Contemplating Star Trek Online

September 2, 2010

Oh dammit, screenshot should actually look like she's pondering, not picking her nose.

Something tells me I should have listened to my instincts and written this post sooner, but it really didn’t hit me until a couple days ago when I looked at my blog categories on the sidebar and realized I have devoted more posts to Star Trek Online than any other game (*gasp!* Am I a STO blog?*)

Obviously, there has to be something about STO that distinguishes it from other games for me, especially when I acknowledge the fact I’ve spent considerably less time playing it than some of my other MMOs. And while I’m aware it flaunts itself as a casual game and is perfect for scratching the occasional itch I have for the impromptu space battle, quite honestly I don’t even think it’s a particularly exceptional game. Nevertheless, I have a good time whenever I’m logged in, but really, it’s a work-in-progress and the content between updates has always been too limited for my tastes, which explains my month-long hiatus from the game before Season Two’s release.

But STO is still special to me and I know why. It all started at a time when I was looking for good sci-fi MMO, EVE Online having not panned out and Star Wars: The Old Republic having been slated for a 2011 spring release, my eyes reluctantly turned to STO even though I knew practically nothing about it and had no idea what to expect. And I think I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw when I tested in open beta. And my husband is a big fan of Star Trek, so I knew this could be a game that both of us could play.

And as time went on, I discovered that STO is definitely a game where I have as much fun with it offline as I do online.

When I started blogging about STO, and met other bloggers who do, that was when the game really took off. The Combat Archaeologist/Adventure Historian, who also happens to be one of the first STO players I’ve met through this blog, wrote an article recently that pretty much says everything I want to say. The fact that everyone can play on the live shard, our little network became a fleet, and ultimately it’s the people I’ve come to know that keeps me playing and that keeps me coming back.

STO’s capacity for role play opportunities exposed me to my fleetmates’ creativity in the form of their stories. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re dramatic, but most importantly they have inspired me to share my own writings on STO. While something makes me tackle games like Lord of the Rings Online or Age of Conan with a relatively more serious attitude, for some reason writing about STO comes more freely to me, and I have no qualms about being silly with my character, or sharing my random STO escapades.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s an effect of the game’s casual nature, or it’s something inherent in the Star Trek franchise in general. Whatever the case, it’s great being able to write for and read posts from others who understand the little pleasures of this game.

Finally — and this is what’s really amazing to me — Star Trek is a franchise that has spanned more than four decades, spawned a multitude of  TV series, movies, books, comics, games…but it wasn’t until I started playing STO that I started paying attention to it. Before that, I knew virtually nothing about the Trek universe and I mean practically zilch. I was like, durrr, what’s a Tribble? The Holodeck, huh, what? I think the only exposure I had to the IP at that point was the 2009 JJ Abrams movie and a handful of The Next Generation scenes I’ve caught on TV when I was channel surfing but have never paid attention to.

Yeah, sad.

Assuming that most people gravitate to a game based on an IP because of an existing interest in said IP, and considering what a big Star Trek noob I was, I’m amazed STO even stuck with me at all. But stuck it did, and for me it was like a gateway to everything else Trek. I was aware of Star Trek growing up, of course, but never thought it was something I could get into. I was wrong about that, it seems. In the last six months I’ve devoured the shows, the movies, and even a couple books. I discovered that, hey, I actually like Star Trek! Who’d a thunk it? And I’ve missed out on it all these years.

So I guess I’ve got STO to thank for that. Also because now I actually friggin’ get all the pop culture references.


  1. I made a conscious effort to back off of DDO posts for a while and do some more general posts. I realized at some point I had posted about almost nothing but DDO for something like two or three months. I did not want to become “The DDO blog.”

    That said, I really enjoy your STO posts.

    • I’m definitely not a STO blog and never set out to be one, but guess it just happened to be the game I write most about.

      I know what DDO phase you’re talking about, I think I remember that 😛 I don’t play DDO myself, so I couldn’t comment much, but I do read everything.

  2. it really is kind of strange that you got involved with star trek from the game. I mean you’ve talked about how space has 4 or 5 hour marathons every day in canada. theres movies, books, comics and other media.

    I’m not even a big fan of star trek, just overly familiar with it because it filled my sci-fi needs.

    but i suppose its only natural to try something when you’ve experienced something similar. like wanting to try STO out just because i read your blogs about it.

    now that you’re actually into ST, answer the eternal questions for me. picard or kirk? do you hate wesley? riker with beard or riker without?

    • Haha, before STO I would have understood only 1 out of your 3 questions.

      1) Kirk
      2) Yes I do, when I started watching TNG from the beginning, I remember thinking, who IS that annoying kid?
      3) Definitely with the beard.

      • You have chosen… wisely.

      • BEST SCENE EVER. Now I laugh my ass off when I see it, but of course, it used to give me nightmares as a kid.

  3. I, for one, think T’Andy looks thoughtful. It really is a pretty great game. It has problems, and maybe it’s not good enough for “hardcore” players. But it scratches an itch.

    • Now that I inspect the pic more closely, it looks more like she smelled something nasty 😛

      And yes it’s a great casual game. I can tell from my flurry of activity on it after every patch that I like it, I just wish I had more of it.

  4. @Hunter. Picard, Bearded Riker, and Wesley gets too much bad press.

    • Picard is a better captain, but I’d

    • arrghhh, comment fail!

      The best way I’ve heard it put is – Yes, Kirk will get you killed and Picard might be sauve. But, I’d rather be Kirk.

      I mean, Kirk is Odysseus – completely badass hero, sleeps with everything, and only he is going to make it home.

  5. I want to love STO really bad when I read stuff like this. Truth is that after 15 mins I want to log off 😦 I just doesnt click

    • I definitely think it helped having my husband and other bloggers to play with, especially towards the beginning. I didn’t start getting really addicted to space combat until around Commander rank and after.

      • Having just gotten to Commander rank, I gotta agree. The enemies finally have ‘my’ abilities, and the fights are getting interesting.

  6. Some games I find are easier for me to write about as well. I suppose some of them have more fun stuff to do than others. A little more excitement even if it is here and there.

    I’ve been like that with things before, thinking it was nothing I’d be interested in and really it was something I really feel into!

    Maybe one of these days I’ll give the trial another go. You always make it sound so fun 🙂

    • There’s a part I attribute to the atmosphere of the game that makes me write about it so freely, and definitely STO is a game that strives to live up to its IP, but also isn’t afraid to have a little fun at the same time.

  7. Maybe your relative newb-ness to Star Trek was an asset. This way, you weren’t going to freak out like a nerd if your experience/vision of Star Trek didn’t quite match Cryptic’s implementation of it 😛

    It always bugs me, for example, that the Star Wars games don’t quite capture the “gameplay” of the Star Wars movies and novels 😛

    • I sometimes think that may be the case too, because I certainly wouldn’t have known if something wasn’t “correct” and wouldn’t know enough to complain 😛

  8. Awesome post!

    My blog has wandered the mirror path – I started as a STO-focused blog, but have branched out into more things (only to come back around and refocus on STO).

    For me, STO is special because it’s my first real MMO experience. I’ve played other games, for a month or two. But this time, I’m going all the way.

    • STO’s one of a handful of MMOs for which I’ve actually gone all the way, and actually feel any attachment to my character. Having a group to play with definitely helps too.

  9. I can totally see the appeal of STO but unfortunately have accepted it’s not for me. I have to say though, I do always like seeing your screenshots… even if it is of starship captains picking their nose 😉

    • I didn’t even know you were playing until I saw your blog post on it. You should have joined our fleet! Sorry you didn’t get into STO, but it would have been neat if we could have played together some.

  10. Hmm though for a while and realize I couldn’t really figure how to respond to your post a bit stumped. However the answers best I can really say you have written it already covering the entire blog post in your thoughts.

    STO seems a game you’ve been really able to roll play with just playing the game and it reflect that in your postings. I’ve enjoyed reading them. Now STO is not a great game nor is it a really bad game either, its just stuck in the middle as a average game to me and with much limited content that can’t really hold many the players with more hardcore habits demanding more from a game.

    STO caters more to the really casual gamer in some way. And really that’s the best way I can sum it up. Yet I’m a original Star Trek fan, growing up watching Star Trek. But STO is a really casual game and was fun to play it as well, though stopped playing it. However i still find your STO adventures interesting and entertaining to read all the same discovering a bit of Star Trek.

    I don’t think your a STO blog. A game blog to me tend reflects the games that you or anyone else is playing or focused on playing at the time. Thus you will see more coverage about that game vs another. As i’ve found its really hard to post with interest about a game your not playing or personally involved in. Its much easier to write about a game your actually playing with some passion to fuel your thoughts unless you tend to want to be a bit more controversial on topics.

    I’m not playing WoW, so its hard to write about anything WoW related or even Cataclysm unless its really general topic across blogs. Hard to write about STO when not playing the game to even comment on things new in game not experiencing it. But one can discover new things of someone actually playing the game looking in on someone that does. A persons focus shifts from time to time to game they find interesting or discover playable though others.

    I write about EVE as its the only game i’m currently playing and still learning and the one that has my attention. They just not that many game that out there that really sucks me in atm though some down the roads looks interesting. Thus you or anyone game blog in some way will reflect what your playing somewhat unless your a blogger that likes to generalize topics of gaming.

    The Kirk and Picard as well Riker rivalry never gets old it seem. I like them all. I happen to be a real Kirk fan as man of action as the real adventurer he is, who happens to also thinks and ponder like Picard yet admire the wits of Riker while actually liking Kirk all the way.

    • I’ve always set out to be a general blog, knowing how I try a lot of games but only ultimately stick with a couple. I just can’t be tied down to talking about one game all the time, even if I love and play a game a lot. Even my favorite games get rotated in and out sometimes, just based on my mood and what I feel like playing.

      I play my share of WoW even now, with my husband, but I don’t really write about it. I suppose there are enough WoW blogs out there, and there’s really nothing I can say that probably isn’t covered out there already. STO, on the other hand, still surprises me from time to time, especially with their frequent updates. I’m still learning too, so I totally get what you’re saying about learning and writing about EVE.

      Anyway, STO with all its flaws still impresses me with its updates, and I gotta appreciate the work the devs do to add to the game.

      Re: the Kirk and Picard thing, Picard is cool, but he’s just too refined for my tastes. Kirk just seems to me more like the man of action, and I’m drawn to that. 😀

  11. damn it… I give in. I’ll reinstall tonight. Can’t resist star trek anymore….

    • Hopefully, you’ll catch one of us on, you need to get an invite to the fleet.

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