To waste away the next 7 minutes and 21 seconds, I thought I'd post this up for discussion:
A lot of people I've talked to about the game, have expressed a desire to have multiple players crewing the ship, manning different stations and whatnot. Obviously this isn't part of the game, but seems to be a well requested feature. Since Cryptic has said they'll be looking for feedback on how what direction to take the game, how about some discussion on how they might implement this to make it not only playable and fun for everyone, but how to make it most easily fit into the game as it is. (Thus, make it a lot more appealing for them to invest a little work into it, rather than a lot of work)
Currently, I think space combat works very well as is. Once you get higher levels, there's a lot of abilities to manage, but that's what makes it exciting. If you started breaking off abilities to other players to manage on your ship, I see it combat starting to get a little more boring and tedious for some of the crew. In a game like SWG where it's FPS style shooter in space, this works. Every gun can be individually aimed and it takes some skill to hit other ships. The way space combat works in STO, that's not so. The computer is a far better gunner than you are.
So, how could this be done? How can it be made fun and exciting for all? How will it integrate the roles and skills of each of the captains aboard? How will it be weird having all the consoles manned by Admirals? (Those of you with military experience know the ship would be doomed)
No, this is not a petition, nor is it a flame invitation. I'm curious to see if people can come up with a way it'd be worth adding into the game. I think it's fine as it is, but I'm not omniscient.
Would that really be all that fun? In all but the most intense space battles, I can manage it all myself without too much challenge. Change it to me just flying around, or just hitting the space bar a few times? Sounds like it'd get boring.
This has been discussed from the very beginning. It just wouldn't be feesible. The Devs would have to create a window for each player, each with different controls (depending on the station), and all looking at the same area of space.
Even Craig stated that it just wouldn't be possible.
And I'm sorry, I personally wouldn't like to just be punching a button at the Engineering station to refresh the shield, or boost the engines.
Then you have to deal with the fact that people will lag, or get dc'ed. That happens during a pitched battle, that would really suck.
Then what happens when a member of the crew has to go to sleep, or work, etc....Nobody to man the station. Ship sits in drydock. Boring.
Bah, it could work. Here's how, with minimal re-balancing:
First off, control: There's one ship, and the captain gets to steer it. But everyone's camera follows the ship, just like if you were driving. The other players of course can look in any direction. This makes it "easy" to implement programming-wise.
To have plenty to do, every player can pick their own target and do stuff to it. Again, not trying to tie the other players to the captain's target actually makes programming easier. So, everyone can pick a different target (or assist on the same) and fire their phasers and torpedos and use their special abilities as they please.
Every player's gear would stack onto the one ship.
The shields on the ship have a max/regen equal to the max/regen of all the participants combined
Each player has use of their full complement of weapons. So, if you have 2 phasers and a torpedo flying solo, you control 2 phasers and a torpedo in the shared ship.
Every player has access to their full selection of abilities, both captain and BO. Yeah, I'm not gonna try to explain this "story" wise, but gameplay wise their's no reason it wouldn't work. A science person can still be jamming his target while the tactical person is torpedo-ing the crap out of his. Note that buffs like rapid fire would only affect YOUR weapons, not the weapons of the entire ship. Shield and hull regen skills are generally capped at restoring a set amount of damage, so they aren't imbalanced by this either.
Since your abilities only affect your parts of the ship, there is no reason to try to link the cooldown timers...as in, if one shipmate uses a torpedo skill, you don't have to wait 20 seconds to use yours. This ups the fun factor (no sitting there waiting on refreshes) and eases programming yet again (not having to keep track of skill timers across several players).
Yup, this would make for one uber ship, but it still wouldn't quite equal out to several regular ships. For one, hull wouldn't stack, just shields. Also, you don't get the ability to flank your opponents as easily.
In return, you get one ship that is a good bit tougher than your average ship and can handle any situation...no having your weaker teammates picked off one at a time.
You could tweak aspects of this idea to find a good balance...ideally, 5 players in separate ships vs 5 players in one ship would be a fun, fair fight. If this is successful, then you don't have to bother rebalancing any pve content either. And it would not be boring, as each player would be nearly as active as they are now.
Hi, I'm Dave, the self proclaimed Player Crew expert.
I do not recall Craig ever saying it was impossible. Not easy to do and not possible within their launch timeframe yes, but not technologically impossible. The biggest issue, I think, is making sure all the data is linked up properly and that maps within maps load up. It IS difficult, but not impossible.
The biggest gameplay issue is restricting player control. You can't just "jump ship" like you can in any other vehicle so once you head out, your character ceases to be in control of his/her location. To solve this issue, you have "holo-Players". Essentially players who are only holograms of themselves on another player's ship. While this doesn't have the same "danger" value, it does mean that you can leave the ship at any time and instantly be back at your ship.
Second issue is time. Spending an hour doing nothing useful is not fun. So I suggest using the Holodeck as sort of a WoW style arena in which you fight other player ships or PVE missions. This has the benefit of keeping the universe from having to deal with many player ships running around and unbalancing the combat. It also means that missions can be specially designed so they aren't boring for everyone. You can also do single ship vs ship combat and if a player wants to leave, they get a chance every 10 min. or so. (ie. that's how long a ship vs ship combat would take)
Third, what to do.
We have Tactical, Science, and Engineering BOs. Add to that the captain.
Captain of the ship steers and tells everyone what to do. Simple enough.
The tactical officer also get's a 3rd person view and controls the weapons, shields, and special abilities of the tactical officer.
The Science officer controls the power management and the science power. However, the science power is a short mini-game in which you have to match a signal(for deflector powers) using two slider bars for amplitude and frequency. For sensor powers, you need to match the emissions from an enemy ship to yours in the correct order. Think Simon Says. For emitter powers, you have to do a "pipe" like mini-game in which you allow the correct energy to flow to the right emitter.
All 3 of these powers would be controlled from three different consoles on the bridge and you have to run to each one to use each type of power. Though if you only have one type of power, you have little to worry about.
The Medic does a "healing" mini-game in which patients are beamed into sickbay in various states of injury: Light, Moderate, and Critical. If not treated, they eventually become critical and die. Every crew that dies, your ship loses 1 crew. So you, as the medical officer, have to treat the patients in your sickbay. Light take the least time to treat and critical takes the longest. However, critical can die at any moment. For one person, it's not boring.
Engineering does the same thing. They also control the engineering powers by hitting consoles but while they do that they have to repair systems. In essence, areas of Engineering get damaged (light, moderate, critical). He/she has to repair them and use consoles when needed. The number of parts damaged and the severity of the damage is directly related to hull damage. More hull damage, the more critical damage you have. Destroyed takes the longest to fix. Items fixed heal you. Ex: light damage area = 2 HP. Repairing it means the ship get's +2 HP.
And thus we have a 10 man team. If someone drops, it goes back to default.
You'll note that each "specialty" is isolated. If Science were to go down, then all science controls revert back to the captain. Same with tactical and engineering. With medic, it just goes back to default of "auto heal".
Note that human engineers and human medics have the potential to repair/heal faster than the computer.
That is how you do it. It's also extremely time consuming to make this and I wouldn't expect Cryptic to make something like this in anything less than a year and a half.
I'm glad someone started this thread, I intended to but didn't think I'd get any support whatsoever.
I definitely understand the way they set up the game with everyone being their own captain and agree it had to be this way. Where I think they made the mistake is not creating the OPTION for things like you guys are saying. A lot of people are like, well it wouldn't be fun to do this or that, but if this was an in game option to do then you would not be forced to do it, only if you wanted to, and therefore the people who want to do it can. As to how exactly they could there are numeorous ways it could work. I would imagie the captain should actually have the littlest control over actual combat since they are supposed to be giving orders to the others to do whatever but I don't think all the "how" is so important over the fact it would be nice if they did it.
One way I think would be interesting is if they add in a join feature like in other online (not mmo) games. When you set to play your game you can set your bridge officers to three settings, "closed" (regular gameplay) "private" (friends only) or "open" - where someone who wants to play for a session on a crew can select it and will randomly filtered onto crews of players who have an "open" slot for a bridge member. This I believe would foster and encourage cooperative play as an mmo is supposed to do. If you feel like playing with others on your crew you select your crew to "open", and anyone searching can join and your crew is now other people, great way to meet new players and adventure with them without having to link up in a fleet. (For the joining player you'd have an option to play as your character or to join another ship, in which you'd join either a friend you know, or a random open crew) Now there would have to be some advantage to doing this I suppose to make it worth it logically, maybe you get some experience for a character of yours when you play on another's crew etc so you're not doing it for nothing. I believe that that might actually be the biggest flaw in them implimenting something like this, wherein these games are so heavily based on level gain, how is this helping your character?
I understand Cryptic had a lot to consider in making this game, but I was hoping they'd do everything possible to capture the essence of star trek, and one of the core aspects is one crew working together to solve a mystery or go on whatever adventure they're on. I think that without at least allowing players this option of being on the same crew you are creating what might be a lonely experience in a game that's supposed to be designed for players to play with one another.
Again I understand them doing it the way they did, I think it needed to be this way because they couldn't force us to be on one another's crew since then our individual experiences and enjoyment would depend on the crew/captain and those variables were too much for cryptic to risk, but I would like at least the option for it. Those in support keep talking about it to at least keep the conversation going and who knows what might happen.