When it comes to Star Trek Online, you can probably find more detailed and in-depth descriptions of the game, its environment, and its mechanics than you can find in this personal account. Yes, it's a 'current' game for me, but I tend to play it in a very casual style, a day or two here, then a week off as I write or develop software, then back again.

The Good things: The graphics, background music, and faithfulness to the Star Trek universe, theme, and mechanisms is superb. You'll start off with a simple ship and can upgrade as you progress through the game. Most of your time, off of the starbase, will involve controlling your ship in space, though your character will also frequently beam down to a planet for a ground mission with a select few of your crew.

Ground control and combat is intense, and will be affected by your class and any skills that you've gathered. Pay special attention to your abilities and make use of them frequently, especially if you can set up automated healing or attack turrets, as an engineer. Missions and quests are readily available; you'll often have a huge list of them and you can pick or choose which one you wish to be active.

The Not So Good things: Navigation of your ship takes a little getting used to and can be a bit confusing at first. Ground missions tend to become repetitive very quickly, and a few of them are downright silly time sinks (follow your tricorder to five points on the map and click something). In space battles, there will eventually be a HUGE assortment of icons representing different capabilities and it will take some 'training' (practice) to become accustomed to finding and using them efficiently. Of the two 'factions' currently available, the Federation seems to be more fleshed out and possess more capabilities: the Klingon faction is limited in quests, missions, and some advancement opportunities.

My biggest complaint to date about the game is regarding the ship interiors. It seems to me, as a software developer, that it would have been a rather minor task to allow space travel and combat sequences to be overlaid on the ship interior bridge 'viewscreen' display and allow your ship to be used in a mission. Such is not the case, however: Ship interiors are reserved completely for social and roleplay use. You can wander freely through numerous rooms of your ship, pass by computer controlled crew members, but it's all eye candy; none of this is available during a mission. In fact, access to your ship interior is currently limited to periods when you are docked at a space port: You cannot enter your ship interior while orbiting a planet during a mission.

My principle character in Star Trek Online is an extension of my Second Life character : Commander Andrew Gorham. Not that the name really means that much: Community, Social, and Roleplay activities in this online game seem to be incredibly rare, though I have stumbled across a couple seriously dedicated roleplay groups, especially centered around the new 'Starfleet Academy' area. Perhaps, over time, I can gather a small group of friends online and change this, a bit.

All in all, this online game is superb. Content is regularly updated, the virtual universe is incredibly beautiful; space combat can be downright nerve-wracking and intense at times, and the game is hugely populated with players. If futuristic fantasy is your thing, then Star Trek Online is certainly worth a bit of your time.