Feedback on The Writing in Cloaked Intentions
I've been thinking about this topic since episode 3 of the series. Overall, I must go on record stating I truly loved and enjoyed the series. The writing in this series truly reinforced my personal belief that Stahl's leadership & Gozer's writing will re-invigorate the game, and bring in new players.
The voice acting was fantastic! The actor playing Obisek really nailed the part, and brought a new level of believability to the character. The Delta Flyer was a great addition to my fleet, and i can hardly wait for shuttle-bays. I feel that once again, you guys really demonstrated that you know how to write for a Ferengi characther (Madran).
This series provided an experience i want to share with you. During the episode "Frozen" you provided me a choice that not only immersed me in the game and the universe you have created, but at the same time it forced me to break my immersion in the game and debate a personal decision in real life. You brought to life an experience that taught me something about myself, and the way I deal with certain situations in real life.
The experience was during the mission "Frozen", and was setup by the briefing with Admiral T'nae. Perhaps i read too much into it, but her directly referencing the prime directive gave me the expectation that there would be a decision that would have repercussions for my Captain.
The decision on weather to side with or try to arrest Obisek was one of the best experiences I've had in a game or in a discussion with friends in the real world. I thank you for that, but I also feel that i have to comment on this experience. I hope you will take this as constructive criticism. This is a topic I feel the need to point out, because this series for me is among the best you have created for this game.
First, I feel the need to explain that i play primarily a federation character, and i am mostly a 1-toon player. Although i played the story as a Klingon, I enjoyed the federation side more. As a Federation Caption, the choice to arrest or side with Obisek was a decision which reflects on how much I (or my toon) was willing to abide by the prime directive, regardless of the outcome.
I personally had to stop playing at this decision, because I COULD NOT continue until i had answered the question you raised. I discussed this question with 3 other friends, one of whom i called up to discuss the implications and implementation of the prime directive, (he's a trek fanatic). In discussing this with one of my friends, I compared it to the arms race we face in the real world. The setup to this decision was almost perfectly executed, for me the writing was on par with the best from the tv series and movies - I cannot state that enough.
Your failure was that you did not make that choice meaningful in any way, shape or form for the player. It highlights a huge opportunity you missed. For me, this was your (the writers), single-biggest shortcoming in the entire series.
No matter what decision you make, you are told the same thing by Admiral T'nae, the next mission begins with you being contacted by Obisek, and proceeding according to script. If you side with Obisek, the story "forgets" that you just made a decision that may have violated the Prime Directive. If you try to arrest Obisek, he still contacts you for the next mission. This is just bad plotting by the writers. You setup a situation and imply that your decision may have to factor in Starfleet's Prime Directive, then fail to make the results of the player's decision meaningful or have any impact on the character.
At the very least, you could have received a reprimand on your record, (told to you by Admiral T'nae), at the conclusion of the mission. Another alternative would have been to have a different beginning to the next episode if you did not side with Obisek. For example, you are sent to the star system to investigate a sudden spike in Thalaron radiation readings from the system (a result of the ship jettisoning the weapons). At the start of the next mission, if you tried to arrest Obisek, there is really no reason for him to try to contact you at that point in time. He may be desperate, but up until this point, he is portrayed as intelligent and calculating. To contact us directly so soon seems like a bad tactical decision.
This series was among the best you have written for the game, and I loved it. However, I strongly feel that to not make that decision meaningful is a display of bad or inconsistent writing at best. I understand that you have deadlines and requirements, and that you guys at times do not get the recognition you deserve from players and forum posters. I love the game and the universe you've created, so I am not comfortable letting something this important to me pass without putting in my input on the topic. I have some other minor thoughts that i may post later, but i really needed to post this topic in hopes that you will read it and create an even more immersive and engaging experience in the future.
Live long and prospe,
Decided to post a few other thoughts and ideas about the series. Once again, overall this was one of the best series in the game, and I enjoyed it immensely. The writer's really stepped up to the plate, and hit one to the far wall, but not quite out of the park. :p
I'll break this down into specific episodes:
Also - re the OP, the problem with decisions having an effect between missions is, what if you replay the mission, and make the other choice? Do you go with the most recent decision, or the original decision, when playing the next episode?
However, the point on long-reaching choices is something that i feel deserves a topic of it's own, and I'm working on a well thought-out and researched posting. After a little more research, I hope to post my thoughts on that....hope you will give that post a read, (when it's done).
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