So…I started writing this the other day, but the steam ran out and I decided to set it aside until I got inspired to finish it up. Then the news came out that Perpetual Entertainment had been sold to a “major news organization” and that Star Trek Online was looking like it might become a more “casual friendly” game with a “micro transaction” model instead of a subscription based one.
Which means they’ve already likely missed the main point of my post – Don’t fuck it up.
As such, I’m not putting any effort into finishing this. It is what it is, and I’m a sad panda.
At this point those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are well aware of the fact that I frequently partake in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, namely World of Warcraft. You also probably aren’t going to find yourself shocked when I say that I’m a big fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars. Yeah, I’m pretty much an all around geek. Sue me. I’m still hot, and you can’t take the sky from me!
Considering the facts presented above, it should come as no surprise that I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming Star Trek Online MMORPG from Perpetual Entertainment, as well as the rumored Star Wars project from Bioware. I was also really excited about the prospect of the Marvel Universe game that was being developed, but after reading about how the interface was going to work the fact that it’s likely to have been shit canned is not something I’m crying over.
My big hope, wish, dream…whatever you want to call it…is that the two studios that put out these games do their best not to fuck them up.
Yeah, ok. That seems like a pretty obvious thing to wish for. I get that. Thing is, there’s a long history of things I love being Fucked Up when converted to new media. I have a right to be anxious. The Matrix Online. Dungeons and Dragons Online. Hell, even the current Star Wars MMO – Star Wars : Galaxies. All of these games were, to me, abysmal failures for different reasons. The Matrix, while beautiful, totally screwed the one aspect of the Matrix trilogy that made the thought of running around in that universe Totally Awesome – combat. Think “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” When you engage an opponent, you select an ability to use. Your opponent picks one as well. Whoever picks the “better” ability does damage. Rinse, repeat. Want one of your friends to help? They basically step in and take your place in the process. Dungeons and Dragons Online? Oy, don’t even get me started about this one. Not only was the combat system boring, but there was no “open ended world” feel to the game. I wanted to run around in a D&D inspired world, exploring all the nooks and crannies and running into random encounters and players. If I wanted a game that was mostly instance based I’d play Guild Wars (and not pay a monthly fee).
And then there’s Star Wars : Galaxies. The game that felt almost, but not quite, entirely unlike anything that would ever have happened in the Star Wars universe. Because, you know, when I dreamed up playing in the Star Wars universe I figured it would be cool to spend several hours watching my little digging robot find ore.
I fail to see how it’s so difficult to grasp what elements are important when bringing a license to life in a video game, but since it seems so obvious to me I figured I’d throw my thoughts out here. Not that, you know, anyone involved is actually going to see them or anything.
Let Us Be The Bad Guys!!!
Let’s face it, folks. Not everyone wants to be Luke Skywalker, and there’s a whole bunch of us that would love the chance to kill every fucking Ewok in existence. Cardassians are cooler than Betazoids, and the thought of de-cloaking my Romulan Bird of Prey to unleash holy hell on an unsuspecting Federation outpost give me geek wood. Forcing everyone to play for the same side in an established game world may fit along with the “canon” of the story arcs, but it has the potential to be FUN. You know, that thing that games are supposed to be? The reason why we’d be motivated to pay you 15 bucks a month to play them? Let us have fun. Let us explore the dark side. Let us be space pirates. Let us be the bad guys, damnit!
When you have that in place….
Give us a realistic set of PVP rules
I realize I’m probably in the minority when I say I hate PVP in online games. It frustrates the hell out of me. I’m not a Halo trained twitchy kid with millisecond reaction time speed, and as a result I tend to get destroyed easily when playing against someonelike that. This is only fun to me when I’m sitting in the same room with said person and can laugh with them at how easily they are mopping up the floor with me. When I’m alone at my computer desk with my only companionship being the tapping keys of the other folks in the room with me (who are, wisely, not involved in PVP) it’s just not the same. That being said, if you’re going to have PVP in your game – make it realistic. If you’ve got a Klingon who frequently makes a habit out of killing players who are well beneath his level of skill or by using dishonorable tactics, he should be shunned for bringing shame on his family. If you make it a habit to frequently kill non-combat NPC’s, you should have bounties placed on your head. This kind of thing frustrates me to no end – Your actions in a virtual world should have a realistic and sometimes permanent effect on how the NPC’s in the game relate to you. If you blow up Lord Vader’s new Death Star, you should expect his ass to hire the finest bounty hunters in the universe to track you down.
“Bounce a Graviton Particle Beam off the main deflector dish” vs. “No! No! NO! This one goes THERE, that one goes THERE!”
Technology has always been one of the big Star Trek vs. Star Wars debates. In the Star Trek universe we are frequently subjected to lengthy scientific explanations that very often become the solution to a problem our heroes are facing. In Star Wars, the actual science is an afterthought. It’s a means to an end. An MMO set in one of these universes should reflect that. In the Star Trek Universe there should be a pretty intense “crafting” system. Being a scientist should matter. In Star Wars? You should be able to click something and fix/create it, then get back to beating up the bad (or good) guys.
Give us good ship to ship combat