Friday 22 January 2010

STO - final thoughts from the beta

Man… this game is rough around the edges. The latest patch has smoothed things out a lot, but there’s still this kind of general rough feeling, particularly around the instancing. Some times its very straight forward, others it’s just sodding cranky. A friend and I had an absolutely mare getting into the same instanced mission the other day, even when we were grouped, it was just not quite working. Though when we did get in, it was great fun double-teaming in our spaceships.
After level 10 the missions have got better (including the ground combat) and I’ve enjoyed the storylines. It’s the same old MMO style, kill this, collect that, talk to him, etc, but it’s dressed up in a decent fashion and I’ve not found it too grindy. I’m finding it quite relaxing and enjoyable as a PvE game, there’s more to it than meets the eye, at least once you get a bit further in anyway. I particularly like the way you develop not only your character, but also your bridge officers and ship/s.
I’ve not done much PvP, but what I did felt very meh. If you’re looking for a PvP game, move along, nothing to see here… I say that for now anyway, this might change as new races are added and developed. Though I have to say I find Cryptic’s vagueness about the other playable races very odd. They’ll add content if players want it, apparently. Well duh... just add it.
Over all I still quite like the game, certainly enough to buy it and give it a whirl for a month or two. It just has a certain charm, feels quite relaxed, it looks great and, to me at least, it does feel like Star Trek. Having said all that, I still don’t see it as an MMO. I know technically it is, but it just doesn’t feel like one. Some friends summed it up very well the other day:
“It’s like playing a single player game, but where your mates can play with you.”
“Reminds me of multiplayer Neverwinter Nights.”
I think this non-MMO feeling is partly down to the gameplay, but also heavily related to the god-awful chat sytem Cryptic insist on and the over reliance on instancing. Yet as I’ll mainly be playing the game solo, I quite simply don’t care. Being an unsociable bastard I will probably only talk to friends on my WAR guild’s ventrilo anyway.
Hmmm I don’t think I’ve said anything particularly different to my previous comments on STO, in fact the extra time on the beta has just consolidated my first impressions. So in final summary: STO is a pleasant secondary soloing MMO, but don’t expect it to take over from your WAR, WoW, etc. Don’t set your expectations too high and you’ll have fun.

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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.