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What Makes Star Trek Great?

Captain's Blog Stardate 92748.67

What makes Star Trek great and why can't Star Trek Online capture that greatness? I've recently started re-watching every Star Trek series and movie, and it made me think about what Star Trek Online is missing. The answer is exploration, but probably not only in the way you are thinking.

When we talk about Star Trek and exploration we think of strange new worlds, but that's not everything. Star Trek also explored personalities, relationships, strategies, and probably so much more. One episode would deal with combat, another would revolve around only one character, the next had diplomacy, the one after that had a new species. It was always different and always fresh.

Sure it could be argued that we can probably classify Star Trek episodes into a few categories, and maybe even some episodes were very similar to others. Maybe the moral of the story was the same. Even if that's true, the characters were different and so were their personalities. The way they handled situations is what kept us interested.

Star Trek Online doesn't have that. We've had some really amazing episodes in STO and I don't want to take that away from the developers. I think people are just tired of killing things and there is just no substance. Honestly, how many ships can we blow up before we exterminate the entire galaxy? I've killed more Borg than Picard and Janeway put together haha.

Is there a way to capture the essence of Trek in STO? It's a little hard since bridge officers don't have personalities. Relationships are possibility though. Create characters that we meet from time to time and somehow build a friendship with. Let us be captured and try to find a way out without having to fight anyone. Give us an opportunity to stop a war by taking a stance against the two opposing sides. Please, just give us something that doesn't involve blowing up ships, killing villains, running around doing errands, or complex mazes.

In the comments share your thoughts on what types of missions would work well in STO to capture the glory that is Star Trek.

Written by Attilio on February 22, 2015 at 09:50 pm


Xavier (Guest) said...
February 23, 2015 at 06:22 am

This is a really amazing point and I definitely agree 100%. I'm a huge fan of good character design and Star Trek has always had amazing character design. Star Trek online however... not so much.

It's for this reason that I prefer to Role Play in the game, so I can create stories my own characters that have in depth histories and personalities. The game does provide great means for doing this, but it just seems like they're using it to cover up their own inability to tell their own stories.

Reply to Xavier
RenwoodSTO (Member) replied...
February 24, 2015 at 12:32 am

I role play on here all the time. It's a small community of folks, but a good one. It's really all I come to STO for any more. I don't bother with STFs or PvP. I come for the social interactions, the stories and the characters. I've been RPing Jim Renwood in on from or another since around 1988. I can't hang in an STF anymore. They aren't fun. But I can hold my own building stories and story arcs with friends in game. I was under the impression Omega fleet was RP based. Hopefully we can see more of it soon.

Reply to RenwoodSTO
Dave (Guest) said...
February 23, 2015 at 08:08 am

Ding a season of 22-24 episodes, or even one of the short 13-18 episode seasons, would cut into the profits PWE expects to get out of STO. Cryptic would have to maintain a crew the size of an animated TV show's production and writing staff, dedicated only to STO, plus a dedicated QA staff, and any extras a video game needs. Then there's the SCALE. That increases the amount of staff needed.

Also, if they intended to add in bridge officer stories an personalities, and everything needed to support the supporting cast of every player's starships, that would be a huge overhaul endeavor, even if you limited it to the main stations on the bridge crew.

They wouldn't be able to allow for players swapping out officers, let alone reassigning them to a new position. You have your basic bridge officers, with your female Andorian security officer in a relationship with your Vulcan chief engineer. Then the player acquires a Breen engineer, and decides to replace the Vulcan with the Breen. The only real way the game could handle that would be to maintain the relationship between the security officer and the chief engineer positions. Suddenly, the Andorian and the Breen have a history, when the Breen just arived.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's EASY to do weekly episodes when all you have to do is write for 100% controlled by the production/writing staff characters, but when you have a game where the supporting cast is interchangeable on a potentially hourly basis? And you don't just have to write for it, you have to possibly program for it, too? It becomes a lot harder.

Not impossible, but more difficult, and a bigger, more constant headache, to the degree that I doubt PWE, let alone Cryptic, would be amenable to reducing their profits by as much, and for as long, as it would take, since it would potentially be for as long as the game runs.

The NEXT Star Trek MMO could pull it off, if they designed the game with this in mind, perhaps, but I doubt they will, if there ever IS another. Remember, when you're dealing with the size and scope of an MMO, you're talking a MUCH more massive undertaking than a seasonal TV show, with all of the headaches and cost of a seasonal TV show multiplied by a factor equal to the scope.

I think Xavier has the right of it. The closest you can get is to roleplay amongst other captains and write your own stories. And speaking of writing your own, I guess there's the Foundry, too. Bet you can hope for.

Reply to Dave
Gameverseman (Member) said...
February 24, 2015 at 01:36 am

I'd hate to mention this but you are pretty much asking for one of the very key and cool things about SWTOR. You can establish relationships with 85% of the NPCs you come across. You also have conversational choices that help shape that relationship. Oh, and SWTOR actually has full voice-over. You will almost never see the infamous wall of text like you do in STO and other MMOs. Now I am almost 100% certain we will never get anything close to that in STO simply because it cannot be easily monetized. Which is one of the sad things about STO today. EVERYTHING in some fashion or another has some degree of monetization to it. Very much unlike SWTOR. However the F2P can be a drag in SWTOR (not to mention having to pay for expansions) but as of yet I have not regretted spending a penny. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for STO.

P.S. sorry for going a bit off-topic.

Reply to Gameverseman
Warburton1881 (Member) said...
February 25, 2015 at 01:20 am

There have been a few inroads made in the area of putting interpersonal relations into STO. The Romulan mission featured a certain amount of interaction with the Bridge Officers you received, but once you returned to regular missions those Romulaans became just like all your Bridge Officers. There are also Foundry missions that not only let you choose your dialogue with your Bridge Officers and NPCs, but which, in some cases let you control the outcome of the story to some degree. A recent poll to the contrary notwithstanding, I think the Foundry is the answer to much of what is objectionable in the regular STO game. It opens up new worlds to explore, new adventures to participate in, allows you to sometimes make choices with actual consequences for the characters in the stories and, once you have done the missions to the point of boredom, there are always new ones to try out. I think Cryptic had the right idea when they made it easier to find Foundry missions by listing them onscreen alongside the systems in which they occur, so that you can sample them on the fly. Most of them are very good.

Reply to Warburton1881

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