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Author Topic: Star Trek Online Struggles with only 100k Subscribers!  (Read 18051 times)

Offline Falin

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Re: Star Trek Online Struggles with only 100k Subscribers!
« Reply #20 on: 27 April 2010 02:27 PM »
RR...I fail to see how you could learn EVERYTHING you need to know from a closed Beta. Perhaps as a non-MMO player ( until STO ),you could enlighten me as to the process of how a closed beta would give you what you say it did..."Closed Beta told me everything I needed to know about the direction of the game, and it's fate after launch."

BLZBUB, this is one of those things that just comes from expirience. I'm sure RR, lke me, has played or tried to play every mainstream MMO out there. I know I have beta's almost every one of them and from my expiriences and observations of various games over time, I can tell you if a games on the right path or not during Closed beta.

In this instance, i could tell there was no replayablity ( the ability to create a new character and progress through a different content), there was a severe lack of a Hook (you want the players to want to not want to put the game down), sevdere lack of unique content (all the messions were cut and copies of each other with a few unique ones thrown in) and those are 3 Standard things missing.

As for Trek, if failed to meet the requirements for the IP. There was no reason to group up, the game ended up just being a big solo game with other players mingled in a lobby enviroment. There was no comprehensive exploration, diplomacy or Universe, Ship just became random mobs to kill (5 cruisers against a miranda and the miranda wins?), you could reoutfit your ships in space and there was no real death penalty. On top of that, the extensive instancing just through  immersion out the window, no feeling of the vastness of space.

ST has and always will be about a group of individuals working together (usually a bridge crew) to solve a larger than life problem. for that, I still hold that for a ST MMO to be successful it needs to that the approach DDO took, where people can get together (like a hub city or SB) and go do an EPISODE together or if not try them solo or with a hired Bridge crew. the essence of Trek is the group and self advancement, it's npt about Pew pew, although if that had done a more DDO approach with say 70-80% combat for mission, I think the game would still have been a Huge hit with fans.

anyways, i've said this and more all before. Cryptic did this to themselves, they had a vast number of people telling them that this approach would not be sustainable and they ignored them.
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Offline BLZBUB

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Re: Star Trek Online Struggles with only 100k Subscribers!
« Reply #21 on: 27 April 2010 08:28 PM »

anyways, i've said this and more all before. Cryptic did this to themselves, they had a vast number of people telling them that this approach would not be sustainable and they ignored them.

I have always respected your opinions Falin...even when they clashed with my beloved IP Star Trek! Your opinions on this and other forums is well known, and after playing STO for about 10 - 15 hours (I got to Lieutenant-Commander yesterday), I can see your thoughts come to life in-game.
 Although it is Star Trek, the instances play similar to NavyFeild ... and in that I mean that your return. STO just has a ground instancing thrown in.
 Perhaps the new Tribble server will develop a better team working style as you hinted at...the bridge crew being part of the player base. Time will tell. As it stands now, I have some serious thoughts as to re-newing my subscription at the end of my first month.
 Don't get me wrong, I love Star Trek and enjoy the game, but I sure would like to be able to just drive my cruiser out to Jupiter or Mars just for a lark.
 Why is it that games like Independance War  and Battlecruiser3000 allow free flight and STO cannot?
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Offline Zach

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Re: Star Trek Online Struggles with only 100k Subscribers!
« Reply #22 on: 27 April 2010 10:49 PM »
Yeah - STO is a shadow, a mere shell, of what it could have been.  Its ok for when I need a Star Trek Dose, but not much more.   I barely even bother to read the mission descriptions.

My hopes for a decent trek game now lay with Star Trek: Excalibur - as a part of that team, I am in a position to see that game as it comes together and its looking real good so far.

Lets hope they manage to get the persistent multiplayer in for launch!

Offline Random Redshirt

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Re: Star Trek Online Struggles with only 100k Subscribers!
« Reply #23 on: 27 May 2010 01:19 AM »
RR...I fail to see how you could learn EVERYTHING you need to know from a closed Beta. Perhaps as a non-MMO player ( until STO ),you could enlighten me as to the process of how a closed beta would give you what you say it did..."Closed Beta told me everything I needed to know about the direction of the game, and it's fate after launch."

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner BLZBUB, it's been a crazy few weeks at work.

Much of Falin's response on your comment is correct. When you play a few MMOs and test a few others, it becomes pretty easy to get a feel for what a game will be like, and to make a judgement on it, even as early as Closed Beta. Now, that being said, I remind you that in my last post, I indicated that bugs, gliches and such weren't a factor in my decision not to play STO. Those things when experienced in a Closed Beta are to be expected, and generally you just anticipate that they will be fixed.

Now, personally, when I'm looking at an MMO to play, I look for 4 key factors that appeal to me. Story, Immersion, Gameplay Difficulty and Graphics. Throughout Closed Beta, I was not at all impressed by these four components within STO.

I'm not sure if you were in Closed Beta or not, or if you had access to the Closed Beta Forums. After my first playtest, I wrote the following, which described in detail exactly my feelings on STO's shortfalls. (My apologies, it's rather wordy.)


Star Trek Online Beta Test
Report 001 (October 31, 2009)

Initial Impressions and Observations

On October 31st, I conducted my first play test of Star Trek Online Beta. What follows is a summary of my impressions and feelings about the game. For those that do not wish to read the full synopsis of my findings, I shall summarize them here in the beginning.

In short, I was not impressed with Star Trek Online. I felt that the gameplay was far too simplistic, I felt very little challenge in what I was doing, and I felt that it lacked a genuine Trek feel to it, which really disappointed me. Ultimately, it is my feeling that for STO to be successful with the type of gamer that I am, a significant redesign would need to occur. I will qualify that statement later in this report. And at this time, I will now begin my in-depth summary of impressions during the play test.

I began my play test with the character creator. I will say that having expanded controls over the physical features of my character was a welcome feature, and having the ability to give my avatar a full name was a welcome change as well from normal MMO fare. However, I felt that the uniform customization was far too loose, and I suspected that I wouldn't like that very much when seeing many people in one area, which would be confirmed later.

So I begin my time in the STO universe aboard the USS Khitomer, a ship under attack. I felt this to be a tad bit strange. I had long hoped that STO would incorporate the Starfleet Academy into the game as the Academy serves as the perfect setting for "training" of the next generation of Starfleet officers. Moving on, I encounter the main NPC in the area, an EMH that is administering to wounded Khitomer crew members. I am greeted by a popup screen telling me to press a button, and when I do, a larger popup screen appears with text and a picture. My first impression of this quest interface is that I'm not fond of it. It really pulls you out of the moment and wrecks the immersion of being on this ship that is being destroyed around you. But I will talk about some more aspects of this later in this report. So I receive my first quest, which requires me to scan some nearby wounded with a tricorder. So I walk over in that direction, and I am greeted by a popup screen telling me to press a button. Two thoughts enter my mind at this point. The first thought is: Why am I not using a medical tricorder (which the EMH would have instructed me to get) since we've heard it so many times, a doctor correcting someone and telling them to use a medical tricorder. And then, as I conduct the scan, It seemed far too simplistic for my tastes. I tell myself, this is a tutorial area, and perhaps later on, things will be more complex, and so I go turn in the quest.

My next quest takes me to an engineering area. My trip there has me wondering if the ship I am onboard is truly a Federation vessel. The interiors don't really strike me as familiar, and looks more like a hybrid of Federation and Klingon decor, or perhaps something you'd see elsewhere. But this is not a major thing, because it's a matter of skins, which can be changed easily, so I move on to my objective. I arrive, and encounter another NPC who actives with the push of a button. This seems like a clunky system, and I wonder if using a system similar to World of Warcraft with a click on the NPC, would provide a better interface.

Now I need to step outside the story here for a moment, and comment on the Borg. I was more than a little shocked to be facing down the Borg in my very first missions, in a tutorial area none the less. The Borg are what I would consider a "raid level" enemy. Much like dragons or the Scourge of Warcraft. The Borg are an unstoppable force. It was a bit disappointing for me, to be walking through the corridors of a broken ship and blasting Borg like they were nothing to be concerned about. I was also very disappointed that the Borg did not act in the ways that we traditionally know the Borg to act. First and foremost, their reaction to phaser fire was not at all what it should have been. We know from a lot of experience and a lot of canon lore that the Borg adapt (and quickly) to most types of energy weapons, with the common number of available shots being 12 or less before adaptation occurs. Secondly, I have never seen a Borg that was contained by Federation force fields. They tend to adapt to that quickly as well, so containment is always an issue. Finally, the issue of assimilation comes to mind. I never seemed to be afraid of being assimilated with the Borg I fought. They didn't seem to try.

So back to the play test. My next quest takes me into a room that contains Borg being held behind a force field and an engineering officer working at a control panel. He gives me a quest to store the patterns of the Borg behind the force field in the pattern buffer. I turn around, and find a console that is glowing with a gradient light bar sweeping through it. As I approach it, another pop up, and press the action button, and their patterns are stored. At this point, I'm getting a tad bit frustrated that there seems to be little or no challenge in anything I do, as it all boils down to me simply pushing a single button. On top of that, I questioning why the Borg are simply standing there like cattle in a feed lot instead of at the very least, attempting to move through the force field. I turn in the quest, and my next quest takes me to a transporter control panel to beam the Borg from their current spot into a hull breached area of the Khitomer. This didn't make much sense to me. Why would any responsible Starfleet officer actually transport Borg to another part of the ship? Why not beam them directly into space? Why not scatter their patterns and not allow them to rematerialize? But I push my one action button, and the quest is completed.

My next quest takes me to the warp core room. (Which I felt was very well laid out, and was the one part of the ship that made me feel like I was on board a Federation starship) To get there, I had to take a turbolift. I was more than a little disappointed that the turbolift amounted to nothing more than a solid wall, and a pop up screen telling me to push an activation key, which then prompted a load screen. This really destroys immersion factor in my opinion. At the very least, I think it would have been nice if the doors open and you walk inside before being prompted to push a button and is a load screen really necessary? Is there a way to load the instanced area that keeps you in the turbolift, without the screen popping up? So, I get to the warp core room and it is being defended from the Borg as a barricaded strong point. I questioned the tactical sense however of creating a "frontline position" in the warp core room, as I'd be concerned that stray phaser fire might produce an unintended result, but I wasn't the Op Officer on site, so I did my part to defend. However, the defense of that position gave me my first "John McClaine" moment, as I stood there blazing away at Borg. During this quest, I never felt in any sort of danger, I didn't even feel the Borg to be a threat. My personal shield was never damaged enough for me to take damage, they never moved to assimilate me, and I simply stood there shooting and dispatched several Borg quickly. Much more quickly than any other Starfleet officer in history, and with little complication. They never adapted their shields, they never broke through mine.

So the conclusion of this area tells me it's time to head up to my ship, the USS Nehalem, and assume command because all the other command officers are dead, and the only person of command rank left is me, a lowly Ensign. Suddenly I am reminded of Star Trek XI and Kirk jumping from 3rd year cadet to Captain of the flagship of the fleet, but I dismiss that, and transport up to my ship. I did love the transporter effects, they did look awesome. So, I get up to my ship, and see from the 3rd person view that I have a Centaur class vessel. I go through a brief tutorial and proceed to fly my ship around. I've said it a lot already, but I can't help saying again that I was very unimpressed. The simplicity of the controls, the simplicity of the combat, the lack of strategy required, did not make this aspect of the game play fun for me. I proceed on my mission to go beam out survivors from wrecked ships nearby. I held out hope that maybe, there would be some complexity in this task. However, I was greeted by a pop up screen, telling me to push a button, and the task is done. I have to ask, but is all there is? Is this the full extent that STO will be, a connect the dots MMO where exploration is considered flying to random point X in space, and pressing the button I am told to press? Another thing that struck me during the space portion of my play test was how objects can be located. Someone asked in zone where one of the ships was they were looking for. I went to answer, then realized, how could I? I didn't have a coordinate system that I could use to relay position to another person, and this isn't WoW where you can say "over by this" or "over by that". This is space. Direction is a relative thing. So, I complete the mission, and my next mission takes me to meet up with a task force to destroy some Borg cubes. The first thought in my head was "Serious? A raid as part of the tutorial?" I guess my impression had always been that taking on a single Borg cube would be a raid level event, like 25 ships or more. I was wrong. My small, light duty Centaur, along with a handful of others, dispatched 6 Borg cubes and 2 Borg spheres in a matter of minutes, which left me going "what the...".  The space combat I experienced left me with the feeling of someone had mounted phasers and torpedoes on my flying mount in WoW, and I could simply fly around and blow things up. It reminded me of a game I played long ago (but not for long) called Star Trek Encounters. Very simple, very arcade. I never bothered rotating shields because I was never in enough danger to need to, even while facing down the Borg. I never felt I needed any sort of tactical maneuvers as the ship control was so simplistic. I lost interest in the space combat quickly, and so I wrapped up my quest and proceeded to move on.

Another thing becomes apparent to me about the space combat and movement as the quest screen pops up telling me to go down to the planet below and provide assistance. Pop-ups are "suicidal" in space mode. I didn't have time to bring my ship to all stop before I got the pop-up, and had there been an enemy around me, he could have blasted away at me while I was reading the quest, reducing the USS Nehalem to space dust. This was a little disconcerting for me, and ultimately a huge blow to immersion factor.

So I head down to the planet, and I take on a quest for rescuing colonists being held captive by the Borg. Held captive? Why are they being assimilated? Are the Borg no longer into assimilation? Anyways, I pick up a phaser rifle, that is labeled sniper rifle, but seems oddly reminiscent of a compression rifle and head out. I start off by looking for cover, looking to see what I can do to protect my avatar. Apparently this was a bit of a waste of time, because it doesn't really matter to use cover. Now, queue up the "Ode To Joy Die Hard Remix" because it's time for another "John McClaine" moment as I run out into the open, guns blazing and Borg falling left and right like European henchmen in Nakatomi Tower. 16 Borg taken out. 0 deaths for me, never once does a drone adapt to my phaser fire. I get into melee range, and never get assimilated. Mission completes and I end my McClaine killing spree.

Now up till this point, I had been looking for something that would really make me feel like I was part of the Trek universe. Something that would get me in the mood of being a Starfleet officer. When I was told to return to Sector 001 and report to Spacedock, I thought to myself "Okay, here it is. This will be it." I was envisioning that I'd be treated to a classic view of Spacedock, as we'd all seen before, and maybe an approach sequence, similar to the Enterprise's return in Star Trek. As I sat through the loading screen, I was excited about the possibility. Unfortunately, the moment fell flat, as the structure I approached looked nothing like the Spacedock I knew, and once again, I was treated to a pop up screen, push a button, and a loading screen appeared. At this point, I was really not feeling this game, and was ready to log out, but I figured I owe Cryptic a full 2 hour test, and so I proceed to the Spacedock interior.

I mentioned earlier my trepidations about uniform customization, and my trepidations were confirmed as I walked around the open areas of the station. The characters I found there were a hodge podge of color, in many different patterns and variations. One of the things about Star Trek is any time we saw open area scenes either aboard ship, or aboard a station, everyone wore virtually the same uniform. Sure, during crossover periods (as seen midway through DS9) you saw a bit more variety, but it was nothing like this. Starfleet by its very structure is a military type organization, with a set Uniform. The very meaning of the word Uniform means all the same. No two people in Spacedock wore anything remotely the same, and it didn't look like a Starfleet installation.

I proceed on my quest to Admiral Quinn's office, and once again find myself disappointed in the turbolift. I talk to the Admiral, and he goes into a glowing review of my performance, and tells me he is giving me command of a ship on a permanent basis, and is even going to pull strings to allow me to keep my ship, the Nehalem. This reminds me just how non-Trek this game is, as I, a lowly Ensign, because of service rendered, am going to be handed the keys to the ship. Never mind that I'm a lowly Ensign, never mind that I wasn't promoted, and never mind that somewhere in the background of Starfleet, some Lt. Commander, Commander, or even Captain could be waiting for a posting, I'm so special I get a ship. A ship that normally would not be commanded by anyone with a lower rank than Lt. Commander. Really, it didn't make me feel like I was a part of Starfleet, it made me feel like I was Q or some super natural being, snapping my fingers to make people give me all this grand stuff, regardless of normal protocol. After that, I left the Admiral's office and wandered around, just to see what Spacedock had to offer. Things like a Promenade (only ever seen on DS9, which is Cardassian in nature and had the Promenade for civilians), a night club, complete with Dance music, and an Auction House. Wait, an Auction House? How is an Auction house possible in the Federation? How can it exist on an inherently military outpost, and why is it even called an Auction House? I look around some more, and take a turbolift to Personnel, which had I looked more carefully was really right around the corner and accessible by foot travel. The turbolift, literally seems to go nowhere. No up or down elevational change, and the distance is short enough on foot, that taking a turbolift there seems utterly lazy.

So, then the notice comes up and the play test window is over. I log out, and I'm done.

In summation, from a standpoint of the types of games that I enjoy and like to play, STO is not a game that I would likely play for any length of time, and certainly not on a subscription basis. Maybe it simply is not geared towards gamers like me, and I'm perfectly fine with that. As I noted earlier, I count myself as the type of gamer that enjoys games that provide a combination of factors, from challenging gameplay, to great story, to immersion factor. STO seemed to lack in these departments for me. I felt the gameplay was far too simplistic for what I would be looking for from a Star Trek game. I felt no real story developing, and the introduction of the Borg so early in the game, kind of degraded their status as "super-villain" for me. Finally, I never felt immersed enough in the game to really get that "Star Trek" feel. It felt more like a Star Trek roller coaster theme park ride, where the ride is the same as any other roller coaster, but the decor is Trek themed, but not always correctly applied. Now I know, I only proceeded through the tutorial area, and things might change once you get deeper into the game, but the old axiom of first impressions would seem to apply here, and my first impression of the game was not resounding. I liken this as the mirror opposite of Age of Conan, where Tortage (the level 1-20 starter area) was fantastic, well done and enjoyable to play, but once you left Tortage, you went "what the...". Until I can get further into the game, I won't really know what to make of STO beyond the first two hours, but at least for me, it speaks volumes in my own mind that I don't really have the urge to push further into the game, other than innate curiosity as to if the game gets better, gets more complex, more challenging and more engrossing.

Now to all of those who may read this, I would add that I am not looking to get into a fight about this. I know many people here enjoy the game thus far, and to you I say kudos. So I would ask that flaming be kept out of the discussion.

Respectfully submitted,

Random Redshirt
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage