Space combat is a joy. Sure, replaying the same basic mission again and again with a slightly different backdrop can get old, but I almost don't care. Because space combat is so much fun -- and gorgeous, too! It's as if Cryptic brought to life all the space battles my brother and I used to imagine as little kids.
Designing your own alien is a kick. STO retains the absurdly deep customization options for which Cryptic is so well known. Sure, you can stick with a prefab Federation or Klingon race, but it sure is fun to invent your own aquatic purple space insect. Of course, in true Star Trek fashion, you're limited to humanoids that resemble humans in every way but facial features, but still.
The game's episodic nature is also a big plus. Cryptic managed to imbue STO -- well, the Federation side of it, anyway -- with a real sense of storyline. It begins in the tutorial and continues in the end-game STF missions. I don't pretend to have followed every nuance, but the story has kept me interested in the episodic missions long after I otherwise would have stopped completing them...
...Because they all require my least favorite thing in all of STO: ground combat. I've mentioned this before, but I think the phasers-and-fists action in STO is just the worst. It's tedious. It's repetitive. It's aggravating. I often set my away team of four Bridge Officers to attack a group of enemies, then pick up a comic book or alt-tab out to my RSS reader for a few minutes. It takes a while for those dopes to kill everyone, but better them than me.
STO also still lacks some of the basic features MMO players have come to expect. Crafting, for example, consists of spending combinations of raw materials at a series of vendors at the Memory Alpha research station. Only by buying enough items from one tier of vendors can you unlock the next tier. The system is so poorly explained and unrewarding that I only participate in order to clear my inventory of excess mats. And Klingons, meanwhile, still have access to extremely limited PvE content and starship customization options. They're barely even second-class citizens at this point.
But really, don't let my griping turn you off to STO. I gripe about everything. Example: I enjoyed a perfectly fine dinner of pork lo mein last night, but still I griped that the pork wasn't the shape I wanted. (I like when it's cubed, not cut into strips!) So check out some of Massively's previous STO coverage and peak into the game's bright future.
Massively on STO
With guides, interviews and more, we've had our eyes on STO for a good long while. Please enjoy Massively's wealth of STO knowledge, and of course check out a new Captain's Log every Thursday!
- Massively's STO launch day roundup
- Community guide to STO
- WoW player's guide to STO
- The beginner's guide to STO, parts one and two
- Massively's guide to the character traits of STO
- A Massively interview with Cryptic's Bill Roper and Jack Emmert
- Fleet actions, the Crystalline Entity and you
- Pros and cons of Season One
- PvP questions answered for STO
- News and views about the STO Advisory Council
The Future of STO
I'm sure I seem awfully pessimistic, but I think we can look forward to plenty of fun times with STO. Cryptic have big plans and bigger ambitions for this game. Season One proved they're not all talk, and another STF and changes to the Memory Alpha crafting system are on their way. But it's a steep hill to climb here. Anti-Cryptic hate seems powerful even when they haven't earned it. And many STO players feel the company has earned plenty for any number of reasons: the microtransactions, the game's quick release, the short-changing of Klingons.
But STO has already made healthy progress in its first three months of life. I for one can't wait to see what Cryptic have in store for us next!