Suggestions For Mission Improvements (and other things)
I was originally going to post a reply to the OP in this thread, but it turned out to be such an essay that I thought I'd whack it in the feedback section instead. The basic gist of his thread is that ground missions are too repetitive, space stations are baron and empty, the 'massive' part of MMORPG isn't actually massive, and something related to milking the franchise.
I do kind of agree with what the OP has said in his thread, although I'm a first time MMOer, and so I've not experienced anything else.
However, I was thinking, just last night, that there are definitely some improvements to be made, especially with the ground-based missions. Granted, I've not played all that many, but I did think of a few improvements to existing ones, and some more requests.
Firstly, there does need to be more diplomacy in the game. I know that there are the odd missions whereby you have to talk to some people, get their opinions, and then report back to the guy in charge, and I like those missions, but they are a little easy. What would be better is if the people you talk to explain their situations, and you then make a decision about what to do about them - so you make a choice (out of, say, three possible choices) based on what you've been told, and the choice you make affects the colonists in some way. Some choices for the better, and some for worse. If we make a bad choice, we don't get a reward. This would give a real sense of responsibility, and of having consequences for our actions.
You could also have more puzzle-related missions. So say, for example, you're looking for someone, but they're in jail and you need to break them out. To get them out, you need to unlock the door, which involves throwing switches in a particular order. Throwing the switches in the wrong order will kill the prisoner, so you need to talk to people/do little side missions in order for them to tell you the order in which to pull the switches to unlock the door.
As another example, you could have a mission on a planet that involved you helping to repair someone's broken shuttle. To fix it, you need to acquire three parts. So off you go to the marketplace, to three separate vendors. To get a part from each vendor, you can either spend your energy credits to buy the part, try and steal the part from the vendor's stockroom, use your consumables/inventory items to create the parts in the replicator, or take on a little side-mission for the vendor, such as arresting a thief who stole something from the vendor. Once you've acquired all three parts, you can go back to the shuttle, fix it up, and complete the mission. This would give the player a choice of how they go about doing the mission: with money (they could spend their hard-earned credits); with violence (they could go in guns blazing); with engineering/science abilities (i.e. use your inventory items to build the parts); or with diplomacy (by doing the side mission for the vendor).
I agree with the OP about the space stations though - they are empty and cold, and I was really disappointed with DS9! It was so small and bare. I was hoping to see a bustling environment, with the familiar sounds of the Dabo table, and Chief O'Brian's dart board on the wall. I know there are graphics and memory requirements to bare in mind, but for a major stop-off point like that, I think some exceptions should be made, and it should be rammed with people! They should also allow more players per instance in Starbases to make it feel more lively. We should also be able to play some little games, make bets on sporting events (and win/lose real credits) and when holodecks are implemented, reserve time in them (for a price).
About the holodeck thing - I hope you're going to build it into the game at some point. What would be awesome is if we could go to the holodeck, recreate a planet and mission we're about to go on, and the have a few "practice runs" on the holodeck before doing the real thing. Also, and I know this would take massive amounts of time and effort, but the holodeck could be used as a kind of "world builder" that allows us players to create places/scenarios (like a map editor for a RTS game) that we could then upload to the holodeck program. We could create all sorts of environments, such as holiday resorts, and allow other players to use that program in the holodeck, for a small price. It would be a great way to earn energy credits. You could also have a list of "most popular" holodeck programs, with the players at the top of the list earning a special title, or some Starfleet Merits.
Sector Space - I actually don't mind the Sector Space idea. I agree that it seems a little silly that you can travel from one side of the galaxy to the other in mere minutes, but more people would be annoyed if it wasn't like that. I think it makes for a difficult situation with regards to going to "unexplored" systems though.
I've heard a lot of talk regarding the consequences of being killed or destroyed. One thin I thought about would be to get demoted if you fail a mission or make a wrong choice. Going back to the mission example above (whereby you have to talk to some people and make a decision for them based on what you think is right) if you make a decision that badly affects the colonists, you could lose skill points or even get demoted. You could also allow (or "turn on" I suppose) the killing of innocent people in towns and settlements down on the planets, and if you accidentally kill some of them, you lose skill points for that too. Other punishments could include having your ship taken away from you for a brief period of time (meaning you have to use a lower tier ship), having to repay someone for equipment you've destroyed by losing energy credits, or losing Starfleet merits.
I know I've gone on a bit, so I apologize for that, but hopefully these suggestions will bee seen by the Powers That Be, and they might take them into account.
What does everyone else think?
I guess nobody has any thoughts one way or the other then. :P
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