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Starship Commission System

Twsly76

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 3

Report this Aug. 17 2001, 10:10 am

I have so many questions, and concerns... This is a game I have waited for a long long time. I am sure every star trek fan thats played Everyquest, WOW, UO, feels the same way. We don't want this to be a waste. I don't know about every Star trek fan and Online gamer, But personally I don't have 14 hours in a day to play. I am just a casual Player. But Its always been a dream to Travel the universe, Explore, Command, Fight, and Hey maybe even be a Rogue Thief. So as a Casual player willl I have these options? or is it only going to be for those hard core players. I am not saying everybody should be able to command a Galaxy Starship like the Enterprise, But something on a smaller version I feel is a must.

perpetual_daron

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 19

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 8:59 pm

Glen and I have been working on the issue of ship ownership - otherwise known as Permanent Commissioned Ships (PC Ship).  Wed like to put our ideas out for your feedback.  But first, some assumptions:

1. STO is geared towards multiple players crewing a single ship.  This means we must devise a system whereby there are many players for every PC Ship.  The desired ratio is undetermined; but figure something around 20:1.

2. Player controlled ships of any type are not intended stay for extended periods away from a starbase.  Though there may be special exceptions to this rule.

3. A Temporary Commissioned Ship (TC Ship) system allows for players of rank Captain and above to receive a loaner ship that can be crewed either by players or NPCs.  TC Ships are assigned for specific missions and are returned to Starfleet when the mission is completed.  The TC Ship system is designed for players who do not yet (or choose never to) have access to a PC Ship.

4. STO will support guilds, though we havent yet decided what to call them.  Guilds are arbitrary player collections with management tools similar to (or better than) those found in other MMOGs.  It is important to note that guilds can be any collection of players of any rank as determined by the guild leader.

The reason our first assumption is that we want to avoid a system that devolves into hundreds of thousands of ships running around  each crewed by one player.  There are other MMOGs that provide that experience.  To address this issue, weve been considering the following solution:

Permanently Commissioned Ships are available only to guilds.  There would be guild management tools to allow the guild leader to decide if and how PC Ships are shared among eligible guild members.  Ship assignment methods could include:

1. Authoritative: Guild leader assigns the XO of any owned ship at will.  This assignment method may be desirable for guilds that intend to role-play a ship crew for extended periods.

2. Round Robin: Eligible guild members can apply to be XO and an automated system will assign a guild ship according to guild leader parameters.

3. Other: There may be additional assignment options

A PC Ship becomes the guild hall for guild members in addition to being a ship available for members to take out on missions.  Guilds will have the opportunity to upgrade ship capabilities and appearance, and can also trade a ship in for larger models.  TC Ships are always available to guild members even if the guild has a PC Ship.  It may be possible for large guilds to obtain multiple PC Ships.

Wed love to hear your thoughts about this model for temporary and permanently commissioned ships.  I should emphasize though that these thoughts are only on the drawing board at this point; they are not yet considered to be a part of the STO design.  Also, Id like to keep this thread focused on the system proposed here or alternatives.  Please start a new thread to discuss the assumptions or other tangential issues.

Thanks

Daron Stinnett
Executive Producer || Star Trek Online

Pharazon

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 79

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 9:02 pm

Its great to hear something about this from the devs themselves. However, i must admit i am concerned about your "guild only" pc starship model. This would mean that only guild leaders would ever truly be captains of their own ships?  If so, this sounds rather elitist to me.  In that scenario, captainship isn't determined by your merit as a fleet officer, or even your standing with starfleet, but rather your real life logistical support in running the guild.  Not cool in my opinion.

Xenesis

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1448

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 10:11 pm

Quote
It is important to note that guilds can be any collection of players of any rank as determined by the guild leader


I assume you meant that the collection is determined by the guildleader, and not the rank is determined by them?. Or am I reading that wrong?

Tal_Shiar_Officer

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1652

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 10:13 pm

To begin with, I would like to thank you guys for posting here, requesting input. Just seeing the thread made me happy. By posting here, you are at the very least making your fans feel that they have more input. My first reaction was actually to go on AIM and harass my friends saying, "OMG DARON STINNETT POSTED! <3" Well, I used better grammar.

Now then, starting with the temporary commissioned vessels. I disagree that temporary commissioned vessels should be only available to players who are ranked captain or above. Earlier, you guys were saying that one part of a charcter's career would be aboard a starbase, loaning vessels and completing nearby missions. While some lower-ranked players would just do missions set out by other players who were higher ranked, you have stated that soloing is important. Keeping this in mind, I would simply limit the type of vessel players could command. Ensigns would be able to check out shuttlecraft, and as rank increases, the size of vessel increases as well. Higher ranks below captain would be able to take runabouts, for instance. I would simply make it so that captains would be the only ones capable of borrowing larger vessels. I would limit temporary commissions to smaller large vessels, though. No one could be able to temporary commission a Galaxy class vessel or a Sovereign class vessel. It is difficult to tell where to draw the line. I would probably draw the line somewhere around a Constitution-class vessel. Old vessels that are somewhat powerful.

I would first like to say that I like the idea of permanantly commissioned ships being available only to guilds. I would like to pre-emptively say that a guild could be something as simple as a bunch of friends getting together and saying, "Hey, let's crew a ship." It doesn't have to be a monster group with massive fleets. Now then, here is a thought for naming guilds. If a guild only has one vessel, it is called a crew. If a guild has multiple vessels, it is called a fleet. That way, you have Trek terminology and also an automatic way to check power. A crew would most likely be a bunch of friends, while a fleet would be a serious organization. Moving on, I agree with your motivations about having crews. Star Trek is about teamwork, and having a bunch of ships with no crew would simply kill that theme. The general idea is good, although I do have a few issues with some specific ideas that you brought up.

One thing that I do not like is the idea of a formal round robin system, or any other system where the crews end up being nebulous. While it may be optional, I believe it will end up negatively affecting social dynamic. I would want to serve with the same people and get to know them. I would want to be able to say that I have been through a lot with my crewmates. Making it too easy to yank players around would just kill that. I would like to be able to develop a solid vision of people in positions, and not just think, "So now Al is doing engineering and Bob is in command? Hm." It just...doesn't feel very close or very Trek-like. This may only be me, though. If other players want to kill the spirit of Trek in their crews/fleets, then good for them. I suppose I will just force an authoritative structure in my crew/fleet.

I would refrain from referring to vessels as "guild halls" as they really are more than that. They are a long-term home for many people, and the medium through which most action will end up occurring. "Guild hall" has certain implications which I do not believe apply. In the end, yes, crews/fleets would concentrate around the ships they have. I disagree with any individual just taking over the entire ship for a random mission they feel like doing. These ships should instead be solely used for the larger mission they are assigned to. Anyone taking command would be working on a larger mission. If someone wants to do a random side-mission, though, I see no reason not to let them do that. They would just take a shuttle and go conduct a side mission, maybe even with some friends. That seems like a reasonable system to me.

These are my current thoughts on the model. Again, I thank you profusely for posting here. The general ideas are alright, though I would strongly encourage you to start changing the atmosphere over there. Institute some policy where if anyone says guild, they will be forced to watch bad Star Trek episiodes, or eat a replica of Gagh made with worms. Get in a Star Trek mindset, not a general MMOG mindset.

munky99999

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1679

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 10:34 pm

Pharazon
i understand what your saying. This will something they would need to account for. Like one way is so to make it that the only people who can be the "senior crew" captain are commander rank and up. I think thats what they mean by
Code Sample
[B]how PC Ships are shared among eligible guild members.[/B]
eligible!

Round Robin sounds by far the best way. This then sets the "senior crew captain". Then allow the authorative one to override for a set amount of time or missions. Or permanent.

I really can't see much of a problem in this system.
Just that this really isn't that great when it comes to soloers. Sure you can solo. But was hoping to get some sort of like ship for solo, that is well like a PC ship. But its tiny and like almost useless ship. Much like the Peregrine class. Then we can have the
Quote
Opportunity to upgrade ship capabilities and appearance

the arguement might be that we will end up seeing 10000 of them. I think the fact that your very limited to what you could do with the peregrine would be incentive enough to get into a guild.

perpetual_daron

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 19

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 10:58 pm

There's been several good points brought up, that I'll address in order:

First, how does a soloist or non-guild leader get command of a ship?  There are two ways.  First temporary commission ships are always available within the limits prescribed by your rank.  With a TC Ship, a player could either go out alone with an NPC crew, or form a pickup group for a player crew.  The other way would be to join a guild/crew/fleet that had a policy of PC Ship command sharing.  This would work similarly to TC Ships in that you would also form a group of friends, guild members, or acquaintances.

On the topic of rank and access to ships, I agree that ranks below Captain should have access to TC Ships.  And that ship class should be controlled by rank so that lower ranks would only have access to shuttles.

I think the ratio is something that has to be experimented with.  The right ratio would make it likely that anyone with access to a ship could easily find a player crew.  What we want to avoid is a situation where STO becomes a massive recruiting fest.  My 20:1 number was considering that only a portion of those 20 would be logged in at any one time.  And I like the idea of making ship class a determinant factor in the ratio.  And right, I meant that the guild leader would decide who to accept rather than the game imposing any predefined structures.

Agree that TC Ships should be limited to smaller vessels.  I like crew/fleet suggestion as STOs names for guilds  Glen has been thinking along those lines too.  On the topic of whether crews should be allowed to ship share We realize that many will want to run a structured crew and this system is setup to accommodate that.  At the same time, we dont want to alienate players who might be turned off by a strict interpretation of Starfleet regulations.  We are also considering the idea of role-playing servers that could have more restrictive rules.  And finally, you are right to point out that PC Ships are far more than guild halls.  PC Ships go far beyond the concept of a guild hall for obvious reasons.

- Daron

Xenesis

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1448

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 11:42 pm

All sounds good to me so far Daron :)

Couple other things..

In regards to TC ships and the crew, would a person be able to take out a TC ship under a npc captain control? or would they always be in command when they request it?

So for example, a crew of 5 ensigns, up early in the morning, for some reason can't find officers higher than themselves, but they want to grab a ship for a mission. Being all ensigns they can only get shuttlecrafts. Now would they be able to request a TC ship under a npc captain for the mission? could even be a restriction I suppose to getting a ship one level higher than their current rank.

On to Crews/Fleets owning ships, would there be a restriction as to how many they can commision? maybe limited to the amount of captains they have?

Keogh

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 602

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 11:47 pm

WARNING:

What ever is done with this system, forcing player behavior is never a good thing. This system seems to make  the assumption that the vast majority of players will join guilds. The system you propose, does place extreme pressure on players to join guilds.

I've been in plenty of guilds in plenty of MMO games and most of them were not good experiences. Excuse me if I don't list all off the possible failings of joining guilds consisting of the typical variety of characters found in MMO's and the internet in general. Lets just say that I don't want to be forced to play with people that I would rather avoid if possible.

Do not treat solo players or those that do not join guilds as second class citizens.

If you go ahead with this plan you better make it very clear that joining a guild is virtually mandatory. Then casual players, solo players and those that just don't like guilds can avoid making the mistake of buying STO.

Tal_Shiar_Officer

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1652

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 11:49 pm

I would like to thank you again for taking the time to do this. I do have some more thoughts now, so I'll post those.

Something that is starting to bug me is that I could imagine players skipping a natural part of their character development through guilds. I like the character development idea that I have heard from you. Players would start on an NPC ship, then they would move on to a starbase. There, they would do some smaller missions with a bunch of friends. After doing this a while, they would then be able to join a player crew. The next step here is to become a captain, and then to finally get a commissioned vessel. From there, it could go into Admiral ranks, which I know little about, but have speculated about. I could live with some players choosing not to join a player crew, and gaining rank to just stick with the smaller missions. I just don't want to see players of a captain rank joining a crew/fleet and suddenly having a commissioned ship. I would want someone to have to work for that, and not have it handed to them quickly.

I am having some thoughts about crew/fleet structures, actually. Instead of thinking in terms of a guild system where players of any rank just start a guild with their friends and hang out, we make the system a little more structured than that. My current thought is that players who reach the rank of captain will be given the opportunity to start an official crew. At this stage, this would just be a group of players who will carry out missions together. Group-minded goals will come into play at this point, the first major goal being to get a commission. Through hard work and doing missions, the crew will receive a formal commission and be assigned a starship.

One a crew has been assigned a starship, they will have even greater unity. The starship will be something they will all share in, together upgrading it and operating it. Those are other matters, so I will not go into a tangent there. Crews would have some options to rotate command and such if they wish, appeasing the people who will want to do that. The commanding officer, the equivalent of a guild leader, would then be able to join with another crew to form a new fleet, or to join a pre-existing fleet. Crews should not just haphazardly get a new ship and expand into a fleet. I strongly maintain they should have to join with another crew in order to do that.

In the case of creating a new fleet, the commanding officers would need to reach some comprimise as to who is the fleet commander, or just use some alternate system such as constantly switching the role. Once a fleet is formed, the crews do not disappear. Crews should always be designed as modular units, and should not just melt into the fleet. Crews within a fleet would be much closer, though. It would be easier to share personnel and technology, along with command of vessels. There would also be the added element of fleet missions which would require multiple vessels to accomplish. I must stress again, crews should not be too closely intertwined. Crews should be able to leave fleets easily.

In my eyes, this solution would force players not to take a short-cut and cheat themselves out of an interesting part of the game. The primary purpose of this is to force a player to work with a crew to gain a commission. This will allow players grouped together to feel closer as they work toward a common goal. Once they have worked well together and actually earned a commission, then they will be ready to join up with fleets and move on to the next logical step in their careers. I just don't want a captain to join a fleet and automatically be granted a commission just like that.

Tal_Shiar_Officer

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1652

Report this Jun. 05 2005, 11:54 pm

Quote (Keogh @ June 05 2005, 8:47 pm)
WARNING:

What ever is done with this system, forcing player behavior is never a good thing. This system seems to make  the assumption that the vast majority of players will join guilds. The system you propose, does place extreme pressure on players to join guilds.

I've been in plenty of guilds in plenty of MMO games and most of them were not good experiences. Excuse me if I don't list all off the possible failings of joining guilds consisting of the typical variety of characters found in MMO's and the internet in general. Lets just say that I don't want to be forced to play with people that I would rather avoid if possible.

Do not treat solo players or those that do not join guilds as second class citizens.

If you go ahead with this plan you better make it very clear that joining a guild is virtually mandatory. Then casual players, solo players and those that just don't like guilds can avoid making the mistake of buying STO.

This was posted while I was writing my previous response, so I'll just address this now.

The whole point of a commissioned starship is that you are not playing with random people. You are playing with a consistent group of people aboard a consistent vessel. The crew/fleet (I refuse to say "guild") that you join or create does not have to be a large organization with abusive people. When you reach captain, you could just create a crew and invite your friends to join. To be rather blunt, commissioned ships are not created for soloers. This isn't a prejudiced remark about locking someone out. Commissioned ships are about playing with a consistent crew. That is not something that a soloer would want to do. I see no reason that a casual player would not want to join a crew/fleet, though. They could just be the guy that occassionally runs the science station. It doesn't require that much commitment. They don't have to be big leaders who devote their lives to it.

perpetual_daron

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 19

Report this Jun. 06 2005, 12:03 am

Quote (Keogh @ June 04 2005, 9:47 pm)
WARNING:

What ever is done with this system, forcing player behavior is never a good thing. This system seems to make  the assumption that the vast majority of players will join guilds. The system you propose, does place extreme pressure on players to join guilds.

I've been in plenty of guilds in plenty of MMO games and most of them were not good experiences. Excuse me if I don't list all off the possible failings of joining guilds consisting of the typical variety of characters found in MMO's and the internet in general. Lets just say that I don't want to be forced to play with people that I would rather avoid if possible.

Do not treat solo players or those that do not join guilds as second class citizens.

If you go ahead with this plan you better make it very clear that joining a guild is virtually mandatory. Then casual players, solo players and those that just don't like guilds can avoid making the mistake of buying STO.

You bring up a good concern about forcing player behavior  something that we want to avoid.   The TC Ship system is designed to give all players access to the entire game, including the thrill of commanding a ship.  But you are right that joining a crew does offer extra features.  I certainly dont believe that any MMO should require guild/crew membership to be fulfilling.

Does that seem reasonable?  If not, can you suggest an alternative?

Tal_Shiar_Officer

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1652

Report this Jun. 06 2005, 12:15 am

Wow, I just realized that it is the weekend and that it is 9:15 Pacific Standard Time. Either Mr. Stinnett is doing this on his own free time, or Perpetual makes him work crazy hours. In either case, it would be for the benefit of us. So I thank you for putting in this effort again.

Protoavis

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 296

Report this Jun. 06 2005, 12:21 am

I'm with Pharazon on this. I strongly disagree with (virtually) being forced into a guild to get anywhere near a PC ship. I am a reclusive player, I will pretty much literally only know a max of 5 people and will only call on them when I need assistance or we're taking on a boss for specific rewards, but 95% of the time I will be doing my own thing at my own pace with little to no contact with others. I just dislike having to engage in mindless socialising when I can be off doing what I'm online to do, play. Adding to this I don't join guilds unless there is some significant benefit and I'm mostly left alone to do my own thing.

Then theres the whole are TC upgradeable and if they are whats the point if you'll only be on it for a mission or two? What happens to PC ships of guilds that fall apart and only the guild leader/captain remains?

I can see the reasoning behind not wanting PC ships of 1, but I tend to think its unavoidable unless the system inplace is quite strict, if it isn't someone will find a way around it, the only way to really combat it would be a system of benefits for being in a group over solo'ing and then you're stuck with a new situation of dealing with solo'ers.

RKstarbuck

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 250

Report this Jun. 06 2005, 12:31 am

Actualy getting players to join Fleets as we have been called in trek gameing for years is actualy a good thing as we will be the ones here after all the solo players have gone as with every other mp game. It also ensures you will always have shipmates. As for Fleets getting PC ships it is a great idea due to how large we can get and how long we tend to be online. The average fleet member spends upwards of 40 hours online each week.

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