Star Trek Online: Call of Valor

A Star Trek Online Fan-fiction.

STO Creativity – Pet Peeves of Player Backstories

So Season 4 has just rolled out, and I have one thing to say about that Juggernaut of changes: AWESOMESAUCE! So much goodness in it, I don’t know where to start 😀

So I just won’t. 😛 There’s blogs all over the net reviewing all the new changes to Star Trek Online with their new Season 4 release that I don’t feel I need to bog people down with yet another blog raving or fuming over the changes in excruciating detail.

Instead, I’m going to share a pet peeve of mine that annoys me about a lot of the RP stories people make to explain their character backgrounds in STO. And I’m gonna be excessively snippy in order to get a point across. This is not meant to be aimed at particular people, though I do use one or two examples; this is not meant to be directed at them, the examples/arguments they gave are just clear enough to help me point out things being done by all the other posers that are out there, and there are always exceptions to every rule. This is just my deep, dark opinion on it, and everyone knows opinions are a dime a dozen.

Now, first off, I want to make it clear – in the realm of Star Trek fan-fics, I think people should write using whatever characters they want, and use whatever they want from Star Trek lore to build those characters. I love players ability to explore the pasts, presents and futures of people & places we’ve all come to love like family. One of my online friends has stories she wrote of  young woman who is the daughter of Riker & Troi, and she’s not the only one I know of that has written those kinds of fan-fics. There’s some awesome ones out there. I enjoy reading them. Just keep it out of my STO.

As awesome as you are, Chris of STOked fame, yes I'm looking at your main toon, too.

Honestly, because it breaks the immersion, especially if/when the owners of Star Trek release new official cannon that takes that character & makes her cease to exist because of some event. What if CBS makes it cannon that Riker & Troi never had kids because there was an accident and he became infertile? Then that back-story is total shit and having a daughter of Riker & Troi makes you look like the next 14 year old teenage girl with dreams of being a writer and zero real creativity. Writing fan-fics is totally different, to me; in those anything goes, because there’s more leeway for alternate universes than in a game like STO with a specific storyline that is totally out of our hands.

My friend said in reply to this:

“… since – to me and most fans – the games and books aren’t canon. And tbh, two years after I wrote about my ideas of potential Riker kids the “official” books had Riker and Troi having a little girl named Natasha. It’s a risk we all have when we create – and STO is no different – just as the storylines from any previous Star Trek game don’t exist in this game – when and if CBS ever decides to make another series I can pretty much guarantee that NOTHING from STO will be in it.”

Nope, that kind of argument still doesn’t fly. The game & books being cannon isn’t simply on the whim of the fans; it’s actually on the whim of the owners of Star Trek, and they’ve decreed that STO’s stories, as written & established by Cryptic, are cannon, along with a large list of comic books, video games, novels and short stories. I do also consider STO very different from fan-fic writing. We’re not talking about fan-fic writing at all here; that’s a totally separate entity entirely. I even have written fan-fics like that. I keep it out of STO, though, because I don’t want to mess with any of the cannon established by Cryptic & CBS. There’s lots of room for fans in STO to make epic stories in the Foundry & with their characters without trying to take from established cannon characters. And I’ll be updating this post with the links to prove STO’s stories are cannon as soon as I’m able to track them down again.

EDIT: Ok, I’ve been looking around the net and the closest I can determine from interviews with devs, old ask cryptic entries & forum posts is that the movies & TV series are “hard cannon“, whereas any novels or other publications authorized by CBS/Paramount to be published are considered “soft cannon“. STO falls under soft cannon. As far as I can tell, hard cannon is “set in stone“, whereas soft cannon can be ignored sometimes. Hard cannon will always supersede soft cannon. Fan-fics are not cannon whatsoever. 😛 And I still say keep your fan-fic rip-off characters out of my STO.

I HATE it when players bring their cliche monstrosities into my STO, no matter how awesome the fan-fic that spawned them seems. It burns me up that they can’t keep their gawdamn hands out of the established characters from past series and have to make yet another cliche descendant or sibling or cousin or clone or reincarnation or whatever the hell they wanna come up with, trying pathetically to make it part of the current STO universe/timeline. Using the above example, seeing a character run around the STO universe named “Beth Riker” and having a backstory of being “the daughter of Riker & Troi”, no matter how interesting her life was written to be, gets my hackles up. Seriously. You don’t own the rights to the characters of Riker OR Troi, you’re not getting paid to write a story that will be soft cannon, so please don’t make a character within STO that steals from the established cannon stories, whether hard or soft cannon. Seriously, just don’t. It breaks my immersion severely, more than the idiots jumping around on the tables in ESD like they’re 12 year olds on a sugar high. Make a character that knew them, sure; like how Picard and Janeway knew Boothby. Just make your character your own, not some frankenstein’d rip-off.

Just as bad is RPing in-game that you’re part of the crew of one of the TV series. I know 2 girls that would RP over twitter that they were serving on the original Enterprise with Kirk & Spock, and the crap those two came up with was like from some drunken high-school girls slumber party. Kirk drunkenly serenading one while the other had Spock making lame excuses to be alone with her like a shy 14-year-old nerd boy and make pathetic passes at her? Made me want to puke. It was just disgustingly sacrilegious to me, felt like they were raping my childhood with every twitter post. But that’s an angry rant for another blog entry.

Don’t make lame excuses to try to justify making a cheap knock-off character like this. There is no way to justify making a blatant rip-off character. Seriously, just admit that you’re being a dink & blatantly ripping off of established cannon & don’t give a crap about whether it breaks immersion for the other people playing. I can accept that and will treat you accordingly, including not RPing with you. If you MUST bring your fan-fic character into STO, then make it fit the STO game universe itself and make sense in the lack of ability to choose that kind of thing for the established cannon characters; using the previous example of Riker & Troi’s daughter “Beth”, say something like she is from a parallel timeline and is unable to return back to her home universe. And if you are going to insist on bringing your shitty little fan-fic monstrosity into STO, understand that, as kewl as you think it is, you will be breaking the immersion of dozens of players like me.

And possibly incurring our wrath in PvP.

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July 9, 2011 - Posted by | Nit-picker's Guide

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