Star Trek Online: Improving Over Time
On February 2, 2010 my dream of commanding my own starship came true with Star Trek Online (STO) leaving Spacedock. I had only played one beta weekend and was not able to play for very long, so I didn’t know whether I would enjoy the game or not. After purchasing the game and inputting my code for a Star Trek Original series starship, I began to play.
I enjoyed the space combat and was excited for this game, even with the long queues and lag time on launch day. Then came ground combat, which killed my enthusiasm. The ground combat was very clunky, and the reaction times were terrible for an MMO. It reminded me a lot of a slightly faster version of turn-based style of combat.
Since the ground combat was not enjoyable, I tried my hardest to avoid these missions as much as possible. That proved difficult since the story missions required some planet-side activities. As the rest of my free month went on, I became more and more disappointed with the game, and so I decided to cancel my subscription.
The Second Chance
About 3 months after launch, a relative gave me a play time card for STO, so I decided to give it another try. They had just launched their Season 1: Common Ground patch in March 2010, which added some higher level content, new ships, added captain skills, achievement systems, a crafting system revamp and UI Improvements. I tried the crafting system out and didn’t really get into it. Some of the UI improvements made the game somewhat more enjoyable, but the ground missions were not that much better. I still was not impressed and wasn’t really having that much fun, and after a few more months, I dropped the subscription again.
It was almost a year later when I came back to try it out again. STO had launched a new 3rd person shooter mode option for the ground combat with their Season 4 patch. It was a huge upgrade, and I decided to renew my subscription for some time again. The ground combat was now playable in the action shooter style to which I was accustomed playing.
Going Free to Play
Perfect World announced in September 2011 that STO would be free-to-play (f2p) in the upcoming Season 5 patch. The change to f2p occurred in January of 2012. I know the f2p versus pay-to-play is an ongoing debate in the MMO community, but in this case f2p with a cash shop was a smart move that likely saved the game. Gamers could now buy ‘zen’ (the in-game currency) and get special starships, uniforms, mini-pets, and weapon skins. These ships were not any better that the ones included in the base game, but they were better skins. I know I spent some cash on some of the starships as well as different uniforms.
November 13th saw the launch of the “Legacy of Romulus” expansion which included the Romulans as a playable race. In addition to playing as Starfleet or Klingon officers, players could now start as a Romulan refugee trying to help establish a new homeworld following the destruction of Romulus. Upon establishing the homeworld players then had to decide to either ally with the Federation or the Klingon Empire. With this new race came a whole bunch of new ships to play with, which is the most appealing thing to me. Flying through the universe in the latest ship is a lot of fun.
Continuing on into the Undiscovered Country
What I find the most enjoyable about this game is some of the newest ‘episodes’ that bring back some old stories from the various TV series. Perfect World has also brought back some of the series actors for voiceovers in addition to Leonard Nimoy as Spock. Michael Dorn plays Worf, Tim Russ reappears as Tuvok, and Denise Crosby returns as Tasha Yar with some very fun story missions. Star Trek Online continues to improve with each new season, and I find myself enjoying more of what the game has to offer. I personally will continue the voyages of my starship, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before.
About the Author
Donald Rush has been a member of the Gaiscioch Family since 2006 and been a video game since the days of the Atari 2600. He is casual gamer of FPS, MMORPG, RTS, RPG, PC games as well as consoles.