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MMORPG Thoughts and Other things that I can't get out of My Head

As a disciple of the MMORPG system, I offer my humble thoughts in this blog.

Author: fansede

STO: The Ship mechanic ( Part 1)

Posted by fansede Friday August 8 2008 at 7:44AM
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Perpetual received a lot of flack for not investing much time in regards to the starship interiors of the Star Trek ship.  Let's hope Cryptic doesn't make the same mistake.

There are a lot of ways Cryptic can approach the Starship Interiors concept, the question always comes down to, what is FUN?

Will the Starship be merely a transport vehicle for groups to travel? And players use them only to fight starship fights by themselves?

Or will Starships be a moving "base of operations" (like City of Villians Instanced base)? Drawing from previous Star Trek games like Bridge Commander, wouldn't it be fun to get an intergration of both concepts?

Let's say our Captain has been comissioned a ship from a Federation Starbase or Earth. The Ship has the basics - a bridge, engineering, sick bay and mess hall.  The Captain has been given an assignment from an NPC Admiral. The Admiral tells the captain what officers are required for the task. The Captain can assemble his team or use the City of Heroes style LFG system (Lists players lfg , their rank, their specialty). Players requesting a team get a beep on their badge and a message..

Once the team is assembled the Captain assigns them to the ship. Not everyone gets to sit on the bridge. The entire team can explore the ship and interact with it. Sit emotes, eat/ drink, sleep, etc. Bring up a map of the ship schematics, etc..

Going to do away missions are easy, because the ship is merely a transport vessel. It is when ship to ship combat occurs is the real problem.

Perpetual noted that they do not want players staring at consoles during a fight.  Understood. I can see that it lacks action pack activity that other MMOs offer.  BUT this is Star Trek. It is not Anarachy Online or Star Wars Galaxies for that matter.

I do believe Cryptic can make ship vs. ship combat exciting as a group effort.  The roles are already there in the Star Trek Universe.  Captains in this case, not only set the mission and its difficulty, they can set NPC behavior of the crew.  Maybe he could not find an Engineer for his mission. Well he "buys" one from the Starfleet manifest and sets it behavior. The Captain also receives reports from his players and the game translates it into statistics of his ship. For example the Captain wants to know his Shield status. He does not know it always. He must receive a report from his tactical officer.  A good officer updates this regularly and it shows up to the captain as a blue bar surrounding the ship. The status bar remains that way until updated again. So teamwork is essential. An AFK Tactical Officer would mean he is literally asleep at the post and may mean defeat for the team.

Captains have other roles but I will go into that some other time.

Each team member has a role on the ship during space combat. Give the Captain reports and keep the area you are in charge of in peak performance.  I would then propose to throw a wrinkle into the system..

Mini instances. What? We are in the middle of a battle and I am off doing an instance? Hear me out..

These could be mini scenarios that may turn the tide of battle or provide unique "buffs" for the team. An example , Suppose the Ship is in combat with a Romulan. The Lieutennant is stationed at the Conn and is charge of navigation. Normally he has a host of abiltites, combat manuevers to aid the ship in this fight.  The game throws a curveball to the team and it seems the Romulan ship has blasted the Lieutennants station. The team sees the player is down and the bridge is on fire. Instead of the game continuing its space fight, the mini instance has started. Save the player, save the bridge in 10 minutes or the Ship suffers. The lieutennant has to be carried to sick bay through the ship interior map. All the while the ship trembles in the heat of combat. Someone has to stop the fire and repair the console to a workable condition. A Doctor has to heal the fallen member or he is out of the fight.  The captain has the option of skipping the scenario and suffer the ship movement and combat debuff or go through the scenario and keep functioning systems...

Would that be feasible for a game?

Ozmodan writes:

First thing, Perpetual was not make a real Star Trek, they were just doing another space sim.  I have yet to hear that cryptic has deviated from the "everyone is captain of the own ship scenario".  I would certainly like to see bridge play though.

I think your mini scenarios could be done though.  The problem with having a ship and crew.  In Star Trek, everyone does exactly what the captain says, in an MMO that is not the case, in fact highly unlikely many times.  So, much harder to do the ship and crew scenario.

Fri Aug 08 2008 8:04AM Report
fansede writes:

I see your point Ozmodan.  How do we keep the ship from being controlled by the LEERROY JENKINS types ( hehe)?  Give the players the freedom of their role.  Give Captains as much information from your station.  While a tactical officer can't fire at will until a Captain says so, he can scan the enemy. (Maybe a countdown timer bar is running as he does his scans.  The tactical officer receives data. The accuracy of the data depends on the Ships systems ( Scan abaility?) and the Rank /skill of the lieutennant.  So the Lieutennant gives his report to the captain.. Romulan ship is a warbird.  Two disruptors. One Photon cannon and a Titanium Hull. It looks powerful.

The Captain gets a mini image of the ship, data on hit points, shield points, power points. this may be 100% accurate or may be deceptively innacurate do to lieutennant inexperience "interpreting" the data or ships scanners have not been upgraded in awhile.

The Captain may command "Fire Torpedoes" to the Tactical Officer. Who then can determine where to hit and how often.  If the Captain orders "Disable their Engines", then the target ing specticle for the Tactical officer has a limited area where it is able to fire. It also depends on if the Navigator can get you in range as well..

Keep it coming. As you can tell I am a bit nutty for this game

Fri Aug 08 2008 8:44AM Report
hanshotfirst writes:

Reminds me of Star Wars Galaxies and the problems they had with PoB ships. In short, except for a very small contingent of players, they weren't even remotely fun.

Personally, getting friends to crew my YT-1300 was like pulling teeth. Those with an interest in space exploration/combat would much, much rather pilot their own ships. Frankly, it was boring for everyone involved (including myself) and required far too much micro-management to get anything accomplished.

Fri Aug 08 2008 3:34PM Report
fansede writes:

So you like the idea of a Bridge Commander style of game hans? Honestly I can see it would be easier to produce since a good template is out there.  So you think Cryptic is going to go that route and have NPCs at the consoles? Everyone be a Captain at start? Or will players be assigned roles on NPC ships, do away missions/ holodeck missions and ocasional instances when your NPC ship is in combat until the earn enough exp to be a Captain themselves?

I could see them go that route too..

Fri Aug 08 2008 6:57PM Report
hanshotfirst writes:

To be perfectly honest, I don't think Star Trek lends itself to being a very good MMORPG in the first place.

Fri Aug 08 2008 7:20PM Report
fansede writes:

Yeah just found this link. Looks like they are going to be an Earth and Beyond clone. I am bummed..

Fri Aug 08 2008 7:31PM Report writes:
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