Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Star Trek Canon vs. MMORPG Gameplay

Originally Posted by Suricata:
This is an MMO, as much as people don't want killing mobs to be in the game. its unavoidable and will be present, hopefully along with good trade and exploration content too.... But either way, grinding will be in hte game to some extent and what I would like to see is that it is implemented in a way as to give it more purpose than it has in some games.
With respect, I disagree very strongly with this sentiment.

Will Star Trek: Online be an MMO? Yes. But will it be any old MMO? No. It will be an online game based on Star Trek. That means that sometimes the Star Trek part has to trump the MMO part.

If it never does, if MMO > Star Trek in every design conflict, then the criticism that "it's just a generic MMO with a Star Trek skin" will turn out to have been valid.

Therefore I do not agree that we can/should assume that "killing mobs will be in the game" merely because that's a typical feature of typical MMOs. Maybe this is one of those times that Star Trek should win.

Now, that said, it doesn't mean there's no room for some kind of grind. Although I don't enjoy that sort of thing myself, I agree with the observation that some people like it. It's progress without having to think; it's sort of restful. (Strangely, however, these folks don't seem to see the humor in Progress Quest.)

There was a good thread on this subject a while back over at Terra Nova.

As for me? My idea of a good MMORPG would offer gameplay that's targeted to specific playstyles. In fact, the one I'm designing for fun does exactly that: the combat and competitive game features offer lots of small encounters and many levels of rank, while the discovery and social features offer rewards that are focused less on XP/loot and more on player self-expression. (Where is it written that all players are motivated by and must be given the same rewards?)

I'd like to see a Star Trek MMORPG try that approach. I wouldn't mind at all if players who like grinding could do that as long as I wasn't also subject to it when playing the part of the game that I prefer.