STO: Reviews...OUCH

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STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Marcallo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:03 am

I had something cool typed here with a bunch of links, and it didn't post and then deleted. So if you really want to see look yourself, but the meta critic is at 63 and most of the major sites are putting the game anywhere from 4.7-5.8. That's... bad. Unsurprising, but bad. I would personally say a 6.5 is a fair score for what they've done and maybe do a re-review in a year. But game sites don't do that.

Anyhow, I can only speak to my experiences for 15 levels which have been mixed. Feaduin is a Rear Admiral and knows a lot more. I wonder how high in the game the reviewers got. Regardless those scores are going to hurt them in retail sales for people who were taking the "Wait and see" approach. And I'd imagine is the reason I can give anyone who wants a 10 day free trial a month into launch.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Feaduin » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:11 pm

I have reached the end of the leveling scale, this is true. I had partially written a review halfway through but I realized it wasn't fair to say anything until I've seen more. Since I'm at work atm, I'll just say for now, wait on this one, but keep an eye on it.
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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Marcallo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:52 pm

Funny how a couple days after all the sorry reviews start pouring in they release this State of the Game blog. Also first month memberships are coming up in a week or so. This post actually almost sounds desperate at points. And can he crow bar a few more star trek references in?


Welcome, you noble purveyors of Federation policy and fierce warlords of the Empire! Welcome one and all!

Wait now... Let's just take a moment to de-cloak, disarm and drop our shields, shall we? This State of the Game is of interest to you all.

So very, very much has happened over the last few weeks! It feels like every single time I began to write a new State of the Game, we'd have to quickly douse live shard fires, juggle major play tests and push critical late night patches. By the time the dousing, juggling and pushing was done, the outline of my State of the Game would be hopelessly out of date.

Given how tirelessly we've been working, if some ethereal, omnipotent resident from the Denorios belt hadn't stepped in and considerately put the breaks on space-time with a bit of temporal wizardry, I might have found myself eternally rewriting this single State of the Game.

Thanks to you, oh great wormhole-y one!
Support:

We. Are. Live. And so, supporting you -- yes, you, specifically -- is an effort that consumes us night and day.

Ask any bedraggled MMO developer about launch and they will inevitably assure you that it never, ever gets any easier. Crunch all you like, friend, it only gets harder after the game actually ships. STO is certainly no exception. Supporting a user base as large as ours requires dedication -- no, devotion! Our crew is, thankfully, more than up to the task. We are pushing the workplace warp core to maximum in an effort to better address any and every bug and issue that comes up in-game.

Our objective: Implement as many of the stability and gameplay adjustments you asked for as soon as humanoidly possible (as safe practices allow, of course). To this end, Community has put more effort into moderating the boards and CS has recently staffed up in order to get through your tickets quicker. The idea being, "we can hardly fix what we can't see."

We've also thrown a metric ton of hardware and man hours at getting the server capacity up. Our Network Operations crew has been performing admirably, to say the least. I won't begin to count the times I've heard, "Sorry, Captain! I'm giving it all she's got," come out of their work area, only to be quickly followed by a confident, Scotty-like, "It's done." Beautiful. Almost makes me want to demand them to, "fly her apart, then!" I might just because I know those boys and girls will hold it together in the end, whatever I say.

Bottom line: When -- if -- you see Queues, they should be much shorter and stability will be much better.
Game Adjustments:

Now that the game is out and in your loving hands, we're taking long, hard looks at everything each and every one of you is interested in seeing changed. Cruiser turn rates? Death penalties? More open auto-fire? All those topics and more are being scrutinized by the all-seeing eye of... um, us!

Some of the few things on the way:

* Respec
* Death Penalty
* Difficulty Slider
* More open auto-fire
* Replayable missions
* Improving Memory Alpha
* Fixing those Commodity missions

And there are a bunch more. We’ve heard you and are working on all these issues, but we want to make sure that they come out clean and finished. We hate rushing out features – it inevitably leads to us accidentally breaking things we didn’t have time to test. I dunno – like the Red Matter Capacitor or something…
Tribble Coming

In order to better accommodate our players during the Head Start weekend, we merged the physical machines dedicated to our Public Test Shard (Tribble) into the live Shard (Holodeck). It has since been difficult to find viable hardware to test new patches on before pushing them out to you.

Well, we've got more hardware now and Tribble will be up pretty soon. Problem solved.

Once Tribble’s up and running (insert whatever tribble joke you’d like to here) – we’ll be able to start releasing those core game adjustments to you guys for deeper testing and feedback.
Special Task Force: Infected

We're in the final stages of testing the first STF (the five-man raids we internally referred to as "Raidisodes"). STF: Infected is just about ready to release.

You know, I might actually record one of our internal play sessions. The excited cries for more shielding and healing get the blood pumping. Although, once our testers reach the end room and the action really heats up... Well, it's not exactly "family friendly" in there. Definitely going to be an exciting, thrilling mission for our players, though.

After Infected, we'll roll out more STFs. "The Cure", "The Khitomer Accord" and "Into the Hive" are all coming along nicely. We look forward to regularly releasing these and seeing what everyone thinks.
Update 1: Classy Marketable Name Coming Soon

The first major update is receiving a final coat of paint, too.

There's quite a lot of genuinely cool stuff in Update 1: Classy Marketable Name Coming Soon. Expect to see it pushed to the newly revived Tribble Public Test Shard over the next couple weeks.

New Klingon ships? Oh, my yes. And they look...awesome. Re-specs are also coming, of course. All of Cryptic can't wait to see that particular feature out the door. New PvP maps and Fleet Actions are rather nice, too.
Beyond Update 1?

Right now, we're planning it. We haven't set the future of STO's content into stone because so much of it will be determined by you, but we're laying out what we'd like to focus on for the next 6 to 12 months.

* Who are the Undine and what drives them?
* How can we better exploit the Genesis System to create even more compelling content?
* Where can we boldly go next? Where shall we take exploratory missions, as there's so much potential there?
* Which faction should be playable next? Romulan? Cardassian? Pakled? Dominion? Horta? Okay, not so much the Pakleds.

And that’s not even the start of it! Ship interiors, more bridges, crew quarters, First Officers, Fleet advancement... You have subscribed to a service that delivers a universe unending, and we shall see that universe populated with compelling content or, by the Prophets, we will die trying.

Some people get that. Some people don't. We're here for those that do.

Throughout development, we guessed Star Trek Online might be polarizing. Some people don't get it and some people simply don't like it... But, others fall in love with their ships and captains and bridge officers. Those are the ones who can't live without beaming down to strange, new planets and participating in lively stories.

We guessed this and still we made a conscious decision to not water things down and go "mass market". Frankly, I think that's perfectly OK. Because, no matter what, there will be one single thing, now and forever, that drives everything we do: you.

We have a very healthy -- and healthily testy -- core community that gets it. And there's nothing we look forward to more than working together to make STO better.

Sad part is, you may not even know it. Far as I can tell, there're no hidden cameras and mics scattered about Cryptic's office. So, how would you know that we refer to our community almost as if it were an absent developer?

"Well, The Users think that we need to do more non-combat."

"Guys, I'm sorry to interrupt, but The Players really want ground auto-attack back. Drop what we're doing."

"We already know what you think about a death penalty, Craig – but The Community really thinks it's a good idea and their opinion is more valid than yours because they probably don't own goats."

It’s a little unnerving -- sometimes feels like we work with a giant multi-headed feedback monster that simultaneously loves and hates us. It whips even as it hugs! It rages even as it cries! And it fumes even when it's happy. It's unnerving, yes, but pretty freakin' rad, too.

What you guys post and say and do in-game and on the forums is the biggest factor we consider when making our decisions.

I am sorry if it ever appears that we're not listening to you or trying to make the game better. Because that is pretty much all we ever do.


I bolded the part that seemed like it was saying "Hey we knew the reviews would be in the 6 range and we're TOTALLY COOL with it.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Feaduin » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:13 am

Now that I have a bit of time, I can elaborate more on my feelings on this. I am a Rear Adm now fully specced out and I think I've played all the scripted missions there are. My experience comes purely as a tactical officer flying an escort class ship. Two days ago I had enough cash to also buy an assault cruiser that looks very much like the Enterprise E just to see how it played (night and day difference).

As it stands right now, this game needs work. It isn't to say it isn't fun (i played it for like 2 months now exclusively) but as far as I'm concerned, this is HALF DONE. The foundation is definitely there... the universe is believable because it has all of Trek to back it up. For any trek fan this is extremely accessible with a lot of fan tribute moments. The shining star of this game is, as everyone has already mentioned, is the space combat. If you remember the Mechwarrior/Heavy Gear games, you could outfit your rig with laser, ppcs, autocannon, mgs, etc. In Trek, it is very similar except you outfit things that are more trek compatible. For weapons you have a choice between energy weapons and torpedoes/mines. All the stuff you saw in Trek by the major powers, you can equip on your ship. Each have their own characteristics and specific uses. In addition to weapons, you also get to choose what type of engines, armor, deflectors, shields, tactical, science, and engineering devices and booster batteries as you see fit. With all this equipment, the set up possibilities are immense. Keep in mind that except for cannons, there are no restrictions about what you can use. You also get to customize the officers that serve under you and you can train them to do different things in both space and on away teams. Add to that the 3 different ship types and 3 different captain types and you can imagine that there really is no lack of customization options to suit your style of play.

So with all these possibilities, one can imagine what a space battle looks like. Slow, graceful capital ships trading broadsides and jockeying for position to fire torpedoes... smaller nimble fighters and escorts zip in and out of the fray raking and running... science ships simultaneously fighting and supporting both. I personally went to one extreme by making a captain that ONLY had space combat abilities, specializing only in disruptor cannons and quantum torpedoes. I loaded up my ship with disruptor boosting consoles and I had myself a DPS monster. The only way to take aggro off me is by killing me, another escort takes aggro, or if I run out of range. The drawback to such extreme power is the extreme squishiness of my escort. The way I'm specced, my space battles generally differ greatly from the battle style of the cruiser and the science ship. Usually it involves first picking the most opportune target. Then activating my offensive powers and letting loose a barrage of high intensity hurt. I keep my cannons aimed at the target til the last second and if I feel I can't kill it, then i MUST peel off and reposition for another pass. In contrast, if I try rushing in like that with a cruiser, I risk having my momentum carry me too far past my target and aggroing other ships. The cruiser's approach is totally different. Regardless of what type of ship, all styles require not only the proper management of the weapons but also the vector, shields, power settings and abilities of your captain and crew.

So I have to say the space battles can be a LOT of fun. It can be pretty damn intense and very rewarding when you've out maneuvered and out gunned someone because it isn't only about numbers but about smart piloting skill as well.

That's the good part. And it is VERY good. The bad part is bad.

Mission structure is a joke. Most of it consists of you traveling to the waypoint, blasting the enemy, hitting the intetract key, then repeat. there is BARELY any rhyme or reason to start shooting because the reasons they give don't make sense, or could simply be solved by hailing the other ship and talking it out. How many times do you see Picard or even Kirk mercilessly destroy a hostile vessel w/o first offering terms of surrender? You KILL so much in this game that it does not feel like you belong to the noble and peace loving Federation but rather the Terran Empire from the Mirror Universe. Other things that defy logic.... since the game takes place 40 years after the last movie, it is hard to believe that the Romulan Empire can recover enough to pose any real threat to the Federation. Especially after losing their homeworld that held tight, centralized control and the world that supplied their power. And who in their right Romulan mind would allow fucking SELA to consolidate power and actively threaten the Federation in a time of weakness? Bullshit. That's fucking game logic reaching just to make the Rommies a shootable enemy in the game. Same with the Klingons. The son of one of the DURAS sisters is still alive and has been adopted under a different house? Fucking bullshit. After the discommendation of the entire house because of its dishonorable actions AND the scheming and subsequent inglorious death of the Duras sisters (his mom), how could any Klingon allow someone like that do anything other than work as a Targ poo scooper. It doesn't make sense especially when you consider that Worf was treated like total shit and ostracized by the Klingons for what his father supposedly did. Am I to believe that after Starfleet saved the entire race, proved their unquestionable honor, their skill in battle, their ability to win against insane odds against all comers, that the Klingons would suddenly forget about all that and just reset into hostile conquest mode? Terrible.

There is only one silver lining in this cloud however, and that is in how well some of the scripted missions arcs seem to work within the story. The Klingons have a bullshit story but pretty good missions. The Romulan story is much better as are their missions arcs. The arc for the Cardassians has the distinct advantage of being both really well done and canonically believable. I had the most fun with these missions. The Borg / Species 8472 story arc have minimal development so far as it is the newest implemented but their missions are not bad. These missions greatly enhance the challenge in the game and rightly so since right now they are the ones you encounter at the current end game. All of these arc missions have a mix of space and ground combat that is believable and flow nicely.

The non arc missions are pretty shitty. in too many missions, I beam down and just scan crap along a narrow path. Sure, you could go explore that landscape but it would be pointless. All the action is on the path. All the things you are supposed to search for are within a short walk of where you beam in. Kill everyone and hit the interact key on the object. BOO. Right now there are also BS diplomatic missions where all you do is just talk to 3 npcs and then go back to the first guy you talk to and you're done. Its the same thing as the scan rocks missions but these rocks talk. LAME. They need to keep every mission episodic. They need a full time team of writers to make believable story missions. I should feel like I'm on a quest, but instead I feel too much like I'm just just getting through to the next space battle. non scripted missions feel very rushed.

There are loads more flaws but at least I know that something is being done. The universe of trek has enormous potential, judging from what I've experienced with the space combat. But for the next few months, I suggest waiting for Cryptic to make their improvements. I already have my lifetime sub so I never have to worry about wasting sub fees. But if you don't plan on a lifetime sub yourself, don't waste sub money on this until it is complete.
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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Marcallo » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:33 am

I would say that Feaduins review is near perfect. I played a mission last night that was so well made I wish the rest of the game was like it. If you guys remember in the original series there was a portal known as the Guardian of the Edge of Tomorrow. Well they have a mission involving this thing. You go back in time, fight side by side with the original enterprise captained by Spock and save not only the universe but the entire time space continuum. It took just under an hour and was just... amazing. Every mission should be like that, and they aren't. It even explained something about the Klingon's that was sort of funny.

There was also this great Public quest I did that took place on a planet I had to make a group of 5 and teamed up with another group of five. First we destroyed some Klingon mining structures. Then we moved forward and killed off their artillery operators. And after that we went even further and destroyed their communication devices. Just when we thought we had won the Klingon's mounted a new offense and we had to charge back to our rally point and defend it. After that I went back into space and used my science ship to help fend off a horde of attacking Klingon cruisers and battleships who were trying to reinforce the planetary conflict.

Then I spent 2 hours blowing up ships for no reason... it was less fun than the other two missions.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Windigo » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:44 pm

Let us know how the special task forces work out when they're implemented. Curious to see how well they do instances/raids, since that's where, traditionally, MMO longevity comes from at the endgame. If they can pull those off and keep the content coming, while polishing the half of the game that could use some work, I wonder if they can maintain a solid core of players, or if will have been too late.

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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Feaduin » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:30 pm

The funny thing is that this game's good half might overshadow anything improved in the bad half.

When I talked about the huge number of possible combinations before, it doesn't really give proper credit to just how much freedom you have. If you take other MMO's out there based on fantasy settings, you have relatively few choices in what gear you bring because the gear itself has limitations e.g. 1 handed vs 2, caster only, bonus boost fire dmg only when you have more than fire spells. Because this is based on a ship, the gear is not limited in such a way so you could combine and mix and match to your heart's content (except for cannons of course). Just to help illustrate, you can see from this link here the different possibilities you can create for your ship and you can change them to suit the situation. Because it is so fluid, you don't need to farm for purple gear just to be competitive and you could be competitive even with all common gear.

My current character build is listed here shown for the purpose of seeing the ingame spec tree and to illustrate that while there is a "best" way to do it, there isn't a wrong way either. It's always a balance of Flexibility vs Specialty. If I went against someone using Reverse shield polarity and resistance to disruptors, then my particular build would be at a disadvantage until I swapped out disruptors for phaser cannons, and change my tactic to shoot more quantums for example.
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Re: STO: Reviews...OUCH

Postby Kiawah » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:39 am

Ugh I hate reading this. I want to give this a try! Hopefully when I get some time to play this, all the kinks will be ironed out.


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