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designationxr377 10-03-2012 12:46 PM

Non-Combat Missions, Good Idea Bad Idea?
It's time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea?

Alright, Non-Combat / Diplomacy Missions:

I'm not gonna talk about the merits of doing a pure non-combat mission stylistically because we all know just how often in your average Trek show the Ship took on 12 other vessels and racked up a kill count of 12,000 enemy crewmen.

What I am wondering about is going all out on a non-combat mission. No combat at all. I know it can be done, and done well, but, is it a good idea?

It's not hard to put a tiny bit of combat into a mission and call it combat light, or to work in options where a clever or devoted captain can avoid combat where someone who wants to may end up facing a fight or two. But is that mix worth the effort? Is it best to say out the gate that you will not get any combat in this mission and deal with it? Or should I just keep in mind the classic formula of a little bit of space a little less of ground while going with my story?

What are your thoughts? Those of you with non-combat missions already, how do you feel about them and how do the players feel? Is it overall success or not worth attempting halfway?

zorbane 10-03-2012 12:49 PM

I think they're a good change of pace for some players.

Obviously there would be a large number of players (players not authors) who would not be in favour and it probably wouldn't receive as many plays as ones with some pew pew.

drogyn1701 10-03-2012 01:06 PM

Good idea: making a non-combat mission with an engaging story.

Bad idea: making a non-combat mission with an engagement proposal.

bazag 10-03-2012 04:25 PM

Good idea. "A change is almost as good as a holiday"

I love my non-combat missions that I've made particularly the character of Bob that is first seen in Starfleet Experimentation and followed up in Hidden Intelligence. I've had positive reactions based on "A good change of pace" and "Bob ROCKS!" type.

As to mixing some light combat in or adding options to avoid combat. I think both are valid choices for any Author to make. I made in my non-combat missions a purposeful choice to have absolutely no combat, that was one of my goals that I had for all of them.

In others however I gave options to increase or decrease fighting. Gave alternate ways to give people more or less fighting depending on their choices. Which ever way you decide stick true to the story. Does combat make sense? Does lack of combat make sense? Does being able to sneak around make sense?

All these questions are dependent on you as the author and the story you want to tell.

Is non-combat good all the time? no
Is non-combat always a bad thing to do? no
Is combat good all the time? no
Is combat never good? no

bluegeek 10-09-2012 11:15 AM

The game itself is very combat-oriented and unfortunately doesn't easily lend itself to non-combat missions. Some authors have clearly been able to transcend that and I recognize the skill and creativity involved there.

I will say that zero combat missions are not easy to do in a way that holds a player's interest. Too much dialog is boring. Any dialog that doesn't advance the story somehow is probably best cut out or made optional. Puzzles help, but they're even harder to pull off in a way that doesn't frustrate players.

I wish we had a way to hook into the Commendation system to provide non-combat rewards, but I doubt that will ever happen.

I also wish we could present branching mission objectives and component triggers based on things like race, career, rank, gender, etc. It would be a lot easier to make really interactive stories that felt more like "Trek".

markhawkman 10-09-2012 01:32 PM

I'm working on a way to make a mission with a fun substitute for combat. Indirect combat.

drogyn1701 10-09-2012 02:05 PM

Something I've been doing is not using kill objectives (except in the three missions in my sig) that way the combat becomes optional. If a player wants to sneak by, they can, and if they want to pew pew, they can.

admiralmurphy1 10-09-2012 02:47 PM

I've made a non-combat exploration mission (A World Lost to Time) and I thought it turned out pretty well. The audience of people I built it for really liked it. It's one of my only missions so far with lot's of replies of people saying that it really does feel like a Star Trek episode in game. Haven't gotten so many comments like that on my heavy combat missions that I prefer more.

I think there's an audience for non-combat missions for sure. Maybe not as big as an audience as combat missions are since it's a game, but it's there.

kirksplat 10-09-2012 03:53 PM

I've made two, although some of my other missions are almost non-combat. There is one ship to fight in Vulcan Love Slave #9, and most of relics is dialogue.

I gotta say. They are not easy to do. I get frustrating working with branching dialogue. I pretty much have to work solely in word for a few weeks before I really get into the Foundry.

The hardest part for me is doing a non-combat mission with a lot of go here, push that, go there push this. go there scan, go there scan, etc. etc.

It's a lot intense writing work, and sometimes I'd rather just build and build a set and put some enemies down.

But, at least with a non-combat mission, you know how a player will experience the mission. With a combat mission, you have to come to terms with how untestable the monster really is.

It's probably b/c there are so few that mine are well-received. The most common reviews say a. "It's feels like Trek." and b. "I really enjoyed the change of pace here."

icefall1 10-09-2012 07:22 PM

I enjoy non-combat missions as much as combat. They're a good change when your fingers can't seem to find the right key to blow your enemy out of space or into the dirt.

That said, I would like to write a mission myself but can't find the information on what I need to do so using the search engines. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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