Now Playing: Star Trek Online

By Shamus Posted Sunday Mar 14, 2010

Filed under: Game Reviews 97 comments


Trek Online is a candidate for my next Shamus Plays series. I’m not playing the game in a serious way just yet. We’ve got a few weeks left with Lulzy, but I wanted to clock some time with STO so that I’ll have a few weeks to think about how the series will go.

I’m still having a pretty good time in Lord of the Rings Online, although this last Friday I began to feel the game slowing down. My main is a level 26 Hunter currently adventuring in the Lone Lands, and the game has officially begun to sag at this point. Leveling is slow. My crafting professions are capped until I can reach 40. (!!?!) The half dozen quests I’m doing now are all monster kill quests. I can tell that – as with WoW – I’m not going to get terribly far into the thirties. I feel the mid-game grind setting in, and while I understand why this happens in games I’ve never loved an MMOG enough to push through.

A few thoughts on Star Trek, while we’re here:

1. Three character slots.

A pox on you and your game designers. They justify this by saying that because your crew can have several crew members (each of which is a “character”) that they need to do this because of hard drive space with the tachyons and the reversing the polarity on the OH LOOK A TRIBBLE!

Extra character slots are for sale at the Cryptic store.

Gentlemen. We’re all adults here. Let’s be honest with one another. This is a tax on people who play a lot of alts. It will probably work. I do not begrudge you making money. Could you do me the courtesy of not lying to me about it?

It’s cool. I understand the money thing. This is not a sin you need to conceal. But at least find a better excuse than “hard drive space”, which is like a movie theater saying it has to raise prices to pay for all the air patrons keep breathing.

2. Goldspammers are really bad.

Well, Latinum spammers. Or Energy spammers. Trekbuck spammers. Whatever they’re selling. There are a lot of them and their messages repeat at five-second intervals, which is fast enough to render the chat window useless.

The “report as spam” feature is a little wonky. Right click on a name and you get a little popup saying “Invalidentityname”. Which was a problem in Champions Online as well. How long has this bug been in the queue, anyway? Right click again and you’ll get a proper popup. Then select “Report as spam”. Then you think you’re done but you’re not, because you’re still seeing their chat. One more time does the trick and silences their spew.

And then a minute later another one logs in.

Sometimes there are several at once. Sometimes it’s really hard to click on the right person in the fast-flowing deluge. I’m pretty sure I’ve reported a wrong person in my fight to reclaim my chat window.

And even once you defeat all the spammers, you still have to put up with real people spamming chat with “F.O.C.K. U SPAMMERS!” over and over again, and other people telling them to shut up, and other people trying to figure out how to mute them, and other people talking (guessing) at why Cryptic has allowed the problem to get so bad.

Dear Crypic: This problem has existed in MMO games for ages. There are many, many ways to fix it. Please pick one and do so. Thank you.

3. It’s really pretty.

And that’s good.


From The Archives:

97 thoughts on “Now Playing: Star Trek Online

  1. Varil says:

    …is that really your character? I approve.

    1. Shamus says:

      Yeah. This is the one I’ve played the most so far. I managed to crop it out, but he’s the commander of the U.S.S. Custer.

      1. Yar Kramer says:

        You have successfully created a Wesleyoid. I hesitantly congratulate you!

      2. Zerai says:

        When i looked at the picture before reading the description, I had a sudden urge to punch him, the image told me that he would be whiny, correct in anything i tried, and find faults at anything.

        It’s surprising that you managed to create such a… creature, can we expect a series like the one for LOTRO with this person?

        1. Shamus says:

          Maybe. I’m still thinking about what would be funny. I don’t think I’d do a series with him as a captain, but he might make a good engineering officer.

          1. SoldierHawk says:

            For the record, I think a series with a Wesley-type as an actual captain would be utterly hysterical. Think of how earnestly and seriously he’d take himself, while all of the people with *actual* experience facepalm their way through the missions he assigns!

            I’m so happy nothing like that ever happens in the REAL military. Because that would be awful. ;)

          2. Jonn says:

            If you wanted an easy gap-filler:
            1. Take him through the early (stupidly written) episodes
            2. Take some screenies of the more absurd things you can find
            3. Add some nice captions
            4. ???
            5. Profit!

            Something like that anyway.

        2. kmc says:

          Ha ha! Me too, and then I felt bad until I read the bio. Perfect, Shamus!

  2. Robert says:

    I’ve been playing the game for a little while. I was worried at first that the Star Trekiness of it might be so overwhelmingly cool that I would lose my family and end up homeless, but it hasn’t been that compelling. Reasonably fun, though.

    Not sure what the value proposition of the game is going to be over the long haul, though. Pretty space combat? There are a lot of games with that where I don’t have to pay $15/month…Star Trek games, even.

  3. DKellis says:

    Assuming you have no objections to grinding Cluster Exploration missions (which I do anyway, because the Badges Of Exploration let me buy my equipment), it’s surprisingly easy to hit the level cap in a month or so of “regular” (ie maybe an hour or two a day, more on the weekends) playtime.

    The crafting at Memory Alpha is even more useless than in Champions Online. I’ve tried it a grand total of twice, just to make sure that it really was as useless as I believed it to be. Made it all the way to the level cap without actually using anything I crafted, and never missed it.

    The mission text takes itself more seriously than in Champions Online, but without much actual improvement in writing quality. (Most obvious example in the early game: Vulcan ambassador at P’Jem.) I keep getting the impression that it’s all written by enthusiastic but highly inexperienced interns or something.

    I avoided Fleet Actions and Deep Space Encounters entirely, since I solo. The option to avoid grouping in missions in general was not very well-documented, but I managed to find it somewhere on the (very, very bad) forums.

    Cryptic is still cryptic when it comes to telling players just what any of the skills do. You can’t tell for certain which skills will improve a power until you actually have that power to check. This is not even including the bugs of incorrect/legacy descriptions (pop quiz: which skill gives you Science Team III when maxed?).

    The forums are quite horrible. The worse parts of MMO forums added to the worse parts of Star Trek fandoms.

    It’s a very very pretty game.

    1. krellen says:

      The cryptic nature of the skills sounds like the influence of Jack Emmert. He’s always been enamoured of hiding the numbers from the players.

      1. Varil says:

        Which would work dandy if you could count on them to balance everything and advertise all the upsides and downsides of everything accurately. Which you can’t, so it doesn’t.

        1. krellen says:

          I never said I approved of Emmert’s style.

  4. STO is fun, but I predict that you will quickly grow tired of it.

    Although it’s lots of fun to go *pew* *pew* *pew* with your little spaceship, the associated quest story lines are paper thin. There’s no sense of purpose or epic-ness to any of it. You just go shoot things over and over again.

    And for an old skool roleplayer like myself, that wears thin quick.


  5. Jonn says:

    Definitely agree it needs work, and was rushed out far too soon. The good news is, other than the somewhat mentioned wonky-ness of descriptions, poorly written dialogue and some very poorly considered missions, there is a lot to like.

    Also worth noting, STO has taken the odd approach of putting the most grindy part of the game (which isn’t so much grindy as an overlong ‘learning to play the game’ section, lasts around 10 hours or so) straight after the tutorial. You open up a lot more options – and a lot more fun – as you gain in rank.
    If you can manage to make Lt Commander, its all smooth sailing (so to speak) from there.

    Short version here is STO is aimed at casual gaming. Without going into more detail than most people would like to read: you don’t hit the kind of mid-game grind Shamus referred to, and can mostly progress by following the main chain of missions, called episodes. There are ‘gaps’ where you need to do something else – fleet actions, deepspace encounters, exploration zones and other stuff you won’t care about if you aren’t likely to play the game. It isn’t that theres a massive shortage of content, though; you just need to try a different part of the game at some points.

    Think of it as a game to play a few hours of regularly, instead of the typical ‘grind to the fun levels, set aside x hours to be able to actually finish something’ approach. You can actually get somewhere if you play 30 minutes a day, a few days a week. Whether its worth the subscription is up to the individual.

    You can solo very easily – most days there are people complaining on the forums that it isn’t “hardcore” enough for them, no challenge etc. But really, it’s just that you can set your own pace. It is very well balanced between challenge and easy access to newcomers, the people doing the complaining look for the fastest, easiest way to rush through it and say “that was too easy lol where is endgames now”

    If you like space combat that doesn’t have a massive learning curve, give it a go. The space combat feels Trek, with only a few rough edges. For a very new MMO, it has done well, and – more importantly – there is room to improve.

    If you want a tough game, number crunching and spreadsheets, or are looking for a free roaming game, this probably will not be for you.

    If it sounds interesting but doesn’t have the features you want, check back every couple of months. They’re adding a lot of new content.

    As far as the LP, there is an overabundance of things to make fun of. It’s still fun to play. Hopefully they can see the troubles and overhaul the weird missions, but only after we get another funny series out of Shamus :)

  6. Randy Johnson says:

    The saving grace of Stark Trek online is that it is an mmo with space combat, my two favorite things combined into one. Its major flaw is that it feels like WoW in space. Your ship doesn’t feel much like a ship, and using your abilities doesn’t feel much like being in a ship. My friends (angry glare) are still trying to convince me to buy it, but after a week of beta testing, I was quickly reminded of all the ways that it is not Star Wars Galaxies Jump to Lightspeed, which may be the single best arcade space simulator I have ever played, and its an MMO.

    1. Volatar says:

      You like MMO’s with Space combat huh? I assume you have tried Eve, what was your opinion on it? (personally, I thought – and still hold to my words – that it is the best MMORPG period, but many many people disagree with me, and for many valid reasons. I like to hear opinions though :) )

      1. Randy Johnson says:

        To much effort required to have fun.

      2. Heron says:

        STO is a lot like what I thought Eve Online should have been. (I didn’t like Eve much.)

  7. Merle says:

    I’ve been playing off and on for a bit, and I have to say that EVE Online “feels” much more like space combat – but STO really does feel like some kind of souped-up naval combat, which is what Star Trek has pretty much always gone for.

    Ground missions are tedious, though. That always feels like something of a sub-par Mass Effect clone.

  8. Heron says:

    I’ve got a lifetime subscription to STO. At the time, my reasoning was sound — I was having a blast in the open beta, I love Star Trek, and I had just hit the mid-game grind in LotRO. Unfortunately I’m getting bored in STO. If you play for more than two hours a day, like me, you’re going to tear through to the level cap in three weeks or less, and starting a new character isn’t nearly as fun as I thought it would be.

    The biggest problem is that every non-story-arc mission is either “kill five squadrons in this asteroid belt” or “scan five anomalies/strange plants/derelict ships/whatever”. The story arc missions feel a little more interesting, fortunately, but you can’t level up enough just doing storyline missions.

    A related problem is that it pretends it’s an open roamable galaxy but in reality at any point you have just one place to go in your level range. Contrast this with LotRO where you have lots of places to explore without getting slaughtered along the way.

    Others have mentioned how useless crafting is in STO. I don’t even know why Cryptic included what they did. If you want good items, earning badges of exploration is the way to go, but that gets pretty grindy pretty fast.

    Ground combat feels broken in arbitrary ways. Every once in a while you’ll come across enemies whose attacks completely bypass your personal shields, and they’ll ignore your away team and focus on you, so you don’t even have time to heal yourself. Some of those guys I’ve only managed to kill by respawning a dozen times. Anyone know a better way?

    What keeps me going back though is that space combat really does feel like a Star Trek space battle. The large-scale fleet actions (like Starbase 24) are even more fun. I don’t know that it’s fun enough to justify my lifetime subscription, though…

    Not to steal Shamus’ thunder, but I started an STO Let’s Play series several weeks ago on my blog. My name on this post links to my blog. I should warn you in advance that I’m not nearly as funny as Shamus though… I’m sure his series would be much more entertaining.

    (Apologies for any typos, I don’t usually post from my phone.)

    1. Shamus says:

      You posted this from a phone? And you didn’t use any txtspk shortcuts.


    2. Corwyn says:

      Ground combat: My first character is an engineer, and I’ve learned to love cover shield. Always go for the targ or other beastmaster enemies first, cause those jerks will just summon more beasts. Walk around the corner, find the toughest guy there, click for your away team to target that guy. Deploy any turrets/drones, back up, place cover shield, back up a little bit, drop a medical generator. The squad will flock out, the turrets will draw targets to them instead, the gen works slow, but you only need a few seconds to recharge shields anyway. Science officer away-team members. If they don’t have a healing ability, they’re not worth bringing.

      As for attacks that bypass shields. Shields are only good vs ranged attacks. If a klingon whips out a dagger or batleth, it will do melee damage. This is why sword carriers die first. Alternatively, get yourself a batleth from DS9’s weapon kiosk guys. I pack one of them and a sniper rifle or split-beam, whatever I find with the higher rank, and then I have something to bypass their shields with. Plus the knock-down effect and slashing can affect multiple targets.

      If you play science officer or tactical, get an away team with the above talents. The covershield is a must for creating line of sight issues that the ai is currently too stupid to handle. This means your team too, will be too dense to walk around it unless you manually click the ‘go there’ commands.

    3. Veloxyll says:

      There must be something in the water, I’ve also started an STO Let’s Play just recently :O (No link because then I’d be possibly stealing both Shamus’ and your thunder. And that would give me so much thunder I might EXPLODE)

      I haven’t noticed that problem with ground combat. I guess you could get one of your bridge officers to take Draw Fire, then drop a cover shield near them to stop them dying instantly. Honestly I’ve died more in Deep Space encounters (more than once at the warp in point =\ )
      I have noticed ranged attacks bypassing shields on the ground though, and it makes me sad.

      1. Heron says:

        I think it would be possible to actually get stuck in a Deep Space Encounter if you’re not careful, and if you’re way lower level than you should be.

        1) Warp in.
        2) Accidentally hit “Continue exploring”.
        3) Get blown up by the ten thousand NPCs that are inevitably spawn camping.
        4) Wait for the respawn timer.
        5) Respawn.
        6) Go to 3.

        Trouble is, when you respawn, you don’t get another “Do you want to warp out?” dialog unless you’re out of combat.

        1. Michael says:

          Yeah, this is still a major issue. Even if the deep space encounter is within a couple levels of yours. I got into this situation in an encounter that was actually -2, because the enemy flagship and it’s retinue were camping the spawn. And if this isn’t bad enough, deep space encounters actually hunt the players down, so if you’re not fast enough (maximum speed is level dependant), you’re screwed.

        2. Veloxyll says:

          I almost had that happen. You’ve got about 3 seconds of time once you spawn to hit the warp out button before the AI can start firing at you. Of course, you can still die while you’re charging warp engines. But then at least you wind up dead on the galaxy map where there are less ships to murder you. (this happened to me a couple of days back in my Intrepid)

          Edit: and yet people still want a death penalty despite the Deep Space encounter issues. People are wierd.

  9. Taellosse says:

    I’d be interested to see your take on the game. I’ve read some fanboy-ish gushing about the game from a few different sources that made it sound like the best thing since the pixel was invented, and I’m pretty sure as a result that those were not unbiased reviews.

    Though I admit I’m highly unlikely to actually get the game regardless of anyone’s opinion of it. I stay away from MMOs as a rule. I’ve only purchased one to date (City of Heroes), and I didn’t keep playing it for more than a couple of months.

    1. Amarsir says:

      @Taellose, CoH is a good come-back-to-it-every-few-months game. A lot of it can certainly feel grindy, but the ability to solo or pick up a team, for whatever duration you like, makes it a nice thing to revisit every so often.

      @Everyone, How is the game/powers balance in STO? That’s never been a Cryptic strong suit and I wonder if they’re going to have to compound any existing STO grumbles by delivering a massive round of nerfs.

      1. Michael says:

        Amarsir, there’s a lot of broken skills, the thing is, they’re all pretty much open to whomever wants them.

        1. Jonn says:

          I wouldn’t sat ‘a lot’ are broken, most of them just don’t have the info on how they work readily available.
          There are, however, two stupidly powerful abilities that need nerfing:

          – Sub-nucleonic beam, a Science Captain skill that forces the target to wait out the duration before they can use any skills, or even fire weapons. You can fly around still, but thats basically all you can do.
          You won’t encounter this in general PvE (might be in endgame though), but in PvP enemy captains will focus on building this up to more than 20 seconds of “you can’t do more than fly around”.
          If it was meant to last less than 3 seconds, and absolutely capped at 5, it would be liveable. As it is, stupid broken skill that makes the game not-fun.

          – Viral Matrix is a hold, that stops you from doing almost anything at all. It can last as long as 30 seconds if set up strongly, but at least you can take a counter to this skill. Thing is, you are essentially forced to have a counter in PvP so it isn’t what I would call a balanced skill.
          For anyone playing who didn’t know, take a science team, you can use it while held to counter VM, but be aware that VM III isn’t reliably counter-able with Sci team I, you need Sci team II or III. And of course in team environments, they can stack enough debuffs that you will only survive with help from your team. Which is fair, honestly.

          Other than those 2 skills – in a game with dozens of completely unique, and hundreds of technically different skills – most things are balanced. You just need to find tactics that suit your personal play style, which I found very easy.

          1. DKellis says:

            Subnucleonic Beam will be used against you in PvE near the late game, although not endgame per se. (Captain ranks, which would be about the 30s, in a game with a level 45 cap.) A few ships have it; I forget exactly which ones, but at that level range you’re fighting Cardassians, Jem’Hadar, and later Terran Empire. It’s about six seconds in duration when an NPC used it on me, so I assume it’s rank 1.

            Same for Viral Matrix, which I know the Cardassians have. Also rank 1.

            1. Jonn says:

              I’ve been through those encounters, and never noticed NPCs use Subnucleonic. Then again, I was carving through things at a crazy rate, after figuring out a high damage, good tank build.

              Or maybe I was just lucky with timing, or maybe it happened and I just didn’t notice. At least you aren’t stuffed about with 10+ seconds of it, I know -that- I would have remembered.

              1. DKellis says:

                I’ve never seen Subnucleonic used by NPCs as anything other than an opener, even though they should be using it at other times.

                Then again, even though as Science/Science I don’t have high damage, I’m nigh-unkillable in PvE through the use of annoyance tactics like the aforementioned long-lasting Viral Matrix/Subnucleonic Beam/Jam Sensors, so maybe they don’t get a chance to do anything other than an opener. Still, I’ve gotten Subnucleoniced by the trio-of-fighters spawn groups before, and my build is pretty single-target.

          2. Michael says:

            It doesn’t hurt that Science Team is actually a useful skill. But Science Team 3 is a Science class exclusive.

            I’ve been wondering what the Romulans were using to shut me down, at least now I know.

            1. Jonn says:

              Pedantic, might be useful to someone who reads this and goes on to play, though: the skill is currently restricted to a Science career captain. There is a skill training system in place – when your captain maxes out some skills, they are able to train their Bridge Officers III.
              It sounds like the first major content release allows you to train other players Boffs, somehow. Wait and see on that point.

              Separate to that, the ship class restricts the Boff skills. Only a science class ship can use any Sci III abilities.
              So you can get Sci II on any old ship, Sci III is science ship exclusive unless they add new ships, and science captain exclusive unless they allow training other captains Boffs.

          3. Michael says:

            Wait, don’t the Hirogen use Sub-nucleonic beam in PvE?

  10. Ross Smith says:

    You’ve been watching Red Dwarf, haven’t you, Shamus? I recognize A***** J**** R***** when I see him, despite your attempt to file the serial numbers off :)

      1. Stargazer says:

        Remember to tell us about any special StarFleet salutes you might come up with

    1. Bret says:

      The question is, will his inter-dimensional heroic doppelganger show up.

      1. Ell Jay says:

        Glad I’m not the only one that picked up a very definite “Rimmer” vibe. I think the middle name was the giveaway.

      2. Dev Null says:

        Smoke me a kipper; I’ll be back in time for breakfast!

    2. Volatar says:

      Holy crap, Why did I not get that one! D:

      I obviously need to watch more Red Dwarf!

      1. Mari says:

        Everyone needs to watch more Red Dwarf. In fact, I told someone just yesterday to go watch some Red Dwarf because she didn’t recognize the name “Ace Rimmer” when I joined the FaceBook fan page “Ace Rimmer is better than Chuck Norris.” And yes, I am a sad geek. That entire sentence pretty much spells it out.

          1. maehara says:

            Was wondering how long it would take for someone to say that.

            If only so I could grumble about being beaten to it. :)

        1. Volatar says:

          I have totally got to join that page! *laughs histerically*

  11. Ross says:

    Off point of STO, but on point of LOTRO…

    Your crafting is not capped, waiting for you to be 40. You can do those quests whenever you want. Generally speaking, they aren’t hard. Depending on what you’re doing, it may take some stealth and guile, possibly a friend to help you through it…but that’s it. Really. Again, it depends on your vocation, but it can be done.

    The Lone Lands redesign was good (far better than it was), but it also caused another problem…your other “post Bree” area is the North Downs, and at 26 you are about 3-5 levels over content already for Trestlebridge. However, the North Downs is positively a huge area.

    1. Shamus says:

      I need to kill a level 40 boar at level 26. Ok, it’s not a hard cap, but it might as well be. I suppose I could beg the help of a high level player to babysit me, but that’s not a very satisfying way to do things.

      It would be one thing if it made any kind of sense. If I was stalking some rare mythical beast. But it’s just a boar like the boars I’ve been fighting since level 3.

      “Oh, but this one is bigger!”

      Shut up.

      Stupid quest giver.

      1. Ross says:

        Ok, yes, the boar is the ONE crafting quest that you can’t do particularly early without help, since it is a kill quest. The pervasive and (un)popular mechanic of “can’t touch it mode” kicks in. It’s also in an area filled with elite worms and drakes. Can’t figure out why it hasn’t been eaten by one of them yet.

        Getting help might not be the most gratifying way of doing it, but it’s available (just not from me…I’m one of a handful of Americans playing on the EU servers).

        1. Heron says:

          There’s a crafting quest in Bree that appears to be broken, as I discovered last night. Verity Tyne wants you to get a jeweller to make her a Glittering Copper Ring (she used to ask for an Amethyst Ring). I can’t turn in that quest no matter how many rings of any sort I have in my inventory :(

          I don’t really see the point of the crafting quests. Half the time the rewards are for completely unrelated crafting skills, like the cooking quest guy in Gondamon that gives you logs of rowan wood. Sure, you get XP, but there are plenty of other ways to get XP…

  12. sree says:

    just started watching my first ever star trek series and it’s voyager (dont moan.. i quite like it and its kinda big in the uk)… is it me or does the Engineer seem like the dude with the most fun?! he invents techno babble out of scrap and IT WORKS!!!

    1. Bret says:

      Compared to the legendary Montgomery Scott, he’s NOTHING in the inventing junk from nothing sweeps.

      And it only seems the best job due to changes in command regulations after the James T Kirk V. The Galaxy paternity suits.

      1. sree says:

        didnt get the second paragraph..sorry.. im a freshling in the ST universe.. dont overwhelm me!!! *weeps in corner* and the chief enginner in voyager is a woman.. half klingon half human woman :S

        1. Bret says:

          RIGHT, Torres.

          Sorry. My brain blocks information about Voyager automatically.

          The second part was a reference to the original series, and CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK’s tendency to…

          indulge in carnal relations with every woman in the galaxy.

          He also talked computers into exploding and punched dudes. Toss in “Melodramatic Speech!” and you have his job description.

          The original series kinda ruled.

          1. Mari says:

            Don’t forget that he could also lie his way out of ship battles and once took over organized crime on an entire planet of mobsters.

            1. Moridin says:

              I remember seeing that episode. It’s almost as if the writers were told “Here’s the set, make a plot that fits it”. I remember that the excuse was that they were a race of copycats. Which does nothing towards explaining that they look exactly like humans.

          2. Soylent Dave says:

            He also beat God in one of the films.

            (although it was, unsurprisingly, the one that Shatner directed)

    2. Amarsir says:

      Voyager’s not bad, especially the first few seasons. It does deteriorate in later ones though. It also rains on some of the other series a bit because enemies that used stand as dramatic multi-episode challenges to the very existence of Star Fleet end up becoming Janeway’s weekly whipping boys. Imagine a sequel to Lord of the Rings where Gandalf comes back to the Shire with a bagful of 30 more Rings, which the hobbits then destroy in like one chapter. That’s sorta what Voyager did to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

      When you get a chance, definitely watch Deep Space Nine. It was the jumping off point for Voyager and had excellent story arcs, only getting better in the last 3-4 seasons.

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Concur on the story-arcing in DS9 being much better. Same but lesser deal with ST:Enterprise, but I really found Bakula’s Archer … distracting. I kept expecting Dean Stockwell.

        See also the second track on Voltaire’s “Banned on Vulcan” EP…

        1. sree says:

          i’m sort of near the end of season 2.. by golly..i think im a fan… though it is not without its share of problems..

          i do find janeway a bit annoying.. i always pictured a starship captain to be like batman in justice league… not all powerful and hopelessly optimistic but more smart and able to use her wits to trick people… though having her disappear the whole episode only to appear in the last 5 minutes to make a grand reveal would seem odd

          also the whole replacement of the word magic with “anomaly which defies the laws of physics” seems to be getting old fast.. at least star wars was up front with it… we’re calling it force and yeah it’s magic…

          and from what i know of klingons…the “kazak?” seems to be them only in nomadic tribe form in the delta quadrant… there was one interesting episode with them and the “trabe?” but it quickly devolved into “pew pew” i betray you…

          am impressed with the organ stealer race though… really interesting… they’re sort of a tragic villain like Seran in Mass Effect..

          overall i’m liking it..will go on to TNG then DS9 and finally TOS after this have friends with the dvd’s lined up :) thanks for the recommendation

          1. maehara says:

            Kazon and Vidiians. All forgotten about by the end of season 3, and replaced by races even meaner.

            Voyager was okay, up to a point. As mentioned above, Deep Space Nine was the Star Trek high-water point, by quite some margin.

            1. krellen says:

              Having grown up watching TOS and later TNG, I whole-heartedly disagree. DS9 turned Star Trek into yet-another prime-time drama, rather than being a higher-minded and more optimistic space-romp as Roddenberry always intended.

              It’s quite evident to me that DS9 was a post-Roddenberry series, and is the less for it.

      2. kmc says:

        Well, unfortunately, that’s what you always get when an expansion’s released…

        1. Klay F. says:

          thats to say absolutely nothing of Voyager’s magical respawning shuttle-craft….yeeeeaaaaahhhhh….

  13. Chargone says:

    It’s surprising how quickly the gold-analog-farmer spam problem got hit in the head once cryptic stopped having anything to do with City of Heroes. It helps that, for whatever reason, they stuck to the in game e-mail system which, frankly, no one uses. Of course, the ‘report spam’ button adds the user in question to your global ignore list, and the ignore lists got so long that almost every time you reported spam you were unblocking an old (and fortunatly by that point useually no longer active) spammer again. Then they instituted a ‘only receive e-mail from friends’ option, which i think almost everyone is using now… and the problem just stopped existing for the users :D

    It also helps that they regularly tweak things to make farming suck more.

    City of Heroes also sells character slots now… mind you, they also start you out at around 8 per server, give you more with every expansion (and i think you get city of villains by default these days, so that’s another four slots right there), give you free ones for every year’s play, occasionally hand out free ones for other reasons… of course, apart from the expansions, each of these gives you One free slot, and you then have to pick which server to put it on.

    that said, City of Heroes is about alting from the ground up.

    so, yeah, city of heroes spiel that basically says ‘Cryptic sucks’. seriously, i didn’t have to put up with them for long (i joined not long before they got out of the game… then again, most of the cryptic guys who had anything to do with CoH jumped ship and stayed with he game, so…), but the degree of celebration that took place when Jack Emmert left was… large? heh. In very short order a number of features to just make things suck less, that players had wanted for ages, started showing up in the various free mini-expansions they do. (though there’s been some(lots of) debate about the architect system and a few issues with the markets… though somehow CoH doesn’t seem to suffer from rampant inflation. Screwy pricing, yes. inflation, not so much. not sure exactly why that is.)

    ok, totally off topic.

    Star trek online is one of those games where, even if i had spare time and money for another MMO, the company involved would put me off completely before i even started <_<

    1. krellen says:

      The fact that it’s a Cryptic and Emmert production is most of why I’ve not even given STO a look.

  14. Chris says:

    Stupid air breathers stealing all my air!

  15. SoldierHawk says:

    I think this is a great place to go for your next LP, Shamus. Its got tons of humor potential, but its different enough from LOTR to be something fresh. A very good choice.

    Plus, I’m not an MMO person, but I’m personally curious to see how this game plays out. I’m a huge Trek fan.

  16. BarGamer says:

    Shamus, if you need ANY gear whatsoever, or general gameplay tips, whisper me ingame at @bargamer. I’ve taken a Tactical/Escort up to Admiral, and working on my Engineer/Cruiser, currently at Captain.

    Send me spam in game and be reported. This is your only warning.

    PS: If you need more humor in your STO, this fan radio station is awesome, depending on the DJ:

  17. Not Yet Measured says:

    *LOVE* the STO character!

    As far as LOTRO slowing down at 26 – have you already hit the North Downs? There are several hubs there you should have done already and as a hunter you are probably ready to take a look all the way to Esteldin which is the *BIG* one centered around level 30. As for crafting, why do you think you are capped? Are you trying to solo the quest that opens up Master level? Or do you want to harvest your own Master tier mats?

  18. Josh R says:

    The problem I have with MMOs in space is that if I do plan to go exploring, with someone that likes to go exploring, I have the feeling that we will become bored very quickly because space is very samey.
    No water world, no ice world, no fire world… Just space…
    No idea if this is accurate, But that’s just how I see it.

    Not that that will stop me trying the KOTOR MMO. That i am waiting for with much anticipation.

    1. Ramsus says:

      I too am looking forwards to TOR. I also look forward to Shamus potentially doing a Let’s Play of that.

    2. Jonn says:

      The good news is, the dev team has heard the players on this. They are working on totally revamping the exploration system, apparently, at the very least they will add more variety.

      Since people who were around in the early stages of the game aren’t supposed to say they were, I can’t tell you why I know theres plenty of easy changes they can make to improve the system. Think: things that weren’t totally bug free in time for launch.

  19. Legendary Bard says:

    I didn’t enjoy STO as much as I thought I would. It was really really cool for awhile, but it just got extremely repetitive. Fly in, fire lasers til enemies are dead, beam down, kill bad guys, beam back up, fire lasers more, win.

    Just… really grindy. I couldn’t play it for more than two weeks, which made me sad, because I really like Star Trek.

  20. Adeon says:

    I was wondering if you’d do STO. It seemed like a logical candidate. There is a lot of good writing but there are also some infuriating missions. The one most people seem to hate in terms of writing is Divide et Impera (no spoilers for you though :)).

    1. Michael says:

      I’m not sure if Divide et Impera is poorly written or just heavy handed. It’s got a slightly better story than most MMO quests I’ve seen. The trade off is its version of “foreshadowing” seems to be “beat the player in the head until their skull caves in.

      Though there is that twit who insists on getting piggy back rides in the middle of combat and blocking the camera. That’s certainly worth some ill will.

  21. Axle says:

    I am not a racist or anything.
    But all these MMO folks look the same to me…

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “which is like a movie theater saying it has to raise prices to pay for all the air patrons keep breathing”

    Hey,air doesnt grow on trees you know!Someone has to pay for it.

    1. Oleyo says:

      Haha, nice one :)

  23. Amstrad says:

    Really looking forward to your take on this one Wesl- I mean, Shamus.

  24. BlckDv says:

    I saw you log out last night. I’ll second the offer to lend a hand if you need any help, I’ve got an Admiral Tactical Officer as well. Just like in Champions I’m @Adidasu.

    I’m already in a Fleet (Genesis Project, run by Greg Dean of Real Life Comics) and that has made a massive difference in game. If “Leveling Up” is the same as “Enjoying the Game” STO is not for you, you can make Admiral in a few weeks, or even just over a week if you forgo anything but highest Skill Point to time action, but the game is more about helping your friends, exploring the unknown, and enjoying the view (Do stop by Vulcan or Risa… purely “social” places). STO has a lot of rough edges and some nasty bugs right now… but it does capture a lot of trek feel.

    Our Fleet holds regular photo ops, trivia games over Teamspeak, and on Saturday night we took over an instance of DS9 and held a dance party at Quark’s Bar with 29 of us there (The convoy flying from Sol to Bajor was an impressive sight). Activities like these really help to bring out the social and interpersonal dimensions that are at the heart of Trek to me. They are player, not quest, driven… but I think expecting a pre-written mission to capture real social dynamics is asking a lot.

    I’ll wrap up with a re-acknowledgment that STO has many flaws, lacks a number of elements of normal MMO “feel”, and has some odd limits built in, but for all that it does a surprising number of things well, things that many folks have stopped even looking for in games. It is not for everyone, and may end up being a noble failure, but while it lasts… it is for me.

  25. warcabbit says:

    Well, one thing to add. Confused about skills? Right click on an item and choose info. It’ll generally tell you what skills affect it. Generally, there’s a generic skill at low levels that affects a broad swathe of things, a mid-level skill that affects fewer things, and a very specific high level skill.

    Efficiency and Warp Core skills boost your power levels. You want them all. may be of use, as well as the irc. But don’t go into #sto. Go into #stoqa where the sane people are.

    Have fun.

    1. Jonn says:

      Another good site for info is

      Quite a bit of in depth analysis, and simple conclusions.

  26. kmc says:

    I was really excited about STO, but my excitement kind of waned by the time it came out, and when I started reading launch-day reviews (probably a mistake, I know), I pretty much decided that I wouldn’t play it anytime soon. Of course, I really don’t need yet another MMO (WoW, LotRO, and, occasionally, EQ2), but I usually like playing through the trials and seeing what each one has to offer. All that being said, I can’t wait to read about it in Let’s Play, and see some screenshots as well!

  27. BlckDv says:

    Ok… I have to ask two questions,

    1. How did you get the name to be “Eugene Judas Benedict III” but the Display Name to just be “Benedict” and not “Benedict III”

    2. Where did you see extra slots for sale? My C-store still just has Klingon and Ferengi PC races.

    1. Shamus says:

      Wow. I ASSUMED they sold extra slots based on what other players had said.

      They really don’t?

      This company has no idea what they’re doing.

      As for the name: I picked “Benedict” for the real, actual character name. Then there are three more fields for first, middle, last that you can change anytime you like. This lets you name yourself (say) “Bones” but set the proper name to Leonard H. McCoy.

      1. DKellis says:

        They’re going to sell extra character slots in the C-store, with the upcoming major content patch, but it’s not out yet.

        (I don’t know what the company is doing either.)

        1. Will says:

          Cryptic doesn’t know what Cryptic is doing. They’re just hoping that if they keep doing stuff no-one will call them out on it.

          1. acronix says:

            And if anyone do, they´ll just put their hands on their ears and keep doing stuff with their feet.

        2. Heron says:

          Supposedly the next major content patch comes out… today. Or something. At any rate, STO preloaded a large content patch when i logged out of the game a few hours ago.

          1. DKellis says:

            The preload is standard procedure for big content patches in Cryptic games, starting with City of Heroes (yes, I know it’s no longer a Cryptic game, but it does keep the preloads). Usually they begin a couple of weeks before the patch actually goes live, although this is by no means a given.

            The STO content patch has been given a release date between March 18 to March 31, meaning they can release anytime in that period and still be considered on schedule.

      2. Soylent Dave says:

        There was a ‘Lifetime subscription deal’ that gave people two extra character slots (as well as various other bits and bobs), apparently – but I believe they were pre-order perks only.

        (so they are aware of the concept of selling people extra character slots, if nothing else)

        1. Michael says:

          It was Liberated Borg as a player race, and two extra character slots.

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