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Reader Comments (15)

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:21PM (Unverified) said

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"The social aspect of STO is not my favorite thing on earth. There, I said it. Ever since launch, I have felt that the folks at Cryptic Studios missed the mark a bit on the "multiplayer" part of the MMO equation."


Massively multiplayer just means many people in the same world.

Not that they have to socialize or even interact.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:24PM (Unverified) said

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STO has every system necessary for socialization.

STO, like many MMOs, has simply reduced the game mechanic that FORCE socialization.

Which is great!

Socializing should be a choice not a requirement.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 4:07PM pcgneurotic said

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Well said! I'm tired of being told I *have* to group and I *should* be talking and I'm *supposed* to be socialising.

In STO's case, and speaking as a Trekker* I think the absence of pressure on socialisation in the game's design is a good way for players to maintain the illusion that they're on their own most of the time, just as Kirk and Janeway were. Yeah, so it's a war-time scenario, but we shouldn't be clinging to each other like frightened lambs anyway, huddling in groups bleating for a healer. It was one of my (and many others') main concerns during the wait for the game after Cryptic took over and we lost the 'starships-as-hubs' concept of the previous crew, that we would all be flying solo and needing to group to do anything, because how else could they do it? So yeah, I'm happy being my own Captain.

The other thing is, Sector chat is nearly always lively anyway, and given the relative snail's pace one travels at between systems, I always find time for a bit of banter there. If you want to talk about destroyed social requirements, wait until they put in 'fast-travel' wormholes or something. Blehhh!
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 4:09PM pcgneurotic said

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I forgot to say:

*Trekker
The difference is that 'Trekker' is a fan-created appellation, whereas 'Trekkie' was something applied to us by non fans. Over the decades, it accumulated a lot of negative connotations and so we did away with it. A comparable analogy would be the way we revise ethnic descriptions every few decades.
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 4:12PM CCon99 said

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But they've also done nothing to encourage the player to want to group with others.
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:49PM Space Cobra said

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I have to get back into playing this game (I enjoyed it).

I loved the initial queing up for PvP matches from anywhere but the wait times tended to be bad during prime time. I know there are options, especially in settings, to join Away Teams if you go to a specific planet, but they are not often utilized.

It would be nice to Queue up for more missions with others, even weeklies.

What also bugged me was the "warpstone" in this game; I never figured how to connect it to a new and different location: It would always be Sol Station. While I do love traveling/exploring, there are times you do it too much and you just want to get to your destination. I think they were planning on adding jump-gates/wormholes for this, but I am on extended leave from the game and don't know if they have. Basically, the faster/easier it is to get to a social area, the better.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:55PM Ocho said

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I agree... although the universe of STO seems very fragmented and you can go from one chat room to another to another within the span of a minute, there are really multitudes of people still around. I think we as humans are social beings, but that doesn't mean we want to be social all the time. Its like being in a huge city... the sheer amount of people is mind-blowing... and yet you can easily go about your day and not speak to a single soul. As long as there are hubs in the game to socialize and the game makes it easy to group up (which STO does by changing around your level to match others) with the few people you find who are good, then an MMO has done its job, and at that point, you really can't fault it. The only real fault I have in the system is that theres not enough content that NEEDS to be grouped to do. The Needing to group is what drives people to socialize and work together, and the more you have to work to find a group, then more you would want to socialize with them. But hey, thats what a good fleet is for. Where the game lacks decent random grouping, it makes up for in group flexibility. And if you're in game and want to randomly group, look me up. :)

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 4:00PM Ocho said

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Another thought... in WoW, if you see people around you, they are in the same zone, in your same level, most likely doing the same quests... so there are automatically similarities simply by your location in the world. This makes grouping really easy (it also makes stealing kills or items or griefing very easy too)... Games like STO and Guild Wars don't have that, so the reasons to group are a lot more difficult to find... which I guess you can blame on game design, but then not every game needs to be like WoW...
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:58PM (Unverified) said

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Unfortunately, I think this issue really more in the hands of game developers and designers than anyone else. Games which require gamers to need other gamers *beyond a single play session* have more connected communities (FFXI, Eve, EQ).

In WoW, people talk about the community sucking and no one talking because they report activities from pugs and the DF. In both, yes you "need" other players, but you need them like you need your lunch, one and done and hopefully never seen again. You don't need them beyond today or right now, because tomorrow you can find a bunch of random people to run your dungeons/VoA/RS with. In addition, many pugging the "lesser" stuff don't care about social equity because they have the guild they *need* to do the important stuff with.

This problem is only made worse by the alt-madness of players and the ability to reach level cap in 2 weeks. If players identities went across *all* of their chraracters you would see a 100% different community.

And in addition, I find it rather funny when people point to WoW as a solo-game. At cap, you spend 90% of your time in group. Yes it's a different group everyday, but the fact is, it isn't a solo game.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 5:06PM Liltawen said

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Most socializing I do tends to be between going to various missions in Sector Space chat-there's usually a lot of it.
The problem with DS-9 and Drozana is that they're so inconvenient. It's sort of: "Now I'll go to DS-9 and socialize for 10 minutes". TransWarp tunnels (that can return you to where ever you left) to factionless social hubs like that might help a lot.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 7:52PM (Unverified) said

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I don't know why MMO's ought to encourage socializing. I don't play an MMO so that I can meet people. Sometimes the people you meet are cool, sometimes not, but I don't feel that an MMO's purpose is to help me meet new people. I play an MMO so that I can play a game with my friends without having to all get together at someone's house at the same time for a pen and paper RPG. I play an MMO so I can show off the new cool item I got to my friends. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with MMO's being used to meet people or socialize; I think that's great. I just think that an MMO should be built to allow me to experience its world with whatever amount of people I choose to. Any tools it gives me to meet people should be centered around facilitating the gameplay experience, because otherwise you're building IRC with a GUI.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 7:53PM Meurik said

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Couple of things of note that I'd like to see added, which may or may not help the socializing part of the game:

Randomly, the Klingon High Command/Starfleet Command should make a fleet-wide announcement, alerting players of their faction (Klingons/Federation respectively), that a situation has arised that needs to be dealt with (either diplomatically or combatively). The player is then given a "countdown" clock in which to reach a specific area in the game. The mission requires players to group up with anyone within "range", a mission which quite simply CAN'T be solved by a solo player. In game currently, the closest facsimile to this would be the STFs.

I would love for this to be expanded upon, to require groups of perhaps 10 or 20 people, to come together to deal with a common goal. The more players, the greater the rewards. More players also means, greater challenge and risk. This could effectively become the STO equivalent of "Raids", but not as limiting as the current STFs are.

One thing which I believe should be a requirement in instance-based PvP, is that all players who enter into such an arean whether it be on ground or in space, should automatically get teamed up with other players of the same faction. Many times, I join a PvP queue, only to enter into a battle where there are 4 or more "lonewolf" players, doing their own thing, not grouping up with each other, and oftentimes simply getting picked off by the enemy. Things could go alot smoother, if people would group up and deal with the enemy as a team.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 7:54PM Tom in VA said

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"Players are culpable because of the get-it-done-and-get-it-done-now attitude many of us bring to MMOs."

Culpable? Really?

Ummm, but I *like* the relative quiet of STO. I like the instancing, sort of. If I have a "get-it-done-and-get-it-done-now" attitude, what's wrong with that, exactly, if I'm having fun? If I want Barrens chat I'll ... head for the Barrens.

Frankly, where I think STO most failed was in not creating perhaps 10 to 20 fully realized persistent planets, with their own cultures, topography, and ecosystems and substantive story lines that would correspond roughly to the zones/levels of Azeroth, with each planet corresponding roughly to, say, 3 to 5 levels of content. Players could then level as they do now, but they would also also have the option of leveling via a more "MMO-ish" leveling experience, if they wanted.

In that way, at least a few planets would feel fleshed out and real and have continuous story lines, and there would be a persistent world wherein you would randomly encounter other players, etc., just like in other MMOs. Maybe even the Bridge Officer feature should be disabled for the persistent areas unless one is in an instanced portion.

Instead, Cryptic opted for a rather colorless, sterile, and empty approach. The various planets feel very computer-generated, generic, and cookie-cutter to me. If only Cryptic had focused on creating vivid characters and bridge officers to interact with (as ArenaNet, Obsidian, or Bioware might have done) but, alas, they didn't.

My biggest frustration in STO is not the lack of multiplayer fellowship and chat in this game (I get enough of that in other MMOs) but the relative lack of compelling NPC characters, quests, and story lines.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 11:38PM J Brad Hicks said

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Nobody is going to be doing a whole lot of typing while they're also playing a game that requires both hands to play. Not to mention that you can't type into the chat window while fighting, or even steering.

1) People forget WHEN all the socializing happened in older games like UO and EQ1: /during forced downtime./ You would fight your way to point "x" and 2/3rds of the raid would be out of hit points, or out of mana, with no way to get it back but to sit and wait there ... and that's when the roleplaying happened. Well, guess what? Forced downtime sucks, people hate it, so the first game to get rid of it made a ton of money.

2) If you want people to socialize during play, the game has to have voice support. Xbox and PSN have it built-in. Vivox licenses it to MMOs. Companies need to pay for it and included it in their games.

You mentioned the "chaotic" nature of fleet actions and special task forces in STO? Yeah, that's the thing, isn't it -- content that (in some cases) requires precision coordination to successfully complete, but which gives players exactly no coordination tools. So lack of in-game voice chat support is a gameplay issue as well as a socialization and roleplaying issue.

3) People suck. When they announced the weekly episodes, I thought it would be the dawn of the third age of roleplaying, because people would finally have something to talk about, namely, the events of the most recent week and speculation about what was going to happen next. They even created a event-specific social spaces, Defera Sector and the visitor's center on Defera itself. Do people roleplay in those spaces? (Expletive) no. They complain about the game, they ask gameplay questions that are explained on the launcher or in the patch notes, and they talk about other MMOs, including ones that don't even exist yet like SWTOR.

The "best" way to play STO as a roleplayer is to find four other friends who are just as big of Star Trek nerds as you are and set aside one evening a week to play together, to go through the newest weekly episode together, with pauses as people feel like it to roleplay their character either via private Teamspeak or Ventrillo or Google Voice or conference call or some other multi-voice chat line, and maybe do some roleplaying before or after or instead in somebody's ship interior. And any other days of the week you log in, play the single-player game to your heart's content and do your flat level best to ignore everybody else. Now that? That it excels at.

Posted: Oct 29th 2010 6:25PM (Unverified) said

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i've always considered the socialization (or at least socialization worth my time) to be a function of the difficulty of the game. easier games usually mean less (and less interesting) interaction with the player-base than more difficult games. virtual social darwinism maybe. people that play the easy games badly aren't worth talking to most of the time. usually in the more difficult games your social network consists of people more on your "level" of play. the cliques that define us in real life can really only be translated through text in gaming. nerd, jock, fat, skinny cannot be determined through text, so we are what we want to be. and unfortunately a lot of people aren't worth knowing. although most people now use voice software (ventrilo, ts3, etc) to augment the experience.

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