Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,448
# 21
11-27-2012, 05:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aelfwin1 View Post
Ok , I think you are mixing up a whole bag of things there .
The first "episodic content" were the chained stories of the V1.0 STF's .
Varied maps , decent enough story telling -- I'd say that there was some good effort there .

Next came the first 3 FE's .
Again , players were treated visibly treated to "a cut above" the standard STO fare , and I don't know what the "emotional investment of the designers" was , but if that was not investment (I'm looking in particular to the 23rd century adventure) -- I'm not sure what it is that you expect as an "emotional investment" .

BUT ... , having said that , I think that my response to the last FE was ... in so many words , a lack of an "emotional investment" -- mainly due to the "technical achievements" of the episodes overshadowing and pushing aside the need for story telling in a ... story .
It was all about : OMG , the Jem'Hadar are Back ... except they don't do anything ... , but look -- Bajor is really pretty .

Now to take a quote from the article you've linked to :




Use the time ship in your sig and go back to the time of the first FE'S .
What was the players perspective back then ?
Log in every weekend for an awesome new Trek-like episode !

And what was Cryptic's perspective back then ?
Look , we're making this awesome new content (that's sorta expensive and it sorta stops all of our other projects) , but all it gives us is spikes of gamer population on the weekends ... and that's not enough of a ROI .

What was the missing link between then and now ?
S.6+7 -- aka back then there was no grind .
Now there is .
Now they have players logging in mid-week just to grind some Dil for the ever-no-so-awesome Starbases & holdings & reputations .
All of the above represents the hook . All the need now is the bait .
The bait would be the FE's , if they decided to do them again at an expedited rate akin to the first 3 .

That would "sweeten" the grind .
Grind mid week , get your story every other weekend . To me this sounds like a winning "Trekkie" formula .

How ever ... , from what I understood from Stahl , the boys at Cryptic are currently in love with the "Adventure Zone" theme and the "Reputation" theme .
And since Cyptic's No.1 game is being consistently inconsistent , I expect S.8 to me a mishmash of the current fad with maybe a short FE being thrown on as garnish , instead of a constant triad of grind/FE/AZ development , with some extra's sprinkled in now and then .
That's what I mean by "lack of emotional investment" in the story element. FEs were a tech spotlight. To a point where people started asking, "Why am I here and why am I doing this?" And the answer became, effectively, "Because we released a new episode for you to play, silly. Don't overthink it."

But it was never about overthinking it. It was about underfeeling it.

There are emotional buttons you press when telling a story. Even when Cryptic tells stories, it feels like they want to avoid pressing emotional buttons and emphasize game mechanics.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 989
# 22
11-27-2012, 05:59 PM
Adventure games are "back" because the recent trend in the industry has flooded the player base with casual gamers. Point-and-click is in, thinking is out. The industry has discovered--and bought into--the idea that you can pander to the lowest common denominator and still make oodles of money.

I played TelTale's Jurassic Park, and while their adherence to canon and the torrent of fan service made for a great Jurassic Park title, the actual gameplay was total and utter garbage.

BioWare is on the decline because they decided to expand their appeal and has all but crapped on their dedicated fans by removing player choice and consequences from their latest titles. Which is a shame, because there's absolutely no reason BioWare should fail or do poorly--not just because they have their name attached to some of the most beloved franchises in gaming history, but also because they have the creative talent (as demonstrated before) to deliver fantastic story-driven episodic games.

To make a long story short, adventure and episodic content is only meant to keep you clickin' and droolin' without actually getting anywhere. BioWare confirmed to fans that the reason TOR was devoid of choice and consequence was because early testers (I believe it was a focus group) complained that they couldn't get X, Y, and Z because of the things they did. So they rewrote the book and delivered an extremely soft and unemotional journey that clearly could have been so much more.

Meaningful story-driven content is a risk.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,448
# 23
11-27-2012, 06:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplegamer View Post
Adventure games are "back" because the recent trend in the industry has flooded the player base with casual gamers. Point-and-click is in, thinking is out. The industry has discovered--and bought into--the idea that you can pander to the lowest common denominator and still make oodles of money.
I think it's kindof bigoted to call casuals the lowest common denominator.

If anything, I think "games for gamers," "comics for comic book fans," etc. very rarely produce true gems. It becomes a shorthand where you can substitute "innovative gameplay" for any other aesthetic standard of quality and say, "Oh! But it's targeted at GAMERS. Not aimed at the lowest common denominator like all that pop drivel. Y'Know, like Hitchcock or Shakespeare or Michelangelo's David. This is the good stuff, like Tetris or Wolfenstein."
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 11,092
# 24
11-27-2012, 06:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
I've been shot down on this before but I have said this is the kind of direction ship interiors should take.

So, ah... I guess I'll float the idea again.
Ship Interiors are different. I stand by my statement saying the episodic content ship sailed long ago, and both the Players and Cryptic would have to allow it back into port. Something I don't see happening anytime too soon, at least with mission content.

Ships as I said are different. While I don't really understand how they could be "Episodic" allowing players to unlock functionality via reputation along with C-Store skins/layouts would be more than feasible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
I think it's kindof bigoted to call casuals the lowest common denominator.
Incredibly. Forget that namby pamby hardcore crap, the casual market is where the real money is. Tetris is the most sold game of all time, Angry Birds has sold countless copies, Zygna is worth billions. Cryptic would be stupid to not at least try to pull in the casual market.

Even discounting that, I'm very certain that everyone here has counted as a "casual" player at one point or another. You get bored/burned out, you slow down or take breaks. At this point, yes, you do indeed count as a casual player.
http://i1151.photobucket.com/albums/o633/centersolace/189cux9khvl6ojpg_zpsca7ccff0.jpg

So inhumane superweapons, mass murder, and canon nonsense is okay, but speedos are too much for some people.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,048
# 25
11-27-2012, 06:59 PM
Back to the Future is amazing. The player movements are awkward as azz, and I could never, ever fight in this game. But it has characters, and stories, and interesting puzzles. Most importantly, I feel immersed, like I'm experiencing the 4th BTTF movie.

If game developers are abandoning these types of games, then I'm a lost gamer. Feeling like I'm experiencing the IP is about a million times more exciting than randomly killing squads of Biffs to generate oh la las to buy upgrades on my delorean.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,549
# 26
11-27-2012, 07:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
There are emotional buttons you press when telling a story. Even when Cryptic tells stories, it feels like they want to avoid pressing emotional buttons and emphasize game mechanics.
I have two vastly different answers here .

Answer A) I have to tell you (speaking of memories here) that I WAS exited by the stories of the first 3 FE's ... -- I'm speaking here about playing them for the first time btw .
I was fascinated to interact with the aliens from Time's Arrow in a TNG AND a mixed TOS setting .
I was excited to even be in the "presence" of a live Preserver .
I had fun interacting with the Breen .
I even had so-so fun with Hakeev and Mr. It's Too Bright in HERE ... (and I LOVED the Sandworms of Dune visual reference) . I'm a Dune fan . Sue me .

Sure , after replaying some f those eps for the 14th time w/my 14th character ... , yeah ... , the excitment is long gone .
BUT at the time I was surrounded by excited Trekkies who were all talking about Time's Arrow and the Tal Shiar and other stuff and it was easy to ignore the "mechanics" .
Or they just blended in better .
Unlike the last FE , where the mechanics ruled all .

Which kind of brings me to my second answer (from a different pov) :

You (Leviathan99) often (more often lately) tend give your supposition/interpretation to what goes on @ Cryptic -- with some analyses getting somewhat caught up in your own emotional state at the time .
I'm not judgeing here (considering my own S.7 rage-anger-contempt-more rage-more contempt-sarcasm et-al that I've expressed in the last month) .

What I will tell you is that my next theory is completely un-baked .
I think that completely apart from the "pressures/suggestions" that Cryptic get from PWE -- I think that there is an internal "war" going on at Cryptic . In fact , it could be "war's" .
(note that I'm not talking about enmities here , but rather very opposing and competing "perceptions" as to what STO is and what STO should be)

I'm not even sure who the "factions" are anymore (just as I'm not sure who the hell Dstahl is anymore) , but I will give you this example :
The Tech Lead Dev. (D'Angelo) was in charge in Pre-S.5 , and lo and behold , the S.5 FE was just what you said "a tech spotlight" , with some story sprinkled around it and some pretty art to hide it .
That was an "expression" of the "ideals" of one "faction" as to what STO should be .

I can't quite put my finger on who was behind it , but the whole shift of the Dil from STF's to FA's at the start of S.7 could have been another "faction" (a faction can be one person here for all I know) . Or not . Again , I don't know .

What I do know is that there have been ... waves ... in the last 3 years , there have been sudden shifts (yanks on the wheel as I call them) , there have been mish-mashes that looked like a patch work of compromises (the Dil economy post S.7 for example) .

I think that many of the long term fans of this game feel that Cryptic has sold out .
That they were a company who gave a damn about story for a long while , and then something happened (possibly a number of things) , and then they started to pretend to care about story .
Dan put on his big boys pants and suddenly STO was about ROI , new players , the lowest common denominator , lock boxes and most of all , the grind (aka keeping us busy) .

Now I can appreciate being manipulated as much as the next guy , but you know ... , at some point I have to remind myself (and if I still care , Cryptic too) that I'm here for Star Trek .

That is what I'm here for Cryptic .
I'm not here to play a Klingon who runs around helping Romulans any more then I'm here to play Borg who go on Peace Core missions .

Oh , and here's one more tip :
Doing the whole "post 9/11 , Archer get's Army Tough" didn't do Enterprise any favors .
Instead of doing that ... -- Enterprise could have done The Romulan War .
So now ... , instead of doing the "let's help spread democracy in the Middle East (err I mean New Romulus)" -- how about you guys at Cryptic give us The Iconian Wars .

And I mean Right Now , This Spring , and not in 2014-2015 ... , like you are planning now .
STO will be out of Beta in another 2-4 years ???
... you know after another 3 story arc remasters, crafting revamp, skills revamp, PVP upgrade ...
*note : the 2-4 year guesstimate came out of comparing Cryptic's Dev speed and that of a snail . Sadly the snail won .
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,448
# 27
11-27-2012, 07:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirksplat View Post
Back to the Future is amazing. The player movements are awkward as azz, and I could never, ever fight in this game. But it has characters, and stories, and interesting puzzles. Most importantly, I feel immersed, like I'm experiencing the 4th BTTF movie.

If game developers are abandoning these types of games, then I'm a lost gamer. Feeling like I'm experiencing the IP is about a million times more exciting than randomly killing squads of Biffs to generate oh la las to buy upgrades on my delorean.
They're not abandoning them. I do think there's a split and it's partly along platform lines.

You have:

- Phones/Facebook
- iPad/Tablet (Distinguishing itself and leaning towards the BTTF style game)
- Social Console (DDR/Wii/etc.)
- Gamer Console (Caught in Limbo, leaning towards shooter/story/RTS)
- Desktop PC (Caught in Limbo, leaning towards MMO but the definition of that is changing)

Just my take anyway. The leaders are always the people who figure out how to do a little of all of that but who won't compromise their product's quality level to do any of it.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 989
# 28
11-27-2012, 08:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
I think it's kindof bigoted to call casuals the lowest common denominator.

If anything, I think "games for gamers," "comics for comic book fans," etc. very rarely produce true gems. It becomes a shorthand where you can substitute "innovative gameplay" for any other aesthetic standard of quality and say, "Oh! But it's targeted at GAMERS. Not aimed at the lowest common denominator like all that pop drivel. Y'Know, like Hitchcock or Shakespeare or Michelangelo's David. This is the good stuff, like Tetris or Wolfenstein."
That's not exactly what I said, but if you want to nitpick, sure. However, "lowest common denominator" isn't necessarily a pejorative; in this case, I use it to illustrate how games have moved away from their base and have set their sights on everyone else. We can debate all day long whether or not that's a "good" thing, but it's a thing--an observable thing.

Last edited by purplegamer; 11-27-2012 at 09:02 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 11,092
# 29
11-27-2012, 09:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplegamer View Post
That's not exactly what I said, but if you want to nitpick, sure. However, "lowest common denominator" isn't necessarily a pejorative; in this case, I use it to illustrate how games have moved away from their base and have set their sights on everyone else. We can debate all day long whether or not that's a "good" thing, but it's a thing--an observable thing.
Are you the base? Are you a stable paying customer? Are the people like you stable paying customers? If not, then you're not a stable base, and the company is only asking for trouble trying to appease you.

At this moment in time "everyone else" is the most profitable, and therefore most logical business venture.
http://i1151.photobucket.com/albums/o633/centersolace/189cux9khvl6ojpg_zpsca7ccff0.jpg

So inhumane superweapons, mass murder, and canon nonsense is okay, but speedos are too much for some people.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 989
# 30
11-27-2012, 09:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by centersolace View Post
Are you the base? Are you a stable paying customer? Are the people like you stable paying customers? If not, then you're not a stable base, and the company is only asking for trouble trying to appease you.

At this moment in time "everyone else" is the most profitable, and therefore most logical business venture.
Me? No, I'm not.

Does "most profitable" mean "best game?" Of course not.

My problem with the trend toward casual gaming is this: "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time." That is to say, by developing games to appeal to wider audiences, they necessarily have to widen the experience to the point that no particular aspect (be it story or gameplay) gets the level of development it would have gotten had it been a more focused, niche game.

And that isn't to say that there can't be casual and niche games, but as publishers see dollar signs, they forgo strong niche development (casual can be a niche too!) and instead go for broad market appeal so that franchises end up taking the right turn at Albuquerque when the established fans wanted to turn left (ME3 and TOR come to mind).

For a case study, take a comparative look at SimCity 2000 and SimCity (2013).

Last edited by purplegamer; 11-27-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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