Having spent some time at the Lt. Commander tier in Star Trek Online, whilst also dabbling in an assortment of other games I’ve posted about, I have been trying to determine how I really feel about STO, two months in.
I have certainly been playing infrequently, and in small doses; when my better half and I log in to play together, we don’t pull off more than a patrol mission and a story episode before calling it quits for the night. Sometimes we mix it up with a patrol mission mixed with PvP! And while I can honestly say it’s fun to fly around blasting ships and gaping at the scenic asteroid belts and planets we orbit (I’m not even tired of patrol missions yet; they feel much less grindy than “kill twenty boars” to me), at the end of the day the most exciting part of any game session is, for me, the moment when my first officer suggests that we beam down and check something out.
I have posted before about my fears that I would feel disconnected from the game if I spent most of my time being represented as a ship, and whether or not I’ve sabotaged myself by calling it, my fears seems to have come to pass. It’s not that I dread space combat, or the act of beaming up, exactly. I’m pretty good at the space side of things, but I do wish there were rather less of it. Even my mindset towards my Bridge Officers changes between when I’m on the ground and when I’m in space: I equip myself with Tachyon Beam and Beam Overload, but I train my First Officer in Draw Fire. In space, my BOffs are just buttons that I press to make myself more effective, but on the ground they are bodies I fight alongside, instruct to give cover, and resuscitate when they fall. I can’t stop thinking of my ship as a vehicle. It is not “me (in-game),” and I want, more than anything in this game, to be able to be “me.”
I hear that at higher tiers there are ground Fleet Actions, and of course the raidisodes (which I am unsure I will ever see) have ground content as well. I hold out hope that the ground game will be improved and expanded on as time passes; additional exploration content and, of course, more ship interiors will contribute to what is currently lacking.
In the meantime, I’ll just be hanging out in the exploration clusters, warping in and out of missions in the hopes of finding things I can apply a tricorder to.