I had the intention of taking a positive note about the game and that it did look like it was going to improve over time, that some (not all) of my fears had been addressed.
Of course that was all before this game started to treat the Head Start like another round of beta. First of all, we should set something straight. Many apologist will come forward and say something like “it’s going to be this way for the first month” or something along those lines, somehow justifying that extensive downtime should be expected during launch. Their rallying cry will be “even WoW had a horrible launch”. Thing is, WoW launched five years ago and in tech terms, that’s a lifetime. Point two here is that Cryptic is not a newcomer to the MMO field. This is their third launch and should be well aware of the pitfalls of game development. Again, understanding that there will be issues in the first month is one thing. Multiple server maintenance windows (one lasting five hours) within the first couple days before the official launch is another.
It pretty much reinforces my earlier assessment that the game simply isn’t ready. Not only that, Cryptic/Atari aren’t ready as well. Surely someone at some point during one of their meetings must have said “this is a 40+ year old franchise that will likely have a lot of interest in the Trek community. My God, they even have conventions that have thousands upon thousands of people attend with frightening regularity. Maybe we should plan to accommodate the influx of people that will storm the server.” Obviously, this conversation never happened and I’m guessing they will attempt to grow their way through the server troubles.
The problem is that we’ve become too accustomed to mediocrity and too patient with developers who put out a shoddy product. We now have Windows 7 because Vista was a disaster and Win 7 just feels like Vista SP2. In that same vein, it’s sad to see that MMO games have the type of attitude that they should be able to fix everything on the fly with paying customers as their willing guinea pigs. STO has so many problems, I’m not sure where to start. They still need to deal with missing Klingon content, graphical issues, main game content, player progression issues that will vex possible expansions (how much higher can you go than Admiral?) and many more that I’d address but do not want to get all wound up (again) over a game. But they are not working on those issues now, they are addressing login and database issues. I cannot believe that it bodes well for STO that these particular problems which should have been nailed down during the open beta (or marketing beta) still need to be fixed.
My advice hasn’t changed much, just that it has a broader audience now. Even fans, I think, will be disappointed about the state of the game so far. Wait to see how it shakes out and maybe it will improve. But, man…it’s got a long way to go.