Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Player Ship Interiors +

Originally Posted by lethalkungfu:
please ask yourself the question. do you want yourself to have to go through all the npcs or playercharacters in order to operate you own ship every single time? i know i sure wouldnt.

From the way you're posing the question, I gather that you believe the obvious answer is "no way!"

Uh-oh. :)

I don't say this to be difficult or provocative or anything like that, but the fact is that yes, I do most emphatically want exactly that kind of command structure to be available to players in the larger starships.

It's because of how I define "fun" when it comes to playing a character who's a Starfleet officer in the world of Star Trek. Being part of a hierarchy whose members work together to achieve the positive goals of Federation military, diplomatic and exploratory policy sounds like fun.

But to achieve that goal, the game needs to be designed to make this non-combat action a style of play available to those who want it. Because it's the way the TV shows and movies worked, a big chunk of the "content" of an online RPG based on Star Trek depends on there being other members of Starfleet (whether players or NPCs) with whom one can work to accomplish interesting tasks.

So yes, I personally would get a lot more out of a Star Trek MMORPG that lets me be a part of a good crew of specialists than one that treats even large starships as mere mounts operable by a single player. (And again, I think I have to say this even though I'm definitely a soloer. Star Trek is a social universe whether I like it or not.)

Now, some objections to this position.

1. "Having to go through a bunch of subordinates to get anything done will slow down the game."

That's true... but I don't consider slower combat gameplay to always be a flaw.

If Star Trek Online works as I'd like it to, small ships which don't need many crew will be highly maneuverable, so the action in them will be fast-paced for those who prefer that kind of gameplay.

Meanwhile, the big ships will feel more like slow-to-turn naval vessels so that there's time to think and plan. In that kind of ship, having people to whom you can delegate control functions will actually make starship control much more fun for the gamers who prefer a thoughtful approach to gameplay over constant bang-bang-bang action.

There's nothing wrong with bang-bang-bang action... unless it's all there is in a gameworld based on Star Trek.

2. "You'll have hub ships for that kind of crew-interaction gameplay."

Possibly so, and that's not entirely a bad thing.

Although I think there are valid reasons for the larger player ships to have crews with specific control responsibilities, having that kind of gameplay on hub ships only would be better than not having it at all.

3. "But I don't want to play that way!"

That's why I was careful to phrase my initial "I wish" statement as hoping this crewed approach is "available to players," rather than being the only option.

As long as I can get the most out of a big ship by having highly skilled characters (player or NPC) handling specific ship functions, I have no objection whatsoever to allowing individual players to control even the biggest player ships by themselves. (To be fair, I could even go along with letting these two styles of play be equally capable.)

If I can play in the way I find the most fun, and so can you, that seems like a pretty desirable state of affairs to me.