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All Posts by yevoc42

All Posts by yevoc42

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34 posts found

The training ship which new players start in is unmanned as far as my latest excursions showed.  I will certainly update this if some brave souls start crewing the training ship again, but as it stands, one should expect to be alone (and possibly trapped) on the training ship for days.

 

This is a serious blow, as crewing the training ship with experienced players is very important.  Unfortunately, it's also a very draining job, as there is a lot of ground to cover with a new player before they generally have a clue.  (A truly trained cadet can take 5-20 real-life hours, and a well rounded Ensign can take 30-50 hours of player-to-player training. )

The game isn't dead, but it will certainly feel much emptier now to newcomers.

I'm sure the Chinese studio buying them out had something to do with the microtransaction bent, as Asian games rarely adopt the subscription model anymore.

Making a PvP game fully cash shop based and still retaining the balance between the rich and poor is challenging to say the least, but it is doable. 

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.  If nothing else, they'll probably make a subscription based cash "item" that will even the balance.

The previous player position continuously required the majority vote from the main faction players, and the original player president would have lost the next election if the admins hadn't made the deal to make that person a permanent president.  Why I'm being accused of embracing "dictactor-like" positions makes no sense when the whole reason for my making the post was to bring light to the current dictatorial setup while lamenting the past democratic setup that wasn't given much of a chance.
Originally posted by Morrok

But fact is too that players simply don't seem to WANT to work together, which is why we see posts like the OP made by people who liked (even embraced) the dictator-like positions and are now crying because they cannot reach that "goal" anymore.

A brief aside about the griefing talk earlier...

I'd like to point out that when we attacked the military ship as pirates, they did so badly in the fight that we took pity on them, revived quite a lot of their dead crew, repaired most of their ship for them, and I even created a new character, leveled it to perfect gunnery skills, and left it on their ship for them to use as crew, as their gunner had died in the fight. I know I wasn't being accused directly of griefing in this thread, but it would pain me to be put in that category in our attempt to make some interesting battles in an otherwise boring universe, where the military crew was talking of quitting the game out of boredom.  (They ended up quitting later anyway)

After all that, we were still almost banned, and the military ship was completely restored by the admins a few hours later, even though the cost of them fixing the battle damage themselves was very little and would've given them something new to do.

No.  You are your ship.

Players you will actually see in the first day:  0  to 1

Players online in the game's main faction:  0 to 5

Total players online at any point during a day: 5 to 20

 

These numbers are based on my varied experiences over different times and days in July 2010.  I was a new player trainer in this game for over 4 months.   Space is huge, and spreading so few people over hundreds of light years can make it a very lonely place.  Unfortunately, everyone wants to be their own captain, so don't expect to see a large player crew on any single ship.  (Most crews are now made of computer players which respond to commands if you out-rank them)

 

Global chat was patched into the game a few months ago.  (Yes, it took them years to put a chat window into the game)  Left click the grey arrows on the middle left of the screen, type a message out, and press SHIFT+ENTER to send your message to global chat instead of your character's local surroundings.  The game will feel a little less like a single player game if you do this sooner rather than later, as most of the old playerbase will pounce on any new player and welcome them with open arms.

I would like to call this thread vindicated before laying it to rest.

Some players found out about the permanent Presidency today, and there was quite a public outcry when people finally realized from the admins' attempted censorship that there actually is no democracy and that a player election was long overdue.  The admins acted quickly and within hours made a different admin character President, saying she'd won the "election" when no election was actually held.  Players who've been playing only a few months are feeling betrayed and cheated because they're finally realizing what should have been told to them plainly and honestly from the start....

 

The admins make the history.  You are along for the ride.  That is Starquest's true game description.

You're right that many people feel that losing a fight = grief in this game, and that's a grey area the admins aren't willing to compromise on, due to their fear of losing the small but loyal playerbase they have.  (Aside from military players, the death penalty is the harshest imaginable, losing your ship and everything on it)

The issue I have is that the game is still advertised as being free-spirited, and the permanent change in the game was/has never been made explicit.  New / prospective players are fooled into thinking the main faction is still a player-run, democratic one because any mention otherwise is heavily censored.  If they were open about the game's changes instead of deleting posts about how players can no longer aspire to become leaders, it would've saved a lot of frustration of many players who thought they could make a difference in what was being done poorly.

For example, very recently our highest-ranking military player (who'd worked well over a year for his position) was stymied several times by the self-imposed military and political leaders in his attempt to make events happen.  He had to resort to extreme measures to give the players anything to do that the admins wouldn't slap him for doing.  He eventually quit the game partially because of how impossible it was for him to do anything without permission or reprisal, and I assure you several of our previous brass have quit, telling me they never would have played so much or worked so hard if they had known about this impending frustration up front.

Granted, openly stating that you don't trust your playerbase and will always rule with an iron fist isn't exactly good PR either, but advertising the exact opposite of what you practice doesn't settle well with me.  If I'd known about this situation before I got started, it would've saved me countless months of effort against what was by definition an immovable object.

EDIT:  This thread is probably obsolete now.  The devs and admins have probably disappeared and no longer care, leaving the players FREE to play and shape history!  Considering my bitter past, I consider this an opportunity instead of a bad thing.  You only need good players and patience to generate content in this game.  The publisher doesn't meddle with in-game affairs and has even lifted bans on old players, so as long as enough of us pay the monthly fee, the game can continue however we see fit.

 

From the game description:    you and players like you will shape this world and its history into whatever you make of it. The designers of StarQuest Online have created the starting point, it is up to you to bring the world to life.

(Read the last 2 sentences to get the gist of this post)

Unfortunately, the above game description isn't quite the truth, as countless players have attempted to make a dent in this game's history in their own unique way, only to have the administrators completely wipe their efforts from the game either because it made other players unhappy or because it didn't mesh with the admins' own arbitrary view of how the game's story should unfold.

I'll give two potent examples of this:

#1       The most common occurrence is pirating.  In terms of gameplay mechanics, you are completely free to pirate other players.  In reality, the administrators restore assaulted ships and usually ban the pirates from the game.  A friend and I spent a great deal planning a pirate assault of a manned military vessel, and when we actually pulled it off, our efforts were completely reversed by the admins, and we came within inches of being banned even though we had played our parts perfectly without any foul play.  (Also keep in mind that military players get everything for free, so it was a very slight "death penalty" even if the admins hadn't restored them)   According to my friend, his group of pirates had all been banned over time by simply playing the game as a pirate, which I now completely believe.

#2      The Government.  Originally, players made up the entire political body of the Alliance and filled all of the positions in its military, allowing players to shape the game as the above description depicts.  In 2009, the admins became the permanent President of the Alliance with elections for that position permanently suspended.  Not so long ago, the admins took over the highest ranking military position as well instead of assigning it to another player.   The reason I decided to write this post revealing the ugly truth is that these actions are in direct violation of the Constitution of the "democratic" Alliance most players live in.  When I attempted to bring the current dictatorial form of government into the game's wiki documents, the admin president (who does virtually northing in the game itself) was very quick to remove them all.

I have other examples, such as taking a war to the home system of the enemy which is heavily frowned upon.  (See the "I was suspended" post.  A very similar thing happened to me when I attempted to end the war with the Klinshayans with a final battle.  Despite the amazing victory, it was reversed, and the war was ordered to never end, by the order of our permanent president)


In short, you are free to do what you please in this game as long as it doesn't run contrary to what the game admins want, and they have very, very specific desires for what the game will and will not do.  If you are a mover and a shaker at heart, this game will most likely frustrate you when you find out you are NOT free to shape this sandbox as you please.

Seriously:  Take a chill pill.

This kind of monetization strategy has been around in many other F2P games for around a year now.  Everyone I ever talked to in those games who took free marketing surveys for game cash were all well aware of the risks involved.  HOWEVER, it allowed them to enjoy the game more without owning a credit card.

Because this kind of practice is completely transparent, I don't consider it as shady as you're making it sound.  If I go to a website to get a free web coupon, I know what kind of waters I'm treading in.  This is no different, and complaining will only result in the feature's removal.

Originally posted by Jon Wood.

Still, the tutorial does what it needs to do.

If you don't want to read my novel, just read the bold phrases to get the point.

 

 

    Your review was great, except for the line above.  Sheri Graner Ray, a game developer here in Austin, has been devoting a lot of her public face time to convincing the gaming industry that  yes, tutorials do in fact matter.  As a hardcore gamer and mediocre/amateur dev at times, I originally poo-pooed her message.

     Then I played the STO tutorial in open-beta a month later.  Knowing Sheri was 100% dead-on after suffering through it, I had my wife and non-gamer trekkie friends play the tutorial.  The tutorial was so bad, they had no idea how to get through it without my help.   None of them would ever play it solely based on their first 15 minutes of torture.  (Mind you, these were computer-saavy, intelligent people who play Wii, and they got confused at every landmark in the tutorial.  About 70% of the time, I simply could not blame them.)

    It was amazing once my eyes were opened from the eyes of a true casual gamer (the kind that's only played Sims or Farmville):  The tutorial innately assumed you were an avid MMO gamer who knew how to do everything and blithely tromped forward without so much as a pop-up-window explanation at crucial times.

    Infuriated at how the developers had automatically filtered out everyone unfamiliar with MMOs, I wrote 3 separate posts in open-beta, detailing every last thing wrong with the tutorial, hoping desperately that at least some of it would be fixed before non-WASD trekkies were annihilated.  ( I was hoping I could link to the posts, but all open-beta suggestion posts were deleted)

 

You can guess how this story ends....

 

    Yup, that's right.  EVERY LAST THING I asked to be fixed was completely ignored.  The tutorial experience at launch was 100% identical to the horror they produced in beta.  We're not talking about enormous dev time requirements either, like "make 10 new textures/instances" or "have William Shatner do a voice-over."  No, it was along the lines of "your pop-up explanations say the wrong things" or "you didn't explain how to fire a weapon," and it still fell on deaf ears.

    I would say that such an atrocity by itself should be grounds for dumping STO, but the sad truth is every MMO commits this heinous crime of assumption.   An avid WoW gaming friend of mine told me that she never would've touched it if her brother hadn't spent days patiently helping her understand how to play it, as the tutorial consisted of exclamation marks which she didn't even see for a month of playing.  She now plays WoW 50 hours a week and does quite well in PvP.  The fact that our tutorials filter out people like this is shameful, and it needs to end now.

According to Sheri, this means you first have to stop having the junior intern do the tutorial and bump it up in priority beyond picking up the morning coffee.

 

Edit:  To further emphasize my point, it's worth noting that after 6 pages of comments, no one else mentioned the tutorial except for the EMH's vocal emotional state.  This illustrates how easy it is for us familiars to overlook and completely botch the most important part given to casual/non-gamers: the first 5 minutes where they don't even know how to move, shoot, or communicate.

 

This article is EXACTLY how I feel. (Except the playing it anyway and spelling Klingon perfectly)  Well done!

Naruto

I can not believe that no one has said this yet, as it is IP that practically begs to be an MMO with a fresh setting and a ripe space for innovative gameplay concepts.  We've been begging for this on MMORPG (multiple times), have we not?

Edit: Keep in mind that while a lot of people hate WoW, it makes billions.  Should you not make a blockbuster MMO simply because some people are vocal in their hatred of the IP?  I know a lot of people who hate Star Wars....

I've noticed that most game explanations do not cover enough of a game's playability/possibilities to give a new player a decent idea of what to expect.  At some point, most people say "the game is so big and deep that I can't possibly explain it all."  Well, Starquest also falls victim to this kind of reviewing (see the IGN review here) and actually probably dwarfs the gameplay possibilities of almost any other game due to its unique code foundation laid by its developers.

I propose to solve this problem by telling you anything and everything that I have seen thus far as well as everything that can be done.  Since this will be a relatively large post, I will probably come back and edit it from time to time.

With all of that prelude over with, let me tell you about Starquest Online.  It will start with a paragraph about the universe, lapse into a massive number of  bullets of what can be done in the game, and finally it will finish with my personal stories in the game.  If you'd like, feel free to suggest additions or corrections to the bullets I have below, as the list will evolve over time until it encompasses enough of the game to give new players a relatively complete knowledge of what this game brings.

StarQuest Universe's Uniqueness

The StarQuest Online universe is seamless.  This means that your character can exist at any point within a 1000x1000x1000 light year cube, and you'll never see an instance or loading screen.  This continuity continues for ships and planets, as they are not separated from the rest of the universe.  This means you can in theory jump into space from your ship and fall down onto a planet and then walk around, all the while someone else can watch this occur from anywhere, be it from the planet or a nearby station window.  (You probably wouldn't actually ever do such a thing for the same reason you wouldn't in real life, because getting stuck in space is really bad, but the possibility remains)  Unlike StarTrek Online, this means you are *not* your ship or any other vehicle.  You are inside, and everyone else in the game can interact with you in ways that are much more realistic.  I'll give some examples in order to start off my list of gameplay bullets:

Seamless Universe Examples

  • Your ship's bridge decompresses, and you are thrown around and exposed to the vacuum of space (which you can survive if you have a space suit on).
  • Consoles explode, killing nearby people.
  • Jumping outside of a ship before it explodes can save your life.  (Although opposing ships can see you and pick you up)
  • You can dock between stations or other ships and walk between them seamlessly
  • You can fly a ship into the atmosphere of a planet and (this is hard) even land on it.
  • You can fly anywhere within the universe, stop, and have it take actual years before you are discovered (since it's like an actual galaxy in terms of size)
  • You can gain entrance to another ship either by permission or by sneaking on and then steal items, kill anyone onboard (unless they fight back of course), and possibly even take control of the ship.
  • You can lock your doors with a passcode that senior officers can set in order to ensure no one can enter your bridge and take off with your ship.


Communication

  • You can type any message you want to be sent on a large list of frequencies, such as hailing, distress, or ship-specific channels to be heard by other stations/planets/ships.  (This can be done via personal communicators or comm stations)
  • You can also send messages to particular sections of a station or ship.

 

Discovering systems, planets, life

  • You can travel throughout the scientifically accurate galaxy and discover new stars and planets.  (For example, the star Betelgeuse remained undiscovered until a player flew out and charted it, and it was exactly where it is in reality.) (Your ship and its commanding officer will be credited with its discovery in a database)
  • You can sample, analyze, and synthesize new compounds from the rocks and life on a planet.  (Compounds can add/substract to skills, knock people out, make them temporarily stronger, go blind, etc, and not all compounds have been discovered even after years of exploration)
  • You can discover new life never encountered, and if it's intelligent enough, make contact and interact with them.  (This could be talking, trading, government negotations, or just mindlessly killing each other, whatever you want)
  • You can see from sensors what planets/systems are emitting radio or hyperwave (different technology) transmissions.
  • You can do sensor sweeps of a planet to tell you exactly where all of the lifeforms on a planet are.  (This process is not automated and takes some experience, so it is possible for you to "evade" sensors while on the planet as well)

Building, Housing, and Colonies

  • You can teleport down to planets, build houses, shops, or other buildings on it.
  • You can set up a colony in orbit of a planet and begin producing/mining products for sale as well as determining what goes on in your colony.  (Taxes, production, funding, laws for other players who live there, etc)
  • You can pay freighters to visit your colony to import/export products to other colonies.
  • You can build/run your own freighter and run supplies for your colony as well.
  • You can expand your "empire" to another system or planet and colonize indefinitely.
  • You can have your colonies (once they are big enough) join other governments, factions, or even create your own.
  • You can become a politician representing your colonies in government and help shape whatever laws you deem fit.  (laws and rules are entirely player run, although some of the "nations" in the game were originally set up by the admins, those governments can now be completely altered in as much as real governments can be)

Creating/Managing Stations/Ships

  • You can mine/buy resources to build stations which can build ships.  (Or you could just buy a ship/station from another player)
  • You can buy furniture, clothing, decorations, and equipment which you can place anywhere in your ship, house, or anything else you own or command.  (i.e. I want a fern to match my flowers at this spot, I think a weapons locker would be useful here, and I'll put a trash can here so people don't throw uneaten apples on the floor)
  • You can purchase and change out all of the systems onboard a ship, even preset military ships.  (I need a better reactor if I'm going to power these more power hungry shields I just bought)
  • You can lock any door you own with any passcode you desire.
  • You can set permissions for others who might use your house/ship/station.

Creating/Managing your Character

  • THERE ARE NO CHARACTER LEVELS: ONLY SKILLS AND STANDING WITHIN YOUR FACTION (government/military)
  • 38 skills can be learned either at creation, by using the skill, or by another player teaching the skill to you
  • 7 Attributes exist which are used for certain skills.  (Attacking in person usually uses Strength, Willpower, Constitution; Teaching uses Intellect; Repairing and using parts of a ship depends on which system is being used)
  • A skill cap will eventually reduce unused skills while increasing the ones you've used most recently.  (This ensures players will specialize into particular roles, which the developers feel will help entice players to form crews and groups in order to achieve things)  (It's worth noting that your unused skills do not diminish to zero, so it is possible to perform all skills on a mediocre level on a single character)
  • Just like skills, attributes can be trained through use (exercising at a gym, talking, using consoles) and has an attribute cap to diminish the attributes you've used the least.
  • Hunger, thirst, sleep, temperature, hygiene,& bathroom bars will require that your character eats, drinks, sleeps (or drinks a lot of coffee), showers, and urinates in a very similar manner to the Sims.  (While it is possible to die from not eating/drinking/bathing, it's pretty hard to do so, and keeping the bars full isn't very difficult or time consuming)

Military Life

  • You can join the military of an existing government (Starfleet) or even create your own through your own government.  (Yes, it's been done too)
  • You can roleplay as an officer or crewman (NCO) in the military fleet, specializing in certain skills and roles on your assigned ship/station.
  • Your status (rank, awards, clearance, access, etc) can be adjusted by those higher rank than you.  (Strictly game-mechanics-wise there isn't much restricting how higher ranks can change your status, but the military rules are strictly enforced, meaning roleplay and player-based rules are the main driver behind what is and is not allowed.  In other words, an Admiral could in theory promote a 1 hour old newbie up to Captain of a ship, but that would be noticed by the players in the military and challenged through the government/military until ultimately the President of the government would demote/retire/threaten the Admiral into playing correctly.  This means any military status problems like promotions arise from players making the decisions and not a game-based mechanic.  Because of this, rank and status are recognized, achieved, and sometimes hotly contested in a way similar to real life)
  • Missions can either be automatically assigned to ships from a pool of pre-made missions, or they can be directly assigned by higher ranking players (These missions can be anything the person wants.  For example, you can be ordered by a player to enter enemy territory and engage in PvP battles to determine the control of a colony)

 

Stories of Gameplay

---A pirate player beamed onto another player's ship when his shields were down (the ship commander was slightly careless) and killed the crew.  However, the last crewmember locked the bridge and raised shields, trapping the pirate onboard.  The pirate continued throughout the rest of the ship and looted as much as he could.  The remaining crew member sent out a distress message, which was intercepted by a military ship run by players.  Two military ships eventually came, gathered together a boarding party, and beamed aboard the ship.  The military players had a firefight with the pirate, stunned him, beamed him aboard their military ship only to have the pirate wake up and run away.  The pirate eventually found a gun and killed a few sleeping crew members before he was stunned again and thrown into the brig.  The judge of the government was about to begin trial of the pirate when the pirate convinced one of the military officers to let him go free.  The renegade officer and pirate then beamed back onboard their pirate ship and started to hyper to safety.  Another player military ship was alerted via distress signal, pursued, and (after a very long chase with hiding and getting close to enemy space) and eventually disabled the pirate ship.

---A ship was taking damage from an unknown source.  It sent out a distress signal and eventually had another player ship arrive to assist.  Eventually all of the players with repair skills beamed over to the damaged ship and repaired like crazy while the bridge crew tried to steer the damaged ship away from the unknown source of damage.   That section of space is still being charted and examined via sensors to this day.

---We beamed onto a planet, looking for rocks to sample.  My comrade eventually stunned a giant worm creeping its way towards us.  When I beamed back to the ship, I was inadvertently standing near the worm and beamed it back with me.  Not realizing the worm was merely unconscious, I went about my duties until we both stopped talking and saw the worm creeping towards us again.  (It definitely reminded me of The Blob)  My comrade started shrieking about the slime on his ship and eventually said "ewww, it's alive! kill it!"  My gun was out of power, so I picked up a sword and whacked away at the worm.  It finally died, and I dragged it back to the teleporter and beamed it right on top of another worm on the planet I found on sensors.  (Live/dead worm sandwich...it amused me at least)  I was then given the title "Ship's Janitor."

 

Conclusion

I've had two false starts with Starquest online (installing and quitting within minutes), as the initial player experience was/is quite horrible, as it lacks a decent presentation of how to play the game. This leads you to the mistaken conclusion that the game probably lacks substance. Fortunately for me, I was desperately looking for an open-ended gameplay MMO and kept bumping into Starquest everywhere I looked. Now that I've played it a third time and had a little patience, (a couple of hours) I finally managed to get the hang of things, got sucked into an amazing whirlpool of events and activities (all player driven), and I've never looked back after 3 weeks of playing.

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