A Day in the Life of a Star Trek Online Captain
Due to how much has changed in Star Trek Online since launch, I could only touch on some of the new features of the game in my review. So I decided to grab a mission in the game and show you how it plays out.
First things first, in my review I mentioned how I wish Cryptic overhauled some of the landscapes and environment in the ground missions. While there are still some areas I might not find super exciting, they have improved the look of areas quite a lot, and in some of the latest missions, the planets you are in look quite stunning. Some of the new areas look like the offspring of an encounter between Mass Effect and Global Agenda. They look really good.
That is one of many improvements to look forward to. If you are like me and look for immersion in a game, you will appreciate how they overhauled the appearance of space while you travel between systems. Space actually looks like space and the HUD map (called "astrometrics") looks much sleeker too. If you'd like to admire space from within the ship though, don't despair. Cryptic added ships interiors too! While the addition of the Bridge and the option to invite people to it is out since a while now, the rest of the interiors have been added later on. You can go to your Sick Bay, your Engineering Room, your Captain's Quarters, the Ready Room, the Crew Lounge (geek butt-hurt alert: why, oh why didn't you call it Ten Forward!)
The way the missions run has also been polished. Cryptic Studios added cut scenes that interweave during the game play, and the most important NPCs in the game/missions got voice overs. The game developers also heard the plea of players who really craved some real interaction with the environment. They didn't want to solve everything with the press of a button. Let me give you an example: if you were to play a mission before and you had to unlock a console, all you had to do was to walk up to that console, wait for the menu to pop up in the middle of the screen and tell you "Bypass security protocols", press F to activate that option and you were done. Now that's not enough anymore. You approach the console, find out it's locked, and you'll have to work out what's locking it, look through other consoles, decrypt them (you actually get to do the decrypting, although it's all done in a player-friendly manner, nothing over-complicated), make sure you are powering down some systems as they might be in the way, etc. You actually have to work for it the Star Trek way. I remember doing this in a mission and felt, "What a good Science Officer I am!"Continued on the next page