Trekking into space
So this weekend the headstart for all Star Trek Online pre-orders started and time to play the game for real. I had not played the game since closed beta, so was a bit eager to see if they had actually changed something or if it was similar to the end of closed beta. I think it has changed a bit, and most of it for the better, I am happy to say.
My start in the game was to recreate one of the character from the beta period, Zorian Zugy. Or at last as close as I could get. The standard races are all fine I am sure, but not being a Trekkie I did not have any preferences for the existing options. And if you have the option to make your own race, why not do that? Now, I have not figured out the details about Zorian’s background yet, but I will work on that.
Entering the tutorial I found that the STO world was a much busier place than in closed beta. There were over 1000 instances for the tutorial zone, judging by the chat channel indicators. Probably not too many players in each though. But certainly looks like a fair amount of people – that was European evening, so probably a lot of people on US side had not jumped into the game yet.
After completing the tutorial it was time to head out into other areas and I was happy to see that the the Open Team option was still default and without the a bit annoying instance selector which one could not select from anyway. I like the auto-PUGing that it brings with it, good fun to jump in with a few others. I think this mechanic worked fine most of the time – just one exception where part of the team seemed to have other things on the agenda. But overall it has worked well I think.
In general I found the mission difficulty to be smoother and more even; possibly a bit on the easy side. A pleasant surprise was that ground combat actually seemed to have improved and that there was a need to put in a bit more thought at times, or the away team could get wiped. I has started to be fun now, good work Cryptic. I was struggling a bit with camera movement in the ground combat fights, but will see if I can get this to work better.
My next goal now is to get to Lieutenant Commander so I can pick a new space ship, a science vessel. Most but not all of the missions I have played so far has been material I have played before in closed beta. For the most parts I have not noticed the dings, which is a good thing I think.
The game play was not all good though – there has been multiple “unexpected downtimes” and there has also from time to time been fairly long loading times when going to a different zone. Not directly suprised by that and something I expect to happen around launch for an MMO. Hopefully though they can sort out these issues soon. The gameplay itself has been quite fun though and I am eager to continue play a bit next weekend when I get back home again.