For almost six weeks, Star Trek: Fleet Command took over most of my free time. I had installed this mobile game after seeing a tweet and I thought: sure, that sounds fun, playing with ships, killing some enemies and generally enjoying all things Star Trek.

Last week Thursday I placed a 1-day shield on my homebase (forgive the game speak) and I took a step back to consider my options. As with all commercial games, the incentives to purchase packages is very tempting.1 After a few days playing around, I joined an alliance (FED / Star Fleet) which was very active and great fun to be around. You quickly learn to play the game, you also quickly notice that most players are men/boys and while they keep things fairly clean, the need for seeking out enemies, declaring war and basically playing a war game is overruling most of the common sense.

“Mining Ore”

“Finding Ore”

As the game progressed, I learned that we were on a new server (EU 126) so that players would all more or less increase their power and progress along the same timelines. Whenever you saw a very powerful player, you knew they must have purchased large packages (most go for 19.99EUR, some for 49.99EUR and the big ones are 99.99EUR each) to enable their ridiculous growth. In combination with chats via the mobile game, a discord server was also started because it became obvious that some basic rules had to be put in place.

This is where my first doubts in playing this game started. The seriousness of certain chats struck me as odd, because we were all playing a mobile game after all, but I noticed that I was the odd one out. All active players - mostly all from very active alliances - became very vocal in trying to lay down their own preferred set of rules. When that did not happen, most often the players would simply place a dissenting alliance on their ’enemies’ list which would - in their eyes - greenlight a continuous barrage of base and ship attacks.

As I took a step back, I found that my anxiety over this game slowly decreased. Why was I even playing this game that obviously was not a game to my fellow players?

Now, five days after I first stepped back, I messaged the admiral of my alliance to tell him of my decision. I will be back tomorrow to lower all shields, so that my alliance is able to attack and mine my base and ships. I wanted to do this tonight, but apparently my fellow alliance members are all too busy raiding another territory …

It’s good I stepped back.

The money is lost.

I learned something new about myself.

  1. Quick check in my order history? Over those five/six weeks, I spent an easy 225 euros. Better not think about that too much. ↩︎