Review: Star Trek Online

I’m a Star Trek fan, but let’s get something straight: I am neither a Trekkie nor a Trekker. I am just a fan that has enjoyed most of the Trek legacy and hopes that a new series will one day wander back on to TV sans Rick Berman.

So when I found out about STO, I was curious. The boss, Mr. Cardassian Head himself, egged me on and convinced me to pre-order and get the lifetime subscription. He swore that if I wasn’t entirely satisfied, he’d pay me back for it AND let me leave his lab for a month. Can’t lose right?

First of all, I knew he was lying from the start. He’s evil and a genius, but not unpredictable. Still I get to be a lifetime subscriber to a new game that I’ll get to watch evolve. Still a win because I still wish I had that option with World of Warcraft.

So I buy it and start playing. Early on, I noticed that the missions are even more repetitive than those in WoW, but there are the missions that break the monotony. But for the most part you fly to a solar system, destroy any enemies and/or scan anomalies and sometimes beam down to a planet to do the same. Boring after the 30th time you do this.

The thin motivation for doing this countless times is that you get bridge officer points to spend on skills that improve your ship piloting and combat abilities, and when you get enough you get promoted and a new ship.

Though I’ve now had this game since mid-January, I hadn’t played much since February when I made Commander 4 and stopped playing out of boredom. On Friday I decided to try to get some more of my money’s worth out of the game, and pushed my character up to Captain 5 today.

You want to know something? This game is still boring.

The one saving grace of this game is that if you get a sufficiently powerful ship, like a Defiant class escort, there are times when it actually feels like and episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9.

Beyond that, it mostly feels like any Bermanized Star Trek series: predictable, combat oriented, pointless, and more often than not, boring.

How predictable? I don’t even bother to read missions any more other than to see where I’m supposed to go. The biggest surprise I’ve had in the game recently was a new game mechanic that required me to to shoot control panels to deactivate a force field that protects another control panel that disables another force field. Brilliant. Who do I kill now?

There’s the option to explore as well, but that exploration yields more of the same with little more to offer. You never discover anything amazing, or never before seen… Just something ripped out of the existing series’ mythology.

Maybe I’d enjoy this game if I played it with a friend or two but as of now, I’d rather not play at all because if the boredom doesn’t irritate me, the bugs and limitations do.

While you do move about in a 3Dish environment while flying your ship, you are limited to moving forwards or backwards like an airplane: you can’t just go straight up or down, you have to angle your ship generally in that direction while moving forward or backwards.

You don’t currently have the ability to see any interior of your ship except for the bridge. When on a planet, you have to move around plants you should be able to just push through. And worst of all: today I discovered a bug in the bridge officer point rewards. It indicated I received 501 points, but gave me less than 470, which makes me wonder how many points I’ve been cheated out of.

My verdict? Don’t waste your time with STO unless you have money to throw away and are the most diehard of Trek fans. If that’s the case, I can give you a PayPal address to send money to every month.

The boss hasn’t stopped laughing at me. I wonder if I can find a way into his bedroom tonight to smother him in his sleep…

Oh a rating? I’m not even going to give it one, because that might give someone the mistaken impression that I have some dignity left after becoming a lifetime STO subscriber.

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