After an obsessive Deep Space 9 marathon that left me yearning for more but unwilling to subject myself to Voyager/Enterprise, I decided to give this game a try to ween me off the resurgence of my inner Trekie. I don't regret trying it, and put a lot of time into it/might not be finished with it, but I also can't recommend it as a good game. While not exactly a 'pay to win' production, there does come a point in the higher levels where upgrading your ships to the current maximum level takes more 'Zen', the purchasable currency of the game, than a person could reasonably be expected to gather themselves in-game.
- The game has great character customization. Few are willing to admit that most MMO's are basically complex dress-up games, but this game embraces that element. Not only are you afforded extensive personal customization, but all your bridge officers can be fully customized as well, ony their sex and their race being pre-determined. While there are many alien races to choose from, you can also select 'Alien', which allows you to create your own species, and gives you wildly versatile customization. Want to play as a bald, pot-bellied toddler running around with a Bat-leth? Go for it. Want your captain to look exactly like a Vault-Boy Bobble-head? No problem. Want your first officer to look exactly like one of those giant blue chicks from Avatar? Jake Sulley it up all you want.
- Ship combat is fun, versatile, and very nostalgic. The mechanics mirror the way combat is portrayed in the show very well, with all the special abilities available being the go-to phrases of Captains throughout the Star Trek franchise. Emergency power to weapons, reverse sheild polarity, fire a full spread of torpedoes, activate the tacheon beam... all the technobabble of Star-Trek returns, all with unique functions in combat. My personal favorites? Ramming Speed and Self Destruct.
- Uncannily challenging for an MMO. The game has the rare MMO feature of a difficulty setting, and the max difficulty is really quite challenging after the tutorial levels, and really quite crushingly difficult after around the lvl 40 mark. The ships you confront will be exceptionally more powerful than yours, often able to obliterate you in a single torpedo spread, making quick reaction time and well-thought-out tactics essential.
- Ground combat is weak, and ground missions are often exceedingly annoying puzzles that don't so much challenge you to think as force you to do a lot of tedious reading while running back and forth between consoles. Many of the ground missions were a major chore to complete.
-The crafting system is dreadful. Essential resources are incredibly scant, about 2 harvesting nodes present on about 2/3s of the missions you run, and 90% of those nodes being the basic common-grade materials, meaning you'll have huge stacks of those and next to none of anything else. The only decent way to gain experience in crafting is to engage in these 20-hour research projects that prevent you from building anything while they're active, and actually building things gives you minimal experience by comparison, and wastes your over-rare resources. The only way to really succeed in crafting is to buy crates of resources using Zen, I.E real world money. Otherwise, your crafting will never in a million years keep up with your leveling, or ever be of any real value to you except perhaps in the distant future of play.
- It doesn't really feel like an MMO. Besides the occassional 'Borg attack' event to which everyone in a system is invited, playing with other people is a rarity in this game. You see other folks flying through space at warp, you run into other folks at the docks/space stations, but the vast majority of missions are all solo experiences. There are ques for PVE and PVP events, but they are so long that I've never successfully joined whatever it is they're queing for.
- space combat, while entertaining, follows 2-dimensional rules. While I undserstand the need for set 'up' and a set 'down' while in space combat simply to keep directions and mapping viable, ships are far too bound too and bogged down by the imposition of 'up' and 'down' in space combat. You cannot dive, nor fly straight up, nor do a flip, nor fly upside-down. You essentially move like a sub-marine and not a space-ship. This puts annoyingly restrictive limits on manuevering and heavily detracts from a players capacity to use superior piloting skills to any sort of advantage. It's also highly annoying when travling to positions/enemies above or below you, as you have to slowly spiral down or spiral up in order to change your height position. This has got to be the single greatest turn-off for me.