Thursday, January 14, 2010

Star Trek Online Beta: Space Combat

I had a quick 30 minutes last night before bed so I spun up the game again to try out that space combat.

Cryptic didn't have to do much to sell me on this part of the game. All they had to do was take the best parts of Starfleet Command (1999) and turn it into multiplayer, perhaps some improved graphics, and I'd like it. In a nutshell, they succeeded.

It is so much like Starfleet Command that it feels like a true successor to the game. The weapons with fire arcs, shield facings, range indicators, etc are all there with the added benefit of the third dimension. Simplified a bit I'm sure but the concept is correct and feels right to me.

Now I did have some quibbles, things from Eve that I wish STO had. Like an overview to see everything nearby instead of having to pan around the camera, or an approach button to bring the ship around instead of manually using keys to turn, or turning using doubleclicks of the mouse. It would be nice if I could tell it to keep firing without having to press the button every shot too. But nothing showstopping. And a few features I wish Eve would steal like using the WASD keys for general turning and pitch.

Overall its a nice simplistic space game in the Star Trek vein. It won't replace the visceral feel of Eve's tactical combat but it looks like the nice drop in space combat for when time is short. So far.

I had enough time to finish the "Kill the Four Probes" mission and I was wondering when the "tutorial" would be complete and I could explore space movement and combat in a less rowdy setting (the starter area is a battlezone between the Federation and Borg) when I got the next message: beam down to the colony and help out there.

*Groan* I'm an acting captain of a fricking starship! I shouldn't be beaming down willy-nilly to a planet surface during fighting! That's what underlings are for! Sigh. I got a bad feeling about this.

Time to dig out my old copy of Starfleet Command.


  1. Yeah that first tut mission is nothing.

    Once you get to the Earth Star base it starts to get a lot more interesting.

    That is when you get to enter sector space and plot course for systems or just free flight for the systems.

    The missions at this point really start to make you watch your shields more and movement and arcs etc.

    I need to head into the pvp arena.

  2. You can set a weapon to autofire by right clicking it.

    Once you finish the tutorial, if you want spacecombat but not ground combat you'll be best off with patrol and secure sector block missions. Also visit Starbase 24 for an incredible fleet battle.