Klingons = Monster Play? petaQ!

I was reading this Klingon Info Cryptic released for Star Trek Online and I am very disappointed.

“It exists as an additional advancement path for players, and offers different gameplay options to players more interested in player-vs.-player combat.”

Why isn’t it just another faction?  Why does it have to be a gimmicky “additional advancement path” or whatever they’re calling it?  Why can’t we have two sides struggling in a war that are balanced and able to play and progress the same?  I envisioned two fully fleshed out sides interacting with each other in battles, economics, and more.

“Players will be able to create a Klingon character after they unlock the first sector block of Federation content, about five hours into the game. Their Klingon character will begin at a rank approximately equal to the Federation character that unlocked the content.”

This is so fail.  This just further illustrates how it is monster play (LOTRO reference).  You have to have a federation character to unlock this side.  Essentially the Federation game is the real game and if you want to play a ‘monster’ you get to be a Klingon.  It’s been said that Klingons have no PvE or Episodic Content like the Federation.   It sounds awfully lopsided to me.  Some people seem to think it’s because Cryptic ran out of money — I don’t think so.  Some people think it’s because the game is being rushed out — Possible.  I’m leaning more towards the opinion that they’re just not that good at making games and somehow, for some reason, they think this is a good idea.  It’s NOT.

“There are a number of different types of PvP scenarios available.”

So much talk about the scenarios and “maps” and I have yet to hear about flying around in space in any open-world sort of way.  Is it all just instanced areas/missions without any ability to randomly come across another ship and do battle?   It is sounding more and more like this is another classic Cryptic game.  Their FAQ says it utilizes Cryptic’s technology but I was hoping they recognized their normal way of making a MMO isn’t the recipe for success and certainly not how a Star Trek mmo should be made.  Not a fan at all.

The PvP is going to be pushed off into tiny little corners of the map (they even said they’ll be on the outskirts) and I’m thinking that Klingons will be restricted to these areas and the “maps” or “scenarios” or “battlegrounds” or whatever they want to call them.    I’m betting that “zoning” or “fast travel” will be warp speed and you’ll just “warp speed” to the PvP areas and “warp speed” out when you’re done, thus making it as disjointed as WAR.  Such a shame if this is how the game unfolds.  It’s going to miss the mark.

Lots of preorder rewards being talked about from various places, but until these little (not so little) details get cleared up I’m not paying a dime.  I hope for our sake open beta is a real open opportunity to try the game but I have a feeling that it won’t be — for their sake.

Bets on how long it takes them to add PvE content for the Klingons and ‘finish’ the game?

  • I’d be surprised if they added PVE content for Klingons and “finished” the game. They had the opportunity to have the Klingons as an equal faction to Federation already and chose this route so the way I see it that is how they intended it to be. Many people enjoyed Monster Play in LoTRO, I personally never played it. If I do ever end up playing STO I will probably never play as a Klingon either. The jury is still out on STO for me, I’d love to be in the ST universe but from what I’ve read seen so far I just don’t think the game is going to be able to scratch my itch.

  • My initial cynicism about the game (purely because it was by Cryptic) had started to abate until I saw some footage of players standing about firing Phasers at each other – it looked truly awful, like they’d set out to make it look as unconvincing and cheesy as the original series’ planetary visits.

    This Klingon announcement is just bizarre and lazy.

  • This explains it all:

    http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/352/feature/3847/Star-Trek-Online-Jack-Emmert-Talks-Klingons.html

    I’m actually pretty excited about the game and from that interview it’s obvious that the plan to do MUCH more with the other factions in the game.

    Heck I can see open PvP going on with more then just the Feds and the Klings, probably two more races added within 2010.

    Now as far as the ground combat goes Cryptic has stated that they are not happy with it and are furiously working to fix it and smooth it out. From the space combat reviews I have read it seems to get high marks mostly.

    One review stated that this mmorpg is very hard to define because of the complexity of it all (space ship comabt mainly)

    Still not sure if I will buy it but it looks to have potential.

  • “Klingon space will be divided into two core sectors. The first is an area only for Klingons where they are free to fight each other. The second is an area, the neutral zone, where Federation and Klingon space overlap. Both will have a lot of content.

    “When you go into that system it will spawn a PvP arena map and then you fight it out,” Emmert explained.

    All PvP in Star Trek Online, initially, will take place in instances.”

    Annnnnd…. that’s a wrap.

  • Monster play as an idea was good. This is the only thing I did in LOTRO. Leveled a dwarf fighter to 10 then played Mosnters(creeps) for next 10 month. Trolls were a blast btw, batting 10 freeps off the fort wall still makes me smile

    The problem is the shitty “instanced” pvp stuff they want to have in Star trek. They could have just made 1 world or one system where Klingon would hangout. OPEN WORLD. That was the fun part about LOTRO monster, from the moment you created him you were open game for the freeps.

    Or they could make it that Klingon could warp to wherever and just raid any Fed pve zone or combination of the 2.

    As it is there is no way in hell I am geting this game.

  • the monster play functionality was great in LOTRO. But i agree “PvP in instances” = Battlegrounds/Arena = Pointless Crap

  • Monster play worked in LOTRO to a certain degree, but it was always a limiting factor. That limiting factor now applies to the entire Klingon Empire.

    Not a good idea.

  • Wow, I never would have guessed one of Cryptic’s games was going to be shallow, watered down and ultimately boring.

  • I’m keeping an open mind on this one. The Klingons are fundamentally different to humans in the Star Trek canon – they like to fight, they learn by fighting, they get promoted by fighting, and they even get married by fighting.

    The way I look at it, the Federation is for people who want to quest, the Klingons are for people who want to play PvE. It doesn’t make sense to have a Federation ship going out hunting Klingons and rising up some big warlike leaderboard, being the PvP champion of the server and winning some title like “Captain Cedric Smith, Destroyer of Worlds, Drinker of Blood”. Equally, Klingons aren’t in it to seek out new worlds and new civilizations – they’re out for glory and battle.

    There’s every chance it’ll suck, and Cryptic can be hit & miss, but I don’t think the idea is intrinsically bad.

  • Little known fact: monster play in LoTRO was pretty fun until Turbine stabbed it in the back and left it bleeding on the side of the road. Until they decided to remove all incentive for Freeps to go out there, they had an extremely popular and engaging side game. In fact it was at least as popular an endgame activity as raiding in the pre-Moria game.

    If all you care about is the PvP endgame, why wouldn’t you want to have an option that lets you jump right into it instead of grinding your way through months of PvE content first?

    What worries me about the announcement more than anything is that the level of the Klingons you can start is tied to the level of your highest Federation character. Grinding through the Federation PvE content would not be my cup of tea if all I wanted to do was PvP as a Klingon.

  • @Yeebo

    The article seems to suggest that the level will be tied to your Federation character when you START. I can’t see anything about it being permanently locked to the Fed character forever. As i read it, you are free to swap over to Klingon forever at that point.

  • @Jazmeister

    Yep that’s how I look at it as well with the Klingons. Also Cyptic says they will be a very deep and full facton, perhaps not as fast as some would like though.

    My expectations are not that high but I’m looking forward to the ship combat 🙂 Also PvP is instanced but I am fairly sure they will have more open areas in the future, just the start of it really. Remember WoW when it first launched?

  • I don’t mind it being pvp only as much as I don’t think there will be much pvp in the game at all the way they are treating it. I would really enjoy a lot of ship battles especially in the neutral zone but it sounds like this game won’t have that which is a shame.

  • I’ve thought on this a little more, and I’m most upset that the Klingons can’t just raid the shit out of the Federation across the entire playable area. How would you stop it being a horrible gank-fest, though?

    “All PvP in Star Trek Online, initially, will take place in instances.”

    I’m not sure what that means, but I think it means that, for example, I can’t happen across a Starfleet/Klingon battlefield, I have to be in a group with one of the combatants, or… I mean, is it like a PvP invite?

    At best, you’ll get some sort of indication that “A fellow Starfleet vessel is underattack!” and the option to go to Warp and arrive there to save them (entering the instance).

    What does an instance connote? Does it guarantee the isolation of a group of combatants once the party starts, or does it just mean “you’ll have to watch a loading bar to get into the battle”?

    I don’t really care about Star Trek as a franchise, but I think things should match up nicely to the status quo established in other media. Picard wouldn’t turn away from a distress signal because “That battle has already started”, nor would some rogue batshit Klingon captain sit around in the neutral zone glaring at starfleet ships when he could just nip over and get some.

  • It appears that neutral zones have pve quests for both sides you can just get attacked while doing them, and that just means more exp when you send them to stovakor for Klingons.

    What I think it’s like is POTBS. Where you see the battles on a galaxy map and can jump in, did not like that system in POTBS so that’s my largest fear.

  • While I would love two separate yet complete and equal factions, I absolutely cannot for the life of me ever see the Klingon faction to be even remotely close in popularity to the Federation.

  • @Russell Gusto

    Just out of curiosity, what didn’t you like about the POTBS worldmap combat system? Could you elaborate?

    Also, have you played Mount and Blade? And if so, how did you think their world map combat compared to POTBS?

  • I don’t see the issue. If the Klingon is your pvp character, it will take till level 5 to get the hang of the game’s interface, and 1-5 may just be the tutorial, even if it is federation only. Lack of PvE content may suck though, but if advancement of Klingons is done through PvP instead, it may be pointless.

    Instancing-well, I don’t see as much as an issue. Problem with making one big battleground will be latency, lag, and zerg tactics. If they restrict it to 16 vs 16 instances, you may have less epic nature, but you won’t get what we have in EVE, namely 10 people waiting on a gate camp to try and catch noob frigates.

  • Sounds like they are releasing the game to generate funds to finish it. We all know how well that worked for Funcom…

  • It’s hard to say whether this is an intentional design or the result of their truncated development cycle. I was originally convinced it was the latter, but ermansup makes a good point. The Klingon faction would never be as popular as the Federation faction, so a “balanced” war between the two simply wouldn’t be possible. It’s yet another 2-faction system, but doing it this way removes the population balance issue that exists in 2-faction games.

    However, I suspect it’s more likely a combination of the two (limited time and intentional design). As long as the core gameplay is good I don’t care, but they haven’t convinced me I should spend more money on one of their products after Champions Online was such a let down.

  • I’ve all but given up on true world pvp in MMO’s. Reason I started playing Everquest again on an emulated server, only the old world unlocked so far. The joy of a fully connected world ahhh so nice! I still have WOW on the backburner for my PVE needs. It will be ashame if STO falls into the pit of instances that so many of todays MMO’s have.

  • @jerk

    From what I remember about the map system for POTBS was that you used it to travel but if you were attacked you would be set in an instance, not found of that.

    I wish STO was more like EVE and and not all instanced battles. Of course you never know till you try it so going to wait and see before I put any $$$ down.

  • It sounds like this was the best that they could pull together before launch, a compromise to get Klingons in STO at all by launch given their development limitations. From the Emmert interview:

    “It’s just a simple matter of you have a certain amount of time and you have a certain size team and you have to make decision about how you’d make the best product at launch.”
    “So, for launch, this is what the Klingon faction will really be all about. It no doubt won’t please every player, but Emmert is convinced that it is better than the alternative of not having them at all. It’s something he pushed for and mandated for launch.”

  • I got into the closed beta for sto, thanks to my 6month sub of co, co to me was not a bad game, my issue was the insane instancing.

    Its one of those games that if you have 3 or 4 close friends youll get a lot of enjoyment out of it. STO is the same way, instanced to hell and back, could be fun with a group of close friends, the ship combat is spot on, but its just to slow. But thats just star trek itself.

    The ground combat is missing something, not sure what but it just seems meh. If they had some sort of cover option like in the movies/shows, that would make sense, but as of right now, you just stand there and trade shots with the enemy. Last time I checked, every race in the galaxy had a kill setting on there phasers:P

  • Also be sure to watch the end where the warp out…probably to another instance but it sure is a cool way to get there.

  • Is the ship combat 2 or 3D? I wouldn’t play it if it was the former, my mind couldn’t provide that much artistic license,,,

  • Faction balance in a PVP enabled game is complex. Haven’t we seen enough of the recent issues to understand that much? WAR is still trying to compensate in a way that prevents a popular faction from dominating on a server. Aion tried balancing at the time of character creation which blocked people from rolling on their preferred server/faction at launch. As a consumer, who’d paid for the game and aligned myself with a guild pre-release, being blocked from the server/faction at launch wasn’t very endearing. We eventually worked it out but it was frustrating for guild members trying to get on the server.

    With all the shoulda, coulda, woulda things that looked good on paper but didn’t pan out in a game – games we just knew would RULE THE WORLD but didn’t, I would think we’d all reached the conclusion that it’s never as simple as it seems to us from the armchair.

  • Except that reducing one entire side to nothing more than monster play and having the game take place almost entirely in instances isn’t something that requires special insight to understand. Balance will always be a problem — always. Yet, games have survived with balance issues nonetheless. Playing games that overcome or deal with balance issues without doing this instancing gives me the ability to say that instancing is not the solution.

    As for what they’ve done with Klingons, they’re either really stupid or they ran out of money/time. How silly of them to run out of money and time on something as huge as the other side of the coin.

  • Faction balance isn’t a problem as long as it isn’t 1v1. If they had given players 3 factions to play from the start, Federation, Klingon, and say, Romulan, then you setup a nice open world PvP enviornment that is constantly swaying.

    SOE had it right when they designed Planetside. Two factions rarely works because of population balances. But, if you put a third faction in there, then all factions have to fight on 2 fronts. I just can’t believe developers can’t build on the success of a game over 10 years old.

  • They are adding other factions but not at release. Also I don’t think these instances are as cut and dry as you say they are Keen. It looks to me like you warp from areas (instances) but it’s very subtle and the areas are huge. I will wait till open beta then see if I will buy it but it certainly want be for all.

  • An instance is an instance. Whether you warp to it or walk to it, whether it’s 1000light years or 20 feet wide doesn’t change it being just you and the NPC’s. Instancing is a very cut and dry thing by nature. That’s what it is designed to do.

  • Yes an instance is an instance but there are different ways of implementing them. WoW was instanced and I thought they did a fine job of it.

  • This is a bit semantical, but I’ll try and explain.

    WoW had instances. WoW was not instanced.

    Guild Wars is instanced.

    WoW is a big open world where you go into instances to do dungeons. Guild Wars was essentially carried out entirely in private instances.

    STO is looking like Guild Wars, not WoW.

  • The instancing is exactly like CO, you have a box, with systems in them, and several diffrent instances of that box, with a set number of people in each box.

    Its the same thing.

    Klingons leave themselves open to really good missions, being the way they are.

  • @ Russell gusto

    Sorry to go back to it, but i’m just curious. Could you elaborate on *why* the ‘use world map to travel – combat takes place in instances’ was so offputting to you?

    Was it the fact that you didn’t have the ‘real world’ feel? What would you rather have seen? That you sailed from port in the same “mode” as the combat, and if you happened upon someone then combat took place right there?

  • @Gankatron

    /doublefacepalm j/k man don’t beat me up! It’s a 3D game.

    @office jerk

    Yes the main issue I had was how you used the world map to travel. I would of liked to just sail the open seas and if I came across an enemy ship then I could engage it, if the waters were hostile. I did not mind having an instance to get to land and the sea battles were wonderfully done. I also enjoyed the overall concept of the game.

    Now STO is very close to POTBS but it’s done in better fashion imo. Think of it as 3 sections. The main map is called sector space which is warp speed all the time. Then you warp to a system like earth it loads that whole system. Now you got planet side and star bases when your outside of your ship it loads to that map. So all together 3 loading screens from map to map.

    I know Keen will say it’s all instanced yada, yada, yada but the way it’s done really fits with the Startrek vibe, for me at least. Also Cryptic has stated that they are and will add many more elements based on customer feedback and they have a history that proves that. So you want more factions? Brilliant! Shoot them some ideas. Think Klingons should have PvE? Brilliant! Shoot em off some concepts.

    Now as far as what defines an “open world”. One’s definition of an “Open” world is subjective. Keen see’s WoW as an open world with instances. I see it as two very large instances filled with micro instances.

    It’s a shame so many people hear the word “instanced” and just back away. The ironic thing is they STILL can’t find this “open world game” they continue to talk about even though there are TONS of them on the market…well that say they are open but again that is subjective.

  • @gusto: thank you for the eventual non-Jeff Albertson answer to whether it is a 3D ship combat game. I asked the question because I didn’t know, but wanted to be enlightened…

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