Ground Combat Update is on Tribble

The first Season 4 build is up on Tribble (see the patch notes here and here). There are a lot of improvements, but the biggest one is the new ground combat update.

My expectations for ground combat have gone through a complete cycle from apathy to excitement. At first, I didn’t really care that it was being revamped. I’ve preferred space combat since the very first time I played the game and always treated ground combat as just a delay before getting back to my ship. As I started to get an idea of what Cryptic was doing from listening to interviews, reading the forums, and seeing sneak peaks on Twitter, I started to get more and more excited. The duty roster is still the main feature I’m looking forward to in Season 4, but ground combat has become a close second.

So I’ve spent a couple of hours playing on Tribble tonight, and I have to say that ground combat is a lot of fun now. Switching from RPG mode to FPS mode is smooth and easy to do. Opening my crew screen automatically switches to RPG mode so I can use my mouse to switch equipment around, I can tell this is a beta feature though since opening the map doesn’t do the same. The FPS aiming takes a little bit to adjust to, and it’s a little weird that your beam doesn’t hit exactly where you point since really what the aiming is doing is selecting a target not actually pinpointing where you’re firing. But it is a vast improvement over the current system.

Combat is much much faster and more exciting. Changes to shield and health stats as well as weapons, mean that battles are over in one or two minutes instead of five or ten. There’s also much less of the goofy backpedaling to deal with melee enemies.

The guns are also much more interesting and varied. In taking my main to Vice Admiral 1, I only ever used two weapons: a stun pistol and a sniper rifle. The only variation was what beam type I used. The new weapons are really fun though and I forsee a lot of swapping between the different rilfes, pistols, and assault weapons.

The only downside is, I don’t think I’ll be able to tolerate ground combat on the live server anymore.

Besides the big combat update, there’s also a neat new animated loading screen as well as a really cool new interface for ship requisition (not the C-store).

I took a few Fraps videos while playing tonight, I should have some up tomorrow to share for anyone who doesn’t have an active sub right now or doesn’t like to mess with the test server.

5 Comments

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  2. YarrNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting. I’m like you, in my very limited play time so far I’ve been much more interested in the space combat than anything ground related, although I don’t mind the outside ground battles that much. Combat inside ships or bases is a bit yuck, especially if my bridge officers start jumping all over the place like crazed rabbits. The videos you posted above look pretty good.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I’ve seen some complaints on the forums about Boffs getting in the way, but I didn’t notice that myself while playing. Actually, there were a couple of times where I think my Boffs had finished off a group of Borg before I’d gotten much of a chance to do anything myself. That’s a huge change, as before they were support at most and a convenient way to get a resuscitation without having to respawn.

  3. YeeboNo Gravatar says:

    Great preview, that sounds like a lot of fun. The ground combat was definitely a weak point when I played STO, it sounds like they have improved it a ton.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I’m honestly very surprised by how improved it is, I really thought it would need more of a real cover system in order to be fun. Of course that’s all based on a couple of hours playing on the test server, so we’ll see, but the STO team is very good about taking in feedback and improving things.