Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 41 Mmorg
03-16-2009, 05:23 PM
Sounds like the best solution for now. i agree, but why not have the captain play the whole crew on his ship. taking orders from his commanders, admirals, who in turn take thier orders from Star Fleet Command.

The captain has is orders, be what ever it may be, gather information, scan a an unknown cluster of plantes, to say explore a sector.... he warps out>>>>>>>he is on his own and reports to his immediate chain of command. in fact, he is the crew, the to speak...I can dig it !!!! Let the Captain play each of the crew....The whole enchilda*********

Really llooking forward....I can feel the dilithuim cystals in the air!!!! "Can you dig it !!!!?????"

"E N G A G E ">>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 42
03-16-2009, 06:03 PM
I think Cryptic made the right decision. Player crews, if they would work at all, would require a LOT of development time, and even then would probably be as boring as hell.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 43
03-16-2009, 06:05 PM
For the record, I am a huge supporter of the evolution of MMO teamwork, and I see great value in adding player crews.

That being said (as has been beaten to death countless times in countless threads), STO is a product in Cryptic Studios' (ultimately Atari now) portfolio, and is expected to make money. Developing this game is a money pit until the moment you and I start sinking in our subscriptions and buying software. I would much rather see a top notch game launched in the next 12 months, taking advantage of momentum from the movie, amongst other things. When the cash comes in, the company can invest in staff and resources to add the content we would all love to see.

Just my opinion, but I think in the long run, we will all reap the rewards.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 44
03-16-2009, 07:23 PM
well I for one liked this candid explanation of the reasoning behind no player crews.

The flip side is that crews, and walking around on your ship are a massive part of star trek, the ships are characters themslselves

I think that the best compromise is to really give the player a good interactive npc crew they can raise and train, and trade!

naming your engineer, giving him equipment, assigning stats, personality, race..all will make players more immersed in the ship. Kotor type dialogue from time to time?

Imagine piloting your ship, you pass by an anomaly, you have points assigned in your science officers scanning stats or something and your communicator goes off, a mini animated pic of your science officer pops up and reports the anomaly, some star trek gibber science and you are offered a response tree like

-set course lets investigate
-focus your energy on finding a planet
-not now spock not now

you get the idea, the response comes back either peevish, happy whatever based on your stat allocation, and maybe a point based personal like/dislike system based of previous responses.

Immersion would be great, your crew is a part of the operation, not just some behind the scenes numbers floating in space.

ship combat should also be affected, if you get your engine shot up what if there is a chance to lose your favorite engineer?

it would add a nice dimension MMO's don't have, and make soloing enjoyable., away teams comprised of crew you actually care about...making the risk and reward of missions and exploration more thrilling.

just my two cents.

/end wall of text.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 45
03-16-2009, 08:15 PM
I also really enjoyed this article and found a lot of the information in it to be quite a pleasant surprise. I think that the direction that Cryptic Studios has chosen to take with the game is a good one, because even though some features are inevitably going to be left out, it seems like those that have been included will be well-implemented. The game sounds like it will be really fun to play at launch, and I cannot wait to see what kinds of features will be added as the game is expanded upon!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 46
03-16-2009, 10:14 PM
For the record, I (still) respectfully disagree with the decision.

In my judgement -- for whatever it's worth -- playing as part of a crew in one familiar ship is one of the most essential and defining elements of Star Trek. A MMORPG intended to be based on Star Trek that fails to implement this iconic element of the IP starts out with one huge strike against it.

About that, several points.

1. I don't say this because I have some burning personal desire to experience player crew gameplay and just can't take "not now" for an answer. I have no interest in playing in groups of any kind. I restate my opinion on this subject because I want the whole game to succeed wildly, because I believe that a player crew feature is an important step in that direction, and because I haven't seen anyone else express this reservation regarding Craig's remarks on the subject.

2. I think Craig did exactly the right thing in providing an explanation for the "no player crews at launch" decision as his very first devblog entry. People won't be any happier about it later; might as well get it out of the way now.

3. I do take exception to part of the post:

Originally Posted by Zinc
One undisputed fact about Star Trek Online was that as much as some people may want to be that engineering officer and play a supporting role on someone else’s ship, that almost EVERYONE at some point in time was going to want to be a Captain. Players would want to take the center seat and command their own starships.
I emphatically do not agree that this is an "undisputed fact." I dispute it, for one. It does not jibe with my personal experience and observation of people generally and of online gamers specifically.

Not every person innately feels a need to always be the center of attention or source of control. Not "almost EVERYONE" feels that way. Some do, certainly. But there are many, many people in this world whose happiness and satisfaction come naturally from serving other persons... and some of these service-oriented people play MMORPGs.

Having said that, I will agree that if the unquestioned assumption quoted above is treated as "fact," then it does follow that:

Originally Posted by Zinc
... that’s what we finally decided was our core, our kernel, to build the game around. We would make sure that as we designed and developed Star Trek Online, we wouldn’t do anything to close the door on being able to add player crew members, but for the launch, our focus was going to be making the coolest possible game with YOU as the Captain.
3. I agree that the ability to operate a starship in STO as a solo commander is a must-have feature. If I were designing STO, I too would make that feature my top priority. I don't disagree with that decision -- I disagree with characterizing the player crew feature as somehow less desired by players as a way to justify the decision not to do both.

4. If hitting a firm launch date (presumably set at Q4 2009 to get Christmas sales) takes priority over everything else, then no, it probably is not possible to design and implement both fun/polished "you are the commander" plus "you can group with friends in other ships" gameplay as well as fun/polished "you can play a role with friends on one ship" plus "player ship interiors" gameplay. Both are vital, IMO, but I would agree that "you are the commander" is slightly more vital.

So if every feature decision is for some reason being held hostage to a fixed launch date, and enjoyable player crew gameplay (including player ship interiors) is perceived as requiring more time to do well that a hard schedule permits, then yes, the player crew feature loses, period.

5. I understand that everything I've said here is moot. It won't change Cryptic's plans, and it won't change the mind of anyone who's decided they see no value in letting friends play together on one ship. I say all the above because I want to be clearly on record as feeling that this game's chances of success are being unnecessarily injured by what appears to be an unreasonably short development window.

I don't know who's imposing STO's launch date. Maybe it's Cryptic executives. Maybe it's investors. Maybe it's CBS. Maybe it's all the above. Whoever it is, I think they're making a serious mistake by refusing to allow STO's developers the time they need to implement the interiors/player-crew feature.


I'll conclude my comments on this subject (probably for the last time) by adding that I believe in standing by what I say. If I decide I was wrong, I'll change my mind. And that's not a defense for anyone who deliberately misrepresents the intent of my statements. But either way, when I say something I don't pretend I never said it.

So if Star Trek Online launches and does fantastically well without player ship interiors and player crews, I will admit -- as publicly as I've said all the above -- that I was mostly wrong. (I say "mostly" because I'll always think STO could have done better with those features. )

If it launches and doesn't do well, and the lack of player ship interiors and player crews seems to be an important reason why, I think I'll be entitled to an "I told you so." But I won't take any pleasure in it.

Bottom line, I want this game to succeed just like I assume everyone else here does. If my vision for how to get there is a little different from that of others, I hope you won't hold it against me, but will accept my word that I'm trying to offer the best advice I can according to my limited understanding and imagination.

Thanks for letting me express my opinion on this subject. I encourage anyone, whether you agree with the above comments or disagree strongly with them, to do likewise.

Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 47
03-16-2009, 11:21 PM
I'm back and forth on this. That is, looking at 'player crews' as the FOCUS of the game. I see all the arguments. I agree with both sides. And for the stated reasons. Yeah, I want player crews because that's true Star Trek: cooperation, teamwork, allowing each member of a team to contribute, to form the gestalt, to experience the mind fugue when someone on your team finds the answer just before total annihilation. That's Star Trek. Every episode demonstrates this in enthralling ways.

But crafting a game on that level would be impractical.

What if you provide options for player 'crews' rather than focus? Similar to 'monster play' on LOTRO: you may log in and play a random (and as you level, you get to choose more specific) crewmembers on a Captain's ship? Get it? You still focus on being the captain of your ship, but 'crew play' allows you to log into a kind of 'pergenerated' character on a ship and you can play that role. You'd have less choices/customization perhaps and less leeway with your actions, but you'd get to the chance to join your favorite captain on his/her ship---never taking away from your own primary focus as a captain of your own ship. Of course, Captains could flag their ships as 'crew play' allowed or not.

As for starbases and the like: makes no sense not to allow us to generate characters thereon and to have that level of gameplay. I can forsee many players not wanting to be captains or crew, but desiring secondary roles (like Quark, as you mentioned).

Go the extra mile and include a deeper level to your game if you can spare the time and resources for it. If not by launch, certainly down the road.

Regardless, I think you have a winning game here.

Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 48
03-17-2009, 03:14 AM
Nice read

It gives a good insight into the decision making processes going on over at Cryptic and really solidifies my belief that Cryptic are the best people for this job. It's nice to know that a game I have such high hopes for is being treated with the respect it deserves and I agree with the 'quality over quantity' decision.

They never said they definately wouldn't have player crews, just that it might take a lot more time to add in at launch which means we could wait another few years before it was ever released.

At least they are focusing in the core aspects of the game to make it fun and engaging (no pun intended ) for as many people as possible and i'd rather that than using their resources too thinly across the board to rush to get in a feature at launch that many people seem unsure is going to be worth having or not.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 49 Good Solution!
03-17-2009, 03:19 AM
I'm glad they left the door open for having more than one player on a ship. But it is important to start somewhere so they can move forward with dev, and we can finally play.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 50
03-17-2009, 04:24 AM
I now want to see space Rabbids.

*waves sonic plunger* DAAARGH!!1!

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