Back To Where It All Started!
I put some hours in Star Trek Online several years ago, playing some of the missions but as I was invested in too many games, I couldn’t keep the attention span to keep playing.
Fast forward to 2021, where I picked up the game on PS5, developed for PS4 for free. Some people have checked in after paying for a lifetime subscription, and their account was loaded with goodies. I didn’t buy it, so no spoils for me I guess! However, I’m happy to return to the game.
I immediately started playing missions to get through the ranks, from Cadet to Fleet Admiral, level 1 to 65 in the last two weeks.
The fun thing about the missions, as a huge Star Trek fan, is hearing and seeing a lot of familiar voices, from Tom Paris, Tuvok, Neelix, and more. It opens up a lot of opportunities, with massive ships you can buy. Though to get the Tier 6 (T6) ships, you need to invest significantly in money or in energy and time to gather in-game currency.
Dilithium is the standard currency to buy high-class equipment and ships, while energy credits suffice for basic components and to be used in Reputation missions. Zen is the currency you can buy with real money, but you can also get it from exchanging Dilithium.
Red Alert For Problems!
In that lies massive problems. Several years ago, the Energy Credit Exchange to get products, pieces of equipment, and upgrades crashed because the player base died out. You overpaid way too much for the item you needed, similar to hyperinflation in real life. Developer Cryptic did nearly nothing to fix this, other than limit the Energy Credit amount you could have.
This happened in the last year as well for the Dilithium/Zen Exchange. Everyone held on to their Zen, as they could sell it for much more than they originally bought or converted it for. Because of it, no exchanges happened and the market stood still.
When something like that happens, players are at a standstill and after time, they fade out of the game, not to be seen again.
Since I started playing Star Trek Online and joined a fleet, I’ve contributed many energy credits, duty officers, and more for the fleet holdings and facilities, because it gives you back the opportunity to mine dilithium or equipment at cheaper rates.
Even if you can only refine 8,000 dilithium a day, you have the reserves to keep on going forward then for days to come.
In these two weeks, the market started coming back to life (was this my doing?) as I had to buy 1 Zen with 309 dilithium and prices have now dropped to 297. It could also have to do with negative feedback levied against developer Cryptic (Perfect World), who continued not to do a lot to solve this in the past year.
Their best bet? Just release more Discovery DLC’s, like House Divided and House Reborn, to try and lure back existing players with new missions, ships, and storylines. That has proven insufficient, and there is much more that can be done.
It might have to do with the summer event of this year, where completing 20 daily tasks in the month of June on the resort island of Risa, will get you a T6 Class Risian Cruiser ship. That could swing a bit of player base to return.
Together with COVID, this might lure people back to play, and also spread out the online missions you can play as a group or assembled bunch of players.
Let’s hope that this will be the start of new things to come!
Lower Shields And Solve Your Issues!
There has been an address by players in the form of tweets, mails, Facebook messages and more towards the developer. They are asking for an overhaul of the in-game currencies as well as a more balanced game due to the Pay-To-Win circumstances.
It is not just that the in-game markets are too slow in recovery or already dead, it’s also that bugs in entire missions have gone unsolved for years. It has sparked a Star Trek Online subreddit, and we all know that any game having its own Subreddit can only mean it’s either awesome or something fundamentally flawed – I’ll let you guess which it is in this case.
Most visual bugs have been solved, but there are times when you can get stuck on or in an object during a mission, and you need several replacements before you are in the correct spot. It can take up so much time, that often rebooting the game is a faster solution to solve it.
This is something Cryptic should get to work with, and not just raising money with the current DLC’s. Cryptic is always looking forward and never to the past, except when you are killing and squashing bugs or insects like M’Tara (a Herald of the Iconian race) calls it – Cryptic should squash their bugs as well.
I could solve this problem easily. I just need to quit out of rage.
What’s Next For Star Trek Online?
Next to the game is the addition of Discovery DLC, and I look forward to the addition of Picard missions and other spin-off shows to be released as additional content for Online.
I think everyone wants to see William Riker, Deanna Troi, Data, and Jean-Luc Picard back in full action. Seven of Nine is already in the game, but Jeri Ryan is welcomed even more as she feels right at home in the missions she has been in.
Furthermore, they need to expand missions based on past storylines, such as more in the Mirror Universe, more Star Trek: Enterprise-related missions (Xindi storylines, come on!), and give a lot more options when it comes to the acquisition of ships.
Possible price drops or new ships coming out at lowered Zen costs could help persuade the players to invest, which would help develop all of the earlier mentioned possible additions. As a game with DLC and buyable in-game currency, you have to not work in the now, but also look towards the future – while always making sure your game is a bug-free as it can be.
I’m anxiously awaiting for Cryptic to fix the in-game currencies and exchange rates, grow the options to start a Fleet (with just two instead of five players) and to expand these fleets further than they can already. They also need to lower the amount of grinding needed to go to a decent level. An 8,000 Dilithium refinement per day, currently equals to 25 Zen at a 300 exchange rate. Most packages, expansions and ships are between 2000 and 15000 Zen, so this can take up to months. Player vs. Player options are currently pay-to-win, but this needs to be vastly more balanced to be fun.
The welcome screen should also show you more stuff to do, instead of just teasing more monetary investments. It should also help you perform Admiralty and Duty Officers missions by selecting them directly from the welcome screen, so players can grind for the resources they near far more easily.
Something else which would really help is I’d like more developer logs, so we know what’s going on – and even the reasoning behind a lot of the decisions they are making. If we knew why specific things were how they were, then we could perhaps forgive them.
There’s just one more thing to say:
Note: This game was bought for free for the purposes of this review. Additional in-game content available as part of PlayStation Plus was also used in this review.