How to Support Multifaction Content in STO: A Simple Analysis
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Join Date: Jun 2012
08-17-2012, 10:58 PM
WoW-folk have a good 60% of their quests shared between factions. I've said before, the problem is partially a design flaw. Quests should have been, "Go to planet, encounter problem." Instead they were, "Your orders are to proceed to..."
In terms of people who just want to shoot, queued missions and open zones will satisfy them.
In terms of story, there's a rationale for recycling more heavily based on faction, as factions were pretty much predisposed to "capture and hold" based on popularity, with the post popular being most movement and exploration focused and least popular being very focused on small terrain, held well.
That is, until you get to Ferengi or Talaxians, in which case the paradigm shifts to "play all factions' content." The Talaxians for friendship (if they reach the Alpha Quadrant) and the Ferengi for profit.
I think Cardassian content would be focused on an almost Silent Hill or Resident Evil level of terrain control (heck, think just one faction from Secret World at most; I think they're STO's TRUE competitor for reasons I could go into) and Federation would be the more "grab and go" approach we've seen, with everyone else being in the middle.
I'll concede; I was a MUD admin addict (managed over ten) and I follow Bartlett (talked to him about STO; he's the father of the MUD) but my studies have really taken me into Warren Spector territory, which I think is gold for MMOs.
It's funny because my Master's thesis hinges on a narrow analysis of MMOs and even Cryptic's CEO lead me to study Richard Garriott but whether you're talking Garriott or Spector, it all kinda hinges on Deus Ex as a template and its action antecedents like Bioshock, which is very Trek in scope, down to Armin Shimerman starring. I'm not going to lie, my focus on theory eclipses my focus on MMOs and I'm not an IT guy, despite some background in programming and modding.
But there's one thing I think Gozer had VERY right. He commented in his "Stranded in Space" revamp that he used the transporter room as an "establishing shot" of sorts. My school of thought is very much in the vein of using setup to initiate the player and letting gameplay be gameplay. Not using conscious cues but sublimating the player into the unconscious realm.
The problem is that film pushes the audience/player totally into the designer's mind and people have (falsely) used it for a model of gameplay. Whereas pure gameplay is no more satisfying than playing soliataire.
Pushing aside disputes over the validity of hypnosis, a good game lures you into a hypnotic stance where pseudorandom gameplay is entertaining, keeps you there, and then delivers you back into mechanical gameplay considerations, prepared to thrust back into the imaginary world again.
Done right, the low number of maps or even repetition of mechanics can be a perk IF they reinforce the musicality of play. It's no better or worse than a song with lots of chorus repetitions... IF handled artfully and IF you know when to kick in a new verse.
It's taken me awhile to articulate that and I suspect CERTAIN game development job interviews would have gone differently if I'd mastered the language sooner and spent less time griping on forums.