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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 27
04-01-2009, 12:05 AM
Those were fair responses all the way around, _Pax_. Thanks.

Originally Posted by _Pax_ View Post
In a combat situation, you are the front-liner, and I am playing in a "support" role.
I see this as a strong possibility as well... but look closely at Craig's actual words:

Originally Posted by Zinc
A player who wants to take a support role will choose different skills and equipment than one who wants to be on the frontlines.
As I read that, I don't get the impression that he's necessarily talking about small group ops. I'm reading it more as "combat-oriented ships/characters up on the front lines do the actual fighting; support-oriented ships/characters behind the lines do stuff like crafting and resource-hunting exploration to keep the war effort going."

In other words, I'm seeing "support" as meaning supporting one's faction, not necessarily as supporting another individual ship in a group of ships.

Am I completely off base here, or is that a potentially valid read of what Craig said?

Originally Posted by _Pax_ View Post
As I've said to you before, IIRC: I think you're reading too much into the use of those terms. The terms exist because they really DO define archetypal roles in an MMO. In any RPG, really.
We have gone round on this before, so probably best not to do so again in this thread.

I'll just say that my objection is based on two things:

1. I don't believe that the tank/DPS/support+aggro mechanic is inherent to MMORPGs; I consider it primarily a quick hack to get around the problem of decent collision detection eating too many CPU cycles in early online games. Why perpetuate a mechanic that's no longer necessary just because other games do it? That's cargo cult thinking.

To support the idea of twisting the well-understood Star Trek roles (Science, Engineering, Tactical, Command) into the tank/DPS/support model of other games, I'd need to see that it was clearly superior to alternative grouping designs that could be a better fit for a Star Trek MMORPG. Why not light weapons/heavy weapons/special weapons (no "tank" type needed)? I could accept those as role competencies for ships and characters in a combat context -- so how is that model (or any other) necessarily worse than the tank/DPS/support model that just happens to have been cloned by other MMORPGs?

And precisely how is aggro, on which the whole "tank" concept rides in particular, in any way whatsoever a play mechanic that is naturally inherent in the very concept of a MMORPG?

If it's not, then why does this game need it and the tank role that flows from it?

2. Regardless of the above, I'm philosophically opposed to basing the gameplay roles of ships or characters in a Star Trek MMORPG, which ought IMO to promote exploration as its core value (especially for Starfleet ships/characters), on roles that are based exclusively on suitability for small-group combat gameplay.

As noted above, however, I'm perfectly fine with saying, "We've based our ships and character roles directly on the roles we've seen for forty years in Star Trek -- now, here how those roles work in a combat context; here's how those roles work in an exploration context; here's how those roles work in a scientific/engineering context; here's how those roles work in a diplomatic context." In other words, in what I would consider the right design for this particular game, combat would be just one context among several -- it wouldn't be the single starting point for ship and character design (as seems to be the case now), where all other contexts just have to settle for being second-class citizens at best.


Old argument. I don't expect it to persuade anyone who likes the familiar combat-centric tank/DPS/support mechanic until some developer just says the hell with it, implements something different, and proves with an actual playable game that something different can work just fine....

Originally Posted by _Pax_ View Post
Yes, it was. After all, how often have we chided the rabid-Trek-Sim-or-Bust people "This will be a Trek game not a Trek sim" ...?
I believe the correct answer to that question is "far too many times."

"It's not going to be a simulation" is a horrifically cheap way of avoiding serious and valid questions about whether modeling some aspect of reality might make a game more fun for more players. Asking about the possibility of modeling in a limited way some individual real-world or IP-based feature is in no way, shape or form a rabid demand for "a" simulation. So quipping that the game isn't going to be "a" simulation just targets a straw man; it doesn't address in a direct and honorable way the limited questions being asked.

It's bad enough when gamers do that sort of thing as a kind of shorthand for "I personally don't want the feature you've just suggested." I expect better from game designers.

Meh. Another old argument that we won't be resolving here. :p


At any rate, I'd like to stress again that most of the things Craig said today sounded pretty good to me. I stand by my concerns about a few things he said, but they're the minority of my takeaways from today's interview remarks.