Preview: Star Trek Online

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spike4072:
The lag part must be a something with some peoples computers. I have been playing from closed beta and not had any problems with lag other than the one or two times they really messed up the server with a update. Open beta runs very smoothly for me :)

Yeah, I'm not sure what the problem is. I think it's a combination of graphics and lag, but there is definitely something wrong with the ground sections.

During ground battles, even turning my graphics down all the way there was still noticeable lag. On the other hand, the space battles are all so fluid with 60+ fps even with the graphics turned up to 11.

Unless it's been patched into the beta (I haven't been playing; gonna save my time for release now) there isn't a way to respec so far...

Doesn't look bad I'll give it that and I love star Trek but I actually think i'll give this a Miss because if I want space combat I'll play Freelancer if I want ground combat i'll play one of the 100's of first person shooters that do it better

Greg Tito:

Archaon6044:
what is ship control like? does it rely on keys to direct you around, or is like EVE, wher you state "orbat at distance" or "keep at distance", or stay still or whatever?

It's not like Eve at all. You control pitch and yaw with WASD and can change your throttle with E and Q. There is full impulse, which gives you a sprint but it quickly drains power from weapons and shields. There's no locking on or orbiting of targets.

good. that was one of my biggest complaints about Eve; the fact that you could never manually fly your ship, you pointed in a directed and said go, or told it to jump to an object

I really didn't like Star Trek Online during my time with the beta. During the ship-to-ship combat, I found myself frustrated with the pace that was put into it. Phaser cycles were too quick, the lack of usable 3D space was present, and the animations for changing heading was just wrong. You are absolutely locked to the horizontal plane of the area, limiting various maneuvers you can make in a 3D environment and possibly even making them take longer than they should. Shouldn't physics result in the ability of being able to change facing while still having the same direction of travel? This is space.. sheesh.

I love Star Trek, but it could be that I also love physics and space simulators too. The ships themselves are vastly uninteresting, upgrades to the ship show no real benefit, or not enough to matter, and training outside of Bridge Officer abilities do next to nothing to augment your ship's capabilities.

Another frustration is that when I play Star Trek games, I want to be the Captain. I don't want to be my ship (like Eve Online, though for EvE Online, that's fine). I want to be able to issue orders, improve the crew, deal with technical situations on board. (Intruders, technical shield manipulation, phaser intensity versus duration, etc.) Problem is, the game is simplified to the point where Science Fiction outside of the fast-paced combat is non-existent.

Ground combat, while scenario-wise is boring, it is put together very well. The lag mentioned in the video is not something I've noticed, even in Earth SpaceDock. Couple that with the mechanics and it feels like Tabula Rasa. It's very well done, if just lacking in story/reasoning.

I would like to be able to get into Star Trek Online, but the technology behind Klingon, Romulan, and Federation ships are so simplified that there's no real need to pay attention. Set up phasers, put target in arc, fire.. that's it. Sometime focus on reinforcing a single facing shield, but that's it.

EDIT: Another thing.. the whole "you're captain's dead, you're in charge now" is a bit old. It was used in POTBS, it worked there.. but in the Federation it doesn't seem to make too much sense, and feels like a copout.

thenumberthirteen:
This sounds fun. My favorite ST game is Bridge commander, and this sounds like an expended form of that (very expanded). I'm, hopefully getting a new PC soon so maybe I'll be able to play! What are the requirements like, and how does it run on low end?

Hmm. It's mixed, really. I'm running it on my 3 year old laptop. (a 1.66ghz core duo with an x1400 graphics chip. - I do have 4gb of ram, but that usually doesn't mean much.)

I get about 11 fps with everything except shadows and antialiasing turned on at maximum. (1280 by 800 resolution)(shadows tend to be very bad for performance, but aside from that, they also have serious graphical problems in the beta on my system that stop it even being worthwhile turning them on.)

However, 11fps is a bit on the low side (Even if it looks pretty good). So, I only do that in non-combat areas where it doesn't matter.
Other than that, there's a really handy option to run the game at half resolution.
This keeps all the UI at full resolution, but halves the resolution of the 3d graphics.
It's a bit of a shock at first compared to what it looks like otherwise, but once you get over it, you realise you can still see interesting detail, and more importantly, it now runs (on my system) at something like 28 to 40 fps...

So, long story short, it'll run on some relatively slow graphics hardware, if you're willing to compromise a bit. And it should run quite well on most mid-range hardware from the last 3-4 years, though it seems to have a few assorted issues with ATI graphics generally, and the latest Nvidia cards (though hopefully they'll fix that.

I personally haven't noticed the lag issue in ground combat that the review mentions though. It could be hardware specific, or they might have managed to fix it...
----------------

samsonguy920:
The only thing I might have a beef about, is the part where everything is instanced. The way you put it, Greg, is you can't just casually meet another player short of maybe on starbase. But I guess I am spoiled to WoW, and meeting people all the time except when I go into instanced dungeons. But maybe it works better for this, and when the game comes out I hope the people are more chatty. MMO's are for being social, IMO.
I do like the starship interface and view. It reminds me of Starfleet Command, only now in three dimensions. That is a selling point to me.
And Starfleet Command is the best Star Trek game thus far, IMO. At least until we can really crack our knuckles on STO.

Well, no. Most of the game area is open space that you fly around in going from star system to star system.

The star systems are usually mission instances, but the 'interstellar' space is usually full of player ships flying back and forth all over the place.
(you can visit the bridge of your ship if you feel like it, which feels a little strange. It's apparently possible to invite another player onto your bridge as well.)

The space combat isn't as 3 dimensional as it seems, though to some extent this kind of helps re-inforce the strange way starships move in startrek, which doesn't fit very well with real physics.

Danik93:
I don't like it at all. the space combat is super slow (I would want to send out smaller fighting ships or something) the ground fight is pointing a remote at eachother and shoot some light (the sniper rifle i got later on was a bit cool tho) but still I don't like Star Trek and i don't like this game. the ground fights are ok but the space combat is so boring you go from moderate speed to super slow, why?!

A direct consequence of the setting, I'm afraid. That's just something that's going to happen in Star Trek.
Fighters are practically non-existent, and space combat is relatively slow and drawn out.
That's Star Trek.
(Having said that, I've died in a matter of seconds on multiple occasions due to getting too close to a large fleet.)

Freyar:
I really didn't like Star Trek Online during my time with the beta. During the ship-to-ship combat, I found myself frustrated with the pace that was put into it. Phaser cycles were too quick, the lack of usable 3D space was present, and the animations for changing heading was just wrong. You are absolutely locked to the horizontal plane of the area, limiting various maneuvers you can make in a 3D environment and possibly even making them take longer than they should. Shouldn't physics result in the ability of being able to change facing while still having the same direction of travel? This is space.. sheesh.

Yeah, um... That's kind of to be expected. I mean, not being able to use 3 dimensions effectively is a bit irritating, but you certainly shouldn't expect 'proper' space physics from a star trek setting.

In particular:

Shouldn't physics result in the ability of being able to change facing while still having the same direction of travel?

does not apply in the star trek universe. (go ahead. find me an example of it. There's even a technobabble explanation of it related to how impulse engines work - they rely on non-newtonian principles, and conservation of momentum doesn't apply to their operation, which makes them behave somewhat differently from how say, a rocket would.)

Still, personally I find it a reasonable compromise between the needs of an MMO and a game based on Star Trek.

The only thing that messes with my head, given my insane knowledge of the setting is the uh... 'economy'. It's the only aspect that to me feels incredibly out of place for the setting.

It seems strange to me to have starfleet officers buying and selling equipment that in all probability should be issued as and when the mission requires it.
(plus, you have to 'pay' to use the ship's replicator, which feels even more bizarre.)

Anyway, it's pretty rough around the edges, but it seems to have the right kind of feel to it.
Here's hoping it works out.

CrystalShadow:
The only thing that messes with my head, given my insane knowledge of the setting is the uh... 'economy'. It's the only aspect that to me feels incredibly out of place for the setting.

It seems strange to me to have starfleet officers buying and selling equipment that in all probability should be issued as and when the mission requires it.
(plus, you have to 'pay' to use the ship's replicator, which feels even more bizarre.)

The economy is bit a of a mystery, the whole Star Trek universe is based around there being no money, the the Ferengi shoe-horned in their currency. Doesn't explain why vital systems are now coin operated. They use power from the ships' supply, but my understanding is the Hydrogen that powers the ships is "harvested" from space by the red glowie things on the nacells. Or the occasional refueling at space docks.

I never once had a drop in frame-rate, so I'd suggest you drop your graphics options, or get a better computer. I have also suffered no lag at all during the beta.

Other than those errors... not a bad review.

CrystalShadow:

samsonguy920:
The only thing I might have a beef about, is the part where everything is instanced. The way you put it, Greg, is you can't just casually meet another player short of maybe on starbase. But I guess I am spoiled to WoW, and meeting people all the time except when I go into instanced dungeons. But maybe it works better for this, and when the game comes out I hope the people are more chatty. MMO's are for being social, IMO.
I do like the starship interface and view. It reminds me of Starfleet Command, only now in three dimensions. That is a selling point to me.
And Starfleet Command is the best Star Trek game thus far, IMO. At least until we can really crack our knuckles on STO.

Well, no. Most of the game area is open space that you fly around in going from star system to star system.

The star systems are usually mission instances, but the 'interstellar' space is usually full of player ships flying back and forth all over the place.
(you can visit the bridge of your ship if you feel like it, which feels a little strange. It's apparently possible to invite another player onto your bridge as well.)

The space combat isn't as 3 dimensional as it seems, though to some extent this kind of helps re-inforce the strange way starships move in startrek, which doesn't fit very well with real physics.

I would have been shocked if they used actual physics laws instead of what we see in Star Trek, but a bit of suspension of disbelief(or suspension of belief?)can add to the fun of a game. This adds more points on the pro side for me. Thank you for the info. Now to decide whether to go for STO or Cataclysm...hmmmm. (At least Old Republic is still a bit down the road so I don't have to factor that in, too!)

As exciting as this seems I really hate the idea of paying monthly to play. I also don't really enjoy playing games with other people. Perhaps I am too much a loner for MMOs, but when it comes down to it, I still wish this game had just been made for single player with an online option.

That would have been far more fun as far as I am concerned.

Hey, I don't know how you got a frame rate drop every 10 seconds unless you were running it on a bad driver or a old system for the review. Did you even check you system standards and look at what type of code they were running during the vids from before the closed beta? I started in the open beta with just a dual core AMD that runs 1600 HyperTransportBus(the fsb is locked low on the black box processor I got for cheap), plenty of memory (it never takes more than 2g for me running it on windows 7 RC). I do see a good CPU pull when I run it with the processor running at 70% to 90% on an AMD 7550@2.5 GHz, but never really long load screens (there are far too many, I wish I could just skip to the zone I want to go to, but it is still faster transport than other mmo's that make you walk back after finishing the quest just to reward, unlike all the others. I can just hail Starfleet in STO.)

With the card that I paid less than $65 for (ATI HD4670 512MB DDR3 Sapphire Radeon) I have no frame loss at any time. There are better cards now for less and there are better cards that were out there before it. I can tell you that the 9.0c rendering is at the very limit of the medium. if they had stepped over they would have had to lose potential customers to get any improvement, since some really good cards are still use-able for gaming. I have yet to run a DX 9.0c *.exe that showed something like this on any machine.

But it still has serious flaws right now in beta. I am sure that Cryptic can fix them since they seem to have been quashing similar User End Issues during open beta. There are serious quest issues on some quest chains and comical errors in the graphics that still crop up>

I suspect that this review was run on an older machine (DDR2 800 with 800 FSB and a dual core with limited L3 cache and under 2.3GHz capable of SSE2 [THE Average system] with an older, but still powerful DX 9.c Graphics card. I would really like to see the system specs they were using since this just seems off to me. WTF is the system they used? I love The Escapist, but that is kind of TOTAL FAIL for them on reviews. As the man with the sweet hat from Australia would say, "Pants on head retarded", is about as helpful as this review was.

There is no machine advice for upgrade to enjoy, they expect the first few hours of open Beta to be your entire experience of the whole game for review? (hat is on NOW!) THIS IS BETA, kick into an endless pit unavailable [in beta currently] Expectations of perfection fell into the pit. They have listened to the fan a little but more than you. Tell us what you ran for your review of the interface and at least we could tell if we could run it.

Of course any decent gamer would just read a little or run a System Requirements Lab (TM) to find out if they could even run it. (I suspect you didn't. [blame the hat, not me]) Some gamers will find out that they will have no problem, while a great many will find out it is now time to upgrade! Of course these are the users that only game. I can't blame them for being ignorant, just illiterate or poor (the later just happens and so does the first) This game does not stretch the limits of the current tech nor does it abuse an average gamer's machine to run it(unless they are rendering the next Avatar pr0n sequence for Hustler.)

\music started
\\You never got out of LT before you wrote this, did you? There was more and there will be more!
\\\Hat is off

Thanks for the preview, Greg!

You said "Star track online is a game that almost all star trek fans have wanted to play."
I wish my dad were one of those people he told me he used to love star trek, but would he play the mmo? I really doubt it haha. He once watched me playing fallout3 and commented on how stupid and boring it is because i spent a lot of time conversing with npcs. One time while watching my play gears of war 2 he began laughing hystericaly, "This is supposed to be fun.. WOOOAhahahahaOOOOW what the hell is this shit." Old people... =/
Don't get me wrong my dad is a really nice and honest guy he just really hates video games

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