Archive for January 30th, 2010

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Server Downtime Woes

January 30, 2010

Well, I had hoped to get another Star Trek Online update in this evening, but around 12:00pm PST, literally seconds after signing into the game, things started getting a little laggy before it went and crashed (maybe I’m the one who borked it.) I almost thought it was a technical problem on my end until I took a gander at the rampant levels of rage occurring on the STO official site’s IRC chat. Yep, server down. I guess I spoke a little too soon in my last post; for whatever reason, Cryptic seems to have encountered an issue that required maintenance.

Three and a half hours later, it looks like it’s just finally going back up, happening even now as I type these words. Guess I’ll have to try again tonight after grocery shopping and dinner, as I’m really not up to battling those 500+ server cues at the moment.

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Star Trek Online: First Day Thoughts

January 30, 2010

Star Trek Online has officially started for those of us who purchased a preorder, and I can honestly say it’s been a pretty good launch day. I experienced zero problems on my end, though I did log in two hours later than when the servers opened, and thus managed to avoid the login issues and other difficulties caused by high load.

I enjoyed playing a tactical officer so much during the beta that I decided to roll another one, a Vulcan female with space traits this time around, now that I know how much fighting I would be doing on my ship. She is called T’Androma, a name I came up with by literally punching the word “random” into a Vulcan name generator. Hey, I never said I was a Star Trek connoisseur, I couldn’t tell you anything about Vulcan naming conventions if my life depended on it. Then it was on to my favorite part: character customization. With a little tweaking, this is what I came up with:

Yep, she's a busty one.

So I logged in and immediately saw the nifty little cut scene they’ve added, narrated by Spock and all (yay, I actually knew that!) and off I went to kick some Borg Drone butt. While I did so, I noticed the improvements they made to the user interface. It is gorgeous now, and I did a happy dance when I saw the option to turn on “view target of target”.

Space combat is a lot easier now that I know what the hell I’m doing, and I can take down four or five Birds of Prey at once without breaking a sweat. My new ship is almost a twin of the U.S.S. Taiga, the one I had in beta, but I named this one after another biome instead:

In case you're wondering, no, my next ship will not be named the U.S.S. Temperate Coniferous Forest.

I was also a little more careful when it came to distributing my skill points this time around, not only because I know that there’s going to be a cap, but also because I’ve learned that there are clear advantages to giving more attention to certain space and ground abilities. That said, space combat is still very tactical and combat on the ground is still somewhat lackluster, though I’ve come to appreciate every chance I get to beam down as a nice reprieve from the hectic and often lengthy space battles.

So far, there’s a decent mix of quests, some that require fighting and blowing stuff up, and others where you won’t have to fire a single shot at all. Yes, as with any game, there’s always going to be the risk of missions starting to feel repetitive, but well, at least in this game I’m pretty positive you’ll never have to kill 10 rats.

The most impressive thing I experienced was also the most fun I had today, and that was the fleet action. I was initially let down by them during the beta, as I was expecting the massive battles and epic moments that the developers had promised in their videos and interviews, and needless to say, I didn’t quite get that. Today was a different story. Maybe it was the greater number of players involved, but the fleet action gameplay I experienced this afternoon was just insane. Player allies and enemy ships and proton mines and debris and asteroids and you name it were just flying all over the place as literally dozens of phaser beams were shooting across the screen at once. This was more like the large-scale conflict I had expected.

A screenshot taken during one of the "calmer" moments, i.e. the few seconds when I was able to take my hands off the control keys and mouse.

I was also surprised at the level of stability. Sure, I had the occasional “connection to server lost” message flash across the screen as well as some rubber-banding, but having no ridiculous wait times, severe crashes or server shutdowns on launch day certainly gets major points in my book. I guess I’ll see what more this game will bring in the weeks to come.

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