MMO’s, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the Starship ‘Fighting Irish’, its continuing 6 year mission, to seek out STF’s and new epic gear, to boldly over come lags and bad FPS… wah hoo hooo ho ho ho ho hoooo (you know the music)…
Ingame, I’m Admiral Oberion Storm of the starship U.S.S Fighting Irish, NX 93704, an Oddyssey class Star Cruiser.
An interesting tidbit of information is that the Oddyssey class starship is the same class of starship that the NCC 1701 Enterprise – F is. The Oddyssey class is the result of a competition to design the ‘new’ Enterprise, and was offered to players as a free ship during STO’s 2nd Anniversary.
Star Trek Online (STO) is an MMO, by Cryptic Studios based on the Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry. The game is set in the 25th century, 30 years after the events of the film Star Trek: Nemesis. It’s roughly the same time period that ‘future’ Spock came from, in the first Star Trek Reboot film.
Star Trek Online (STO), is the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game within the “Star Trek” franchise and was released for Microsoft Windows on February 2, 2010. Orginally when the game launched it was based on a subscription model but in 2012 it changed to Free to Play (F2P).
I started playing STO way back in its first year as a subscriber. Way back then players had only the choice of playing as the Federation (at least till you got to Level 25, i think it was). Once you hit lvl 25, you could then choose to play as a Klingon. Now-a-days players have a choice of factions from Federation, to Klingons, to Romulans (due to their first game expansion).
Over the years, STO’s updates have been broken up into ‘Seasons’ (currently we’re at season 11.5). Each new ‘Season’ has introduced game updates, new content and new story arc’s (which have introduced friends and enemies, both old and new).
Season 8: The Sphere
Season 9: A New Accord
Season 10: The Iconian War
Season 11: A New Dawn
So, Whats the game like?
In STO like most MMO’s, you level up your character. STO has a level cap of 60, which means when you start a new character you begin at level 1, and as you gain xp from completing missions etc , you’ld progess thru the levels till you hit level 60 (as its Star Trek you start the game as a luetenant and advance up to Admiral).
During character creation you choose a career path, Tactical, Engineering, or Science. They’re equivelent to a DPS, a Tank, or a Spell Caster in other MMO’s.
STO has Dungeons and Raids, just any other MMO. Although in STO they’re called Red Alerts and Special Task Forces (STF’s).
Instead of being based on just a world, or plane of existance, STO is based in the Star Trek universe (so that would be the Alpha, Beta, and Delta Quadrants of the universe). The missions/ quests in the game are based on planets and in solar systems, with your Captain and Away Team for planet based ones and you controlling your Starship for the space ones. Combat takes place on both planets and in space.
Just like other MMO’s, you have the option of joining a ‘Guild‘, although in STO, they are called ‘Fleets‘. Fleets can have a big impact on players, as they can be leveled up, granting access to improved versions of Starships, Equipment, Items, Doff’s, Boff’s and more Dilithium.
Just like any other MMO, there is a crafting system (called R&D, in STO). The crafting system in STO is a bit different to other MMO’s i have played. Instead of being ‘locked’ into a certain crafting skill, the whole crafting tree is available to you. By using the crafting tree your able to create your own weapons, shields, items and consoles for your starship. You’re also able to craft items and equipment for your Captain and Away Team aswell. Just like other MMO’s you have to level up your skill in R&D before you get to the juicy stuff.
Where would a Captain be without his/ her crew? In STO your crew play an important part in a number of aspects of the game. Most of your crew ( the Starfleet ones anyway) will have ground and space abilities. Your crew basically break down into 2 catergories ‘Duty Officers’ and ‘Bridge Officers’.
When you assign your Starfleet crew as Bridge Offiers (Boff’s) and Away Team members, they give you extra benefits and abilities. Once assigned, they’ll grant you access to different attacks, buffs, and debuffs. For instance, assigning a certain Tactical Officer will give access to ‘Special Attacks’ such as Fire at Will, Torpedo Spread, and Attack Pattern Alpha/ Omega, assigning an Engineer could give you Engineering Team, and a Science Officer could give you access to shield heals and debuffs . These abilities change depending on the Officer, and you have the option of teaching them new ones.
With ‘Duty Officers’ you have the option of sending your crew on Assignments. The Assignments basically break down into 3 catergories, Tactical, Engineering, and Science. The successful completion of Assignments can get you XP, unrefined Dilithium, Energy Credits, and even special items or new crew.
Your Character and Starship can be enhanced by equiping both Ground and Space ‘Sets’ of equipment. The ‘Sets’ usually come in 3 pieces. By equiping multiple parts of each ‘Set’ you can gain a passive and/ or usuable ability. The Sets can also alter your appearance ingame (thats how my Oddyssey looks Borg-ified).
Some ‘Sets’ are available as mission rewards, and others are available thru the Reputation System.
There are a number of different currencies available ingame. The main currencies used are Energy Credits (EC), Dilithium, and Zen.
As its a F2P game, Micro Transactions are part of the game. You would use real world money to purchase ingame currency called Zen, Zen can then be exchanged to buy ingame items (such as different starships), or Character unlocks.
If you don’t want to spend ‘real world’ money to get the ‘Top Tier’ Starships and Account Unlocks you don’t have to. STO has a unique system among MMO’s. The Dilithium you gain thru completeing mission etc can be ‘Refined’ and then exchanged for Zen (you are however restricted to refining only 8,000 Dilithium per 20 hours). So with a bit of grinding (currently the exchange rate is about 370ish Dilithium for 1 Zen), you dont ever need to use ‘Real’ money to get whatever you want.
So, Whats the story content like?
all of STO’s story content is organised into ‘episodes’, just like in the tv series. each episode is then sub divided into sort of chapters for easy replayability.
There are more than several story arc’s available to play, that deal with the likes of the Klingons, Cadassains (thankfully Kim, Chloe, & family dont make an appearance), the Romulans, Speices 8472, the Borg, the Iconians, and even the Mirror Universe.
I really have to give it to cryptic here, as alot if not all the the story arc’s link back to either one of the Star Trek films or TV series.
For instance in the ‘2800’ story arc, it reveals what happened to all those Dominion ships that disappeared inside the wormhole during the Dominion War in the Deep Space 9 TV series. In the Iconion Wars story arc, it ties in with an episode of the original Star Trek series, and with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
For me STO, is abit of an odd duck. Its the one MMO that i’ve kept coming back to year after year.
Im not going to lie to you, the higher you level your character up, the more you’ll have to grind away for those cool new toys. Your going to grind for Dilithium, grind for Reputation marks, grind for fleet marks, basically once you hit level 60 grinding is all you do.
Compared to other MMO’s I’ve played STO is a very numbers based game.
The reason i say this is, is that the majority of players buzz around in their Starships. Depending on what ship your flying, depending on how you have your ship kitted out, depending on what your skill tree is, depending on your Boff’s your ‘DPS‘ (Damage per Second), could be like mine at about 1.5K or like the higher tier players at 300K plus. It’s all to do with how they all interact and combine, their cooldown times, and abilities.
There is actually a DPS league, were people compete for the top spot of who can do the most.
Cryptic have done a great job of recreating the Star Trek Universe. Your able to travel to and visit places from Star Trek such as Wolf 359, the pleasure planet Riza, Deep Space 9, the Klingon homeworld, and the remains of Romulus to name but a few.
All in all, I’ld give Star Trek Online a 3.5 out of 5. If your a Trek fan or if you want to fly around in a starship, I’ld recommend giving it a go.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.
– from The Man Cave