[STO] Look Around You

lookaround

I am still enjoying my slow and rather casual explorations of Star Trek Online. No matter that the rest of my fleet were zooming around in their Tier 2 or 3 ships when we tried some fleet action last weekend, no matter if other people I know have almost reached the level cap, I’m still having fun pottering around in my little Miranda class starship.

One of the interesting things about trying a new MMO, and especially when you are used to something as heavily modded as WoW is that you can’t always rely on addons or quest helpers to let you fly by instrument. In fact, ironically because STO is one of the few settings where it would be totally in character to fly by instrument, I end up doing a lot of looking around me to find quest objectives and crafting nodes (I mean, space anomalies.)

For example, the screenshot above shows my ropey old starting cruiser heading towards an anomaly in space.

lookaround2

I’ve highlighted the anomaly here.

They’re really not hard to spot, but it feels like a reward for keeping your eyes peeled and actually looking at the world around you.

More than just scanning your minimap to find nodes.

I find this setup to be very immersive. I love to feel rewarded for paying attention to the game world, even if it’s just that I can spot the anomalies quickly. I also enjoy that an automatic map or addon won’t do this for me. There is a breakpoint at which it gets frustrating to be looking at a screen of wallpaper trying to spot the little dots which are your quest mobs (this reminds me of pouring dutifully over my little sister’s photos of a cricket match she once saw where she was so far away from the action that all you could see were tiny white dots on a big green field). But despite that, there’s still some fun to be had from spotting things for yourself, even if the game falls over itself to make it easy.

In PvP of course, looking around you is not so much a neat bonus as a way of life. You must pay attention to the surroundings. In high end raiding, the same applies. And of course, shooter style gameplay is all about looking around you, targeting, figuring out how to use cover, and so on.

On Immersion

I have pondered Wolfsheads post about Immersion. And all I can respond with is … that I think gameplay is becoming more immersive, I think story is becoming more immersive, I think character motivation is becoming WAY more immersive.

For example, STO makes it very easy to justify why your character is taking orders from the Federation, and all the missions do actually explain why you are helping with Federation goals. There’s nothing that involves a random quest dude asking you to kill ten rats, it’s all wrapped in more plausible character motivation than that.

In Wrath, I have no doubt at all why my character wants to kill the Lich King (something that was notably lacking in earlier expansions.) And if MMO gameplay is moving towards a twitcher, more shooter style, perhaps that’s also more immersive in its way.

Of course, none of this means that gameworlds can’t have convincing weather patterns, geography, and ecosystem. I like to think that maybe it’s just a matter of time before the different types of immersion all synch up.

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6 thoughts on “[STO] Look Around You

  1. The shortcut for the anomaly/quest objective scanner (to the left of the radar map) is “V”.

    They explicitly stated they designed it this way, as a beam of light roughly showing you the direction of the target, to make sure you stare on the screen and not on an arrow or quest marker pointing you somewhere.

    What they could have done better is sector navigation. The system list is helpful, but once the system is in another sector, people are often lost where to go, as even the quest description occasionally misses to tell you the sector/quadrant of the system at all.

    P.S.: The preorder Tribble bonus is a triple bonus buff… how cute. :)

  2. Thanks for giving a little mini-review on how you are liking the game. I am still on the fence about buying it…but it’s reviews like this that are making me want to check it out. The space anomaly looks cool too. Have any pictures of tribbles? :)

  3. I am a lowly Grade 8 Lieutenant, have been since Saturday when I got there. I’ve seen Admirals walking around but there is me still waiting on that Tier 2 ship and I don’t care. I like that I can take things easy and enjoy the game at my own pace. Rushing to get to the end game on a freshly released MMO seems to me to be a waste of time. You might as well enjoy the work that has been put into it. When sampling a wine (not that I drink) you don’t down a bottle, you breathe in the aroma, sip from the glass to savour the flavour. Why should our gaming be any different?

  4. Pingback: Star Trek Online outdated preview

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