What Would You Change About… Star Trek Online?
For our newest “What Would You Change About…?” we’re taking a look at Cryptic/Perfect World Entertainment’s scifi MMORPG Star Trek Online; a game that has had its ups and downs over the years but still remains one of the more active playerbases of many western MMORPGs (no doubt owing to the fact it is a Star Trek game). With the many things we both like and love about the game there are some elements, of course, that we’d love to see changed, removed or implemented to make a more overall balanced and generally more fun game. So without further ado…
- Combat DPS - DPS builds reign supreme. Whilst the game does have different ship/role builds with the likes of traditional Tanks (Engineers), Support (Science) and DPS (Tactical) career paths being available, the fundamental issue is that at late game PVP and PVE nothing other than Tactical feels particularly viable/worthwhile in combat and the DPS focused players really seem to win out. Poor shield, hull integrity and healing and a generally lacklustre crowd control element from the support classes are much to be desired and simply the ability to outgun everything that moves becomes the core aspect to determine a victor. Whilst other games suffer from time to time with slight imbalance of a class, the fact is that we’re not talking about a single ship or ship classification, it is an entire role that has become the dominant force in combat at the expense of less aggressive combat playstyles from traditionally supporting role players.
- Content Beyond Level 50 - The game grinds to a near halt when you reach level fifty. Now, there are of course end game content features, but specifically we’re talking about story content; given that the MMORPG at its core is a story focused game and actually has a pretty compelling story-arc throughout the levelling process. The resolution to these story-arcs feel like they’re a little too open and don’t necessarily go anywhere, presumably used to tack on the “what happens next?” with future expansions, but in the meantime it leaves a lot of unfulfilled expectations. We’d like to see a greater focus on factions working together for some bigger end game and beyond, and whilst there elements of that it’s done at such an optional and intermittent level that it doesn’t have as big an impact as the storyline up to this point did. Furthermore given that the primary storyline leads the factions to ultimately working together we’d like to see a more cooperative element to the story-arc, something bigger to collectively work towards and even the idea of a journey into deep space to begin their own five year mission!
- Cross-Faction Grouping - Players should be able to group with other factions. With the above idea in mind we’ve no idea why players still can’t work together regardless of their faction; there’s so many ways and moments throughout the game, backed up by mechanics, that the three factions work together, that having this invisible wall stopping players from working together is quite jarring. The fact is that the Adventures and Battle Zones are, theme wise, typically geared to fighting off other invaders and threats, the whole story line (mini-spoiler) creates allies of the three factions, and yet players can’t help each other out in an area that would actually really benefit gameplay and make a tighter overall community. The blurred lines between the factions rivalry and the factions alliance is a frustrating one, whilst there’s constant moments of this in the canon from books, TV shows and movies, the fact is that the lines only seem to blur when it comes to having a money making scheme for the developers/publishers, as we shall now demonstrate.
- Remove Cross Faction Tech Sharing - Ships and tech should remain specific to a single faction. Whilst there are elements where we think the factions should have some crossover, i.e. for ease of play, to reinforce community, to follow the story narrative, tech sharing is one element we don’t like. Other than the restricted races and a variety of restricted ships, the factions need to have definition and the more crossover you have between them the more this blurs the lines and, quite frankly, makes no sense story-wise. Whilst there are always elements where the Federation may get access to the a Klingon ship it is typically a momentous moment and a story-driven plot device, not something that is done with a simple requisition as is done in the game and adds a rivals ship as a permanent fixture to your arsenal.
- The Foundry 1.0 -The Foundry needs an overhaul. For those unaware the Foundry is the powerful instance/area creating tool that allows players to make their own personal adventures, decorating the area in a variety of themes and environments, placing objects, enemies and generally allowing players to make their own quests or RP hangouts for each other. The Foundry was always amazing… right up until Neverwinter came out. Also created by Cryptic Studios it features a newer, flashier and generally all-round more powerful and fundamentally better version of the Foundry… and it left many STO players pretty bitter because of it. The Foundry 2.0 shows what the technology is capable of, and whilst STO might not be as advanced a platform and we don’t expect a direct port, there’s a lot of features that players are craving for and having Neverwinter there feels like what they want is just out of reach and is a constant reminder that the Foundry is getting no love. It needs some love.
- The Game Lacks Jedi - There’s not enough Jedi in the game. Star Wars rules, go home Trekkies.
So that’s what we’d change with Star Trek Online, but more importantly what do you believe should be changed? What do you think could/should be added to improve the game? What would you add to your own personal wish list? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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