been a Star

fan practically my entire life. I grew up watching the original series
in syndication, and like every nerd of my generation, memorized every
episode. I barely remember watching the animated series, and then
rejoiced when they began making movies (especially style="font-style: italic;">Wrath of Khan).
To further fuel my need for all things Trek, I began to read the comics
and novels that came out. Eventually, other series came out, and though
I did not like them as much as the original series, there were still
some excellent episodes that I remember fondly to this day. So, when it
was announced that style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
was coming out, I felt like I was in nerd nirvana. Finally! An MMOG
that fully utilizes the universe of my second favorite TV show ( style="font-style: italic;">Doctor Who
is my favorite) was an answer to my gaming dreams.

Sadly, reality is a harsh mistress and style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
hasn’t lived up to my (and looking at the official forums,
not many other’s) expectations, which I find to be a terrible
shame. I think there is the potential for an extremely excellent MMOG
that fully utilizes the style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek
universe. To that end, I’ve compiled a short list of items
that I think could enhance the gaming experience of style="font-style: italic;">STO
and make players and Trekkies happy. (By the way, I know that a lot of
people prefer ‘Trekkers’ to
‘Trekkies’, but I’m old school, so
I’m sticking with ‘Trekkies.’)

[Note: Trekker usually refers to a fan that lets their love of the IP
go so far as to affect their lifestyle, whereas a Trekkie is just an
above average fan.]

Interesting Missions

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alt="star trek online scanning picture"
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Scans reveal...boredom.

To begin, STO
needs to have more interesting missions for players to undertake.
I’ve had a number of missions where I beam down to a planet
and have to scan a few objects to fulfill some narrative. My away team
and I move around the planet and complete our scans without
encountering any resistance or danger. Afterwards, we beam up to our
ship with the mission narrative complete. What kind of mission is that?
I can tell you…the BORING kind. There needs to be some kind
of danger and excitement to jazz up the mission or else why am I
playing the game? I know some people complain that there’s
too much combat in style="font-style: italic;">STO,
but my reaction is that you need combat to make the game exciting. If I
wanted to do tedious scientific surveys for hours on end, I would play
Boring Scientific Lab Technician: The Game! and not an MMOG.

One mission in particular really depressed me. I had beamed down to a
planet and was told to scan a number of plants that were carnivorous
and were extremely dangerous. I was even told not to get too close to
the plants as they were dangerous. My thoughts were, “How
cool! Man eating plants!” Sadly, I ran around up to each
plant, whose graphic was of a stone pillar, and scanned them while
nothing interesting happened. I would have been happy if my character
had died by being eaten by a giant carnivorous plant because it sounds
so cool, but it wasn’t meant to be.

There needs to be more interesting missions where, perhaps, man eating
plants eat your away team or giant primitive aliens skewer your away
team with gargantuan spears. Having one of your away team possessed by
a malignant entity and you have to restrain him and find a way to
destroy the evil presence. It’s not hard to come up with
ideas, just look at about half of the episodes from the original series.


While I’m a huge fan of instancing, style="font-style: italic;">STO
takes it way too far. When I play an MMOG, I want to feel that
I’m part of a huge community of players, but in style="font-style: italic;">STO,
I do not. Beaming aboard a starbase, you only see a handful of people
running around. The same is true as you travel through space to your
destination. I know that with the instancing system Cryptic has, there
are only 50 players per starbase and a few more per space sector. All
this leads to the feeling that I’m playing a single player
game. For $14.99 a month, I don’t want that feeling. I want
to see a horde of people running around, doing things, and looking to
easily group. I can’t imagine how hard it is for a Fleet to
get together within a single instance. Plus, with less instances and
the possibility of servers, you can see certain players more than once
in a blue moon and you might actually start to group together on a
regular basis. Seeing other players on a regular basis will lead to
more group creation and Fleet creation, which all leads to a greater
sense of community within the game.

Planets and Locations

Another gripe that I have with style="font-style: italic;">STO
is that there really isn’t any really cool and interesting
place to check out where other players may congregate. Most planets are
there to just beam down for an away mission, and the most likely place
to see another player in person (and not as a ship) is in a starbase. I
want to be able to go to Earth and tour Starfleet Headquarters. I want
to explore the Vulcan Scientific Academy and the surrounding environs.
Why aren’t there cities in style="font-style: italic;">STO
for players to explore? Even a cool ancient city that is now in ruins
would be better than what we have now. We’ve seen and heard
of many planetside locations that any Trekkie would love to explore and
take screenshots of, but there really isn’t any. Plus, there
needs to be something useful to make players want to hang around there.
While I hate to cite style="font-style: italic;">WoW,
you can always expect to see people hanging around the capital cities
because they act as hubs for various services. style="font-style: italic;">STO
needs to do the same thing, but create hubs that would interest Trek

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Why is a Gorn forced to wear Klingon clothes? Pity the poor Gorn.


I hope that Cryptic will be adding additional factions as the game
progresses. Personally, I want to play a Romulan so bad, I can taste
it. Having an additional faction makes gameplay a lot more interesting
in my opinion by being able to play for one side and then switching
over if you wish to or even actively working against both Federation
and Klingon. Factions wouldn’t have to limited to Romulans;
there could be a Mirror Universe faction and a Dominion faction as
well. The more choices I have as a player, the happier I am. However,
Cryptic does not to adequately outfit any new faction before
they’re released to the gaming community. Right now, the only
outfitting options for anyone playing a character for the Klingon
faction is the standard Klingon uniform and a couple of variants. I
wanted to make a Gorn character, but having a Gorn wear Klingon clothes
left a bad taste in my mouth. Give us character creation options for
the various races. The Federation side of character creation is robust,
so why isn’t the Klingon side?

Nickel and Diming Us

I really want Cryptic to stop nickel and diming the players to death
. Having only 2 Federation
character slots with the option of a single Klingon slot is a slap in
the face. Paying real money to get more character slots when
I’m already paying $14.99 a month to play the game? I
don’t have a problem with microtransactions as long as
I’m playing a free-to-play game and not a subscription based
game. If a game is free-to-play, then I don’t mind conducting
microtransactions because I understand that the game company needs to
make money. If I’m paying a monthly fee, then the game
company is already making money. Think of it this way: three months
subscription is basically the cost of a new game. I know that
there’s overhead of having servers, but we all know that the
costs of maintaining an MMOG doesn’t equate to $14.99 a
month. (Yes, I understand that after a game launches, the subscription
fees for x number of months are used to pay back the investors.
I’m just stating the eventual overhead costs of maintaining
an MMOG.)

Every new option that the company comes up with should be made
available to all players. I can understand having a certain costume
piece be a rare drop from a mission, but having to buy it in the
C-Store is wrong. Plus, I hate free items that you can only get if you
buy the game from a specific store. I can understand that the company
wishes to have good relationships with stores that sell their product,
but how about unlocking those items a month or two after the
game’s release? All I’m saying is that if
I’m paying a monthly fee to play the game, I
shouldn’t have to spend any extra dough to get some cosmetic

All in all, I think style="font-style: italic;">STO
could be a good game that I’ll play for years if they beef it
up and add new features to make the game better and more enjoyable. The
primary focus is to make the game feel like an MMOG and not a single
player game. Having more interesting missions, increasing the number of
playable factions, not paying them for things that we should get for
free, and to have places to actually explore and congregate in as
players would all go a great deal of the way towards making style="font-style: italic;">STO
a better game. I really hope they do so, or they might not
“live long and prosper.”

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016