More so than most other MMORPGs, a good chunk of STO’s playerbase plays the game because it’s Star Trek, and immersion in game’s theme and setting is vitally important to these players. Star Trek is a very fleshed out universe as defined by multiple TV shows, movies, novels and other media, and for the most part the game has done well in staying in-theme. But there are also a variety of factors that continually work to break this immersion, which no doubt frustrates players… but can also be unintentionally funny.
So what breaks immersion in STO? Well, I have some personal peeves. Here’s my Top
10 8 List of Breaking Immersion on STO.
8. Wrong Universe — Okay, let’s start with one that I am personally guilty of: Using and abusing the Tailor to create characters from other shows/books/movies/universes. I’ve posted about my Futurama Boffs; I’ve personally seen Captain America, the Thing, Supergirl, Flash, Starlord, Groot (I have one of those myself!), several Iron Men, Deadpools and Hulks. There was an exceptionally well-done Sheldon Cooper, a couple of Yodas and Doctor Who’s, Stormtroopers, many many Night Elves and at least one attempt at a Boba Fett.
Running into these wrong universe characters can be jarring for Trekkies, but it’s actually quite an artistic expression of creativity! At least I try to show restraint by only doing this with my Boffs, not my actual toons.
Klingon: “We meet again, Captain! Defend yourself!”
Captain: “That’s Captain America to you. Avengers, Assemble!”
7. Holy Genocide, Batman! — How many enemy ships have we each personally sunk? Not sure? Check out the accolades you’ve accumulated: there’s one for 200 ships destroyed for each species, and another for 1000 individuals for each species. There are 20 species for ship accolades, and 24 species for individuals. So let’s do a little simple math: assuming a conservative estimate average of 250 crew per vessel, this means at full accolades, we would’ve killed 200x20x250+1000×24 = 1,024,000 enemies! A million and change, man! And that’s not counting anything we kill after we get the accolades. And we wear the accolades around like badges of honor. That sort of behavior might be appropriate for the KDF (although that kind of body count should make Kahless the Unforgettable… Forgettable), but for our peacenik Feddies? Yikes.
Then think about how many player characters are out there, and each of them had killed over a million enemies each.
Starfleet tribunal: “We have tallied the total casualties. Your fleet of 400 Admirals have killed over 400 million people this year. Congratulations, you have managed to wipe out one civilization.”
PC: “Do I get an accolade?”
6. Party Balls — It never fails: go to any crowded hubs like ESD, DS9, Drozana station… someone is bound to pop a party ball and forces everyone present, PC and NPC alike, to break into dance. Sure sometimes it’s funny, but imagine the plight of the poor RP squad who’s trying to get into some serious Trekkie philosophical discussion.
Me? Oh I got my party nullifiers long ago. When a party ball pops, I’m often the only one NOT DANCING, standing there shaking my head in disapproval. It’s a workaround, but I also have to BUY nullifiers and use up an inventory slot for them. I don’t see why party balls are even a thing; why even let players have them? Just look at the recent exploit that allows people to make party balls permanent: one instance of ESD is filled with those damn things. When you give people the tools to troll, they will troll their asses off.
Yes, this is more than just the damned party balls. This includes things like balloon blowers, non-melting snowballs and the like. I still remember the clown who was blowing balloons on Vulcan when people were respectfully standing around Spock’s memorial.
PC: “Boogie, ambassadors! Boogie like it’s 1975, or Stardate -10254.25!”
5. Death is Just the Beginning — STO is an MMORPG, of course death won’t keep us down! The game can’t simply just tell the player “Sorry, your character is dead. Mission failed.” in an ongoing story arc. But what about the single standalone missions? The STFs for instance? Why do we continuously respawn like we’re made of Tribble parts? Didn’t that escort flying on my wing just suffer a warp core breach and explode like a turd blossom? How is it doing a strafing run 5 km away now?
PC: “Captain’s log: the Borg incursion has been repelled. The USS Exitprize was destroyed three times and will require minor repairs to sickbay.”
4. Enemy Ship! — Next time when you park yourself around ESD or in orbit around Q’onos, take a look around and notice how many weird alien ships there are.
I remember when I first started playing STO, seeing a bunch of Romulan ships around ESD or Q’onos was weird, but hey, that’s the current political situation on STO, so that’s palatable. There’s an occasional Dominion, Cardassian or Ferengi lockbox ship, but they’re so rare it’s more of a curiosity. More importantly, they’re recognizable. Nowadays, with the plethora of lockbox ships and event ships, ESD is barely recognizable as a Starfleet hub. The Delta Quadrant ships are particularly prolific, unfamiliar and mostly fugly. While I used to linger in orbit and admire beautiful Trek ships, now I mostly getthellouttathere as soon as I can.
Admiral Quinn: “A Krenim, Kobali and Vaadwaur ship all fly into Club 47, and I said, wait….”
3. What’s in a Name? — Hardly unique to STO, but trolls have a tendency to come up with silly names for their characters. But while it’s true that a fantasy game wizard may somehow acquire the nickname “Cooties”, it’s quite another to imagine Starfleet okaying ship names like “USS BigLargeMcHuge”, “USS Testicular Fortitude” or “USS ooooLOLoooo”.
Fortunately, you are free to roll your eyes and simply not look at these people and their ships.
Tactical Officer: “Sir, the USS Armpit Hair has lost all shields. Structural integrity compromised. They are requesting emergency assistance.”
Captain: “Target their warp core and fire.”
2. They’re Frigging Ginormous! — No! I don’t mean the bust size of female toons. I am talking about the ridiculously huge starship interiors.
Granted, there’s really very little to do on the interior maps, so it’s easy to overlook this problem (by NOT going there). But given it’s a staple of Star Trek for a lot of the action to take place inside a ship, especially the bridge, I bet more people will spend more time there if they’re built properly.
I think the T6 Pathfinder is first STO ship to come with an accurate rendition of the Voyager interior, and is in fact one of the main selling features of that boat. People evidently love it, too! So why can’t we have better interiors for all ships? Some of the default bridges are so massive they remind me of the Cancun resort we went to, the engineering rooms look like the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and all the corridors are comparable to the Euro Tunnel. Come on Cryptic, this needs to be fixed.
Comm Officer: “Captain, we’re being hailed.”
Captain: “What? I can’t hear you from all the way over there. You will have to yodel louder.”
1. Everyone’s a Super Star — We all know the Player Character is special, but somehow we all had a meteoric rise through the ranks from cadet to Admiral, all within the span of… a year??!!
Before Delta Rising, the highest level was 50, and corresponding ranks were Vice Admiral (Fed) and General (KDF). Now it’s level 60, ranks of Fleet Admiral (Fed) and Dahar Master (KDF). The game is literally overrun with Admirals, and it’s particularly glaring when you interact with canon characters from the shows (e.g. Nog, Paris, Kim) and they’re all just captains after decades of service. Even Tuvok, who’s implied to have had an illustrious career after returning from the Delta Quadrant, is just a Rear Admiral which means we all outrank him.
Until Cryptic retroactively fixes their ranking system, I’m going to assume we all somehow know the right people in Starfleet command. Or we all know how to grease the wheels with lotsa gold-pressed latinum.
Harry Kim: “Sir, I can’t understand how you just graduated last year and here you are, 20 levels higher than me after I’ve been in Starfleet for 37 years.”
PC: “Captain Kim, you suck. The ENTIRE class of Last Year are now Fleet Admirals.”