Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I have a friend I recruited to STO over the holidays. He's a veteran gamer and a veteran software engineer who's worked with some really large and complicated accounts before. He was my guildmaster in WoW and my roommate for a few years and I value his feedback greatly as a friend and as a smart guy whose opinion I trust.

He enjoyed STO immensely and loved the graphics. I hope he comes to the forums at somepoint and gives his review because, talking to him, he came away with a ton of great insights in just his first day or two of playing.

I don't know if he'll continue past his gametime expiration in March though because his girlfriend is a Mac user. Funny thing is, she's more excited about this game than WoW and has an account here since I gifted her a copy but is intimidated about having to use wine or bootcamp. It's important for them to play together and she's very uncomfortable with Windows or Wine. So while she's not loving WoW, she plays it because it's something they can easily play together (and he loves WoW and would play both games gladly).

Now... Background aside, my friend was overwhelmed with the controls and the tutorial. Once he got it, he got it... But the presentation of information came "too much, too fast". I suspect this is one reason why many of us took a few levels or more to grasp how to maximize expose and exploit tactics. It's lost on the newbie and the obliviously unobservant and guys like my friend start overthinking things if you bombard them with information. He has the tendency to to use a formula and a spreadsheet for anything he can and the raw amount of data he was handed was overwhelming; he walked away feeling like he needed to optimize power levels down to the exact number before even getting a chance to see how easy or difficult the content was.

So... With the constant talk about people wanting "Red Alert", "Yellow Alert", and "Condition Green" settings, I had a thought that's been rattling around my head for a few weeks. That usually gets presented as a requested additional feature, an immersion feature, something to make the game more like a simulator.

But what if you used that as a frontend for the power settings?

Just three big buttons:

"Red Alert" (full power to weapons or 50/50 shields/weapons)
"Yellow Alert" (full power to shields)
"Condition Green" (Maybe half engine, half aux, none for shields or weapons... maybe shield GRAPHICS turned off when out of combat)

And you have an advanced tab to access the settings we have now. But for the new player, three buttons. No data overload for the easily overwhelmed or the harebrained overthinkers. No numbers or graphs or charts. Just three buttons based on the "Red Alert" graphic seen on computer screens in Trek.

Not a new feature for the most part... but a frontend for the game as it is now that takes less effort to grasp at first. With the side benefit of giving more of a superficially "Trek" feel.

I think that and some toolbar fixes (buttons no longer disappearing/rearranging, maybe an easier coded way to tell BO abilities from Captain abilities and recognize abilities by department branch. (Pendra has a nice little color mod for buttons. I don't know if CBS would agree with that. But something LIKE that.)

Overall, I think there are ways to make the game feel less "mathy" on one hand and less abstract on the other and do so in ways that reflect ideas from the shows, enhancing the Trek feel while making the overall presentation of information more elegant.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
01-07-2011, 07:32 AM
To be honest, I didn't think the power levels were too much of an issue. You had the presets "Offensive", "Defensive" and "Balanced" to choose from and those who wanted to could customize them.

The game to begin with is pretty simple to just use the "Offensive" preset and then later on when you grasp the need for the change you can. I think the first time I had to change was during the Briar patch mission during beta, after getting destroyed a couple of time I worked out the best way to manage my powers.

Also I want to point out making it easier isn't exactly trek. You often hear the Captains in the shows asking to divert power from other systems, if anything you would have to make it more complicated to make it feel more Trek. Eg Divert Power from Holodecks or Cargo Bays.

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