Star Trek Online: The Revisit

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Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Feaduin » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:34 pm

So I probably said somewhere in the mess of the STO threads that the world of STO was pretty lacking during it's release last Feb. You couldn't visit major Federation planets, you couldn't explore your own ship, the non story missions were extremely repetitive, the ground combat was just plain tedious..... the list went on and on about its flaws. And yet in the middle of the darkness there was an impossibly bright shining star: the space combat. Any of you Starfleet Command veterans (both table top and cpu captains) can appreciate Cryptic's homage to those awesome ship combat systems.

I think I can safely say that Cryptic's version is deeper than SFCs overall because of the addition of the RPG elements. In SFC, you pretty much had a "best way" to play each faction. You knew that a Federation Phaser/Photon boat HAD to be played by careful engine and shield management, high speed sweeping attacks, and alpha strikes. A Klink had to use their maneuverability to choose precise weak points to uncloak and smash, then recloak an GTFO before getting hit. Rommies, Gorn, and everyone else also had their own way of playing. It was fun as hell but it was set and unchangeable.

STO however goes further. While each faction has their own basic playstyle, each ship augments their base style with their own captain + set of bridge officers + uniquely configured ship. Add the fact that any captain can also choose to command a cross-class ship (and do it effectively) and you have the formula for a galaxy that is alive with possibilities just like in the Star Trek universe.

But while the ship stuff was awesome and has even been slightly tweaked for improvement, what about the other stuff that was garbage before?

1. Earth's Starbase - At launch, the station over Earth was unimpressive. It didn't look grand. It looked like a space station you would put in a frontier area. The kind of outpost that you see Picard stop at just to resupply his torpedoes and then continue on.

<iframe width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zfSRXK8tOU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Now it is the full mushroom looking Starbase from the movies. The one that is so huge that it makes the Enterprise look like a shuttlecraft when it goes through the hangar door. The doors actually open as you approach. The only downside is that you cannot actually go inside as the vid shows. I think they still need to scale it up even bigger but at least it's better than the crappy station that was there before.

<iframe width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/bD-fp1GDoEI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Oh shit a vid from inside!
<iframe width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/vsHFbGluGYM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Oh wait, that's demo function from within the game. nvm you can't be inside the thing. But anyway the spacedock is a vast improvement both outside and inside. Inside they redid the merchant NPCs so that there is only ONE npc that sells gear for all levels instead of the 15 different guys you had to check before.

Still needing improvement is the fact that you cannot actually land on earth but they do say they are working on creating Starfleet Academy as a place to visit in the future. Still can't tour the Sol system. Can't even fly around to the dark side of the Moon. But they say they are working on putting all 8 planets there.


2. Planets being dead - Improved. Before you could only fly by these major planets. Now you can actually step foot on Vulcan, Andoria, Risa and some other major planets. I was disappointed that I didn't see Vash on Risa though :P Still not much to actually DO on the planets. I hope they fix that shit. I know Quiznos... er Qo'nos got a major update but I haven't made a klink yet.

3. The Foundry - Well since CRYPTIC can't seem to spare the time to make too many missions, at least they opened up the Foundry for player created missions. Wasn't the Halo map maker also called the Foundry? They are written by players from all over the world and are rated by the community. I haven't had a chance to check these out yet (Foundry is down cuz the latest patch fucked things up) but I'll report back later and maybe then I can report that some of these dead worlds are being used by the players as part of their missions.

4. Exploring your own ship - Well this part is improved over what it was before. At launch, going to your bridge was basically zoning into a room dressed like a Federation starship with no real function. Now it has gained some function though still not as much as I'd like. You can now see your Ready Room and it has a functioning console for you to review your past missions and play them again if you'd like. Some bridges are connected to a conference room. You can now use the turbolift to get to the crew deck where you can visit your quarters, the mess hall, and the sick bay. Depending on the which ship interior you choose (there are a lot to choose from so if you liked the classic look of TOS, the clean look of the Enterprise-D, or the military look of the Ent-E, you can get that), it will vary the location of where you can display your trophies and model ships. I think Picard had the Stargazer on display in his ready room on the Ent-D and then moved his models into the mess hall in the sovereign? I forget. Anyway it's a little added flavor that I thought was a nice touch. Lastly, you can go onto the engineering deck to visit the warp core, and the transporter room which is doubling as the shuttle bay for now. In the future they will add a shuttle bay to store all the shuttles you've requisitioned (or a Delta Flyer you crafted).

4a. So that brings me to something I'm excited about... the upcoming Duty Officer system. From what I understand, all the random redshirts, the random science guys, and engies are actually going to become important. No longer will they simply be random NPC crew that just wanders the hallways bumping into each other. These useless zombies will become actual useful crew. From what I understand, all your crew will be part of a department. Each department will have a department head responsible for the different functions of the ship and they will have underlings to help them perform their tasks. They perform their duties invisibly in the background and their skills have a chance to add to whatever power you are trying to use. For example, if I tractor beam another ship, the tractor will hold a ship in place as usual but if one of the crewmen actually operating the beam procs his special skill, then maybe he adds some shield draining to the tractor beam as well. Someone operating the phaser bank might punch through the shield and take down an engine. An engineer assigned to fixing the holes in the hull might also boost the EPS grid transfer. Most interestingly, they can be KILLED in action (unlike your Bridge officers or yourself) if your ship takes too much damage. Perhaps they get phased into the floor or sucked out of a breach. Whatever the case, you have to get back to base to replace him/her. I like this idea cuz it brings more of your crew to life, adds more flavor, adds even more depth, and makes you feel more like you are a CAPTAIN of a ship rather than just some jerk who knows how to blast people out of space really well.

5. Difficulty - They now allow you to play the game at Advanced and Elite difficulty. At these difficulties, getting blown up or knocked out on the ground has real consequences. You or the crew can get hurt and depending on the injury, you will have different levels of handicap to your effectiveness. Same with the ship as its subsystems can be damaged or destroyed. In both cases, some things can be fixed onboard and some might need to fixed at a Starbase. If you suffer through these added difficulties, you have a higher chance for blue and purple drops. I really like this because I am forced to think strategically and plan attacks whereas before I could just charge in head first and expect everything to melt in front of me without even using half my powers. On elite mode, I have to actively use every power and then some just to stay alive and have a chance to kill the bad guy. It is quite challenging and very satisfying to blow up that asshole dreadnought that has damaged your engine, blown up your sick bay, and crippled your shield generators by carefully using some good strats and careful flying. I'm saying this as an escort tactical captain which means I'm all dps and wet toilet paper shields.

6. Ground combat SUCKS - So they revamped it! Finally! Think of the most boring DS9 phaser fight in the cargo bay with random alien x. Kira ducking in and out from behind random crate missing every shot... alien doing the same thing. Multiply that boredom by 100 and that is the old ground combat. It was tedious at best. Now they've revamped by lowering the HP/Shield of everything so that a few hits can kill. You can't tank phaser fire anymore which is the way it always should have been. You can run up and destroy someone with a bat'leth or a vulcan lirpa more realistically because they die in a few strokes as opposed to someone unrealistically taking 40-60 stabs and slashes to take down. The action is now fast paced and much more fun (and dangerous too) with emphasis on tactics winning the day rather then pure endurance (both from an RPG standpoint and from a mental sanity standpoint). They wanted you to feel more powerful.... hmm sounds like TOR doesn't it?... the end result is that you are both more powerful and also more vulnerable.

The BIGGEST thing on improving ground combat - SHOOTER MODE! In this mode, STO plays a lot more like a 3rd person shooter with the perspective over the right shoulder like in Gears of War. Cover actually works now so you and the enemies can no longer shoot through rocks and walls. Everything can be fired/shot without a locked target so that also means you can toss grenades over walls. The weapons are a lot less confusing now and most have been tweaked, some revamped, and some eliminated altogether. Before the differences in the weapons were in their stats, the way the energy looked coming out the tip, and their secondary fire modes. Now each weapon has different ranges (depending on gun or rifle), purpose (short vs med vs long range combat), function (single target sniping, AOE grenade launching, mass damage mini-gun, shotgun), or strategy (stun vs kill weapons).


7. Ships, ships, and more ships! - They keep adding not only ship skins but ship types! If you saw it in ANY movie, tv show, or even read about it in a Star Trek Technical Manual or at Memory Alpha website, chances are there will be a skin for it or an actual ship. I've seen many different shuttle craft, a captains yacht, maquis fighter, and even the alternate universe Enterprise - D with the 3rd nacelle and the HUGE super phaser. Love it!

8. Crafting - They've finally added some form of crafting to the game. And the crap crafting makes is actually better than a lot of dropped items. Things like the crafted Aegis set is about as powerful as the best borg mission drops. And of course, having more pieces of a set grants different bonus passives. All things crafted are usable by someone and they usually sell very very well. I'm glad I'm not making stupid curio boxes to level up and sell back to the merchant like I was in DAOC. Problem though - the system is not deep enough. The mats are scare enough but I want to see some of the items broken down a lot more. Right now, you just need a schematic and the right number of gathered resources and bam! you have a photon torpedo launcher mk vi whereas i should have been forced to fabricate the induction coils, the torpedo tube, the tube auto loader mechanism, maybe a stabilization force field mod if i want it to have bonus accuracy, etc. I should have to fabricate the sub parts that make the main parts too. I think the crafting system would be complete if you had to source dilithium crystals to make the dilithium reaction chamber to make a warp engine.


------

So yeah they have improved a great deal of stuff. They still have a long ways to go but at least I'm having fun now in a mostly non dead world. Oh, can you tell that I love Star Trek?
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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Sord » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:15 am

Wow, all that sounds pretty damn cool now. I got the free trial a couple of months back and the ground combat was still pretty terrible. I don't know if that was the revamped version or not but it felt pretty bleh at the time. Of course I was just playing through the noobie tutorial area as far as the ground combat went, so I don't recall if there was anything particularly challening. I ran into tons of phaser fire and never died, so I imagine it wasn't changed yet.

I did like the space combat a good bit but I think I only played the game for a day before deciding to not waste my time with it. (I think this was actually back a bit before Cataclysm came out)

I'm glad to hear that things are finally starting to be fleshed out. I wouldn't say I agree with you on a more complicated crafting system though. Having to do a bunch of sub-combines is annoying as fuck. Having dealt with that in stuff lik EQ2 and early WoW engineering, I'm thankful for the simpler crafting systems of today's modern MMO's.

I hope that they do allow people to wander around the space stations at some point. That seems like a missed opportunity there.
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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Feaduin » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:10 am

The shooter mode and a lot of these changes are from last week or around . This review is for the stuff from the end of season 3 and season 4.

The reason why i think I need a deeper crafting system is simply because of how easy it was to master it. I pegged out max level in 2 days. I came from EQ1

As for wandering around the stations, I can play Dabo now on DS9. I've won some gold pressed latinum but so far i can only use the GPL in 2 places. They need more games though but at least it's a start. I'm still very interested in what people think a Tonga game should play like. There isn't enough footage of the game to really figure out what the hell is going on but Dax always looked like she was having a fun hehe. But if that's not what you meant, then no you can't walk around the lower decks or the cargo bays. I think the only time you get to see the other stuff is when you are in a mission and it calls for a scene in a part you can't normally access.

They did say they were going to add the ability for you to lay out your entire ship. That would at least make the ship feel whole as opposed to linked corridors. It would feel a lot more like trek that way. The missions are starting to become more trek like as well since it's not all about killing things now. SLOW progress but it's better than nothing.
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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Kiawah » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:24 am

Has the micro-transaction model changed any? They can have the best ground combat in the world, but if there's a subscription + micro-transactions beyond cosmetic, I won't touch it.

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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Sord » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:16 am

I came from EQ1


Me too! Though I actually came from UO :P I did some basic crafting in the original EQ but never got anywhere with it. Luckily (or unluckily) EQ crafting was never important or useful save for perhaps that big long quest in Scars of Velious to craft the coldain prayer shawl and all its upgrades. I guess as long as crafting cannot kill you, I'd be ok with it. :)

Can you visit DS9? Is it even still around? I'm not really up to speed on what has happened with the various places since the end of Voyager and DS9.
Bye space sword!

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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Feaduin » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:16 pm

As for micro transactions + sub fee.... yes they exist but the micro trans are for cosmetic costumes for your ships and for your toon + Boffs. They do have certain ship classes that you can buy BUT they can also be earned in game. There are a few exceptions to this and that is for the alternate universe Enterprise D dreadnought and for the Peregrine fighter. As for the special Ent-D, that ship SHOULDN'T exist because it's from an alternate time line that was Q's doing. There is no real advantage to having it this ship even with the awesome looking super spinal phaser and the ability to mount cannons because it still suffers massively from its .... mass. The SDF-1 beam has a huge CD. Cannons require Defiant/Maquis fighter/Bird of Prey level of maneuverability to use them effectively. The third nacelle, it does nothing. In order to make it playable, you have to load up on RCS engineering consoles and sacrifice your survival engineering mods. Overall, not a big deal because its supposed advantages are not really. The Peregrine fighter is nothing really different from any other shuttle craft but with a different skin and slightly different layout. The Delta Flyer (which I just game-earned, not purchased) I just crafted is better. Same story with a lot of the unique bridge officers that are available in the C-Store. If you want a kitty cat as one of your bridge officers, you can but there is no real advantage to being furry and having a tail (although I do feel a bit happier when I see one :P). Hmm would it be appropriate to serve a Caitian officer some of Data's Feline Supplement #74 while scratching behind his ears? Anyway, I suppose most of these C-Store things are for people who just LOVE a certain thing they saw on the show/movie but isn't featured more than once and might not be canon. Just flavor really. Oh and of course, some pre order stuff from last year are now available for purchase as well.

Oh right.. the EQ1 thing was a sentence I forgot to finish lol... but yeah I did some crafting for EQ1 so I understand PITA crafting for little gain, though I did make some chain and plate mail for myself and to market for a little cash at the beginning. Didn't know at the time that I was wasting my time leveling up blacksmithing as opposed to something like fletching. I was soooo ecstatic just to net like 5 plat haha. But those were the days of Kunark and after that the economy went crazy. By the time I left for WoW, I hadn't even bothered to craft for years. Besides... who has time to craft when you're a cleric? Anyway, the idea of having a more complicated crafting is that it is simply more satisfying than the overly simplistic one in STO. I can craft ANYTHING because I just needed to raise one all-encompassing Research skill. Once I pegged that out, I can craft any quantum torpedo launcher, any hand held weapon, any personal kits, consumables, shields, you name it. Doesn't seem realistic to me unless you rationalize it by saying that in the 25th century, all you do is replicate what you want. Like the future equivalent of microwave jockeys today - Can't really cook but can nuke up a pot pie or a pizza pocket!

Oh yeah that fucking shawl... man that was a bitch. Spent hours on rare drops in the snow and then later I couldn't continue because I didn't have enough skill and I didn't want to spend the money to raise it. I got pretty far but I don't remember where I left off. I think I was at the end of the blacksmith capable part.

Yes you can walk around DS9 freely. Quarks bar, ops, the promenade, the Temple, and other places are regularly accessible. In addition, since so many missions center on DS9, you will see other parts of DS9 when you play through the missions. I don't think these mission areas are actually connected to the main instance of DS9 on the outside though. But it does make the station feel more complete. I think you also visit Empok Nor as well in a mission. Other stations are also featured in the game and in missions. One mission has you flying a shuttle craft around the inside of a really big Romulan starbase.

So is it worth the purchase + a sub fee? Marginal. It is definitely picking up steam and it is fun, but if you are not purchasing a lifetime sub so you can play at anytime like i did, then I'd wait for more content. They will be adding new factions and doing a lot more shit but that's in the future so it doesn't work for a monthly sub. If you are a fan, then the lifetime sub is not a big deal since you spent more than that on an unopened NIB TOS Type 2 Phaser or some shit like that already haha.

Oh right I picked this Image as one of my mission rewards haha. I broke the seal on mine though so now it ain't mint. :(
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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby PopnFresh » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:19 pm

I feel you on the lifetime sub thing. I would totally play this game with some regularity (once or twice a week) if it was F2P. I just don't see myself ever willing to shell out $15 for a timed 30 day look at it, though.

EVE Online just started a push to re-acquire subscribers that I think STO could learn from. Basically, if your EVE account wasn't active for very long, or if you hadn't played in a while, you likely got an email this week. The email listed all the new stuff, and offered five days free to come back and check it out, along with some skill books to make the early game go by quicker. On its own, that's nice, but I read it and didn't think I'd ever bother, because it's just five days. But then the kicker for the whole thing is if you DO decide to resub, you only pay $5 for the first resub month.

I guess what I'm saying is, I would pay $5 per month for STO access.
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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Feaduin » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:47 pm

You might get your wish for F2P. Champions went F2P not too long ago. Cryptic's got their C-Store all set up to go and they were just dropped by Atari for losing millions. The dev team they have (or have left) simply can't put out a product that does introduce 4 million new bugs every time. The Season 4 push a couple weeks ago did a lot of under the hood stuff that greatly improved the graphics and framerate but at the same time it broke a huge number of things. A lot of bugs that went through were already reported months ago on the beta test server called "Tribble" and yet these bugs were not removed prior to release. When you see that a lot of their work goes into creating new virtual cstore items, then I'm thinking the team is just too small and is forced to create money making items to keep it alive. That's why I don't think it's worth the sub at this point because there simply needs to be more content. A lot more.
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Re: Star Trek Online: The Revisit

Postby Feaduin » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:15 pm

Yay they did it! They added Starfleet Academy to Earth finally. But it doesn't do a whole lot. TOR is gonna kill this game lol.
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