Star Trek Online – Week One Report

So Star Trek Online is approaching its first full week online (Headstart began last Friday morning) and I thought it’d be good to look back on how it fared in its first week as a MMO launch can range from great to a total disaster.

I honestly didn’t think that anything would pull me away from Mass Effect 2. When I got that I played non-stop for nearly eight hours, but since Star Trek Online has started I honestly haven’t touched it and it’s driving me nuts as I want to see the end of Shepard’s second adventure.

Firstly, don’t listen to the angry Champions Online players who are spamming game forums telling people not to play STO out of anger of a paid expansion coming out for that game. Most MMOs have paid expansions (EVE Online is really an exception to the rule) and you need to understand that most people who complain are really just teenagers without a job and are borrowing their parent’s credit card in order to play their MMO. You see the same kind of complaining in other MMOs when they announce a paid expansion, and it’s just noise that should be ignored. The same can be said about the people on the STO forums complaining about Cryptic’s C-Store and the $1 and $4 options to add new races to the game. Again, the vocal unemployed minority should be tuned out and not affect how you enjoy a game.

I mean one big complaint that’s been spamming the boards is that the game makes you set up a subscription prior to logging in, even though the first thirty days are free. Every single premium MMO in the history of the genre requires this. It doesn’t matter if it’s UO, EQ, EVE, EQ2, SWG, AOC, or WoW; you have to enter some kind of subscription information before you can even play the first free month. People are just stupid and looking for a reason to bash the game either out of pure stupidity or blind loyalty to another game that they may feel is threatened by a big new release.

Every time I see these complaints pop up, I picture this guy.

Enough about that. The game is fun. You can get even more positive impressions here and here and the general consensus from mature and straight-thinking MMO veterans is that Cryptic needs a pat on the back for such a smooth MMO launch as well as apologies for complaints surrounding their previous two MMOs and any content or gameplay problems seen there. STO is a different beast, and the third time was definitely the charm for Cryptic as they have created an extremely polished MMO that honors its license quite well.

Headstart was a bit rocky with the servers crashing nearly every day. However over the weekend they deployed a small 128mb patch, which seemed to fix things. This is only speculation from my experience behind the scenes on a couple MMO launches, but my guess is that the server crashes may have had less to do with not handling the player load and more with some kind of client issue as the client patch seemed to fix the instability. With MMOs, especially around launch, it’s very common for a small issue with the player client to cause server instability.

Once that patch went out it was very smooth sailing through launch. In fact, the main servers held up on Tuesday very well. The account and authorization servers seemed to go up and down, but that’s understandable with the sheer number of people trying to get in.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints that the game isn’t very fun at first. And while it’s true that the first 11 levels (you get your first new ship at level 11) can crawl by; they’re worth going through as the game opens up once you reach Lieutenant Commander and you get your Tier 2 ship. Even the missions are better.

My favorite so far was one where Augment Klingons (remember them from Enterprise?) kidnap Miral Paris and take her back in time through the Guardian of Forever to 2270 in order to try to cure the Original Series Klingons. Once there, they immediately attack the NCC-1701, which you have to rescue and Spock even hails you via Nimoy’s voice. Also while in the past you board one of the old Klingon D7 cruisers and fight Original Series Klingons with your away team all before rescuing Miral Paris, encountering the original 1701 Enterprise again, and returning to the future through the Guardian of Forever.

Missions like that feel like a great two-part Star Trek episode and really make the license work in a MMO setting much better than Star Wars Galaxies ever did.

There are also great little bits lying around for Trekkies/Trekkers to geek out over. While on Earth Spacedock, look outside at the Moon…it’s just as Riker described in First Contact. Look for Kirayoshi O’Brien as a young officer on Memory Alpha. Naomi Wildman is the new commander of Deep Space K7. One suggestion for Cryptic? Put Morn at the bar in Quarks. Sure this is thirty years after the DS9 era, but it’s hard to believe he would ever leave his stool there.

I’m currently a Lt. Commander and loving the game. I haven’t really had this fresh feeling with any MMO since the original EverQuest as everything as just been clones of other games. There are elements here and there in STO that have been done before, but it all comes together in something that feels new and not just World of Warcraft with a SciFi skin.

If you are a big Star Trek Fan you definitely need to check out Star Trek Online.

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~ by ManaByte on February 4, 2010.

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