Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I frequently ask myself, "what would i like STO to do/be?". As everyone else, I of course have a lot of desires, many of them designed to give me instant gratification. A new cool mission? yes please! Instant reward? Keep em coming! New powerfull ships and skills? Hand them over!

Then I take one step forward, and ask myself important questions like "then what?" and "what will the long term consequences be?"

What I discover is that what I want is very often not what I need. If STO vere to be passive entertainment like a TV show, handing out everything would be just fine, but let's face it: Computer games are not on a level yet where they can compete with the visual experience of TV. Nor can it comunicate emotions as well, and in total it can not compete with TV on TVs terms. So what are the strengths of a computer game? On the most fundamental level, I would say interactivity is the key. You are yourself part of making the story progress, and play a role in how this happenes.

So how can we play on this? How can we use this tool to our advantage? What are the strengths of this tool? What can it offer that TV can not?

- The chance to customize the visual parts
- Multiple outcomes from a story.
- Multiple paths towards a goal.
- Grouping/teamplay
- Challenging you

And how is this done in STO? Does Cryptic really take advantage of this? (i have highlighted the parts concerning the new weekly episodes)

Customization: This is a part where STO shines! You have a ton of options like altering the appearance of your character/ship as well as making different builds.

Multiple Outcomes/paths: This has often been an either/or thing. Either you succeed, or you fail. STO as it was launched really did not have any other options. Lately, however, I have seen Cryptic trying to take advantage of this tool. You have missions where there are accolades for achieving sub-goals. We also have missions where the goal can be achieved by different methods. (fighting/diplomacy). The latest weekly episode "Everything Old Is New Again" really takes full advantage of this. You have the chance to use diplomacy, but there is the risk of having to fight if you fail (you have no idea how much this means to me! Diplomacy withouth the sirk of having to fight does not give me any pleasure, and feels pointless). You have the opportunity to employ stealth, but are not forced to. This episode is by far the most interactive I have seen in this game, and I hope this is something we will see a lot more of in the future!

Grouping/teamplay: This is an area that has recieved very little attention from cryptic. During leveling, there is no incentive to play as a team. So much as to make people make statements like "STO is not an MMO" or "STO was made to be played solo". The fleet actions are there, but most people will visit them solo, be disappointed, and move on. On end level, you find the STFs, and they force teamplay in the harshest possible way, "team up, or don't do them". Although this is the ultimate way to encourage teamplay, it makes teamplay in STO a make or brake mechanism. Either you manage to make teaming part of the experience, or you don't.

For people like me, with no prior experience from MMOs, the step from playing solo to playing with others can be very intemidating. But like me, many will discover/agree that teamwork is in fact the most appealing part of an MMO. I belive that STO really needs some missions that can be done solo, but where there is a very strong incentive to teaming up. I also belive that it needs some content the can not be done solo at all, to force players to try teaming up and making preparations for teamwork at least once! Not because this is something players want, but because it's something they NEED. Many players will not be happy about this, some people will not see anything positive come from this, but many players will find organized teaming appealing, and this will be of GREAT value to the game as a whole.

In the Devidian featured episodes we can see Cryptic trying to make missions that encourages teaming up. "What lies beneath" has mechanisms where teamwork gives advantages. We need more of this, and we need it to affect the mission to a higher degree. Make sub-missions inside the mission that can only be unlocked by certain professions. I was greatly disappointed by the new daily patrols however... Although these are very good as solo-patrols, the actually not only discourage, but actually punish teaming up. On elite difficulty setting, the can be completed by experienced playes on their own, but if you team up they become undoable on elite (imo). In fear of hurting the feeling of a certain produce who shall bemain nameless, the Alhena patrol is particularly bad in this regard. The patrol itself is actually awsome, but it really punishes teamplay. Not only is the patrol impossible to do as a team on higher difficulty levels, but the mission reward is also split up between the teammembers.

The Challenge: To keep players in game, there has to be a challenge! A tiny (very tiny) portion of the game needs to be undoable for 99% of the players! The remaining endgame content has to be spread out between this difficulty and the very easiest missions available. There should always be a challenge for everyone. Once the challenge goes away, only the most hard core Star Trek fans will remain, and STO can not live by them alone... I realize many players will complain about this. They want it all, and they want it now. I understand this. I feel the same way. However, THIS is the part i refer to as what players want vs. what players need! We all want to be able to complete everything, but we all need there to be another challenge! If the challenge goes away, the point of teaming up goes away. If everything has been completed, all we have left is reruns. I suggest taking more advantage of the difficulty slider, with one condition: There HAS TO be an incentive to choose the highest difficulty. I can see 4 ways of doing this. Epic bosses, unique loot, accolades, and unlocking more content.

Take STFs as an example. Make easier versions, but remove unique loot from these. Make Elite versions, where you will unlock a rare boss at the end, wich in turn has a 5% chance of dropping an Epic item. Tie an accolade to it, and you have a pice of content thet will keep the most hard core players challenged for weekse/months!

I am sure Cryptic has people with them who know this and more. I just want to make sure they step back and see the larger picture. Listening to players feedback and meeting their demands is good, but only to a certain degree. I do however hope that Cryptic will keep in mind that what players want and what players need is not always the same thing. Taking advice from players is a good thing, but it can easily be overdone!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
11-09-2010, 02:36 AM
Regarding teamplay - Fleet actions punish teamplay in the way the reward mechanism works. Why should I play a healer Cruiser that keeps the Escorts alive if that means the Escort gets the reward and the trophy and not me? The same problem applies to Ker'Rat.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
11-09-2010, 03:46 AM
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
Regarding teamplay - Fleet actions punish teamplay in the way the reward mechanism works. Why should I play a healer Cruiser that keeps the Escorts alive if that means the Escort gets the reward and the trophy and not me? The same problem applies to Ker'Rat.
Very good point. My main Sci officer is feeling this... I've temporarilty assigned him to an Escort, just to harvest fleet action trophies :p
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
11-15-2010, 01:23 AM
Alot good points made in this post...

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