In this edition of my MMO guide (for earlier versions, please check out my blog), I am very happy to announce that as of a few days ago, a new game was added to the ranks of the FTP (free-to-play) domain. That's right. Who says you need to pay a subscription fee in order to enjoy your online gaming experience?
As of this week, Star Trek Online became free for the masses to play, and while I'm always on the lookout for free MMOs, I will admit that I was hesitant on trying this one out. Having never been a hard-core Trekker (I mean, I'll watch Trek if I find it while flipping through the channels, but don't go out of my way to find it), I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the time downloading it. However, as I watched my husband play it after he downloaded it, I found myself more than just a little intrigued. You see, my husband tends to gravitate away from RPG style games, because they're simply not his cup of tea (unlike FPS and sports games). However, upon seeing him not only play the game but enjoy it, I realized that I had to at least try it.
After all, if an MMO could attract and hold my husband's attention, there must be something to it.
After playing for only two days, I'm free to say that this game is highly addicting! Not to mention, you don't have to be a Trekker to appreciate it. If I can have fun while playing it, then anyone can.
In this game, you're able to not only choose your avatar's gender and customize his or her appearance,
but you're also able to choose from a wide array of species that span almost the entire Star Trek spectrum (human, Vulcan, Andorian, Ferengi, etc). You can play a Klingon, but only if you choose to not play on the side of the Federation. You're also able to choose the uniform your avatar wears. You can choose from the old-school uniform from the original series (that's right, the mini-skirt makes a proud comeback!) all the way to the uniforms found on Enterprise. You can also choose your avatar's branch (Tactical, Engineering or Science), as well as choose the name of your ship.
That's right, you get your own ship pretty much right off the bat. Though you start off the game as an Ensign, you become acting Captain within a span of about 15 minutes when the actual Captain is killed in battle, and the ship is your reward from the Federation once you beat the first challenge. Don't worry, you don't stay an Ensign forever. Though it takes a while, you do work your way up the chain of command and gain a new rank with every few levels that you gain. As you level up, you not only have to worry about leveling up your avatar's skills, but also the skills and abilities of your Bridge Officers (regardless of your specific branch, you're given a Tactical Officer, an Engineering Officer as well as a Science Officer, and they automatically become your away team when you beam down onto different planets), as well as those of your ship (upgrades, etc).
Right off the bat, I have to say that I love the fighting sequences. Even though you're fighting with some type of firearm (and if you've read any of my past blog posts, you know my deep hatred of anything even remotely FPS), the controls for targeting are so smooth! I can actually hit my targets, unlike the times I've tried playing one of my husband's FPS games in which I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn because I can never keep the crosshairs straight while I'm moving in the game. Then there's the fact that your away team automatically attacks your opponents as well so you don't get swarmed.
My only complaint is the space battles in which case your ship becomes your avatar. My complaint about this is the fact that until you devote enough experience points each level to the engineering characteristics of your ship, it moves slower than molasses in January...especially when turning. Now, this wouldn't be a problem if the enemy ships you were encountering also moved at your same pace, but that is not the case. Enemy ships zip around you like fireflies, while in the mean time you're trying to turn your ship so you can try to fire your torpedos (which incidentally only fire from the front of your ship) because they cause the most damage. Now, keep in mind, this complaint is in reference to your first ship. I don't know if this is the case with the other ships that you get awarded during the course of the game, because I haven't reached that point yet.
But like I said, that is my only complaint. Everything else I have to say about the game is good. The graphics are very well done, the controls are smooth, and (unlike with DC Universe Online) the mouse does what it's supposed to do. With an FTP account, you're only able to have 1 avatar, but that's such a small price to pay that it's hardly even worth mentioning.
So with all of that being said, I have only this left to say. Live long and prosper!
Until next time!
Have you hugged your nerd today? ;)