Posted: March 20
Oddly enough, I'm not a Trekkie by any stretch of the word (Star Wars diehard here), but this game is actually very fun. I will give a bullet list of the pros as well as the cons and hopefully it will be beneficial to those interested in playing this game:
-Extensive graphical settings
-Space and ground combat
-Robust character creator & outfits
-Foundry (player-created) missions
-Massive ships to customize and explore
For a game that is five years old, it's actually holding up quite well. It doesn't compare in visuals to a more recent MMO such as Elder Scrolls Online, but it scales quite nicely and you can make it look fairly good by MMO standards. What sets this game apart from most MMOs is the dual gameplay of space and ground combat. It keeps the experience fresh and interesting as you are constantly jumping back and forth between shooting enemies with phasers to blowing ships into oblivion with your cruiser.
Without a doubt, this is by far the most in-depth character creator I've ever experienced. There are a decent amount of presets for faces, but where it truly shines are the sliders. There literally is a slider for everything. You have control to make your character look the way you want and this will literally keep you busy adjusting and changing for hours. The amount of outfits is also quite extensive, although much of it is behind the gameshop currency. I was informed, however, that everything is obtaining in-game if you work for it.
The tutorial for Starfleet was actually quite enjoyable, even if it was essentially a rip-off of the recently rebooted films. I didn't enjoy the Klingon tutorial nearly as much. Too stereotypical "bad guy" in my opinion. That aside, where the best content is actually found are the missions created by players, not the developers. I'm still not that high of a level, but by far the most fun I've had were completing foundry missions. They seem to scale to your level and they offer a decent amount of experience. Some can be rather long, so make sure to check the estimated time for completion at the beginning before starting.
The Foundry creator seems to allow players to create and build virtually anything they want, so it leads to infinite amounts of quality content created by the players. Very smart and cost-effective as the best content generally is that which is made by the players, not the developers. Last but not least are the ships! Depending on your class will determine what class of ship is appropriate for you. Everything a Trekkie would expect is available in the game as well as plenty more. The ships are also massive with a fully-explorable bridge, crew deck, and various other locations. You can also change the appearance of the bridge as well as the exterior design of the ship and its colors.
-Relatively steep learning curve
Due to the scale of the game with the dual gameplay, the depth in both is rather lacking. While the space game is actually quite fun, it really is nothing more than a button masher so far. The ground experience is very much the same way, although it does have an RPG mode and a FPS mode to change how you shoot enemies to make it more engaging. I would have liked a better integration between ground and space similar to JTL in SWG where exploration in your ship isn't a different instance and multiple players take on various positions in one ship, instead of everybody being a captain of their own ship.
After you reach level 10, the developer-made quests seem to either come to a close or trigger much less often. This will lead to you having to explore on your own doing patrols, foundry missions, PvE queues, or deepspace encounters. So far it would seem patrols might actually provide the best amount of EXP, although foundry missions are by far the most entertaining. I highly recommend leveling with a friend if you have one to join you.
While the tutorial tries to do a decent job of explaining the foundation of the game, there is just too much to cover. As is the case with most older MMOs, you'll need to ask a lot of questions to players who do know or try researching on your own. I wouldn't let that veer you away from this game, however. So far, I've enjoyed it quite a bit. I had absolutely zero expectations going in and found myself pleasantly surprised by what the game offers.
Again, I'm not a Trekkie, so this is merely the perspective of someone who has played a lot of MMOs and found the features in this game to be quite pleasing. It is F2P, although everything seems to be obtainable through hard work (besides Borg, you need to be a lifetime member for that). The game is definitely worth visiting if you are just looking to have an interesting and diverse experience with plenty of content to keep you busy.