Hi everyone, I'm a new player...well, kind of new. I've been playing for almost three weeks, and I have done a fair amount of lurking on these forums during that time. This, however, is my first post. I want to mention some good things and some bad things. I also want to thank all of the fine players that have helpfully answered my questions in game...you know who you are. Thank you.
some good things: This game is a fun and rewarding experience. Having all of these bridge officers almost gives this game a Final Fantasy or Chronotrigger feel, since you have to develop your bridge officer abilities and then equip them for away missions.
Another good thing about Star Trek Online is that you, as the player, always feel like you are advancing. In the three weeks that I have played, I have yet to feel stagnant in my character's development. Whether it's captain skill points, bridge officer skill points, merits, badges, or plain ole' better loot, there is always something involved with a mission that makes you feel like you have accomplished something.
Another good thing that I have seen is that the loot is actually exciting. I'm constantly finding things with which to upgrade my ship. I just got the Breen MK XI set on my Intrepid retrofit and, let me tell you, as a new player, that felt exciting. Now I'm working on the Borg set, which will eventually replace the Breen set, but that may take a while for me to gather. I just left a game in which at end game, a person can grind and grind and grind and grind to try to get a specific piece of gear and yet never attain it. Some of the drop rates in the game that I just left make the lottery look like a sound investment.
Another good thing (this'll be the last, although I can think of more) is the Defari sector. I really like fighting the Breen. I especially like how they throw wisecracks at you before some of the battles. A little villain humor is a good thing.
Some bad things: Well, I just have a couple of bad things, because I want to try to stay positive with this post. Firstly, who cloned my bridge officers? When did the federation start using clones? I realize that it's just a bug or limitation of the software, but it is a little awkward showing my friends the interior of my new Intrepid retrofit when they ask why I have multiples of the same bridge officers on the bridge. If Cryptic wants people like me to get their friends to play this game, then it would be wise to limit those awkward moments as much as possible. You don't want your word-of-mouth advertising to include glitch disclaimers. Despite this, I still have two friends that are interested in playing STO and are waiting for FTP to roll around. They have watched me play and have so far been impressed with what they have seen, cloned bridge officers aside, of course.
Also, the game makes me feel quite anonymous. Perhaps it is because I have not joined a fleet yet, but everyone seems really impersonal. I suggest that one way to improve pick-up-group play is to improve the fleet action menu or, better yet, introduce a proper "Looking for more" social panel. If there already is one in the game that has evaded my perception, then please disregard this last point.
Now I want to leave you with some good news: Don't panic.
The game that I left has been free to play for nearly two years now. Before going free to play, DDO was on life support. Free to play breathed new life into that game. The benefits were immediate and obvious. Instances began to fill with people so that more instances had to be created. Then they had to add servers to the game. Keep in mind that before going free to play, Turbine had to MERGE servers because populations were so low. The game population most definitely went up. If this game follows Turbine's DDO model, then I fully expect positive results for this game. The model offers everyone something to play for. I switched my account to free to play when the conversion happened, but I had enough favor built up to buy some adventure packs that let me keep playing. As I earned more store points by earning more favor with various factions, I purchased more and more content for my free account. This isn't to say that I didn't spend money, because I did. I earned what I could through playing and bought the points necessary to unlock the rest of the game. I am satisfied with the value that I purchased in that game. I can go back and play that game any time I want, and the content that I have unlocked or purchased will be waiting for me like I left it. This is a reassuring feeling to me.
I'm planning on staying a subscriber for quite a while even after the game goes free to play. I've made my Science captain, and I plan on making an engineer captain next! Once I've experienced some of these things that I look forward to, then I will give my account status a second look.
the clone thing is a bug and has only happened in the last month or so. they will fix it at some point. the downside is that there does tend to be a larger than ideal number of bugs. its annoying but most are usually minor things.
best to join a fleet or some chat channels for better socialization. many people do chat and talk but they dont tend to do it in open zone chat, outside of ESD or qo'nos.