|Review - Star Trek Online|
|Written by James Goulding (themiliton)|
|Sunday, 14 February 2010 15:21|
My first week in Star Trek online has been a combination of a steep learning curve and an immense amount of fun. It all starts when the game loads, and you hear what I have to say is some exceptional music. Inspired with awe and eager to blow up some Klingons I set about creating my first character.
I was disappointed to find that the Ferengi were not in the list of available characters (although I was to later find out that they could be purchased from the "C-Store" - Cryptic's Micro Transaction Store). I decided that I would go with my second favourite Star Trek Race - The Bajorans. I found the interface incredibly easy to use when creating the look of my character, although I have to say I found it difficult to tweak my character enough to avoid him looking very generic. I also found that the uniform options available were very "un-trek-like" in their appearance, and all seemed to resemble racing driver outfits. That aside I headed, pre-order key in hand, into the realm of "Head-start". I was met with an awe inspiring star-base where I was lead to Admiral Quinn who told me exactly what was to be expected of me and I was handed my quests so I could begin my game. I also spoke to Commander Sulu and headed off in my little ship to explore what the alpha quadrant had to offer.
Whilst in game I met up with some people from a fleet (Star Trek Online's Term for a Guild) were were very keen to make friends and I soon found myself Teamspeaking whilst I play. This game is amazing. I have always dreamed of being in Starfleet and now I feel like I am. The controls for the game were very simple to get used to. Standard WASD for movement both in space and on the ground and everything else is contained in simple keyboard shortcuts. Specific tasks as with most MMOs can be attached to a bar at the bottom of the screen corresponding to the number keys on your keypad.
Off on patrol - a lot of the missions in this game involve patrolling certain systems within a specified sector. Most of these involve either flying in and killing a certain amount of "mobbed" ships, activating satellites, performing scans or going in actually on foot, into bases or planets and interacting on that level. I found the beginning missions very easy, although had yet to find out that this curve ascended rather quickly. I did end up exploding rather often and have realised that I can't seem to find any negative consequences to dying in this game yet, although there are rumours that this is yet to come.
So about stability, well it's not been great during head-start, and the game only went 100% live on Tuesday. We've had quite a few server outages, people queueing to get into the game and the like, but according to others in my fleet this has not been too bad compared to the launch of other MMOs in the past. On this note, the forums on STO's website were full of flaming comments about Cryptic and their ability to run a game. Personally I wouldn't recommend paying too much attention to these comments from others. Alright the servers haven't been exceptionally reliable for the first few days, but have recently improved. Cryptic reliably inform us that they are increasing their server capacity as soon as possible, and the regular influx of 100-180mb patches (for which there are no release notes, sorry) seem to be increasing stability rapidly.
So how far have I managed to get with a week into the game, well I have hit Lieutenant Commander 3 (Level 13), and managed to get my new ship all sorted. I have gone for the science option, which has given me a great looking vessel, she's all kitted out ready for exploration. Her increased engines and weaponry seem to make all the difference over fighting against mobs with my old Miranda Class, which in comparison was like driving a tank down the aisle of a supermarket. This new ship is faster and more efficient than the previous one.
On a complete sideline, after hitting level 6 the option becomes available to play as the opposing faction in the game - the Klingons (apparently Cardassian and Romulan are to be released at a later date - and according to rumour these will be expansion packs that will have to be purchased, although we are yet to hear an official word on this). This is a whole different side to the game which I personally found very confusing. I found the lack of NPC support at the beginning of the game very difficult and so far after spending 2 hours wandering round Q'onoS (The Klingon home-world), I have yet to get into my ship. I eventually found the female Klingon who gave me my bridge officers and then was at a bit of a loose end as to what to do, was I just to fly into space and find quests, do I report to and NPC? I am not yet sure. More investigation of the Klingon Sector is in order.
I have also attempted to access the PvP queues this week but to no avail. After requesting to join a queue and waiting 10 minutes plus, I have given up on my attempts so far but will try again and hopefully inform you of how I found the PvP aspects of the game.
So to conclude my first week has been fun. As an existing fan of the show I found all the content very familiar. Not sure if I would like to hit this MMO blind, without any "Trek-lore" in my head. My opinion is that if Cryptic keep up their energy with this one it could get really big. A nice mix of ground and space combat, although some repetitive quests, has lead me to believe that there is....as Mr Scott would say.....Life in the Old Girl Yet. I would rate this game a 9/10!