I Think I'm Addicted to Star Trek Online

I Think I'm Addicted to Star Trek Online

What are the early signs of MMO addiction?

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I concur. Star Trek Online is beautiful.
Hang on. Need to get that Mirror Universe Advanced Escort out of drydock...

STO is a great game now and I myself put tons of time and effort into it.

I think what your looking at is pretty much the advantage of a properly supported and run endgame, as opposed to MMOS that are generally unable to provide much to do once you get through the basic character advancement process, and release new content very, very, slowly with rarely even so much as a reliable hint about anything new being on the way. STO has done a pretty good job since it's 11th hour FTP recovery of releasing new content at a reasonable pace and providing something for established players to keep working towards... which sounds simple, but is where a lot of MMOs wind up failing. Most MMOs seem to think they can launch without much thought into the endgame and worry about adding it in later, and that just generally does not work, even for FTP titles. One of the big concerns about the upcoming "next gen" MMORPGS like "Wildstar" and "Elder Scrolls Online" is that they want to bring back the subscription model, but have largely remained close lipped about how they plan to run an endgame and produce content fast enough in order to justify that model when even a lot of FTP games can't pull it off, and as more and more games like STO demonstrate how it's done, the bar is constantly rising, especially if you want to even consider membership fees.

As far as the central issue of MMO "addiction" for all the people who call themselves addicts there really isn't such a thing. In cases where there might seem to be an actual addiction at play it's more a matter of the person being unstable to begin with, rather than a true addiction. The thing about MMOs is that the term "game" which is attached to them doesn't really fit, MMOs tend to be more of a hobby, which is something that a lot of people don't realize when they get into them, or have trouble understanding when looking at them from the outside, especially when the term "Game" keeps being thrown around. It's more akin to making model boats or something than it is to playing a game, as in general it's something that is ongoing and keeps being built on as you play it, with the people involved generally staying involved due to their accomplishments and watching the game and it's community develop. Given that it's all digital and there is no physical, real world, product of the effort, it can be difficult to understand, but at the same time as the concept of digital property is becoming increasingly understood I suspect that will change. What's more I've honestly contemplated as to whether the lack of any kind of physical prescence of this hobby despite it's expense is really a diaadvantage having seen the clutter and mess caused by people pursueing hobbies like model building, shoe making,
and similar things in their spare time. Though I do admit gaming doesn't actually have any practical benefits other than entertainment, it's hardly the only hobby that this can be claimed of.

As far as how much effort and life adjustment goes into it, while it doesn't have the same amount of mainstream acceptance, compare playing an MMO or a PNP RPG to one of the more involved fantasy football leagues people get involved in. You can see people spending hundreds of hours and tons of money on things like long distance phone calls trying to work scores, make trades with other players who could be anywhere in the world depending on the size of league and it's scope, and other things, just for the bragging rights of where they placed in comparison to other pretend managers in predicting how things were going to turn out for the year. At the end of the day it's all about how much fun you had doing it, which is the point of most hobbies like this.

STO is a game that I'll always go back to, if only for short periods of time, to dust off all my alts and cruise around in my ships to check out whatever the newest content is. I love the space combat, and even the ground missions aren't nearly so clunky as I was lead to believe when I first gave it a shot.

My favorite system, other than the space combat, is probably the Duty Officer missions. If only they'd let you play that through a mobile app I'd probably play the MMO more.

I have a similar attitude towards WoT, always interested in what changes they'll be making to the tanks I own, the new maps and the new tanks they introduce as the game keeps evolving. The difference being, there are no stories and it is just PvP.

If there was a Skyrim MMO... Hmm, I might be lured in by that one considering how much the vanilla game hooked me.

Paul this is pretty much how I am with TOR these days. Played a character to level 50 when I first got the game, did the end game content for a little bit, then got tired of it for about 10 months or so. Now that I'm back in, I'm "hardcore" enough of a player to min/max the gear on my sniper the same way you described doing with your ships.

As for whether this is a 'problem' or not, I just go by what I've taken to heart from listening to you guys on the podcasts: as long as it doesn't interfere or overlap with your social and work life outside the game, go ahead and do what you do and don't worry about what anybody else thinks.

I love the game, I just wish the KDF got a Tactical friendly 5 fore slot Raider. The new Mogh is basically for Engineers who would prefer higher DPS, and less survivability.

But I am happy in my Scimitar.

I played STO for a month or so last year and I had a blast. A friend of mine who'd been into it since release convinced me to go play it and helped me to race through the content. But at the end of that month I had basically seen everything there was to be seen and gotten all I wanted out of it. The spaceship combat continued to be a lot of fun, but I never saw any reason to optimize anything.

I might get back to it some day, and pull the Ashelia Dalmasca out of drydock for another raid into Borg Space.

When it comes to MMOs, I still have limited experience - The Secret World and The Old Republic being the only other two major MMOs that I've sunk time into since quitting my trips around the universe.

Yikes. No offense, but I don't think those two are a very good metric by which to judge the alleged "awesomeness" of STO.

I played STO for a couple months after it went F2P. The game had been out for two years at that time and storyline missions were still broken. As in, could not start the mission because the game didn't recognize mouse clicks. Support was no help and when I asked the in-game community for assistance, I was told there was no work-around.

Ground combat was still ungainly. Honestly, melee combat in GTA is easier to control than the phaser combat in STO.

And when I was playing, they'd just released the pay-a-buck-to-open random Cardassian boxes. Which was fine, they were F2P and they needed to make money. But they threw the boxes at you, filling your inventory, and spammed Zen/key sales in every menu you opened.

But I guess that's to be expected when you let Ferengi run the universe.

agree that the game is much improved of late & i still get on once and awhile for new content and promos lot's of fun.


I'm starting to care how much DPS my battle cruiser can put out, what type of shields work best and whether the consoles I have in my engineering slots are the most efficient at resisting damage.

Umm, that's called not being a filthy scrub.

While some of what you say might indicate you're getting a bit fixated, what I've copy pasted above is literally the minimum a player should be doing just to avoid being so awful that passing players spontaneously burst into tears without knowing why.

Otherwise, good article. Makes me consider retrieving the details for my own lifetime sub.

Is this what MMO addiction is like?

Also, no. When you sacrifice the highest amount of sleeping time possible, bolting upright after two or three hours on an alarm you've set specifically to squeeze in more game time- all the while actively acknowledging that within five minutes of sitting down to it you're both unhappy and bored, then you're addicted.

I had such a problem with the original Guild Wars for about two years, 2006-2008.

I would think so. I had the same symptoms when i first got into MMO with my very first, Everquest. Did nothing but think about what i combination of stats i need to be the most efficient beast master i can be at what budget. Even stayed up 32 hours for a queue of players farming an event boss just to get a sash.

So yeah i'd say you show signs of game addiction when you start scheduling your life around a games event timer.

Doesn't seem too bad tho.

FYI also have the Life time sub to STO... need to try that game again and see whats new.

STO is a game that I'll always go back to, if only for short periods of time, to dust off all my alts and cruise around in my ships to check out whatever the newest content is. I love the space combat, and even the ground missions aren't nearly so clunky as I was lead to believe when I first gave it a shot.

My favorite system, other than the space combat, is probably the Duty Officer missions. If only they'd let you play that through a mobile app I'd probably play the MMO more.

I agree and I hope cryptic does that, They allow you to manage your Neverwinter profession assets in a web-interface. So it would be nice if they allowed even if somewhat limited interface for the Duty Officer System (DOff).

Got to admit it that STO is quite fun in small doses, even though as an EVE player its heavy PVE focus and risk free PVP that feels like you are investing or losing nothing should put me off. PWE have added a lot of annoying stuff but they have allowed Cryptic to really begin turning the game around, some Trekkies will never accept it though. If the fruitbowl on a desk hasn't got the exact same number and type of fruit in they will scream "it betrays the materiel!" anyway, it does enough to feel like the Star Trek world and frankly some of the missions are well written and have great stories that match the best Star Trek episodes and beat most of the average and crappier ones.

Totally agree its a damned fine game. Same as Neverwinter, I may play wow semi seriously but I'm always gonig back to sto for seasonal events and the odd month bindge of solo levelingh my inactive fleet :)

Never got into MMOs but that's probably because I don't have any friends.

Hang on...

I meant PC computer game playing friends...

Yes, it was definitely that! :)

I'd always been a ltitle wary of MMOs,

Heads up on the typo.

Very interesting article though. I'd heard mixed things about STO, and since it's free to play now, maybe I'll give it a crack at some point.

I played it a bit before the Romulan expansion came out...stopped, came back after the expansion, made a romulan, leveled a bunch...I think that character is at or near level cap, got bored and haven't touched it in since the Summer.

Its okay, it looks nice, but the novelty of flying a ship around wears off eventually.

I got to the point where I was basically grinding dailys for a few set reward items and that usually ends my time with MMOs pretty quickly.

What i felt the game needed was more group missions and more focus in those missions for each of the class roles. You basically NEVER need to "heal", and trying to do so is usually pointless, especially with the large cool downs on stuff that actually does heal, if you die, you just respawn right there and can get back into the fight in about 10-15 seconds, making the concept of healing even more meaningless. So what you end up having is just a random group of people attacking some enemy ships until they all blow up and you get your reward. Its not very engaging and its not very fun in the long run (bursts of fun can be had for sure, but over time? yawn).

I'd much rather have more defined and important user rolls in combat. Why aren't there missions for the "Engineer" class to use their abilities on a target, awhile another "tanks" and a science class supports? If those exist, I never noticed....which is a problem. Instead of the "everyone for themselves" that all the missions appear to be.

I suppose there are Fleet dungeons where you DO actually have to use your brain? I dunno, I never saw any and I didn't have enough interest to progress into "end-game" to see them.

To put it in perspective, FF14:ARR had a boss fight in a level 15 dungeon that was VASTLY more involved and interesting then ANY fight I saw in STO.

i've played STO since launch...when it was rushed out under atari just so they could get the licence to sell on...and i have to admit they seem to have pulled of something of a minor miracle of a comeback given the mess both the game and the company have been though.

the game has just enough decent "skinner box" drip-drip-drip systems that mesh well together now that you can constantly have a variety of things available to do...which ofc is one of the big "where did they last 6 hours go ?..." things...

we shall see i guess...although it still has serious "bugs" & "content" issues...

rep grinds (and some target builds based on bits of their rewards) have me playing more than in the past atm but at the end of the day im F2P and only intend to play when there's new content...

oh ye and you're addicted...any time you start using post-it notes is bad...and if you get as far as spread sheets...oh dear :s (jk)

nah seriously one thing i really don't like is creeping "elitism" as F2Pers have come in drenched in the environments from other games.

no one ran "DPS meters" pre F2P because to be frank you either did it and the boss died or you didn't.

this wasn't C'Thun or "pre nerf M'uru".

it still isn't.

no where even close.

i used to two man Infected space with my brother just for loots (hull tanking cubes no less).

what you run is largely irrelevant in PvE.

a decent player can probably do "elites" in quest "blues" and "purples"....even without rep gear...

a player who has no intention of doing "elites" basically "doesn't have to do a darn thing" and cryptic is NEVER going to create content aimed at "the few" in the way WoW does. they simply can't afford it for one thing.

they also pander far to much towards subscribers and lifetimes...they need more stuff for the "casual scum" because like it or not the game almost died as subscriber based (even with die hard Trekkies in the mix) and went F2P for a reason...and that reason is not "in an effort to get more subs"...that's the old business model...

fleet gear and ship "power creep" is a seriously underlying issue that will slowly become a far greater problem if it's not tackled somehow.

just consider this one fact: they arguably have problems bringing in a ship for money (or casual grind) that's are better than a fleet ship now (because people in fleets would cry like hell) and not everyone can be in a fully ground up fleet...which means those that have those fleet ships will increasing say "everything's too easy"...while everyone else is stuck behind on lower rungs of the ladder...

tbth the focus on "grind a 'guild' for in gameplay affecting 'power'" is actually rather weird...i've played a lot of MMOs and there's usually a certain ethic/morality when it comes to the systemically rewarded (note not inherent) advantages of being in a 'guild'...which in some respects cryptic has completely thrown out the window with its huge fleet gear and ship advantages...and it makes me uneasy...


If you only play on normal difficulty thats basically how it plays out, however higher difficulties (and doing elite fleet actions) generally increase the difficulty enough that simply chargin in and dyin over and over doesn't help. Higher difficulties also make you need to repair your ship after each death and each death makes you/your ship progressively weaker until you can't finish a mission.

Its still not like havin a dedicated healer obviously. Every class of ship continuously attacks regardless if they're set up to tank/heal/dps, but there is most definitely a reason to play and set up your ships as tank/heals. The only problem I have is that random matchmaker rewards seem to only be based off damage so you're not actually rewarded for playin those roles.

On topic!

STO is probably my favorite F2P MMO (and Champions right behind it!). Yes there are F2P MMO's that I've probably had more fun with in the short term. Yes there are more polished ones. Yes the ground mechanics are still clunky as shit in STO, yet I can't help but applaud the way the economy is set up. You literally can buy absolutely everythin with in game money. Literally everythin. Game services (though they are oddly overpriced), appearance outfits, ships. If you can buy it with money, you can grind your way to it. It somewhat takes a while (my Armitage took somethin like a month to afford had I not threw 10 bucks at them to speed it up a bit), but considerin how piss easy it is to get dilithium and you have, technically, no limit to how much dilithium you can earn in a day. The only actual limit is how much you can refine in a day.

Its a system that made me actually want to spend money on them despite not actually having to pay for stuff simply because I adored the business model.

my Armitage took somethin like a month to afford had I not threw 10 bucks at them to speed it up a bit

that right there is the secret to F2P mmos pretty much :P

Its a system that made me actually want to spend money on them despite not actually having to pay for stuff simply because I adored the business model.

it's a loss leading model


it seems sometimes a lot of western business executive types seem to have a...restraint...problem with it...they don't seem to understand its actually about getting vast numbers of people feeling much like you say you did and then making a killing long term from those thousands and thousands of collective tiny indulgences that follow...either that or they don't have the patience....instead some go for "...wait...wait...they're in! SCREW EM FOR AS MUCH CASH AS POSSIBLE!!!".

i play F2P now...or at least that's what i tell myself...however also just paid 2 months sub for some gold to speed up buying a Regent, and to roll a new captain (with a couple respec tokens in the bag) and fill out the bags/banks of 2 pre exiting captains to full size...and i know i really don't want to look in my accumulated STO email receipts folder and start tallying up all the other stuff that's in there...

Hmm, a contemporary essayist column; always interesting to read. Yes, i suppose that is what addiction is like. I also don't have a lot of experience with MMO's, but I do know that the developers can never add more content than that you can pay through, so I suppose that going back from time to time to check out all the new stuff can't do too much harm. Otherwise, if you do feel the addiction is causing you harm, the only remedy is the same as for all other addictions: abstinence.

As someone who has played MMOs for many, many years now, I'm of the opinion that once you start feeling like you HAVE to do something (IE: grind away in-game, do dailies, et al) versus doing something because you WANT to, that is what makes you an addict.

If the idea of not playing for a day for ____ reason makes you anxious/mad/cranky, you have a problem and it's time to step back a little.

Just my 2c

Well, I would say it is kind of an addiction. Of course, it is a question that is just to put out there in the air cause, in fact, I can find really reasonable reasons to play videogames. At least they sound reasonable in my head.

And yes, I try to play STO daily... in between other games, cause hey, it's not like i have to learn on university...
What do you mean I should? I have to?!
oh, do I? Well, crap.

So, overall, videogames are addiction, music is addiction ( though if done properly you can listen do music and do other things, like study or play games ), everything that is in your daily pattern is an addiction. Beer on friday evening is an addiction ( if you do it each and every friday ), coffee in the morning is an addiction.
One might say that our lives are full of addictions, as we crave to establish something stable, a pattern, a routine to make us feel in control, to make us feel calm as it whispers "everything is in it's place" to our brains every day.

Or maybe I am just making excuses for the facts that I am a poor student, a drunkard, a coffee addict and a maniacal gamer.

its a decent time waster game but frankly after you do the story missions you really have nothing to do apart from grind gear for the sake of it. its way too combat heavy though. i think my captain has killed more people than everyone who's died in every star trek franchise

its a decent time waster game but frankly after you do the story missions you really have nothing to do apart from grind gear for the sake of it. its way too combat heavy though. i think my captain has killed more people than everyone who's died in every star trek franchise

Yeah, it's more like "set in Star Trek universe... sort of" but not so much "star treky" in the gameplay and massive slaughter aspect.
I mean now we have gigant dinos with lazers. Some laugh that season 8 is a ripoff of Jurasic Park, Star Wars and Mass Effect simultaneously. There is some truth to it, but I wouldn't call it a ripoff.
I would like to see more of the "talky and techy" content there, but I have to say I cannot complain on the massive slaughter aspect.
But I suppose it's just me liking to shoot borg.


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