For my first ever blog post I thought I would share my thoughts on something that I have been anticipating for quite some time: Star Trek Online. As of yesterday I now have access to the open beta, which I have spent about 3 hours playing thus far. While most people will likely argue that 3 hours is not enough exposure for me to form any solid opinions of the game, I argue that I can at least give my first impression, and that impression is - it has potential.
During my 3 hour interlude I was exposed to character creation, ground combat/questing, and space combat. Most of this was for the initial 'tutorial' phase of the game, but I think it was a good introduction to the overall aesthetic of the game. The first thing I have to say is the character creation features of this game are amazing. Not only do you get to pick your race (I went Vulcan of course, it was the logical decision), gender, etc., there is a full physical customization feature that allows you to modify every little detail about your character's physique. You can set the width of the bridge of your nose (no joke). Anyhoo, while this may be a little too detailed for some (I'll admit, I didn't tinker with any of it), I think it really gets the player more involved with their character than simply picking gender, race, and hair color.
As for ground combat/questing, so far it seems very simplistic and linear. I'm assuming, however, that this is because I've only done the tutorial quests and basic ground combat. Much like WoW, you target something, hit an ability (in this case your phasor), things go boom. I'm sure as your character levels up and things get more complicated this process will become more intensive, and my first impression is that ground combat and questing (such as on away missions) will be fun.
Finally we come to what I think is the real defining feature of STO: Space combat. My first impression was that it reminded me of EVE (some will find that a good thing, most will likely run in terror), mainly because of the aesthetic and somewhat because of the ship controls. However, as I played with it more, I found that maneuvering the ship around enemies and firing photon torpedoes was rather fun. You have control over how fast your ship goes and you can pivot the ship at various angles. It got a little slow waiting for your ship to get within the magic 10 km range for your weapons to work, but other than that it was enjoyable. I especially like the defense dynamic. Basically, your ship has 4 shield portions (front, back, left, right) and when you are attacked, you have to maneuver your ship so that no one section takes too much damage, otherwise that section will fail and the enemy will be able to hit your hull with stronger weapons. All in all, I can see how this will be a lot of fun in more complicated battles.
So to wrap it up, I think STO has a lot of potential. The story will be told when the actual game comes out, and players begin to really delve into the world that is Star Trek Online. May it live long and prosper.