Star Trek Online
Just dropping a quick line to you MMO and Star Trek fans to inform you that Star Trek Online recently went free to play. How does it play and is it worth playing? Let’s take a peek at what’s inside, shall we?
Star Trek Online has two general modes of gameplay…ground and space. In short, you fly around the galaxy in your starship, taking part in missions and skirmishes as they pop up. You advance in rank as you go (Ensign to Vice Admiral) and pick up new crew members to populate your starship’s bridge stations and your away team. With new ranks come new starships…obviously the higher in rank you are the more powerful ship you’ll have at your disposal. Leveling up in rank also gives you the option of learning new abilities that you can use in both land and space combat. Like most MMOs, you’ll be able to place points into a talent tree…though you’ll also be racking up points in a separate pool that you can distribute among your current crew members which in turn, level up their specific abilities.
That, in a nutshell, is what Star Trek Online is. Take a few missions, travel here and there, do land and space missions, turn said missions back in for experience, rinse and repeat. Sounds monotonous, though luckily the missions are somewhat varied and some even have their own mini-story line. You’ll also come across skirmishes on the galaxy map that anyone can jump into, allowing you to team up with friends and strangers alike against an enemy NPC fleet. After defeating so many ships, the battle resets after a short cooldown. The race of ships you come up against depends on what space you’re in. There’s also PVP for you hardcore elitists that just have to ruin someone’s day.
One thing that I noticed right away that sets it apart from World of Warcraft is how in-depth the character creation is. Cryptic is well-known for this already and those who played Champions Online will be familiar with not only the character creation menus but the overall feel of the game. You’ll even be able to choose from various uniform designs and customize their colors.
It wouldn’t be an MMO if you didn’t also have different classes to choose from. You’ll start out in the Federation as either an engineer, science, or security class. Each have their own ship types to choose from as you advance in rank. Security classes will allow you to fly pure DPS (Damage Per Second) ships that really pack a punch, while engineer classes give you access to larger ships that can serve a “tank” role. Science classes have ships that allow you to buff or debuff at will in addition to being an effective healer. Ground battles operate in the same fashion, each class catering to a specific set of abilities. You’ll be able to unlock the Klingon faction after reaching level twenty-five.
In addition to purchasing new ships as you rank up, you’ll be able to outfit both your ships and crew with various gear. Much like any typical MMO, you’ll find both common and rare items in your travels that have various stats on them. Crafting is also possible, but I admit I didn’t spend much time with the mechanic. I just sold most of my mats on the game’s auction house (The Exchange) for quick credits. There’s also a Star Trek Store where you can spend real money to unlock in-game items for your use, among other things. I wouldn’t go as far to spend real money to unlock a starship, but I’m sure others will / do.
It’s free to play and no purchase is necessary, so if you’re into either MMOs or Star Trek, I’d give it a try. Also, you can breed tribbles and pet them for buffs…what other game can claim that? One thing to note about most games that go free to play…that’s usually a sign they are on their last leg and this is a last-ditch effort to bring people back to the game to play it. Customer support on an older, free to play game may be iffy if it is ever needed. It also requires a decent video card. If you can get the game to work and you enjoy playing it, more power to you. If you can’t get the game to work or you simply don’t find it all that exciting, it was free, so no harm no foul. You have nothing to lose by giving it a go on a day that you are bored.
Final Verdict: 8/10