A very solid online game
Reviewers log, Stardate 91577.26
So here I am. My parents are screaming at me to get off my backside and do something but how can I when I have this masterpiece eagerly awaiting me in my Steam account. I currently have 103 hours on this game (Dec 21st) and that figure is definitely going to increase dramatically! First of all, the graphics are good for a MMO that has literally hundreds, maybe even thousands! of different maps and enemies and there are plenty of graphical options to choose from. The game is extremely customisable to the point where everyone in the game looks completely different from one-another for example, ship specs can be combined and painted, hundreds of clothing items are available, charachters are fully customisable in bulk, height and facial features and the list goes on and on. Another good thing about the customisation is that you can still look awesome without spending any real money (Although I would advise purchasing ZEN because the Devs deserve the money). The Star Trek universe includes the Alpha quadrant, the Beta Quadrant and the Delta Quadrant. Each quadrant is divided up into sector blocks that contain a range of diverse systems from the episodes/movies that we know and love. I think that there is the ability to travel into deep space, however I am yet to experience this for myself. To add to the shear scale of the game, it is split up into three different storylines. These are Klingon, Romulan and Starfleet pathways and depend on which side you choose to fight for. Most players tend to go for starfleet because of the appeal.
There are 50 experience levels and several different ranks in the game ranging from Ensign [Level 1] to Vice Admiral [Level 50] if you choose the Starfleet career for example. Each level requires you to accumalate skill points to progress in rank and these skill points can later be allocated to your charachter to improve certain aspects of their skills e.g. faster shield recharge rate. Skill points are usually given to the player for defeating enemies and completing quests. It takes plenty of time to reach Vice Admiral and there is an endless amount of quests, so don't worry about the game having a limited playtime. Another thing is that a new ship slot is unlocked at level 10, 20, 30 and 40. These ship slots give the player the ability to choose from a range of rank-specific ships for free. Over time, you will notice the progression. With my first charachter, I started off with a small Miranda class starship and moved on to a Constitution class starship. As a Vice Admiral, I captain my own Sovereign class starship with eight weapon slots and a transwarp potential of 28.??.
The missions contain two different elements, space and ground battles. Ground battles are usually very repetitive, however rewarding and space battles can also be repetitive but they are generally fairly entertaining. Your charachter and your ground crew (A small team of up to four that fight by your side) can collect certain items such as new weapons. These items are obtained by unique drops from defeating enemies and items that are unwanted can be discarded or sold.
There is a fair amount to do in your down time when off-mission such as dancing in the club at Earth Spacedock, bragging to people at the academy, exploring the map and fightig in battle zones. Gameplay when on and off mission is immersive and very addictive. The developers work very hard to bring new feature episodes and content to the game. Q's Winter Wonderland is an annual event in Star Trek Online that offers competitions, quests, collectibles, battles and a festive spirit to the game. I like that the seasonal events are resticted to one area to prevent the whole game being about Christmas.
There are some appearances that may appeal to fans too such as the appearance of the USS Enterprise, the Enterprise C and the Enterprise E on several occassions where your crew are transported back in time. There are also several appearances of the USS Defiant and a chat with Mister Spock and Bones themselves. In addition to this, Leonard Nemoy has participated in voice acting for the game and a fair number of missions are voiced by him.
There is loads I still need to cover, however I can't really be bothered so I'll just sum it up by saying that this game is AWESOME! and I'll give some honest scores out of 10 below...
Just to note, the game has a Metascore of 66, however this was for a very old build of the game (Back in 2010 i believe) and the whole game has been greatly improved in almost every aspect since then. My guess at an updated Metascore would be 80.
EDIT, FEB 14: So here I am again, 100 hours later with Star Trek Online as my Valentine and even more to say about this incredible game. The game gets better and better as you progress and I seem to have been grinding the game for Dilithium lately (A currency within the game). This seems to be what most players do once they complete what there is of the current storyline which consists of 8.5 Seasons, each containing approximately between 6-20 episodes consisting of about 25-50 minute tasks.
The Developers are still constantly adding amazing content to this game such as several graphical enhancements, new episodes, events and features such as the new 'Quick equip' system which gives players the ability to change ships and items quickly without the hassle. The devs are also making the game more friendly and easier to get into for new players, so now is a better time than ever to play Star Trek Online!
On the subject of the developers. The Developers really seem to care about this game and their priority appears to be about making a quality game, not shoving adverts down players throats and almost forcing them to puchase things. For example, the latest update gives players free inentory and bank slots which would usually cost. There is no need to spend money in this game at all if you don't want to. Players can have equally as good ships and gear from just playing the game instead of spending all of their money. I have spent money on this game, however this was because I wanted a ship that looked cooler. Even then, I didn't have to pay for it. It would have taken some time but even the premium things can be earned over time. The starter packs and DLC's are really just an option. They do not add any additional missions or anything, just ships and items. Even the £18 starter packs are completely optional. I earned better gear than the starter packs after about 2 hours of gameplay!
Modern free-to-play games seem to just be about getting to a certain point and then having to pay to achieve a slightly higher position in the game. Star Trek Online is a pay if you want to pay game. This is exactly how a free to play game should be, GG Star Trek Online.
One last thing, here is an official link to earn free ZEN for surveys: http://offers.perfectworld.com/
Each survey can be rushed through in approximately 4-6 minutes and I've honestly earned about £25 worth of ZEN from these. The surveys do not require any email address, so don't worry.