I've had my critical theorist cap back on lately and been forced to think a lot about game design and gone back to the well I went to two years ago with my very popular thread on Bridge Officer personality traits.
I have a really strong idea for how to leverage low cost story content in STO. I have the better part of a design doc done. It's the basis for the thinking behind where I'm taking my master's thesis and incorporates a comprehensive new idea for quest design that looks at Joseph Campbell's hero's journey as an engine for how to reconcile the divide between games and story. (In which I proceed to take on both ludologists and narratologists.)
I've been told it's more likely to get looked at if posted to the forums. I've also been told it becomes fair game if posted to the forums.
This is a system nobody has done. It's around a 30 page comprehensive document detailing a low cost system of story content. Frankly, it's also something I think I could sell to a company that does the basic WASD control, loot and quest MMO format. Frankly, I KNOW a couple of prominent game designers who would be very fascinated by the headier aspects of it, in particular the appendix where I basically explain how to design RPG quests.
If I post here, it gets ceded to Cryptic. If I don't post, it may never get used.
Is it worth tidying up and sharing? Should I perhaps just share part of it for feedback?
I'll give you the broad overview since I mentioned it to Podcast UGC's hosts awhile back.
It is a story crafting system in which commodities are gathered from the game world. There are several categories of components, designed to be acquired in several ways. Professions will have the ability to create some of these and level determines how fast you can make them. This ecnourages having an alt of each profession or trading, adding a social dynamic.
You place one of each category of component into a window. An item pops out launches a mission.
The mission will send you on a scavenger hunt through social zones or create a wrapper mission to be completed via mission replay and/or objectives. The missions are worded so as to present theories about mysteries, conspiracies, loose ends from episodes, identity of Undine imposters, etc. The first stage is an investigation.
Some of these missions dead end and give a simple reward. Some go deeper than that. Some have a social component whereas some (while you CAN team on them) save the best reward for person who's doing the chain.
The system is designed so that once the UI and a few of the core hookups are there for setting up the crafting component drops, a single content dev could maintain it. Because it contains relative dead ends (some conclusions that are just a cutscene and a reward, some just a reward) and because it emphasizes engaging in mysteries, investigations, and problem solving rather than anything asset intensive, it should be fairly low cost.
An example: There's the question of whether there was more going on with the Azura in "Stranded in Space" that I've seen some players bring up. This system would have several chains devoted to exploring different aspects of that, for example, requiring you to do things like kill Orions in the Delta Volanis cluster. Or conduct questioning around ESD, with a possibility of failure and lower rewards or an aborted chain (requiring you to re-gather the materials and start over).