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Author Topic: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO  (Read 3694 times)

Offline Random Redshirt

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Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« on: 08 July 2008 07:24 AM »
Ok guys, for a long time, I have worked on a vision for STO, not unlike Mr. Juliano's "My Perfect Star Trek: Online" that he ran in the pod casts.

Finally, my ideas are in a coherent form, and I am ready to present them!

Please, take some time and read it over. I would be interested how many people in the community would play a STO that is clsoely patterned on my visions, or if I am some crazy crack-head who needs to get a life  :wink:


The STO Manifesto

Generic Game Play Ideas:

•   Total control of character customization, with exception to the uniform. (Facial features, hair, scars, eyes, voice, Borg Implant remains, etc.)

•   Uniform: Best uniform to use if set in the future is the 2404 “End Game” Future uniform. This creates continuity between the canon Trek and STO.

•   Player Game Ranks: Cadet, Ensign, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Captain, Rear Admiral (Lower Half)

•   Player factions (At Launch): Private Citizen (free to play), Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire, Starfleet. However, having factions does not necessarily mean they are at war with each other.

•   Playable races (At Launch): Human, Andorian, Tellarite, Vulcan, Bajoran, Android (Starfleet) Klingon (Klingon Empire) Romulan, Reman (Romulan Empire), All of the above as a privateer, plus Orions for the Privateers.

•   Your choice to distribute your experience how you see fit, with experience in certain fields gained by how you play (ala “Fable”) So, generic XP falls in the “Command” category, then specific categories for Engineering, Tactical, Science and Medicine.

•   Ranks are issued based on a combination formula of Experience Gained, Time in Service and Performance Ratings in your service to your faction. What this means is there would be no way to “grind to the top” which would be important as explained later in this section. You must gain experience in your field, you must have a certain amount of time played in service to your faction (Clock runs while doing “official business” for your faction, such as away missions, fleet combat, etc, then clock stops if you are just sitting around or off duty, thus negating the possibility of running up time by going AFK), and your performance on missions also factors, which is important for a variety of reasons. This means that missions can be redone for those who did not score high enough the first time around in the performance category, and it creates a situation where you do not have to advance in rank if you do not want to, but there would still be content for you to do because it is repeatable. But to avoid people simply grinding the same content over and over, repeating a mission would not give additional XP, only Performance Rating increases, and once the max level Performance rating is achieved, the player has fully unlocked the content, therefore they can go visit it again as much as they like, but would receive no additional XP or Performance Rating from it. (great for people who may really like a mission because of the content and game play involved.)

•   Content is generated that allows people of all ranks and services branches to participate. Since there are no “Levels” it means an away team could be comprised of a Captain, Commander, Lieutenant and Ensigns, but the content appears the same to everyone. What is different are the objectives for the different ranks and departments participating. For example, say a Captain (Command) and 2 Ensigns (1 Science, 1 Tactical) go on an away mission. The Captain may have diplomatic objectives, while the Science officer has objectives to increase scientific understanding of the species, and the Tactical officer may have objectives to protect the Captain and gain knowledge about the alien world’s weapons / defense capabilities. Each player would gain experience appropriate to their rank (numerically) and based on their departmental performance (to increase their departmental capabilities).

•   Mission content is generated in 2 ways. The first way is through standard game assigned missions through interaction with NPCs. The second method is through player generated content (much like in Battleground: Europe) where at the max rank (Rear Admiral) the higher ranked Admiralty (NPCs) gives basic mission profiles and parameters to the lower Admiralty (Player Rear Admirals) in which missions are formed and assigned. Players would only reach Admiralty by taking a certain mission chain that would eventually grant them that max rank, otherwise, the max rank by standard would be Captain. Therefore, players have a choice in what they do, either staying as an officer of the line, or moving up into the upper echelons to access some strategic play.

•   By including free play Private Citizens, some content would generate naturally as there would be investigative and patrol type duties that could be carried out by the crew of a starship, scanning and inspecting privateer vessels in known piracy sectors, etc. Then it would be up to the Captain to either take the persons into custody, or simply issue a warning. (Privateers who are taken into custody would simply find themselves back on their home world after about 30 seconds in the brig of the starship who apprehended them.

•   “End game” content would be centered around a conflict much like the Dominion War, where ships could be assigned to sectors of space, and handed down missions by both the NPC Admiralty and the player Admiralty.

•   Fleets (Large sized guilds) would be comprised of an infinite amount of players, but would require a Commanding Officer (guild master) of no less than Captain rank. However, the amount of ships in any given fleet would be determined by the amount of Command officers available to manage a ship, with the minimum rank for ship command being Lieutenant Commander for a vessel the size of the Defiant, which could have 8-12 other Fleet players on board, up to Captain which could manage a Galaxy or Sovereign sized vessel with more crewman aboard. Crews (Small sized guilds) would have access to one ship, based on the command officer’s (guild master) rank. Similar ship size limitations would apply as stated above. Crews would be comprised of no less than 5 officers, but no more than 25.

•   Content on-board Fleet controlled ships can be handled in a variety of ways. First, would be through the computer terminal in the players quarters, where missions would be available to the player based on the region of space they are in. In order to get to those missions, shuttle craft, Delta Flyer size vessels and transporters would be available to get the player where they need to go. If the player wants to go on extended missions, they can be “temporarily assigned” to a nearby Starbase and operate out of there. When the player wants to return to the Fleet ship, they can either take their shuttlecraft, the Fleet ship comes back and gets them, or thy can book passage with another starship that is headed in the direction of their vessel. (this would mean if any Fleet controlled ship is docked at a Starbase or place like DS9, they would register with the Ops center to indicate their next destination and their planned time of departure, which would allow people from different fleets or who are not assigned to a fleet to book as passengers on other Fleet’s ships to get where they need to go if their own Fleet is too far away to get to by shuttlecraft.

•   "Monster Play" much like in Lord of the Rings Online, where a player can choose to play as the enemy for a while, becoming Borg, Cardassian, Dominion or something of that nature.

•   RP background tools, to assist the player in immersing themselves in the experience of being in the Trek universe, and developing a backstory for the character.

Chapter 1 – Faction Academy:

•   Starfleet Academy would serve as the “noobie” training area for all Starfleet officers. Similar schools would be established for the Imperial Klingon Defense Forces and the Romulans as well.

•   Academy grounds would be fully explorable and act as a player development area to allow people to get familiar with their characters as well as game play. (ala Age of Conan’s “City of Tortage”)

•   Player rank at the Academy would be Cadet.

•   Players would complete training missions (quests) that are designed to have an Academy-like feel to them, and would get a person started on their chosen departmental path of Engineering, Science, Medical or Tactical. Command would not be available to a player until they reach at least the rank of Lieutenant Commander, however, command school missions would be available to the player which would up their command experience rating in preparation for down the road should they choose to follow a command track.

•   Familiar places / events would be available such as the Academy Flight Range (to teach navigational skills), Zero G Training, etc.

•   All cadets would leave their Academy with navigational skills, thus allowing them to take the helm of any ship in the game, if they so choose. Otherwise, the helm would be manned by an NPC. The Academy Flight Range as well as holodeck simulations would provide practice on the piloting of all the different vessels in the game, from shuttlecraft all the way up to a Sovereign Class size vessel.

•   All Cadets would graduate the Academy as an Ensign. However, for the over-zealous type, if their performance ratings in their missions and training are high enough, a bonus and elite “Red Squad” mission chain would unlock, giving the cadet a slim chance of leaving the Academy as a Lt. (JG). This would be something for all Cadets to strive for, but would be difficult to achieve (but not impossible).

•   Cadet missions would be assigned in 3 ways. First, would be missions assigned by their NPC instructors. Second would be by a commanding officer of the Academy, and finally missions would also be available on the computer terminal in the cadet quarters.

•   Game play at the Cadet level would last about 3-7 days, depending on how much time is spent and if the Red Squad content becomes available to the Cadet.

•   Cadets would take a “training cruise” on board an NPC commanded starship that would allow the Cadet to determine if they are ready to face the big bad universe with what they have learned at the Academy.

•   An updated version of the Kobiyashi Maru training scenario is A MUST to make the Academy feel like the Academy. This would be unique to the Starfleet Academy only, since the Klingons and Romulans would have little use for such a scenario.

•   Once you leave the Academy, you may not return to revisit those missions, so, therefore the choice is up to the player if they are ready to be a Starfleet officer or not, however, advantages would be available to those who complete the entire Academy content, as well as standard awards such as a title of being Top of their Class, etc.

•   While privateers would not have an Academy, they would have a noobie opening area to help them get acclimated to the game play, controls and the possibilities for them in the future, such as becoming a pirate, a freight hauler, etc.

Chapter 2 – Junior Officer:

•   Junior Officers would comprise the ranks of Ensign, Lieutenant Junior Grade and Lieutenant.

•   First assignment as an ensign would give you a choice to be posted at either: Starfleet HQ (serving basic Starfleet needs such as transport routes to Vulcan, aide de camp to an Admiral, etc.), a remote (randomly selected from 10 possibilities) Starbase that would allow you to operate from the base using shuttlecraft, Delta Flyer size vehicles and transporters since the Starbase would no doubt be near a planet or on a planet, and finally from an NPC controlled hub ship where officers on board would give you tasks. It would be possible for all players in the Junior Officer ranks to experience all this content, all they have to do is choose how and where they wish to start.

•   If a player joins a “Crew” or “Fleet” once they enter the universe, they would have the option to access the standard content from a computer terminal on their ship, and conduct missions from their ship, or from a temporary posting to the above mentioned locations.

•   All players would have personal quarters where their avatar can get missions (from the computer terminal), decorate (based on decorating permissions from their rank) and access their personal records to see their accomplishments, achievements, awards as well as missions they can repeat for better performance scores to help them advance in rank.

•   As stated before, all content in the game would be open to anyone of any rank, what changes are the personal objectives and the numeric value of experience they gain based on their current rank.

•   Once a player hits the rank of Lt. JG, a “destiny” mission track opens up that would allow the player to become a chief department head such as Chief Engineer, CMO, Chief Science Officer, etc. This mission chain would last into the rank of full Lieutenant, but a player may skip it if they feel it is too hard, but could not hold the title of a department head.

•   Starting at the rank of Lieutenant, a player may allocate Experience into the Command category, to ready them for the transition to a Lieutenant commander, and the possibility of commanding their own ship. Once this occurs though, the player may find they are no longer in their chosen department (Engienering, Science, etc.) so the player must choose carefully. The point allocation can be reverted at an NPC, for some sort of cost in experience, etc. up to the rank of Commander. Once a player reaches the rank of Captain however, they may not revert back unless they choose to accept a demotion down to a lower rank.

•   Once achieving the rank of Lt. JG, a player would have access to a Delta Flyer type/size craft to get around and use on missions and could transport up to 3 other players on that vessel when involved in a group Away Mission.

•   For players who can not find a group for a given mission, they can choose to use NPC crewman to take along, but with a penalty applied such as reduced XP available, etc. This would discourage the use of NPCs (because of the penalty) but would allow anyone to go on a mission if they play at odd hours or tend to be a loner.

•   Weapons and equipment proficiencies would develop for each player based on their rank, department and experience, as well as their performance with said weapons and equipment. Proficiency in weapons (Tactical department) would mean increased damage dealt by a Phasers and the like. Proficency in tricorder use would increase the effectiveness of a Science officer and their abilites on missions. Profiecent medical knowledge would increase the healing capabilities of the player. All players would be able to do anything, but how well they use the equipment is based on their department and their proficiency with said equipment. So even a tactical officer could heal others with simple bandages applied to a fellow Away Mission member, but they may not heal said compatriot for as much as say a Doctor or Field Medic from the Medical department.

•   Command track (for ground content) would start in a limited capacity at the rank of Lieutenant with the ability to take “command” of away missions and such, and access some additional Command XP for use in their transition to Lt. Cmdr.

Chapter 3 – Senior Officer:

•   Senior Officers would comprise the ranks of Lieutenant Commander, Commander and Captain.

•   The rank of Captain would be considered the de-facto Maximum available rank.

•   Command of a large starship requires a minimum rank of Lieutenant Commander, and is limited to class sizes comparable to the Defiant, Oberth, Miranda, Nova, Centaur and other similar sized class vessels. Commanders could command a vessel in size comparable to an Intrepid, Excelsior or Nebula Class, and finally Captains would have access to any size of ship. Once reaching the next highest rank, the player may choose to remain with the previous rank size, so for example, if a Lt. Cmdr. Is promoted to Commander, but is really attached to their Nova class ship, they may choose to stick with that ship, or may request a larger ship to better fit their needs and desires from Utopia Planitia.

•   Once a player reaches the rank of Lt. Cmdr. A “destiny” mission chain unlocks which allows a player to choose to become an expert in their department (ala Geordi LaForge) or to transfer to the Command track (ala Worf). Players who skip this mission chain would remain in their current department but could not command a starship of their own. However that would lock a player to a maximum rank of Commander. It would be up to the player to decide if that is what they want to do.

•   Once a player reaches the rank of Captain, they would then be able to offer up their ship to “End Game” content. However, any player on that Captain’s vessel who does not want to participate would be allowed to choose to continue doing other missions on their own during that time. A set amount of players on the ship commanded by the Captain would be required in order to participate in the end game content (much like a raid structure).

Chapter 4 – Player Admiralty:

•   Players who would like to experience some strategic type game play would have the opportunity to become a Rear Admiral (Lower half). This would give them a limited amount of game play control of the universe around them as they prepare missions and direct fleet operations much in the same way that the highest ranked players in Battleground: Europe control the missions in that MMO.

•   Admirals would not be locked into strategic game play, and would be allowed to maintain a “flag ship” in order to still play at the senior officer level, however, it would not give them any sort of advantage over the highest ranked (Captain) senior officer player.

•   Admirals who spend most of their time in the strategic game play could set a “headquarters” for themselves at places like Starfleet Command, DS9, etc.

•   Player Admirals get basic parameters from higher ranked NPC Admirals and then formulate missions for other crews  and fleets, then issue the orders to said crews and fleets.

If you read through this whole post, I salute you and thank you!
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage

Offline Sarevok

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #1 on: 08 July 2008 09:17 AM »
I like your post, except the list of races needs Trill added to it. :)

Offline Random Redshirt

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #2 on: 08 July 2008 10:28 AM »
I like your post, except the list of races needs Trill added to it. :)

That is a good comment. Although my intention to begin with was an "at release" vision. You could easily add to that list (of to be added later) Cardassians, Betazeds, Ferengi, Katarians, Ba'ku and others.
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Offline Zach

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #3 on: 08 July 2008 12:23 PM »
One word - A W E S O M E.

Sounds like the type of STO i would like to play. I will make sure the right people see this thread.

Offline Falin

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #4 on: 08 July 2008 12:51 PM »
I like most of it, except the idea of "expirience". I belive whole heartly that STO should be a skill based game, not level based (even though you try to get away from it in your post it's still there).

what i would like to see is a skill system similar to Eve Online, abit not as sluggish, players would build their characters down "career" paths as they make their character, eve does this already so a player may start out more of a miner or warrior or other path as thet make the character, but would then aquire and train skills they want.

unlike Eve's slow 1 skill at a time deal though, i would institute a 3 skills at a time deal, the first skill would train at standard rate, the second at 2/3's the rate of the first and the third skill at a 1/3. this way players could focus slot 1 on long training time skills and use the lower ones for faster skills.

I would allow free form training, players can always learn something, even if it's not in their main carreer descision way back in creation. So a player who wants to be an engineer would focus mostly on engineering skills, but could train command and tactical skills as well if he so wants. if a tactical officer finds his life as a security officer is boring, he could start training medical skills and become a good doctor in due time.

As for ranks, i would advise against anything that mandates "must play game x years to be admiral" deal, i would instead base it on "faction" prestige. every mission you do for a faction gives you x amount of positive or negitive prestige (depending on how youcomplete or not the mission). this prestige can be used in many fashions, you can buy ranks with it, new equipment for your ships, better crews for your ship, prsonal equipment, ect. this should limit the number of "admirals" running around, as that rank would require far more prestige than a grinder could garner in a set time.

One of the biggest drawbacks to Eve is players who have been there lthe longest have the most powerful ships (aka they're admirals in your sense), this deters a lot of new folks from playing, as they think "i'll never be able to compete with them". even though it's cmpletely false and theyc an play for a long time and never encounter one of the elder players, they think they are disadvantaged, so piutting in a "you must play X time, before you can have Y rank" will deter future ande even potential beginning players.

notice i said you could buy things with prestige, yes it's a currency of sorts, where you buy factional stuff with. each item you'd want would have "levels" associated with it, so if you needed a basic crew for your fancy new cruiser, you'd pay 1000 prestige (or whatever), but if you wanted an above average crew (It gives slight bonus's), you'd pay the 1000+5000 prestige for them, maybe you want the elite crew, well they're the best of the best in the fleet, s you'll have to pay 1,000,000 prestige for them and all the preceeding levels worth as well, unless you already hold the lower levels, then you don't need to pay them.

can you see how this can be a great limiting factor, by allowing players to use "faction" prestige to buy factional things and ranks, it will have definate advantages and limit the millions of admirals running around and gives the player a choice "do i want to spend 20,000,000 prestige to become an admiral, or would i rather have the heavy command cruiser i just saw in the spacedock for that?"

and in truth, it's all about giving players some choices, give them a straight line game with no choices and they will bore easily and leave.

that's my addition to this great post. :)
« Last Edit: 08 July 2008 02:03 PM by Falin »
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Offline Admiral of Starfleet

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #5 on: 08 July 2008 01:26 PM »
I completely agree with Redshirt but I like the points you made Falin especially about players making choices.

Offline Blackfire

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #6 on: 13 July 2008 03:00 PM »

  I like what you've written and I would certianly play your view of STO.  But if I could I would like to add something here that you only briefly touched on, specifically the area of the 'citezin' player.

   A citizen should'nt just be limited to a privateer aspect, but as a merchant this could create interesting scenerios for the player, especially if the player is interested in the aspect of buying and selling of cargo. Running a business like Quarks bar or running the equivelant of the famed ferengi casino ships we heard mentioned in some of the shows.  A player might get into smuggling goods or is bieng pressured by Orions  to smuggle goods for them. All with the advancment system you advocate in your post above.

   Just a thought.

Offline Random Redshirt

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #7 on: 13 July 2008 03:47 PM »

  I like what you've written and I would certianly play your view of STO.  But if I could I would like to add something here that you only briefly touched on, specifically the area of the 'citezin' player.

   A citizen should'nt just be limited to a privateer aspect, but as a merchant this could create interesting scenerios for the player, especially if the player is interested in the aspect of buying and selling of cargo. Running a business like Quarks bar or running the equivelant of the famed ferengi casino ships we heard mentioned in some of the shows.  A player might get into smuggling goods or is bieng pressured by Orions  to smuggle goods for them. All with the advancment system you advocate in your post above.

   Just a thought.

A very good idea! I could see Privateer being very fun to play with a wide variety of possible playstyles.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage

Offline Bin hawkins

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #8 on: 14 July 2008 05:27 AM »
Wow that was quite the read.  These ideas mix with the seamless engine I was talking about would make one heck of a game.  Imagine a game with awesome game play like this, in an extremely dynamic seamless universe.  So I guess I wasn't really talking about a simulator.  :wink:

I really like the fact that you put in civilian play.  I think it would be a great idea.  And it would open up the possibility for civilian archaeology.  :)


Keep up the good work.  :blueshirt:
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Offline darkthunder

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Re: Random Redshirt's Vision for STO
« Reply #9 on: 15 July 2008 06:05 AM »
I agree with pretty much everything stated so far by Random Redshirt and Falin.

Although, I'd rather see a more "condensed" race selection list at least at first, and making races available over time either through player actions such as "leveling" a certain amount, or gaining "prestige" with a race faction... or perhaps the following suggestion would be the best and easiest method of unlocking new races:

Start with a short list of playable species at first (Humans, Andorians, Klingons, Romulans), and make 1-2 races available for character creation through content patch updates. Voices and art would already be in the game at launch one would hope, the unlocking of additional races over time would simply be to make so that players can create their own members of a specific species, and not just encounter NPC controlled members of different races.