The Senator approached me a few weeks ago with an idea for a guest blog topic. Many of us know of his posts within the Cryptic Forums. We exchanged a few emails and talked about his impressions of Star Trek Online.
After Leonard Nimoy’s passing this week at 83, the Senator offered this take on the state of Star Trek Online. Its a honest assessment, and well worth the time to read.
A few weeks ago, I discovered the Loot Critter and approached him (her? it?) about the possibility of doing an interview of sorts. I going to write up lengthy responses concerning my thoughts on everything contained within Star Trek Online, but after learning of the loss of our friend Leonard Nimoy on Friday, I scrapped what I had and decided to say in far simpler terms what needs to be said.
Star Trek has always been special to me. My dad introduced it to me when I was young, and to this day I’ve seen all the movies, every episode from TNG, DS9, and VOY, many episodes from TOS, and one episode of ENT. I wasn’t around to see the first three series on TV, and too young to see the last two. I love learning about Star Trek and I especially love learning about its impact on the world. I even did a National History Day project about Star Trek and Nichelle Nichols’ influence on the Civil Rights Movement. Gene Roddenberry may have created the show to feed his family, but he created a timeless commentary on humanity that has changed the world for good.
I joined Star Trek Online because it looked so promising. It appeared to carry on the ideals of Gene’s vision of humanity. Finally I could be a part of Star Trek’s impact on the world. As it turns out, none of that was present in STO. The developers may be wonderful Trekkers like myself, but this thing that they have created is – if I may be bluntly opinionated – a soulless Frankenstein’s monster. I know I’m treading on controversial ground, so bear with me. Just as Star Trek as a show existed for the purpose of making money, Star Trek as a game exists for the purpose of making money. But unlike the show, this game has no deeper meaning or moral to it. It just looks like Star Trek.
I cannot singularly lay the blame on anyone one person or entity, I cannot point to any Cryptic dev or Perfect World suit and say “He did it.” But to whoever may be reading, I implore you, please consider this. Star Trek Online has so much potential, yet it fails to grasp that. There is so, so much good that can be done while still making money for Cryptic and PWE.
Develop the Foundry. Sell mission packs that come with assets for authors. Advertise missions and present them to players so that the dev team will never run out of content. Integrate the community by letting reputable members select and offer amazing player missions every week to the team for entry into the official mission log.
Start repairing the badly mangled PvP. Create queues with preset filters like Pre-Delta Rising, Pre-Legacy of Romulus, Pre-Season 7, and so on. Allow players to create their own private matches with a filter to block any gear, passives, or features they don’t want. Start a leaderboard for players to be visibly recognized in. Create more Ker’rats, more open battlezones for players to join in, create some that correspond to the filters on the queues. Make an environment that will encourage players to spend money on gear, without the terrible reputation PvP currently carries.
Diversify the PvE content. Add specific challenges to queues for specific roles like healing, tanking, damaging, shield draining, crowd controlling, cross healing, and teamwork. Create special teamwork-oriented super-missions like Terradome for each reputation, so that earning gear actually has a purpose, which would be conquering the final ‘boss mission.’ Program NPCs in queues to activate their abilities after certain conditions have been met, so that enemies will repair their hull once it drops below a certain percentage, or use Attack Pattern Omega after getting caught in a hold. Add actual incentive to earning gear and spending money for PvE.
These are just a fraction of the suggestions I can make about STO. And to bring it all back around, take pride in this game. Make it groundbreaking. Make it stand above the rest. Make it extraordinarily fun and profitable. Make it something I’d want to write a paper about. Create the game that will leave a proud legacy alongside the show.
This is why I implore you readers, the players, the developers, to ponder and discuss this. It was not out of anger that I left STO, it was sadness. It is not out of frustration that I write this, it is out of hope. Though Leonard Nimoy left this earth, he has been immortalized in the game as Mr. Spock. Make Star Trek Online reach beyond the game industry and into the world as one of most amazing works Mr. Nimoy ever contributed to.