This week, I feel like having a little more fun. These are exciting times for MMO-lovers, and I admit my eye -- and my playing time -- have gone a-wanderin' of late. So I got to thinking this week about which features from other MMOs I would most like to see implemented in STO. Keep reading, because I'm going to tell them to you! And then I'm going to demand that you suggest your own features in the comments!
Wanderlust is good for the soul
Confession: I have a hard time staying in one place. I get bored easily, my attention span isn't what it used to be, and it's been a decade since I've lived in one place for more than a year or two. I'm always looking for something new.
Needless to say, that mindset makes me something of an MMO tourist. I almost always get super excited for the next big game, dump it after a month or so, and then sporadically return to it once every few months when I'm restless or bored.
Naturally, I'm pretty jazzed these days. The open beta for Final Fantasy XIV has absorbed most of my gaming time for the past week or so. Lord of the Rings Online's free-to-play switch has sucked me back into Middle-earth. New information on the impending release of DC Universe Online has me counting the days until I can sidekick it with the Flash family. Even World of Warcraft has woken me from my traditional pre-expansion funk to retake the Echo Isles.
And what does any of that have to do with STO? Nothing, mostly. But as I spent this past week not zapping the Breen -- to whom we shall return next Thursday -- I started imagining how the people at Cryptic Studios could translate some of the cooler features of other MMOs into the Star Trek universe. Here are a few I came up with.
City of Heroes: Mission Architect
I haven't played City of Heroes in years -- the level of available customization means the character-creation process alone is almost paralyzing to an altoholic like me. But I've heard wonderful things about the Mission Architect system. Released with the game's Issue 14, the architect allows players to design, test and share in-game missions. The system is ingenious -- and it plays an important role in CoH's continued success.
The best part? The developers at Cryptic Studios are already working on a similar system for STO! Executive Producer Daniel Stahl plugged the future implementation of user-generated content in the latest Ask Cryptic, mentioning that the daily patrol missions in the Defera Sector owe their genesis to the UGC toolset. It won't be available for a good while at least, but the tool allowing players to create custom STO missions is definitely on its way -- and I can't wait!
FFXIV, the soon-to-be newest kid on the block, allows players to advance characters through crafting and gathering. Can you play through the whole game without ever fighting? I have no idea, really, because the game confuses me at every turn. But still, the option is there, and we all know STO players would love a non-combat option as well.
I imagine the developers could allow, say, science officers to find science-y, non-violent resolutions to conflicts (separate from diplomacy). Maybe my blue shirt could run around the galaxy curing diseases and combating interstellar anomalies using his mind grapes. Or engineers could progress by, I don't know, building things or by saving allies from destruction rather than by destroying enemies. I know that's a pretty pie-in-the-sky possibility, but wouldn't it be fun?
Star Wars Galaxies: Crafting
This goes hand-in-hand with my idea for non-combat progression. My favorite part -- really, the only part I liked -- in Star Wars Galaxies was the immense crafting system, which allowed players to make anything from food to animals to vehicles. And we know the developers are planning to change STO's oft-reviled crafting system once again, so I guess it's sort of technically possible that we could receive an SWG-style system.
I can imagine engineering officers making their way through the game by crafting weapons and starships and starbases! How rewarding would it be to complete construction on your very own Enterprise and then fly it out of drydock for the first time?
Admittedly, I have very little experience with Runes of Magic, but the recently released pet system looks tremendous. Blending a bit of Pokemon and a bit of crafting, RoM's pet system allows players to find, trade, breed and raise a whole slew of different companions.
Tribble-breeding allows players to do that to a certain extent, but what about breeding targs or sehlats or gaghs? Er... on second thought, maybe a pet system isn't such a great idea.
WoW + LoTRO: Arena Monster Play
So WoW features PvP arenas, and LoTRO boasts the ability to play as monsters in PvP (as long as you subscribe, now). The brainiacs at Cryptic need to fuse those two and allow STO players to mix it up in monster arenas!
Look, Kirk and company seemed to end up fighting against monsters or in arenas every other week, so why not combine the two? Let Q establish some sort of crazy, Beyonder-esque arena out in the Omega Quadrant -- an arena to which he summons players, forcing them to assume the forms of various alien creatures and fight to the death for his otherworldly amusement.
Champions Online: Microtransactions
Haaahahaha! Just kidding. STO has enough of those already.
I know I'm just begging for a flood of smart-alec responses here, but what other crazy-cool features would you love to see the developers co-opt from other MMOs? Dragons from Everquest? Asteroid-mining from EVE Online? The fully voiced NPCs we've been promised in Stars Wars: The Old Republic? The sky's the limit on this one. But if you say STO needs to import fun from other MMOs, I'll force-feed you buckets of live gagh until Dinosaur Planet stops being ridiculous.