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PC Games (Games) Sci-Fi Television Games

'Weekly Episodes' Coming To Star Trek Online 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-janeway-holodeck-episodes-please dept.
As Star Trek Online ramps up for its Season 2 patch, the game's executive producer, Daniel Stahl, spoke in an interview about an interesting new feature: weekly episodes. Quoting: "The team has wanted to capture the spirit of the TV shows by having something new to look forward to each week. We all remember when the various series were in full swing and there was the anticipation of tuning in every week to see what happened next. It wasn't always a continuing story, but it was always Star Trek in some way or another, and over time you became familiar with the characters and plots that developed. We are curious to see if this can be replicated through the game. Every week we plan to have something new for players to do. Sometimes it could be getting an assignment to resolve a trade dispute between two races. Other weeks it could be making First Contact with a new alien race. Other weeks you might find yourself deep in trouble and have to find a solution to your predicament."
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'Weekly Episodes' Coming To Star Trek Online

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  • by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:31AM (#32910214)

    Space game was great but the ground game was shallow, boring and not fun (it was like playing CoH without the superpowers). Too bad I had such high hopes for it. If they can fix the ground game up I would probably purchase a lifetime sub.

    Maybe if a game studio other than cryptic had made it it would have been awesome.

    Disclaimer: I know some people like all aspects, I personally could not get into the away mission part of the game. I absolutely loved the space part though.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:32AM (#32910218)
    There haven't been very many worldwide events in the current leading MMORPG. The gates of Ahn Quiraj was probably the coolest (and laggiest!) event I ever experienced before I quit.

    I don't play STO, but I approve of any developer effort to keep a sense of wonder in the world.
  • by boundary (1226600) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:47AM (#32910284)
    Too short to base a reliable release-to-live cycle around, at least, especially when dealing with the complexity of MMOs and the legendary lack of forgiveness of MMO players. So unless they have a bucketload of these weekly releases already saved up, and fully integration tested, I'm betting that these will soon start to slip to weekly-and-a-day, then weekly-and-2-days, then they'll move them to fortnightly. Then scrap the idea entirely.
  • by werewolf1031 (869837) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:50AM (#32910292)
    Couldn't agree more. The space battles were ridiculously fun -- even though after a few weeks it just felt a bit grindy (but still kinda fun). Away missions, not so much. Instead of just proceeding to the next Objective To Kill Badguys, it would've been more entertaining if it was more like a branching quest where your actions determined the outcome based on that mission's story, rather than just being more or less on rails with a predetermined ending each time.

    It seems as if the devs mean well, and really want to create a fun Trek-like experience, but just aren't sure how to actually go about it. Here's a hint Crypic: Trek wasn't only about combat, it was also about some very cool stories; some were fun and entertaining, some involved gut-wrenching choices, and so on.
  • Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maroberts (15852) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:39AM (#32910728) Homepage Journal

    Assuming the budget is big enough, you have a set of development teams working on a cycle of independent episodes.

    e.g if you have 4 or 5 teams, each team only has to release one episode per month.

    I would also presume that the MMO already has the generalised rules for handling quests built in, so its a matter of generating a scenario within the MMO, not coding the MMO itself

  • by zwei2stein (782480) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:41AM (#32910740) Homepage

    Chances are, it would be content and not code. If they have good tools and people experienced at using them, it really can be that fast (week is ample time to create modest quest chain in Bethesda engine for example, and i do not expect moroe than modest half an hour mission for each weekly episode).

    It is differece between adding new feature to CMS and writing new article.

    Furthemore, chances are that they have several team working on different episodes and alternating in releasing. They could as well have two-three-month release cycle.

  • by Robotron23 (832528) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:57AM (#32910792) Homepage

    All I've heard about this MMORPG is its mediocrity. Whether it be its mixed reviews, low scores from players across all the review sites - or simply the fact that Star Trek Online does little to actually expand the frontiers of MMOGs; the glaring fact is that STO is just a forgettable game that is too entrenched in tried-and-tested formula to merit excitement. The grinding crutch that most games of the genre rely upon to retain players is very much intact in STO. I guess for diehard fans who make up much of the game's audience it can provide a great experience in the Trek universe, and there were clearly some competant artists employed to recreate Trek in this fashion.

    However whereas EVE which is unique among MMOGs int that actually carving out an adventure or saga of one's own which can (albeit rarely) become something significant for many and even 'make history' as it were...STO just doesn't offer that. A friend of mine who partook in the beta lamented the lack of ease in gathering people together for activity, and as you'd expect from something so generic the philosophical and wondrous elements of finer episodes of Trek are mostly absent too.

    If one is looking to experience life in the Trek universe then - as is true with many well-established franchises - one can look to past consoles and eras for Trek themed games: I don't mean pedestrian FPSs like Voyager Elite Force, but earlier with consoles such as the Amiga or early Windows titles: Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity and the 25th Anneversary edition (for fans of the original 1960s show). Oh yeah, more recent is Bridge Commander which I personally enjoyed for a good long while back in 2003.

    Primarily it's these two that stood out in the 1990s era, but there are more worth playing: This page [wikipedia.org] is a good point of reference. Acquiring the titles on PC whether emulated or not is not too much trouble in many cases with the titles mentioned.

  • by Comboman (895500) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:29AM (#32911470)

    Seriously... I wonder how long they'll be able to keep it up until all that's left is... well... Spock's Brain 'episodes'.

    If Next Generation is any indicator, about five seasons.

  • the future of MMOs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:01PM (#32916572) Journal

    Personally, I think this is a foretaste of the future of MMO's.
    Certainly, they may or may not be able to successfully implement, but I've always wondered at how STATIC MMO's are.

    Certainly, for those of us who used to buy a computer game, you were pretty much stuck with whatever the designer(s) envisioned was possible when the game went gold. Occasionally a content patch would be released that might add some little thing (now they sell these as "DLC").

    Strangely, MMO's - despite their dynamic foundation and constant-connection to the source servers - have mimicked this pattern. AFAIK the only game that ever tried to really let content change over time was Ultima Online where players could impact (in fact, drove) the economy, and perhaps today EVE, where the player-sourced economy dwarfs whatever is hard-coded by the game.

    I'm talking about something less economics and more "world". Certainly the complexities of balance, loot, xp gain mean that it would be a hellish effort to try to add significant BALANCED content on a weekly basis. But would it be so impossible to have NPCs change their clothes over time? Maybe quit jobs and be replaced? Have a merchant vessel arrive on infrequent occasions into a port city, offering rare or unique items for sale? I think WoW has discovered that, between meaningless achievement points and holiday celebrations that players really ENJOY things that add depth to a world without necessarily increasing their dps. The WoW world-events are fun (of course there's some bitching, because change is scary) and memorable.

    Now if they just didn't seem quite so "bolted on", discrete, and above all, repetitive we'd be getting somewhere.

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