With the open beta for Star Trek Online scheduled to begin on Tuesday, we thought we'd post a few of our screenshots and give a little of our feedback regarding Cryptic's new MMORPG. So far, we've only had a chance to play through the intro with our Betazoid Engineer, but we're hotly anticipating getting a fuller look at the game. Engage!
Character creation at the start is limited to Federation characters, but there are a variety of races to choose from, including Human, Vulcan, Andorian, Trill, Bajoran, Betazoid, and the option to create your own race. I'm not a huge fan of Betazoids, but I figured he'd be deleted either when the open beta started or the game went live and didn't want to grow too attached to him. I semi-randomly chose for him to be an Engineer and, after navigating through the multitudes of character customization options (There's even a slider for "Hair Shininess"!), it was off to Risa for a nice, relaxing vacation with --
Oh wait. I've been plopped down in the middle of a Borg attack? I guess beach volleyball will have to wait.
After a brief primer on how to move, Ensign Lexin Nasos (that's me) was beamed over to a ship that had been damaged in the attack to try and aid the survivors in fighting off the boarding Borg. Combat is pretty simple at first, with just a pair of phaser attacks and a melee attack, but I was able to handle the few drones that came my way and even blow up some of their toys -- and the Borg along with them. (Explosions damage things? Neat! Unless I'm too close to the explosion...)
Then, it was off to my ship, the U.S.S. Fremulon. Naturally, all the other ranking officers had been killed so I, a lowly ensign, was in command. I was sent off to destroy a few damaged Borg probes, which was easy since they didn't shoot back. My ship has front and rear phasers and front-mounted photon torpedoes. Then I had to fight a few probes that did shoot back, but they weren't too much tougher.
Ship combat, at the moment, is maybe the most difficult thing for me to manage. These early battles were simple enough, but I still struggled a little bit with maneuvering, lining up my target arcs, firing my weapons, ordering my bridge crew (who provide bonuses to various aspects of ship combat), changing my power allocations ("More power to the weapons!" "Full impulse!"), and making sure my best shields were pointed at the enemy. Taking on single, relatively weak probes was easy enough, but once I get more weapons and personnel for my ship and have to face more and/or tougher enemies, it's bound to get hairy. Maybe what I'm describing is old hat to fans of space-based games like Eve Online, and maybe I'll grow accustomed to it all soon enough, but it's a new and trying experience for me -- but one I'm looking forward to mastering.
After another beam-down with my newly minted security chief at my side, where I rescued some hostages from the clutches of the Borg and fought off what seemed like about a dozen drones to get to their Strange Device (tm), it was back up to the ship to deal with a Borg Cube. Thankfully, it was already damaged and I had some help, but it did manage to almost completely punch through my shields, and I was a little too close when it blew up, prompting a gentle warning from the computer voice (rest in peace, Majel Barrett Roddenberry) that told me that my port shields were in the red. Then it was off to the starbase to be congratulated by the admiral and given my next assignment.
Sadly, it was not to play beach volleyball on Risa.