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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.
General: Red 5 Studios Finally Reveals Its MMO
News & Features Discussion « General Discussion
9/04/10 2:09:13 AM
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
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.
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited: New DDO Offer Wall Sparks Fan Outrage
News & Features Discussion « General Discussion
4/14/10 10:20:32 AM
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.
Star Trek Online: Star Trek Online Review
News & Features Discussion « General Discussion
2/26/10 10:45:42 PM
Originally posted by Jon Wood.
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.
General: Jennings: Why I'll Play Star Trek Online
News & Features Discussion « General Discussion
1/20/10 12:33:38 PM
This article is EXACTLY how I feel. (Except the playing it anyway and spelling Klingon perfectly) Well done!
What existing Intellectual Property would you like to see made into an MMO?
The Pub at MMORPG.COM « General Discussion
1/02/10 2:58:10 AM
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....
Sheer Gameplay Depth of Starquest Online
General Discussion « StarQuest Online
7/29/09 5:28:44 PM
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
Discovering systems, planets, life
Building, Housing, and Colonies
Creating/Managing your Character
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."
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.