Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Star Trek Online lets you play the group

I'm not going to write much about Star Trek Online, due to the simple fact that it won't come out before 2011, and a lot of things can change until then. But I found the feature list interesting in some respects: "When you get your first ship, you will have to recruit your bridge crew. Your bridge crew plays a lot like pets play in other MMOs. They will be AI controlled, and as you play with them, you will have to increase their skill sets."

In other words, you don't play a single character, you play a whole party. Which is a type of gameplay which is quite frequent in single-player RPGs, but rather rare in MMORPGs. I only know of Guild Wars where you really can adventure with a full party made out of NPCs. Gods & Heroes was supposed to play that way too, but was cancelled just before release. Most other games just have some classes with pets, and in many of them you are limited to one single pet, or if you have several they are all the same.

Cameron from Random Battle is complaining that in WoW the first 20 levels are not complex enough, and he'd like to skip them. My reaction to that is that WoW doesn't get complex at all, as long as you play solo. I could have leveled my frost mage from 1 to 70 using only the frostbolt spell, getting all those other spells during my career wasn't really increasing the complexity. The point where World of Warcraft becomes complex is when you join a group, and have to start with aggro management. So if you want a more complex game, but still like the ability to solo, why not make a game in which you play the whole group?

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