STO is short for Star Trek Online, Unfortunately The BEST Star Trek Game to ever come out, Regardless of the 2013 Reboot game having better graphics and presentation, or certain Elite FPS Games having better presentation and environments.
Run into the ground by the current staff at Cryptic Studios, Players often think the Art team is the only one that has a clue what it's doing as staff frequently claims the engine can't do something it clearly already does, releases new copypaste ui systems that are incredibly buggy, nerfs creative expression by actually fixing outfit exploit bugs, and follows a cookie cutter approach to every update that leaves the game quite predictable in what to expect. Those players would of course be totally wrong.
Your typical Grind MMO follows a variety of psychology-driven steps to get a person addicted to an MMO so that they will shell out cash, and while the Star Trek Audience who only hates themselves more than whatever new Trek Iteration has appeared cringes at the thought of this game, it's fairly accessible to casual gamers who don't mind blowing a hundred bucks on a game here or there for no experience, and MMO Whales who blow tens of thousands per month. This is arguably a very successful model, and while it's not making strides for changing the system it is probably the most accessable one out there.
The MMO formula dates back to some idiot who should be lynched for writing a Dissertation about how to get people addicted and more information can be found below.
What Cryptic does differently is that they offer a player free reign to personalize and customize their character (behind a huge mess of outfit and color palette restrictions which make no sense) independently of gear, and their shard system allows anyone to play with friends without having to worry about being on the same server (but then destroys this by having a separate Klingon Faction you can't team with). Another thing they do differently is that they Don't BAN people who should be BANNED unless they are given Absolutely No Choice.
While the combat system is generally impossible to understand due to an overabundance of high-priced useless items and skills that are routinely nerfed to death to try to get players to repeatedly shell out cash to stay at the top of the game, a few PVP and DPS groups sprouted amidst the chaos to one-shot basically everyone else in the game before they were run out of the game by simply removing bits of the UI that allow them to enter combat. (this is not a joke)
In recent years, Cryptic has made new additions to the art team which have made the ships move from lackluster Lego Creations to astoundingly beautiful, and interiors/environment art that actually feel like the real deal rather than a cathedral of what the hell are they compensating for. Edit: Age Of Discovery Ship Interiors are back to being absurdly huge.
All this is tied together by familiar voice acting, increasingly wonderful animations and cutscenes, and efforts to actually use the graphics engine's more advanced capabilities that have been there all along but simply weren't flipped on cause Jared Finder moved on to Google and no one else really has a clue what they're doing with the engine. Let's just hope they eventually figure out that Screen-space reflections is currently switched off, but works just fine in the game, or that their "light Probes" should be used sparingly in large areas while Reflection Capture Volumes should be used literally everywhere.
The Leveling Addiction
- Level 1: Hit an enemy who dies in about 2 shots, level up! Well this is easy..
- Level 5: Kill a few different enemies for a level, drops are plentiful, they work for your level, and you even have upgrades for your future. Your friend who mentioned the game is probably basically tanking things that wouldn't kill you anyway, or otherwise telling you things that won't make any sense.
- Level 10: it'll take you at least 10 minutes to get level 11, but by now you've wasted an hour or 2 of your life getting used to the game's mechanics of "click this, activate skills". You basically don't need any more information til endgame when you find out most of the actual SKILL-Based mechanics broke ages ago.
- Level 20: You're no longer getting drops for your level and had to buy stuff, but you're paying attention to the story by now, or simply ignoring the story and mindlessly doing quests because those cool people you met in Town are much higher level than you.
- Level 40: You are now a seasoned veteran who can spam skills you don't understand, and you can probably get back to a major social hub. You may have even experimented with whatever customization the game has. It takes about 3-5 sessions to level up, but you don't really care because you've hit the bulk of the content in-game, and really only care about leveling to max so you can join your friends. Your friends gonna craft you an endgame item, but at this level you're spending weeks grinding for a piece of an item.
- Max Level, usually about 60: You've finally hit endgame so that you can ignore previous story content. you have no clue how to play the game and are about to get cussed out by pugs for having bad gear when you're the only one actually trying to kill stuff in repetitive endgame content. Get used to this content, because you'll be grinding the hell outta it just to get crafting parts to make PIECES which will be turned into an item that you then have to upgrade and re-skill (two separate processes, each requiring grinding for pieces that unlock that ability)
It is at this point that you realize that current MMO's are dying for a good reason, and their corporate owners should probably go bankrupt because Money is a terrible thing and we should all avoid it. But welcome to the modern Grind MMO, a haven for terrible things you don't want to be a part of.
STO is actually one of the better "Free MMO's" though in that your grind equates only to a third of the USA's Minimum wage, and you can technically acquire all in-game content if you make STO two full time jobs for 9 years. unfortunately, They're adding more content about every 3 months and after being bought by Perfect World, they've added lockboxes which offers you a RANDOM-But-Unlikely CHANCE at getting remotely useful content, which says nothing for the bullshit that is Lobi Store.
While we all know developers are going to Hell for setting RnG Stats so low, even Satan has made the mistake of trying to open a few Lockboxes.
- older Content isn't really worth talking about for /Reasons/
- Legacy Of Romulus was an odd expansion that caused players to return to the game. Touted as the release of "A new Romulan Faction", Players found they could not convert their Aliengen-Romulans into Romulans, that Romulans could access Earth Spacedock but Feds couldn't access the Flotilla, and basically some of the better missions in-game appeared as you start out playing a badass Romulan before joining previous content you have no interest in playing again. This would mark the beginning of a trend where you play new content only to have to re-play old content that you weren't interested in the first time.
- Delta Rising Is the best Expansion ever and the players love it! < this statement made by a dev of course, after Delta Rising destroyed PVP, PVE, and most other content. Featuring the still-uninteresting cast of Star Trek Voyager + Robert Picardo, This expansion takes you to the Delta Quadrant where you find out the Kobali Zone is STILL The only Adventure Zone in the game that's done well! A mild Social hub with a zone of chaos, objectives, and NPC-driven missions nearby, This should appear more in the game! Notable content includes the Voyager interior which is actually somewhat accurate scale-wise leading to a very welcomed trend, unfortunately it hides behind a huge paygate with no content, a low-population instance (20 poeple on a bridge), and an isolated atmosphere that doesn't allow for meeting new people as randoms cannot join or queue to enter and friends have to work on grinding for the fleet.
- Agents Of Yesterday is a beautifully made expansion focusing on the Original Series. Featuring the Dev Team finding out the game has post processing effects and the players thinking there was a downgrade in graphics, a 23rd Century most players want to spend all their time in (unlike Gamma/Delta Quadrants) but can't really do anything with past level 10, and a wealth of familiar content people actually care about that is too broken to be useful in the 25c or unattainable without an account bank in the 23c, Agents of Yesterday is largely forgettable despite it's fun timeline destroying anecdotes and general failure of Fleet Holding Content . Featuring some new TOS Themed content, This expansion did great things for the game and gave rise to the TOS Crew.
- Victory is Life is the end-all, be-all Deep Space Nine Expansion that to some feels like "The Closest we'll ever get to a DS9 Movie!". Featuring basically every major cast member except Dax and the Siskos, ViL Allows you to don a Cardassian Skin for your character or play as a max level Jem'Hadar (but Not Vorta or Changeling!? LET ME PLAY CHANGELING! just make it an AlienGen JH, geez) who comes with their own items in builds that prove Spartan has no clue how to build a character but still understands better than 90% of the player population. Featuring a truly beautiful DS9 Social Hub Rebuild that can really only be described as a "labour of love", The Best Cutscenes to date which have sparked the Cult of Weston, An Episode that transcends anything else in the game, and a poor attempt at another faction which basically ends up being a stripped down Romulan clone who still has to choose between the original factions which seems totally pointless and only separates players thus making the shard system useless, ViL Also adds more mindless grind in the form of new specializations you can't fit, reputations you don't need, more useless items, and more Story Episodes marred by Drozana and Facility4028 Assets when all we really want is Risa to look as pretty as Colony world so we can play in the waterfall that the idiots (sorry Taco) blocked off for absolutely no reason except that they're terrible and don't like fun.
- Age Of Discovery is October's upcoming "Expansion" that will be dragged on with content releases until February will add more annoying mission content (discovery themed), More Useless Weapons (discovery themed), a new mock-faction (discovery themed, cloned from AoY Recruit), a new lockbox (discovery themed), a return to absurdly huge Ship interiors (discovery themed) and further grind to the Reputation system as well as some new Voice Actors (discovery themed) and other random content because STO's Investors pulled out and CBS is now bailing them out and making it their official Discovery Game. Featuring new story missions that follow Mirror Tilly and the I.S.S. Discovery's exploits in Prime Space during Discovery Season 1, AoD will get a bit odd as it sets a standard for Discovery content becoming canon as your fast-tracked Fleet Admiral Orion wearing less than a thong still attempts to captain similarly clad Orion boffs while still being considered non-canon and actually a bit of an eyesore. Please put some clothes on, you outfit hacker! Geez...
- A New Generation is the unannounced early 2019 Expansion loosely themed around Star Trek TNG and featuring the return of Riker, Troi, O'Brien, and Picard... not to mention old Favorites like Worf, Yar, Geordi, and... Nog? Wait... what does Nog have to do with TNG? Touting planned additions to the Colony holdings which probably won't include a fleet-run galaxy ship interior based on old Perpetual entertainment interior plans, New Generation is expected to see the rise of Boffs in Space where your "boffs" are promoted to Captain and begin commanding your "other ships" in an effort to get you to waste grind time on gearing more than one ship which will aide you in occasional combat based on what they're using, and do "special missions" using a copypaste of the Doff/Admirality mission with performance based on your items. For missions, A 2411 Riker (it's 2419 by then you idiots) is set to bring Picard on his ship for one last diplomatic voyage as they deal with STO's new "threat of the FiscalQuarter" (The Borg). Expect revamped TNG-style Character outfit textures for a new 24c Character Faction that comes with a near-max-level geared character and a slightly retooled Galaxy class ship ala the Jem Hadar Faction as well as a flagrantly brief 24c Beta Quadrant and the return of Q just in time for the Anniversary Event. No Word on DeLancie yet
- Return To Glory, the Late 2019 Expansion, is Currently Up in the Air. Plans are to tie into Discovery's Season 2 with the ongoing story theme of the Mycelial Network further disrupting history even though the TNG Crew helped patch it in the previous expansion's 24th Century. While it is subject to change, the Klingons could use a bit of a Revamp and have been on the back burner for a while, so some KDF Love is currently pretty high unless a better idea shows up between now and then. There is also a lot of interest in revisiting the TOS Movies (most specifically The Motion Picture and Undiscovered Country) with a V'Ger Task Force Operation (the current renaming of "queue" because it "sounds less uninteresting"). CBS still refuses to approve the realization of Cetation Ops even though it's canon, which means no Dolphin Doffs, Aquatic Xindi, underwater adventures, or the Best Trek Movie... Star Trek IV: The Voyage home.
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