STO is essentially PotBS

Anyone else agree? Watch the Part 1 and Part 2 videos (Part 2 embedded below) and, if you played Pirates of the Burning Sea, you’ll see quite plainly how STO is going to be almost exactly like it. The naval combat in PotBS looks exactly like this space ship combat with ships circling each other jockying for shots on the hull (or shields in STO) weak spots and focusing on one area to weaken it and bring it down. Damaging crews to weaken a ship and using different attacks to accomplish it; in STO it’s shuttles and in PotBS it’s grape shot and the like. When it mentioned boarding parties I was waiting for it to show us a similar scenario that we saw in PotBs where it teleports you to the ship and you do a quick skirmish to see who wins. Heck, we could still see that implemented.

Equipping ships with different “Equipment, Weapons, or Bridge Offiers” is just another way of wording the modules you add to your ships in PotBS (even EVE has something similar). I think we can expect to see STO’s ground combat or away missions work in the same way that the quest missions did for PotBS. Let’s just hope that they’re not as mundane.

What absolutely kills me though is the mention of tanking, support, and escort or “dps”. Clearly these forms of ships exist in Star Trek and we’ve seen them play out in these roles during big battles such as with the Dominion. However, listening to the developers talk about the roles these ships play as though they’re being designed specifically to fill these roles destroys the natural feel of the ships. Obviously the bigger ships are going to be slower and more “tank-like”, but I don’t want to be a “tank” just because I chose a big ship. Does that make sense? Let me choose my ship because I like that ship — because I have a connection with that ship — not because that’s the role I need to fill.

Ship Combat looks like it is going to work. I’ve done combat like this — exactly like this — in PotBS and something very similar in Star Trek Legacy for the Xbox 360 (great game, I recommend it). The UI appears to have the elements necessary for some “sim” elements. Raising shields, adjusting tactics during a fight, and that sort of thing appear to be present. This isn’t where the game will face its problems though. If I had to predict right now where the game will come up short I would put my money on lasting appeal and gameplay not meshing well to create a fun and immersive game. It will be that “Well, that ship combat was fun…. but what is there really to this game?” feeling.

Thankfully there is going to be an “Open” Beta Jan. 12-26. Maybe I’ll get to test my predictions.

  • Oh, open beta? Very cool, thanks for the information.

    I second your thoughts. I like their combat system and ideas. But, just like you, I almost fell from the chair as they started this Cruisers = Tanks, Escort = DPS, Science = Heal/Utility stuff… I almost felt like I am in the wrong movie in the cinema.

    Space Combat would have been the opportunity to get away from the holy trinity combat mechanics.
    People just need to think of EVE, the MechWarrior games, ships/mechs there have different setups and roles. But they most importantly do not have healing ships or mechs (OK, there are some ways for support ships to restore shields – but it is not a major and irreplaceable core part of party gameplay).

    “Defiant raid group looking for Enterprise Main Tank and two more Miranda class heal ships!” —> makes me want to throw my Bat’leth at the infidels at Cryptic! 8(

  • I wonder if they will also copy the common aggro- and taunt mechanics. Maybe they can at least make do without them.

  • I quipped at someone on twitter yesterday: “If desperate for STO, try PotBS again. Games designs look v similar from the outside, plus bad accents&dodgy costumes.”

    And: oh for a Starfleet Command IV. 🙂

    I wonder whether a mandatory dual-mode game, such as PotBS or STO, is ever really a good design – I muttered something about this on Tobold’s blog last week. Forcing players to engage in two activities (space v ground combat) to progress seems risky. I’m reminded of Empire At War. My friends and I played a large number of standalone space skirmishes (awful in many ways, but fun), but couldn’t stand the ground combat so never touched it beyond a couple of “Omg, awful” early experiences. There the game had some longevity because we had a choice to only play the aspect we enjoyed.

    Inevitably some players will not enjoy the styles equally, and the stick of aversion therapy generally overwhelms the carrot of enjoyment.

    It’s this that makes me glad CCP are taking a cautious approach to EVE’s ambulation/WiS/Incarna elements. There may be new content wrapped up in it, but it will not disturb existing play. No mandatory “walking around” timesinks just to use the market. 🙂

  • What the hell kinda boarding party was that? He sent a bunch of “security officers” onto that other ship, and then blew it right up! Poor unnamed guys. You know they die first =/

  • Yup looks just like PotBS with space ships and we all know how well PotBS did… /eyeroll

    This is not the STO I was looking for. 🙁

  • “…but I don’t want to be a “tank”…Let me choose my ship because I like that ship — because I have a connection with that ship — not because that’s the role I need to fill.”

    Couple of points relating this.

    1) Ships themselves are almost seen as entities in themselves (i.e. Come on baby! Hold together!).

    2) Ships, as seen on ST, contained hundreds of people.

    Thus when he said you’re a “tank” in a particular ship, it created this huge separation and void from the top two points. I no longer feel like I’m commanding a ship of hundreds but instead I AM MY SHIP. So instead of feeling this strong connection to my ship and crew, I feel like some sort of singular borg ship with my brain as it’s computer.

    And ya, while the combat mechanics may work, what’s the driving force behind the combat? As is usually the case, it is the depth and complexity of the core gameplay that will make it last the test of time.

  • I had a bit of a LOL moment when I heard they were so obviously mimicking the holy trinity setup for their ships. Is all innovation in this industry dead? Let’s hope they were just really dumbing things down and generalizing so that players could understand instead the basics of combat.

    Does EVE have tanking, DPS, and “healing” builds? Sure, but they are disguised quite well and various ships, while better at some roles than others, really can be modified in a number of different ways.

  • I heard you don’t even really choose a race but instead just a faction (Klingon/Federation) and then make your character look like whatever you want. Totally second hand rumor, so don’t take it as fact.

  • Your point makes sense.

    A contrast would be EvE Online actually. The different class of ships are designed with different roles, but with the proper skillset and equipment, you can bend it to your will.

    Mining in a battleship, Hauling in a carrier, T3 missioning in a Frigate. STO, it seems, has very rigid hierarchy for the trinity of battlefield roles.

  • It does seem rather dumbed down and simplistic. Not at all what I expect from a Star Trek MMO. The worst part is that Star Trek space combat is probably one of the only types of combat that I feel the standard MMORPG combat system (which I so very much despise for its archaic and boring nature) actually fits perfectly. Targetting enemy ships, firing different weapons, and using different skills all makes sense here.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see but I’m rather pessimistic about it. I have little to no faith in Cryptic Studios. I find it to be a rather uncreative and low-quality developer.

  • I just don’t get the ship play in STO at all. How’s it going to fit in with the “proper” avatar gameplay and missions? Just sounds veyr disjointed to me. Still, will wait and see..

  • It’s going to be like PotBS. You fly around space, come across something to fight, then enter into a little seperate instance with just you and what/who you’re fighting. It actually does feel disjointed at times. You’ll probably fly near a planet and get contacted or into a space station. Maybe you’ll dock and see a NPC in a station.

  • I feel you Keen. sorry to diverge here…

    pobts to me was anticipated, because i was a huge fan of the old Sid Meier’s Pirates game, and i expected it to be the multiplayer version of that in some way, and to a certain extent it was, but other things just felt too ‘calculated’.

    At first, the game felt really immersive, the character costume design was great, the leveling seemed interesting, and the ship combat was great. But then i started to be able to “peer behind the scenes” of the game, and when i saw those naked exposed cogs and wheels, the whole masquerade came crashing down.

    How do i explain this…. The game felt like they had built an MMO engine and covered it piratey textures.

    I remember distinctly the first time i got shot up by an enemy in some mission, my bowsprit fell off, and i was like “whoaaa that’s cool! modeled damage!”. Then i noticed by “Health Bar” was getting low, and “popped a health pot”. The bowsprit came back up again.

    What? really? suspension of disbelief GONE!

    Then i could delve into their bumpercar sailing engine, the horrible land missions, the ‘always night in certain ports’, the ‘able to sail back and forth from trinidad to florida 10 times a night’, the list goes on.

    i really wanted to love that game, sailor as i am.

  • I beta’d PotBS for 6 months then played for about 3-4 or so. It was a decent game, but not a very decent MMORPG (MMO). Definitely had potential, but it felt like they stopped short of doing anything…. good enough to make it what could have been amazing. Why they chose to make the world like sailing in the overhead map instead of a huge immersive world, and to make combat in those little instances is beyond me, but it could have been something epic.

    I’m still waiting on a truly amazing pirate MMO to be made. I have the complete blueprints for one in my head right now.

  • Can’t say I’m interested in playing, unless it turns out to have some new uberly awesome crafting system 🙂

    But I will be keeping my eye on this game.

  • I want this game to knock my socks off since I love Star Trek so much, but the moves they are making just continue to disappoint me. I can’t believe they are sticking with the holy trinity for this. It just disgusts me.