Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 31
02-19-2009, 08:29 PM
Right on cryptic!!! Good info.. Keep it coming ....
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 32
02-19-2009, 08:37 PM
In regards to ground manabar: I think going the route of having cooldown rather than a manabar is probably the best effect. I mean, power management rarely came up in ground combat in star trek, and I can't imagine any of the missions lasting that long that the supertech of the trek era would have to worry about battery life. Especially when you can just beam down a replacement.

From the description of movement, it sounds like we will be able to visit all planets in a solar system (if not on ground at least in orbit) which sounds cool to me. I wonder if we will be able to beam down to barren planets or planets with no intelligent life or missions? On the one hand it is cool, on the other hand I would rather that time be devoted to varied mission content.

Stats and history and captains log: How about number of times in spacedock? Or number of times refit? Or even just a ship history (or captain history) ALA the species history in spore? I think that is what I would like to see.
Might even be cool if you could set your history to public or private and other players could get a history on your captain, like what ships they have commanded, battles lost, ships commanded, crewmembers added and whatnot.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 33
02-19-2009, 08:55 PM
Well I guess that if I play badly, then I will be subjected to the wrap around method of vessel numbering.lol
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 34
02-19-2009, 09:32 PM
Anyone notice the typo?

It's that time that you've all been waiting for. Exciting new questions with brand new answers! I bring you, Ask Cryptic Volume 8. Have you ever wanted to now how Ship Modification will work? You're going to have to read more to find out!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 35
02-19-2009, 09:42 PM
Finally, some real meat on this bone.

Collisions, Warp clarification, Ship Customization!

(Though, I hope they were joking about taking on A, B, C. I hate to see someone with so many Z's that it won't fit on the hull anymore. :p)


But one thing confuses me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Awen
When traveling within a system, you will not be able to travel at warp. Impulse speed is the norm here, but you can travel impressively fast at full impulse speeds. You can warp to another planet in a system, which is basically instantaneous. However, when travelling from star system to star system (or other points of interest in the galaxy), you will travel at warp speed. You will be able to set your warp factor and the quality of your warp engines and your engineer’s skills will determine your maximum warp speed.
Awen, your comment contradict's itself. You say that you can not warp within a system, but yet you can warp to another planet within the system?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 36
02-19-2009, 10:10 PM
I'm not looking forward to another cooldown timer abilities bar thing that's in every MMO. I want to look at the action, not those stupid bars and cooldowns.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 37
02-19-2009, 10:15 PM
Great info in this one Keep it coming:p
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 38
02-19-2009, 10:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by USS Parallax
I'm not looking forward to another cooldown timer abilities bar thing that's in every MMO. I want to look at the action, not those stupid bars and cooldowns.

Better than watching "Mana" bars . I guess with any MMO that uses abilities there has to be some way to balance their use, so some type of indicator or timer has to be applied for balance. Doesn't really bother me at all if the UI is done right.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 39 Wait a Sec..
02-19-2009, 10:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronH View Post
In regards to ground manabar: I think going the route of having cooldown rather than a manabar is probably the best effect. I mean, power management rarely came up in ground combat in star trek, and I can't imagine any of the missions lasting that long that the supertech of the trek era would have to worry about battery life. Especially when you can just beam down a replacement.
In The Siege of AR-558 they did distribute battery packs behind the lines as a form of ammunition. Though TBH, I can't recall anyone experiencing phazor fizzle in the middle of a firefight.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 40
02-19-2009, 11:59 PM
[This turned into another long one. My apologies to anyone annoyed by the length of this post; please feel free to skip past it if you'd rather not try to follow all the details.]

Thanks to Cryptic for this latest "Ask Cryptic." This was without doubt one of the most specific regarding planned features that we've seen yet, and this willingness to communicate with us is very much appreciated.

As other commenters have, I liked most of the things I saw. There were a few things that I wasn't wild about, and I hope it's OK if I address them, too, but for the most part the items mentioned seem like appropriate gameplay ideas, and I'm glad to see them.

For whatever they're worth, here are some of the specific reactions I had, which I offer in the hope that something in them might be useful along with the comments of others here. No one should read too much into them; they're simply the opinions of one person and deserve to be held in no higher (or, I hope, lower!) regard than anyone else's opinions.

Good things:

Quote:
All cryptic games have always had entity to entity collision. Star Trek online will continue to make use of this tech both on the ground and in space.
Good. That way we can dispense completely with the "aggro" concept, which has value only when mobs can pass through each other, which was only necessary in the 20th century when even bounding boxes ate too many CPU cycles.

Quote:
You will be able to set your warp factor and the quality of your warp engines and your engineer’s skills will determine your maximum warp speed.
Good, although I would hope that there's a dynamic element at play here -- I'd like to see my Chief Engineer constantly tinkering with all my ship's systems to get the most out of them. (When they're not being blown up, anyway.) (The ship systems, that is, not my Chief Engineer.)

Quote:
When you have a ship that is a certain configuration, you will be able to modify all the parts – the saucer, the nacelles, the pylons, the primary hull, etc. You will also be able to modify colors, decals, and other bits. However, the configuration will remain recognizable.
Good. "Recognizable" is an important goal in extracting maximum value from the Star Trek IP.

Quote:
"Hey, look at that cool Prometheus variant!"
So, you're saying that the Prometheus class will be in the game?

Eeeeeeeexcellent.

Quote:
You will also be able to modify the ship's systems. You will modify and upgrade primary items like your weapons, shields, deflector dish, impulse and warp engines, etc. You will also be able to add lots of enhancements to your systems, such as targeting computers for better accuracy, EPS conduits upgrades to improve power transfer rates, better biobeds for your sick bay, etc. Different ships will have different enhancement slots (so an escort vessel will have more tactical upgrade slots).
Good. This is both good Star Trek and good gameplay.

Will our upgrades be better if our character has Engineering skills and does the work personally? Or will that even be an option?

Quote:
Finally, the primary way you will customize your ship is by what Bridge Officers you assign to your duty stations.
Nothing inherently wrong with this as a concept.

Implementation-wise, however.... (See "not-so-good" below.)

Quote:
You will be able to transfer power between your weapons, shields, engines or auxiliary power systems. Additionally, you can balance shield power to your fore, aft, port and starboard shield emitters.
I'm glad to see this. I do wonder: will applying power to a shield take full effect instantly, or will the strength of the shield determine the amount of time required to fully charge that shield?

Quote:
We have considered some game stats, like kill counts, but have not given more thought to the matter at this time. It is an interesting idea and we will consider it.
Good. I hope it's not overdone; mindless chest-thumping posturing is not something I'd like to see encouraged by any game or support system related to Star Trek Online. But some aggregate statistical info could be fun to have.

Quote:
How about when you create your ship, you get your registry number, and then we tack on an -A, -B, -C, etc to the end each time your ship gets blown up =).
Sounds good to me... but what happens after "-Z"?

Not-so-good things:

Quote:
Your Bridge Officers will come with unique skills that can only be used if they are at a duty station.
So, clicking on a name or 2D drawing and dragging it into a slot on a graphic UI overlaying an exterior image of our ship, then....

Again, I don't mind the concept; it's the probable implementation I find uninspiring.

Quote:
We are still working with different models for ground combat, but it will not be complex.
I'm trying not to be catty here, but I honestly can't help feeling that this suggests that somebody has decided that all gameplay throughout Star Trek Online must be scaled down to whatever console users with controllers are capable of coping with. A, B, triangle, square, win? Say it ain't so!

Before I get jumped on, I am absolutely not saying that I think ground combat (or space combat, or any other play activity in this game) should be complicated just to be complicated. I'd like Star Trek Online to be welcoming to relatively casual players; that's a worthwhile design goal.

My viewpoint is that there should be some systems in this game that have depth, that the environment in particular needs to be sufficiently full of detectable and interactive phenomena to enable interesting tactical choices. It's OK if the control scheme for getting at that depth is relatively streamlined; what's not OK is to rip environmental richness out of the entire gameworld under the theory that having different ways to solve a problem will scare people away.

I don't want to assume as a certainty that that's what "it will not be complex" means. What I'm doing here is expressing the hope that "it will not be complex" is simply a reassurance that combat will be fun and not overwhelming for new and casual players, and that it does not mean the gameworld itself will be stripped down to the point that only range and line-of-sight matter.

Quote:
Right now we are experimenting with no mana bar for ground at all, and simply limiting certain abilities with cool-down times alone. Another possible model may be a simple power bar for advanced weapon attacks (like a wide beam cone attack) but no cost for basic shots and no cost for special abilities (except cool-down times where applicable).
Sigh. I dislike cool-down timers almost as much as I dislike buffs; both strike me as cheap hacks used as quick and mindless fixes to get past the requirement of structuring gameplay actions, rather than making an effort to conceive and implement mechanics that are actually pertinent to the game being developed.

Sadly, when dealing with powered technological systems, "cool-down timer" and "recharge time" are basically synonymous. One just sounds less like an artificial imposition and more like a reasonable technology-based limitation on action.

So I guess I can cope with this, but I hope some active thought is being given to other ways of managing character actions than just reaching for the "cool-down timer" mechanic.

Things apparently intended to drive poor Flatfingers directly into the looney bin:

Quote:
Altogether, ship customization will be an important part of the game – both visually and strategically.
No. No, no, no. Not "strategically" -- not unless being able to apply customizations to our ships will depend on our entire faction locating, acquiring, harvesting, transforming, distributing, and defending finite resources scattered across many sectors for real-time months.

If the intention is instead to say that ship customizations will affect individual ship capabilities in solo or small-group ship-vs-ship combat engagements, that is a tactical application -- NOT strategic.

If I seem like I'm being a bit of a pest about this distinction, it's not because I'm one of those people who frets and complains over every misuse of terminology by other people. I'm not. (If I were, you would have seen many, many, many posts by me before now pointing out that the word is "canon," not "cannon.")

I'm continuing to point out the persistent misuse of the term "strategic" because it suggests a misunderstanding that may lead to Cryptic's missing a great opportunity to create enjoyable high-level content in this game.

"Tactics" is about local fights. Tactics is about short-duration conflicts between small groups of warriors across a limited space where local environmental features can be used to affect the outcome.

"Strategy" is about theater-level struggles. Strategy is about long-duration conflicts between very large groups of diverse combatants and support staff across enormous areas where resource management and logistical advantage determine the outcome.

To put it simply: "Tactics" win battles, and "strategy" wins campaigns.

(And "grand strategy" wins wars, but I wouldn't expect or want to see players acting at that level in a MMORPG.)

I point all this out because calling tactical-level gameplay "strategic" implies that developers actually think they're creating strategic-level gameplay when they're not. It's OK if they're not... but the thing is, they can't create the kind of thoughtful, planning-oriented, high-level gameplay that truly is strategic play as future content if they think they're already doing it!

So, Cryptic personnel (you know who you are!): go ahead and keep saying that "everyone will start out as a captain" if you feel you must. I've become resigned to that one. But please, if my sanity means anything to you, please -- stop saying that any ship-vs-ship combat will be "strategic" in any way.

Unless when you use the word "strategic" you really do mean "long-term wide-area logistical planning and resource management" gameplay.

In which case... never mind.

...

Sincere thanks again for this very detailed "Ask Cryptic," and for allowing folks like me the privilege of commenting, I hope for the most part, constructively.

--Flatfingers
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