Musings of a new player (Beware, long)
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Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
10-02-2013, 02:26 PM
Welcome to the STO forums!
I agree with a lot of what you say. There's little "shaping" of your character in terms of story, and your decisions ultimately do not matter, except for certain things like accolades (where you re-run the mission and simply choose a different decision to make). But there is no firm 'destiny carving' you do, since everyone has the same missions, and you have the 'spoon fed' angle.
I'll give you a little history lesson, not because I think you're wrong, but to kind of explain why things are the way they are. You mentioned you played Ultima Online, so you're familiar with how the evolution of MMO's have gone. WoW and City of Heroes took what made Everquest and Ultima Online so great and made it easier. Subsequent games took what made WoW and City of Heroes so great and made it easier. (City of Heroes actually came out it April 2004 whereas WoW came out in November 2004). Which brings me to the next point -- a lot of people mention WoW and for certain people that game is their entire baseline on which MMO's are built from.
Everquest and Ultima Online were extremely successful in their heyday, and pat of that is attributed to not having any competition. But once studios saw their success, they decided they wanted part of the market.
Now here we are, in 2013 -- with more MMOs than we know what to do with. The market has gone from the opposite of virtually non-competitive to (in my opinion) oversaturated.
As a result, MMO's can no longer offer the challenges that previous games had. Subscription-based profits are all but extinct as games try to fight each other for raw player numbers, and microtransaction-based economies are shaping up to be the new norm. Part of the challenge in getting more players is making an extremely easy game that requires very little thought to it. MMOs are in a race to the bottom of the IQ chart in an attempt to garner higher populations. This trend will only continue and get worse until (in my opinion) this unsustainable bubble of MMOs pops and only the ones with the strongest support remain.
We're no longer in the days of old school RPGs, and Cryptic has to make extremely broad strokes to draw in players. "Surprise" encounters, decision-based character development, and other examples you mention are theoretically possible, but in the long run it's ultimately not viable. Players like you are rare and few. People in general do not want something new and exciting -- they want the same thing everything else has. Certain games break from this line of thought (like EvE Online), but for the most it's the industry standard.
Cryptic has one of the most extensive character customization features, and in the industry their focus on character customization is their 'hallmark', which started in City of Heroes. That being said, despite that -- there are still shortcomings which you pointed out.
Again, welcome to the forums and I hope you're having fun in STO.