Lieutenant
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 39
# 1 Feedback on STO's Style
11-04-2012, 02:17 PM
Let's look at the general play of STO. STO is a linear style, themed based game where you fly around the grid as you do missions or go to fleet starbases, or other public domains. And you only can warp when you are going from one sector to the next as you near it's border. So essentially as you leave one node, you travel via sublight speeds to the next node. Each set of nodes (or systems) are in clustered in a larger node called sectors. As you leave each sector you 'warp' to the next. Canon wise, it would take a few hours at TOS speeds to reach Vulcan from the Sol system, but you can do this in little time as you sublight to the next on the main grid in-game. Now, as you do missions you have the option to spend energy credits to transwarp to the mission starting point no matter how far you are from it. Also, canon wise, going from one sector to the next would take days, especially if you went from the galactic 'north' end of the grid to the galactic 'south' end of the grid at warp speeds. In my opinion, linear games are bad ideas for MMO's, and should only be left to FPS games, or other single player games or arena online based games (like CoD or Battlefield).

MMORPG's should all be sandbox style games, where there is essentially no hidden barriers or load screens. Cryptic would have the perfect story since they do have transwarp and transwarp conduits on how we could do this in little time at all. On a development level, going sandbox style would not be overly complicated, and might actually help save server space as they could all-together remove the 'grid'. Players would instead be playing in a single system that they are in. You could sublight to Mars, Venus, etc, while you'd warp to other systems like Vulcan, and transwarp to other sectors. As far as space travel goes, I'm not sure how this actually works on the virtual level. Is space created around the ship as needed when it 'flies' to a specific area, or is that space already there? If Cryptic's developers are smart, then they'd code it to create space as needed, as this would help save server space, and decrease lag.

Now, let's look at the economy. You can buy and sell stuff using energy credits, typically the 'basic' items that don't require zen or delithium to purchase. These items that you could sell are either items that you have bought earlier off the market or items that you can only obtain off of missions. This is a pretty basic economy function, and works alright in a linear, thematic style game. You see it on other games too like Alpha Protocol or any other RPG video game like Fallout, as a better example. Again, horrible idea in an MMORPG. YOu can craft items, but craftable items are overly complex and only doable if you have the officers to complete them with. I'm not saying this is a terrible idea, just bad for story if the purpose is to sell them.

Now in a real world economy, everything is created from resources mined from the Earth. These basic ores like metals are processed and formed into their pure state where they are then molded into whatever item men see fit to make out of it or maybe they are mixed with other metals to create alloys. The item is then tested and released to the market. This is how a good MMORPG should be like where you can set-up mining stations on both planets and moons and/or asteroids, gather resources as the warehouses fill up, and have either a third-party industry produce the finished product for you or have your own crew do it for you, because essentially a canon engineering crew does not perform these tasks. Canon-wise, they create or modify [existing] equipment using parts or materials found throughout the universe, usually only with a motive to do so. Not just to do it for purposes of making money or just to have the best stuff around. A good player-ran economy (as any MMORPG should have) would allow its players to produce and sell whatever they see fit.

These are a few good changes that Cryptic could make to the game. Linear is good for a theme-based video game, where you perform a sequential list of missions built and designed to tell a general story. What's horrible is using this style in an MMORPG, where a story should be created primarily by the players, leaving the background story to be played out by the developers in their own missions. Sandbox is also the only true, legit way to go for MMORPG's. Otherwise, you might as well be better off playing Star Trek Armada mixed with Star Trek Elite Force.
Primary Character: Ramin
Ship: U.S.S. Versailles (Assault Cruiser: Strategic Ops/Support)
Specialty: Tactical, long range/assault
Rank: Vice Admiral
Lieutenant
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 61
# 2
11-04-2012, 02:43 PM
Well...
You have a very interesting opinion on MMO design theory. Do you have any credentials or relevant experience or study to back up anything you've said?
You lost me at the 'all MMOs should be sandbox' rant that you took the time to type out. That is your opinion and you're entitled to it, but people might not care unless you provide some good reasons to support your statement and not just 'this is what is good and you should listen to me' bit.

I'd encourage ya to do some game development and perhaps get some work as a freelancing game designer. It might give you a bit more insight into how game development works and how game design theory is sometimes different from the actual practice of the craft.

Oh, and go watch Extra Credits. A nice webseries with a good bit of high-level overview on a variety of subjects related to gaming. A bit preachy at times (like you are) but unlike you they actually have an active game designer on staff who develops games full-time in his day job as a consultant.

I've noticed a few things about STO that were odd to me:

-Gear system. Tons of different currency types and various gear you can get with them, but little to no way to know what gear is best for what purpose. Guides are a wall of text instead of easy-to-understand systems that have been done better. There are no in-game tutorials or guides that can explain any of this, why? I shouldn't have to 'read the f-in manual' in the forums just to enjoy the basics of the game.

-That skill system. God grief is it convulated and contrived. Then when you punish players by making them wonder if they'll ever get a free respec at any point in the future? It is one thing to charge respecs with EC (so people can try out various builds with freedom and experiment with things) but to make it a ZEN cost is terribad. It has always been terribad in every MMO to do something like this. Plenty of other ways to make money (that are already in the cash shop).

-The 25-person fleet actions at StarBase 24. Need to perhaps mandate that every player joining one of these has X rank/quality of gear before being able to do so. Just being 'leveled up' isn't enough if we're still doing the same pathetic damage and taking the same insane amounts of damage as before.

-Looting and inventory. Terribad outdated PWE-centered game design that doesn't belong in a Star Trek game. Having ground inventory limited makes some sense, but if I have a huge starship then why am I still stuck with the same limited inventory? Why not a storage depot on my ship that is based on my ship size/class (with expansions available that reduce available crew perhaps?). This would make it a compromise instead of just something you buy on the cash shop.

I like the 'auto loot' thing in the options but it would be better if that option also enabled automatic looting of all loot drops that you can pick up within the same instance. Not having to go within X distance just to loot some items would be very helpful for new people (and it could even specify autolooting of certain quality/rank of gear).

This could even be turned into a cash shop thing if a time-limited autoloot was granted to new players (30 days) and afterwards they could pay for extensions to the time or a lump-sum fee for perma-access to this customizable feature.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 779
# 3
11-04-2012, 03:03 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainlonghorn View Post
Let's look at the general play of STO. STO is a linear style, themed based game where you fly around the grid as you do missions or go to fleet starbases, or other public domains. And you only can warp when you are going from one sector to the next as you near it's border. So essentially as you leave one node, you travel via sublight speeds to the next node. Each set of nodes (or systems) are in clustered in a larger node called sectors. As you leave each sector you 'warp' to the next. Canon wise, it would take a few hours at TOS speeds to reach Vulcan from the Sol system, but you can do this in little time as you sublight to the next on the main grid in-game. Now, as you do missions you have the option to spend energy credits to transwarp to the mission starting point no matter how far you are from it. Also, canon wise, going from one sector to the next would take days, especially if you went from the galactic 'north' end of the grid to the galactic 'south' end of the grid at warp speeds. In my opinion, linear games are bad ideas for MMO's, and should only be left to FPS games, or other single player games or arena online based games (like CoD or Battlefield).

MMORPG's should all be sandbox style games, where there is essentially no hidden barriers or load screens. Cryptic would have the perfect story since they do have transwarp and transwarp conduits on how we could do this in little time at all. On a development level, going sandbox style would not be overly complicated, and might actually help save server space as they could all-together remove the 'grid'. Players would instead be playing in a single system that they are in. You could sublight to Mars, Venus, etc, while you'd warp to other systems like Vulcan, and transwarp to other sectors. As far as space travel goes, I'm not sure how this actually works on the virtual level. Is space created around the ship as needed when it 'flies' to a specific area, or is that space already there? If Cryptic's developers are smart, then they'd code it to create space as needed, as this would help save server space, and decrease lag.
You have an issue there, if you have an open sandbox, you still need to put sand in there, and you will still have a box. Granted, it will be a very large box, with plenty of things to do inside it. However, you will still need to create, or have the ability to create a massive play area for people.

The travel times are fudged for the sake of convenience. I'm not sure about you, but I really don't want to spend four days traveling from Earth to Vulcan. However, I would be Mildly impressed if they increased the travel times a bit. I think being able to zip around every sector in ~20 minutes is a bit much. At least 60 minutes to get from Qo'nos to DS9 without transwarp. Makes Transwarp more valuable and more worth while to have.

Quote:
Now, let's look at the economy. You can buy and sell stuff using energy credits, typically the 'basic' items that don't require zen or dilithium to purchase. These items that you could sell are either items that you have bought earlier off the market or items that you can only obtain off of missions. This is a pretty basic economy function, and works alright in a linear, thematic style game. You see it on other games too like Alpha Protocol or any other RPG video game like Fallout, as a better example. Again, horrible idea in an MMORPG. YOu can craft items, but craftable items are overly complex and only doable if you have the officers to complete them with. I'm not saying this is a terrible idea, just bad for story if the purpose is to sell them.

Now in a real world economy, everything is created from resources mined from the Earth. These basic ores like metals are processed and formed into their pure state where they are then molded into whatever item men see fit to make out of it or maybe they are mixed with other metals to create alloys. The item is then tested and released to the market. This is how a good MMORPG should be like where you can set-up mining stations on both planets and moons and/or asteroids, gather resources as the warehouses fill up, and have either a third-party industry produce the finished product for you or have your own crew do it for you, because essentially a canon engineering crew does not perform these tasks. Canon-wise, they create or modify [existing] equipment using parts or materials found throughout the universe, usually only with a motive to do so. Not just to do it for purposes of making money or just to have the best stuff around. A good player-ran economy (as any MMORPG should have) would allow its players to produce and sell whatever they see fit.
Trust me, you are not the first to complain about the economy and crafting, and you won't be the last. The thing is, the only big ticket items that sell reliably on the exchange are Lockbox Keys and Fleet Ship Mods, both of them are Zen items, and it is essentially a cheap way of turning real money into EC. The Crafting items are... Meh. You can get better Engines, Deflectors, Shields and Weapons from the Fleet system or proper Endgame gear. You level WAY too fast to need good leveling gear. And the Aegis set is subpar at best.

While yes in the real world, you have several links in the chain between rare ores and finished products, Star Trek wouldn't have an issue with that 90% of the time because they just need the blueprints, some antimatter, and a replicator to make anything they need. Some assembly of larger components may be needed, but other than that, the middlemen have all been cut out.

And Again, in order to make the gear, Cryptic still needs to code for it. When you have an item, it is just a reference number saying "OH, he has a Mk 10 Phaser array with an Accuracy mod and a Damage mod." It then throws those number in with the rest of the algorithm of the player and starts to calculate damage.

As of now, we can't sell mods onto gear yet (Something that I have been suggesting for a while now. *nudgenudge*) So, we can't customise the mods we have on our weapons. Until such an update is implemented, Crafting is limited to trying to make subpar equipment for too high of an overhead.

Quote:
These are a few good changes that Cryptic could make to the game. Linear is good for a theme-based video game, where you perform a sequential list of missions built and designed to tell a general story. What's horrible is using this style in an MMORPG, where a story should be created primarily by the players, leaving the background story to be played out by the developers in their own missions. Sandbox is also the only true, legit way to go for MMORPG's. Otherwise, you might as well be better off playing Star Trek Armada mixed with Star Trek Elite Force.
Get in line, brother. We all have ideas on how to improve the game. What makes you think your answer is going to get listened to.
Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 426
# 4
11-04-2012, 03:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by endafresh View Post
-Gear system. Tons of different currency types and various gear you can get with them, but little to no way to know what gear is best for what purpose. Guides are a wall of text instead of easy-to-understand systems that have been done better. There are no in-game tutorials or guides that can explain any of this, why? I shouldn't have to 'read the f-in manual' in the forums just to enjoy the basics of the game.
Honestly, I like this. I hate the idea that people are forced into a specific gear tree because that's the 'best'. As it is, the only really complicated thing about the STO gear tree is, as you point out later, how it affects the skill system (or is affected by it); how the procs work; and the fact that, for some entirely inexplicable reason, the system won't display the actual effective output of your gear until you take it into combat.

Quote:
-That skill system. God grief is it convulated and contrived. Then when you punish players by making them wonder if they'll ever get a free respec at any point in the future? It is one thing to charge respecs with EC (so people can try out various builds with freedom and experiment with things) but to make it a ZEN cost is terribad. It has always been terribad in every MMO to do something like this. Plenty of other ways to make money (that are already in the cash shop).
I agree, for the most part. I think that the skill system is convoluted, unnecessarily so. It's also horribly explained. I feel like even if the developers didn't want to completely rework how the skill system is designed, it needs to be adapted so that it's explained better. Some things also naturally flow from others, and so it would be good if they were described that way.

For example, under the tactical skill tree, it makes sense that Starship Weapon Training would lead into Starship Energy Weapons and Starship Projectile Weapons, which would respectively lead into Starship Energy Weapons Specialization and Starship Projectile Weapon Specialization.

But that's simple. Look at Engineering. if I want to improve my turn rate, do I get Engine Performance, Impulse Thrusters, or Driver Coil? It's not clear just from the name. Why not group them into an "Engines" tree, and give me a clearly linear "Engine Performance" and then "Low Power Performance- Turn and Cruise" and "High Power Performance- Warp and Full Impulse"?

Science of course is even worse, because it's not always obvious what a skill affects or whether you'll get a skill on a specific ship. At least Engineering generally applies to all ships and builds. But do I want Starship Subspace Decompiler? What the hell is that, anyway? What do you mean it "improves holds and disables"? What does that mean? How is that different from Graviton Generators, which "improves starship knocks, repels, and slows"? I feel like the science skills definitely require reworking. Ideally, I'd like it if the science skills were more usefully applied to everything else your ship might do, like the Engineering ones. Better hull healing is useful no matter what ship you're flying. Improved confuse and placate? Not so much.


Quote:
-Looting and inventory. Terribad outdated PWE-centered game design that doesn't belong in a Star Trek game. Having ground inventory limited makes some sense, but if I have a huge starship then why am I still stuck with the same limited inventory? Why not a storage depot on my ship that is based on my ship size/class (with expansions available that reduce available crew perhaps?). This would make it a compromise instead of just something you buy on the cash shop.
Eh, I don't see this as being an issue. Sure it doesn't make sense, but it's an abstraction to a large extent. If I'm flying around in a runabout, I'm not likely to be able to carry fifty starship scale photon torpedo launchers around. On the other hand, having to drop all everything that wouldn't theoretically fit on my ship is likely to be hugely more frustrating for everyone concerned.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,142
# 5
11-04-2012, 07:43 PM
Overall good but the fleet system is disappointing. Right now we are overgrind with dilithium, Fleet marks, and now the Rep system
Lieutenant
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 39
# 6
11-04-2012, 08:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by endafresh View Post
Well...
You have a very interesting opinion on MMO design theory. Do you have any credentials or relevant experience or study to back up anything you've said?
You lost me at the 'all MMOs should be sandbox' rant that you took the time to type out. That is your opinion and you're entitled to it, but people might not care unless you provide some good reasons to support your statement and not just 'this is what is good and you should listen to me' bit.

I'd encourage ya to do some game development and perhaps get some work as a freelancing game designer. It might give you a bit more insight into how game development works and how game design theory is sometimes different from the actual practice of the craft.

Oh, and go watch Extra Credits. A nice webseries with a good bit of high-level overview on a variety of subjects related to gaming. A bit preachy at times (like you are) but unlike you they actually have an active game designer on staff who develops games full-time in his day job as a consultant.
Now...you have an interesting point here, and let me put it like this. I drive 18-wheelers for a living. Do you know what it takes to drive one? Unless you do it for a living as well or know people that do, probably not. You can't just hop in one and drive it like a car. But yet, people still pretend to think 18-wheelers are just like cars and can stop just as fast as they can, or accelerate as fast as they can. And they also pretend to know how to make driving CMV's safer. But they don't, because they have never done it before, and don't know what makes operating CMV's dangerous, or better yet, how to screw up in one.

So let's look away from the fact I don't know anything about game design and development. I know what style of MMO I like, and that happens to be sandbox. In my opinion, sandbox has much more content then linear (like STO), or at least has the ability to. Linear doesn't because like the game grid, its content is also set by a boundary. These boundaries prohibit a player from doing what they want to do. I have heard before that there were some developers out there actually wanting Cryptic to go sandbox, but they can't cause they don't have the know how. It's just not their style.

Quote:
The travel times are fudged for the sake of convenience. I'm not sure about you, but I really don't want to spend four days traveling from Earth to Vulcan. However, I would be Mildly impressed if they increased the travel times a bit. I think being able to zip around every sector in ~20 minutes is a bit much. At least 60 minutes to get from Qo'nos to DS9 without transwarp. Makes Transwarp more valuable and more worth while to have.
This is true, but you wouldn't have to actually have such a major change in the time it takes to get from one point to the next. This is where transwarp would come in. The story could be with the building and implementation of transwarp gates and drives, traveling vast distances by normal warp speeds was deemed unnecessary. Now, gates could be used by smaller craft, while transwarp drives could be made available to the more larger vessels, which wouldn't need the hassle of traveling to a gate and could transwarp where they are. The loading screen could be replaced by a more funner animation of the ship either warp or transwarping to its next destination.

Quote:
You have an issue there, if you have an open sandbox, you still need to put sand in there, and you will still have a box. Granted, it will be a very large box, with plenty of things to do inside it. However, you will still need to create, or have the ability to create a massive play area for people.
Well, there is already a lot of stuff you could do inside the massive sandbox. It just be more of a huge re-organization of things already on the grid. True, more would probably have to be added to the grid, but nothing new to create. They could simply use what's already in their database and build more of it. Also added with the concept of a sandbox MMO is the ability to manipulate the environment (such as players given the ability to not just build starbases as they can already do, but build much more like defense batteries and sensor buoys). Something new to play with could be the ability to build planetary bases. They could also create missions based off or around these worlds.

Quote:
-That skill system. God grief is it convulated and contrived. Then when you punish players by making them wonder if they'll ever get a free respec at any point in the future? It is one thing to charge respecs with EC (so people can try out various builds with freedom and experiment with things) but to make it a ZEN cost is terribad. It has always been terribad in every MMO to do something like this. Plenty of other ways to make money (that are already in the cash shop).
Well, one thing they could do is design a specialized system. A system that will let you select your main trade and gives you a pre-trained skill set to improve on and eventually add to and even give suggestions on what to improve or add.
Primary Character: Ramin
Ship: U.S.S. Versailles (Assault Cruiser: Strategic Ops/Support)
Specialty: Tactical, long range/assault
Rank: Vice Admiral
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,176
# 7
11-04-2012, 11:00 PM
i would only add:

earth star system should be FULL, AS IS in reality. and i would really like to visit the Mars colony

there should be also something at Rura Penthe and another locations.. they could style it the New Romulus way.

Join the premiere Romulan community now!
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:41 AM.