Today was the last day of beta for Star Trek Online. For the last day of beta, the developers gave the fanboys a chance to play what they were asking for.
A lot of PVP fanboys were asking for open-world PVP. That was part of the event. Klingons could fly all the way to the starting location for humans and attack enemy players as they loaded in. Unfortunately for the Klingons, there are far less of them than there are of Federation players, so once they loaded into the zone, they found themselves to be the ones being spawn-camped. I heard Klingons complaining that they were dead before they could move. I heard federation players complaining that killing the same Klingon player over and over at the spawn-point was boring. For all the requests I read on message boards about wanting open-world PVP in STO, I only heard complaints from both sides in zone chat today.
A few Star Trek fanboys were complaining that the Borg in the game were too weak. In the tv-show, one Borg cube destroyed an entire fleet of ships. In Star Trek Online, you easily kill dozens of Borg on your own during the tutorial. During today’s last-day event, the Borg were everywhere. They spawned in the earth spacedock by the dozen. Individual Borg-drones one-shotted Klingon and Federation players alike. In space encounters, no fleet of players could hope to take out a single Borg-cube. The reaction to the Borg invasion was less negative, but I doubt even Star Trek fanboys would enjoy being one-shotted in the starting area once the game launched.
So why is Cryptic giving players in open-beta a chance to test things that won’t be in the game? Partially, this kind of event is a chance to celebrate the end of beta. But also, this gives Cryptic a chance to show what things would be like if they actually did something like this during launch. In Champions Online, their last-day of beta event in Millennium city was a slide-show for most people. The Borg invasion and open world PVP showed that some ideas fans have are more fun as concepts than they are in-game.
Conveniently, you do not need to think about Star Trek Online, because the blogosphere has already done it for you. Keen has the quick version that about matches the consensus. If you want all the details, West Karana is the place to be:
Sente has the middle-length version.
If you declare your beta “open” but require a beta key and:
Q: Where can I get a beta key?
A: Open beta keys are included in all pre-order boxes, and are given out by selected partners. Check back later for the list of partners that are giving out beta access.
then either you are unfamiliar with the term “open beta” or you are intentionally using terms deceptively. Neither inspires long-term trust for running a complex software project.
I’m saving up my snark about how long “paid beta” will run past release.
In June of 2003, a much hyped science-fiction MMO launched. It was the first MMORPG to take advantage of such a lucrative license. Unlike previous MMOs, it had a “skill based system” of advancement. Due to either a lack of time or a design decision, very large open areas were populated with randomly generated content. The system used to generate the random content was called the “dynamic spawn” system and championed as an innovation. Despite a long development time, the game felt incomplete when it launched.
Anyone who’s been intently following Star Trek Online already knows how Cryptic’s game compares to pre-NGE Star Wars Galaxies.
Continue reading STO: The real SWG2
These are the chronicles of MMO developer Cryptic. Their continuing mission: To seek out new players. To create new trailers that will generate excitement for their game. To boldly take a popular license and make a profitable game.
Judging by the trailer they released earlier today, their mission will be a failure. Clocking in at just over a minute, the trailer actually seemed to decrease interest in the game despite having a prominent spot on the front page of gamespot. The voice-over was uninspired. The game-play footage was too devoid of music to give it a cinematic feel, yet also devoid of the user-interface that makes game-play footage seem genuine.
By contrast, when SW:TOR wants to show off it’s gameplay, they actually played it; user interface and all. When SW:TOR wanted to give a cinematic trailer, they did that too. Both of these efforts had me reaching for my wallet and saying to myself, “God, I hope there’s a lifetime subscription!”
Star Trek Online’s trailers have me reaching for my mouse while saying, “Meh”.
Star Trek and Star Wars are always do things differently. Star Trek space battles play out like large naval ships swapping cannon fire and Star Wars space battles play out like World War era biplanes engaged in dog-fights. On the ground, Star Wars is all sword and sorcery with a sci-fi coat of paint, while Star Trek alternates between cowboy-style fist fights and cowboy-style shoot-outs with hand phasers and phaser rifles replacing six-shooters and shotguns.
People are going to compare the upcoming Star Trek Online to the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic, so I might as well throw in my two credits/latinum as well.
Continue reading STO vs TOR