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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?