Your Cheatin’ Heart

Its confession time. I’m playing another MMO and my cheating heart is telling on me. The gnomeling is indulging his secret inner trekkie with Star Trek Online and I’m flying along side him.

My little Bajoran Science Officer is proving rather fun especially as the levels and new abilities tick by.

Lyla stroking a tribble on Risa

Bajoran because I watched the whole series of DS9 whilst raiding last year – the joys of no vent raiding. Thats another thing I’m going to miss about our guild collapsing. I really doubt I’ll ever manage to find another guild who doesn’t use vent. Which means instead of catching up with whatever TV series or music I fancy, I’ll be back to listening to some angry raidleader type yelling in my ear instead.

The PvE  game is split into 2 parts, space missions which usually involve fighting other ships and ground ones, where you run around with a team killing NPCs or picking up information. At first I admit to not being overly keen on the space fighting. Whilst its not fully 360 degrees, I had a bit of trouble with the height aspect, ending up miles above whatever I was trying to shoot. However as with everything practise makes it come easier.

From reading general chat (always a mistake I know), it seems as if everyone playing STO has played WoW at some point. People are still looking for Manrik’s wife in all the most unlikely locations, although some of the Alien species do bear a passing resemblance to Orcs so maybe its not a massive leap after all. The insults and general bitchiness is already in full swing as the 500th person in five minutes fails at reading a quest and asks where something is.

The quests fit the usual pattern, kill x number of squads of ships or ground units, scan y number of objects –  sometimes whilst killing things, sometimes not. With the locations varying from space stations to planets and asteroid belts. There are also a few quests pushing the diplomacy thing, in which you run around talking to people trying to solve their problems without killing everything that moves. These provide a welcome break from trying to exterminate every other non Federation species out there.

Things I like about STO

  1. Character customisation. Alongside the usual Star Trek races like Vulcans, Humans and Andorians you can create your own Alien species with a biography visible to other players. Your character can pretty much look like anything you want it to. Skin colour, hair colour and style, height, leg length are all customisable with plenty of options to choose from. Coming from a Night Elf Priest who looks like 70 percent of all other Night Elf Priests I love this level of choice.

    My Trill Science Officer Zena

  2. Exploration. The first few months are always the best part of a game like that in my opinion. When new zones/planets are completely new to you and every day you learn something brand new.
  3. Privacy options. When someone wants to add you to their friend’s list, the game asks your permission and if you say no… people can’t just put you there and use it to stalk your logging times a la WoW.
  4. For ground missions, if you aren’t in a party of five, you take your NPC bridge officers with you. For example the gnomeling and I normally play together so that means our partys consist of 2 actual people and 3 NPCs. Whilst the pathing AI isn’t always wonderful, they add more choices to the game as there are more skills available to them to pick from than you can have bridge officers.
  5. Tribbles. These little creatures breed like crazy in your inventory, consuming food to reproduce. Logging out with lots of bag space and plenty of bread and wine in your bags means coming back to an army of small balls of fur snuggled up in amongst your gear. Impressively for a species without arms or legs, they even seem to be able to open bottles of wine.

Things I dislike:

  1. No talent respecs at the moment. Which when you don’t know what your doing makes things a little awkward and annoying. It rather makes you feel as if you should be searching the forums double checking each and every point before you spend it.
  2. When you “beam” down for ground missions, there is only a tiny area open for exploring. You end up feeling really hemmed in, pushed down the one correct path of just killing mobs and not being able to wander at will.
  3. No critters or friendly NPCs on the ground other than the mobs you have to interact with/slaughter. This makes the environment feel really fake and unrealistic. Never thought I would miss WoW’s little bunny rabbits and rats.
  4. The ability to use your Bridge Officers on ground missions rather than having to find people to play with. Although its a multi player game it feels a lot more disconnected than say WoW does. Partly because everyone plays on the one server group so the chances of seeing the same people more than once is pretty much zero.
  5. In certain types of group combat, the best loot goes to the people who do the most damage which in a game with support classes as well as damage ones just doesn’t seem fair. Yes of course no one made me play a Science Officer which equates to a healer, but I do feel everyone’s contribution needs measuring some how.
  6. Privacy options. If you are on someone’s friends list, your alts get immediately added without you being offered any choice in the matter. No hiding alts on your main account from friends/guildmates.

Further proof that all game developers have a thing for giant mushrooms

Will it replace WoW for me? Probably not. The ship combat is getting easier but its just not my cup of tea so to speak. However, having watched most Star Trek series and films at some point, it is fun flying around that Universe.

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