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The Roleplayer's Redoubt

Is there a really place for roleplaying in MMOs? What do roleplayers bring to the table? How can developers foster stronger roleplaying communities? How do traditional concepts fit into the realities of contemporary online roleplaying?

Author: OddjobXL

Eve Is From Mars, STO Is From Venus

Posted by OddjobXL Thursday March 26 2009 at 9:40AM
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Put down the disruptors and the bat’leths my Klingon friends.  You know this to be true even in your warrior hearts. 

Eve Online is from Mars and STO is from Venus.

PvP is the bloody beating heart of Eve Online.  Eve is where the libertarians and survivalists and neoconservatives go.  Dog eat dog.  Capitalism is the only true system of economics and trade makes the universe go 'round.  The universe is a hostile place so one must be willing to preempt, to walk "the dark side", to be wary of intruders.  Shoot first.  Never apologise.  They'd do it to you if you didn't do it to them first.  If someone trusts you, you're doing them a favor by screwing them over as it teaches them a lesson they'll learn sooner or later anyhow.  Don't fly anything you can't afford to lose.  Pod pilots are the superior, immortal, race above humanity that will rule its destiny.  Theology is merely a tool for war.  Liberal cultures are corrupt and hypocritical and prone to disintigrate without an enemy to rally them.  Never trust CONCORD (Eve's equivalent of the United Nations).  They're up to something.

PvE will be at the core of STO.   STO will be where you'll find idealists, scientists, socialists and diplomats. The Federation welcomes new ideas.  It never shoots first.  We almost all will belong to it (Over 70%, in an informal poll, wish to be Federation and nearly 60% PvE Federation alone).  The most innovative systems in the game are procedurally generated missions and worlds for PvE, along with competative PvE in the Neutral Zone, and we're promised violence will not always be the answer to resolving situations.   The Federation thinks of capitalism as a quaint phase in human evolution and has solved the problems of inequality and hunger through replicator technology (if not, perhaps, on the colonial frontiers).   Crafting may well take the shape of tinkering on and improving one's own starship rather than grinding out mass quanities of goods for resale.   Every player will have NPC crewmen, the bridge crew/away team, to cultivate and nurture.   There may be multiplayer ships eventually, if not at launch, further stressing cooperation and mutual dependance.

Yes, Eve has some PvE content but it's as limited as I suspect STO's PvP (consentual PvP in the Neutral Zone and isolated FFE PvP areas in 'deep space') will be.  An option, a break, from the central flow of the game. 

STO also has avatars and ground combat where Eve's promise of Ambulation is likely as far off as STO's release if not further.

As a roleplayer I find both, to quote a pointy-eared fellow who's not an elf, "Fascinating." 

Eve's player driven dynamism is indisputable and the systems very much reward PvP play with depth of design, tactical options and strategic planning and considerations.  Roleplaying flows naturally from the gameplay whether or not players intend to be roleplaying.  The game is the setting, the setting is the game.  However, PvP is not always fun.  To play the 'real' game takes a huge amount of commitment and focus though casual gamers don't even have to log in to level what they play tends to be a small role on the fringes as hunter-gatherers or prey.

Star Trek Online's approach seems to be really about recreating the 'adventure and exploration' heart of Star Trek with a side helping of DS9 flavored strategic conflicts.  Big ships, big crews and going places no one has seen before (because they're being created on the fly).  The cooperative nature of The Federation and PvE style gameplay should create a much cozier, looser paced, atmosphere for roleplayers to do their thing especially as the avatars for characters and NPC crew alike will be highly customizable.  Invent your own race, if you like, and then play with variations on that template to create many individuals of that race if you like.  When ship interiors arrive, and at least the bridge and the captain's quarters have been all but confirmed, they too will be customizable (likely within limits) which gives us player housing of a sort. 

I think STO, delivering a strong sense of Star Trek (unlike SWG does with Star Wars) and strong PvE gameplay (unlike Eve Online) along with many roleplayer friendly tools like highly customizable housing and avatars (which SWG does and Eve may do) will steal away not only Trekkers but curious PvE gamers in general looking for non-scripted, less repetative, content that's not PvP only and plenty of roleplayers in general.

If it delivers, I'm ready for a little Venus myself.

xbellx777 writes:

well since your comparing eve and sto to real life im definitly a eve guy but since their only videogames im definitly going to try sto out : )

Thu Mar 26 2009 1:39PM Report
OddjobXL writes:

Me too. :D  Well, I'm already in Eve...

Thu Mar 26 2009 1:50PM Report
avalon1000 writes:

 Sounds interesting...

Thu Mar 26 2009 4:09PM Report
ivan50265 writes:

What about the PvP in ST:O I believe they will have PvP in the neutral zone.

Thu Mar 26 2009 9:36PM Report
Loxius writes:

PvP is really where I have found myself landing in the last few years.  I did not do too much in SWG, found it buggy (like most of SWG).  But in other gamers, I lept in, and had a ball and realized it completes me.

That said, I dont mind some PvE now and then, and I am willing to try to learn to love RP again.  But I'm afraid.  Hold me, Oddjob!

As for yesterday's blog, too much to talk about!  Topics...keep...changing!  If I might just opine briefly on yesterday's puppeteer discussion and Alda:  I think your friend was criticizing WoW's RP, not MMO's in general.  Heck, we had some terrific RP in SWG.  Hell, the game didnt HAVE much content back then, but it sure was a pretty chat engine! 

Again-for some, props are un-needed.  But for myself and many, the level of immersion in a MMO is deep based on sweeping backdrops, vistas, and props, much like a movie with authentic or well-designed sets.  I don't think anyone faults the power of the mind in table-top, but I defy any Star Wars fan to tell me the first time they started shooting a Womp rat outside Mos Espa at sunset and the music kicked in you didnt feel a sweet pang of immersion.  Something that may not trump table top or MUDs or what have you--but holy cow, is one of those gaming moments you'll remember forever--even if the rest of the game was less than stellar.

Thu Mar 26 2009 10:42PM Report
OddjobXL writes:

I am not holding you, Lox.

Thu Mar 26 2009 10:48PM Report
OddjobXL writes:

Ivan:  There will be consentual PvP in the Neutral Zone but that's optional.  Given the numbers I've seen so far most of the acton will probably be the consentual PvE going on there.

Fri Mar 27 2009 7:20AM Report
nyxium writes:

 LOL. EVE has PVE and it's routine grind. After the buzz of playing as a Federation or Klingon starship captain for five minutes, STO players will suddenly see just how alike the two games can be.

Fri Mar 27 2009 1:19PM Report
Taram writes:

TBH I will give STO a shot but I don't think it's going to hurt EVE.  As you said they are two VERY different styles of play... and once you get 'into' EVE it sort of gets into your blood and nothing that isn't equally dynamic and player controlled even comes close anymore.

Fri Mar 27 2009 3:48PM Report
OddjobXL writes:

Nothing yet, I'd agree.  We'll see how STO pulls it off.

I suspect you're right that STO won't hurt Eve too much.  The high level game of Eve is nothing like anything STO's offering.  However, one does wonder, with most Eve people hanging out in High Sec...what happens when they discover STO's PvE gameplay?


Fri Mar 27 2009 6:01PM Report
OddjobXL writes:

Hagonbok wrote in the wrong comments section:

Hagonbok writes:

I'm not really sure how someone could right so much about a game (STO) in a "comparison like this when they so obviously know so very little about it.

This person really has a skewed idea about what STO will be folks. Much of the information released to date about the game runs counter to the "spin" this person is trying to put on things.

Tue Apr 07 2009 12:04PM Report
OddjobXL writes:

Everything we know about Star Trek Online (a stickied thread in the STO Official Forums):

And my forum response to Hagonbok in a related discussion on the Official Forums:

Let's just look at the last few news blasts, shall we?

One deals exclusively with NPC crews and the writing for Episodic Content.

Then you have this from Epic Battle Axe:

EBA: The folks behind the upcoming Star Wars MMO tout an enormous story (and the ability to interact with it) as a major selling point for the game. What is the major selling point for STO?

CZ: I think that the selling point would line up with our core goal. We want to provide a Star Trek experience.

In addition to that are Cryptic's unprecedented commitment to customization, content that is story-driven and takes you to space, on planets and inside space stations and starships, exploring a galaxy, tactical starship combat ….

Maybe I’m too close to the project to give you only one reason why I want to play the game. : )

EBA: Obviously, the MMO space is a pretty competitive one...What do you think it is about a Star Trek-themed game that will attract new users and perhaps cause some cross over from other MMOs?

CZ: We have the Star Trek Universe, which means we have more than 40 years of amazing stories to use as a base for our content. I think that gives us an edge right there.

Star Trek is a cultural icon. Almost everyone is at least familiar with it. And honestly – who hasn't imagined what it would be like to be the captain of a starship at least once?

But STO is more than that. We have exploration, adventure, crafting, an economy … the list just goes on and on!

So take all of that and remember that Cryptic has a proven track record of making fun, successful games. I think that should give users enough of a reason to consider STO.

Where, what? Is there PvP in this game? Is there realm vs. realm? We better get that confirmed!

Then we have the interview at The Vault:

The only mention in the whole thing of PvP is one question and answer involving "Indirect PvP." That may be the Realm vs. Realm you're into but it's not really PvP is it? And it certainly doesn't seem to be anything like a preoccupation of the devs or the players here.

Then there's the Ten Ton Hammer interview here:

While there's discussion of general combat and how crew or ship builds factor in they could be talking about PvE Episodic or Duty Missions. There's no mention of Realm vs. Realm or PvP.

Now this stuff will be in the game and I'll be at least participating in the Indirect PvP, IPvP, or competitive PvE or whatever you want to call it. But I'm comforted to know this stuff isn't taking the design process over like it did in SWG. We all saw the results.

Tue Apr 07 2009 12:08PM Report writes:
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