Three Unconnected Thoughts About STO

Thought the First: Atari/Cryptic’s actually done a pretty good job with marketing, at least over the past couple weeks.  A TV commercial, partnering up with Del Taco for a promotion, sponsoring a SyFy Star Trek marathon — I’m actually a bit impressed with all of it.

Thought the Second: I’m just wondering how much of the appeal of STO is in the IP, especially for Trekkies who have been dying to live in a virtual Star Trek universe since the holodeck was invented.  And how much of that desire to finally inhabit the Star Trek universe might smooth over the game’s flaws — e.g. “It’s not a perfect game, but it’s Star Trek, so I’ll take it!”

Thought the Third: I think a lot of the new thrill of the game dissipated after hitting Lt. Cmdr. and getting a new ship.  I mean, hey, new ship, that’s cool… but the realization that every major milestone past that would be pretty much the same is a bit of a letdown.  There’s nothing strongly pulling me onward — once you’ve done a week’s worth of quests, you’ve pretty much done them all; exploration is meaningless; and the universe a bit on the lifeless side.  Still, combat’s fun, and that’s something, right?  Pew pew pew!

23 thoughts on “Three Unconnected Thoughts About STO

  1. pitrelli February 8, 2010 / 10:26 am

    Hmm your second and third ‘thoughts’ are exactly why I opted out of STO, ship combat does look cool and everything but to be honest I just dont want to reward Cryptic by buying anything off them.

    I see those 1 million subs are also for the general cryptic account i.e. counting both Champions and STO players. Still a decent achievement granted.

  2. Tipa February 8, 2010 / 10:30 am

    Try the PvP 🙂

  3. Higgr February 8, 2010 / 10:39 am

    I just hit commander and i have the exact same feeling, theres nothing pulling me forward exept getting the next ship.

    That is why i consider STO to be a semi-MMO and not a full blown triple A mmo like EQ2, LOTRO or WOW.

    So i decided to keep my sub to EQ2 active and play both at the same time. STO is a filler game that ill play once in a while till the sub $ isnt worth it. My main game needs to be a real MMO.

    Still, i like STO. But this week-end when i showed it to some of my rl mmo friends, i couldnt convince them to run and buy it to join me. I pretty much said, its a game you will play for a month and then read every major patch notes and maybe resub to see the changes.

    Higgs

  4. Randomessa February 8, 2010 / 10:54 am

    The only reason I would even play any sci-fi MMO at all is if it were tied to a sci-fi IP I already adored, such as Star Trek or Star Wars (or Babylon 5, or Firefly, or…). So, yes, in a way, I’m enjoying STO “solely” because of the IP, but I don’t know if it’s as simple as that. For example, I tried SWG solely because of the Star Wars IP, but didn’t care for it once the thriill of “ooh, Han Solo is takling to me!” wore off.

    In the meantime, ooh, Miral Paris is talking to me!

  5. Jim February 8, 2010 / 10:57 am

    I feel the same way. Nothing is there to pull me on. I have not even made it to Lt. Cmdr and I don’t really feel like getting there.

    There is way to little progress. I have played for over 15 hours and I am still in the same ship with the same skills that I had 1 hour into the game. I am still doing basically the same quest in visually look like the same systems.

    There is not enough variety to hold me for much longer unless things change drastically at Lt. Cmdr.

    It is a shame to. While I may not be the biggest trekkie ever, I do still enjoy it and have watched enough to get into the lore.

    I really want a good sci-fi game and this does not seem like it will be it.

  6. Scott M. February 8, 2010 / 11:00 am

    I just hit Lieutenant 10 and am starting to dread warping into a system on a patrol mission and having to kill 10 rats (or in this case 5 squadrons of klingons/orions/etc). The story episodes are still relatively fun, but most of the game is starting to feel very repetitive. To me, STO feels more like a persistent Star Trek combat simulator than an MMO. So much wasted potential.

  7. David February 8, 2010 / 11:15 am

    I’m a Treker who was very excited for this game. I will not be subscribing.

    1. I think it’s silly having a(n inter)national release and then offering marketing tie-ins with chains that do not exist in every state. What’s wrong – did Burger King tell them to jam it? It’s a minor quibble but it soured me knowing that I need to buy a cup off eBay, drive several states away or just not have access to content available to those who live in the ‘right states’.

    2. Personally, speaking – 42 person instances lead to a feeling of disconnectedness – but being disconnected in a Yahoo Chatroom. Spam just keeps rolling up the chatbox so I know others are out there. (No thanks, Dion, I don’t want to buy gold) But it’s a bit like being a battery hen. I am in my box packed to the full with 41 other chickens. I know there are many more boxes with 42 chickens in and if I want to, I can change boxes. But so what? All I get is a change in the spam flavor. I’m still in a box. I can’t shake the intense dislike for an entire universe of identical boxes. I don’t know if I am explaining it how I want to – but the game feels like a series of leaps from instance to instance and not like I’m in a virtual Star Trek universe.

    3. The game might be a universe wide – but it’s only a quest deep. Go to Box A. Do Action B. Return to the Nexus. Ok – Now go to Box B. Do Action A. Return to the Nexus. It’s flat and two dimensional. In boxes. And if I wanted combat, I’d be playing EVE running missions.

    On the whole, the lack of a sense of scope; of being engaged in a universe and making a difference; and a hugely space oriented combat slant just isn’t what I was looking for. I feel like I’m playing a single player game – albeit with a chatroom. I’m an inveterate soloer, but there is a sense of discomfort that I really can’t quite articulate.

    It’s a great game, doubtless, but it is not what I see in my mind when I think STMMORPG. I wish it well. I’ll keep looking.

  8. brannagar February 8, 2010 / 11:19 am

    It’s a bad game. One that is existing on its license alone. Once that novelty wears off it will lose subscriptions at a rapid pace.

    Of course, Cryptic’s business practices are not helping matters and only serve to further inflame the players on a consistent basis. Charging for races in a cash shop? What? People pay a sub fee so they do not have to deal with a cash shop! Yet, Cryptic expects to get the best of both worlds. How long do you think before they announce another zone and expect people to pay for end game content that should have been there from the start? Like they recently did with Champions Online.

    I tried to warn people. Cryptic is a horrible company that has proven it time and time again. Why people felt that this would be different, I have no idea. I can not believe people actually gave their money to this horrible excuse for a company.

    As for the space combat, I was correct when I guessed that Allods Online’s Astral ship combat would be superior to ST:O’s space combat. It is superior, by a long shot. Sad to see the Star Trek franchise devolve to this dreck but it was completely forseeable when Cryptic took it over.

  9. Spidubic February 8, 2010 / 11:45 am

    Still loving STO at the moment. Hit Lt Cmdr And got my next ship so that has kept me going. But you do begin to wonder is that all? Questing is starting to get that repetitive feel to it. And even though I have a new ship and it has opened up rear torps and a couple of new skills it still leaves me wanting. I know I will play the month out but beyond that………………don’t know.

  10. canazza February 8, 2010 / 11:55 am

    I’m playing for the full free month atleast (perhaps 1 month on) – there is no way i’m shelling out for lifetime or 6mo after what happened with Champions.

    This will be Cryptics third MMO. Here’s hoping they’ve learned how to craft end-game content… when it comes out anyway 😛

  11. Rackham February 8, 2010 / 1:03 pm

    I’m still in the early phases of leveling (casual gamer times mixed with trying to level both Federation AND Klingon), so the whole “new shiny” is still prevalent in STO for me.

    However, isn’t it safe to say that “just getting a new ship” is pretty much the same thing as “just getting the next Tier of gear in WoW”? Or “just getting that next achievement”?

    Personally, I’ll take a ship over tier gear at the moment because, yeah it is Star Trek, and it’s still new and shiny. Also, once I’ve hit top rank in Engineer, I’ll probably try out Tactical and aim for a Defiant class ship.

  12. Alcasm February 8, 2010 / 1:17 pm

    If it weren’t for the sound fx and the occasionally Trek-like musical refrain I think people would have a hard time pinning this game down as making use of the Star Trek IP. It’s just so uninspired and feels like Cryptic hasn’t the slightest clue as to what makes Star Trek so special.

    They’ve got all of those roaming enemy contacts in Sector Space but why am I not being interrupted by strange interdimensional super powers as I travel from star system to star system? That’s practically 50% of the classic Star Trek catalysts right there! And how could they possibly have ignored your ship so badly? The game is already instanced to the nth degree so why not give me an instance of my ship to explore which, again, accounts for much of the time spent in the shows?

    Cryptic just completely ignored the strengths of the IP in order to make things easier on their designers. Yet even the content they focused on is mediocre at best, seeming amazing only in comparison to the truly abysmal game play they have on display here (seriously, the space combat, while sorta fun for a bit, just isn’t all that engaging when you get right down to it). Star Trek Online redefines “cash-in”, plain and simple.

  13. Blue Kae February 8, 2010 / 1:28 pm

    You second thought is true for just about any game based on a popular IP. I enjoy LotRO for the fact that it is based on Tolkien’s world, and STO because it is Star Trek. I imagine a large percentage of the people planning to play SW:TOR are because it is Star Wars as much as they are Bioware fans.

    For thought the third, hitting Lt. Commander and getting my Nova class science ship had the opposite effect. I enjoyed the new ship a lot and was looking forward even more to hitting Commander and requisitioning an Akira class escort.

  14. Adventurer Historian February 8, 2010 / 4:21 pm

    I agree with the first two points, but I’m in Blue Kae’s boat concering the third. Getting my Nova class really psyked me out, and I’m still enjoying the afterglow. Tripling how many science abilities I can have – awesome.

  15. Genda February 8, 2010 / 4:25 pm

    One of the reasons that I didn’t let myself get excited about this game is that it’s a Cryptic game, and the people that are now saying the same things as other Cryptic games;

    It’s repetitive
    It doesn’t feel like its’ going anywhere
    There isn’t anything else fun to do but fight.

    I think Cryptic has attained it’s Peter Principle.

  16. Utakata February 8, 2010 / 5:24 pm

    pitrelli, I think the 1 million are not surprising. Keep in mind Star Trek is a huge IP with a gignormous fan base. This is what Cryptic was marketing to. Thus those with little on no knowledge of MMO’s or even games in general would be attracted to play this game…regardless of the game’s owners practices of let.

    Also keep in mind that all those subs also include Champions Online, and not just STO. Champions gained alot of interest from Super Heroe MMO community around release time who where looking for somehting new and refreshing other than stogey old CoX.

    It’s also interesting to note that niether StO or CO was trying to go after the WoW playerbase that AoC and Warhammer made th msitake of doing. So they managed generated all these subs despite WoW.

    But it remains to be seen though whether Cryptic will keep the interest in their games. Their current managing practices suggests not.

  17. Ryan February 8, 2010 / 7:25 pm

    I’m still interested in the game, I just didn’t buy it yet. I don’t think I will until they add critically-needed depth to the game. I figure I’ll give the game a year to see if I’d be interested in it — or maybe check it out in the summer.

    I don’t think I’d want to play it until they add a real trade-skill system (“Memory Alpha” seems less skill and more “quest). I’d want to see an improvement in the way the ships are designed — not looks, but more meaningful choices of ships, more things to do inside your ships. I’d want to see a better system of travel — the grid system is interesting, but people should be able to travel from their bridge, play different mini games available in their ships, etc. I’d like to see holodecks added to the game — in a way that’s actually meaningful and original.

    I don’t need all of what I’d want, and I’d be open to whatever else Cryptic has cooked up, but it’s appallingly clear that this game is not nearly as deep as it should be yet. This game, with both space and ground combat, should have amazing depth… and it doesn’t have that yet. As a second, ‘filler’ game, this would be a good option… but I’m not the type to play two MMOs at the same time.

  18. Corvus February 9, 2010 / 2:38 am

    I’m desperately trying to let the strength of the Star Trek Experience blind me to the similarities to Champions Online. The bad parts. Shallow and repetative game play, hazy explanations of powers, last minute changes to fundamental design (skill cap?), even matching interface hiccups (twitchy drop down menus in character builder). As mentioned above, it feels more like a combat simulator. The Champions Online code with a different coat of paint. Which is fine, but it reminds me of LOTRO ‘monster play.’ Good for some quick-and-bloody, not an immersive, engaging home. I miss Pre-Atlantis Camelot.

  19. pitrelli February 9, 2010 / 5:24 am

    @ Utakata, I’ll disagree I do find it surprising. Perhaps im not surprised at the amount of Trekkies subing but more seasoned MMO gamers who know just how awful Cryptic are. If there was ever a time to make a stand with your wallet then it was ST:O, particularly after certain reports from beta.

    Thats just my opinion and i hope people who have the lifetime sub etc do find happiness in the game, from the outside looking in however it just looks like your usual Cryptic lazyness.

  20. royale February 9, 2010 / 8:43 am

    @ Scott M. & David

    You’ve summed up my feelings of the game perfectly. Especially how it doesn’t feel like a massive online world when everyone is segmented into little boxes and is only interacting with a small fraction of the players. It’s too repetitive and too “been there, done that” to really make it worth any more of my game time.

    As far as the “Trek fans will like it more” argument: I went into PreCU SWG with very little knowledge of the SW lore. I knew the main characters and storyline, but I was just a casual fan of the movies. Because the game was soooo good and I played it for so long, I ended up learning more about the details of the SW world from the game than I ever did the movies. So, note to Cryptic and other similar developers: You need to start making a good MMO game first and worry about what skin you slap on it later.

  21. sente February 9, 2010 / 3:01 pm

    Thought 1: The only MMO that I have ever seen any marketing for where I live is WoW. If the market the game in some area, that is nice.

    Thought 2: I do not play the game because it is Star Trek, not a particularly big fan of the IP. But I do love to see and play more SciFi-themed MMOs and STO fits in there.

    Thought 3: When I reached Lt Cmdr I thought that was a boost, same as Blue Kae and Adventurer Historian. Perhaps that is something with the science path, like them I have a science focus.
    If you play the game every day and perhaps a lot each day I can very well imagine it becoming a bir repetetive. I play a little bit each weekend and that is a pace what works just fine for me with the game – or most other MMOs also for that matter.

  22. Utakata February 9, 2010 / 4:29 pm

    pitrelli, I’m surprised that you understood anything I said. I think I adopted Cryptic’s laziness in editting what I post so it makes sense. Boy did I ever butcher that. /sigh 😦

    On the otherhand, I think we both agree with each other; just the finer points on our perception may differ. Either way though, I wouldn’t personally touch anything Cryptic does with a 100k tractor beam currently…uless it’s under different management (like CoX which I am now playing happily).

    I think also a lot of players are going to be shocked when STO starts to wear thin on content…which I highly suspect it is. And Cryptic starts charging for the content updates to fix it. 😦

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