I really wasn’t planning on participating in the beta and had considered skipping STO all together since most of the beta reviews I’ve seen have been more on the negative side than positive. Yet I couldn’t stay away. I had to see for myself what this game was all about, and I’ve spent the better part of today playing for the first time — something like five or six hours so far. That isn’t enough time to tell you anything substantive about the game, but it’s enough time for me to relay some impressions on it.
First, I’m a starship captain! U.S.S. Aries is mine. I think I completed all the tutorial missions, though the server crashed so I’m not entirely certain of that. I’ll know more when they can bring it back online and I can complete talking to the two NPCs at the Earth station I need to talk to. It was kinda shaky at first as I tried to figure out exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and how. Most confusing is how to find specific NPCs you are supposed to talk to — say like on the Earth Station, and how to find specific ships in zones you need to find. In stations they definitely need to add some functionality to the map or some sort of a pointer along the floor to lead you to NPCs attached to missions you currently have. I can see the names of the NPCs I’m supposed to see on my map, but can’t tell you where they are in a three dimensional environment. In the zones, where it tells you to get close to U.S.S. Whateveritis, they should add a colored pointer on the mini-map, or a colored directional arrow on the screen to point you in the right direction. You’ll experience this problem very soon in your career as the first set of space missions will have you interacting with a Science Vessel that asks you to beam off crew members of four different ships. Finding those four ships in a very busy battle was a bit on the difficult side for me, and then I ended up having to find the original ship that gave me the mission again. Surely this can be done better.
The ground missions are somewhat lacking, most of which have been of the “rescue 6 scientists”, “talk to 6 miners”, or vanilla kill raiders variety thus far. I found all the missions where I actually had to shoot things to be extremely easy. Something along the lines of shoot one NPC, watch them swarm, and target whichever comes after me first. Knocking them down and stunning them while shooting is the way to go it seems. I’d be just as happy if the away/ground missions were never included in STO because quite honestly I think most people are more interested in the space aspects of STO.
Speaking of the space aspect, I realize that I’m still in the uber noob zone but there isn’t really much to space battle I have seen thus far. Simply target and shoot. I like the idea and implementation of weapon arcs, which has been the sole aspect of battles where I’ve had to do any thinking what so ever. That being which way to point my ship. I’m really hoping that battles become a bit more strategic as I get into real content later on otherwise it will devolve into whoever has the biggest, hardest hitting weapon will win no matter what, and you might as well just sit still and slug it out.
Something else I’m trying very hard to discern is what the “end-game” goal is. What is the over-arcing theme of the game, and that simply hasn’t been anything I’ve been able to tell yet. Unfortunately the information available through the Mythic website is extremely anemic. So far my impression is this is more akin to a first person PC game than an MMO.