Star Trek Online: Call of Valor

A Star Trek Online Fan-fiction.

Atari, Foundry, and the future of STO: The Plot Thickens

Today, Perfect World and Atari issued a press release that announced an agreement for the acquisition of Cryptic Studios. The press release is somewhat long, so I’ll try to break it down into non-l33t-bizman speak, as well as give some shared thoughts on the matter and how it could affect STO. As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, Atari (formerly known as Infogrames) made the decision this month to sell Cryptic Studios – the makers of Star Trek Online, Champions Online, the original developers of City of Heroes, and the studio currently developing the new Neverwinter.

Now, I have to say, before this happened I had a pretty biased opinion about Continue reading

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June 1, 2011 Posted by | Ideas for expanding, Nit-picker's Guide | Comments Off on Atari, Foundry, and the future of STO: The Plot Thickens

Ship interiors – making them more useful.

So after reading the latest Ask Cryptic for January, watching this weeks episode of STOked, and chatting with my roomie, I had an inspiration for “Ship Interior class-specific emergency situations” that could spawn after combat ends in any Exploration mission. The fact is, YOU are the Captain because you’re damn good in your field AND good at command; so why would your crew NOT defer to you in extreme circumstances when the problem is in your field of experience? And why not make these “mini-missions” class-based? We’ve seen through the Featured Episodes that they can create class-specific options for missions, so that part is easy.

Here’s a basic gist of my ideas:

Engineering – Prevent a Warp Core Breech

EG: “Captain! That last shot we took hit us pretty hard; it knocked out (random number between 3 and 6) of  the primary and secondary EPS transfer nodes! The deuterium tank restriction couplings are beginning to fail! We need you in Main Engineering! We’re looking at a warp core breech in a few minutes!”

  • Mini-game of bypassing and re-routing systems & energy flows to prevent Warp Core overload.
  • in Main Engineering of ship interior
  • Utilizes various engineering consoles to activate or deactivate various systems.

Tactical – Boarding Party in Ships Lounge

EG: “Captain, sensors picked up some kind of energy surge from the enemy vessel as that last shot hit our shields; the weapons fire disrupted sensors for a few seconds, I’m having trouble determining what it… Intruder alert! We have boarding parties in the main lounge!”

  • Boarding party with enemy captain was able to sneak through the shields & beam aboard; defeat boarding party.
  • in Main Lounge of ship interior
  • Ground combat

Science – Radiation hazard from damaged systems (med OR sci solution, varies)

EG: “Captain, that last hit caused a rupture in some of the EPS cooling manifolds on deck 7; we’ve got a plasma fire on that deck! Suppression systems are offline, environmental controls are locked on manual in the science lab! Sickbay reports (between 3 & 6) crew injured with severe plasma burns and radiation poisoning!”

  • Mini-games of either adjusting environmental systems to counteract the  plasma fire or treating radiation poisoning of random NPC crew members.
  • Done in either Science Lab or Main Sickbay of ship interior, respectively
  • Utilizes various consoles to adjust various chemical compounds in the air circulation or different background energy levels to negate radiation, or various medical hypo-sprays to heal radiation damage to specific injured crew in sickbay.

I had some more elaborate ideas and puzzles, but none that can be easily implemented without additional mini-games like the ones that Cryptic had bought the images/concepts for from ThomasTheCat. Honestly, I’d love having these kinds of mini-missions as random extras thrown into the Exploration missions, just to spice things up sometimes. Too often would get dull, unless they were able to come up with several different scenarios for each class. This would also make ship interiors feel more useful, and help players feel more attached to their ships, I think. For people that don’t want to do them, I’d say give them an option to tell the crew to take care of it, then give the ship an “injury” instead (depending on the games difficulty setting, of course).

January 12, 2011 Posted by | Ideas for expanding | Comments Off on Ship interiors – making them more useful.

Improving Fleets In-game: Starbases

So right now Fleets don’t really have a lot. They have a Fleet channel, they have a Fleet bank, and they have a Fleet Events calendar. You can set people at various ranks, but that’s it. Frankly, that’s a bit disappointing. There’s rumors they plan to add Fleet Starbases, but how that will be implemented is unclear. There’s lots of people that have lots of ideas, some are s incredibly detailed you’d be surprised Cryptic hasn’t hired these guys for R&D. One such guy, Darren_Kitlor, has an incredible thread of ideas HERE. He has some amazing ideas; some I agree with, some I don’t, a few I’d tweak. But they’re very well thought out, and he even has photoshop images of the ideas he has for in-game UI possibilities.

I’d like to see a lot of Darren_Kitlor’s stuff used, with a few additions. It could look something like this:

My idea of an ideal Starbase

The base would be the main center, and each “spoke” would be an equip-able ‘pod’ (similar to a ship console) for the station. Each pod would have different functions and an companying Fleet PvP bonus. Different pods would also have different “Mk” values and would act in a starbase similar to how ship equipment acts in a ship. These pods would allow for expansion beyond the basic private Fleet gathering place, offering things like Starship customizations, merchants and tailor, crafting, etc.

Pods could include a medical pod (enhanced/lower cost for treatment of injured crew, BOffs & Fleet Members), Bank & Exchange, Shuttlebay, Cargo Bay (larger Bank storage space), etc. Rather than have a Mk I – Mk V station, you’d have Mk I to Mk V pods to equip into your station. Higher Mk versions of Station Pods give not only more options for that type of Pod (aka a Mk II Trades pod will only offer merchants with up to Mk III or Mk VII gear, where as a Mk V pod offers up to Mk IX gear), Higher Mk pods for other things would offer better Fleet options/bonuses (Station Security pods would have a larger Brig, offering better rewards for Defenders, and so on). Merchant Pods could be made in different classes, as well.

IE Merchant pod examples could include:

  • Ground Weapons pod
  • General Trade Goods pod
  • Kits and Ground Equipment pod
  • Starship Console pod
  • Starship Weapons & shields pod

Just to name a few. Rarer and higher Mk pods would nt only allow for higher Mk items to be sold in that pod, but would combine pod types ; you might find a rare Mk IV Merchant Pod that sold all kinds of Ground items, from hypo sprays to Kits, Weapons, armor & personal shields. Rare pods would be craftable only with rare drops, which could be made special Trade Goods drops from the new Diplomatic missions. Starbase Pod crafting might not need to be done through a crafting skill, but would require a base station and all resources would have to come from the Fleet bank.

Blueprints for different pod types could be items that are dropped or purchased using the highest in-game medals and Marks. This would also work to make random NPC Stations to be sieged in some of the end-game Exploration areas. They wouldn’t trigger except for a full group of 5 players and would be much simpler than an all-out Fleet vs Fleet siege, but would drop Fleet Station pod blueprints.

I’d have a separate station pod just for PvP; the owning Fleet could neither attack another Fleet starbase nor be attacked unless this pod is installed. That way, only Fleets wnating to participate in Fleet Sieging would be able to. This pod would allow for Starbase defense systems to be built, higher Mk pods allow for more/better defense systems. It would allow the Fleet owner to set their siege difficulty level and schedule availability; the Fleet would only show in the Fleet PvP Que durring those times.

A single new sector of space could be made for Fleet stations, and each station would get a private instance of that zone for their Station; other players not in the Fleet would not be able to enter that station unless they were invite or unless it’s during the clearly designated siege window. This might be easier to program into the game.

When people are PvPing, that would be the only section that couldn’t be destroyed in combat, aside from the station core; each section would give the Fleet a PvP bonus based on what the section is; destroying them in PvP would deny the said bonus to the owning Fleet, and there would be repair times & costs out of combat. Defeat would come when the primary command center is destroyed or the enemy fleet isn’t able to destroy it in the alloted time limit.

I’d have Docking dealt with the same way it is with Sol; no real docking, you just beam over when you get within the right range; this prevents Fleet members from getting pi$$ed off that they can’t dock at their own Fleet starbase. I would, however have things like a “Shipyard” pod to allow people to buy new ships but also to repair ship “injuries”, higher Mk pods do it for lower costs.

Fleets would be limited to no more than 4 to 6 pods, depending on the “Fleet Level”. this Fleet Level would also limit the Mk grade of pod you can equip onto your starbase. Raising Fleet level could be done with the same merits that are used to teach new skills to BOffs; for this to work best, I’d recommend that Fleet Banks be able to store merits just as they can store EC. The PvP pod could also cost a set amount of Medals from PvP, as well.

July 17, 2010 Posted by | For Fleet & Federation, Ideas for expanding | Comments Off on Improving Fleets In-game: Starbases

Smart player is SMAAART!

THIS GUY has some amazingly great ideas…

I hope Cryptic reads this and takes it under SERIOUS consideration

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Ideas for expanding | Comments Off on Smart player is SMAAART!

Ship Interior Ideas

WARNING: This is a long post!

I found a great post on the official forums about Ship Interiors. All in all, some awesome ideas! Just felt a need to expand a bit ^_^

2. Ready Room

The ready room should be the equivalent of housing in other games. It would be the primary area that bought furniture, decorations, ship models, weapons on the wall, etc. can be placed. This is your area to deck out, and when you have guests on your ship, you can show off. Secondly, there should be a console here on which you can hail starfleet. (I know you can already do this, but if it were changed to you contacting starfleet from your ready room it would feel much more star treky.)

I like this, the only thing I’d limit is I’d insist the actual ready room layout not be a separate customization to the bridge layout; if you have a bridge layout like the Enterprise D, you have the matching Ready Room. This would be a great place to have items in the C-Store for; wanna add an aquarium like Picard had? It’s on the C-Store for less than $2! I’d spend the money, especially if they started throwing up item bundles 😛

3. Holodecks

A lot of games have a way of replaying instances by interacting with some item in the main cities of the game. This is one function holodecks ought to have. Basically, this can be a portal to fleet actions you have already completed.

Another feature should be test flying/fighting your ship with modification, as well as testing ground combat against a given level enemies to test your equipment.

Holodecks would be the perfect place to try out equipment; just no actual rewards, and I’d even give it a small Energy Credit cost, something like 5 or 10 per mission run-through. And I think it’d be best if there were only missions that I’d already completed that were able to be done solo.

3. Halls

Pretty simple, but there should be corridors connecting the various areas of the ship, as well as turbolifts, and perhaps even Jeffery’s tubes.

I’d throw a replicator here; same as your thoughts on contacting Starfleet from the ready room, though I’d actually have a UI options setting to turn on and off the ability to only reach starfleet from the ready room or only use replicators from within the ship interiors.

4. Engineering

This is where I start really talking about new gameplay content. Currently, each class of officer does nto have class specific missions. This should change. At certain levels you should be given missions for special class-specific items and possibly abilities (but probably just items). Your own engineering section should play an integral part of this, and the challenges should have something to do with tinkering with your ship (fixes a problem, adjusting your ship to resist some attack by an enemy later in the mission, etc.)

5. Science/Telemetry

Same thing as engineering, but for sci officers.

This is a great idea, but honestly I’d keep it to a minimum. It’ll get boring if every other episode I had to run down to engineering to modify the deuterium injectors or something. Have this as part of random spacial anomaly missions, perhaps, and switch it up between Engineering, Science and other stuff. Have Engineering or Science captains get these missions more often than Tactical captains, too. On top of that, have some that require a couple captains! A tactical captain to defend against some kind of enemy attack, and the science captain needing to modify their deflector array to close the spacial anomaly the waves of enemies are pouring in through!

6. Sickbay

There would be no particular use for this, other than it would have something to do with various ship-interior based missions.

7. Transporter room

Same as sickbay.

How about when you die, instead of just re-spawning at the most recently unlocked re-spawn point, you re-spawn in sickbay and have to make your way to the transporter room and beam back at your most recently unlocked re-spawn point? You could stop at the replicator in the hall and pick up more hypo-sprays or shield batteries before beaming back down…

I also think that your ship’s inventory and your personal away mission inventory should be separate; limiting the amount of things you can carry to the planet, etc. Maybe call the ship’s inventory Cargo Bay 1 or something. Then, when you actually visit your ships cargo bay while wandering your ship’s interior, you could have crate graphics for each item in your “Cargo Bay” to make it seem more persistent. Larger vessels (IE Galaxy Class) have larger interior graphics for their Cargo Bays than smaller vessels (IE Defiant Class) and also have larger capacity for items to be held(bigger ship inventories).

8. Crafting

Crafting needs to be fixed to a more traditional crafting system (ie. proffesions). However, you should be able to use your bridge officers skills as well. The way I envision this working is crafting gives you a small amount of general experience. Various professions are skills you can put points into, but only if you are the right class for it (sci, eng, tac).

However, you can use your bridge officers to craft items of thier level by bringing them with you to their proper sections (eng – Engineering, sci – Science/Telemetry, tac – The Bridge? Holodeck?).

I agree with this; have a lab either on the ship or perhaps go ahead and restrict it to Memory Alpha where you can go for the crafting, and have a new UI option for crafting, just to select which officer(s) you’d like to craft with you (IE “Science Officer Jensen, report to {lab}”)

9. Missions

I have already eluded to this, but missions MUST involve the interior of your own ship. This helps make this feel much more like a Star Trek game (as the title implies). Also, occasionaly fighting or defending in some other way the interior of your own ship creates a great, urgent feel as your protect your home and friends

10. Q!

I want Q to visit me in my readyroom!

No arguments here at all! ^_^ Q showing up on the bridge or calling me to my ready room would make for a PERFECT random spacial anomoly mission!

11. PVP

There should be PVP missions in people’s ships. A great one would be an assault missions where one side has the advantage of already holding all but one of the capture points (whichever side the ship belongs to). The other team attempts to take over, while the other side defends. (I am aware that this advantage is marginal. That’s the point).

Perhaps there could be a new Klingon ability that creates a kind of “dual” situation where they beam over a boarding party lead by the Klingn Captain (only works when the enemies shields are down and hull is less than 50%) If the Klingon away team succeeds in killing the Fed Captain, that Klingon gets extra drops?

12. Uniforms

While in ship interiors, armor should be replaced with traditional uniforms. This makes it feel much more like a Star Trek ship.

Actually, there’s already an option when you right-click on an equipped kit or armor to “Hide on costume” so, sadly, this entry becomes slightly redundant.

That’s all my thoughts. What do you guys think?

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Ideas for expanding | Comments Off on Ship Interior Ideas

Anomalies & extra Bridge Assignments…

I was watching some of the STO video reviews I’ve found online, and was struck with a thought:

Random spacial anomalies.

How often in ST:TNG were they just wandering around, minding their own business, when the ran straight into a strange spacial or temporal anomaly? How many of the kewlest episodes revolved around that? Why not add that to STO? They could work similarly to the random enemy sensor contacts, popping in and out at random, and if a player hits them, it takes them to a special random mission. These could be anything, from a temporal loop to a planet in a dimensional pocket of subspace requiring assistance to who knows what.

This would ALSO be a good use of new ship interiors, with strange aliens suddenly appearing in cargo bay 2 or in sickbay, and being the Captain, it’s your job to go down there and see what they want.

I’d also like to suggest the ability to assign some of your “bridge Officers” as department heads; if you go to engineering, there’s a few random engineers and you find your Chief Engineer at the main console. Great if you have more than 1 engineer Bridge Officer. Tactical officers could be assigned to Security Chief or First Officer, Science assigned to Chief Medical Officer or Chief Science Officer, and Engineering to Chief Engineer or Chief of Operations, then have them standing at the appropriate space on the bridge or elsewhere on the ship.  And make assignments non-mandatory.

I’d love  to see those assignments extend right to the NPC dialogue windows; If you scan an injured NPC and a dialog window appears, if you have a CMO set it shows that NPC’s face instead of a random one. Same with other dialog windows that use your bridge crew; the NPC shown isn’t a random generation, it selects the appropriately assigned Bridge Officer first.

Please post your thoughts as comments here or on the official STO forums HERE.

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Ideas for expanding | Comments Off on Anomalies & extra Bridge Assignments…