Thursday, July 26, 2007

Star Trek Canon vs. MMORPG Gameplay

Originally Posted by Biggs:
The only reason I can think of to not support your proposal, Flatfingers, is that it will divert developer resources away from the one solid game.
I actually see the Mirror Universe/Roddenberry Universe pieces fitting together as "one solid game." (See my last comments below.)

Originally Posted by Biggs:
I'd like for PE to aim their resources at making just 1 really great game rather than dividing it by two to satisfy a market.
I think the solidity of a Star Trek MMORPG would actually be improved by a design that encourages the more aggressive gamers to do their bloody best -- just not in the same universe where the more Star Trek-oriented gamers are trying to enjoy gameplay based on Roddenberry's dream of a peaceful, cooperative Federation.

As I see it, that's not a mindless concession to crass market requirements -- it's a design choice that maximizes fun for both hardcore MMORPG gamers and dedicated Star Trek fans.

If both art and commerce can be satisfied in one design, shouldn't it at least be given fair consideration?

Originally Posted by Biggs:
It splits a world based on Unity into factions. Although, based on the interactions that take place on these forums, I'd have to say that the Mirror People would probably win. As one of the earlier posts on this topic pointed out, the Mirror Universe would appear a bit more like EVE, SWG and other Empire/PVP oriented games out which the Sith take over the servers cause they're "Cooler"
Hmm. It's certainly fair to describe Roddenberry's Federation as based on an idea of unity, but I don't think the same is true of the Terran Empire or whatever they're calling themselves by A.D. 2400. (Although perhaps "everyone do what I say or else" is a kind of unity.)

As for the "Sith" of the Mirror Universe having taken over that part of the server... well, yes. That's exactly what I'm proposing -- if you create a Mirror Universe character, you start out on the Dark Side. That's your story-based rationale for being able to attack anything you want to attack if you enjoy that kind of gameplay. (Again, this could even provide a reasonable justification for PvP if Perpetual wanted to implement it.)

And, like Darth Vader's journey of redemption, if you find that the Mirror Universe behavior isn't right for you, then I'd offer a storyline in which your character is able to become "good," joining up with the resistance to fight to overturn the evil Terran Empire.


One of the corollaries to this Federation and Empire idea I'm still mulling over is whether players should be able to cross over between universes. Having some ways to transfer resources/items/people back and forth between the universes would help tie them together as a unified game.

For that matter, if changing universes is an option then all kinds of interesting possibilities pop up:

1. Would it be possible to lead an entire fleet of warships from the Mirror Universe to the Federation Universe? Eek!

2. If you cross over to the other universe, would you be able to meet your doppelganger? (Presumably as an NPC.) Or would there have to be some fiction created for why your double doesn't exist? "Oh, your opposite number was killed several years ago in a [Tantalus Field assassination | transporter malfunction | diplomatic misunderstanding]."

3. How about some story-based missions that require you to travel into the other universe and back again? "The Mirror Universe guys are tormenting the Halkans -- yes, 'again.' Go find a peaceful (or at least clever) solution." "The weaklings in the Federation universe have invented something called 'ablative armor' for starships. I want it. Go get me the design schematics Right Now."


Honestly, I'm not a fan of segregating different kinds of gameplay onto different servers. Gameworlds are more interesting when different kinds of gamers/characters mix.

In this case, however, I'd be willing to bend (though not break) that design principle somewhat by putting two universes with different political structures on each server. I think the development effort required to do so would be paid back several-fold by creating a single game that deeply satisfies both of the two main camps of likely subscribers to this game.

Especially if there's a limited way to move between the two universes. I admit it; I'm really liking that part of this idea.