I installed and have been playing a bit of Star Trek Online. Here's a few thoughts for you guys. I am just going to touch on things briefly, because I am not ready to hammer this game just yet.
It's not what you think! I was somewhat disapointed with how the game laid out. It is very similar in my mind to a watered down shooter coupled with a space game from the 80's.
Not to say it's not playable, but the curent state has me wondering how the hell these guys got this thing out the door. Its very limited right now, and some of the things I think should have already been implemented are not there.
For example, one thing that bothers me is that absolutely everyone talks to you on the communicator screen. Normally, wouldn't bother me, but in Star Trek, when the bad guys talk to you, they are on the "big screen" in some menacing fashon that makes you either get scared or want to kick some ass. I think they need to spend a little more time on the dramatic effects of encountering an enemy.
The second is that you don't really get to walk around the ship. You can go to the bridge and look around, but there is no real interaction with the crew or anything. It's just like having a room to waste time in for a bit if you want. It is very important to have the crew and other people interacting inside the ship. Especially on the federation side of the fence. You should be able to do things on the ship and interact with other people or crew there.
I am only a Grade 7 lieutenant and I am sure I haven't seen too much of the big picture, but the game is sort of laid out in a fashion that they introduce you to the game, give you several ground and space quests, and then thrust you into PvP. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of higher level questing other then several dailies that are somewhat boring because it takes a long time.
The battleground system is very similar to WoW, but there are some problems with the que system. Often we find ourselves in a battle we can not win or the other team just leaves and you sit there waiting for more people to show up that never do. They also need to offer us a random battleground and reward us for doing things we don't want rather then making us wait in the que forever.
Once you get to a specific part of space exploration, then you can play the Klingon side. Now this is the side I had the most problems with. One thing that I was okay with is that you basically have to fight a couple of people real fast and boom, you are a class 5 lieutenant on the Klingon side. The part I didn't like is you are basically thrust into PvP at that point and there is no real questing going on like there was for the Federation.
Some of my major bitches with the Klingon side is that the cursor represents the "Federation" insignia or logo. It looks like the "A" on Federation uniforms. When playing the Klingon side, the cursor should be that factions insignia. I know it has a name, but I can't remember it at the moment.
The next thing is the voice-overs for discovering new sectors and congratulating you should not be Nimoy on the Klingon side. When we are Klingon, we do not want to hear from some Vulcan about our progress. Get that crazy Klingon lady team from the Next Generation and put their voices on there.
Most MMO's give you the same progression for both sides. Different quests, but same basic principal. STO just skipped all that and send you right where they want you to be, and that's in the PvP arenas.
Not that I am against that, but there should be a whole lot more options for either side. They say it is possible to get to Admiral strictly doing PvP, and I am sure that this was their only real path they wanted you to take in the first place. There is no other path except for gathering, and we know there isn't a huge number of people out there willing to fly around on grids just to collect stuff right?
The combat is not all that compelling, especially in space. The graphics are nice, and the cloaking on the Klingon side is just too cool, but the battles are just a gank fest. It is almost impossible to kill someone one-on-one. So, everything is a zerg. The ground combat is mostly the same, but they want you to get behind your opponent to deal flanking damage. It just makes me think of a room full of Rogues from WoW engaging you in PvP.
My suggestion is that if you haven't purchased this game yet, then don't. It's not ready. Wait for a year or two like I did with WoW, then I think they will have what Star Trek Online needs to be a successful IP.