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.