Okay, let’s re-design Star Trek Online.

We know very little about Star Trek Online, but what we do know doesn’t sound much like Star Trek. Very “gamey”, not very “worldy”. You form a group in a city (or starship or starbase), choose a quest (mission) and beam down, run the quest, beam back up. OR, you get in your shuttle, meet up with other shuttles, run the quest, and then go back to a shuttle port.

That’s what it sounds like, so far. Is that Star Trek or WoW in Space?

What was common to all forms of Star Trek? Let’s break it down. First, was The Ship, and then The Captain. The naval tradition. Exploration. A bridge crew. Difficult choices to make — the responsibilities of command. Tense situations and careful diplomacy. The phasers only come out when every other option has been exhausted.

Starting from the beginning. Character creation.

You’re a first-year ensign just starting at Starfleet Academy. Starfleet Academy will be your home while you dabble in professions. You can train in Engineering, Science, Communications, Diplomacy, Weapons, Medicine, Navigation, Security and Command — as much as you like. You can also meet with other players and train in simulators that bring you to the decks of some major turning points in Federation history.

This training period lasts as long as you like, and via simulators, lets you jump right into the fun, day one. Jump into Klingon or Romulan simulations and try to beat the Federation crews. Simulations are where you build Command points.

All this time you are training for specific bridge positions as well — these are mini arcade-ish games. For instance, pattern matching, circuit routing (a la Pipe Dreams for instance), trying to keep a circle in the center of a screen while various forces try to knock it out. As you get better in the games, your skill in that bridge position rises. Rank 1 gives you basic knowledge, and you can pick that up easily. Rank 2 and up are required once you actually get into your ship.

At some point of your choosing, you can graduate and be posted to a ship. There’s two kinds of ships — Starfleet ships and private ships. Private ships are difficult to get, and serving aboard one will be analagous to being in a guild — these will be the player-run ships, and they can be as big or small as they can afford to maintain and keep from blowing up.

You won’t get to choose which Starfleet ship you’re posted to, but you can apply to be reassigned if things don’t work out. You take on assignments on a Starfleet ship — either in your department, or crosstrained to another department. Each Starfleet ship will have its own missions, and you may find yourself in a bridge crew or on an away mission. Again, you can ask for another assignment but you ARE a Starfleet officer, and the only way you will gain additional ranks is to do the missions. Serving on a Starfleet ship is the only way outside of the Academy to gain Command points. Missions will be either solo or group, and you can choose which sort you’d like.

Private ships are bought from shipyards. They can be traders, explorers, science ships — as many types as there are in Star Trek. Maybe even some decommissioned alien ships. You’ll have to sign on to the crew, if they’ll have you.

Your duties there will be whatever your captain and officers decide — just like in regular guilds. The missions will be able to be selected based on the ship type.

If you have enough Command ranks and enough money, you can get your own ship. If you don’t want a crew, hire NPCs. They will only have Rank 1 skills, but they’ll be able to get you into space, and you can always take over an NPC position if you need more skills there and can provide them.

So — we have Starfleet, Federation starships AND private ones, the ability to solo AND the ability to group up with any number of people, the ability to crosstrain in various paths AND work toward command…

Some more ideas. Each starship is its own instance, but space itself is shared, as in EvE. You can of course have your own room, and its contents will follow you from posting to posting. You can request a transfer back to the Academy to work on more skills and simulations. There will be a major conflict that will ebb and flow, requiring at times Starfleet ships to go into battle, sometimes huge battles requiring dozens of ships over several weeks times. Privately owned ships will have their own emergencies and tough missions and may also be called into battle.

This is just scribbling, but it seems to me, this would be a framework for something more approximating the Star Trek we know.

And maybe this is exactly what Perpetual is writing in which case, hey, sign me up, I want to play!

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Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

7 thoughts on “Okay, let’s re-design Star Trek Online.”

  1. “The phasers only come out when every other option has been exhausted.”
    Unless you’re watching classic Star Trek then it was all about killing the aliens right away.

    In all seriousness though your design ideas are about perfect for a StarTrek MMO. Its only the fact the liscense was overused a bit in the 90’s that Perpetual was able to get its hands on it. Here’s hoping someone buys it from the Raganork company and makes a decent game out of it. Also is it just me or would a Pokemon MMO kick WoW’s ass if Nintendo ever developed one. I mean just following the design of the handheld game you would have the basic tenets of PvP. If you could get a halfway decent PvE system designed that worked with real time combat you would have something addictive and with even broader appeal then World of Warcraft.

  2. One thing cool about Star Trek, the TV show, is how it is rarely gear focused. Everyone has the same phasers, tricorders, communicators and stuff. It’s knowing how to use them. Scotty isn’t Starfleet’s finest engineer because he has a special +3 quantum hyperwrench; he’s the best because he knows more than Joe Ensign and can think fast on his feet.

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