Monday, April 30, 2007

Character Skills in a Star Trek MMORPG 2

Originally Posted by knightofhyrule730:
in the show, the only people who seem to have knowledge of more than one thing is usually the captain and the second in command. (exculsion: Data/B-4) ie: you never saw worf playing around in engineering, nor did you see geordi running around with security taking out intruders.
Hmm. I'm not so sure about this.

One of the things Trek correctly copied from real world navies is that you don't get assigned command of an expensive vessel without having learned your way around the things. Junior line officers are expected to learn everything about ships and the people who run them. That means poring over tech manuals until your eyes cross; it's crawling through the bowels of a ship to see how things actually work; it's knowing naval tradition; it's taking a turn as a watch officer.

By the time you're an XO or a commander of an active duty ship, you know all these things and more without even thinking about them. And I always thought that Star Trek modeled this kind of thing pretty well.

In early episodes of TNG, for example, Geordi served as helmsman. When he took over as Chief Engineer, Worf was assigned helm duties. Only later (after Tasha Yar's untimely demise) did Worf take over as Security/Tactical officer. Other episodes showed Dr. Crusher standing a night watch or actually commanding the Enterprise (TNG: "Descent"). On Dr. Crusher's recommendation, Deanna Troi would take and (eventually) pass the bridge officer examination to earn promotion to Commander (TNG: "Thine Own Self"). And in the VOY "future" episode "Timeless", we saw Geordi as a Captain commanding his own ship.

So I think there's reasonable evidence from Star Trek that officers -- especially those seeking command assignments or promotion to the higher ranks -- are in fact expected to have experience of multiple fields related to ship's operations. It's an open question whether Star Trek Online would benefit from implementing that as a gameplay feature, but I think there's evidence that doing so would be supported by canon.

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