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Author Topic: PC Gamer UK Article on STO! 7/30/09  (Read 1190 times)

Offline IanD967

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PC Gamer UK Article on STO! 7/30/09
« on: 30 July 2009 11:43 AM »
This month, PC Gamer UK have another awesome article on STO. Unfortunatly, anyone that cannot get the magazine will not see the awesome screenshots, but on the plus side you will be reading about a few more ships that have remained mainly unknown at the moment such as the Norway.

I have written up the entire article for you all to read, so without further ado, here it is: (please note that you should try to buy this if you want to see the images!)

Quote from: PC Gamer UK - Author:  Dan Stapleton
It's the year 2409, 30 years since the events of Star Trek: Nemesis movie. The galaxy has become a more dangerous place. The Alpha Quadrant's biggest powers, the Federation and the Klingon Empire, are on the verge of war. This is the perfect time and place for a massively multiplayer scrap.

That's were Cryptic, developers of thge excellent superhero MMO City of Heroes, comes in. Most Trej games focus solely on either ship combat of phaser shootouts, but Cryptic didn't want to settle for half the action. While trekking the galaxy in Star Trek Online your avatar is a vesse; tailored to your tastes, either Federation or Klingon, in which you warp from planet to planet and battle other starships. But once you beam planetside with your bridge crew, you're the captain, firing phasers and analysing anomalies.

Your missions, which Cryptic call Episodes, call for you to fight in space and on the ground as the story unfolds. When you being your career you'll pick a field of expertise from Science, Engineering and Tactical, and earn upgraded ships as you explore. I got to play a Tactical captain, commanding a Saber class Escort vessel - Starfleet's politically correct term for a light warship. Mt colleague Even, as an Engineering captain, was beside me in his Constitution class Cruiser. Our two guides flew a Norway Cruiser and a Steamrunner Heavy Frigate.


Our mission: to resuce Lt Miral Paris, daughter of Voyager crewmembers Tom Paris and B'Lanna Torres, from a Klingon named B'vat. B'vat believes her one-quarter Klingon DNA Holds the key to a medical mystery that's plagued the Klingon's for over a century. We didnt get far in our pusrsuit of B'vat before Klingon ships showed up on our scanners. we dropped from full impulse speed to divert power to shields and weapons. redirecting power between systems is the heart of ship combat in Star Trek Online, and the captain of the Steamrunner used it to full effect. Diverting all power to his shields he stormed in, drawing the fire away from us while we mopped up the rest.

You can tell just from the language it takes to describe this clash that Star Trek Online is nerd-pleasingly true to the mechanics of the series. If you haven't always wanted to order your crew to "divert power to shields," you need to get out less.

Evan and I quickly took out a Bird of Prey, but I soon had a Klingons on my tail and coulden't come about fast enough to shake him. Cryptic's Norway came to my rescue, nailing it in place with a tractor beam while i rounded on it with my heavy frontal weaponry. But at this point the Steamrunner's sheilds were critical. The Norway's captain's sceince skill came in handy again, as he used his own power to boost her shields. It took all of our combined firepower to finally cripple the Klingon battleship, at which point i finished it off with a close-range strafing attack. That may have been a bad idea.

Starships' warp cores mean they're basically exploding space-barrels. My ship was in tatters and coulden't possibly survive the blast at this range. Unless....I had one special ability left unused: Brace for Impact. It only protects you from hull damage for a few seconds but that was all i needed to survive.

Last time we saw Star Trek Online the space combat was all we were prvy to. This time we got out hands on the great unknown: the on-foot away missions. In a flagrant violation of 24th century Starfleet regulations, a five-man away team of all four starship captains and one AL-controlled bridge officer beamed down to the planet to pursue B'vat and his captive. This was a familiar-looking dusty alien world, and lousy with Klingons - every few steps down the level we were face-to-face with an angry gang of Klingon warriors with disruptors and bat'leths.

Ground combat has a way to go yet, but it does feel active and fast-paced. There are no cooldown timers on basic attacks and no auto-fire, you're tappinhg fire, alt-fire or melee attack as fast as the animations will let you. at range you're fairly safe: you can usepassive cover by positioning yourself behind barricade and personal shields protect you from disruptor fire. But melee attacks ignore these, and i was badly wounded by the bat'leth of a Klingon who survived our fire long enough to reach us. Luckily our Science-skilled captain was standing by with a stim to patch me up.

Our tactics changed when i found my first loot: the not very Star Trek-sounding Phaser Gatling shotung, It sprays in satisfying scattered bursts in the direction you point it, rather than relying on digital dice-rolls to determine who it hit's. Cryptic shown me that i could catch a whole cluster of enemies in its messy firing cone if i positioned myself well, and it quicjly changed the way i played as i naturally adopted the heavy gunner role.

That's Cryptic's goal: that gear should change your role rathar than your initial class choice penning you into one style forever. Each of the three disciplines: Science, Engineering and Tactical, has several sets of equipment called kits. A tactical officer can use Soldier, Special Ops and Security kits, a Science Officer can grab a Doctor or Reseach kit and an Engineer can use tools to deploy turrents, drones and force field generators.

Our team found a neat sequence of attacks to take out groups of klingons: photon grenades to knock them down, then two captains using their Phaser Pulse Rifle#s secondry beam to finish them off. but once we caught up to B'vat, he dragged Lt Paris through the glowing stone arch a more hardcore Trekkie would have instantly recognised as The Gaurdian of Forever: a sentient machine capable of sending people back in time. There was only one thing to do in a situation like this: reckless follow him!!

As you're probably beginning to realise, there's more to Star Trek's quests that 'Kill ten Tribbles'. More systematic quests like that are part of the Exploration content, procedurally generated when you choose to venture into the unknown. It means Cryptic don't have to dilute their story with grinding just to drag the game out. When you choose to do an 'episode' - a story mission - you can be reasonably sure it's going to get interesting.

Our mission certainly did. The five of us and our four ships were pulled back in time nearly 200 years and suddenly B'vat was off in his own craft attacking the 23rd century Enterprise. Her period-accurate blue phasers did little to fend them off, so we came to her rescue. Once we finally took down his B'vat's shields, we could beam aboard for the final showdown.

Boarding an enemy vessel is essentially an away mission, but this time - hilarously - we fought a mix of Next Generation and Original Series Klingons (the latter conspicuously pale and ridgless). We even fought the 23rd version of B'vat himself before we finally found his latter day Klingon in his War Room. Where, it turned out you can indeed fight.
Even with the five of us the boss fight was tough. But at last the Klingon felled and Lt Paris was saved. We beamed back to our respective ships and returned to our own time.

Every time we've challened Cryptic to support their claim that they're making a game in true spirit of Star Trek, and not just a reskinned World of Warcraft, they've convinced us. If even half the missions in Star Trek Online are this varied. elaborate and dramatic, it's going to be a great trip!

Thats the article.  My thoughts on it:

Good Bits:

The Guardian of Forever
Time travel missions
A few more ships revealed (in the pictures they have also shown: Valdore, Scimitar and a few more Starbase's and space stations)
Very good charactor creation (there are no words short of "excellent" to describe the Tactical and Science officer they have made and shown)
Ground combat sounds prettty fun
Romulan starbase looks great
The combat system for ships looks alot like SFC when you target an enemy to pin-point which shields are weak.
Professions and your avatar related skill's sound like quite varied as to what you can pick and do

Bad Bits:

"Phaser Gatling Shotgun" what?? although i suppose there would of been weapons made in the Dominion war for the soldiers.

Overall i think it was a good article!

One picture has been cut in two horrible: one half is shown as a 2 page picture while the other half is shown in it's correct size on the other page and shows a NX-91011 fighting: a Romulan starbase, 2 warbirds and a Scimitar


oh and the PC Gamer journalist who written this originally was: Dan Stapleton

Post Merge: 30 July 2009 11:43 AM
sub-article on some professions:

Engineering Officer:
Tank-like, this officer can withstand the most damage by improving the performance of his personal shields, while supporting his away team with power generators. He can also set up turrents to add to his teams firepower and lay mines

Doctor:
Can heal and cure any ailment that might harm their away team, by skilfully prioritising injuries before they become critical. If required to perform any other role, a Doctor is legally entitled to say "Dammit, captain, im a Doctor not a ... "

Special Forces:
Higher-ranked tactical officers can learn Special Forces skills. It makes them dangerous up close, using stalth to move in and martial arts to finish the job. They are also familiar with the most advanced combat hardware

Science officer:
Science skills let an officer weaken or incapacitate enemies gradually, by creating energy fields that damage or hinder. It also gives them the expertise to protect their own team from  the same effects, and trap foes in place with forcefields. It's all about versatility
« Last Edit: 30 July 2009 04:12 PM by Zach »

Offline Admiral of Starfleet

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Re: PC Gamer UK Article on STO! 7/30/09
« Reply #1 on: 30 July 2009 02:48 PM »
This info sounds awesome.


Offline Sarevok

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Re: PC Gamer UK Article on STO! 7/30/09
« Reply #2 on: 30 July 2009 04:11 PM »
Wow, Thanks IanD! :D  :startrek035: