I have been given a 10d trial key for Star Trek Online (again thanks to River)..so I played it yesterday for the first time.
This is not a review..just my first impressions.
I liked it.. Space fights were engaging and a lot of fun, though I had not much of a clue how to effectively use the ship. I am a beginner and so this is ok. I’ve played only through two episodes and they both felt.. trek-ish ;)
But the problem is, that this IP doesn’t seem to be MMO-compatible. Cryptic tries hard to fit it into an MMO, but there are too many things that are typical for an MMO, but don’t fit imo into the world of Star Trek.
Auction house, crafting, bank… so many ships around earth. Disruptor canons on a Federation ship… The Starbase at earth feels like a MMO social hub and not like a Starbase in Star Trek. Both have in common that there are many people running around..but sprinting (yes..I do that too ;) ) through the hallway or running around with your gun in the hand? Why not auto-holster the weapons when you beam on the Starbase?
And the biggest problem is.. and I’m not the first one to mention it.. it doesn’t feel like a MMO, it’s more like a single-player game. This comes from the chat-system and the lack of interaction with other players.. This open grouping system STO also uses is one of the reasons why imo a MMO can feel not like a MMO. You don’t interact with others, you are automatically put into the group to fulfill that group quest, you don’t talk with your groupmates and then you leave the group without a word. Group content doesn’t need any sort of communication and that kills imo the social aspect of a MMO. I can understand why open groups are so popular ..they raise the accessibility of trickier content, but the feeling of accomplishment is getting reduced because you sit there..alone. No one in voice chat or something like that who also is happy that you’ve finished that evil NPC.
This open grouping system and the general design things that come from it deserve a closer look, because they are really tricky. I don’t want to do this right now, but plan to do it in the future. This post is just a rambling about my first impressions of STO and not a lecture in MMO-Design and it’s consequences.
Last thing to note.. I play STO using the German client and I think that Cryptic should have delayed this version until it is properly localized. I am used to reading English texts, so that I don’t realize when language is switched, but most of the game is not in German and that switching can get really disturbing. Though I must say that some of the typos made me laugh.. My favorite typo is “Schuttle”..in German it’s still Shuttle, but in German sch is spoken like sh in English. I just had to laugh when I saw it ;)