Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi’

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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.

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Searching for my Sci-Fi Fix

January 17, 2010

Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to divide my time between playing the Star Trek Online beta and my EVE Online trial. And I gotta be honest–most of the time, STO wins out.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy EVE Online. It’s a fun game…just a different kind of fun. It’s not surprising that most gamers call it a “niche market MMO” as it’s certainly not for everybody. I personally don’t even know if it’s right for me yet. Sometimes I think, “Gosh, I don’t really feel like playing the game right now, but I really should log in real quick just to queue up my skills training.” Fast forward to two hours later, and I would find myself still in the game, and whether it’s doing some mining or carrying on a mission, I just don’t want to stop playing.

It’s a little hard to explain. There are times when EVE feels less like fun and more like work, and after a long, tedious day the last thing I feel like doing is play the game. Yet, once I’m actually in it, I get hooked instantly. When it comes to theme park MMOs vs. sandbox MMOs, I thought I would naturally gravitate towards the former simply because I’m a goal-oriented person, ie. I enjoy being provided with a sense of direction so I know just exactly what I’m working for every step of the way. Yet, the beauty of the sandbox MMO is that you’re allowed so much freedom, and that feeling easily becomes addictive. For me, this addiction manifested itself in the form of my in-game to-do list, to which I kept adding items faster than I could check them off. Before I know it, it’s way past my bedtime and the game has sucked me in once again.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if this justifies subscription. While I realize STO and EVE are completely different beasts, apples and oranges, they just happen to be the two games I am trying out concurrently. Personal opinion alert! I won’t lie; if I had to choose my sci-fi fix based solely on my own level of enjoyment–that is, the pure and unadulterated no-strings-attached fun experienced–I think I would have to go with STO at this time.

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Star Trek Online Open Beta Begins

January 12, 2010

Something occurred to me today. In a baffling turn of events, Star Trek Online has become my most anticipated MMO of 2010. I can hardly believe it myself, but considering how SW:TOR is out of the running now, STO is it. They  lifted their NDA today and a deluge of information has come in from those who have played the closed beta. Not surprisingly, the reviews are mixed. After all, you can’t expect a game based on a franchise that has spanned more than 40 years to please everybody. Personally, I’m not a fan of Star Trek. In fact, my entire experience with the IP can be summed up by the new JJ Abram’s movie, a few random episodes of The Next Generation I managed to catch on TV when I leave it on the Space channel, and Youtube snippets of the original series.

Do I need to be a Trekkie to enjoy the game? I don’t think so. I didn’t have to like either the Lord of the Rings movies or books all that much, or know much about the Conan universe to enjoy LOTRO or AoC, respectively. I think even the most hardcore fanboys of any franchise will tell you that simply enjoying the IP will only get you so far–a game has to be a good MMO first and foremost, and if it’s crap then nothing else matters.

I'm mostly looking forward to experiencing the space combat.

That said, I managed to snag open beta keys for myself and my husband earlier today. I’ll be going in knowing next to nothing about Star Trek, whereas he is an “original series purist”, has seen all the movies and has sat through all of Enterprise and most of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. It’ll be interesting to see how our opinions on the game will differ. Open beta will run from January 12, 2010 to January 26, 2010. If I like it, I might pick it up. If not, I might look into subbing to EVE Online, which has me very intrigued so far during the free trial period. If nothing else, the 26th is also the release date for Bioware’s RPG Mass Effect 2, so I’ll be rocking that on the Xbox 360 for a while regardless. Sci-fi appears to be January’s theme for me.

And now I shall go forth and join the thousands trying to find a place where I can download the STO client hassle-free. Where no man has gone before, indeed.