Why incompetence will be the downfall of Star Trek Online.

Posted by Spiderpope (6 posts) -

 

For the last couple of month's i've given Star Trek Online a spin. As a former trekkie the idea of a Star Trek MMORPG was rather enticing so i promptly nipped out to buy a copy upon release.

For those who are unaware, Star Trek Online was created by Cryptic and published by Atari after a couple of years in development. Prior to STO i hadn't had much experience with Cryptic products beyond a 14-day trial of their old superhero MMO, City of Heroes.

So my initial impressions of STO were fairly favourable. The game has a decent space combat system, but its rather shallow and the ground combat is rather appalling. The advertised Klingon faction was little more than a placeholder. But i thought hey, give it time and i'm sure Cryptic is working on getting things just right. Sadly i was wrong.

Cryptic announced a Season 1 update that would remedy some of the content issues. Unfortunately this is apparently marketing speak for "going to add a bunch of micro-transaction fluff and 1 (thats 1) new mission". Naturally this was somewhat of a disappointment. And then came the announcement that not only was Season 1 comprised largely of microtransaction junk, Lifetime Subscribers would be receiving their own unique location within the game as well as several other rewarding bits of fluff.

Now my first reaction was "what the ****?" The game is in desperate need of content and the dev's waste time making areas accessible by less than 5% of their playerbase. So i did a little searching, a little arguing on the forums if i'm honest and found an interesting little tid-bit. It would appear that Cryptic will receive a substantial bonus if they bring in enough cash within the first few months after release. Suddenly it became clear exactly what Cryptic was up to with their "gift" for Lifetimers. They have no intention of rewarding them for their faith, they instead want to entice more people to waste 300 bucks on a Lifetime account so they can reach this sales goal and get their nice juicy bonus. Monthly subscribers in the meantime would be left out in the cold.

If this were not enough, Cryptic then chose to patronise anyone who complained with a nice little story about cupcakes and lawn-mowing. Which naturally got my goat up. So i headed over to the account button and cancelled. I did however have a couple of weeks left on my account time so i've stuck around on the forums and managed to witness yet another cock up by Cryptic.

In a rather astounding move, Cryptic have gone against the opinion of the majority of their playerbase and introduced a player council of sorts. Rather than have said representatives elected they instead appointed several individuals as Councillors. Whilst not the best idea in my opinion, its their game so why not. But then in an incredible display of incompetence it became apparent that Cryptic had chosen to link the personal blog of one of the councillors to the Front Page of the STO website, a personal blog filled to bursting with obscenity upon obscenity (and with absolutely no warning that the site was unsuitable for minors, who are likely to visit the site given the games 12+ rating).

The forums naturally erupted into flames, complaint after complaint about how inappropriate this site was and what the feth it was doing appearing on the Front Page of the website. Not only that but after the fact it has emerged that Cryptic didnt even ask the poor individuals permission prior to posting the link. So this poor person who curses like a sailor, but did nothing except ask to help Cryptic has been on the receiving end of a heap of abuse, the forums have been filled with outrage and yet Cryptic has done nothing. They only removed the link after the owner themselves requested it be taken down. And this is what will kill STO in the end. The game has the potential to be great, i honestly believe it does. But the incompetence of Cryptic will be its downfall. Less than 10 seconds on that bloggers site would have revealed how utterly inappropriate it was, yet it is apparent they could not be bothered. And with this level of laziness i would not trust them with my money, and dear none existent readers neither should you.

#1 Posted by Spiderpope (6 posts) -

 

For the last couple of month's i've given Star Trek Online a spin. As a former trekkie the idea of a Star Trek MMORPG was rather enticing so i promptly nipped out to buy a copy upon release.

For those who are unaware, Star Trek Online was created by Cryptic and published by Atari after a couple of years in development. Prior to STO i hadn't had much experience with Cryptic products beyond a 14-day trial of their old superhero MMO, City of Heroes.

So my initial impressions of STO were fairly favourable. The game has a decent space combat system, but its rather shallow and the ground combat is rather appalling. The advertised Klingon faction was little more than a placeholder. But i thought hey, give it time and i'm sure Cryptic is working on getting things just right. Sadly i was wrong.

Cryptic announced a Season 1 update that would remedy some of the content issues. Unfortunately this is apparently marketing speak for "going to add a bunch of micro-transaction fluff and 1 (thats 1) new mission". Naturally this was somewhat of a disappointment. And then came the announcement that not only was Season 1 comprised largely of microtransaction junk, Lifetime Subscribers would be receiving their own unique location within the game as well as several other rewarding bits of fluff.

Now my first reaction was "what the ****?" The game is in desperate need of content and the dev's waste time making areas accessible by less than 5% of their playerbase. So i did a little searching, a little arguing on the forums if i'm honest and found an interesting little tid-bit. It would appear that Cryptic will receive a substantial bonus if they bring in enough cash within the first few months after release. Suddenly it became clear exactly what Cryptic was up to with their "gift" for Lifetimers. They have no intention of rewarding them for their faith, they instead want to entice more people to waste 300 bucks on a Lifetime account so they can reach this sales goal and get their nice juicy bonus. Monthly subscribers in the meantime would be left out in the cold.

If this were not enough, Cryptic then chose to patronise anyone who complained with a nice little story about cupcakes and lawn-mowing. Which naturally got my goat up. So i headed over to the account button and cancelled. I did however have a couple of weeks left on my account time so i've stuck around on the forums and managed to witness yet another cock up by Cryptic.

In a rather astounding move, Cryptic have gone against the opinion of the majority of their playerbase and introduced a player council of sorts. Rather than have said representatives elected they instead appointed several individuals as Councillors. Whilst not the best idea in my opinion, its their game so why not. But then in an incredible display of incompetence it became apparent that Cryptic had chosen to link the personal blog of one of the councillors to the Front Page of the STO website, a personal blog filled to bursting with obscenity upon obscenity (and with absolutely no warning that the site was unsuitable for minors, who are likely to visit the site given the games 12+ rating).

The forums naturally erupted into flames, complaint after complaint about how inappropriate this site was and what the feth it was doing appearing on the Front Page of the website. Not only that but after the fact it has emerged that Cryptic didnt even ask the poor individuals permission prior to posting the link. So this poor person who curses like a sailor, but did nothing except ask to help Cryptic has been on the receiving end of a heap of abuse, the forums have been filled with outrage and yet Cryptic has done nothing. They only removed the link after the owner themselves requested it be taken down. And this is what will kill STO in the end. The game has the potential to be great, i honestly believe it does. But the incompetence of Cryptic will be its downfall. Less than 10 seconds on that bloggers site would have revealed how utterly inappropriate it was, yet it is apparent they could not be bothered. And with this level of laziness i would not trust them with my money, and dear none existent readers neither should you.

#2 Posted by Tennmuerti (7956 posts) -

I'm honestly not surprised. 
Only thing I keep getting surprised about is how Cryptic is still managing to con so many people.

#3 Posted by SlasherMan (1725 posts) -

Yep, nothing surprising there. I avoid anything Cryptic releases these days, and so should everyone else.

#4 Posted by Broitman (151 posts) -

You I keep wanting cryptic to deliver the MMO experience I want even if it's only because I love their character creation engine but once I've played enough to grow bored of my own design I stop playing. It happened in Champions and it happened again in STO. Maybe it's time I stop buying their stuff finally and let that dream go.

#5 Posted by Tiwi (1401 posts) -

1: gratz on first post, and welcome to GB.
2: do you have a link to the blogg? i would like to see what kind of weird nonsense it was....

#6 Posted by SBYM (1219 posts) -

That all sounds pretty crappy.

#7 Posted by Jeffsekai (7025 posts) -

Wow, good stuff right here.
 
Someone get Jeff on this.

#8 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Good thing a bunch of goobers purchased 300 dollar  lifetime subscriptions thinking they would get a hot deal. That's some smooth snake oil pawning right there.

#9 Edited by Spiderpope (6 posts) -
@tiwi: Thanks for the welcome. The blog is at  http://shutupwesley.tumblr.com/  but appears to have been password restricted. In the event the password is removed, i do caution that it is NSFW at all. 
 
The now heavily censored thread of outrage on the issue can be found here 
http://forums.startrekonline.com/showthread.php?t=147571
#10 Posted by Spiderpope (6 posts) -

I've just found a couple of screencaps of the offending blog that another user helpfully took before Cryptics censors swooped in. Again this is NSFW.

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2180/urghberlinniccals.png
 
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2180/urghberlinniccals.png
 
#11 Posted by emkeighcameron (1876 posts) -

Yup, Cryptic has been pretty consistently disappointing for a while now. Good read.

#12 Posted by Jimbo (9767 posts) -

I didn't think you could buy a Lifetime Subscription anymore.

#13 Posted by Kintaro (120 posts) -

So this offending blog was from a girl? And did she actually do what she blogged?
 
I played Star Trek when it was closed Beta and at first I thought the space combat had potential but I couldn't even imagine why they would make you spam spacebar to attack (even in ground combat). No RPG does that, ever - at least that's what I thought.
 
After playing it for a while I came to the conclusion that:
 
a.) The space combat doesn't get better after a while - You're stuck with fake circle strafing while spamming spacebars or whatever. Why fake? Because strafing does nothing to prevent you from getting hit. The lasers are automatic in its capability to hit. And the missles are more on your dodge chances. Your only actual strategic considerations during the combat is to manage your shield directions, your firing arcs and destroy, if possible, the enemy's shield at one side only. Sometimes "strafing" or doing any sort of movement isn't even recommended. So what happens? You basically position your firing side towards the enemy and hit spacebar until they're dead. The only variance is when you need to turn so that the enemy can't run out of your firing arcs. Then there are some skills from your crew that helps, but mostly you'll be spamming spacebar still. (even if you enable auto lasers, there is no auto-missles so you'll need to spacebar for that) 
 
The ground combat, while horrible, gets a pass because I didn't really explore it. I was trying to figure out the space combat at the time. However, I do like setting up my away team on one side of a corner and setting myself up and some turrets on the other side to do flanking / rear hits. It added some depth for me, while the space combat never did. Its still godawful though.
 
b.) The missions don't get better either - Go here, destroy ships, sometimes escort only, pick up anomalies, sometimes drop down and shoot people. Sometimes there's a semi-story. But nothing compelling. You do the same things, on story missions sometimes they just connect the two activities together. At one of the early missions, you're beamed down to interrogate some sort of miners and report what kind of mining problems they have like some sort of intergalactic survey collector. Big Woop!
 
c.) Hundreds of bugs, all for you to explore - Beam down somewhere to spawn as your ship on foot battles? Great. Beam out of the space station to walk around in space as your dude? Awesome.
 
d.) Tons of space to explore. Nothing to do - no quests, no people to meet, no exploration much, not even any cockpit drama or maybe random unknown events/ships.
 
e.) Tons of space to explore. Spend 99% of your time in limbo warp zone space. Watching the occasional other ships pass by and/or space station / planet. - You know, they really should just get rid of this limbo warp area and let you literally fly through space. If you wanted to jump from sector A to B, why not fly to the edge of sector A and warp to B? Why do I have to jump into this weird limbo space? Totally takes me out of the immersion.
 
f.) Not your favorite space opera at all - if you renamed all the Star Trek references in this game and changed the title to "Space Fleet 2099" nobody would ever notice it was a Star Trek game.
 
Well, I'll leave it at that, no need to tell everybody what the GiantBomb's coverage on the beta has already shown.

#14 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

 <insert "I told you so" comment here>

#15 Posted by PenguinDust (12436 posts) -

I was hyped for Champions Online but when I played it, I was very disappointed.  After seeing STO and with my CO experience, I am not interested in anything they make in the future.  I think one of the problems is they developed both games so that they could also be played on a console.  Well, despite what Microsoft may have said at one time, it's obvious that they really want nothing to do with MMOs on XBL.  Look at True Fantasy Online.  Cryptic developed games for a platform that didn't want them and ultimately, I don't find them fun when compared to other MMOs made for the PC. 

#16 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Now just to take bets when the servers go down.  
 
Didnt they start with like...8k people and in a month it went down to 1k? 

#17 Posted by Renahzor (983 posts) -

That is the issue many of us who played in the beta were trying to get through to people, hopefully devs at cryptic so they could make some changes.  Fact is, this was pushed out too early, if it was a next year release and they had more time to polish then it could have been really good.  Unfortunately, that's not what Cryptic needed to do to make money.  
 
My issues with the game were far deeper than any "its just a beta" remarks could help, there was only so much time to fix stuff at that point.  The New player experience is completely devoid of any redeeming qualities.  Space combat had the ability to maybe be fun, but pressing spacebar was about to drive me insane, the limitations on the auto fire system were ridiculous.  Ok, force me to hit a button for certain attacks and cooldowns, that's fine, but if I had to click for every auto attack as a melee class in wow, I think I'd sue for repetitive stress mouse breakage.  
 
The mission structure was terrible, and simply not acceptable for a game with this kind of IP behind it.  There is SO MUCH you could do with it, and it degraded into a terrible mix of repetitive garbage.  Its all in the writing, exploration/planet patrols where you have 5 systems to visit should have a linking theme to them with a minor story arc associated.  That's not too much to ask.  Ground combat was probably the worst I've played in any game from any genre in the last 6ish years, excluding indie games.  Boring to the point of simply avoiding missions with ground exploration.  Leveling structure designed very very poorly, too cryptic (*ba dum, tish!*) for new players to figure out.   Being stuck in the same ship for that long, in a game where you're in your ship maybe 85% of the time, is NOT a good decision for new players. 
 
Anyway, everything about STO has seemed rushed, and much of it is very much like a cash grab before bombing the project.  Its a shame, this game seems to have streaks of fun intermingled with the pure crap, just not enough of it to keep me going.  If it was better managed and they did some real content updates, it might draw me back.  instead, obviously they're going for the cash in. 

#18 Posted by Veektarius (4540 posts) -

I played STO for awhile, and subscribed way longer than I should have cause I kind of forgot about it.  I think it might have been decent mindless fun if the combat scaled properly, but it was total nonsense.  You ended up fighting basically the same battles regardless of how good your ship was, and your enemies just magically managed to scale with you.  I didn't hate ground combat as much as most in the early levels, where a single focused blast could disintegrate most enemies, but in the higher levels where you had guys constantly regenning shields.. well, I actually would go into combat and alt-tab out, letting my bridge crew fight the battle for me, even though it took twice as long.  Do I share your optimism for the game's unrealized potential?  Not really.  Any halfway decent emulation of the best points of Star Trek would be story and character-driven, not combat-driven, making it a poor choice for any model of MMO that we currently possess.

#19 Posted by sopranosfan (1935 posts) -

I have a feeling it will be more than incompetence that will be the downfall.

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