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Thread: STO, my first impression from the open beta

  1. #1
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    STO, my first impression from the open beta

    Finally got home 24 hours ago from a vacation in Colombia (including a 36 hour delay in London on my way back). So among other things, I gave the Open beta a try.

    First off, my computer is 5 years old and at least the processor is below the minimum specs. It is a P4 with hyperthreading, but it do have 1,5GB memory. I had to replace the graphic card this summer because the old one broke down, so I bought a lower mid range card (ASUS EAH4650 512MB). Windows XP. But it just mentions that my graphic driver is out of date and ask me if I want to start it anyway but with minimal settings.

    The reason I mention that is because, besides from all the load screens between zones, it does run smooth. Now, there is a lot of load screen, which tends to annoy me in online games even when they are fairly fast.

    One of the bad news is that I am quite sure it will be very buggy at release. I reported in a bug today where, if I had closed a NPC dialogue, and a group member clicks on anything in his dialogue, the dialogue starts all over from the beginning again. It is especially annoying where closing it initiates an enemy attack. To add to it, when going on a mission, they automatically group people that are on the same mission. Not sure if that is possible to turn off somehow.

    It does have a Trekkish feel to it, but it might lead to a few heads explode on purists. It is possible to zone to the bridge, and invite people over. But at least so far, it is not possible to interact with anything, and it is still not possible to sit down anywhere.

    I consider it to be a MMOG, as I require more than just the option to get XP to spend on skills and abilities. It does have quite a bit of "looting economy" as all the stock fantasy MMORPG's out there.

    But so far, I have had FUN while playing, despite all the annoying parts and have had a hard time tearing myself away from it. So far, I do like the combat system they have made. It is quite a bit of butting mashing (so forget about communicating by using the keyboard in the middle of a fight ), but for example in a ship to ship battle, should I give the enemy a broad side, so both my front and aft phaser bank can attack, or should I go straight ahead so I can use my front arc and photon torpedoes (just a timer, so unlimited of ammo). Should I optimise the energy for weapon power, shields, speed, or balanced through all? Which direction should I turn if my shield is failing? In what directions might the enemy go? If I have any allies, where are they? Any more enemy ships. What kind of specialty do the bridge officer have and when to use them (as their abilities also are on timers). Having a sluggish newbie ship still makes it possible to face a new shield towards the enemy. But if that turn takes me into a small group of opponents, with my failed shield facing them, it can be over quite fast But then, I am still only "level 3". So how fighting turns out to be past "level 20" is a completely different question.

    So I will definitely give it a try after release. I have fun enough with it at it is. Then if they add "worthless, no game influencing, RP stuff" to it as well then I will have a lot of fun with it.

    Anyone else who have had a chance to test it?

  2. #2
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    The non-combat missions never seem to have any real options. So it is just to rail road through them. But most missions I have seen are of the kill-loot-level variety so common in MMORPG's. I wonder when Starfleet adopted an "Kill 'em all" policy

  3. #3
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    The "Kill them all" policy become FED standard procedure after the altered Trek time line became standardized: Following (acting)Captain Kirk's "fire everything" manuver on a temporally displaced apparently Romulan vessel, it become standard practice to kill any enemies.

    Been looking at the game with anticipation. Haven't played any Mmo's before, and still not sure about it now. (between STO, Champions Online and what I'm told is a zombie killing good time on L4D 2, as well as some rumblings about D&DO, it's really only money and hardware that's keeping me out...oh and time, it's always time)
    Sounds like you're enjoying the game, even if it doesn't match the Trek we know.
    Let us know how things progress.
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  4. #4
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    I've gotten in on the Open Beta action myself, worked my way up to Lt. Commander, and tried some of the tier 2 ships (though not enough to really get the hang of them yet.

    My impression is positive. Looks very nice, seems to run smoothly (though my machine is just a month old, so it's got plenty of horsepower). The "episodic" missions are pretty cool, though their more randomly-generated ones could use a bit more variety.

    And Cpt. Lundgren, you can turn off open teaming (the thing that automatically groups you with other people doing the same mission at the same time) by opening the Social window and switching your Looking for Group mode to either "allow team invites" or "block team invites". That should do it.

    And the "kill 'em all" policy makes sense in that the Federation is at war, and (so far) all the things I've been told to "kill 'em all" to are the ones we're at war with.

    So look for me there after launch. We should get together a trek-rpg.net fleet or something, put a little of our own RPG into the MMO.
    "Was entstanden ist, das muss vergehen. Was vergangen, auferstehn." -Klopstock & Mahler

    "Only liberals really think. Only liberals are intellectual. Only liberals understand the needs of their fellows." How much viciousness lay concealed in that word! Odrade thought. How much secret ego demanding to feel superior. - Heretics of Dune

  5. #5
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    I found that one, so I have not been in any random groups for a while.

    I have also found that 'h' holster the weapon, so I won't be running around in the spacedock with a weapon drawn. Unfortunately, most never bother with that.

    I tried to walk but that just made me completely stuck. But the function is in there, so I am sure they will get around to it (well, they might already have, it is a weeks since I last tested that).

    I have made a TrekRPGnet channel and will create one the first thing as soon I log in after launch. That way we will have a bit more flexibility fleet-wise. I still have not tried if a channel is restricted to a faction, or if it is available to both UFP and Klingon empire characters.

    I have still not tried any PvP. But the PvE battles are quite fun. Fighting together with random people, and not using voice to talk with people, can make it quite chaotic. Far to busy keeping my shields up, punching holes in the opponents shield, and position myself to send torpedoes through any failed shield, to have time typing.

    Well, the "Kill 'em all" is mainly a game developer thing I guess. Much easier to program it this way, than to add AI to include retreating, surrendering, incapacitated, etc. Just as most pen and paper games doesn't really supports a non lethal bar brawl.

  6. #6
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    So, is the game out yet (I heard it was February 2, but I'm getting confusing updates) ? And if so, did anyone try the final version ?
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
    Terry Pratchett

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by C5 View Post
    So, is the game out yet (I heard it was February 2, but I'm getting confusing updates) ? And if so, did anyone try the final version ?
    Now, "Final version" is maybe not the phrase I would use for a just released MMORPG But yes, while still quite buggy, the game is released.

    While I have a strong dislike for how everything is instanced and I need to zone all the time, and quite a few things that doesn't feel as Star Trek to me I find the game good enough for me so I will keep playing it.

    I never had time to get past Lieutenant in open beta, so I have still not tried any other ships than a Miranda and a Bird of Prey. But I have found that I am so far using two very different tactics with those two ships. I have an engineer as my UFP char, and will most likely go the cruiser route.

    You need a level 5 UFP char to create a char on the Klingon side, but that char will start on level 5.

    I made a human looking character on the Klingon side. I just made him as a quick test, so I never bothered to really pick the species abilities. But I kind of like him, so I will most likely recreate him while giving a bit more thought into the creation.

    A few tricks that might add to the RPG feel
    'h' will holster the weapons
    /+walk makes the character walk instead of running (by some reason, I have not been able to tie it to a key)
    Right clicking on armour and kits gives a list of options, including to hide it (now sure if it is only I who doesn't see it, or anyone else as well).
    While not possible to sit on things, it is possible to stand on an item and activate a sit emote giving the impression that you are sitting on the object.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your answer.
    Could you elaborate on what you dislike and what doesn't feel Star Trek ?

    Also, are there different servers ?
    I'll probably buy my copy of the game this Saturday, so it's possible I could be found wandering online during the week-end.
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
    Terry Pratchett

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by C5 View Post
    Thanks for your answer.
    Could you elaborate on what you dislike and what doesn't feel Star Trek ?
    Just a sum of details. Star Trek to me is basically about choices, and usually moral ones (Well, TOS is also about Kirk getting the chick, but there is nothing of that either so far I can see ). I have still not seen a mission that include any actual choice unless you count those where you get to pick one out of three things on the reward screen.

    There is something about the space fights that do annoy me from a setting point of view. But I have still not been able to put my finger on it.

    It is a loot based economy.

    Then, as it is a MMORPG, you are going to see people running around at Earth spacedock or at Risa with their weapons drawn and wearing armour. Possible even testing equipment as phaser turrets (a good place to do that would be on ones own bridge).

    So I guess my stance when it comes to STO is a bit like the latest Star Trek movie. I like it, but it is only trekkish, dressed in a Trek resemblance skin.

    On the other hand, the Klingon side might actually fit the theme quite a bit better. "Kill 'em and get the loot" sounds a bit more as a Klingon or Orion mentality.
    Also, are there different servers ?
    Just one server.
    I'll probably buy my copy of the game this Saturday, so it's possible I could be found wandering online during the week-end.
    I hope I haven't scared you off and see you online.

  10. #10
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    Okay, I bought it.

    I'm a joined Trill scientist (yes, deluxe edition...) called Tycho Eniax, aboard the USS Thelema.

    I like it quite a lot so far. It's a very classical MMO gameplay (although I love the space battles) but the story arcs seemed unusually developed and I was relieved to see quests that did not involve killing or delivering something. It's not as sleek as WoW but it has many features that hooked me. Now I'll see if that lasts

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  11. #11
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    I'm enjoying things so far as well, especially the missions that string together into a story arc. Nice to see the development of the story, as well as some recurring characters. Their general patrol and exploration missions could use some spicing up, though. Perhaps with time... we're only in the first week of release.

    Still need to see how teaming works with widely divergant levels in the group, and if the game handles it gracefully or not.

    I will have to try that "hide" thing, Cpt. Lundgren. Seeing the armors is neat and all, but I invested time (and occasionally energy credits) in my captain and bridge officers' uniforms; I want to see them from time to time.

    Anyway, I'll probably be sticking with this for a while, and I will be checking out the TrekRPG.net channel in game. In the meantime, if you run into Alex Romero (a name that has appeared in a couple aborted forum games here...) or Meela the Orion ex-slave girl, wave! Or, you know, phaser/disruptor them if appropriate.

    And if you happen to run into/start a fleet that likes the RPs, give me a holler.
    "Was entstanden ist, das muss vergehen. Was vergangen, auferstehn." -Klopstock & Mahler

    "Only liberals really think. Only liberals are intellectual. Only liberals understand the needs of their fellows." How much viciousness lay concealed in that word! Odrade thought. How much secret ego demanding to feel superior. - Heretics of Dune

  12. #12
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    Well I bought the game (gold edition, so I got the T-shirt )... and the next day my ISP thoroughly crashed or something, cutting off my connection before I could even install the game, let alone log on . So I'll have to wait a bit (next week-end probably) to jump into the STO universe.
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
    Terry Pratchett

  13. #13
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    A bit of feedback now that I'm Ltn.7 and heading towards LCDR.

    I like the effort put into the storylines and trying to have missions chain up as arcs. I also liked the fact that some missions must be solved through some mini games of memory (talk to NPCs, pay attention, then report correctly). Finally, the game's tech is very close to canon so far and it really feels you are arming a starship in a Federation at war.

    However I regret it is so much based around combat. I guess with a video game trying to appeal to the masses, it is difficult to do otherwise, but be prepared: STO is WoW in space and grpund where you slaughter Klingons by the dozen.

    With the support and community that is building, we can however hope for some refinements in the future. This is a very young game... And I know I'll keep playing it until hitting admiral at least.

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    Expanded Spacecraft Operations, a 100+ page sourcebook for CODA Trek

  14. #14
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    Action and adventure are quicker to build and appeals to more, so that will pay the bills. I just hope that as they create new ship interior segments, that they plan ahead so they sooner or later have 90% of the ship interior. Then it will be a small step adding the last parts needed to complete it, which will appeals to the role players that will stick to the game long after the first group have left for a new game.

    But bashing Klingon ships in PvE battles is still fun That right clicking the beam weapons put them on auto-fire will extend the life of my keyboard. And that is a nice bonus

  15. #15
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    My problem with MMORPGs that are based on franchises that I like (so ST Online, and the same with apply to The Old Republic, I'm sure) is that you constantly run into people who name their characters "HoppyBunny56" and "KlingonLoveSlave69" and the like.

    I know, I know...I'm being pedantic, but it bugs the crap out of me!
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for others.

    It's the same when you are stupid...

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