Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Star Trek Canon vs. MMORPG Gameplay

Originally Posted by CinC-UFPForces-Cardassia:
I think my chief problem would be that I don't think these concept really would draw in "serious Trek fans", because my understanding of the Mirror Universe has been that these episodes were campy, not serious, with the possible exception of Mirror, Mirror. If I wanted Mirror Universe-style play, I'd probably just go learn EVE, God help me.
Just as a matter of opinion, I'd say the only campiness was the way the mirror Kira Nerys was played. Most other elements, from Spock's description of the Empire as doomed within two centuries to the Federation-Sisko's relationship with the mirror version of his dead wife (DS9: "Through the Looking Glass" and "Shattered Mirror"), were played with complete seriousness.

For those who find that depth of story makes their gameplay more fun by giving it meaning, this suggests that a Mirror Universe storyline for Star Trek Online could be emotionally effective. (Those who don't care about story won't care whether the action is said to happen in the Empire or the Federation.)

As for Mirror Universe gameplay sounding like that of EVE Online... that's an interesting point. I would say that there's not that much difference between the gameplay of most MMORPGs and EVE's -- they're all designed to promote destruction over everything else. Certainly there are differences; I just see those as minor compared to the all-pervasive effects of the core design goal they all share, which tends to turn everything else in such games into a combat support function.

The gameplay of a Star Trek Online that's primarily about blowing stuff up and phasering enemies would thus look just like the gameplay of most MMORPGs, including EVE. (Isn't feeling familiar to players of current MMORPGs a design goal for this game?) The only difference is that clearly setting this action in the Mirror Universe would provide a solidly plausible explanation for that destructive/accumulative/manipulative gameplay to the Star Trek fans who care about it.

And note that Star Trek Online players who never watched Star Trek would have nothing to compare the Mirror Universe setting against, so they'd have no reason to object to it (other than "why can't we have nice things?").