Star Trek Online: Basic Space Combat (video)

In the first post in this series, I gave a brief overview of the game. In the second, I covered the sorts of character and ship customization you can do.

In this post, I’ll be showing off space combat in Star Trek Online. Thanks to Youtube’s awesome annotation feature, I was able to point out what I was doing as I went barco a barco on a hapless cruiser I surprised while patrolling an asteroid belt.

So watch this first (in full screen/HD if you can).

This battle was part of a patrol mission. Starfleet will ask you to travel to three or four systems and take care of any problems. If you travel to a system and someone is already there working on the same mission, you have the option to automatically group with them (if they have allowed that; it is on by default). This is a Good Thing, because more often than not, you’ll be overwhelmed by ships at some point.

Even if things look grim, you can use tactics to come out ahead.

Something always pointed out about Star Trek is the one constant character in every episode of the original series — the Enterprise itself. Star Trek Online takes that even further; it has more or less the same inventory screen and equipment slots as a player character. And just like with a player, how you equip your ship determines the sort of nasty tricks you can do.

One of the loading screens in STO suggests equipping a tractor beam and holding an enemy ship in the warp core breach of a ship you just destroyed, causing them tons of damage. Little tricks like this (and there were dozens of strategists with devious minds figuring this stuff out in the beta forums) are the key to success in battle. Sure, you may have kicked the Borg in the butt during the tutorial, but see how you laugh when a dozen Birds of Prey decloak behind you while a battle cruiser is tearing you apart from the other side.

If at all possible, you’ll want to team up with someone else, either via an automatic group or just meeting up with a friend. Here’s another video where three of us are making short work of two Orion battleships and their support vessels.

I just love how smooth and fluid spaceflight is. I remapped the attitude controls to the arrow keys because I couldn’t spam the weapon controls AND control the ship AND tune the shields AND activate the various consoles all with one hand. I later moved to just using the mouse to control the ship.

In a group, you can be more strategic about keeping on the correct side of enemy ships and doing nasty tricks.

A game like EVE Online is all about strategy. It is very slow paced; one mission can take several hours, if you include salvaging. Star Trek Online has no less strategy, it just happens ten times faster. (I was tempted to say “happens at warp speed”, but I stopped myself. For a sentence.)

I don’t have any videos of ground combat. There’s a good bit of strategy there — hotswapping your weapons to defeat the cooldown of the special abilities is just one thing you can try — maybe once open beta starts.

Eventually, though, you might want to try your hand at PvP. This sounds like a good time to talk about the PvP-based Klingon faction… in the next post.

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9 thoughts on “Star Trek Online: Basic Space Combat (video)”

  1. I wasn’t able to watch the video, but I wanted to thank you for all your articles on STO.

    In response to Angry Gamer, can you play this with an xbox controller? I have one that I used with Champions online for a while and it worked pretty well.

    Tipa, as someone who likes EVE, do you recommend STO? Do you think someone who enjoys EVE would like this?

  2. Yes, you can use an XBox controller to move your ship around, select targets and fire weapons. You’ll still need to use your keyboard for stuff, and I haven’t found any way to set what button on your controller does what.

    If I want to get into a huge fleet battle in EVE, first I have to join a PvP corp in nullsec, then spend millions fitting out a PvP-capable ship, which will likely get blown up in any encounter, necessitating a lot of ratting and mining to earn money for a replacement.

    If I want to get into a huge fleet battle in STO that is just as exciting, I queue up for a PvP match….

    Aside from having space ships, the games are at opposite ends of a spectrum. EVE is deadly serious, and everything you do has a strategic component, from playing the market to manufacturing and on to system control. STO is far quicker in every respect.

    There’s room for both games, but I’m not certain STO and EVE appeal to the same kinds of people.

  3. Your single player battle video illustrates the best and worst of STO to me. When I got into my first battle like that it was a heck of a lot of fun. I loved it! But when I had a mission to destroy 8 (I think?) Orion Drydocks, and each one had a couple of ships guarding it, it turned into a pretty time consuming event. 3-4 minutes to take down an enemy adds up when you have to do is 16 times (and of course it can take even longer when you’re facing a couple of baddies). By the last one it was feeling pretty boring. But hopefully things get more intricate at higher levels with more officers/skills.

    But that’s why the open group system seems key. Closed beta was pretty sparsely populated and rarely did I enter a mission with someone else, but when I did the combat got both much more interesting and went much faster.

    This is one reason I’m wavering on the idea of pre-ordering. This might be the kind of game where I want to be in the same “level” range as lots and lots of players, for more open grouping.

  4. I also move with the mouse and re-mapped several keys to mouse buttons 4 and 5 (fire all weapons, alt-space by default, for instance).

    I somehow did not see where I can bind WSAD to the shields, so I still have to use the arrow keys to adjust shields which is very awkward. Can I bind the shield recharge buttons left/right/front/rear to WSAD, and how do I do it? It would be enough if you can tell me that it is possible, then I would look harder in keybindings. :)

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