February 1 - February 5

Space MMOs -- the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Startship Hyp3rl33t. Its continuing mission to explore strange new collection quests. To seek out new loot and new instanced missions. To boldly go where about 20,000 people have gone before!

While I am counted among those trying out Star Trek: Online in the pre-order headstart, I am unconvinced that this MMO can be much more than an intriguing distraction. Yes, Star Trek is on a cultural high right now, and a high-profile MMO with starship combat is a welcome change from endless swords and sorcery, which is why I've bothered in the first place. Still, the narrative of the universe alone almost demands a whole new approach to the min/max, loot gathering philosophies of the typical massively multiplayer game.

Fortunately, ST:O has nestled itself into one of the quieter weeks of what's shaping up to be a busy February, and gets my nod for game of the week. Also this week, White Knight Chronicles on the PS3.

A brief thank you goes out to those of you using our Amazon affiliate links to help out the site. We will be adding a coming soon section for those of you using Amazon's preorder service.

PC
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
- Star Trek Online
- The Sims 3 High-End Loft Stuff

PS3
- White Knight Chronicles

Wii
- Family Party: 30 Great Games: Winter Fun

DS
- Imagine: Reporter
- Puzzle Chronicles

PSP
- Puzzle Chronicles

Coming Soon
- Bioshock 2 - Xbox 360 version - PC version : February 9
- Heavy Rain : February 23
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 : March 2
- Final Fantasy XIII - PS3 version - Xbox 360 version : March 9
- God of War III : March 16

Comments

Mass Effect 2 has my Sci Fi fix filled for now. I'll wait for the inevitable 14 day trial for Star Trek Online.

I'm looking forward to some impressions of White Knight Chronicles. I haven't been following the game since it was announced way back when.

You missed the clear winner, Call of Pripyat.
Still working on someway to buy the amazing German CE.

Sorry Boogle, I've tried S.T.A.L.K.E.R. a number of times and it just hasn't been a hit for me.

Having a lot of fun with STO so far, but I'm only a couple of hours in. Loving the space combat, but I'm not sure what the legs on the game will be like.

Isn't Global Agenda supposed to come out this week? That makes two MMOs. Strange.

Man, didn't realize I could have helped out GWJ with my ME2 preorder from Amazon. Next box game I buy, though, I'll check here first to see if there's a link.

Just use the Amazon Search Bar on the left hand side of the screen. No need to wait for a link.

Ah, I see. Apparently Ad-block plus blocks that out, so I can't see it running Firefox. But now that I know it's there, I'll just fire up Chrome when I wanna use that search. Thanks for the tip!

mwdowns wrote:

Ah, I see. Apparently Ad-block plus blocks that out, so I can't see it running Firefox. But now that I know it's there, I'll just fire up Chrome when I wanna use that search. Thanks for the tip!

You could do what I do and just disable AdBlock Plus for this site. There really aren't many ads at all. Just try it and you'll see.

Man this year is cramped, at least the start. I still have Darksiders to finish, Bayonetta is unopenned and The Saboteur sits below that.

Preventing all this gaming is Mass Effect 2. How in Gods name can I finish all that AND BioShock before Final Fantasy 13 comes stomping onto my 360...

I think I'll sit this one out.
With WoW finally getting its talons into me, Dragon Age on the pile, Mass Effect 2 coming to join him and Silent Hill for Wii coming to Europe this month, my hands are already full.

Slacker1913 wrote:

I think I'll sit this one out.
With WoW finally getting its talons into me, Dragon Age on the pile, Mass Effect 2 coming to join him and Silent Hill for Wii coming to Europe this month, my hands are already full.

At this point buying any more game is probably just a waste of your money. You won't get to em.

I keep thinking about ST:O; I've been MMO free for a while now but am getting the itch to jump back into one for a while. I dunno if Star Trek would work as an MMO though.

And Call of Pripyat is out? Man, I've got too many games to play right now.

STO definitely isn’t revolutionary in the MMO design department. However, I think it will have legs, as much as any MMO that isn’t WoW. True, there’s nothing truly unique outside of the starship combat. But, for me, the chance to finally be the Captain in a series that defined my youth has a much tighter grasp on me then even Queues can put down.

The powers in STO are very well done. Even now, as a LtCDR, taking my LTs on an away mission is exciting. My Tac officer and I lay down the damage with grenades, both photon (knockback/down) and plasma (burning DOT) while picking out (exposing in game terms) the weakness of the enemies and landing well timed insta-vaporize shots. My Engineers drop mines to keep the Klingons out of Melee, a phaser turret for some extra DPS, and will throw a shield recharge buff when I need it. The Sci officer, well, she heals, but without her I’d be toast. They also all do this with some semblance of intelligence, and I have little to no need to tell them to do anything. For example, the Engineer will lay mines in front of the squad and not 5m behind us. They also seem to (95% of the time) place the turret in a good fire lane, and not behind a corner or hill. It’s a lot like playing with a well oiled group, with a good healer who doesn’t let me die (and I know without her I would). The only advantage PCs have is they do more dmg on average and they (if Goodjers) provide some company.

That leads me to my #1 issue – the MM in the MMO. STO is a very solo-oriented game. You don’t [/]need[/i] to group, ever. Sure, you do on occasion, and it’s fun, but it’s very optional. Unlike other MMOs where you need groups to do certain content, STO only scales the difficulty if you come in a group. This makes them no less desirable then going solo, but there’s no real incentive either (except bigger fights). I like my MM in my MMOs, and STO needs to incentivize a little better so we can have this more often. BUT! If you’re the “solo-content leave me alone” type, STO is definitely for you.

In total, mission variety is actually good (I’ve seen missions from kill all klingons to establish first contact with a race). Not every mission is combat oriented, but most are. I do like the occasional non-combat “figure this out” mission, and I wish there were a bit more, but I can also see people getting bored with too many of those. After all, we like to pew pew. The environments are varied, the skills are interesting, and the ships are awesome. It’s Star Trek.

Shoal07 wrote:

That leads me to my #1 issue – the MM in the MMO. STO is a very solo-oriented game. You don’t [/]need[/i] to group, ever. Sure, you do on occasion, and it’s fun, but it’s very optional. Unlike other MMOs where you need groups to do certain content, STO only scales the difficulty if you come in a group. This makes them no less desirable then going solo, but there’s no real incentive either (except bigger fights). I like my MM in my MMOs, and STO needs to incentivize a little better so we can have this more often. BUT! If you’re the “solo-content leave me alone” type, STO is definitely for you.

Agreed, and personally, I don't have a problem with it. It seems like, when I'm heading into a battle where I'm "in over my head," a few other ships join me automatically and help me out. For me, that's a welcome feature! And, if I want to group up with other people, there are always folks in the GWJ Ventrillo chat to also lend advice or a phaser.

You'd think that the more solo-oriented feel of the game would be appealing to Elysium!

Overall, I'm enjoying the game, but as many people have said, the space combat is where it's at, and the away missions are strong enough to act as a good palate cleanser to mix things up from time to time. I think it's well worth investigating, especially if you're a Star Trek fan like me.

You'd think that the more solo-oriented feel of the game would be appealing to Elysium!

Oh, it is. Honestly, it's a big part of the reason I'm trying it out.

Elysium wrote:
You'd think that the more solo-oriented feel of the game would be appealing to Elysium!

Oh, it is. Honestly, it's a big part of the reason I'm trying it out.

This is the reason I am keeping this game on my radar. I'm still waiting to see how the game develops over the next few months before pulling the trigger.

Amazon now shows S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat being released on 2/10/2010. Gamestop still shows 2/2/2010. I can't help but be annoyed with such a long wait after the Russian and European releases for it to be pushed another week if Amazon is correct. The reminds of the Clear Sky trouble with recalls and the unexplained Steam delay (the counter went down to zero then got a week or two added on magically!)

Stalker not showing up on steam, publisher-valve snafu?

What, no Global Agenda? Maybe it doesn't have a franchise name behind it, but it is by far a better game than Star Trek Online.

Amazon switched the release date of STALKER back to 2/2/2010.

Lunar: Silver Star Harmony for the PSP had been scheduled for today, but according to Amazon it's been pushed to March 2. No word on the XSeed website.

I'm enjoying STO a lot. As much fun as it is to solo, its much more fun to group with 2-4 other ships. And just saying that it just scales the encounter, and while that is what it does, is underselling the fun of grouping.

The fun scales 50% on top of the enemy scaling because the tactics change. Now, the tactics are pretty obvious, kill the escorts first, but it flies in the face of player hubris. In a group of 4, I've seen a few team members learn the hard way that you don't target the Klingon warship when its 5 frigate escorts still live. And while, each one of us can tackle a frigate escort solo, the mission will go tremendously faster if we pair up on one at a time. Again its common sense but everyone, for however long a fleeting moment, thinks they are Captain Kirk.

I even almost bit the dust once last night because I got too close to everyone. Two warships and 4 escorts is a lot to rush into. My god the torpedo spam was nerve wracking. My hull was at 14%! Thankfully, mines can be a deterrent as well as a finisher. And I've found that they can interrupt enemy targeting and cause them to reassess target priority when used in conjunction with diving in front of your ally.

boogle wrote:

You missed the clear winner, Call of Pripyat.
Still working on someway to buy the amazing German CE.

Call me.