As I stated earlier I pre-ordered a copy of Star Trek Online and got a beta key with that. I have played for a few days and have been asked by some of my roommates and friends what I think about it. I haven’t been able to give a good answer to it yet. I guess this will be my attempt at that.
As far as an MMO goes this game lacks that feeling quite a bit in my opinion. I admit that I am not a “go out and group” kind of person in these games though. I much prefer to do my own thing and group only when asked. The automatic instancing for some missions is really handy. It makes group missions much easier without standing somewhere shouting “LFG” for an hour. I see this being a problem for early zones as the game ages. Sort of the same problem with WoW and finding low level instance groups.
The missions are pretty basic. You can’t go too crazy with games like this I guess. Most missions are “Kill X enemies/squadrons” or “Go to X objects”. There are quests that chain themselves through a series of alternating space and ground missions, which is pretty cool. I think that pulls things together and makes the story flow much better. There are some daily quests which you have to do 3 team missions that involve a large group of players. It is fun to destroy things in large groups, but doing those quests over and over again is kinda repetitive. Considering the team missions are killing 8 squadrons of enemies. Basically it is killing 24 squads with a 5 minute forced break in between.
Combat is interesting at least. My one grip is that space combat is a little slow. As you advance they give you enough buttons to push (I am still pretty low so this may get better), but positioning and movement are very slow. You have shields on each side of your ship and once those are gone attack damage your ship’s structure. Turning to soak attack with shields that are not depleted is a good tactic, but is can take ages (or so it seems) to turn to switch which shield they are hitting. Weapon placement on your ship is a fun thing in my mind. You have front and rear weapon placements. I can have 2 front and one rear right now. Each weapon has a firing arc. So if I am broad side I can hit with my front and rear weapons at the same time. Depending on how your firing arcs are set up you can create different combination of weapons for different tactics.
Ground combat has me undecided right now. I really like it. I think it is cool to run around on the ground blasting stuff. Your away team is really helpful and has good support. You have decent control over then and they are not overly retarded. However, it often seems waaaaaaaaaaaaay too easy. I have little regard for my safety and don’t notice it at all. My team keeps my shields and health up so I can punch in faces all day with little strategy. I get 4 away team members right now and unless it gets harder they should drop one of them in my opinion. Maybe I get five… can’t remember. The combat system is simple as of now. Your weapon has two attacks, plus you get a melee attack. You get another ability based on what “kit” you are wearing. Certain types of attacks have a chance to make your enemy vulnerable to another type. Pretty basic.
Now my list of random pros. First, it looks really sweet. The ships and great is awesome looking. Second, character creation is very detailed. Think Oblivion/Fallout 3 slider style customization, but you can understand it. They also have a biography box and the option to enter a first, middle, and last name. It is nice to see RP is at least considered. The environments are all really accepting of RP. Last, it is not overly complex. This is a strange one, but I tried Eve Online and that was so confusing that it was no fun. This game is simple at the start and keeps offering more as you learn.
Here are my cons. First, The game needs lots of polish. I will elaborate after this, but it is rough. Second, missions, tooltips, and other things can be rather vague or unclear. A lot of the time I have no idea where to go for a mission. That needs to be addressed. Last, scaling difficulty seems a bit wonky. Some parts are ball crushingly hard and others are way way too easy. I have been sticking to a pretty linear path for questions. Maybe this is just me though.
Now about the polish comment. I know this is a beta but there are some really really hefty bugs out there right now. Sometimes on ground missions your team won’t show up or you spawn as your ship. If you are alone you will get destroyed. The servers are relatively unstable. It is good they caught it now so it can be worked out. I think more people are playing than they expected for the beta. There are some features that could be really really cool if they expanded them. You can access the bridge of your ship and walk around but that is the only place. I heard they are going to open up the ship more so you can walk around it and explore. I hope this happens and they allow you to bring friends on board. That would make the game a pile of fun. I also hope they offer the ability to beam down to Earth. That would just be a nifty feature, but not a game breaker.
think once release comes and things are ironed out it will be a pretty good game. These are just my opininos and take them for what they are worth. I’m sure I will have more to say as I play the beta more and once it is released. I hope it does well, but I don’t see it ever getting as popular as something like WoW.