BOFFs and beyond (what updates would you like to see in the Bridge Officer System)
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Join Date: Dec 2007
05-01-2012, 09:13 PM
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:
) 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.