Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Skill Icons Need Updating
04-04-2012, 08:44 AM
Does anyone else have trouble (particularly with ground skills) remembering what every icon represents? I have played several MMOs and never experienced such trouble with skill recognition.

I feel like everytime I log onto a character and hit a ground map I have to re-read the tooltips one by one and relearn what every button just doesn't seem to stick. I don't have quite as much trouble in space, perhaps because I have played it more.

I think this problem stems from a couple of issues:


Every icon is identical in colour; white/light blue graphic on blue background. Some of them are quite clear, ones where there is a small simple graphic allowing for a lot of negative space in the background. The icons for primary and secondary fire are good examples.

The lack of different colours really hurts the ability to differentiate between abilities. Take a look at the market leader (WoW) and how they deal with icons.! The paladin icons all subscribe to a similar colour palette but feel quite distinct from each other. Some are high contrast, some consist of mostly one colour, some have a high element of movement to them and some feel very static. I think it would be hard to deny that they are effective even if you are not a fan of the art style. There seems to be very little contrast and variation in the current sets.

STO is nothing like wow. Art inspiration should clearly draw from LCARS of the tv series rather than a fantasy based UI but the icons should still represent the same breadth and diversity in appearance that a game like wow demonstrates in their icon set.


The other reason I think that ground abilities lack retention is the way they are used. Other games generally make you learn a 'rotation' of abilities. You mostly think in terms of button order - 1,1,1,3,1,1,1,3,2,1,1,1,3 etc. Skills in STO are far more situational with no set rotation. This makes it even more important for the icons to feel distinct because you need to identify them on the fly rather than churning out a set combination in the right order.

I would be interested to hear if other people are of similar mind on this. It may be that I am just being nit-picky; I am a designer by trade and have done a few UI's myself. I tend to like to look other UI's very carefully.

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