Some thoughts from an old gamer
II remember when I heard that star wars galaxies was in the making. Just the excitement of the thought of it kept me high for weeks. But I was dissapointed when it came out. Same with lord of the rings online, and many other MMORPG's. Am I too picky? I don't think I am. Now star trek online is out, and the excitement is just the same, as I am just as much a trekkie as a star wars fan, but this time I come with justified hesitation. Since the mmorpg market started to flourish I've spent countless hours testing out games, trying to find that one that would capture my imagination and leave me in a state of electronic joy that would require an intervention from my friends, family and girlfriend. There have only been a few games that could do this to me, none of which have been mmorpg's, though mmorpg's are my favourite kind of game. I've sat on the sidelines, watching and testing, waiting for the ultimate game, in a sea of crummy ones, but one never came. Could this be the game to end all games? I doubt it, but could it still do the trick? I hope so, but I doubt it.
Without having even played STO, (now I know you'll think I'm nuts for writing about it without even playing), based on my experience as someone who loves games so much, I am able to simply glance at a game now and know if I want to play it. I can see right away things that are missing. This is my big dilemma. Every mmorpg that I have played for any significant length of time has had one or more unique qualities in it that kept me coming back, and allowed me to enjoy some timeless nights with buddies, but... There is one problem. I have yet to find one game that incorporates ALL of these unique and indespensable qualities, and frankly, I need all the good stuff, not just some of it, to keep me entertained. I ask myself "why do they toy with me? Why do they make a space combat game that has such great scenery, options, story-line and ships, but leave out joystick support, or cockpit viewing?" That is just one example. bare with me, as I will get to my point; one I've wanted to make for a long time but laziness and frustration got the best of me.
Freelancer is an awesome game in my opinion. Even as old as it is, I still have fun playing it. When Eve came out, I thought to myself, well this is a new game, and it's got lots more stuff in it, it can replace freelancer for me, until thhose two things I mentioned above were found to be not in the game. The lack of joystick support and cockpit veiwing was enough to stop me from playing more than a few hours and I never went back to it. Freelancer had this awesome feel to it, you were in the ship, you were right there in the cockpit, and the ship was reponsive to your controls, your very hand, as it moved the mouse would turn the ship. It was intense battles and fully immersive. But not in Eve. However EVE had other things freelancer did not and I just wished they could have merged the best parts of both games. I would have bought a lifetime account.
Another example is any random mmorpg, lets take world of ******** for instance. That game was great. I love how you can be in third or first person view. But just one problem. In first person view, if you want to look around, you must hold down the right mouse button. This might seem like nothing important, but let me tell you, it takes the whole fun out of first person gaming for those who love to feel like they are in the body of their character looking out into the world instead of down on themselves running around.
Another game came out, can't remember which one, but it was the first one I played that had more realistic combat, where when you press atttack, your character immediately attacks, and when you are not facing your opponent and close to him, you will miss, and when you fired an arrow, you did the aiming. As opposed to just pressing the 1 bbutton repeatedly, or have it on auto attack and it doesn't really matter where you are standing, the same attack will happen and it just takes you away from the game. I liked being able to use my own skills with the mouse and keyboard as opposed to just pressing the same mix of buttons over and over again. I felt more immersed. And that's one of the main things I look for in a game. Immersiveness. However, it's not just combat physic and gameplay that can make a game immersive. I've played games like this that played great and keptt me around for a little while, but the story line was pure crap. Final fantasy 7, compared to games now had terrible graphics, but the story line was so awesome, so compelling, that when I played it, I was no longer on earth. I was literally in the game. I loved every minute of that game, the characters were real to me, just like the firstt time I read The Hobbit. Whisped away into an epic, funny, adventure story with joy and sadness, with history, with flavour. Some games have story lines that are just no good, and some have ones that were obviously cloned from other semi-pro games.
I've noticed in the mmorpg world, since they became so loved, that they are being pumped out faster than my excuses for not doing the dishes. But I've noticed that so many of them do not have a shred of originality. There are so many clones of World Of ********. Games with a different story line, but pretty much the exact same aspects of the game. this is probably because people want to sell a product so they go with what works.
I always had this fantasy, when I go out to have a smoke, taking a break from mid night gaming, and I look up at the stars and imagine myself in a meeting with some big game creator like cryptic or blizzard. And I'm talking to the guys in charge, and I tell them my dream of the perfect mmorpg, and they make it, and it's a smash hit. But then I finish my smoke, go back inside and my heart sinks a bit because I know that will never happen. If I had the brains to make my own game, I would, but I don't think I could do that, however I do believe I have the ideas to give to a game maker to make the best game this world has ever seen. I go through the list of stuff that would make the game great, in my mind quite often. Here are some of my ideas.
When using voice chat, others can hear you based on your physical proximity to them. So if I'm blabbing away on the mic, but I'm 30 feet away from you in game, you can't hear me. Unless I press the shout button. This fixes server spamming and makes it more immersive, realistic.
In space games, when you are in your ship, you should be able to have video chat as well as audio chat, where a little video pops up, a live feed in the corner of your screen showing you whatever pilot is talking to you, your friend or whoever. The technology to do this has been out for a while. I know it can be done. For those who's computers can't support it, they can disable it, or just have it so a picture shows up instead of a video. If you've ever played the original star fox for super nintendo, you will know kind of what I mean.
All games where you are piloting a ship should have joystick support. As well as third and first person/**** pit camera views. When playing a game like STo or SWG, if you are in control of a large ship where people can walk around in, you should be able to put it on a set course, leave the outside space view of the ship, go into third or first person view and walk around your ship while it's flying through space. On top of that, you should be able to have more than just NPC's on your ship. Where's the fun in that? Imagine taking off, heading up into the sky, stopping at the nearest star base, picking up one of your friends, he transports or walks on, then you go sit and have a virtual drink together, chat it up, then get to buisiness. You take control of the ship's navigation, and he mans the guns. Two people doing two different functions, on the same ship. You could be in space view or sitting on your captains chair, while he is sitting in a turret looking out into space blasting away at asteroids or hostiles, communicating with you through the comm. I saw something like this in SWG in the starting mission with han solo and the milennium falcon. You get to climb the ladder up to the turret and man the guns in space while he flies the ship. This could be me and my friends doing this. Two friends on guns, one on navigation, one on comunication, or whatever. We'd all get to freely choose what we do. Switch stations or whatever. You should be able to walk around your ship freely and do this with your friends. It would be the one thing that would keep me in a game for good. When I heard about STO I thought, maybe, just maybe I can finally have this experience, but I watched some videos and it looked grim.
ALmost done here.. Game just finished installing. About to play. Want to say a couple more things.
Another idea I had was to have an online game where the unique and seperate aspects of many games would be incorporated into one. This gets a bit tricky, Please stay with me as I try to make sense of it in my own head. It's pretty complicated, but awesome. If anyone has played Natural selection, you know what I'm talking about, to some extent. Natural selection is a first person mod for half life where aliens and marines go at it. With one really cool thing, besides flying around and climbing on walls. There is one person in the group of marines who does not run around and do anything. He sits in the commanders chair and has a top down view of the whole map in which his friends and foes are playing on. Just like in a realtime strategy game, the commander places objects on the map to be build, but instead of npc's building them, the orders go straight to the other online players. That was one of the coolest things in a game I've ever seen done. It made the dynamic of the game so much larger. There was 10 times as much depth to it. Not only do you get a different way to play in the same game as others, but they depend on you and you depend on them. So I say, why not incorporate the same idea into an mmorpg? And while we're at it, lets through some other stuff in, in fact, lets through it all in. What reason stops game makers from putting every type of game into one? I'm guessing money and original thought. Imagine a game where you could just decide to leave the realm of running around on the ground shooting stuff and start telling the ground units where to shoot from a comm center. remember battlefield 2041? In that game you could run around on the ground, and fly in choppers, and walk in mechs, and be the rocket that you fire, and drive a tank while your buddy mans the turret. That was uber fun. But it was just another repettative first person shooter where the server limit would be under 30. I want tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people all immersed in a well woven and crafted online universe where they can play any good aspect of any good game, in the same game. You could have any theme you want. You could have it with no limits, where it's just one massive universe, or you could restrict it to follow a certain story line like star trek or star wars, but either way, people would be able to live out their fantasies in their favourite games, lacking nothing!
NOw that's kind of just a dream. It will probably never happen. getting back to star trek online. I am about to press the play button. If I do not see any of these things I'm about to list, I will stop playing. These are the things most important to me.
1. Joystick support
2. Cockpit view while in a ship
3. Realtime combat
4. Real players on same ships, not just npc's.
5. In ship view and ability to walk around in ship while flying in space, not just viewing your ship from space.
How hard is it to do all that? In star trek bridge commander, you could view the inside of the ship as well as the outside. Was almost perfect except you couldn't walk around on the bridge, though that would defeat the purpose of being a bridge commander, but that's beside my point. Yet has there been a game creating that mixes all these good things together. I speak not only for myself but for all of my gaming friends, and I have faith that most gamers would agree with us, if a game more to my liking as described in my many words above were to exist, we would all buy it and pay monthly for it for quite a long time.
Well, I guess I'm out of here. I've said my thing. If anyone wants to comment, please do. If you agree with me, please just say "I like your ideas" or "I agree with you" or "I would buy a game like that", because on the off chance that my measely little rant about how games should be is found by someone who has the power to influence how top mmorpg's are made, then maybe there's hope my dream will become a reality, because if they know there's a market for it, they will build it. the only thing that baffles me is, how come no ones done this yet? There is money in it. People will buy what they love. You can convince someone that a game is great, like **** or something, but once they've bought it, they quit playing not long after. You made 50 bucks from them buying it but lost out on hundreds by them not staying with it and paying monthly fees. Better to be legit, make some thing good and solid and somewhat original that appeals to the common hardcore gamer, or don't make it all all, because there are tons of other guys like me out there downloading game after game after game and we delete them as quick as we download them once we've tried them. If it sucks, move on to the next. Only kids who haven't experienced the best games over the last 15 years get sucked in to something that seems alright but is missing a ton of substance. I'm 26 by the way and I am far from quitting being a gamer, so are my other friends. Game makers should keep that in mind, that a lot of us aren't kids anymore and we will pay to play but we want the best. ok, enough ranting, I'm out of here. Thanks to you who read this, even if it's just one person. Had to get it off my chest.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Updated Next day~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Played it. Didn't like it. Nothing I was looking for was in the game. The Character creation of alien species was fun, but other than that, I couldn't find one thing to keep me interested. Also, want to point out that the system requirements for this game are higher than that of games which offer better graphics and performance.
1. Joystick support
TBH I'm not sure if the game has this or not. I'm far more comfortable playing MMOs with a keyboard anyway, so it's not something that would concern me, but it would create it's own problems anyway I'd have thought, seeing that STO is both space and ground combat.
2. Cockpit view while in a ship
These are not fighters. You have both fore and aft weapons, and then there's broadsiding as well. A cockpit view just would not be right, since if you're looking ahead, the most you can get out of rear combat is dots on a mini map or something.
3. Realtime combat
Combat is real time.
4. Real players on same ships, not just npc's.
You can invite other players onto your bridge, though they do not man stations if that's what you meant. One would assume that when full ship interiors are implemented, other players will also be able to walk with you on your ship; I don't know.
5. In ship view and ability to walk around in ship while flying in space, not just viewing your ship from space
Right now you can go into your ship; well the bridge anyway. The rest of the ship is in the works.
Not from all of your wishes, but from a couple of them, I don't think this game is for you. You say you played Freelancer in the past. Might I suggest that Starlancer is even more up your alley? I'm quite possibly wrong so no offense if I am.
1 cockpit view I think this would be hard in a capital ship as you need to keep track of weapons arks and shield quads and strength
Joystick control is a cool idea but at the same time you are in command of a capital ship not a fighter however you could get into a fighter with a squad of mates or NPC and do wing commander style
Walking around in your ship as you travel would be haven and so immersive all you would need is a timer and a pop up telling you when you arrive imagine how immersive it would be to look out of the window and see warp lines streaking past you or the stars morph back into place as you drop out into normal space.
Real time combat by that i assume you mean mass effect or gears of war where you would use the mouse and keyboard to run and gun take cover and so on instead of pressing 12and3 over and over again this for the ground combat would be a dream come true for me and in my mind would put the ground combat on equal footing with the space combat in terms of fun. I have posted simpler suggestion on other threads but I have had no response positive or negative so I thought i was an odd ball and was the only one that wanted this in an mmo
Emergency message to HQ KDF. Gigantic rouge wall of text found in sector 256 by 437. Alert all ships to avoid this area until the wall of text subsides.
Repeat, navigation hazard in sector 256 by 437, gigantic wall of text.
Thanks for the feedback. Like I said, regarding added features, if people can't use them, or don't like them, it's as easy as disabling it. You can play a game in third person for the duration, but it's nice to have that 1st person option for those who prefer to play that way, same with the joystick. Obviously you wouldn't want to use a joystick to pilot a capital ship, but there are fighter ships, and using a joystick in one of those would be great.
Regarding "Realtime combat", I disagree that it is realtime, or maybe you are right and I'm thinking of something else. I should brush up on my definitions, but what I meant by "realtime" is something much different than what I experienced when I played this last night. There is a huge delay between the time you press the 123 buttons and when the phaser fires. Same with physical attack. It makes a person feel withdrawn from the game, and like I said not immersed. This is the same reason I stopped playing star wars galaxies almost as soon as I started it. The combat was quite similar, but actually the combat in that game was still better than this. I have played free to play mmo's with faster response time and better combat physics. When I play a first person shooter, when I click the left mouse button, the exact same time, maybe a millisecond later there is a shot from the gun. Why can't this be the same. The attack doesn't have to be finished at the click of a mouse, but started for sure. Anyone who's played a lot of mmorpg's will know what I'm talking about and sadly there are only a few that seem to be truly realtime.
And by the way, I am not meaning to bash the game at all. If people like it, that's fine. Who am I to tell people what they should and shouldn't enjoy. But for me, I know what I want in a game. These are just words meant to bounce around and hopefully bring some light to some issues that have always concerned me.
It would be cool if you could set a course for a system and it would auto zone you on the way there while walking around in your ship. And when something comes up you get the red alert and have to run to the bridge. :)
Perhaps, by cockpit view, he means to fly the ship while being in the bridge?
That's not how I would play, but some seem to want that, and I don't see as it hurts my play experience to allow others to do it.
Cockpit view and other features
Sorry. I Wasn't clear enough and went on a tangent. What I mean is that if you are piloting a fighter ship that is very small, you're going to be manouvering around quickly, and you're going to be using forward guns mostly. In freelancer, you can have a third person outside of ship view so you can see more of what's around you, but it helps a lot of the time and is fun and more immersive when you go into cockpit view where you have a view of what's directly in front of you in space, though seeing the borders of the windows in your ship around you. You know if someone is behind you with either a minimap, or arrows that point in the direction of enemy and friendly ships, red and green respectively. If someone is behind you, you can press V and get a rear view while flying, just a quick glance, and fire at them while aiming with the mouse, then switch back to forward view and fly around with either your mouse or your joystick. If you are flying in one direction, not turning, you can go into turret view where you can change the camera angle to swivvle around in any direction with the mouse so you can see everything around you while still flying forward, and then whatever guns you have that can shoot behind you, will shoot at what's behind you, and forward guns for what's in front of you, respectively turrets fire backwards, and all other guns forwards and to the sides.
While in a cap ship, you should be able to fight while on the bridge in the ship, just like in Star Trek Bridge commander. Fighting a cap ship with a space view is like playing world of ******** in space. It's just a guy running around pressing 1,2 and 3 at clicking on hostiles. It's boring and not realistic. But that's just my idea. If all my other ideas were incorporated, I wouldn't mind if I had to have an outside view while on a cap ship, but I would still want to be able to go into the inside ship view and walk around in third or first person view, and leave the bridge, and go to any deck I want, even if the ship is under attack. That's what your friends are for. Let your buddy pilot the ship while you go take a leak. Why not? In Natural selection, the commander can leave the command chair whenever he wants and someone else can step in, or they can be commanderless.
You could also incorporate a seperate viewscreen that's transparent and shows up at the top right or something on your screen that shows you whats' outside your ship, like the viewscreen in star trek.
Another thing I don't like about STO is the limitations of who you can be. Why can't I be neutral? Why do I have to be the god guys or the bad guys? In Star Wars galaxies you can be a smuggler, neither swearing allegance to rebels or the empire. What if I want to be a cardassian tailor? And what's with all the combat? What if someone wants to just go explore the universe on their own, travel to a distant star system, find an uninhabbited planet and build a house? Many games have the option to actually build things on land that others can share in, like an apartment or a house or even a castle.
Regarding joystick support, once again, you can have a joystick plugged in at the same time your mouse and keyboard is. I don't know why some people seem to think a game has to be played only one way. I play freelancer with my joystick and switch to mouse and keyboard when I'm mining or transporting. I don't have to change settings to do that. Multiple input devices working simultaneously and independant of each other. Fly your way. Joystick support and cockpit viewing was more of a point I was trying to make at space fighter games, not nessasarily this game. I meant it as part of my point about games lacking what similar games have, as a whole, not limited to STO, wherein some of the things I mentioned might not be best for it, but I wasn'tt just talking about STO. MMORPG's in general tend to be too extreme in one direction and lack diversity.
I recently downloaded a trial and played a game called Global Agenda. It claims to be an MMO but is getting a lot of flak for it because it's nothing like most MMO's I know of where there's a giant universe to explore.And I posted something very similar about that game, making the same point about it being a great game but lacking some certain qualities of other MMO's which is going to keep me from buying it. One thing that game has is the realtime combat I was talking about. Go download the trial and see what I mean. The combat is hands on, without delayed response time. Your controls are as reponsive as your hands are. Of course that game lacks what STO has. The ability to travel through a huge universe on land and in space, and on land, they are just in dome cities that are tiny and the server population is very small. Here we have two great games that lack the qualities of each other and the result is that they are missing out on profits because of it. Here's a link to my post on Massively.com about that game.
Just a heads up, OP. Cryptic doesn't take kindly to you mentioning any other MMOs on the forum.
(although they appear to only care if you declare them as superior)
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