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Any news on a new exploration system yet?

sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 2,338 Arc User
I've been gone for a while and am about to come back for a visit. When I was last here there was discussion about some new exploration system that might have been in the works. Has anything come of that yet?

The other stuff that's been happening in the game sounds cool, but I would like to have a system in place that would let me explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly go where no-one has gone before, between seasonal content release.

Just wondering
When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.
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  • nightkennightken Member Posts: 2,792 Arc User
    sadly nothing has been said.

    if I stop posting it doesn't make you right it. just means I don't have enough rum to continue interacting with you.
  • baddmoonrizinbaddmoonrizin Member Posts: 7,036 Community Moderator
    They kind of gave the impression with New Dawn that we might get some exploration again, but sadly it hasn't come about.
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  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,611 Arc User
    edited April 2017
    The subject of replacing the exploration system was raised on the last community livestream (with Stephen Ricossa). It has been on Cryptic's mind (plans and experiments) but that's all they're willing to say about it.


    (relevant part at 44 minutes if it doesn't start there automatically)
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  • vegeta50024vegeta50024 Member Posts: 2,176 Arc User
    The subject of replacing the exploration system was raised on the last community livestream (with Stephen Ricossa). It has been on Cryptic's mind (plans and experiments) but that's all they're willing to say about it.


    (relevant part at 44 minutes if it doesn't start there automatically)

    Since that livestream is more recent, that's about as far as we're really going to get with it. It's not a small system that they can just slap into the game in a few months time.

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  • nikeixnikeix Member Posts: 3,972 Arc User
    I really don't expect to see them go head to head with Star Citizen on that front.
  • saurializardsaurializard Member Posts: 3,616 Arc User
    nikeix wrote: »
    I really don't expect to see them go head to head with Star Citizen on that front.
    Exploration revamp in STO, coming at the release date of Star Citizen, when Malachor gets frozen a second time.
    #TASforSTO
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  • goodscotchgoodscotch Member Posts: 1,680 Arc User
    They said a while back that they had some things on the drawing board, but when those things will start to appear...I have no idea. Use your Captain's Log as a story board! Fan Fiction built directly into the game.
    klingon-bridge.jpg




  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,230 Arc User
    goodscotch wrote: »
    They said a while back that they had some things on the drawing board, but when those things will start to appear...I have no idea. Use your Captain's Log as a story board! Fan Fiction built directly into the game.
    Is there a way for other players to see that? If not it'd be a cool function for bridges.
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  • goodscotchgoodscotch Member Posts: 1,680 Arc User
    goodscotch wrote: »
    They said a while back that they had some things on the drawing board, but when those things will start to appear...I have no idea. Use your Captain's Log as a story board! Fan Fiction built directly into the game.
    Is there a way for other players to see that? If not it'd be a cool function for bridges.

    Not that I'm aware of...but that's a good idea! Maybe have a toggle switch to allow or disallow other players to read your Captain's Log. :)
    klingon-bridge.jpg




  • angrytargangrytarg Member Posts: 10,409 Arc User
    > @nikeix said:
    > I really don't expect to see them go head to head with Star Citizen on that front.

    Star Citizen and STOs new Exploration are currently on the same level though. ;-)
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  • sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 2,338 Arc User
    Why must Star Trek Online's new exploration go head to head with Star Citizen? It doesn't need to.

    What it needs to at its core is provide the means for players to do these three things:

    1 Explore Strange new worlds...
    2 Seek out new life and new civilizations
    3 Boldly go where no-one has gone before.

    And STO is loaded with a massive number of diverse gameplay mechanics, many of which are self-contained on a player-centric level.

    Exploration should make use of as many gameplay mechanics as possible ranging from DOff assignments to cooperative projects akin to fleet holdings, but open to anyone who wants to participate. Imagine building a starbase in what starts off as a remote sector of space that a captain discovered on his journey. It is an important sector because bordering it is a sector containing an apparently unclaimed asteroid field loaded with resources. Establishing a base of operations nearby would make setting up mining facilities and protecting them a lot easier.

    Exploration could become STO's open world sandbox aspect, driven by a system that runs independently, allowing PWE to continue hand-making content to feed the themepark aspect.

    There is no rule that says an MMO must be either a sandbox or a themepark. It is possible to strike a balance between the two. and even allow both to feed each other.
    When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.
  • nikeixnikeix Member Posts: 3,972 Arc User
    angrytarg wrote: »
    > @nikeix said:
    > I really don't expect to see them go head to head with Star Citizen on that front.

    Star Citizen and STOs new Exploration are currently on the same level though. ;-)

    Really? So a budget, playable demos, and a schedule is available on STO? Must have missed that. Or maybe your Star Citizen knowledge is just out of date.
  • nikeixnikeix Member Posts: 3,972 Arc User
    Why must Star Trek Online's new exploration go head to head with Star Citizen? It doesn't need to.

    I'm pretty sure I just said it wouldn't. Because for the most part that would be suicidal, with a side order of "why would STO essentially feed itself to the lions?"

    Any project that big needs to be about player acquisition, not player retention. STO's just not that well armed to jump into the hunt for new players using "Exploration!" as bait. There's a reason you hear "white board..." and then crickets. Because unlike player daydreaming, game design as a business requires a certain awareness of the larger market.

    STO can, should, and I assume would do different things than any other game. But right now "Exploration!" is really not a buzz word they can throw around as a key sales point because there is a much newer, much better financed project looming over that premise while we're simultaneously coming off the giant stink-fest that was No Man's Sky. But it could be great to take up that banner again in 2-3 years when 64bit location engines are something you can license from the people taking all the risks right now.
    Exploration should make use of as many gameplay mechanics as possible ranging from DOff assignments to cooperative projects akin to fleet holdings, but open to anyone who wants to participate. Imagine building a starbase in what starts off as a remote sector of space that a captain discovered on his journey. It is an important sector because bordering it is a sector containing an apparently unclaimed asteroid field loaded with resources. Establishing a base of operations nearby would make setting up mining facilities and protecting them a lot easier.

    Exploration could become STO's open world sandbox aspect, driven by a system that runs independently, allowing PWE to continue hand-making content to feed the themepark aspect.

    There is no rule that says an MMO must be either a sandbox or a themepark. It is possible to strike a balance between the two. and even allow both to feed each other.

    Well said. And 4 years ago that would have been brilliant. Right now its just not a good place to put enough chips to make a good bet.

  • sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 2,338 Arc User
    nikeix wrote: »
    Why must Star Trek Online's new exploration go head to head with Star Citizen? It doesn't need to.

    I'm pretty sure I just said it wouldn't. Because for the most part that would be suicidal, with a side order of "why would STO essentially feed itself to the lions?"

    Any project that big needs to be about player acquisition, not player retention. STO's just not that well armed to jump into the hunt for new players using "Exploration!" as bait. There's a reason you hear "white board..." and then crickets. Because unlike player daydreaming, game design as a business requires a certain awareness of the larger market.

    STO can, should, and I assume would do different things than any other game. But right now "Exploration!" is really not a buzz word they can throw around as a key sales point because there is a much newer, much better financed project looming over that premise while we're simultaneously coming off the giant stink-fest that was No Man's Sky. But it could be great to take up that banner again in 2-3 years when 64bit location engines are something you can license from the people taking all the risks right now.

    The thing about the looming nature of Star citizen is that it has been looming for a long time, and looks to continue to loom for a long time to come. I still have my doubts that it will ever actually come out, as they keep putting the cart before the horse with all the bloody feature creep that keeps on growing and growing and growing. Elite Dangerous did the right thing by launching a solid core game and then building the features around it.

    The problem concerning STO's exploration element is that it is non-existent. It's one of the fundamental premises of Star Trek itself, and it is treated as an afterthought. No... It's not even given that much of a priority. It has been pointed out by others that the shows don't really cover the whole exploration thing, but rather the crew dealing with things they have discovered or encountered. The exploration is what happens between the episodes. For TV, it works. the audience devotes one hour a week to the show. The rest of the time is filled with life. Star Trek on the screen is not persistent. Star Trek ONLINE, however, is. We know full well that whatever content PWE produces is going to get blown through faster than it can be produced, yet they want people spending as much time in the game. Doing WHAT? Right now, we pretty much do the same STATIC content overt and over and over again, maybe with a different ship and newer gear.

    It seems to me that a system that uses the full spectrum of STO's gameplay mechanics but leave the players with no way of knowing what will come next would be an excellent way of filling the episodic content void. In fact, new official episodes could be delivered THROUGH the exploration system. As in the next sequence of exploration events would be the new episodes.

    Exploration should make use of as many gameplay mechanics as possible ranging from DOff assignments to cooperative projects akin to fleet holdings, but open to anyone who wants to participate. Imagine building a starbase in what starts off as a remote sector of space that a captain discovered on his journey. It is an important sector because bordering it is a sector containing an apparently unclaimed asteroid field loaded with resources. Establishing a base of operations nearby would make setting up mining facilities and protecting them a lot easier.

    Exploration could become STO's open world sandbox aspect, driven by a system that runs independently, allowing PWE to continue hand-making content to feed the themepark aspect.

    There is no rule that says an MMO must be either a sandbox or a themepark. It is possible to strike a balance between the two. and even allow both to feed each other.

    Well said. And 4 years ago that would have been brilliant. Right now its just not a good place to put enough chips to make a good bet.

    Well, it seems to me that with any MMO, this one included, anything that is done is a bit of a gamble, no matter how many chips get thrown into the pot.
    When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,611 Arc User
    edited April 2017
    The problem concerning STO's exploration element is that it is non-existent. It's one of the fundamental premises of Star Trek itself, and it is treated as an afterthought. No... It's not even given that much of a priority. It has been pointed out by others that the shows don't really cover the whole exploration thing, but rather the crew dealing with things they have discovered or encountered. The exploration is what happens between the episodes.

    But if it's a Star Trek game then would it really be in Cryptic's interests to put resources into content that wasn't shown in preference of things that were (ex. narratives, character drama)? You may be able to hit the hidden aspect but at that point are you actually doing service to the franchise (as it exists for most people)?

    Exploration can be handled within the framework of a set narrative. This is how we appreciated exploration in the show after all. Moment to moment, the player doesn't know where things might lead and I would argue that a developer would be more capable of eliciting the right feeling than an RNG system (through careful dialog, map design, and gameplay design).

    See. No Man's Sky (yeah, I went there but I think some general questions need to be asked about the "exploration" genre and whether or not it's worth pursuing in STO. We attach a keyword because of the franchise and look to games that incidentally share the same. Is that really a substantial connection or just something that's incidental to language?)

    Doing WHAT? Right now, we pretty much do the same STATIC content overt and over and over again

    Episodes are dynamic, not static. Furthermore, it's not clear in what capacity an RNG based exploration system would be "dynamic" compared to careful writing and mission design. Direct human input in the latter means that it has a much greater capacity to vary, surprise, and provoke thought (see. the last episode and its background detail). A RNG system is, by its nature, limited in what it can do (since dev input has to be constrained to fit episodes to a random narrative).

    We certainly can explore New Kentar (some of us have trouble NOT exploring that map.) Personally, I'd prefer Cryptic approach exploration as an ongoing theme rather than a new system.
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  • sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 2,338 Arc User
    Doing WHAT? Right now, we pretty much do the same STATIC content overt and over and over again

    Episodes are dynamic, not static.

    Episodes ARE static. Each time you run them, they are the same. That's what I mean by static. If they were dynamic, then there would always be a potentially different outcome, or there would be random branching pathways requiring a MEANINGFUL choice from the player.
    Furthermore, it's not clear in what capacity an RNG based exploration system would be "dynamic" compared to careful writing and mission design. Direct human input in the latter means that it has a much greater capacity to vary, surprise, and provoke thought (see. the last episode and its background detail). A RNG system is, by its nature, limited in what it can do (since dev input has to be constrained to fit episodes to a random narrative).

    We certainly can explore New Kentar (some of us have trouble NOT exploring that map.) Personally, I'd prefer Cryptic approach exploration as an ongoing theme rather than a new system.

    You are not getting what I am saying... I do not want the exploration system to REPLACE the careful writing and mission design the devs apply to their episodic content. I am talking about a system that keeps us engaged in the game BETWEEN the episodic content releases. There are people in the game who just log in, fill their Doff queues and then log out until the next day when most of the assignments will be complete. And if anything is limited, it's Doffing, Even if what I propose turns out to be as limited as you seem to think it would be, at least it would involve actually ENGAGING in active gameplay.

    In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing as many DOff assignments as possible converted to actual playable content that we can get involved directly with, with success always paying out the maximum reward the DOff assignment would. I find it sad that the part of STO that is most Star Trek like is one in which the only role the player has is to assign non-non-player characters to the task.

    If we had the option of leading these missions ourselves, even repetitive as they are, it would give us yet anoter engaging activity to do.

    I would like to take the opportunity to point out that there is a new MMO on the way, called "Ashes of Creation" in which the bulk of the game is player-driven. Cities will be built over time by the direct involvement of players. Imagine such a city as being like an open-to-the-entire-community Fleet Holding. Where anyone in the region can participate in tasks which result in the city's growth from a camp site all the way up to a sprawling metropolis. I find it amusing that what I have suggested here to essentially do the same thing with new content where we explore, discover, expand and move on has been crapped on for no other reason than people don't want to see a system replace hand-crafted episodic content, even though I have never suggested that happening.

    As it is, many only log in after there has been a new content release with nothing to motivate them to stay. What? Are they supposed to go back and replay the mission episodes with their new gear?

    Other games have systems in place that keep players engaged in meaningful activities. That's really all I want to see happen with STO. But people don't want to see it happen because it would mean an end to hand-crafted episodic missions? Why would it mean that. Why MUST it mean that?
    When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.
  • somtaawkharsomtaawkhar Member Posts: 8,968 Arc User
    I would like to take the opportunity to point out that there is a new MMO on the way, called "Ashes of Creation" in which the bulk of the game is player-driven. Cities will be built over time by the direct involvement of players. Imagine such a city as being like an open-to-the-entire-community Fleet Holding. Where anyone in the region can participate in tasks which result in the city's growth from a camp site all the way up to a sprawling metropolis. I find it amusing that what I have suggested here to essentially do the same thing with new content where we explore, discover, expand and move on has been crapped on for no other reason than people don't want to see a system replace hand-crafted episodic content, even though I have never suggested that happening.
    The problem with such lofty ideals as player driven things such as city creation is that most people don't care enough too put the work into that, and even more still just love finding ways to tear it down. Player driven MMOs always end up failing, or being populated by a very small hardcore group, even smaller then STOs playerbase.

    The problem with exploration system that, with any amount of randomization, the system will form patterns, and once you start noticing the patterns, you start noticing your really just playing the same handful of missions over and over, just with a new baddy spawn/background texture set. You can set the pattern enough to prevent things like the infamous "Third Bog Dynasty" problem, but its still going to just be the same handful of mission over and over, which people will quickly grow tired of.
  • sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 2,338 Arc User
    I would like to take the opportunity to point out that there is a new MMO on the way, called "Ashes of Creation" in which the bulk of the game is player-driven. Cities will be built over time by the direct involvement of players. Imagine such a city as being like an open-to-the-entire-community Fleet Holding. Where anyone in the region can participate in tasks which result in the city's growth from a camp site all the way up to a sprawling metropolis. I find it amusing that what I have suggested here to essentially do the same thing with new content where we explore, discover, expand and move on has been crapped on for no other reason than people don't want to see a system replace hand-crafted episodic content, even though I have never suggested that happening.
    The problem with such lofty ideals as player driven things such as city creation is that most people don't care enough too put the work into that, and even more still just love finding ways to tear it down. Player driven MMOs always end up failing, or being populated by a very small hardcore group, even smaller then STOs playerbase.

    And yet, within HOURS of launching their kickstarter campaign (having a working prototype of the game as a proof of concept rather than just a "here's what we are wanting to do" outline) they hit their goal, and with half a month still on the campaign, they have already raised nearly 2 million dollars. That tells me that there is a much bigger audience that is interested in a player-driven MMO after all these years since SOE and LucasArts jointly screwed Star Wars Galaxies up and turned it into the primarily-themepark game it died as. For the first time in years a developer has the guts to take the road the industry turned away from in a vain effort to cash in on the success of the MMO which must not be named here, with every offering a clone of that game, more or less.

    There is a difference between players not caring enough to put work into something because there is no point in it, and there actually being a point beyond just running endless missions that touch only them. In Star Wars Galaxies, people came together and built cities. Before the CU/NGE overhauls... Before the hologrind, there was a thriving community that was bound together by symbiosis. But once systemic changes went in that disrupted that symbiosis, it started to fall apart. The community turned toxic.
    The problem with exploration system that, with any amount of randomization, the system will form patterns, and once you start noticing the patterns, you start noticing your really just playing the same handful of missions over and over, just with a new baddy spawn/background texture set. You can set the pattern enough to prevent things like the infamous "Third Bog Dynasty" problem, but its still going to just be the same handful of mission over and over, which people will quickly grow tired of.

    I'm not talking about a system as shallow as we had with the previous one. I'm talking about a system that lets us actually explore star systems, actual new civilizations that have a personality based on many interacting varriables. Diplomacy could bring those civilization into the UFP... Subjugation could bring them into the KDF... Intrigue could bring them into the NRR. Facilities and colonies could be constructed a la the same mechanics used in fleet holdings and reputation progressions. So it wouldn't just be running madlib missions. It would be progressing through scenario-driven mechanics where by places are actually discovered, things are actually built, all through cooperative player involvement.

    And if the system is designed correctly, the devs could drop their next episodic content arc into it, and the next star system to be discovered would be where it is located. Or they could even take one of those civilizations the players discover and write episodic content dealing with it, and suddenly what was procedurally deployed into the game becomes a centerpoint of that hand-crafted episodic narrative.

    The thing is that most of the mechanics that would be at play in what I envision is already part of the live game. Some of them were introduced as part of the episodic content releases.

    I guess my problem is that STO has never been the sort of game I've felt it should be... You know... an MMORPG that actually treats each player as a part of a wider community rather than a cookie cutter clone of each other, doing the exact same missions for the exact same rewards, over and over ad nausium. In my vision, I might discover a peaceful civilization willing to share medical knowledge without equal, while another player might encounter a new warlike civilization hell-bent on conquering all others. Where each discovery means something and could have a lasting impact on the entire community... Not just an individual player.

    And the thing is... it COULD be possible. But it never will because all PWE cares about is selling lock box keys and grabbing as much cash as they can as quickly as they can. Nevermind that if, just like in reputation progression and fleet holdings, colonization and construction projects also cost a hefty amount of contributed RD, the Zen exchange would still thrive.

    Those in control of this game are very short-sighted. And some in this community have allowed themselves to become just as short-sighted. Maybe they've never played a player-driven MMO before.

    You want to know where SOE/LucasArts went wrong with SWG? They did EVERYTHING but what the community asked for. And what the community asked for was not unreasonable... Just two things:

    1 - Fix the bugs.
    2 - Add content.

    They wanted new planets to explore. They wanted new things to craft, namely things that were common in Star Wars, but were for some reason missing in the game. But instead of doing this, the first overhaul the devs did was institute the hologrind which destroyed the symbiotic relationship between players. That is when subscriptions started bleeding away. Next they overhauled the combat system which took away progression form those who were early-to-midway through their combat profession advancement. Change mechanics and you are fine, but undo weeks or months of progression and you make people want to leave. And that is what happened. Then, just six months layer, they turned SWG into a clone of the MMO which must not be named here... And the mass exodus of players continued. It is entirely possible that SWG would still be alive today, and there would have been no SWTOR had those early bugs just been fixed, and new content added on a regular basis.

    People use SWG as an example of why sandbox player driven MMOS should not be done. But as one who played that game from DAY THREE (I had to wait for pay day before buying the deluxe edition), I can tell you that the reason why it failed was because the powers that be were on a tight leash haled by higher powers that be, who had no clue what they had right in front of them, and made arbitrary decisions that ultimately worked against them but were too obsessed with being right that they could not admit where they were wrong and actually fix what their decisions broke.

    So SWG should not be an example of why player-driven sandbox games should not be done. It should just serve as an example of how they should not be run. SWG worked when it first launched. It hit over a million subscribers (The MMO that must not be named had yet to come on the scene and set the record so high) which was a big deal at the time. And to this day there has yet to be a released MMO of its like in terms of player freedom and community engagement because of it.

    An Arbitrary decision was made by the corporate game development industry NOT to explore further MMOs like that. And it has been a decision that until now has not been reversed. Nearly two million dollars raised in half a month for Ashes of Creation shows that there IS a desire for a return to the MMO genre's roots. We'll just have to see if it lives up to expectations.

    On that note, I think I am done here...
    When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.
  • somtaawkharsomtaawkhar Member Posts: 8,968 Arc User
    And yet, within HOURS of launching their kickstarter campaign (having a working prototype of the game as a proof of concept rather than just a "here's what we are wanting to do" outline) they hit their goal, and with half a month still on the campaign, they have already raised nearly 2 million dollars.
    That really doesn't prove anything beyond the fact people are stupid and will throw money at anything that isn't made by a big publisher simply because it's not made by a big publisher.

    Look at Pillars of Eternity, the game raised tons of cash on the name of Obsidian alone, then, when it came out, it was panned and bashed by the community who funded it, then, despite not liking the first one, those same people threw over 4 million dollars into Pillars of Eternity 2's Kickstater/Fig because...... reasons!
  • sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 2,338 Arc User
    edited May 2017
    And yet, within HOURS of launching their kickstarter campaign (having a working prototype of the game as a proof of concept rather than just a "here's what we are wanting to do" outline) they hit their goal, and with half a month still on the campaign, they have already raised nearly 2 million dollars.
    That really doesn't prove anything beyond the fact people are stupid and will throw money at anything that isn't made by a big publisher simply because it's not made by a big publisher.

    Look at Pillars of Eternity, the game raised tons of cash on the name of Obsidian alone, then, when it came out, it was panned and bashed by the community who funded it, then, despite not liking the first one, those same people threw over 4 million dollars into Pillars of Eternity 2's Kickstater/Fig because...... reasons!

    I guess nay-sayers just gotta say nay...

    Have you even looked into Ashes of Creation? Or are you shooting the idea of what it represents down just for the sake of shooting it down. Its developers are the most transparent of any developer I have followed in the past ten years. They are not afraid to give real answers to questions. None of this, "we can't talk about that now" TRIBBLE that most devs spew. And they are not afraid to show actual pre-alpha footage of gameplay which while clearly unpolished is representative of what they are actually doing. their lead developer is fed up of what has been happening to the genre for at least the last decade. These people are not afraid to shake up the status quo.

    The player-driven sandbox has only been dead for the past several years because the corporate development industry arbitrarily decided that it was. All because the biggest MMO in history was not a sandbox game and every MMO developer to follow after that one's did everything they could to make their MMO just like theirs. How many of those were going to be the killer of that MMO that must not be named here?

    STO sure isn't. KOTOR sure isn't. Neverwinter sure isn't. LotRO sure isn't.

    The last decade of MMO development, STO included, has been nothing more than an exercise in mediocrity, and I find it sad that the developers involved have been content to settle for that. STO is less than it could be not because PWE can't make it more, but because they WON'T. They have settled for their little formula for cash grabbing, and are making no effort to turn their profits into the seed for greater effort. The Developers won't exceed their corporate-decreed mandates, even if they may want to. But what is saddest is how this community has simply accepted the mediocrity of this game. It may be, and I suspect that it is, that those who once had the fire to speak their mind about the short-comings of the game and to cite the instances where Cryptic said one thing and did another have either all left or were otherwise silenced... But then, as one of the devs once said, there are people who play the game and people who play the forums. That stirred up a bloody crapstorm. When you have people come on these forums to say what they really think only to be marginalized by the ones who need to hear it and should be thick-skinned enough to take real criticism and then put forth a conscious effort to correct the problems.

    I know they cannot take every single negative assessment and run with it. But dammit, in the instances where a thread runs for hundreds of PAGES with most of the participants in consensus with each other, then something needs serious attention. It's happened quite a few times here.

    I can only speak for myself. I am tired of what the MMO genre has been turning into. I am tired of seeing Free to Play MMOs like this one just stagnating when they could be growing. Most importantly, I am tired of not being able to find an MMO that I truly feel at home in. UO was my MMO home when I played it. SWG was my MMO home when I played it. Every other MMO, including this one, feels like something to just log into for a short time, do a little of this and a little of that, and then not even log in for months. Why? Because I know that they are all capable of being so much more than they are, but no real effort is put forth to make it so.

    So... What am I to do? I love Star Trek. I love MMOs. So why don't I love this Star Trek MMO? Do I have my expectations too high, or does PWE have theirs set too low? PWE isn't taking the removal of the old exploration system and the void it left seriously. As long as it has been since they gutted it, if they were taking it seriously, there would have been some REAL word about its replacement by now. No... All I see is a strict adherence to the PWE cash cow formula. That and changes being made to things that nobody we can see has even asked for...

    Anyway... All I can do is voice my opinion. And that's all it is... Just my opinion.
    Post edited by sirsitsalot on
    When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.
  • starkaosstarkaos Member Posts: 11,473 Arc User
    Any Exploration System for STO would be far more complex than anything that Star Citizen or No Man's Sky could provide due to Star Trek exploration always being about new alien races and stories rather than just exploring planets and stellar phenomena. Would need an extremely advanced AI for procedurally generated exploration missions which I don't see happening for at least 10 years. The only way that Cryptic could do it would be random Foundry missions with the odd dev mission.
  • wylonuswylonus Member Posts: 471 Arc User
    gosh, i really missed doing explorable cluster expanse zones
  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 9,427 Arc User
    And yet, within HOURS of launching their kickstarter campaign (having a working prototype of the game as a proof of concept rather than just a "here's what we are wanting to do" outline) they hit their goal, and with half a month still on the campaign, they have already raised nearly 2 million dollars.
    That really doesn't prove anything beyond the fact people are stupid and will throw money at anything that isn't made by a big publisher simply because it's not made by a big publisher.

    Look at Pillars of Eternity, the game raised tons of cash on the name of Obsidian alone, then, when it came out, it was panned and bashed by the community who funded it, then, despite not liking the first one, those same people threw over 4 million dollars into Pillars of Eternity 2's Kickstater/Fig because...... reasons!

    I guess nay-sayers just gotta say nay...

    Have you even looked into Ashes of Creation? Or are you shooting the idea of what it represents down just for the sake of shooting it down. Its developers are the most transparent of any developer I have followed in the past ten years. They are not afraid to give real answers to questions. None of this, "we can't talk about that now" **** that most devs spew. And they are not afraid to show actual pre-alpha footage of gameplay which while clearly unpolished is representative of what they are actually doing. their lead developer is fed up of what has been happening to the genre for at least the last decade. These people are not afraid to shake up the status quo.
    Can't shoot down something that isn't off the ground in the first place. Ideas are easy and talk is cheap. It's the implementation that ultimately decides if the end result is worth anything. Until your "most transparent developer" has an actual game out, it's all just marketing hype.
  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,186 Arc User
    Exploration will always be difficult to program due to the limited number of options you can cram into a gig of memory. Is it a high number? Yes, but it is a maximum limit on options. Algorithms to create new worlds, new life, and new civilizations, then motivate them and have them interact with players in a meaningful manner would be extremely complex and of course would reuse those options, and eventually, depending on how many options there are, become repetitive. This was exactly the problem with the old system.

    Lest you think I am merely being negative, there is an option: put a creative mind in the mix. Instead of creating algorithms, use a GM. This was done very successfully in Neverwinter Nights back at the turn of the century.

    Of course, STO would have to set loot drops and event rewards to prevent Monty Haul GMs from giving free stuff to their friends, and to prevent stingy GMs from running a three hour session then 'forgetting' to reward the participants.

    This would also be the case for challenge level, so that a GM couldn't send a team of level 20 captains into a room full of level 60 Heralds. But this is already done in the Foundry.

    In fact, I would propose that Foundry be used by the GM to create his scenario, leaving only the GM interface to be developed. I'm guessing most of what is needed has already been developed as testing tools, and what remains would be what is needed to allow the GM to control individuals, speak for them, trigger spawns, iniate and terminate combat, and observe and monitor player characters as they progress through the scenario.

    The real hitch here is in selecting GMs. You are certain to get nuts in your chocolate, so players need to be able to communicate with the staff to eliminate undesirable GM'swho use the medium for unethical behavior. Reporting functions which include session logs can help moderators determine which cases are of disgruntled players and which are of misbehaving GMs.

    But I would begin with an approval process which selects willing GM's from the current active Foundry authors who submit to oversight by staff moderators who can enter and exit scenarios in progress in supervisor mode. As the numbers of qualified GM's increase some could be promoted to Community Moderators, under staff supervision, who then help newer GMs get on their feet and keep their eyes on potential problem GM's. Thus, the chore of screening GMs could be shared among those who have the most to lose by the misbehavior of one of their number, allowing staff moderators to go on with their day job and only dealing with real troublemakers.

    The end result would be when a GM logs in and announces that he is issuing invitations for x number of players of y level for approximately z hours. Players could then log in to his instance on a first come basis or a most closely matched by experience basis and participate in the session for rewards equivalent to those he could earn playing PvE.

    Because of liability issues I doubt this would ever happen. But if it did, think of how many new worlds, new aliens, new adventures, new puzzles there could be: infinite potential using limited resources. Exploration would be truly limitless.
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,230 Arc User
    I would like to take the opportunity to point out that there is a new MMO on the way, called "Ashes of Creation" in which the bulk of the game is player-driven. Cities will be built over time by the direct involvement of players. Imagine such a city as being like an open-to-the-entire-community Fleet Holding. Where anyone in the region can participate in tasks which result in the city's growth from a camp site all the way up to a sprawling metropolis. I find it amusing that what I have suggested here to essentially do the same thing with new content where we explore, discover, expand and move on has been crapped on for no other reason than people don't want to see a system replace hand-crafted episodic content, even though I have never suggested that happening.
    The problem with such lofty ideals as player driven things such as city creation is that most people don't care enough too put the work into that, and even more still just love finding ways to tear it down. Player driven MMOs always end up failing, or being populated by a very small hardcore group, even smaller then STOs playerbase.
    And sometimes this is because it's filled with cities named "Wang", "Dong", "New Wang", "Coast Dong".... well you see how deep this gutter is....
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    My character Tsin'xing
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  • darakossdarakoss Member Posts: 850 Arc User
    I would like to take the opportunity to point out that there is a new MMO on the way, called "Ashes of Creation" in which the bulk of the game is player-driven. Cities will be built over time by the direct involvement of players. Imagine such a city as being like an open-to-the-entire-community Fleet Holding. Where anyone in the region can participate in tasks which result in the city's growth from a camp site all the way up to a sprawling metropolis. I find it amusing that what I have suggested here to essentially do the same thing with new content where we explore, discover, expand and move on has been crapped on for no other reason than people don't want to see a system replace hand-crafted episodic content, even though I have never suggested that happening.
    The problem with such lofty ideals as player driven things such as city creation is that most people don't care enough too put the work into that, and even more still just love finding ways to tear it down. Player driven MMOs always end up failing, or being populated by a very small hardcore group, even smaller then STOs playerbase.

    And yet, within HOURS of launching their kickstarter campaign (having a working prototype of the game as a proof of concept rather than just a "here's what we are wanting to do" outline) they hit their goal, and with half a month still on the campaign, they have already raised nearly 2 million dollars. That tells me that there is a much bigger audience that is interested in a player-driven MMO after all these years since SOE and LucasArts jointly screwed Star Wars Galaxies up and turned it into the primarily-themepark game it died as. For the first time in years a developer has the guts to take the road the industry turned away from in a vain effort to cash in on the success of the MMO which must not be named here, with every offering a clone of that game, more or less.

    There is a difference between players not caring enough to put work into something because there is no point in it, and there actually being a point beyond just running endless missions that touch only them. In Star Wars Galaxies, people came together and built cities. Before the CU/NGE overhauls... Before the hologrind, there was a thriving community that was bound together by symbiosis. But once systemic changes went in that disrupted that symbiosis, it started to fall apart. The community turned toxic.
    The problem with exploration system that, with any amount of randomization, the system will form patterns, and once you start noticing the patterns, you start noticing your really just playing the same handful of missions over and over, just with a new baddy spawn/background texture set. You can set the pattern enough to prevent things like the infamous "Third Bog Dynasty" problem, but its still going to just be the same handful of mission over and over, which people will quickly grow tired of.

    I'm not talking about a system as shallow as we had with the previous one. I'm talking about a system that lets us actually explore star systems, actual new civilizations that have a personality based on many interacting varriables. Diplomacy could bring those civilization into the UFP... Subjugation could bring them into the KDF... Intrigue could bring them into the NRR. Facilities and colonies could be constructed a la the same mechanics used in fleet holdings and reputation progressions. So it wouldn't just be running madlib missions. It would be progressing through scenario-driven mechanics where by places are actually discovered, things are actually built, all through cooperative player involvement.

    And if the system is designed correctly, the devs could drop their next episodic content arc into it, and the next star system to be discovered would be where it is located. Or they could even take one of those civilizations the players discover and write episodic content dealing with it, and suddenly what was procedurally deployed into the game becomes a centerpoint of that hand-crafted episodic narrative.

    The thing is that most of the mechanics that would be at play in what I envision is already part of the live game. Some of them were introduced as part of the episodic content releases.

    I guess my problem is that STO has never been the sort of game I've felt it should be... You know... an MMORPG that actually treats each player as a part of a wider community rather than a cookie cutter clone of each other, doing the exact same missions for the exact same rewards, over and over ad nausium. In my vision, I might discover a peaceful civilization willing to share medical knowledge without equal, while another player might encounter a new warlike civilization hell-bent on conquering all others. Where each discovery means something and could have a lasting impact on the entire community... Not just an individual player.

    And the thing is... it COULD be possible. But it never will because all PWE cares about is selling lock box keys and grabbing as much cash as they can as quickly as they can. Nevermind that if, just like in reputation progression and fleet holdings, colonization and construction projects also cost a hefty amount of contributed RD, the Zen exchange would still thrive.

    Those in control of this game are very short-sighted. And some in this community have allowed themselves to become just as short-sighted. Maybe they've never played a player-driven MMO before.

    You want to know where SOE/LucasArts went wrong with SWG? They did EVERYTHING but what the community asked for. And what the community asked for was not unreasonable... Just two things:

    1 - Fix the bugs.
    2 - Add content.

    They wanted new planets to explore. They wanted new things to craft, namely things that were common in Star Wars, but were for some reason missing in the game. But instead of doing this, the first overhaul the devs did was institute the hologrind which destroyed the symbiotic relationship between players. That is when subscriptions started bleeding away. Next they overhauled the combat system which took away progression form those who were early-to-midway through their combat profession advancement. Change mechanics and you are fine, but undo weeks or months of progression and you make people want to leave. And that is what happened. Then, just six months layer, they turned SWG into a clone of the MMO which must not be named here... And the mass exodus of players continued. It is entirely possible that SWG would still be alive today, and there would have been no SWTOR had those early bugs just been fixed, and new content added on a regular basis.

    People use SWG as an example of why sandbox player driven MMOS should not be done. But as one who played that game from DAY THREE (I had to wait for pay day before buying the deluxe edition), I can tell you that the reason why it failed was because the powers that be were on a tight leash haled by higher powers that be, who had no clue what they had right in front of them, and made arbitrary decisions that ultimately worked against them but were too obsessed with being right that they could not admit where they were wrong and actually fix what their decisions broke.

    So SWG should not be an example of why player-driven sandbox games should not be done. It should just serve as an example of how they should not be run. SWG worked when it first launched. It hit over a million subscribers (The MMO that must not be named had yet to come on the scene and set the record so high) which was a big deal at the time. And to this day there has yet to be a released MMO of its like in terms of player freedom and community engagement because of it.

    An Arbitrary decision was made by the corporate game development industry NOT to explore further MMOs like that. And it has been a decision that until now has not been reversed. Nearly two million dollars raised in half a month for Ashes of Creation shows that there IS a desire for a return to the MMO genre's roots. We'll just have to see if it lives up to expectations.

    On that note, I think I am done here...

    So many memories.....thriving player cities, thriving player economy, thousands of people on at once, more classes and professions than any MMO to this day. It was so sad to watch it evaporate withinhours of the NGE hitting......wow.
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    original join date 2010

    Member: Team Trekyards. Visit Trekyards today!
  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 9,427 Arc User
    I would like to take the opportunity to point out that there is a new MMO on the way, called "Ashes of Creation" in which the bulk of the game is player-driven. Cities will be built over time by the direct involvement of players. Imagine such a city as being like an open-to-the-entire-community Fleet Holding. Where anyone in the region can participate in tasks which result in the city's growth from a camp site all the way up to a sprawling metropolis. I find it amusing that what I have suggested here to essentially do the same thing with new content where we explore, discover, expand and move on has been crapped on for no other reason than people don't want to see a system replace hand-crafted episodic content, even though I have never suggested that happening.
    The problem with such lofty ideals as player driven things such as city creation is that most people don't care enough too put the work into that, and even more still just love finding ways to tear it down. Player driven MMOs always end up failing, or being populated by a very small hardcore group, even smaller then STOs playerbase.
    And sometimes this is because it's filled with cities named "Wang", "Dong", "New Wang", "Coast Dong".... well you see how deep this gutter is....
    Yes, though failure from that doesn't come from those things existing. It comes from prudes who hate freedom of speech and expression getting everything censored to the point it stops being fun.
  • dracounguisdracounguis Member Posts: 5,363 Arc User
    darakoss wrote: »
    So many memories.....thriving player cities, thriving player economy, thousands of people on at once, more classes and professions than any MMO to this day. It was so sad to watch it evaporate withinhours of the NGE hitting......wow.

    Had a friend that played SWG. After the crash, they'd always send him (and I assume everyone else) tons of free goodies to come back. He logged on and showed me the game. Ran around the ground, saw his house, and flew his ship between systems. It looked nice. But there was absolutely no other players anywhere he went. An entire ghost galaxy. Very sad.

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