When you're done drenching yourself in glue in celebration, it's time for this week's edition of Ask Massively, in which we discuss walking in ships and stations. If you'd like to have a question answered in a future edition of the column, leave it in the comments or mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
myr asked: [W]hy is player/ground-walking so horrible in sci-fi games with ships in them?
Because when you spend months on developing a fun and interesting game, you don't have as much time to develop another game based on an entirely different set of parameters.Graill440 asked: What do sarcastic hipsters have to do with your topic again? Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!
You may or may not have enjoyed Star Trek Online; I did, so take that for what it's worth. But you can't deny that the space battles certainly felt true to the series. They were engaging, they were well-balanced, and they gave you plenty to do without feeling as if you were overwhelmed. It's clear that a lot of time and effort went into making sure that battles in space felt organic, natural, and entertaining. By contrast, once that development was finished, an entirely different combat engine had to be developed for the ground -- an entirely different set of rules governing movement, weapons, armor, abilities, and so forth.
There's also the simple fact that players are going to be extra-critical of a game that allows character development outside of the ship after years of developing within the ship. Even if EVE Online introduced an entire system allowing your character to do all sorts of fancy things on the ground, players have already been developing their ships for years. They have resources, they have skills, and they have an understanding of how things are supposed to work. Either they have to now start at ground zero, or it's a huge update in terms of size and resources that adds nothing in terms of actual gameplay.
It's not that it has to be horrible. But it's trying to make a game serve two masters, and that often goes poorly.