I have been a gamer for most of my life. Starting in the early days of consoles like the Intellivision and Colecovision, I have followed the advancement of games very closely to the modern era. Though I own the current generation of gaming consoles, I am a PC gamer at heart, with 3 steam accounts, one of which is now exceeding 800 games, most of which have been played and a good portion of which have been beaten.
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So, I've started playing a lot of Star Trek Online, again, only to realize one of the reasons why I stopped playing. In some regards, this MMO is fantastic and very well made, but there's one thing about this game that, while it should be cool as hell, just sucks. Personal actions, actions taken outside of your starship, are tedious, poorly thought out, and the idea of the developers to make the game hard was to put lots of overpowered enemies all over the place. Yes, I'm ranting, again.
Right now, I'm playing through the Romulan story arc with the Federation, explaining the detonation of the Hobus star and the destruction of the Romulan homeworld. I have no problem with this in concept, but the way that they've gone about explaining things is...laughably bad. You start out doing minor assistance stuff for the new Romulan Empire as they try to recover from the lost of Romulus. Your first bit of investigation sends you to the Hobus star system to gather data about the incident. When you arrive, you are immediately accosted by a Reman ship that explains that you have permission to do your investigation, but that he doesn't approve.
So you start your investigation, and the very first thing he does is decloak and start attacking. You kick his alien butt, and he threatens to get revenge, never explaining why he attacked when you had permission to be there in the first place. The next part of that mission sends you to the second plan to scan the core. A simple task but the next part gets a bit confusing. It then tells you to scan the shield on the surface of the planet, but doesn't make it very obvious that it's on the next planet unless you are paying attention to the minimap or the fact that the II has changed to a I. Anyway, you get to the next planet and do your scan and the Reman commander pops out of asshole-space again to accost you. You take him down this time and have to make your way down to the planet.
Bad writing aside, this wasn't really much of an issue. The fight wasn't particularly hard, even on advanced difficulty, and it goes relatively quickly (if you are aware of the need to change to the other planet to finish). The shitty part of this mission comes on the next part. Following a trail of clues, you make your way to another planet with a similar shield to the previous on it. This time, you are in a facility hunting down clues. The Romulans here are ridiculously strong and can just about insta-kill you and your crew with a sideways glance. Add to this the fact that you will be lucky if you can get all of your crew from one spot to the next for fights because they get stuck on the scenery constantly. I managed to make it to the boss without dying and now comes the stupid part of the whole personal action thingy with STO; injuries.
Granted, yes, you've just taken a disruptor bolt to the face and your eye may have melted in the process. Most MMOs punish you with reduced stats for a few minutes and then let you go on about your business. Not STO, you suffer injuries, lasting effects that are likely to happen every time you die. To fix it, you've got to go to a sickbay on a space station, which only works for the main character, or you have to carry these regenerators around with you, which only work on certain types of injuries, based on the degree of hurtiness. Run out of regenerators, and you are just going to suffer death after death as your stats continually get worse and worse with each respawn.
The boss for this one is a real pain in the ass, too; not only dealing a freakishly stupid amount of damage, she can pop an invulnerability barrier that you have to take down, and has a crap-ton of hp. On top of this, she's surrounded by high level mooks. The battle was less than pleasant and the difficulty really didn't do anything but leave me bitter about the experience. Sure, I was playing it on a higher difficulty, but that is just ridiculous. I was on the higher difficulty because I was already level 50 when I started a mission designed for players probably in their 20s. I didn't have much difficulty before the boss, but for the boss to ramp up that much, resulting in 8 deaths and 3 injuries I couldn't do anything about due to running out of regenerators for me and my crew, this is just bad design.
I suppose this would bring me to another rant about bad level design. It's become an increasingly common trend in the video game market to make things nigh-impossible for their 'hard' difficulties, rather than simply making things more challenging so that they are still capable of being fun. You shouldn't be required to have perfect reflexes to get through something required for the story....save that shit for side quests that aren't actually required to complete the game, rather than punishing people like me with nerve damage in their hands or other handicaps that they can't do anything about and aren't just the result of being lazy and lethargic.
Anyway...done ranting now....I got it out of my system.... I won't say I'm happy, but at least my brain won't keep going on about how stupid that sort of thing is.