group.” Words I never thought I’d say during an
Beta and with a PUG none the less. But that was what I said the other
day after
a particularly harrowing space fight. Open Betas have become synonymous
Free Day at the Fair. When the barrier to entry is nonexistent,
everyone shows
up. It’s worse than hosting the holidays; at least
I’m related to most of those
people. I have to say though, thus far the in-game chat and forums
(other than
official forums which are always full of bile) have been surprisingly
civil and
upbeat for STO’s open beta, which is a refreshing change.

class="MsoNormal"> style="width: 334px; height: 215px;" alt="Opening Quest"

style="">Onward and Upward

programs are an interesting time in the development of
a new game. What used to be a time for testing is now more of a
and a game’s opportunity for a first impression with the
Typically the development team is testing server loads and how to
handle the
huge influx of players. In STO though, major changes to the gameplay
occurring from the closed to open beta and beyond.

It is
this beta player’s opinion that the game has undergone
some incredible changes over the last few weeks. The space combat has
been sped
up and refined to create a much more responsive and dare I say more fun
environment. The UI for the space travel/combat has also undergone
improvements. The way in which the weapons are fired is now more
intuitive and
user friendly.

style="">Grouping in beta, are
you kidding me?

isn’t the first game to include public quests or other
mechanics to get players to work together. I would say though that the
works very well so far. Zoning into a mission can land you into a group
automatically where everyone works together to defeat a common foe. The
missions are fairly straight forward and it’s in
everyone’s best interest to
take out the enemies. There isn’t much actual teamwork
required, just aim and
fire. I’ve been surprised by two social impacts of this
system. First, in
general chat players are actually recruiting for group quests and
seeing things
like “Meet at the Bhea System for anyone
interested” is not uncommon. Secondly,
the grouping is easy and fun. And if for some reason it
isn’t, you can just
leave. No questions asked. I’m sure there is some ass-hat
quotient out there,
but thankfully they aren’t playing when or where I am.

style="">Away Team Away

One of
the common concerns discussed in the previews and
forums is the ground combat. The improvement in the land-based combat
noticeable thus far and the AI for player’s away team is
significantly better.
The science officer routinely boosts my shields back up now where he
used to be
off picking daisies when I needed him. If Cryptic can continue these
significant improvements, we’re in for some fun planet side.

style="width: 337px; height: 383px;" alt="Good Group Y'all"

class="MsoNormal"> style="font-style: italic;">Don't make me pick you
for a red shirt dude...

style="">Variety is the spice
of life.

aspect of the game that has been improved is the layout
for the various skills. The hierarchy for skill progression was
confusing, but
now it’s easy to see which skills lead to the path players
will ultimately want
to take. The skill tree is very well done, and offers up an amazing
amount of
options. I can see myself spending a lot of time evaluating the
career pathways. Can you smell that? It’s article
foreshadowing, meaning I see
an article about this in my future.

class="MsoNormal"> style="width: 419px; height: 240px;" alt="Go Time"

style="">Launch Imminent

hard to tell if we are in that honeymoon phase for a
new game or if people are genuinely excited and will stick with it. I
upped my
pre-order href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=49006">from
a standard edition to the digital deluxe
just from my excitement level during beta.
I’m known to get
caught up in the hype, but I have to say that I’m enjoying my
time in the game.
I can definitely admit that I was disappointed yesterday when the
servers were

or not Cryptic can keep the pace of improvements is
yet to be seen, but they have to be burning the midnight oil thus far.
It’s not
all roses either, there are still plenty of issues for their team to
with. Here’s to hoping for continued progress.

had a few threads on the forum about early thoughts
during the open beta, and I’m going to start one that focuses
on just the
changes we’ve seen during the process. What have you seen
from closed or early
open beta that has changed for the better (or worse?)?

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016