Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Star Trek Online Game - Should I Engage?

In case there was any doubt, let me say now that I love Star Trek. I'm biased to Next Gen (Picard!), but I like Original too (Spock!). I even enjoyed a good percentage of Deep Space 9 and Voyager (though I actively avoided Enterprise. Couldn't even buy into that one). I'm such a fan girl that I've read quite a few of the books that are supposed to take place in the Star Trek universe.

Oh, and I may have attended a convention. Or two.

And met some cast members.

And have an autographed photo of John de Lancie (Q).

And named a pet after a character (also Q).

Wow, when you commit that all to fake paper, it's something, isn't it? Don't judge me too harshly.

Given this love, I was pretty excited to hear about the new MMORPG Star Trek game coming out from Cryptic Studios. It's only been available for beta testing until now. There's been household discussion about taking on a new geek endeavor (for me) and branching out into the world of MMO gaming, so this release is well timed.

However, several reviews seem to indicate mixed reviews. On the one hand, character development appears to be very promising (via Mike Smith at Yahoo Video games):

There's near-universal agreement on at least one point: the game's character generation is awesome. That'll be no big surprise to anyone who's followed its developer, Cryptic Studios, for any length of time: flexible, fascinating character design is practically their signature move. If you sit down with the game, expect to spend some considerable time poring over its options.

On the other hand, the game is set 30 years after Nemesis, with the Federation engulfed in war. So the focus of the game is on combat, rather than exploration or diplomacy. Some reviews note that dedicated Trek fans may be disappointed with this deviation from show canon, though apparently this may also be dependent on what kind of Trek fan you are.

Another issue that's come up in a few reviews is that of the combat play itself (via io9):

Less cool is the clunky ground combat on away missions, which all seem to devolve into a basic shoot-em-up that feels very un-Trekky. The lack of full three-dimensional space combat is also a drag. Starships maneuver like underpowered airplanes, unable to loop, roll or deviate from the arbitrary flat "plane" of space by more than 45 degrees.

I guess these reviews leave me undecided on whether or not to try the game. As a newbie to online gaming in the first place, I wonder if it is safer to try a more established, well-loved game.

The cost appears to be in line with similar games ($14.99 monthly fee, with $50 initial purchase price). Given my cautious nature and upcoming tax bill, maybe I'll wait until user reviews are in and see where it lands.

There's always World of Warcraft and Everquest, right?

1 comment:

  1. I have a free trial for Star Trek online. I wouldn't dive into this game as your first crack at an MMOG. Please don't. I think you'll have a hard time swallowing that one as well. Warcraft really is a great gateway MMOG to see if you'll like them. I also hear that Lord of the Rings MMOG is really good. A lot of people who play/played WoW jumped ship over to that one. If you're a Tolkien fan you might want to check it out. It also has some unique and fun gameplay.
    Oh, and THQ just announced a Warhammer 40K MMOG in the works. But that's going to be awhile and I've heard nothing more on it but I have a softspot and love for Warhammer 40K.