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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I have been playing STO on and off since Beta, recently becoming a Career Officer , and while i do love the source material, i feel a number of "sacrifices" have been made to the altar of the "action MMO" that should be "rectified" to provide a better "thematic immersion".

I'm not talking about not respecting some Star Trek canon or about some game mechanics' details so dear to min-maxer everywhere. I'm rather talking about the premises of the game : a lone surviving lower ranked officer getting promoted to acting captain of his own ship in the middle of a battle.

This is just fine storywise until after the tutorial ends.

Then, the game goes into "action MMO" mode and the suspension of disbelief (which lets you believe you are actually in the Star Trek universe) takes a torpedo hit : you continue to climb the military ranking from lowly Lieutenant (yet you are supposedly Captain) up to Admiral, and you can do this in an obscenely fast time if you want to (reportedly someone did it in the 1st week the game went live), all the while getting new and better ships to fight with.

From a standard game standpoint this is as expected : you level up, you get better gear.

In the Star Trek universe, however, this "continuity" has major flaws : how can Star Fleet justify keeping a Lieutenant in the Captain's chair when obviously there is surely someone with more experience standing by ? And if they are willing to let the hotshot get the ship, how come he still needs to climb the ranking ladder ?
Assuming that ranks above Captains are more policy/diplomacy/fleet oriented, how can you have them all risking their lives onboard ships on the frontlines ? (and let's just not talk about how can there be so many of them too )
If the original voyages of the Enterprise took 5 years and they only got a couple of refits of the same class in the subsequent movies, how come your "Captain" gets a new one at each new rank ? (possibly in the span of a mere week to boot). This is just ridiculous.

I do understand that from a standard game viewpoint, in a military space battle themed MMO, use of military ranking and the upgrade of ships is expected and unavoidable. However, its use could be modified to better respect the series' premises without a complete overall to the game. So here's a few ideas i had on the subject.

First, the beginning rank : one way, everyone starts at lvl 1 with the rank of Captain (that's the new Star Trek movie for you) and progress through the usual 51 lvls, getting promoted at new intervals. Alternatively, based on the ship available at start, one could start at Lt Commander and be considered a Corvette Captain like in some current navies, and Frigate Captain instead of Commander.
Another way, the progression stays the same as now, but you are not the Captain (an NPC fills the chair as in the tutorial, maybe giving advice and commendations - you still get to "control" the ship while in space battle, assuming its a team effort, which it is) but a bridge officer based on your initial choice (tactical, science, engineering). You may become a department head or the 1st officer on your way to Captain and your own command.

Next, the brass in ships : being promoted above Captain means taking on bigger responsabilities. If you accept the rank (you could refuse it - but still get the perks of the higher rank of course, just not the title, although Star Fleet Command may force it on you somehow, somewhere down the line) you get to choose a branching, either Diplomatic, Exploration, or Fleet Action.
Each choice lets you gain access to an increasing number of relevant ships (starting lets say with a squadron of 4, up to a Fleet of 32 ships) representing your available forces to be sent on assignements (Diplomatic, Exploration or Fleet Action) much like the new Duty Officers system. Instead of recruiting and assigning Botanists, Geologists and Weapon Engineers, you would assign Captains, with the same individual quirks as Duty officers (each also coming with a ship to avoid the extra, and unnecessary, hassle of pairing ships and captains), to resolve conflict peacefully, discover strange new worlds or defend federation territory. Obviously, Fleet Action missions would generally be more dangerous than Exploration ones.

Finally, the many ship changes : if we are using the "Start Captain at lvl 1" option, then, there's no real problem, you are good and you are offered command of better ships, which is fine. If we are using option 2, "Start Lt", then we should not get a new ship, but a new post on a new ship (until of course we reach the rank of Captain and get our own).

Here i'd like to add that for me, things are moving too fast in STO as it is, although i'm doing my best to slow things down. We hardly have any sense of time really passing by. Since we are entering Season 5, why not make it an easy 1 year = 1 season (we would then be in 2413) and have a new "State of the Federation" upon entering the game after the update (with a nice intro - speaking of which STO could use a lot more cutscenes to make it more cinematic, not just the in/out of warp thing).
I'd also like to be able, like in the series, to keep my initial ship longer (no matter if she's not as hot as the new models). Why not getting access to a refit of my current model instead of a new one, and/or let me equip her with better weapons, shields and consoles instead of forcing me to get a new ship to use those.

That's it for now, feel free to chip in.

Captain Tarrak Kuurt, out
USS Republic, NCC 91371-A
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-08-2011, 08:38 AM
People are to uptight about canon. Each series broke its own canon on more than one occasion. I think a lot of people forget that. And FYI anyone in command of a vessel is it's captain. So if something happened to the senior officers (lets take voyager for example) and an ensign was all that was left (Kim) they would be the acting captain of the ship. Until such time as a suitable command officer could relieve him. And I think the game handles it fairly well for what it is. Lets face it you don't really start doing any of the interesting or more difficult missions until you reach commander and captain.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-09-2011, 10:30 PM
Whenever someone mentions canon now a days I think back to what a Trek novelist pretty much admitted on the subject. Basically canon is a crock.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-10-2011, 03:46 AM
The OP had some really good ideas about game progression, I play one of my Characters as a Chief Medical Officer and not as a Captain and assigned one of my BOFFS as a Captain figure. In some ways you make your own game I guess.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
12-10-2011, 04:33 AM
The OP has some interesting ideas.

Let's not forget, however, that the Galaxy at large is balancing on the edge of ruin. If you follow the STO storyline Starfleet is being ground down at every turn. Starfleet is at war with the Klingons, trying to defend Romulan and Reman rebels from Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar, keeping the True Way from causing too many problems, preventing the Mirror Universe from conquering our galaxy, and trying to defend themselves from a renewed Borg attack. Also, let's not forget the Undine and Iconians.

In other words, the Federation isn't just fighting one war, they're fighting several. They have got to be losing ships, not player ships obviously, what fun would that be? Still, you've got to realize that people are dying. Entire ships are being lost to the various enemies. Starfleet needs captains and crews. It's not unthinkable to imagine they'd promote an "Ensign" and give him a command if the person in questions showed promise.

Still... I do think the Ranking system should be different from what it is now. I'd like to see it separate from leveling entirely. Maybe associated with different missions or accolades. In any case, there are bigger gripes to worry about right now then their leveling scheme. Maybe they'll revisit it sometime down the road.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
12-10-2011, 11:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikodas View Post
The OP has some interesting ideas.

Let's not forget, however, that the Galaxy at large is balancing on the edge of ruin. If you follow the STO storyline Starfleet is being ground down at every turn. Starfleet is at war with the Klingons, trying to defend Romulan and Reman rebels from Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar, keeping the True Way from causing too many problems, preventing the Mirror Universe from conquering our galaxy, and trying to defend themselves from a renewed Borg attack. Also, let's not forget the Undine and Iconians.

In other words, the Federation isn't just fighting one war, they're fighting several. They have got to be losing ships, not player ships obviously, what fun would that be? Still, you've got to realize that people are dying. Entire ships are being lost to the various enemies. Starfleet needs captains and crews. It's not unthinkable to imagine they'd promote an "Ensign" and give him a command if the person in questions showed promise.

Still... I do think the Ranking system should be different from what it is now. I'd like to see it separate from leveling entirely. Maybe associated with different missions or accolades. In any case, there are bigger gripes to worry about right now then their leveling scheme. Maybe they'll revisit it sometime down the road.
Agreed on all counts, I'd like to see the ranking system take some change... It is silly to have like 1,000 vice admirals running around. Perhaps if they stopped the normal ranking progression at captain and made the rest optional with diplomatic missions and other more roleplaying missions in order to get to the admiralty.

That's something I'd like to see. I know a few people who don't want to be admirals, they just want to stay as a captain, and I don't blame them. I for one like the idea of becoming an admiral, but there is no challenge or no reason other than "I have to level up" to become one. There's nothing special about being one in STO! Everyone becomes an admiral eventually. So as I said, they should try to change the play style for admirals and keep the captain rank as a max for those that want it (level progression still effective, but the captain rank and play style would remain) and make a new admiral system for those of us that want to earn it.

Yeah, I know I repeated myself a few times...
-Quiiliitiila
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
12-14-2011, 04:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBeck
The OP had some really good ideas about game progression, I play one of my Characters as a Chief Medical Officer and not as a Captain and assigned one of my BOFFS as a Captain figure. In some ways you make your own game I guess.
Agreed that RP can indeed compensate for some game failings (i do keep a captain's log where i skip some minor details, like the fact that the ship exploded 5 times before completing the mission )

Thanks to you and the others who thought some of my ideas were interesting

As for the two remarks about canon, my post wasn't about that at all and i stated it clearly in the beginning. Just about making it more believable.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8 VS
12-19-2011, 03:57 PM
Just wanted to add would the real Star Trek universe have all thier admirals fighting the borg?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
12-20-2011, 10:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab7
Agreed that RP can indeed compensate for some game failings (i do keep a captain's log where i skip some minor details, like the fact that the ship exploded 5 times before completing the mission )

Thanks to you and the others who thought some of my ideas were interesting

As for the two remarks about canon, my post wasn't about that at all and i stated it clearly in the beginning. Just about making it more believable.
Yes, we do have to create some RP methods to achieve our creative goals and feel in the game. STO ties leveling and such to ranks; in hindsight, this probably was not the best choice, even though it seemed to add flavor at the beginning.

On my highest level character (Capt. 8), I just finished taking my character and bridge officers through the tailor to select rank pips for them. For game mechanics purposes, all of my Boffs are Commanders now to unlock their skills. However, I maintain a crew roster of my own where I designate ranks more appropriate to what would normally be on a Starfleet vessel.

Game mechanics say my third Tac Boff is a Commander; I say he's a Lt. JG. Therefore his uniform rank bar is Lt. JG. and he's listed as such on my roster sheet.

I'd love it if we could train skills on our bridge officers without having to "promote" them every time. Since we can't, I've created my own method of assigning ranks and positions for them. It's all fun.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
12-20-2011, 10:21 AM
Interesting, Scarab. I do support anything which offers a possible solution to "the Admiral problem". My only recourse so far is to stop levelling my toons when they hit Captain, so as to not add to the whole fiasco.
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