Star Trek: Alien Domain Preview
GameSamba’s browser-based MMO Star Trek: Alien Domain sets players in the role of a Federation or Klingon Captain trapped in fluidic space by Species 8472 (as seen in the Star Trek: Voyager series), where they must build a base to support and develop an exploration fleet.
The story begins quickly, with your ship being drawn through an anomaly into fluidic space.. where you discover that many others have also been pulled through and are now trapped here. You are guided through setting up a base to produce and store the resources that you will need, as well as a communication centre, ship yard and a research lab.
Initially I was intrigued by the base-building and colonisation.. but on being given my base, I found a distinct lack of freedom, i.e., click here to build the structure that is permitted in this location. Click there for another structure.. so long as you’ve played through enough of the story and have a high enough level to build it. I also discovered the build timer and the fact that you can have no more than one item in the build queue, without shelling out money for VIP.
Even after levelling a little, I didn’t get the feeling that any of this was opening up.. not without a lot more levelling, anyway. I upgraded my Terraforming three times, but was still unable to occupy any Planetoids, so quickly gave up on any ideas of expanding and claiming an area for myself.
Levelling pretty much happens as you click through the story, visiting the systems you’re told to and “exploring” them. I feel that something got lost here.. rather than exploring, I was constantly finding myself in combat. Wasn’t Star Trek supposed to be about exploring? I didn’t feel that anything I did made a difference either. Click this, click that. Go back to the Base and upgrade whatever it will allow me to upgrade.. basically just clicking anything I could click without any thrill of discovery or even any feeling of enjoyment about it.
It’s very easy to play, but for me this just wasn’t satisfying. Even with all the other options in the game.. improving and adding to your fleet, recruiting and upgrading Officers with their special abilities, PvP and special events, Elite stages.. I just wasn’t feeling gripped by the story, my lack of freedom, but mainly the combat.
So as I arrived at each new system, hitting “Explore” resulted in “Engage” and a face off against whichever type of enemy was local.
Combat seems to include very little strategy. Up until now, combat has lasted a few seconds, with the ships automatically firing off on each other until all the ships on one side are defeated. I have unlocked a few skills, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference as the fight is over so quickly anyway.
At later levels, I’m told that the choice of player-controlled abilities makes a bigger difference, especially against elite enemies, where you might have to use special abilities from items you’ve found, to shield your first line of ships or target the enemy in a different way. However, I hated combat, and this was a major factor in me just not wanting to play any more.
For hardcore Star Trek fans, or those who enjoy this type of game, maybe it’s worth a look. Star Trek: Alien Domain is, after all, free to play, and doesn’t obviously push you towards the payment options, so it’s easy to take a look and make up your own mind.
Tags: browser, build, click, combat, Engage, events, exploration, Federation, fluidic space, free to play, GameSamba, Klingons, MMO, PvP, research, Skills, space, Species 8472, Star Trek, Star Trek: Alien Domain, upgrade