The perfect STO
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Join Date: Dec 2007
The perfect STO
03-15-2010, 04:57 PM
This is a long post, please feel free to skip it if it’s too long. This is my proposed long term strategy for Cryptic to help them understand where STO should go to be a game that *I FEEL* (stressing that, this is my perspective) would be the best implementation of STO. You’ll see, sprinkled through it, examples from the MMO’s I’ve played over my time as an MMORPG gamer. It is not objective, it is not “fact”, it is just my perspective and the subsequent thoughts from that.
I have 3 RA5 toons. I log in to do Infected, RP a bit, and log out, because there is nothing else to do. When I was playing WoW regularly (for several years), and other similar games, I had no issues logging in when I was max lvl, so what is different? WoW had no new content when I hit 80 (3 days after the launch of lich) or even 70 (3 days after the launch of BC), yet I logged in for years after hitting cap. Why? All of the stuff to do in WoW I could do in 2 days and never see a new thing again (outside high-end raiding).
Because what there is to do in STO (and what appears to be coming in the big patch, which is the same) has no bearing on the game or my character is my primary reason. In Wow (and other games), I’d do my dailies because of many reasons:
- It gave me money to pay for repairs and buy things I need (I don’t need money in STO, I have millions and nothing to buy, there was always something to buy in WoW, some new mount, item, or recipe)
- Factions. How the various factions in WoW felt about my character gave me a lot of rewards: Access to content, loot, recipes, badges, achievements, etc. I know this isn’t for everyone, but there are a *LOT* of people who enjoy this style of play, feeling like they are “advancing” their character on multiple axes. There’s nothing like this in STO, no mechanic similar to it. If I logged out right now and came back in 3 months, I would not have missed anything, I would not be “behind”, all of the political borders would be where they were when I left, all of the “factions” in the game would feel the same about it. It’s static, I’m static, the galaxy is static.
- Lvl 80 wasn’t “the end” in WoW, it was just the beginning. RA5 is a dead, hard stop. In EQ, cap lvl is just the beginning, then there’s all manner of alternative advancement. In Wow, my gear drives my abilities and there’s ALWAYS a better drop. The way STO is scaled, I have loot that’s “good enough” to defeat any content they throw at us. The upgrades we have available will make a miniscule difference in my ability. If they ramp the difficulty up so high that I’m 1-shot in 3 seconds of entering the zone, having that .5% increase that the next level of gear offers me would not have made a difference. For example, the purple badge engine/shield/deflector that are 5-days worth of dailies are like 3% better than my Blue Mk X’s. I’ve never been in a fight where I thought “Man, that 3% would have really saved our bacon!” It’s not worth grinding out a week of miserable Exploration missions just for 3% I don’t need.
- There were a *LOT* of dailies in WoW, scores of them, all over the place. I could do 10 different dailies a day and after a week still not have done them all. I know that’s a factor of WoW’s age in part, but it’s still one of the things people need…variety. Genesis Sucks Badly. Cryptic knows this, though I don’t know if they are planning to change it in the manner I’m looking for. Aid missions suck, ground missions show how bad pathing is, space missions are hyper repetitive, analysis missions only give tier 1 crafting materials, which then points the flashlight on how lame crafting is anyway. In short, the only thing for RA5 players to do is a “what’s what” of how STO is sub par.
So how do we fix this?
I appreciate epic content as much as the next guy (all I did in WoW was raid), but IMHO that’s not where Cryptic needs to be focusing their efforts. Epic content can be VERY frustrating, and buggy epic content can be “the last straw” for a lot of people. Poorly tuned buggy epic content is just suicidal.
IMHO, Cryptic should be making Genesis the center of STO. Genesis is unique (well, its radio missions from CoH, but go with me) in that it can become a limitless source of *GOOD* content. I would like to see Genesis become something that people log in to play, that people come back to play, and that people buy the game to play. To heck with “epic lewtz”, I want to “Explore strange new worlds!” 4Reel. What I’m looking for, what I feel Genesis needs in order to turn STO into “The Star Trek Game” it should be, we need the following:
- Personalize it. I’m an Andorian Admiral, my crew is Andorian (Blue Fleet 4tw), so once in awhile throw me a Genesis mission that’s because I’m Andorian. Have an NPC give me a different reaction because I’m Andorian, or because my Borg Admiral has a Vulcan science officer. Orbiting a planet, my Bajoran science officer chimes in with “I recognize this place, I visited here from my academy days….” And give me some lore about it that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Give me a branching option that’s only available because of who I am or what I have with me. Make me feel like my decisions matter, like the choices I make in game have some effect on the outcome. Right now I’m following a rote script that any macro program could follow (Just press F and “fire all”, move around a little).
- Branching! OMG, this game so desperately needs branching. There needs to be consequences for success and failure, great success vs adequate one, choosing A vs choosing B. Genesis is the perfect place for this, because it’s “disposable”. Give me a mission that needs to be done in a certain amount of time. If I fail, it branches to one path, if I succeed branch to another, and have the branches be 2-3 missions deep. For those that hate failing, too bad, but it has no real impact other than you didn’t get to see that content. For those that enjoy rewards for intelligent gameplay, there’s a great deal of satisfaction from the accomplishment. This can’t easily be done on the main episodic arcs obviously (you don’t want someone penalized for a bad decision in the main gameplay), but we’re talking Genesis here, where they’re out in “random space”.
- Variety. Obviously. I should be able to play for a full session (call it 2 hours) doing Genesis missions and never see the same template twice. People should be able to spend hours in Genesis and see something different every mission. I’ve posted this before, let me find derelicts to explore (with scary space hulk aliens in them). Nebulas to search for rare resources. Life forms that live in space. 700+ episodes of content to choose from, you don’t even need to use your imagination.
- Arcs. One-shots are boring. Every once in awhile, an exploration mission needs to launch into a full episode. Heck, in the series, EVERY exploration turned into an episode. Multi-steps, engaging, multi-phased (space and ground, combat and non). Hook the players in and make them want to do Exploration missions.
- More non-combat, and REAL non-combat. We need diplomacy, we need negotiations, we need engineering missions. A colony is having an issue that they need science help, so we beam down and my BO (or me if I’m a Sci captain) has tasks we need to do to help the colony. Let me ACTUALLY aid the planet. I beam down with my team and they need lots of help. I can tell my BO’s to split up and heal out in the area, building levies to stop a flood or rescuing people from a volcanic eruption. Again, limitless.
- Throw in some “reality”. Every once in awhile, have a Genesis mission be a real mission, a real episode, with real impact to the character. Throwaway missions can be fun for awhile, but having something real thrown in there now and again gives us the incentive to continue doing them. A real quest reward (decent loot), some fluff (a uniform piece), a crafting recipe (something to tune my ship, maybe), something real.
- Integrate crafting into it. Every few episodes, B’lanna, Geordi, Tripp or O’Brien would find some neat/nifty thing to add to the ship/station that makes it a little better. Not always huge changes, sometimes tiny/cosmetic ones. Heck, give me a mission where I have to “sour the milk”. Let me improve my crew in these types of skills, and broaden the scope of the Genesis missions to include this. Give the BO’s “expertise” ratings for their skills and the higher their skill is, the more missions become available. Because I put the points into my science officer, a certain type of Genesis mission is now available to me. Because I put those points into my engineering bridge officer, that conversation option with the NPC is available where for others it’s not there (not even greyed out, just not there). This all goes back to “Personalize it”.
- Change how it looks. OMG you need to change how it looks. Right now it’s FRIGHTENINGLY dull and ugly. You know how people clamour for you to get rid of sector space and make it look like real space? Make Genesis look like real space. I’m flying along, no other ships visible (or my fleet visible if we’re together) and our scanners pick up something. We come out of warp in orbit of the planet or asteroids or derelict or nebula or whatever. The potential of this is quite literally limitless.
In short (LOL), I know Genesis was “slapped on” on at the end, but it really should become the core of STO. People should come to the game because of how awesome the ingenious mission engine is and, oh, btw, there are also other missions they can do. You could even implement player-created content into Genesis, but if so it must be done VERY carefully, under strict controls, and only the best of the best content should be used. AE missions wiped CoH out. For every 1 decent mission there were a million offal ones. People should never have detritus missions inflicted upon them, no matter how “free” it might seem to be.
Hope this helps. I’m a lifer, and a huge ST fan, so I’m here to do all I can to make sure STO is all the game it can (and should) be.