Day 3…what was I saying?

Its been a doozy of a week folks.   I haven’t had more than four hours sleep on any night so far, and I’m about ready to keel over even with the nap I squeezed in yesterday.  So my slightly incoherent thoughts on the STO beta, for the last time this week:

The Bad

Kobayashi Maru – Reports of the “Boldy Go” error demise were greatly exaggerated. Cryptic claimed to have fixed it, but for me it actually got worse.  Before all you had to do was wait 30-60 seconds or activate some sort of NPC script (hail starfleet, etc.) to boot your correct avatar .  Now if you get the error, nothing seems to fix it.  Case in point:

To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub...

 And by sleep here, we mean “sleeping with the fishes.”  No ship avatar means no shields and much lower health, which means a quick death at the hands of a KDF Raptor class Escort and K’Tinga class Battlecruiser.  Not to mention I’m on the fourth arc of the mission, and I can only get back there by respawning in the first arc, exiting the system, and then re-entering the system.  And even if my ship does spawn, I’m dead anyway, because those two ships are Tier 2 and Tier 3 respectively – the instance was balanced for my open group of three – two of whom are now gone.  My own little no-win situation.

You have to balance this with the Open Beta aspect of things, but it is worrying.  This mission is one of the first available Episodes from the Admiral – and usually introductory content is fully bug free and polished by launch.  That its not shows forth a flaw in the system itself.  This may make it easier to fix (one fix helps all the missions) or it may make it harder (there is no good/easy way to fix it at this point).

The Ugly

Awesome I leveled up!  Now I get another +1 bonus to Energy Weapons..woo – STO is already grindy after three days.  I’m a slow leveler, and I play slowly generally, but I have alot of incentive to get through the intro ship and try out some specialized T2 vessels.  But I just am not getting there.  Each mission continues to net you around 200 skill points.  I have over 3500 now and just hit level 7.  According to the tool tips I need another 2500 or so to get to the next Rank and earn my first real ship.  Patrol missions are the worst, as they link about 4 missions together, but only give you one reward.  Hopefully there is some glass roof here I’m about to break through.  That certainly happened with the cash situation – a few Mk.  II drops, if you don’t equip them will next you several thousand credits at a starbase – but that’s the ugly part – I need those drops, especially the ground ones, to keep mission time down by allowing me to die less and and kill faster.  Two solutions here – up the rewards (meh – people alread complain about blowing too fast through content), or get more ships and abilities in the game.  I’m not sure how different stat wise they could be – especially the start ships, which are pretty bare bones as it is – but at least it might give some variation.

Part of this problem is that your only active abilities in the game come from bridge officers, and the number of bridge officers is limited by ship – you’re first ten levels, you have only three maximum – with one to start.  The strength of this should be the ability to swap officers as needed to give you fresh skills.  The downside is that officers need skill points to be effective, and officer points are even more thinly spread than your skill points are.

The Good

Just a feeling Data, just a feeling – STO nails the Star Trek vibe.  I feel like a ship captain, the missions feel like Star Trek episodes, heck I even have a place to type out Captain’s Logs for RP purposes to just for mission notes.  And when I looted my new Phaser Pistols and Body Armor, I’m pretty sure I squeeled like a little girl who finally got her long awaited pony.

No I'm not a woman, I just play one on the internt.

And as always, the bottom line is: is the game fun for me.  And the answer is yes.   I’ll be trying some PvP over the weekend, Federation and Klingon, and will report back Monday.  For the weekend though, I have T2 guns in the oven on EVE, and I finally got my long awaited zombie pets on CO.  And a topic in MMO design I want to tackle…Time for a little break from my star date.