Thursday, February 2, 2012

STO hits 2 years, two weeks

Star Trek Online has a curious double-two birthday - two years as a game and two weeks as a free to play game.  This game has been on my list of things to maybe try when it went free to play.  The promise of a raincheck for a free level 50 ship - there's a thinly veiled implication that it will be cash store only whenever after this weekend it returns - was enough to get me to sign in and grind out the requisite five levels. 

Lt. Green Armadillo, commanding officer of the USS PVD-1, and his bridge crew
It's hard for a rank newbie to say much about a two year old game that hasn't already been said by two years' worth of rank newbies.  The two week old business model is a bit more interesting to judge.  There are definitely things about the model that are attractive to a visitor - such as no charges for content.  The catch is that this feels more like a traditional F2P game than a retro-fitted subscription game.  Case in point, there was a kerflaffle a few weeks back where they introduced a desirable new ship using a cash store-facilitated lottery approach.  Not necessarily an auspicious start to a free to play game, though I'm told that some of these antics existed back when the game also had a monthly fee.

That said, the big thing that this game has going for it is that there are some things it does very differently from what we see in any MMO - not just the space combat system but how the crew system is used to determine your ship's abilities.  While I maintain that free to play games that charge for content are generally more trustworthy, the cost of trying this one for a bit for some variety - $0 - is not that bad.
The anniversary Enterprise-looking ship, which may someday possibly be the USS PVD-5 (or however many ships I go through before then)
 

2 comments:

Bhagpuss said...

I've played two sessions of STO so far and thoroughly enjoyed them both. I find the spaceship-flying part incredibly difficult, though, even in the tutorial. Until and unless I can get some reasonable control over that I won't be going much further.

I wonder if it's possible to progress just doing ground missions and avoiding all space flight and combat. The novelty value carried me through the first few space missions but I have absolutely no interest in pretending to fly a spaceship even if and when I am actually capable of doing it. Exploring the worlds and doing the standard MMO stuff on land, though, looks quite interesting.

Blue Kae said...

GA, glad you're having fun!

Bhagpuss, it is not possible to skip the space combat parts. Most missions are mixed pretty evenly between space and ground, and usually if one is emphasized more than the other it's space that's emphasized.

Two pieces of advice. One, it's a "tall ships" naval combat not dogfighting, although going with an Escort class ship will speed things up. Two, the first 10 levels when you're limited to the starter Miranda-class ship are pretty slow. The game opens up quite a bit when you get your first promotion and can pick a new ship.