Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Admiral-Level Gameplay in a Star Trek MMORPG +

Originally Posted by Captain Crowl:
I still believe that having 4 levels of admirals is do-able. I do not believe they would be stepping on each other and even though they would all be playing on a strategic level, there would be multipule levels of strategy to deal with.

A limited strategic gameplay would be running a starbase, then learn to run a sector. After that, take over a region and so on. Don't like operations? Try running a ship-yard (for engineers) or a department of Starfleet.
It seems to me that the choice to have multiple levels of admiral rank imposes a need to restrict the number of position slots available to insure that there's a useful (i.e., fun) position available for every admiral and that the functions (the gameplay features) of each of these positions don't overlap. That raises the question: when there's already a player in every slot, what happens to the other players who want to be admirals? Are they held back from promotion? Or are they promoted but can't be given specific jobs (because you probably don't want multiple people sharing responsibility)?

For example, let's say there are 50 slots for starbases, shipyards, and Starfleet departments for Rear Admirals, 23 slots for sector Vice Admirals, four regional Admirals, and one Fleet Admiral in charge of Starfleet. When those 78 slots are filled, what happens to the Captains seeking promotion to flag rank?

What happens if there are 200-300 people on a server who want to be admirals?

What happens if there turn out to be even more people than that who (over time) choose to meet the qualifications for flag rank?

What happens if the gameplay available to admirals is so much fun that no one who makes it to that rank ever wants to stop playing that character?

It's also worth considering how sector admirals and regional admirals (for example) both might have plenty of things to do that don't interfere with each other. It might be worth spending some time thinking about game features that could constitute fun strategic gameplay.

Originally Posted by Captain Crowl:
Here's another way to look at it. You wouldn't want to accept being an admiral and be tossed into the full strategy of the game right away. You'd want to ease into it; learn a small aspect first, then work your way up. As you work your way up, even though you're still dealing with strategy, you earn a higher rank.
I'm on board with that; in fact, that's exactly how I see the Commodore rank: as a transitional rank from Operations to Strategy. It would give players a taste of the next kind of gameplay without requiring them to do it full-time.


You know, it's fun knocking all these ideas around, but if Star Trek Online's developer is just going to implement player admirals as butt-kicking, phaser-wielding uberninjas with extra gold braid, I wish they'd tell us that soon so I can start overdesigning some other part of this gameworld. :)

Originally Posted by Falin:
Crowl, i was meaning in general terms there are 2 types of admirals.
Administrative admirals usually spur up from non-command promotions. ... they know how to handle large stratigic operations, manage fleet allocations and how to do the more mundain items, like courts, supplies and personel assignments.

Fleet admirals are usually Admirals that rise from being captains of ships, they know how a ship works, what a ship's needs are and such. examples of thsi are Kirk, Picard, and Janeway. they all know how to handle ship operations and ship interactions. These admirals usually take on more operational tasks, like fleet management, Fleet commands, and sector operations, and are critical in defense and patrol operations.
Falin, it sounds like you're describing the difference between line officers and support officers.

Even in non-naval organizations, it's a long-standing convention that the highest ranks are reserved for officers who've held combat commands (in addition to the other required bits of ticket-punching such as attending the appropriate War College). Officers who've come up in support roles generally don't get the big operational jobs. (Wasn't that the problem with Commodore Stocker when he tried to command the Enterprise after Kirk and his senior officers become very senior indeed in TOS: "The Deadly Years"?)