Playing a ‘role’ in the STO-verse

Just how Much ‘RPG’ is there in the STO Experience? MMORPG right? I’m sure all the readers here know what that acronym stands for. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Yes we overuse acronyms in modern society but that one is definitely a well placed use. Kind of like SHIELD in the Marvel Universe, Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. Yeah, that is good use of an acronym.

OK, back on to the topic. STO is massively multiplayer online, this is true. It also has a strong RPG game mechanic. But RPG isn’t just about building characters; it is about vicariously playing as someone else or something else. Are we playing Klingons as they ought to be played? How much of the player base is really immersed into the idea that they are role playing as a Vulcan or Andorian?

I do try to immerse my self into a character at least when there are decision points in the game. Star Trek Online however, doesn’t have many decision points in the episodes. I have mentioned over the years that Cryptic should offer us decision points that allow us to act according to the character model we have chosen. A Klingon would be more apt to take an aggressive stance in a situation where as a Human in the Federation might lead with diplomacy. A Romulan would look for a clever leverage point trying to undermine his adversary.

The game does a great job of telling some cool tales that draw from the canon of Trek, but we as players are typically just along for the ride. Sure we get to open up the phasers and let loose the dogs of war, but do we get to truly play the “role” of our character? Not really when you think about it.

I plan on looking into some of the foundry missions again, it’s been a while since I played foundry stuff other than the Fed only mission near Japori that is basically a run and shoot aptly titled ‘Kill the Fek’Ihri’. I use it to test out new tactical setups.

Has anyone created a RPG foundry mission where we can play out our roles and the mission has parameters to take us down a diplomatic path or a more bloody avenue. Sometimes I want a mission that requires more than just good hotkeys and fast tapping. Don’t get me wrong, there is no shortage of satisfaction from running through the Top Gun Patrols and wiping hordes of hapless enemies out with a killer setup. But what about the RPG angle?

The Foundry system does not offer a facility to remember previous player choices, and that is a limitation to a more complex RPG style experience. It does however allow a choice that would then lead to a scenario based on that choice. That choice simply cannot be remembered later so as to stack against future choices. But I would like to hear from any of you that have played a foundry mission where you feel that you could play ‘in character’ and get a different result than say playing as a different character.

The STO community is filled with sharp and capable people, so maybe there are some great missions with RPG style design to offer a more cerebral experience that immerses us into our characters. I’d love to hear your thoughts on good foundry missions.

Why can’t STO create places where we can be more like the canon versions of the different factions / species. Why isn’t there some back alley dive joint black market op on some moon in a distant system where my Ferengi can go trade in some slightly illegal merchandise? Why can’t my Klingon cause a minor disturbance at Quark’s when a snarky Cardassian gives him a glaring look? Players should be able to run some sort of enterprise on distant worlds, you know, a gambling operation, legal or illegal mining, there could be risks associated with the latter. A little spice in the sauce couldn’t hurt.

Well, that’s just a few random thoughts on the second half of the acronym for the genre of game that is Star Trek Online.

By the way last week’s poll has Fed Orions as the most desired new playable character race, with nearly 30% of the vote. At 20% the Vorta are in second. I noticed they are referring the Jem’Hadar as part of a new “faction”. So new playable races could be added to the faction later on.

On the subject of polling, 87% of you think STO needs to ‘incentify’ players to participate in the PVE missions. Get on that Cryptic 😉