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Old 02-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
Lexinator
 
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Post Star Trek Online - My F2P review.

Lexinator, reporting for duty!

After doing my F2P review on Everquest 2, DCUO, and APB I am now here with another one for Star Trek Online.

I will start off by saying that I have been playing this for a while (almost a month now) since I used to play the game at launch (and wow, was it horrible). So I think I can give you guys (and girls) a fairly educated opinion on the game right off the bat.

A lot has changed since the game launched almost 2 years ago. It is actually playable and enjoyable now. However when I first played it at launch, it left such a sour taste in my mouth that I swore I would never touch it again. The launch was actually worse than Age of Conan (after noob island that is).

So with such a poor and buggy launch it actually makes sense for Cryptic and PW to re-launch the game with a F2P model. Don't get me wrong, you can still subscribe but honestly there really are no incentives to do so.

STO has one of the best F2P models out there, not punishing you for pretty much anything! Check out this feature matrix here.

The standard limited inventory and bank space are there, but it is nowhere as bad as some of the other games and can once again be removed with a cash shop purchase.

The biggest restriction is creating your own content in the Foundry, but that can be unlocked through the use of Dilithium (which you earn in game, although you are capped at earning 8k per day, just like subscribers).

At this point I have two characters. One at 37 and the other at 41. I am happy to say that I have not spent a single cent on the game so far. I was thinking of getting some more inventory slots or DOFF's for my main (level 41), but just don't see the need.

In fact, the free to play system is so good that I really see no point in subscribing - at all. Almost everything that you can get for real cash can be gotten for Dilithium, which as I said before is earned in game. The few limits that are placed on you are really not a big deal and don't hinder your enjoyment of the game.

The Cryptic cash store doesn't offer any advantages other than a Borg bridge officer, cool cosmetics, and some starter gear that gets outclassed by the time you spent 6 hours with the game. It is a very well balanced shop. Even the ships you can buy in the store are simply a retrofit of the ships you can have for free or through Dilithium.

The best part is that STO has changed so much since launch that it is basically a new game! If you played the game at launch and want to see what changed read on:

- Much improved ground combat. It's actually fun now! Ground missions finally play like a squad based FPS with taking cover, tight control and split second firing. These missions feel like a game of Star Trek: Elite Force (assuming you turn FPS mode on). This is incredibly refreshing.
Although not quite as polished as a true FPS, this is a good "in-between" model mixed with a great MMORPG ruleset. I would say ground combat plays a bit like System Shock 2 and Elite Force. Take that as you will, as both are pretty old FPS games.

- Your team actually listens to you now! Your entire party of four personnel listen to you during ground missions. They will no longer get stuck or run off on their own, aggroing a bunch of enemies in the process. Equipping them finally makes a solid difference. Giving your team weapons that work well together is great and is often much safer/better than giving everyone the highest damaging gun they can wield at their level.

- The DOFF system is ridiculously awesome. Non combat, clicky missions for fun, xp and profit? Yes please! And the collecting aspect that goes into this mission structure is simply phenomenal as well. More games need to have a system like this in place. It functions as both a solid distraction and good way to earn experience points/rewards, even if you only have a few minutes to play. STO is the only F2P game on the market right now where logging in for just 3 minutes will net you tangible progress!

- Ship combat feels like ship combat should! Giant cruisers move much slower, look larger and bulkier than the escort class ships. The wide variety of weapon types also adds to the strategy, and the many officer skills make it even better. Two identical classes in identical ships will use different tactics based on their officer skills and weapon loadouts alone.

Want to do a ton of damage but have a narrow firing ark? You can do that. Want to do very little damage but be able to fire from and in any direction? Well you can do that too! Want to pilot a powerfull cruiser or fast escort? Once again, that is an option and all ship types are viable!

Mixing and matching these tactics makes PvP a blast, and when I lose I always look at why it happened and try to improve my ship to counter my weaknesses, or learn to maneuver better. The game can be played any way you want and that is a huge win for Cryptic.

- Foundry and episodic missions are so amazing that they make me want to donate money to the people that made them. Honestly, some of the Foundry missions the fans created feel almost as good (and some much better) than the missions Cryptic has made. Most of them really feel like you are playing through an episode of Star Trek, only you are the captain! Yes, there is a lot of crap in there as well but that is to be expected.

- A TON of customization. Your character, officers, and ship have a ton of options and you can make some very unique looking characters. My ship looks unbelievably cool as well, yet still like Star Trek.

So what are you waiting for? Go download the game and start playing. STO is F2P done right. I am safely putting Star Trek Online as my #2 favorite F2P game, right behind Lord of the Rings Online, and right before DC Universe Online!

As a side note, Amazon currently has the collector's edition of the game for just $14.99. It will give you a LOT of extra features for a good price. Check out the breakdown in the post right below this one.

Although if you can live without all the extras and are not bothered by the limited inventory and bank space (and can live with only two character slots) - I would not bother with this offer.

Update: I finally encountered the bug you guys were talking about where the character I design fails to be created. The fix is simple. Log out and try again. Try to keep your character creation process under 10 minutes. Anything over that and the game may time out, causing you to lose all your hard work.

This has been confirmed as a bug by Cryptic and should be resolved "soon". But as some of you mentioned, this bug has been around for years, so I don't know how trustworthy their promise of repairing this issue is.

Still the game is absolutely amazing and well worth the download. One major bug in an otherwise great re-launch is not too bad.

Last edited by Lexinator: 02-17-2012 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:34 AM   #2
Lexinator
 
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Reserved

A few frugal gamers have actually found out that if you get the boxed version of the game and enter in the code that comes with it, you will get a lot of great benefits AND save a lot of money over buying all of them separately.

The main credit for this breakdown goes to MudSlide. So please give him some + rep love.

Buying a regular boxed version of the game (currently just $6.46 on Amazon) gets you the following features:

- 1 month of gold status - $15 value.
- 1 extra character slot - 250 Cryptic points.
- You will be able to post on the Cryptic STO forum.

You will also get a few ACCOUNT wide benefits. These are great because if you quickly make your characters before your free month of Gold membership expires, they will each have a lot of bonus features that would have cost you thousands of Cryptic points otherwise (or one month of Gold membership). These account wide benefits include:

- More duty officer slots for every character on your account - 580 Cryptic points PER character.
- Energy Credit increase for every character on your account - 400 Cryptic points PER character.
- Extra inventory slots for every character on your account - 320 Cryptic points PER character.
- More Bridge Officer slots for every character on your account - 200 Cryptic points PER character.
- More bank space for every character on your account - 240 Cryptic points PER character.

There is also a "Collectors Edition" of the game, which includes bonus features on TOP of what is already given with the regular version. This currently costs $9.99 on Amazon. Let me say this again. It INCLUDES all the features mentioned above plus the ones mentioned below.

The Collectors version of the game gives you the following extras:

- Borg bridge officer for Federation characters - 400 Cryptic points.
- Borg bridge officer for Klingon characters - 400 Cryptic points.
- Next Generation uniforms - 400 Cryptic points.
- DS9 uniforms - 400 Cryptic points.
- Red Matter Capacitor - Not sold in the Cryptic store. It is a great item that repairs all your damaged sytems and gives you more power.

Once again, thank's to MudSlide for his research.

As you can see, buying the boxed version is a pretty great deal. If you can find it at your local store, I suggest you snag it up. Otherwise buy it through Amazon. They are a trusted seller and usually have good deals on pretty much everything.

Also keep an eye on this timecard. At the time of this writing it is $21.99, with free shipping. This is not the best deal as it only gives you Gold membership status and all its benefits. But if it ever drops below $15, it becomes pretty solid. 2 months of Gold membership and 800 Cryptic Points, all for the low price of $15 (or less). Some of my guild members bought this at the $5-$10 dollar range, making it an amazing deal. I missed out on this offer.

FAQ section.

Q: How do I register for this game?
A: Click this link and fill everything out.

Q: How do I redeem my keys from the box or timecard?
A: Click this link here.

Q: What is this about free Cryptic Points for Gold members?
A: Right now all Gold members get 400 Cryptic points per month for subscribing to the game (or putting in a box or timecard code).

Q: Can I put in a box key after I started playing with an F2P account?
A: Yes, yes you can. Once you put in the box or timecard code, your account will get upgraded to Gold status and you will get all the benefits that you are entitled to.

Q: Can I activate multiple keys from multiple boxes?
A: Short answer is yes. You will get all the benefits except for the free Gold month. You are only limited to one "free" Gold month per box offer. What this means is that if you have the Collectors edition (that comes with a lot of in game items) and the Standard version that comes with a Tribble and sometimes a newby ship, you will get all the in game items of the Collectors and the Standard edition, but you will only get 1 month of Gold membership. So it's really not worth inputting both codes.

Q: What about timecards? Can I activate more than one?
A: Yes, and those will stack.

Q: Are free players limited in any way over paying customers?
A: Not really. Please look at this Matrix.

Q: Why can't I connect to the game?
A: Right now Gold member's get priority queuing. The regular F2P people have to wait in line, which sometimes lasts for up to an hour. The worst part is that there is no way to see your position in this line.

Q: The game is erroring out when I try to create my character.
A: Log out and try again. You simply took too long to make your character. Both Gold and Silver (F2P) members are having this issue. The game has thousands of new players and Cryptic's servers are being hit hard. Just bear with it for now. Try creating your characters (if you want to take a long time to do it) during off hours and use the save feature to easily re-create them.

Q: How can I tell if the server is down?
A: Check this link. Over in the top left you should see Server Status: UP/DOWN and a green or red circle. I am sure you can figure out which one is for which.

Q: Why can't I post on the Cryptic (official STO) forums?
A: You need to purchase at least 1 month of Gold membership to post there, or you need to buy the game.

Q: I can't use the in game chat? What is going on here?
A: Read the matrix here, it really is useful. Long story short, you will be able to use zone chat, etc after you spend 20 hours playing the game or buy something from the c-store, or buy the game itself.

Q: I did not receive my Borg BO and I bought it from Amazon? Why not?
A: A few people have had this happen. When buying from Amazon make sure it is not purchased from the Amazon marketplace, but from Amazon itself. This means that the item page should say:

In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com


This is the only way you can know that you are in fact getting the Amazon version with the Borg Officer.

Last edited by Lexinator: 02-22-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:51 AM   #3
kazzatake
 
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Excellent Review. I started the game when FTP was launched and have not looked back.

I tried it previously re the demo and thought it was dreadful and never bothered with it.

But now as you say the improvements are superb and the game is well worth the time. I may even buy something for cash to say thank you to Cryptic.

Met a really friendly bunch of people who are very helpful. It's even got it's own radion station: http://subspace-radio.net/community/chat/?player=true. Until you get the hours in re the chat channel you can use their ingame chat channel/.

Overall I am very pleased and I think you cover all the points, in sufficient detail as to why it is worth a go.

K
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
CrazyMoeFoe
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexinator View Post
The Collectors version of the game gives you the following extras:

- Borg bridge officer for Federation characters - 400 Cryptic points.
- Borg bridge officer for Klingon characters - 400 Cryptic points.
- Next Generation uniforms - 400 Cryptic points.
- DS9 uniforms - 400 Cryptic points.
- Klingon race - 400 Cryptic points.
- Joined Trill race - 400 Cryptic points.
- Red Matter Capacitor - Not sold in the Cryptic store. It is a great item that repairs all your damaged sytems and gives you more power.

Once again, thank's to MudSlide for his research.
I just got the collector's edition from amazon and input the code today, I got the DS9 and TNG uniforms, and the red matter capacitor. However I didn't get the borg bridge officers or the klingon and joined trill races? They still show in the C-store for 400 points each?

How do we claim these?
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
MudSlide
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyMoeFoe View Post
I just got the collector's edition from amazon and input the code today, I got the DS9 and TNG uniforms, and the red matter capacitor. However I didn't get the borg bridge officers or the klingon and joined trill races? They still show in the C-store for 400 points each?

How do we claim these?
They should be in the Legacy Unlock section of the C-store. At least the Brige Officer has to be. I believe the Klingon and Trill are automatic as soon as you input your code.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
GstringBassPlay
 
 
 
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Do you get anything special for having already purchased the game? Never got into it but I did buy it at one point lol.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
Weebam-Na
 
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i cannot understand why im addicted to this
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:55 AM   #8
graspee
 
 
 
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Originally Posted by GstringBassPlay View Post
Do you get anything special for having already purchased the game? Never got into it but I did buy it at one point lol.
If you have ever had a subscription then you don't lose what you used to have, so for example you will have a bigger inventory and bank size compared to someone who just started with f2p.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
oldbrokenlink
 
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Thanks, after reading your review I downloaded it!

Too bad Lord of the Rings Online is not on steam
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:22 AM   #10
Jack Pipsam
 
 
 
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Originally Posted by oldbrokenlink View Post
Too bad Lord of the Rings Online is not on steam
I know, I mean it's NOT like you can download it from the website or anything.

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Old 02-01-2012, 02:31 PM   #11
MudSlide
 
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I'm playing the game right now and its really good but where are all the quests? So far I did the tutorial and quested out the first starbase.

I can't find anything else there! Will I have to roam around all the giant maps and visit the starbases and planets just to find them? That is horrible! Only 3-4 quests look to be available per quest hub and looking at the incredibly massive map it looks like there are countless quest hubs! But they are all so far away! Please tell me that is not the only way to get quests! I don't want to explore for 20 minutes just to find a few quests!

Does this game expect me to grind the random battles I see on the map? Are those quests? I entered one with the borg and got horribly killed. I think there were like 10 players with me but we all got just pwnd by the huge borg cubes.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:47 PM   #12
batkinson001
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MudSlide View Post
I'm playing the game right now and its really good but where are all the quests? So far I did the tutorial and quested out the first starbase.

I can't find anything else there! Will I have to roam around all the giant maps and visit the starbases and planets just to find them? That is horrible! Only 3-4 quests look to be available per quest hub and looking at the incredibly massive map it looks like there are countless quest hubs! But they are all so far away! Please tell me that is not the only way to get quests! I don't want to explore for 20 minutes just to find a few quests!

Does this game expect me to grind the random battles I see on the map? Are those quests? I entered one with the borg and got horribly killed. I think there were like 10 players with me but we all got just pwnd by the huge borg cubes.


For quests check the available tab in the quest window (press L)... lots of dailies. good way to earn some dilithium... also if you already have access to duty officers you can send them on assignments (kind of like crew skills in starwars)...
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:48 PM   #13
kazzatake
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MudSlide View Post
I'm playing the game right now and its really good but where are all the quests? So far I did the tutorial and quested out the first starbase.

I can't find anything else there! Will I have to roam around all the giant maps and visit the starbases and planets just to find them? That is horrible! Only 3-4 quests look to be available per quest hub and looking at the incredibly massive map it looks like there are countless quest hubs! But they are all so far away! Please tell me that is not the only way to get quests! I don't want to explore for 20 minutes just to find a few quests!

Does this game expect me to grind the random battles I see on the map? Are those quests? I entered one with the borg and got horribly killed. I think there were like 10 players with me but we all got just pwnd by the huge borg cubes.
Press J when in space and there's aton of different types of missions.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
thebum06
 
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You can open the hail screen and collect any quest from there without even going to the quest giver.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:22 PM   #15
Lord Pickleton
 
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I was looking forward to trying this with the F2P model. Went through all the character creation steps, including taking a bit extra on the uniform. Was greeted with a 'Character cannot be created' error. A quick Google search shows people complaining about this error way back in Jan 2010 with the thread going until just a few months ago. So I took the advice from the thread and just ignored the customization for now. Still received the same error.

I wanted to give the game a chance, I really wanted to try it out. If they haven't fixed a character creation bug going back to 2010 it really seems like a waste of time. That very easily leads me to believe the rest of the game is going to be a cluster of buggy game play and other issues.
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