I was among the many beta testers for Star Trek Online back in 2010, but I soon lost interest in the game. I recently revived my interest, though.

This time, I downloaded the simple bootstrapper, http://files.startrekonline.com/launcher/Star%20Trek%20Online.exe, saved the file to an empty directory, launched the bootstrapper, logged in using my original STO account, and let the bootstrapper complete the download of the game.

The current version of the game, as of 2014-10-14, amounts to a download of ~13 GiB, according to the bootstrapper, although the files on disk occupy roughly 16.6 GiB. I gather some compression and decompression was applied during the download.

(Note that these numbers were valid before the Delta Rising/Delta Pack upgrade. Now it seems the disk usage has been reduced to 11.7 GiB. My STO launcher says ST.45.20140928a.11 and CL_2014_09_02_18_22 at the bottom left corner.)

Once downloaded, I was able to play the game, and this time I really enjoyed my stay in the STO universe. A lot has changed for the better in the past four years. The many release notes document all noticeable changes.

I noticed whenever I exit the game, the neverending cycle of patching begins. This was one of reasons I abandoned the game in 2010, or any MMO game for that matter.

Now it seems that the bootstrapper wants to patch ~3 GiB, but it stops after reaching 20-30 MiB, and then the bootstrapper/launcher disappears completely from the screen. The next time I launch the bootstrapper, it has to undo the damage done by the incomplete ~3 GiB patch, by downloading another ~3 MiB of patches, before I can play the game again. This is a sign of bad programming, or corrupted files, be it on the STO server or on my own computers.

I have verified the same bisarre patching behaviour on a computer at work, where I repeated the exact steps as outlined above.

I even tried STO using Steam, but Steam and the bootstrapper have different opinions on the validity of the downloaded files, and the user friendly backup/restore option in Steam doesn’t fully apply to STO, as Steam will only backup 196 MiB of the game.

I truly wish a mode or an option in STO and the other MMO games, where I can tell the game: “I don’t want any patches, I’ll happily play with the existing bugs, and I’ll only patch when the bugs start to annoy me”. I know MMO games are supposed to be multiuser, and as such the games wouldn’t work properly if everyone runs with different versions. Maybe a compromise could be an offline mode, but that will not happen either.

The major Delta Rising/Delta Pack upgrade takes place in the next few hours, and hopefully, STO will mature even further. Happy trekking.

Update 2014-10-15

Early this morning I saw no signs of any “patch hell”.