Friday, February 05, 2010

Last Thoughts On Star Trek Online

Short version: I will not be subscribing.

Longer version: Over the past week or so, whenever I had 15-30 minutes to spare (anything longer and I'm in Eve) I've been trying to get on Star Trek to give it a go. My hope is that I will have a game that can be my second MMO for casual laid back play when I have only moments to spare. Drop in, shoot stuff, explore, log out.

First off the good news. The release game is far more polished and stable than the Beta. The transitions between zones is reasonable albeit longer than what I am used to in Eve. The space combat is very positional, and progress so far even with my limited time in game feels substantial. And the graphics are much improved with the better server hardware, I can run at much better levels of detail.

The bad news is that the space combat, the only thing I want to really do, is frustrating for me at the moment. Its not for lack of things to do, its because I have to always be doing something! Steering the ship is an exercise in frustration. I wish so bad I could pilot the ship with mouse clicks like in Starfleet command. Constantly having to instruct the weapons to fire is annoying as well. Combat feels too... frenetic. I still miss the overview too. And orbit command, and approach. Dammit, you can learn somethings from Eve guys! Its not that hard.

Overall, the frustrations in space combat are minor, but the game is not lending itself to drop in casual play very much. Last night I accepted a mission which involved going to four different systems to patrol. I went to the first, got thrown into a 3 ship instance with two strangers, and battled pirates. All well and good, right? I had a few more minutes so I left to go to another system and found I was still in an instance group with the other two ships, even though they went different directions. Now I'm sure I could find a way to leave instances and join a different one in my system, etc, but I felt bad. Furthermore, the fighting at the systems took forever even with three of us, and myself alone in one system was hopelessly outgunned in my starter ship.

Its just not a game that I think I can play casually. And when combined with the fugly ground combat system with stupid NPCs (I STAND HERE AND SHOOT AT YOU! CROUCHING? UNHEARD OF! RUNNING WHEN SURROUNDED AND OUTNUMBERED? NEVER!) I find myself not wanting to play.

I will give it more of a try since I do have one month free, but I don't foresee me ponying up for a subscription. Time involvement to get my money's worth would be too high.

10 comments:

  1. I know what you mean. When I tried it it felt god awful.

    I played it on my computer which can run EVE at a solid 60FPS and a lot of more recent games on high settings and the game required me to bump down a lot of settings.

    Space combat was cumbersome and the ground combat was just embarrassing.

    It was a nice try but overall it couldn't keep my attention, then again I don't even like Star Trek.

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  2. I have to sya I agree with you to a certain extend on what they could do to make the space combat better. I still think the space combat is fun. To me the game is still quick csual game play since you don't have to build your ship or replace it when it is blown up.

    The ground combat is very static and I always find myself rushing through it to get back to my ship. I have my box and have not opened it yet.

    Even though I really like the game not sure if I want to activate my free 30 days yet and will wait a bit longer.

    Oh, but I ahve to say I really love the Klingon side and how it is mainly PVP content driven for leveling....

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  3. "Steering the ship is an exercise in frustration. I wish so bad I could pilot the ship with mouse clicks like in Starfleet command. Constantly having to instruct the weapons to fire is annoying as well. Combat feels too... frenetic."

    Sounds like STO corrects all of the problems that drove me from EVE: lack of real ship control, boring as hell combat, click and forget controls. =)

    To each his own, of course.

    "I still miss the overview too. And orbit command, and approach. Dammit, you can learn somethings from Eve guys! Its not that hard."

    You've drank the EVE koolaid too deeply is all. Most gamers don't want all of that high level clutter and automation - they just want to play a game and have a good time.

    The EVE oviewview was awful for a newbie, and orbit/approach were another mechanism that made you feel like you were writing a spreadsheet, not playing a game. That's great for someone deep into EVE who takes systems like those as gospel - but I can assure you that the majority of MMO players aren't used to them, and don't want to "play" like that.

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  4. "You've drank the EVE koolaid too deeply is all. Most gamers don't want all of that high level clutter and automation - they just want to play a game and have a good time."

    Your knee jerk reaction to the way Eve does anything amuses me sometimes. I don't think some basic automation prevents a player from playing the game and having a good time.

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  5. Forget Star Trek. Immerse yourself in the world of EVE, tried and tested for years and years.

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  6. "Your knee jerk reaction to the way Eve does anything amuses me sometimes."

    It's not knee-jerk - it's the result of 10 days (out of a 14 day trial) falling in love with the idea of EVE, and detesting the execution. You know that I was starting to get really excited about the potential of the game right before I hit the wall.

    But the systems you mention that STO should adapt are precisely some of the ones that drove me away from EVE. When you say "Dammit, you can learn somethings from Eve guys! Its not that hard." my point is that they *DID* learn something from EVE - and excluding those very systems is a result of that knowledge.

    Again: to each his own.

    I still believe that STO will be a colossal failure, but that's more about the poor business sense consistently displayed by Cryptic, and the rush to release unfinished product more than anything else.

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  7. I'm actually enjoying STO much more than I thought. Having come from a solid background in Eve, I do miss the in-depth complexity at times but I think I'm taking STO for what it is intended for: a laid back game. I find myself imagining my captain's conversations with his bridge officers, exploring new worlds, boldly going where no man has gone before...

    All of it is immersive enough for me to enjoy thoroughly. Am I as passionate about it as I was with Eve? Nope. Do I get a chubby over my Miranda class cruiser in the same way as I do for my Thanatos? Definitely not. But, for now, it's a nice escape from reality in a genre that is sadly under-represented in the MMO community.

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  8. Three small tips for your remaining STO time:

    1) Right click on your weapons to set them to auto-fire instead of having to manually mash buttons.

    2) You can steer your ship with your mouse if you wish - hold down both buttons and move the mouse. Some people prefer this, some the keyboard, YMMV.

    3) Instances are populated on a sliding scale based on group size. When you didn't exit the PUG, and entered the next instance, it gave you a 3 person team worth of mobs. To exit, hit the button just above the team portraits that looks like a man walking.

    Won't change the basic game, but it might make the remaining time more enjoyable. (-:

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  9. This is hilarious because I was complaining the other day that STO requires too little effort.

    You can set your weapons to autofire.
    You don't have to join open instances. The game will scale all missions to your solo ship.
    Facing is only important in difficult encounters. In solo play, you don't get a lot of those. In most fights I can literally target the enemy, hit fire, walk away, come back later and the enemy ship is destroyed.

    I have been dual-boxing EVE and STO because the STO account requires very little effort to keep moving and has no consequences when failing.

    The great thing about STO is you never have to wait for anything. The combat is fun when you actually get a tough fight and the NPCs don't run and POS up as soon as you enter the system. ;)

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  10. @hzero: ah, that makes sense. I'll give that a try.

    I've been avoiding the forums and help blogs like the plague in an effort to experience the game like a normal person would. Its been very enlightening.

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