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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Update: 20 APRIL 2010 - GoogleDoc Links added
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Explore the System/Diplomacy
and
Revisit the System Proposals

two PDF downloads based on community ideas:
each with their own images, ideas, and poll results


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Explore the System and Diplomacy Proposals
======================
( - Download PDF from GoogleDocs - ) * NEW! *

* NEW! * Revisit the System Proposal
======================
( - Download PDF from GoogleDocs - ) * NEW! *

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I'm proud to release the Revisit the System Proposal.

It's another set of proposals and responses to developer feedback generated by the Star Trek Online Community and players like you.


Background:
This proposal is the result of a community effort.

Though members like Relict and myself started threads on improving elements of Star Trek Online - it is the community that contributed to discussion. The fans (and the haters) helped me refine these ideas as I went - expanding, explaining, or eliminating elements as we went along.

It felt great to have so many people involved - from all over the world no less!

That said, I hope developers can get a quick peek at this content and see the input that went into it.

While not every feature suggested could be included (some ideas were mutually exclusive), this is a good summary of what most players found compelling enough to comment on.

Did everyone agree? No.
Was every idea as good as the next? No.
Were my ideas great, either now or to begin with? No.

I can't speak for the community but I can let the ideas compiled here and the poll results speak for themselves.

Here's to the players and the developers for making this game (and these ideas) possible!

Sincerely,
DarrenKitlor
2010.04.06
_________________________________
Some stats on the original proposal's poll:
Overall Feedback
  • 88% said it was either a Great Idea or Better than the Status Quo
  • 7% said too ambitious
  • 5% didn't like the proposal
Most liked feature:
  • Mission Variety
Most disliked feature:
  • Size of the system
Stats on the two threads following the proposal:
  • 56 poll results
  • 74 posts, over 1580 views
For more detailed information, read the PDF linked above
_________________________________

Key Features

Explore the System Proposal:
  • Larger, longer, more persistent (yet still instanced) "system space" maps with:
    • Randomly generated stars, planets, moons, asteroid fields, gas nebulae
    • Randomly generated missions - broken down into logical archetypes and subtypes:
      • includes new mission ideas - like first contact, research (crafting), capture & hold

Supplementary Ideas:
Diplomacy System Proposal - Thanks Relict!
  • Rich, vast (but not too complex) diplomacy idea started by the forum's own Relict:
    • Cultural and earned diplomatic abilities (or "stances")
    • Enemy captains have their own abilities and cultural skills to bring to the diplomatic table
    • Bridge Officers and Universal Translation Device Upgrades "Kits" to further boost the skills of players.
  • Ideas for implementing unique, context sensitive dialogue using generators.
Diplomacy Meta-game
  • Earn diplomacy merits via exploration missions (by completing goals and convincing systems with warp-era cultures to join the Federation)
  • Faction vs. Faction Diplomacy Leaderboards
Improved System Information:
  • Receive briefings upon entering system with the follow:
    • names of star, planets, moons
    • types of anomalies found in system
    • unknown and hostile system presences
Poll Results:
  • See what aspects the community liked (or didn't)
___________________________

Developer feedback (thus-far):

Quote:
Originally Posted by dstahl View Post
Interesting ideas and great visuals. A concern we constantly have to deal with in MMO design is "how does this work on a team?" or "Is this something a team would want to do together?" or "how does this scale for a team?".

If anything, I'd think we want to lean more towards social game mechanics and away from single player activities.

Looking back on your own ideas - how would you tackle system exploration on a team? Is it compelling to do on a team? What changes would you make to make it more team friendly?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dstahl View Post
One of the goals in MMO design is creating features that foster social gameplay because playing with others is a keystone in a multiplayer game.

The more features you implement that focus on solo gameplay - the further away you get from your goal.

Ask yourself - do you want STO to become a single player game or should it remain multiplayer focused?

Its an interesting question. You have to keep in mind that as a business model - MMOs are based on multiplayer interaction that sustain subscriptions.

How would you approach your design given that feedback?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dstahl View Post
This thread continues to shine with great feedback.

To clear up some comments I read - the intention has been to open up dialog about the difference between single and group play and based on comments and how they impact game design.

Comments in this thread are very interesting and something we absolutely consider. Several others in other threads too my comments out of context to mean "we don't want solo gameplay". If anything I was calling out the fine balance and thoughts behind decisions for one type of game play or another.

Exploration is definitely an area where most players experience this content solo. My thoughts to the OP have always been this single question - "How does this work if I'm on a team?" Which is something that we always have to ask ourselves in an MMO. (ie does the mission design break if I happen to be teamed at the time).
___________________________

Addendum:
Question 3 of the Poll - All Responses in Excel/OpenOffice Appropriate Format
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
04-06-2010, 06:19 PM
Responses to Develop Feedback and Questions:
Star Trek: Online should keep a multiplayer focus. As many can agree, the base game is itself singleplayer-friendly (and still accessible).

However, compelling multiplayer content can be designed as accessible and encourage grouping. Raidisodes (while encouraging grouping through brute force) are not accessible. This is not to say the players don't appreciate them (everyone polled seems to appreciate some harder content).

So, in the context of this Explore the System Mechanic, this is what I'd do (I'll post a player poll once I gather some of their responses):
  • Generate a few objectives (or missions) in system space that would be so difficult as to require teaming (and mark them as "group" content on the objectives list):
1) a select few enemies would, themselves, become so powerful as to be impossible to solo
or
2) increase the mob numbers (either evenly distributed across the DPS/Tank/Debuff roles or by focusing all in a single role - i.e. try tackling five equal level DPS escorts).
Such mobs would be based on the initiating player's level, (i.e. a Captain 8 might run up against a few RA5 quality enemies). Any player worth his salt would realize a few +7 encounters might be bad for his/her ship's health (or BOFF's health). To further make this idea obvious (and prevent the Leeory Jenkins' of the world from going at things solo):
  • Adding "(Group)" to the end of Mission titles might encourage players to actually group (and thereby designate which content they shouldn't be able to complete at the level they acquired it.
Adding a few random missions that would be taken from higher-tier mission generators (i.e. enemy level or encounter lists at +5 to +10 player level). There are examples of this in Deep Space Actions: some mobs can be soloed by a particular class but some require group effort to destroy.

What's more: the lower-level players would see how awesome a higher level player's powers might be (and the content itself would provide some challenge for a slightly higher-level captain). I imagine few of the playerbase reaches the cap - or knows how diverse tactics become at higher levels.

Since players have a wide variety of mission objectives, you can get away with creating some missions they couldn't possibly complete on their own.
List of Teamplay Suggestions by Players:
note: many are mutually exclusive (not all suggestions can exist at once
[I.] Explore The System
  • Give team leader ability to assign exploration objectives to team members (or automatic divide?).

  • Scale Enemies if maps contains them.

  • Generate some missions/objectives that are harder (and thereby group-oriented) to begin with (add levels to player's when calculating encounter difficulty).

  • Show harder missions/objectives (i.e. >5 levels higher) as "Group" content in the Mission Log. For example: Aries III - Defeat Klingon Battlegroup (Group) - grade/rank requirements would stay the same but the difficulty would be suitable for multiple captains of the appropriate level

  • Bonus "challenge" missions in a system (aside from combat ones listed). i.e. Gather a plasma sample from a star by getting close enough. To do so, another player would have to "buff" your ship as your own energy reserves couldn't handle the thermal shielding alone.

  • Anomaly spawn bonuses for teams (generate more or increasing the number found at each psawn point as team members enter so each person can obtain some).
[II.] Diplomacy
  • Unsolicited team bonus (team members give diplomatic recommendations to team leader in form of bonuses.)

  • Solicited recommendations (team leader can ask members for recommendations during dialog, correct answers = team bonus, incorrect answers = team demerit).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
04-06-2010, 08:21 PM
As I had noted in the original thread if even some of this could be implemented it would be wonderful! You guys have done an awesome job and, no matter what the outcome is, i am sure that I am not the only player who appreciates your fantastic effort in this!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
04-06-2010, 09:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artorious-Jonah View Post
As I had noted in the original thread if even some of this could be implemented it would be wonderful! You guys have done an awesome job and, no matter what the outcome is, i am sure that I am not the only player who appreciates your fantastic effort in this!
Well, thank you very much!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
04-06-2010, 09:36 PM
I just gave the final proposal a read - great stuff! I implore any dev or forum mod to give it a quick read. You'll see that it's well thought out and worth your time to evaluate and pass on to Zinc.

Couple things to consider:

1) Universal Translator Kits? Kind of weird and non-canon. Might want to rename this. We all have universal translators built into our com badges. One badge translates the same as another badge.

Maybe this should be a Cultural Database Matrix since it helps you navigate social interaction with different species. As your ship encounters new species to interact with your database grows and becomes more helpful.

2) Consider creating another proposal for the Klingon side, replacing things like "Diplomatic System" with "Warrior System". (I'm sure you're aware of the development disparity we have between factions right now.) Have them collect Honor Points instead of Diplomatic Points, etc.

Also, think it through to make it 100% relevant to that faction. Then you'll be able to gain support from KDF players. As it stands now, this is only going to look like yet another Fed feature that the devs are working on while the Klingon side lays underdeveloped. You may have to do the same for the Romulan faction if that's the next one to be introduced.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
04-07-2010, 12:13 AM
ok i read the 16 pages in the PDF

great pictures....

You are right....like you said in the top portion of the document and in a differing places...its alot of information to cover....

Some of the stuff was very interesting and i could forsee it easily being built into this game...
while some other stuff....well iit could be placed in this game....but wasnt all the way defined.....ie. it was very nicely left open ended which is a good idea...since the intent was to convey some ideas to be implemented along those concepts.

Though its all good.

but to implement the entire hting would be a huge undertaking.....there would have to be definately small releases of the stuff as time went on.

I can imagine just trying to create an entire planetry system exploration system and then having to put more things into it.....
it would definately have to go in a step by step process...that would probably not reach its conclusion for a few years.
but that is my opinion.

I hope this get stickied
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
04-07-2010, 01:59 AM
OK i have just read what you have done and i think you have done a great job. Must have taken a lot of your time and effert on your part to have done this.
I agree with what you have done and hope that Cryptic at least have a look at your idea and see if they can do any of it.
We will just have to wait and see. The game is still very new and changing all the time even if it is small bits.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
04-07-2010, 05:03 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirror-Master
1) Universal Translator Kits? Kind of weird and non-canon. Might want to rename this. We all have universal translators built into our com badges. One badge translates the same as another badge.

Maybe this should be a Cultural Database Matrix since it helps you navigate social interaction with different species. As your ship encounters new species to interact with your database grows and becomes more helpful.
This was actually a source of debate between Relict and I. I left it in on his request to illustrate the full complexity of his ideas. It was the only way I could think of explaining diplomacy "kits." It's a crude term but I had no idea how best to present the spirit of Relict's ideas.

The Universal Translation technology (specifically the devices themselves and the matrices) have evolved from the Original series through Voyager (even DS9 had an episode concerning Ferengi universal translation devices, see "Little Green Men").

Quote:
2) Consider creating another proposal for the Klingon side, replacing things like "Diplomatic System" with "Warrior System". (I'm sure you're aware of the development disparity we have between factions right now.) Have them collect Honor Points instead of Diplomatic Points, etc.

Also, think it through to make it 100% relevant to that faction. Then you'll be able to gain support from KDF players. As it stands now, this is only going to look like yet another Fed feature that the devs are working on while the Klingon side lays underdeveloped. You may have to do the same for the Romulan faction if that's the next one to be introduced.
I wish I spent more time to flesh out the differences between factions. You're absolutely right that content would need adaptation.

However, the idea is to get that middle-ground between nebulous ideas like "We need better Diplomacy" and concrete, step-by-step ones like "The first diplomatic rank for Klingons is [insert name} it comprises a +2 bonus to [insert variable]".

In the end, the developers know their system best - I didn't want to get too specific and risk being unimplementable nor too vague and be of no help.

By all means, if the basic building blocks are implemented, we'll have the basis for customizing the content to each faction (see the Koch "Snowflake" in the pdf). The key here is universal applicability and speeding up content creation - from there it can be built upon for each faction.

Another area I wish I'd dwelt on more was the mission Archetype/subtype concept. There are a wealth of ideas from FPS games that would work as archetype for maps (i.e. "resource run" could be the STO equivalent of Capture the Flag; "hold off invasion/boarding party" could be the STO equivalent of "king of the hill"; etc.)

In the end, having the basic component (the idea that some missions can be linked into major archetypes and subtypes - and random generation developed for each intrigues me). I have no idea how the developers do this already but I'd love to see it expand (and modularly to allow quicker release dates and the ability to isolate bugs).

That and having Faction versus Faction competitions sound intriguing (one of the better selling points of Warhammer Online and Dark Age of Camelot). Doing it through diplomacy would be the most "Star Trek" equivalent (the threat of war and displays of power are as much a part of diplomacy as soft words from a silver tongue).

I think it was Theodore Roosevelt that said, "speak softly but carry a big stick." The idea being that you try to persuade others but make it readily apparent that you have the might to enforce those ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsychicKitty
but to implement the entire hting would be a huge undertaking.....there would have to be definitely small releases of the stuff as time went on.

I can imagine just trying to create an entire planetary system exploration system and then having to put more things into it.....
it would definitely have to go in a step by step process...that would probably not reach its conclusion for a few years but that is my opinion.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. No one should expect the depth and complexity presented to happen overnight (or even be implemented all at once).

The idea of distilling this down to something manageable for Season 2 or even season 3 - then building onto it is compelling. This should not be what we see at first (nor should it be the upper limit of what we can expect in STO).

If the developers were to use a static delivery method of the content (say lots of huge, pregenerated maps with assigned "seed" or numbers tied to variable) they could distill each random component down to a few manageable options and expand from there.

I'd love to see what a developer says - and how quickly they'd kill, consider, or endorse the idea.

In the end, this was centered around community ideas. Everyone chipped in saying "this section needs better explanation" or "what about First Contact missions?" or just general questions on how the whole thing works.

It's a lot to chew but that has been eased by the community. Everyone here influenced the content in the document in some meaningful way.


I just hope that the developers can see that.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
04-07-2010, 05:31 AM
Pure brillance is all I can say ..

This was the game play style I was kinda looking for in STO to be honest ... but hey , it still widdles away the time ...

I hope you and Relict actually (TM) these ideas ... that way you can start up your own business if this game fails
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
04-07-2010, 06:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabz
Pure brillance is all I can say ..

This was the game play style I was kinda looking for in STO to be honest ... but hey , it still widdles away the time ...

I hope you and Relict actually (TM) these ideas ... that way you can start up your own business if this game fails
Well, one fringe benefits is that once you're in theses larger system spaces, you won't need to load as often.

That should be a boon considering the existing exploration missions last 5-15 minutes apiece.
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