lt. Cmdr. When I do I am going to take a good look at the game and decide if I want to continue with this game. I have a strong feeling that I will not want to continue. There does not seem to be any depth to the game. But I will wait until I reach Lt. Cmdr and do a few quests with my new awesome ship before I decide for sure. I do have one big problem if I decide not to continue on with STO. What game should I play instead?

I am running through a few options.

GuildWars: This game is free, beautiful and fun. I played it a lot when it came out and after each expansion came out. It is a great game but I am not sure how much play time it has left for me. I could replay all of the campaigns with a new character or try out some of the new content that has been introduced. The biggest problem that I have with GW is the same problem I have with STO, it is very instanced. Now GWs does the instancing thing very well compared to STO but it is still a problem for me.

Age of Conan: I have retried this game 2 times since I have started this blog and every time it has ended in failure. The main reason I have for quitting is map layout it is horribly done and ruins the immersion of the game for me. But after playing STO and Champions Online I have come to realize it can be done worse and maybe it takes some time to get used to. The combat is fun the individual maps are very large and beautiful, the lore is nice, and probably most important it is the only game I can play that has really sexy women in it.

Warhammer Online: Good ole WAR! This is probably the least likely for me to try for awhile. They still need to do something about city sieges being too often and something about T2-3 having people to play with. The endless trial has had a good effect on the game I just think the devs need a little more time to get things really working for city sieges. But I do love the game and will probably return to it sometime this year and stay for a good long while.

World of Warcraft: It has been a long time since I have been to azeroth. It has a great immersion factor the world is alive and beautiful. Why not go back to WoW? Well for one I have played through most of the game and really do not have any urge to raid. Never have liked raiding and never will like it and from what I hear that is about all there is to do any more.

Taking a break: While this may be the hardest for me; it may also be the best for my feeling of been there done that. I have a large backlog of Xbox games I have not even played. I just got a new flat screen TV so that makes it look even better. The problem with this is it is winter, and winter in the Pacific Northwest is very very wet. So I could not supplement my non gaming time with activities outside.

Those are the options that are going through my head if I decide not to play STO. It is a lot to think about.

The queues in Star Trek online are unacceptable

I have tried to play STO about 3 times so far this weekend and two times the server has been down and the most recent time I got in, got disconnected, and put in a Queue that I have been in for 35mins so far.

I know that other games have had queues but those other games also had servers that did not require a queue and if I really wanted to play I could choose one of those and play. This game does not have another server I can choose from. Most of the launches I have been through in the last 3 years never really even effected my ability to play.

What is even worse is that they had this problem in open beta and did not do anything about it. The instancing they use is supposed to make queuing a thing of the past. They had the pre-order numbers they knew their servers could not handle the open beta numbers yet it still has not been fixed. They have taken millions of dollars from people that are stupid enough to pay for the life time subscription and they still cannot get severs quickly.

I am convinced the Cryptic has no idea what they are doing even after launching 3 titles. Their inability to learn from any of their past mistakes has me seriously wondering how they plan on running a game based on such a large IP.

I do not see me putting up with this for much longer. It took me about 20 mins to write this and I am still in the queue.

Hoopla over the C-Store

It seems a lot of people have a strong opinion over cryptic charging for different federation races at release. It has taken me awhile to decide what I think about this type practice. On one hand I don’t really want to play either race so it really does not bother me that much. On the other what happens when they do want to charge me for something I want?

I think the root of the problem that people are having with this is that cryptic is still charging a full subscription price for the game. I think if they lowered the price to $9.99 a month or offered you 500 cryptic points each month people would not be bothered by it. I would defiantly like the 9.99 per month subscription rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg though. They will start to offer ships, weapons, uniforms, and various other items. When they start to do this people start to feel that they need to buy everything, instead of people just telling cryptic to take a flying leap they will actually buy it. That is why they do it; players purchase these items and still pay the monthly fee. The only repercussions that they get are some angry bloggers and forum posters.

My over all feelings for this is that I don’t really care. They can try what they want. I will not buy any of it until they lower the subscription costs.

Cryptic Listened to me

Right after I posted about posting patch notes Cryptic decided to listen to me and post some notes.

http://startrekonline.com/node/1027

Yay!

I love patch notes