Suggestions for future exploration revamp.
The devs have occasionally talked about someday revamping exploration in STO; so I thought I'd rattle off a few ideas here, and invite anyone else with thoughts on the matter to do the same. :)
The biggest problem with the current exploration missions is how repetitive they get; so it seems to me that the first thing to do would be to make what could happen a little more uncertain by randomizing certain results.
You receive a distress call from a ship belonging to your faction; they say they are under attack and require immediate assistance.
You arrive at the designate coordinates and find:
You drive off the attackers, or beam over to the damaged ship to render aid, or rescue the crew from the escape pods. Then:
Assuming the mission hasn't ended, you follow the warp trail of the attackers to another system. Upon arriving you find:
If you rescued the ship, and it wasn't too badly damaged, then it might (or might not) join you for this part; and the mission ends with the rescue of the crew members. If you rescued the ship but it was badly damaged, either because it was disabled when you arrived, or because it took a lot of damage fighting along side you, then you take the crew members back to their ship.
Maybe the mission ends there; or maybe the damage to the ship was extensive, and you need to give them a tow to a starbase. Maybe the mission ends there; or maybe you are ordered to go back and deliver a warning from your faction, so they don't try that again (which may or may not result in another fight).
Each bit would be short and simple; but it could result in anything from just clicking on some escape pods then going home, to a full blown multi-stage mission.
There really should be a sense of going somewhere new each time you go exploring. I accept that generating random terrain might be a big much, but what about a random sector map? It's a little disconcerting to see swarms of ships racing each other to anomalies; I'd suggest an instanced map for each player or team, which only has a small handful of things in it, which have to be hunted for (possibly using some sensor scan mechanic).
The things you can find might not be particularly interesting, but there should always be something to do there.
You find an uninhabited system, with a few seemingly unremarkable planets, moons, and asteroids; but it should be possible to do some kind of survey of these bodies, which may or may not turn up something of interest to your faction (like dilithium or neutronium). Maybe you could even beam down to collect some samples (environment suits may or may not be required).
If you do find something interesting while exploring, the game should remember it. These things could be used as triggers for future events. If you found dilithium, you might be asked to go back and help set up a mining facility, or to provide security for a facility that has already been built. If you had to fight someone, then maybe someone else of the same race, comes looking to settle the score. If you helped out some locals, then maybe they apply for membership to your faction and you get to host the meeting between representatives.
Work fleets into this somehow. Maybe allow us to relocate our starbases to systems we discover; maybe allow us to add a certain number of other systems to our fleet's territory (every starbase should have a patch of space it is responsible for one would think). Maybe put a console in the fleet bases that allows us to look over what's going on within the fleet's territory and see if anything needs doing (like a mission notice board). That distress call from suggestion 1 could just as easily have been picked up by the station as by a ship after all.
Maybe each fleet could have its own 'sector' that represents the fleet's area of control (either generated, or somehow 'assembled' by the fleet members tagging systems of interest that they discover).
Well, that's all I got. For those of you who read all that, thank you for your time. :)
What would you guys like to see from an exploration revamp?
As it turned out, that wasn't all I had; browse the thread for additional suggestions.
Good luck with this. I posted something very similar several times YEARS ago and was completely ignored.
So, I thought tossing out some ideas might be genuinely constructive; I mean, everyone (game developers included) gets their inspiration from somewhere, right?
We can hope so. However, I prepared an insanely detailed system for them, complete with charts and random events and so on, and never got so much as a comment from them.
I'd love to be wrong, but I just don't see them putting in the effort.
More, and less repetitive, content is absolutely needed. If you brainstormed a thread I bet you could easily fill out 20+ mission templates that could make exploration actually fun, as your own post proves; would love to play some of these.
The main issue I see is that Cryptic just doesn't seem to care about exploration, because you can't slap a price tag on it. If they actually made the exploration areas expansive and detailed, and gave exploration ships perks that actually mattered, then maybe we'd have a different story, as truly exploration focused ships could then become viable monetarily, as opposed to just giving anything borg or MACO engines as we do now :)
Sorry, that's a bit negative; I love the ideas, and I'd love to see it; especially anything that could involve more space missions or stuff on ships rather than on the rubbish ground maps that we have now.
OK, got another one.
Take a page out of Mass Effect 1's book, and introduce some large open ground maps that can be explored by vehicle (and, obviously, introduce ground vehicles). These maps need not be as busy(? detailed? cluttered?) as existing ground maps; in fact, for the sake of decent driving conditions, probably should not be (don't need my buggy stuck down a ravine, or up a tree).
If the driving were done well, you might get people heading out into the unknown just so they can try to find some decent dunes to race around on (or use as ramps for stunts). :cool:
The game could really do with something like this; I can't honestly say I've ever felt like I was really exploring on the ground. I was too boxed in, too directed, and from a decent vantage point, could usually see everywhere it is possible to go.
It occurs to me that this could be a way for Cryptic to use exploration to make a little extra money. Say there was one free vehicle that was little more than a way of getting around a bit faster (like the Argo from Nemesis), and then a whole bunch of more exciting vehicles in the z-store. Hover vehicles, armoured vehicles, vehicles that are faster, or have turbos, or jump boosters, etc. Seems like Champions is doing that; so why not STO?
If combined with Suggestion 4, it could lead to fleets forming their own racing leagues or something; adding incentive to getting better vehicles.
I know, I shouldn't be bumping my own thread; but there's no point me adding something in an edit if nobody is going to see it now is there? ;)
The Nemesis system from Cryptic's other MMO Champions, for those who don't know, is a feature that allows you to create your own arch-enemys. Something like that could be adapted for STO.
I don't suggest we actually be able to make our own enemies (that would be weird); but suppose a nemesis could be generated by the system. More accurately, a recurring NPC who might show up whenever you enter his/her native region (so, potentially, one such character for each exploration zone); this NPC might be an enemy or ally, depending on the nature of your early encounters.
So, if you first run into this NPC in a combat mission (and there are no diplomatic options available), chances are he or she is going to be an enemy; on the other hand, if this NPC's first appearance is is in the dialogue window of one of those 'deliver 10 seismic stabilizer' (or whatever) missions, chances are they will be an ally, and might show up to help you out from time to time.
Ideally, there should be ways for their attitude towards you to change over time; an enemy might gradually come to respect you, or an ally might become disillusioned with your methods.
This could create the sense that your adventures are actually making a difference, and have consequences.
This one is probably a little less reasonable, but I think it still needs said: more 'generic' ships. All of the aliens I encounter in exploration zones, that don't belong to a major faction, fly exactly the same ships. This gets old pretty quickly.
I would suggest making customizable 'neutral' ships, not unlike players ships; make a few basic frames, and a bunch of parts to hang off them. The parts don't all need to be completely unique, slightly modified parts off of existing ships would probably do for some of it. Add some 'alien' hull materials, maybe make deflector and nacelle glowy separate variables for the sake of variety; that sort of thing.
In keeping with my earlier suggestions, I would suggest that the game remember what a particular species was flying when they were encountered by the player, for the sake of consistency; some sort of code attached to the player character. Player encountered species x, with ship configuration 2, components 7 1 4 6, skin 3, etc. So it knows what to put that species in if the player runs into them again.
WE absolutely need a better diplomatic help the planet series of missions in explore systems,tried starting a new toon, couldn't complete "the needs of the many" at all. Stayed in there for an hour trying to get one to popup.
Also, I would love for the "defend yourself" thing to be revamped, I'm sorry but they wouldn't just pop out of nowhere without some cloaking technology and the races this happens with do not have that tech so I'd be able to see them as a science ship most especially considering out sensor arrays are supposed to be that much better.
Lets not redo the Explore Sector system - this is a dead horse.
Exploration for me means Discovery of new stuffs. I want to go through the wormhole at DS9 and end up in an area of space without a map! Let me discover and map planets as I explore the area of space like a traditional MMO map (grayed out areas on the map). Each planet needs to be alive with a different species story to explore. The areas of space needs to be a large sector grid of 20x20 explore sectors square. I can put up with sector hopping if the exploration system is good.
Expanding on the idea behind Suggestion 7, it'd be nice if the lesser powers of the galaxy weren't all using the same 'off the shelf' gear as the major factions. I have no idea if this is possible in STO, but suppose it were possible to assemble unique weapons from an assortment of common parts.
Say, for example, there were 10 barrels, 10 shoulder stocks, 10 scopes, and so on, and these components could be thrown together any which way to produce all new weapons. I suppose there could be corresponding parts for each weapon type, so that designing a rifle would also design an assault weapon and a pistol to match. Maybe with a few optional, decorative, bits a pieces to help spread the material out a little. Maybe a variety of different skins that can be applied to them too.
It might be a good bit of work to pull off; but once it were done, new sets of weapons could be assembled in minutes, making giving each race a unique look a simple (and quick) matter.
A selection of armour like tailor options for them would help too; the addition of body armour sections, or tactical gear, could make most costume choices look a bit more martial. If it worked, it would make it easier to assemble an outfit that looked like a military uniform, so they don't have to look so same-y.
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