I actually haven’t been doing a LOT of gaming really over these last few months. Most of what I have been doing has been playing Star Trek Online. It was pretty cool at first. I mean hell – you get to captain a Starfleet ship! But after the novelty of the game wore off… it’s actually rather bland. Once you complete a character’s career up to the top tier level (which is Vice Admiral currently), you’ve pretty much beaten the game. All the quests / missions for every race are all the same, so creating a new character just means you have to go through and re-do everything you’ve just done all over again, mission per mission. The “Daily” missions get boring after the 5th time, and Cryptic doesn’t release nearly enough “Episodes” to keep my interest up.
That left me with the group I play with – the 16th Mobile Fleet. The group is primarily a role playing group, which is it’s focus over game play.
Now, I’d never gotten into role playing in an MMO environment. I’d always wanted to give it a shot, but never could find a group that I felt would fit my style… most of them were either just too creepy, or had ridiculous rules, et cetera. This group fit me well, and I’ve been with the core members of this group since April of last year – two months after Star Trek Online’s release. And while I’ve learned that I do enjoy role playing in an MMO environment, I’ve also learned something else.
It doesn’t even compare – even minutely – to role playing over a tabletop.
I still prefer tabletop role playing games bar none over MMO role play, but when you don’t have anyone locally to play tabletop games with, you are left with little choice. Like I did mention, I do enjoy the MMO role play experience, it just pales in comparison. Part of the problem – at least for me anyway – is that you are so restricted to what you can do within the game environment. I spent 80% of my time playing tabletop role playing games as the game master, so I’m used to being able to manipulate story, theme, and environment to suit my plot. In the MMO environment – you really can’t do that, except to “role play it”. I was expecting to be able to use the engine itself for visual effects – like Klingon ships decloaking in front of the players, etc… but I was unable to do so due to game engine limitations. Frustration abounds.
So – a friend of mine set me up for Christmas with a 90 day World of Warcraft time card. I’d had to quit World of Warcraft just after Star Trek Online was released because I couldn’t afford to play two MMO’s. And just like the first time I quit, after I got it all installed again and started playing, I wondered why I’d quit in the first place. WoW is so far superior of a game – as far as gameplay goes – to STO. There’s so much to do, so many different quests for each starting race, so many side professions, crafting, skill sets, achievements, etc… it’s just so much fun to play.
Looking back, there were only a few moments playing STO where I felt the same way, and those were some of the missions that were modeled after old Original Series Star Trek episode content – such as the mission involving the Doomsday Machine and such. Despite STO being STAR TREK… it just isn’t as fun of a GAME as WoW is. I’m sure I’d have people who disagree – and that’s their personal preference to do so – but they cannot argue the lack of things to do besides missions, pvp, and dailies.
So – come the 90 day period, I don’t know what I’m going to do.