Now that I’m back in Star Trek Online and spending a lot of time going back through the storylines and building up a new ship, I’m convinced all over again that this MMORPG has really become a gem in the industry. I know it gets some flak for its lockboxes and cash shop, but honestly it doesn’t bother me that much or seem that prohibitive. There are so many great aspects of the game, yet I cannot help but see six areas that definitely need improvement.
1. Cutscene glitches and lip syncing
Star Trek Online gets a lot of points in my book for going to great lengths to secure the actual actors from the show and for doing a whole lot of voice acting (in fact, I would say that STO has the most voice acting by the original cast of any IP-related MMO ever made, unless I’m forgetting a glaring oversight). Yet it often squanders that with abysmal lip syncing and visual glitches during cutscenes.
The mission briefing screens are fine, but any time the game decides to throw in a cutscene… boy. It’s usually pretty bad. Lots of overacting in the emote department and no link at all between the vocals being said and the way the characters are moving their mouths. My favorite glitch — and I’ve seen this many times — is when the game shows my character standing on top of the command chair with her head out of frame. They really need to throw some people at this.
2. A lack of true exploration
Star Trek is well-known and -liked for its focus on exploring the unknown… yet Star Trek Online has pretty much never had this. Its old exploration system was a laugh, and eventually Cryptic yanked it and replace it with a big “under construction — check back later.” It’s been years now and we still haven’t been able to really go exploring as ship captains. That’s a shame.
3. Explaining the stats
I’m willing to look stupid here by admitting that I have very little idea what all of the stats do in this game. Star Trek Online is one of those titles that has way, way, way too many stats (for both space AND ground), and once you get up in the levels, they stop being self-explanatory. What should I focus on? How do I build my ship? Eh, I’ll just trust that purples are “good” and hope for the best. It’s not like this game is ever going to explain it all to me.
4. The music
This is a Cryptic problem more than a Star Trek Online one, but man… the music in this game has never been that good. Oh, the main theme is dynamite and there are a handful of decent tracks, but for the most part it’s those blaringly awful Cryptic tunes that made me switch over to real Star Trek movie and TV themes while I’m playing.
5. Tight ground combat
I’m not one of those people who hates ground combat. I actually really do like controlling parties of fighters and seeing them all do their stuff. It’s also good to get out of the ship and see my avatar once in a while. Nice change of pace, that.
But my problem with ground combat is that it always feels loose and slippery. There’s too much rubberbanding and delay between what you see on screen and then actual effects happening. It all needs to be tightened up to be a lot more fluid and reactive, especially considering that all of this takes place inside instances.
6. Give you stuff to do inside your ship
Watch pretty much any Star Trek show, and a vast majority of each episode takes place on board the ships. Yet in the game so little of it ever does send you to the interior of your ship. I was thinking about this, doing the tutorial a few weeks back. That was pretty great because it did have a lot more interiors — and your bridge officers even talked. But now all the action takes place outside your ship, and I wish that wasn’t the case.
Also, we need a LOT more housing options on board ships. I’d love to be able to customize my interiors! But I guess I’m out of numbers.