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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,444
It occurs to me that a major element of the writing on the series between TOS and Voyager is that future people don't think like us. They're culturally different. They're sociologically different.

In "Liasons" Riker playfully calls out Worf for implying that men look silly in dresses. In TOS, having an integrated cast that included an African American woman and a Russian challenged attitudes in the 1960s.

It seems to me that STO does backflips to AVOID challenging early 21st century ideas.

But, at the same time, I think that's what hurts Enterprise. They tried to adapt and accommodate Trek to modern thinking rather than forcing modern thinking to accommodate Trek thinking. And they only get away with it to the extent they do by making it a prequel. And even then, I think it damages the Trek appeal of the show.

STO is in the 25th century. It markets itself as an RPG.

But where does it ever challenge 21st century thinking or encourage you to THINK like someone who isn't a 21st century human?

That's the gauntlet I would lay down as we go forward.

Adapt gaming culture to Trek. Don't adapt Trek to gaming culture.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4,593
# 2
12-30-2012, 01:42 PM
Worf challenges Rikers Metrosexual view (alien in the 25th century of course)
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,502
# 3
12-30-2012, 02:39 PM
that would require some story to begin with...

then we would need actual characters, instead of polygon-paperdolls, without any character

then we would need relationships between those characters to implement things like the OP wants into the story...

that might work for Mass Effect where every character is an uncustomizable fixed persona, but in STO where you have 100% freedom of choice... i don't see how this could work, not inside your own Crew anyway.


The only way would be via cut-scenes (as spectator) with non player characters only...
and to be blunt, those only exist for what? 10 FE missions, 2 remastered Missions and New Romulus now...

the only 2 "Characters" in STO that stuck in my head so far are Obisek and Hakeev, everyone else was either a face and voice-less NPC or just a plain boring Stereotype...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 235
# 4
12-30-2012, 02:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
STO is in the 25th century. It markets itself as an RPG.


Of course, how much is the typical MMO really an "RPG"?


(whatever that is, depending on the widely-ranging ideas of "what makes an RPG" that the typical game forum will toss out )
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,444
# 5
12-30-2012, 03:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiralyn View Post
Of course, how much is the typical MMO really an "RPG"?


(whatever that is, depending on the widely-ranging ideas of "what makes an RPG" that the typical game forum will toss out )
Well, most MMOs are "Diet RPGs."

But they do focus on immersion points.

And I'm not so much talking about decisions for YOUR character but even just the general culture you inhabit.

It really stands out to me, in comparison, with a show like Doctor Who. You get the feeling with the new show that there are certain, well... galactic values. And they get played in contrast, often with historical human values.

Such as the alien detective greeting the Victorian man with, "Good evening. I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife."

I dunno. Without some of that, it's less sci-fi and more Call of Duty with pretty colored bullets.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,444
# 6
12-30-2012, 03:43 PM
I'll add... Past Star Trek games did deal with protocol if not always cultural values. (Although, like a broken record, I'll plug the Decipher card game for doing both.)

For example: Starfleet Academy. You'd get attacked by anyone (including starbases) you approached if you were at red alert.

But thinking back to the Decipher game... Federation couldn't initiate attacks. You used special cards to do that, such as treaties with powers who could initiate attacks and for the commander of your ship to be of that species. Or Dilemma cards that required certain genders, certain skills (many of which were thematic like Youth or Music or Honor rather than combat effective), or certain species to get past safely.

I'd be all for a trait revamp making player and BO traits more like that, more like DOff traits.

But even then, the cardgame would have cards like:

Male's Love Interest
The Devil
Worshipper
Android Nightmare
Discommendation
The Issue is Patriotism
Three-Dimensional Thinking
Fair Play
62nd Rule of Acquisition
Hero of the Empire
Distraction
Civil Unrest

And these things would have different outcomes depending on faction, traits, and actions. And factions had rulesets. (And maybe as a consequence, it didn't bug people that some Fed ships had cloaks or that Feds could get some non-aligned ships with cloaks or even acquire a BoP through treaty because it was rulesets that governed faction behavior. Feds could never get the first shot in unless a Klingon/Cardassian/etc. was commanding the ship or the Fed player had some form of orders or war in play allowing them to initiate. So cloaks weren't purely an ambush thing.)
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 198
# 7
12-30-2012, 03:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
Well, most MMOs are "Diet RPGs."

But they do focus on immersion points.

And I'm not so much talking about decisions for YOUR character but even just the general culture you inhabit.

It really stands out to me, in comparison, with a show like Doctor Who. You get the feeling with the new show that there are certain, well... galactic values. And they get played in contrast, often with historical human values.

Such as the alien detective greeting the Victorian man with, "Good evening. I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife."

I dunno. Without some of that, it's less sci-fi and more Call of Duty with pretty colored bullets.
I think while what you raise is a valid question, it's also missing the target demographics that play MMOs.

In general (I realise there are broader definitions, but I'm going to generalise as it best represents the genre) there are two columns of players:

Without applying labels, there are the players that place immersion and setting behind function. These are probably the ones who gravitate towards Call of Duty more than, say, Persona 4 as they will be constantly refining their builds, ships and paperdolls to be as lethal and effective in relation to the game mechanics as possible. Fluff be damned, in many cases, these players aren't looking for a cultural challenge - they are looking for a technical one. (All-Tetryon Jem'Hadar bug ship pilots probably fall in to this category. It's lethal, it's efficient, but it's far from canon)

The second group I'd apply broadly are those that value immersion more than technical mechanics. Roleplayers, "traditional" trek fans and escapists probably fit this column more than the former, and are generally willing to make technical and mechanical sacrifices to best fit the 'canon mould' of the setting they are playing in. (ie, they will probably fly an Akira with beams rather than cannon, using phasers instead of disruptors, because it just 'feels right' - far be it for me to disagree with them.)

What you seem to be suggesting applies more to the later group, but I'd argue that that the question of cultural challenge is something which is always going to be driven more by the players than the game. You will never be able to stop people creating sultry females with midriffs and D+ bust sizes prancing around ESD, because whether we agree with it or not, that's just how a lot of young male brains tend to be wired.

As long as the likes of Starfleet Dental keep trolling the Roleplayers on Drozana, then the question of 'cultural challenge' is basically academic.

To the roleplayers that still provide honest-to-god in-universe flavour to local chat on DS9, SFA and Drozana however; Thank you. You probably do more to make this game feel like Star Trek than Cryptic does.

It's just a shame there is a small, annoying cross section of the game that seem determined to ruin that.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 622
# 8
12-30-2012, 04:09 PM
We would need more Bridge Officer and Duty Officer interaction for this to work. Right now both are essentially just placeholders for an additional keybind or an RNG proc. We acquire them then discard them the moment we can obtain one up to very rare. We promote and train retrain them whatever cookie-cutter skills we the community has deemed best with no level of discipline ranging from Novice to Hardened regardless of rank. Also, there is no battle station hierarchy of officers down to the very rare DO's which carry the rank of Lieutenant when the crew loss/disabling occurs during space combat.

As for the Captain, the skill points as they exist now should be attached to the ship, allowing for greater use of the ships in our personal fleet. Increased stealth and the like should be attached to the ship and its loadout, not the Captain. But the Captain's traits and psychographic profile should mark either a bonus or a deficiency in such areas of ship command.

For any 25th Century Thinking to take place in STO, the game must be more than a generic space sim coated with some Star Trek terminology and clothing. Sadly it is not.
All cloaks should be canon.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 486
# 9
12-30-2012, 08:35 PM
I don't think Enterprise fumbled the ball like you seem to. It showed people with ideas much like modern ones, but it showed quite a few instances of how such thinking (from Archer, mainly) got in the way of dealing with alien cultures. This approach has some advantages over just having the characters give lectures to aliens who happen to think more like modern humans than the future humans do. I'd much rather that the attitudes be explored and compared, rather than just dismissed with some 'humanity has evolved' hand-waving.


While I think more thought-provoking stories would be nice for STO, I don't think a video game, especially one that iis more an expression of the Trek community than a successor to the television shows, is required to be ideologically challenging.


Do we expect our fan conventions to be ideologically challenging? Beyond simply exemplifying a Trek spirit of inclusiveness, I think the answer is no. So why should a highly social video game be expected to push the envelope in this area?







I think what would be better is for things in the game to challenge 'conventional' trek thinking. The game isn't directed to a wider television-watching society, but a much narrower group of video game enthusiasts and hard-core Trekkies. So we should be the ones being challenged by ideas presented by the game. But whenever something new happens like the Feds get a carrier, people shout that it was never on the shows.

There are a few examples from the game that stand out as what I'm thinking of. A Vorta doff from the future, whose existence seems to suggest some of his race aren't always beholden to the Founders. A Gorn ambassador who has fully embraced the culture of the Klingon warriors. Klingons who find honor and expediency in assisting helpless Romulans. Mythical demons from Klingon tales who arrive as real, physical foes. And I bet that all of these have found at least one Trek fan screaming, 'But it's not canon!'.

It's not the wider culture of the 21st century that's being challenged, but our own community's preconceptions.

Last edited by denizenvi; 12-30-2012 at 09:01 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,444
# 10
12-31-2012, 03:15 PM
denizenvi:

All great ideas.

Really, anything that challenges a bit of orthdoxy is nice.

I liked on DS9 how the Temporal Investigations agents saw Kirk as a menace, for example. It's not DEEPLY challenging but forces you to see another perspective, that of people who clean up Kirk's messes.

I know Kestrel wants a time travel mission to a post-2409 future. I'd love it if we did that and got, say, a Klingon commanding the Enterprise (or as Federation President), Orions with established houses and voting rights in the KDF, Vulcans allied with Romulans, Borg with a reformed hierarchy that has "individuals" beyond the Queen, etc.
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