Where you went wrong...
Dear Cryptic/Perfect World.
STO has failed to live up to the Star Trek franchise. In my opinion, these are the main reasons.
1. You made up a silly story to explain why Worf is now an enemy of the Federation just for the sake of introducing a competetive PvP element that wasn't any good and wasn't necessary. Some of your subscribers may have bought into it, but to Trek fans that story doesn't make any sense at all.
2. You didn't make the game about exploring, you made it about blowing stuff up. Star Trek was always about exploration with a bit of violence to keep it flowing. Your game gives no sense of the moral principles of the Federation, or the necessary 'wiley-ness' of the captains and crews.
3. Your idea of space in Star Trek was far too constrictive. Boundaries in space? Please. The point of space is it's big, endless, and apart from the immediate vicinity fundamentally unknown and unexplored. Obviously there will be frontiers between controlling factions, but there's so much stuff in between that u just didn't bother with.
4. You made us pay for stuff that was basically the same as other stuff with no clear explanation as to why this is free and this isn't. In fact, we could wrap the whole thing up by saying; the C-store - no, no, no, no, NO.
5. You sold the game for ?250 for lifetime subscriptions, and then made the game free anyway. Talk about a rip-off. Can u imagine buying a new PS3 for that money and then find out 18 months down the line they're giving them away??
There are a hundred other reasons why STO is a let down and a game that remains installed and updated in the hope of eventual evolution into something wonderful (tho meanwhile I never play) but this is the biggest reason why STO isn't any good:
YOU DIDN'T START WITH A PROPER CONCEPT OF THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE.
Totally this ...
argh my post was swallowed by the forum horta. I don't have the energy to post it again. it was a monster. sigh
One of these days we'll get that horta to stop melting out that "NO POST" message for you.
2. They had to make a game that holds your attention. Do you think a game where you mostly explore is going to hold everyone's interests, including your own?
3. Its not that they wanted space to be restrictive, its that they had to. Space is theoretically infinite, and programming is finite. It is impossible to make something that finite properly simulate something that is infinite. They only have so little space to work with, literally.
4. So, the playable Caitian race is the same as the playable Ferengi race, or the Atrox Carrier is the same as the Galaxy class starship? Sure you could play the game without the Atrox carrier or without a caitian, but there are enough differences to warrant some people buying them.
5. They couldn't predict the future. They thought it wouldn't go free to play for a long time, if at all. What they did was perfectly valid and not a rip off.
As to your final point: who are you to judge what a proper concept of what Star Trek is? Are you Gene Roddenberry or one of the people who worked with him? Did you at all once work on an episode of any of the various Star Trek series or on one of the movies?
I won't say STO is a great success, but would like to say/add something about your points:
1. The whole storyline of Star Trek is silly, if you take all flaws, plotholes, technobabble etc. into account. Still it is very entertaining. Entertaining enough for me, to buy books, play games etc. all set in the "Star Trek Universe".
Several episodes are great on it's own, and although they don't fit the "common sense of trekkies", they are frequently placed in Top 10s.
And I like movies like "Galaxy Quest", just because of this "silliness".
2. There was once a genre about exploration ... it was called "roleplay". In theory you could complete the whole thing without stabbing, hitting, killing etc.
But one of the fun parts was, when I wanted to, I could be the badass.
Good thing, roleplay still exists. In STO I really tried the foundry missions about "hardcore roleplay" ... but actually found them damn boring... Wall of Texts, nothing more. Several "roleplay heavy" mission though we're quite good, because of the mix.
Even some of the FEs can be played without any destructive enemy contact.
You can level any toon without fighting anything, be picky at your DOFF-Missions, and there is no single mission which needs offensive intervention, and still they tell you a story.
3. This is a pure design decision to limit workload on your machine and the servers.
It helps crunching in those people playing at the limit of requirements.
Taking EVE as an example, it could be done differently, but look at the hardware really required in crowded areas vs. those in STO. (please don't see it as a comparions between STO and EVE as a whole, it's just about the engine).
4. You don't need to pay if you don't want to, taking your "time" as currency.
And most items on the store are different enough to me, to say okay, helps them keeping the servers up, i pay. (with exceptions such as the DS9 bundle, which I bought, but only use half of the things acually) Some items (respecc tokens) were wrong to be placed on the store before F2P though.
But then again, I can grind everything up if I wanted to, with the exception of playtime (which they consider to add). STO is considered one of the fairest F2P MMOs on the market for this.
5. I bought a new game for 50 bucks ... 6 months later it only costs 10, one year you get it for free on your monthly magazine ... fair?
Even better example: I bought Command and Conquer on Releaseday, it is now completely free... fair?
Yupp, fair in my eyes. That's business.
Taking your final paragraph: You don't like the game, still you have it installed/updated regularly ... why? STO seems to do some things right ;)
I wouldn't call myself a trekkie - I think that requires a level of commitment and fanaticism that just doesn't apply in my case. That said, I do enjoy the series and have taken the time to watch every episode of TNG, DS9 and VOY from beginning to end at least once each, plus all the movies and large parts of TOS and ENT. Thus exposed to the themes, stories and characters of ST, you begin to appreciate what makes contextual sense and what doesn't. Discussing this with friends, we agreed that the Worf storyline in particular just doesn't add up. It would be like the Romulans suddenly becoming trustworthy, or the Borg abandoning assimilation to become blood-allies with the Federation. It goes against what we have come to understand and appreciate about Worf's character and his unique position bridging the Klingon Empire and the Federation. I don't want to get into a debate about the inconsistencies of the Trek plotlines and 'science', but since the worst of those are railed often enough, so should this one be.
This remains my biggest problem with the game. The issues with the roleplay/exploration element of the game aren't just about scripting and mission development, they're about the basic structure of the game. Violence in Star Trek should be a last resort, not a first reply to a hostile enemy. Even then, it is typically used to disarm or disable an enemy rather than simply blow them up or kill them outright. Even Kirk, the most hands-on Captain Trek can offer, was always mano-a-mano, not using superior firepower to tear them apart. If this was a game called Mirror Universe Star Trek Online, fair enough, but this style of game is not Star Trek in my understanding of the term.
I understand the issue of server management, but WoW, for example, manages to have entire continents with no loading screens or impassible boundaries. Continents, I would imagine, are much more demanding to render (with their mountains, forests, rivers, wildlife, etc) than empty space with a few specific locations and a starmap background. I appreciate I'm making a comparison with THE WoW, but come on, this is game a coming up on a decade old now! Again, my complaint is really more of a conceptual complaint - how the game should aspire to be - rather than a complaint about the Champions design model. In another game, it just wouldn't be an issue.
My complaint about the C-store was really an afterthought, but having said that, I'm not at all a fan of online stores that sell virtual merchandise for real money, and especially not in games that have cost their users as much money (over the first 24 months) as STO. I realise that the C-points/dilithium exchange has opened up the C-store to people with more time than money, but at the same time it's solving a problem that only exists because the C-store does. On top of that, the economy model of STO is again at odds with the whole conceptual style of Star Trek future. I would much rather have kept the subscription model and had a game that was true to Trek than a free game with a C-store for wealthy posers and an abused franchise.
The price of the game, when I paid it, I expected to be worthwhile. I've certainly never paid so much for a single game, and thanks to my experience with STO I never will again. I realise there are ongoing bonuses for lifers like me, and I know that if I added up subscription costs and general outlay with what I've actually paid I'd probably find I wasn't much out of pocket after all, so I don't complain too loudly about the F2P model. However this does tie in with the C-store complaint, in that a subscription is a hallmark of quality - again, look at WoW. Experience has told me that F2P games are free because there's something wrong with them. In STO's case, I wouldn't say it's a terrible game, albeit it has it's problems, but it definitely doesn't deliver what I expect from a game that says Star Trek Online on the box. Would an ongoing subscription make this a better game? Probably not, but that's probably more symptomatic and less causal of the game's other problems.
So why is it still installed? Because I feel like I have to get my money's worth mainly. My friends never play anymore and I rarely look in except when a major update is released to see what's new. Also because it's the only MMO I do still have installed, and I guess I feel I should keep my hand in or just not comment. Does this mean Cryptic are doing it right? Not at all. It isn't Cryptic I have faith in, it's Star Trek as a brand. All I can really say is, STO has weakened that brand badly.
Sorry OP, but this is a computer based game that has a different set of challenges then those faced by TV and movies.
Think of it as the difference between passive entertainment and interactive entertainment. Thats why we get the pew-pew and not the exploration/diplomacy game. You should maybe try Civ 5.
And a lot of your complaints fail to consider that there are technological limitations faced by video games that TV shows and movies don't have to deal with. Thats why we get sector space chunked.
I call guys like you the Trek Prophets. You talk about how the game isn't true to Trek as if you have some personal claim over what that means. You liked the exploration/shoot-to-stun stuff. I liked watching ships get blown up and people getting kicked to the head. Both happened in Trek. Both are equally valid.
What makes or breaks a game (despite code flaws and limitations of technology) is the player base...period. This has held true across several MMOs that I have played and/or subscribed to. STO is no different i/m/h/o, I can overlook some things when the world and player base are engaging. There are those that see STO as pure pew pew, and those that think it should be strict RP with combat thrown in...it takes a balance of both and THAT resides in the minds of the players, you can't code that into a game. IF you want a better game...be a better player, plain and simple.
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