BOFFs and beyond (what updates would you like to see in the Bridge Officer System)
There have been several very thorough and ambitious suggestions for additional Bridge Officer Content, such as bridge officer development and mission implementation (similar to "companion" quests in other RPGs)
I personally have a few minor tweaks I would like to see implemented with Bridge Officers and the Bridge area in general!
First and foremost, I would like to say that the new on-board duty officer assignments are terrific. It really gives me a reason to visit the bridge (formerly, the only reason I would do so was to visit the transporter room on engineering deck to switch to a small craft).
The interior of the U.S.S. (INSERT NAME HERE) and events occurring there hav always been a major theme for Star Trek works.
Since we can select department heads for the duty officer system from our BOFF roster, It would seem reasonable that the assignment givers for respective types of missions could be the BOFFs whom we selected for those departments. For Example; my head medical doctor's character model should be used as the doff mission giver in sickbay, my chief engineer in the engine room etc...
On a separate but related note; It would be nice to see the random NPCs onboard our ship replaced with the character models of our duty officers (and placed in respective areas of the ship). I.E. I would like to see my Vorta biochemist in the science lab messing with a machine, or my El Aurian bartender in the mess hall.
One of the major themes of Star Trek is camaraderie between the major characters. As STO places each one of us in the captain's seat of our own Trek series, It would be nice to see some more interaction with our supporting cast (BOFFs). There have been suggestions for addition of massive amounts of content (aformentioned BOFF missions at the top of this post), however I have a very easily implementable change which will (I hypothesize) greatly appreciated.
Dialogue in STO runs a check on player rank for dialogue; do your BOFF would say something like "Commander! The romulans have opened fire on the station!"
"Vice Admiral! The romulans have opened fire on the station!"
A simple tweak to allow your bridge officers to refer to you by first name would be very simple to implement; as I'm sure we can all appreciate the difference between
"He's dead, Captain" and "He's dead, Jim"
More of an expansion on 2A, I noticed wonderful differences in BOFF dialogue between shared FED/KDF missions, which really added "personality and zest" to the crew. Admittedly, this would be an incredibly ambitious implementation, which I doubt will be added anytime soon or at all; but here goes.
BOFF personalities. On a basic level, let's say I have three different bridge officers. A vulcan, A klingon, and a Human. And to even further simplify the concept, let's have three basic personalities "logical, aggressive, and diplomatic"
In a certain situation, lets say an exploration mission, you encounter some pirates, the stralians who seem to like to harass the B'Tran cluster.
Vulcan/logical: "The stralians are a warlike race [name], and our allies here do not posess the means to defend themselves, it is logical that we deny these marauders control of this system"
Klingon/Agressive: "Let us crush these miserable Peta'Q! All weapon are ready to fire on your command [name]!"
Human/Diplomatic: "They're not responding to hails [name]... They're charging weapons! We have to defend ourselves!"
or when you're doing a anomaly scan mission and you have a borg sciBoff, he could say something about assimilating data etc...
This is merely a rough example of what I believe would be a beneficial implementation to the BOFF system, admittedly, updating existing mission dialogues to allow for this would be an epic undertaking, but It would be something nice to see applied to things with common dialogue (i.e. exploration clusters, DSEs)
Now I know this has been said a dozen times, but Bridge Officers should be able to use Maco, Omega, and Honor Guard uniforms. I worked hard to get said uniform sets and costumes on my character, and am very happy with the way the look (Thank you Cryptic!). However, I never use them outside of STFs and Defera. On a standard PvE mission with BOFFS, it simply looks and feels very irresponsible for the captain to be only armored member of the away team while the rest of the crew is in their dress uniform.
Anyways, these are just a few Ideas I have about improving the BOFF system, some more ambitious than others. I would appreciate hearing thoughts anyone else has on improving the BOFF system, as well as feedback on my ideas (what you like/dislike, why something might not work, etc...)
On a final note; this is my first post on STO forums, It I have placed this in the wrong section SORRY!
I really dig the idea of having a customizable method of the BOFFs referring to you. I think it would definitely add to the RP nature of the game. And while it is easy math to make the thing happen in dialogue (it's essentially just a different title), it would take a lot of time for the Devs to create an interface for this. It would probably be either in the format of some sub-menu of the character selection screen or something completely new like a relationship screen. And you'd have to have the option for each of your BOFFs, because let's face it, not everyone gets to call the captain by their first name.
Also, I think the idea of having additional dialogue depending on the species of a given BOFF is certainly interesting. It's also something that has been played with a tiny bit (to somewhat mixed reviews) and hinted at as a future possibility. (Here: http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/04...ad-writer-chr/ ) But this is a massive undertaking that would take reprogramming a lot of stuff as well as writing all that additional dialogue. Again, there would have to be a possibility for each species, since none of them have shared typical species-wide traits in canon (Ferengi are motivated by profit and greed; Cardassians are motivated by information and power). I think seeing something like this would be a long, long, long way off.
What I'd love to see is a way to make the BOFFs more a part of your character's life. This goes to the heart of the relationship idea I mentioned above but also means a lot more. It'd be great if we could have to win some of the BOFFs over on a personality level or a professional level. What I mean is that there would be a randomly assigned meter (like the one in the old game Birth of the Federation, used in diplomacy) that could be influenced by species, gender, and inactive traits. For instance, if your character is a Vulcan female who is telepathic and you get a BOFF who is a Ferengi male who is stubborn, your standing with the new BOFF might not be much above a "distrusting" one until you do things to either strengthen it or weaken it. But if your character is a Tellarite male who is a techie and you get a BOFF who is a Trill female who is a warp theorist, your relationship standing might start at "friendly". This opens up the possibility that has been floated around here of actually engaging in romantic entanglements with your crew members. It also opens up the possibility of having a new random mission pop up every now and then when the standing dips into the "hatred" category where you're forced to defend your ship from mutineers. The meter could change after many missions working together or after spending time engaging with the BOFF in a social way on your ship (poker anyone?). Granted, this is another change that would take lots of programming and would be a long, long, long way off.
The other thing that I think would be interesting (and that is probably more realistic in the short to medium term) is the idea that your officers aren't going to serve with you forever. There are constantly promotions and reassignments that happen in canon. Why not in STO? It stands to reason that your first officer is eventually going to take a command of their own. This could either be granted by the NPC admiralty and you just receive a message after the character has served for x-amount of time. Or it could be granted by you once you reach Admiral and have the ability to give one of your old ships to your BOFF. But this principle would also apply to the other BOFFs. Eventually people get transferred or, if the relationship meter was in effect, they might request it. In these cases you'd get a message and the BOFF would depart. You would have the opportunity to block the transfer for a certain amount of EC or if you're in a romantic relationship or share a close friendship. It also seems a little unrealistic that every single BOFF comes to you as an Ensign. In reality they would be of all the other ranks too. So it seems like a natural thing to occasionally have a Lieutenant Commander (or whatever) assigned to you, which could create contention between you and that BOFF if they outrank you. It would give us a more realistic RP experience as well as provide us something to do with all those XPs we rack up once we reach endgame.
It would also be interesting to have a cap put in that disallows us the ability to have all of our BOFFs be commanders. Maybe it would depend on your rank. For instance, as a LT, you're not allowed to promote anyone but could theoretically acquire one LTC and one LT. As a LTC, you would be allowed three LTs and the rest would be ENS, plus being able to acquire one COM and one LTC (if you don't already have one). As a COM, you'd be able to have two LTCs, four LTs and the rest would be ENS; plus being able to acquire one COM if you haven't already. As a CPT, you'd be able to have one COM, three LTCs, six LTs and the rest ENS. As a RALH, you'd be able to have two COMs, four LTCs, eight LTs, and the rest ENS. As a RAUH, you'd get three COMs, five LTCs, eight LTs, and the rest ENS. At VA, you'd get four COMs, six LTCs, eight LTs, and the rest ENS. This would obviously be within the confines of the number of BOFF slots you've purchased and may be outside of the current slot cap. Also, you'd be able to increase these numbers if you could promote your BOFFs to Captain and give them one of your ships. To keep things from spiraling too far out of control, the BOFF Captains would only be allowed enough of their own BOFFs to fill the station slots available for the ship they're assigned. Capping in this way would not necessarily mean you would be forced to promote whichever officer your ship has a station for, especially at higher ranks with more ship options and more BOFFs.
More usage for extra officers. Like with certain ship types, you have your officers in their normal stations, but say with a carrier you would have 2 extra "stations", squadron A and squadron B. A bridge officer assigned to one of those stations would bring their abilities to squadrons launched from the corresponding bay. Or for multi-vectored ships, you could assign a different commander for each section, and they would bring their abilities to it when you separate. Artificial stupidity would prevent OPness, while still allowing customization.
The ability to designate one ship from your shipyard as the one that shows up when fleet support is used, and set a captain for it along with officers for all stations.
Also more space passives. As it stands now there's liberated Borg, and Saurian/Lethean for efficient. Considering that for most people ground is probably an afterthought, and for those that do play it it's STFs which don't use bridge officers, special officers like Breen or Jem'hadar aren't worth as much for alot of people. Can't Vulcans be efficient, or especially androids. Maybe Caitans could be elusive since they have cat-like reflexes. Even a ferengi passive that increases quantity and/or quality of loot drops would be something. Maybe tie it to officer stations/department heads. A bridge officer with warp theorist might only give the passive if seated at the highest level engineering console and head of engineering. A human could give their leadership bonus, but only as first officer. Etc.
And maybe something on a scale similar to or larger than the Defera invasion, where players can all bring a full away team and fight a ground war together.
Bridge Officers need to have "rank" seperated from "skill". Even giving them a "title" which included all the ranks would do the trick. That way even though the officer in question has maxed out their learning potential, I can still call him a Lieutenant.
Having bridge officers located throughout the ship would be great, but it needs to be done correctly. I.e. Using the Doff sys department head setup, the first officer should be placed somewhere on the bridge. The chief science officer should be either in the science lab or at a bridge science station. Doctor in sickbay, obviously. Chief engineer, in engineering. If the same officer is used to man a science station and is also your chief science officer, then a generic NPC could be used, to avoid duplicate officers spawning on the bridge.
*** The ability to call your department heads to the bridge, via the captain's chair. Appropriate NPC beams into the bridge turoblift, walks to the command chair and stands at attention until you dismiss them, at which point they re-enter the turbolift.
Similar to pets, I'd like to ability to bring one or two bridge officers with me into social zones. That way I'm not always travelling through Spacedock or DS9 alone. Kirk virtually always had Spock or McCoy along, same with Picard, Riker and Data. This would be an optional deal, so one didn't always have to bring an extra officer along all the time.
I think those concepts, however they get implimented, would radically enhance the immersion factor.
I really don't like the idea of loosing boffs. I've invested time and effort into crafting those characters, they are my crew, and to have them leave without me dismissing them seems.... wrong. Besides, look how long Riker was Picard's First officer before he finally got his own ship (yes, I am aware he was offered 3 commands in the series).
But I do like the idea of being to have one or two follow you in social zones, even if it is done with the pet mechanic and they are just reskinned. It may get a bit crowded though, is the only thing.
Personally, I would like the ability to assign them to set consoles on the bridge. My chief engineer is manning the helm on the Viper, but in my mind, my conn officer is a different boff.
Going off of what treaen from the first reply, and this may sound risky, but they should put some elements from the Sims into STO.
Give Boff some personality traits. These can be customizable or randomly generated. These, along with what species they are will determined their dialogues in the short term and even Boff specific missions in the long run.
The whole friendlyness meter thing is a great idea. This can tie into gameplay with how efficient each boff is. Boff on a friendly term with you, the player, will have faster cool down time in their abilities, but those on a less friendly term will have slower cool down time.
These relationship things can have randomly generated missions.
Remember Wolf and Dax getting merry? There could be a wedding mission. You can let them go on a honey moon and they'll be unavailable to be assigned as department head or be put into a boff slot for a short time (day or two), BUT after they return, they will get permanent boost and if they both get put into a boff slot, they'll get a buff in aspect of what ever department they are in.
There can be missions involving disputes between two of your boff. These can be chained mission too. If you keep failing to help them make up, their efficiency will go down.
I would love to see my Boff in their assign area too, but I wouldn't mind seeing each of my Boff getting a room in the crew deck and depending on the time, I can find them there instead of their station. Their rooms will also depend on their personality and what species they are.
In short, crypic need to first hire a dialogue writer that will make several variations of what the boff will say that the lead writer has written for missions.
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