So, after playing the game for 60 hours, reaching level 31 as a Tactical Officer so far, I thought I'd kind of share my impression with the game, sort of a feedback from a completelly new player. Not quite sure where to put this, as this goes from gameplay to some aesthetics in the game, so my apologies if this is in the wrong place - feel free to move to more appropriate place, if need be.
I feel like sharing some of my background here, as it's relevant to my experience with the game - So, as a first one - I've never watched Star Trek series before playing this game, I am not even a MMO fan in general, but it was a dear friend of mine, who's been hooked on the Trek game for what? Two or three years? So, yes, in the end, I decided to give it a try - after all, it's sci-fi, and I am in general a sci-fi fan, so why the heck not.
As to why it took my friend sooo long to get me play this game..? Me and mmo's, that's complicated. In all honesty, I've always been skeptic about mmo's since WoW's release, despite of being a passionate gamer/RPG'er and roleplayer for majority of my life. Well, to explain, after WoW was released, all mmo's felt like clones, with just different textures, with very little to do with actual RPG/RP at all, so this wave of mmo craze kind of missed me and except like 4 titles, I was untouched by the genre. Mmo/WoW gameplay was downright boring and buttonfest mashing, with overly primitive, nonsensial and bland quests., where you could tell the authors weren't even trying to make something nice. I am a huge fan of dynamic/action gameplay, especially the combat part in RPG's - I generally liked the way combat was done in Mass Effect series & in The Elder Scrolls series. Additionally - and admittedly, I've been a Star Wars fan since my 6 years old, so the newest addition to the SW family was a huge letdown and it cut even deeper to my dislike for mmo as a genre. Comics-like, crappy, childish graphics, which ruined the feel of Star Wars for me. Stories too bland. I wanted a nice sci-fi RPG to play, but they are so rare... with the exception of EVE, which was decent, but lacked the ground action for most part and felt more like a work than fun anyways.
Being an old school RPG'er, mmo's simply weren't my thing, with the exception of old Ultima Online. So, my skepticism was present even when I've been having talks with my friend, but in the end, well, we just wanted a game to play together, to have some random fun, so I just got the game. Of course, not knowing Star Trek lore at all wasn't too helpful, as I was afraid I'd not be able to relate to the game at all. I have a pet peeve for perfectionism, and also want to be able to relate to my characters - after all, this is about RPG & roleplaying for me, when playing a game of such genre. Despite of all the skepticism, here I am, writing this perhaps incoherent wall of text.
Well, I'd probably wasn't writing these lines if I didn't end up enjoying the game (right?), and in the end, also ended up watching Trek series, finishing three seasons of the "New Generation" in less than 14 days, to try and understand the ST lore. I was surprised by the amount of fun of the combat system, both ground and space, as well as the amount of options you have in the game. Although, there are some things, which I believe would make the game even better.
For instance - I feel as if I am spoon fed in everything. I appreciate there's a story-mode when you are climbing the levels; and it makes the actual experience less grind-ey, as is so typical in most mmo's. I realize for a lot of you, this is kind of trivial, as most of you have been around for years, and don't really care about these story missions, which are designed for new players/characters to get to that "end content" rather quickly.
However, as a RPG'er and person enjoying being part of the story, I miss making decisions during the missions I get. I get a mission and there's always only the pre-determined, *one* way of how to deal with the mission. How am I supposed to identify with my character, when I have no way of actually shaping it? You may argument that it's all about your imagination and perhaps joining the right fleet, but, I am new to the game AND to the lore, so despite of being RP'er for like 15 years of my life, I don't feel quite confident to do that just yet.
I simply want to be able to make the basic premise of who my character is, through the story; through playing & exploring the game, rather than to tie myself to anything just yet. In Ultima Online, because of the amount of freedom you were given, it was very easy to shape the character, through the encounters, be they friendly or unfriendly, random events. I find it very difficult in STO, as of right now. Yes, there's the factor of being new to the Star Trek lore playing certain role in this, however, I've never been as blank as I currently am, when it comes to creating even backstory for my character. I do have an idea what the general attitude of the character is, but not really any other stuff than that.
Related to that is kind of lack of places to explore and the fact you are so spoon fed, that you get missions to even have a reason to explore. In some RPG's and mmo's, you are given a freedom as to where you go, and you simply bump into missions, encounters, as you explore the world. In STO, I feel that being given missions for exploration, and by that I mean, for everything, you miss out on the element of surprise. The reason to explore. I don't want to be spoon fed for literally everything, I want to discover things on my own, because that is part of the game, which can be character defining and trully enjoyable.
Last, but surely not least, a personal pet peeve of mine - In regards to character customization & females in particular - I enjoy playing tomboy or downright androgynous females, and well, the game kind of doesn't let me to make the character that way, despite of being literally one of the most accomodating systems, when it comes to character customization, compared to other titles. I mean, even if I reduce the bust size to minimum, the bust is... umm.. not becoming any smaller, so if I wear the uniform or practically anything, no matter how loose the clothing is with the character, it still looks like Pamela Anderson in her prime. Given the idea of Star Trek, where people don't put as much emphasis on gender stereotypes, I feel even the game should reflect that and personally would just enjoy the option of having more "flat" bust size and less curves for female characters in general.
To finish off this piece of looong writing - I like the game. I see its' potential, but I simply feel there could be so much more done with it. I still haven't seen some of the content, as I am taking it slowly, trying to enjoy the game as stuff comes to me, as I learn the ropes, and I will continue doing so, as playing the game is fun - especially the explosions in space, as long as it's not my own ship, thank you, or simply going all melee with my friend, where we kick everything around like bunch of goofs and have a good laugh about it, while he's been helping me to grasp both the ST lore and the mechanics of the game.
Maybe my rant seems more negative than I actually feel about the game, which was not my intention, because well, after trying like 4 - 5 mmo's after WoW, this is the first one I do have fun actually playing, so I do appreciate the game, but as a proper nerd, I simply want to see more improvements, which could make my experience even better and somewhat more game immersive.
Thank you for reading, just really felt up to getting this off my chest!
PS: I want less generic avatar here, perhaps a picture of my character, but it only lets me select some generic ones when I want to change it... and yet some of you have nice avatars and signatures here... advices?