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Archived Post 12-01-2010 09:23 PM

Customization is the Key ...
 
I think customization of a character in an MMO is possibly one of _the_ most important elements. Especially once a large chunk of the population has reached 'end-game' levels. Players want a feeling of personal ownership in these virtual worlds. A sense of uniqueness. In a sea of pixels, people like to stand out and be noticed and noticeable.

Everyone can have a blond, female Betazoid... with mysterious Green eyes!! ... woOOo... but, not everyone would think to make a blond, female Betazoid with mysterious Green eyes, who is sans an arm after a recent encounter with the Borg. So far, STO has had a decent array of skins and costumes, body shapes and sizes, but I think expanding these individual options would really give the game a boost. AND!, give a lot of the end-gamers something to do.

The same can be said for the customization of ships.

It seems like the infrastructure is already in place, and maybe it would be as simple as 'unlocking' more options within the customization windows. To some extent, the character modification screens are akin to some recognizable consumer-level 3D modeling programs. (think Poser Lite). Why not take the next step and make each character completely unique and crafted almost from the ground up by the players? Why not allow players to scale and position, color and shape some add-on ship elements?

You guys are on the right track with the Borg ship modifications coming out soon (kudos to being able to toggle them off or on, too!), but, pretty soon, everyone will have those same mods, and seeing that cool looking 'Borgified Sovereign' will become an everyday occurrence. If you expand upon this modification concept a little further, by, say, allowing the player to shape, scale, and position these Borg tech parts on their own, you would really push the individualization and feeling of personal character ownership to a whole new level.

Just a suggestion, or two. :)


d3n

Archived Post 12-01-2010 09:25 PM

I think that more ship interior customization should be next, we have alot of ship/character customization already. But hardly any interior customization...such as altering the lighting/floor colours/ LCARs consoles and layouts and picking different versions of certain areas.

Archived Post 12-01-2010 10:20 PM

The most customizable MMO in existence only survived for one month. Gameplay needs to come before customization.

All your listed ideas would be awesome to have, however it would take a significant amount of development time. I'd rather they spent that effort in creating more awesome weekly missions, tuning existing content as well as giving the player base more endgame content.

Archived Post 12-01-2010 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by torokokill
The most customizable MMO in existence only survived for one month. Gameplay needs to come before customization.

All your listed ideas would be awesome to have, however it would take a significant amount of development time. I'd rather they spent that effort in creating more awesome weekly missions, tuning existing content as well as giving the player base more endgame content.

Just curious but what MMO is that? Second LKife is still around and APB isn't dead either, just getting retooled for a second launch at a new publisher.

Archived Post 12-01-2010 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leviathan99
Just curious but what MMO is that? Second LKife is still around and APB isn't dead either, just getting retooled for a second launch at a new publisher.

I was referring to APB. I apologize for not being clearer.

APB was shut down. Realtime Worlds went bankrupt and closed. APB died. The IP was sold. It is still dead, and will be dead until GamersFirst launches it.

Argue semantics all you want, but the fact remains that the original iteration of APB was not successful.

Archived Post 12-01-2010 10:56 PM

I never played APB, so it may hold that title, but I reckon, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places are all games that Cryptic made; This one, Champions, and CoX.


In a world where medicine is as advanced as it is, I am not sure we'd see captains without limbs. Maybe a Klingon.

But bionic parts are VERY cool in Champions online, so I wouldn't mind seeing them here eventually - as long as they don't get carrier away.

Archived Post 12-01-2010 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by torokokill
I was referring to APB. I apologize for not being clearer.

APB was shut down. Realtime Worlds went bankrupt and closed. APB died. The IP was sold. It is still dead, and will be dead until GamersFirst launches it.

Argue semantics all you want, but the fact remains that the original iteration of APB was not successful.

I will concede that but I think the key there is one of managing a tight ship on budget and being prepared for small numbers that build over time (the EvE model) rather than needing big numbers. If that means you build a smaller game, that means you build a smaller game and grow it.

I think STO, overall, has had the right BASIC approach, they just needed another ten million and another six months in beta.

I believe STO was a $13 million game with a 24 month development cycle.

APB was a $100 million game with a five year development cycle, closer to what armchair folks think is standard for a AAA game.

If that's a AAA game, then I don't think the market can support that many of them. WoW has the core market cornered and niche (let's call them "single A") games eat the scraps.

I think the real growth potential is probably for a game with a 30 month development cycle and $25 million. Less than that and you just have an online co-op game with incomplete features. More than that and you have something that relies too much on subscribers that don't exist or that really can't be swayed from their existing gaming habits or who expect everything they have to be represented in a new game.

WoW cost $65 million and, to replicate it, pundits estimate it would cost twice that figure today. Few people have the money to do that and conventional wisdom says that even if you do, you basically need WoW numbers to turn a profit.

There might be money to be made in cloning a smaller game like EvE and attaching a familiar brand license to it; some people did want that with STO. To an extent, the Cryptic model is to do that with Champions although I think STO and Neverwinter are different enough to attract different players and that you could probably continue to replicate that with other branded IPs like Transformers, G.I.Joe, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, stuff with a core heroic action style... and the success or failure will bear out in the style and quality of the art direction and the new content/skill design.

But overall, if I had a billion dollars, I'd probably stick with an established, visual customization heavy engine and drop $25 million over 30 months into multiple games.

Effectively what they used to call "Total Conversions" in the FPS days, just higher dollar and branded and hopefully with very distinct artistic styles and some novel new gameplay in each. And I'd be shooting for AA MMOs, each reliant on style in graphics and design, rather than a ground up AAA game like WoW.

And I'd wear the AA label with pride. Only compulsive gamblers with deep pockets are shooting for the AAA tier... and if you're only going single A, you might as well homebrew it and do something like Kingdom of Loathing.

(And, yeah, the STO box claims it's a AAA MMO but I honestly think Cryptic guys were so busy making games and still riding on the pre-WoW environment that City of Heroes launched into that they didn't know what AAA even meant by today's standards. If the present incarnation of STO launched before WoW, I actually think it would have been a huge hit, the flipside being that microtransactions would be out as a revenue source in that market.)

Archived Post 12-01-2010 11:22 PM

I like what OP said. Would also like to chose the colors for plasma and deflectors, but sounds like Feds are only allowed to have blue. :mad:

(this is just a rumor as far as I know though)

Archived Post 12-02-2010 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by d3nalii (Post 3197513)
I think customization of a character in an MMO is possibly one of _the_ most important elements. Especially once a large chunk of the population has reached 'end-game' levels. Players want a feeling of personal ownership in these virtual worlds. A sense of uniqueness. In a sea of pixels, people like to stand out and be noticed and noticeable.

WoW argues powerful against the importance of customization to MMO customers as a whole, but that's a seperate topic...

The biggest problem with customizability in this game is that this game is based on a fixed IP: Star Trek. That means that while bionic parts in Champions (as someone else pointed out) are definitely cool, they aren't very 'Star Trek'.

The same thing comes into play with ships and uniforms. Customizability is great, but at a certain point...if you play Fed side, you're in Starfleet, so you need to be flying something that looks like a Starfleet ship of some sort, and wearing something that could feasibly be interpreted as a Starfleet uniform.

Something at least equally important in an MMO to customization is immersion. The primary draw to this game is being able to play in the Star Trek universe. If, in game, it no longer feels like the Star Trek universe, there will be a real problem in terms of marketing the game. So Cryptic has to walk a fine line between opening up more customization and still maintaining the intergrity of the IP.

Archived Post 12-02-2010 02:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larrum
I like what OP said. Would also like to chose the colors for plasma and deflectors, but sounds like Feds are only allowed to have blue. :mad:

(this is just a rumor as far as I know though)

Pretty sure that's one of the things CBS ruled on during Beta...


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