Thursday, November 8, 2007

Types of Character Power in a Star Trek MMORPG +

I'm returning to this subject after a bit of a pause because I wanted to think about it, but it seems to me that computers in the gameworld could -- if designed that way -- play a major role in Star Trek Online, and in a knowledge-based subgame in particular.

Think about all the times we saw characters interacting with a tricorder or the ship's computer to gather information, to analyze information, or to synthesize information. In addition to the massive amount of behind-the-scenes things like processing sensor data and systems monitoring and control, a starship's computer in particular is so useful that it acts almost like another character. (Having the computer speak is, I suspect, not accidental.)

So how important will computers be in Star Trek Online? I think I see a huge opportunity here to offer really interesting and deep knowledge-based gameplay by making a starship's computer a high-profile subsystem. If you're just into action, your character probably shouldn't have to be a computer expert to have that kind of fun, but what about those gamers who enjoy discovery and systems-understanding as a primary gameplay style?

How could Star Trek Online's developer design in-game computers to help support that gameplay style?

Or should they?