Monday, October 1, 2007

Playing As Borg in a Star Trek MMORPG +

Originally Posted by Horizon:
How are you going to keep Borg zones separate from regular zones? Putting up a giant forcefield or an invisible wall in the middle of space would be really lame. I suppose you could have an instanced galaxy/alternate universe sort of thing, but would that really be fun?
From the map of galactic space for Star Trek Online [originally shown by Perpetual but which may or may not be replaced by this game's new developer], I get the impression that the whole galaxy won't be one big contiguous zone. Instead, it looks like the galaxy will be broken up into discrete sectors, and we'll have to explicitly choose to travel from one sector to another.

If that's accurate, then you'd never wind up in Borg space by accident. You'd have to consciously choose to go there, presumably after answering in the affirmative to some pop-up dialog... "Captain, this course will take us into Borg space! Are you sure you wish to proceed? [No, get us out of here!] [Are you questioning my orders, mister? Engage!]"

The question of whether what happens in Borgspace stays in Borgspace, or if it should somehow affect the larger game (and if so, how) is tougher. My personal feeling is that a lot of players would find Borgplay fun even if it were completely contained in a Borg sector. But if a way could be found to allow the results of encounters there to have some cumulative impact on the regular game (perhaps just a strategic effect) without leading players of Borg drones to alter their behavior based on non-Borg goals, then I'd go for that.

To address this, I like the dilution effect of putting all Borg player drones on one cube -- no cube vs. cube action. I think multiple fleets (guilds) would tend to cancel each other out, and solo players would additionally act to counter fleet-based players. Choosing to play as a Borg would thus enforce the "everyone has the same overall goal" mentality, which IMO is a big piece of what playing as a drone should communicate: you're all on the same team, and the more of you there are, the more powerful the team becomes, but there are no stars because there are no individuals.

So I'm still thinking this would be a unified way of satisfying both the gameplay concern (no player or player group gains too much power over the whole game) and the being-a-drone-means-a-creepy-loss-of-individuality goal.

But I'm biased.