Star Trek Online: Game Performance Analyzed And Benchmarked

Game Details

Speaking of outfitting and leveling up, there is no end to customization in this game. Every player is a captain of a starship, which means you can customize how your ship appears and upgrade its components or select a better ship. You can also customize your character's and your bridge officers' skills and equipment.

You can get this new equipment from looting and exploring or you can purchase it. To purchase equipment, there are a number of currencies in the game--energy credits, explorer badges, and Starfleet merits are the main ones, but there are other categories of items also used for trade. Of course, the Federation is supposed to be a utopian cashless society, so none of these are just plain credits. Go figure.

Another aspect of the game that is new to this writer is automatic grouping. There are missions where you'll beam down to a planet and find that a number of other human players are automatically on your team, sharing the same goals (Ed.: sounds like Blizzard's new dungeon tool). There are also missions where you'll warp into a space-combat situation and find the same thing. I have to say that this is a nifty way to prompt folks to meet up and play together. When the mission is over, the team is still together, and it's usually convenient to continue as a group unless you don't want to.

As far as player versus player (PvP) combat goes, with a limited amount of time to play, I never got the chance to dig deep enough into the game to experience it firsthand. I did notice a PvP ground-combat zone on the Andorian planet, and I understand there are space PvP zones where Klingon and Federation captains can duke it out. Speaking of Klingons, this is a PvP-centric faction. You can't even make a Klingon character until you've spent some time as a Federation player, and advancing that Klingon player relies almost entirely on PvP combat. Nifty!

What are the negative aspects of the game? First, the learning curve is somewhat awkward. I found it took me a while to get comfortable with all of the different aspects of the game so I could start having fun. Unlike other MMOs that only deal with one combat type, STO starts you off on the ground, quickly thrusts you into space to start learning all over again, and then drops you off at the local space station and says "good luck!" It's bewildering, and it saps the fun out of the first couple of hours until you've experienced enough to form a solid grasp of the basics. Even after days of play, you find yourself learning fundamental aspects of the game. The good news is that as things clear up, it becomes much more fun.

Secondly, I felt a definite disparity between space and ground missions. The space aspect of the game feels very polished and works well, while ground missions aren't quite as slick. Things have improved since the beta, but there have been times when I've wished that the away mission would end so I could get back to the helm of my interstellar hot-rod. Having said that, I admit that my preference is likely a subjective one, and these vastly different arenas can really break things up and keep the game fresh, unlike other MMOs.

Finally, aside from all of the new things that this game does, it still offers little more than an excuse to engage in combat. Fans of Star Trek's special brand of intellectually-challenging science fiction are going to be disappointed. STO offers the same kill, delivery, gather, and escort quests as every MMO that came before it, the only difference being that these are in the Star Trek universe. Admittedly, a few missions do not require combat of any kind, but more often than not, these are gather quests that offer little enjoyment or challenge. You can tell that the game's writers have made efforts to make these quests interesting in some cases, but on the whole they serve to break up the combat missions more than anything else.

Despite these complaints, the game is very engaging and entertaining. There really is so much more to this title that it's hard to deliver a meaningful overview in a page or two. But the focus of this article is the performance of the game on your PC. Suffice to say that I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued by this MMO, considering that I didn’t have very high hopes for the title before playing it. Let's move on to the performance.

  • Silmarunya
    jdh64Admit it TOMS......Geforce rules this games as well as others.......quit being ATI fanbois......Wait till the new series of cards comes out....then whatcha gunna do...cry!!!!
    Not really. This is just about the only benchmark where a Geforce card beats a comparable 5000-series one, so there's still a nice lead for the 5000 cards. With a driver update, this result can change in favor of the 5000, which would give them back every game tested here...

    And nobody should be very concerned about the GTX 300, at least not for the first year and a half. The initial mammoth chip will be expensive, hot, noisy and more powerful than useful for gaming. By the time it scaled down properly, ATI will have refreshed cards in the market for a while, probably offering better performance, lower power consumption and more features for a similar price tag.

  • gilbertfh
    This game looks interesting and could be a good diversion once in a while but I can't really see it replacing the games I am playing now. I have played other cryptic studios games and they really didn't engage me for long. If I buy it I will at least play it for the included month before purchasing a subscription.
  • toxxel
    If your interested in playing this game give it 6 months or so. Currently there is no content at max level, and it takes less than a week to hit max rank. Klingons only have pvp content but more is promised for both factions. Server instability and downtime have plagued launch mostly for the overwhelming player base and not being prepared.

    I for one would wonder how this and Champions Online run since ST:O runs on a modified CO engine.
  • footsoldier
    Sh*t game. Sh*t graphics. But, good article. Geforce do weirdly beats 5000s tho, maybe some driver updates will fix it.
  • JeanLuc
    How does such an ugly game mange to tax state of the art video cards?
  • notty22
    Star Trek and Nvidia ROCK, thats not news to people in the Know. I feel sorry for ati***s scared of Fermi.:)
  • jennyh
    I guess Nvidia leaned on Don after this months "Best gaming graphics card".

    Batman AA was the last one of these reviews I believe. Either way, twice in the past 4 months you've managed to review games that go quite wildly against the norm in terms of the gtx260's actual potency.
  • cypeq
    it is a shameless advertisment...
  • cypeq
    notty22I feel sorry for ati***s scared of Fermi.
    I feel sorry for nVidia now becouse roles on marked turned and now nVidia is on position where it needs to chatch up.
  • Onus
    Subscription-based? Pass.