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Thread: Free To Play is Online

  1. #1
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    Free To Play is Online

    Come and play with us
    A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions -- if only we lived in one.

    Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone"

  2. #2
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    There was talk some time ago about us guys forming a TrekRPG fleet - did that happen? I'm on about my fourth ST:O character, and haven't been in a fleet since my first.
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for others.

    It's the same when you are stupid...

  3. #3
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    I just joined due to FTP; if there is a fleet, I wouldn't mind joining either. Would be nice to play with people we know.

    DeviantArt Slacker MAL Support US Servicemembers
    "The Federation needs men like you, doctor. Men of conscience. Men of principle. Men who can sleep at night... You're also the reason Section Thirty-one exists -- someone has to protect men like you from a universe that doesn't share your sense of right and wrong." Sloan, Section Thirty-One

  4. #4
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    Well, I'm happy to set up a fleet. I've never done it before, but I'll get on to it and let everyone know the details.
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for others.

    It's the same when you are stupid...

  5. #5
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    Okay...just checked it out. We need to get five people together to form a team, and create the fleet from that.

    I'm currently at Earth Spacedock, but being in Australia, I'm not likely to be in the same timezone as most of the people here.

    Let me know your ST:O handle and we'll see if we can get a group together...mine is:

    Aryad@Declin66
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for others.

    It's the same when you are stupid...

  6. #6
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    Let me see, is that going to be the same as my login name, or my forum board name?

    DeviantArt Slacker MAL Support US Servicemembers
    "The Federation needs men like you, doctor. Men of conscience. Men of principle. Men who can sleep at night... You're also the reason Section Thirty-one exists -- someone has to protect men like you from a universe that doesn't share your sense of right and wrong." Sloan, Section Thirty-One

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JALU3 View Post
    Let me see, is that going to be the same as my login name, or my forum board name?
    It'll be whatever comes up in the communication box in the bottom left when you say something in-game.

    It's a combination of your character and login name (so the second half will always be the same, but the first will vary depending on which character you're playing).

    For example, my login is "Declin66", and I'm currently playing a Trill called "Aryad". Thus, my handle becomes: "Aryad@Declin66"

    I'm not sure how it works if you have a compound character name, but I think it just goes by your "common" name.
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for others.

    It's the same when you are stupid...

  8. #8
    How is the game? Haven't looked at it... Played SWG and enjoyed it...
    USS INDEPENDENCE

    "FREEDOM'S FLAGSHIP"

  9. #9
    I have started to play recently, a little too combat centric for Trek to me. There are little to no scientific or diplomatic options that I have found. Aside from that, it is fun if a little busy.

    Oh I think I'm: korien@phoenixtheelder
    Phoenix...

    "I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity,
    but maybe we should just remove all the safety lables and let nature take it's course"

    "A Place For Everything & Nothing In It's Place"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
    I have started to play recently, a little too combat centric for Trek to me. There are little to no scientific or diplomatic options that I have found. Aside from that, it is fun if a little busy.

    Oh I think I'm: korien@phoenixtheelder
    This is a valid complaint, though some of the exploration missions are better about it than others.

    The problem you're facing is ultimately the nature of the beast in question: a computer-based RPG is really nothing more than a Choose-Your-Own Adventure story writ large.

    There is no computer in the world that can cover all the possible variables of human (or human-alien) interaction or the genuine process of discovery.

    The programmers can only include a finite set of options- and most of those are either fairly obvious or even cliched.

    Some examples:

    One of the early missions for Starfleet is to transport a Vulcan ambassador to P'Jem.

    I had the plot figured out and was ready to take direct action before the ambassador had even boarded the shuttle back to the ship- but was railroaded by the limitations of the game engine.

    Once you leave the "Klingon front" and advance to Starbase 39-Sierra (or should you visit on your own), you can be assigned to assist in a diplomatic mission- sorting out trade concessions between the Federation, the Ferengi, and a pair of alien races specific to the game universe.

    This consists (quite reasonably) of going to each of the parties, finding out what they want, need, and what they have to bargain with.

    The problem?

    One of the Ambassadors is a crook- a repeat offender who's been caught using his less-than-official diplomatic post to line his own pocket.

    You are given two choices in dealing with the situation: either bribe the crook or blackmail him.

    Exposing and arresting him isn't an option. Without even the courtesy of making "choo-choo" noises, the game railroads you into sinking to his level.

    As the stories advance, things get both better and worse.

    In one of the later stories, the hero is tasked with repairing a station's shields before an impending disaster.

    Time is of the essence.

    And we needed to requisition a specific part in order for the Engineer to conduct repairs.

    The problem? The stupid bimbo running the supply store needs a good stiff drink to clear her head.

    I spent nearly forty minutes running back and forth between this bimbo, the Chief Engineer, and the bar tender getting her drink "Just Right" before I could get the part needed to save everyone on the station.

    The away team consisted of two Starfleet Lieutenants, a Lieutenant Commander, and two Ensigns. Of the five, two were engineers and two were science officers.

    Color me violent, but that nonsense would've lasted precisely thirty seconds in real-life or in a table top roleplaying game.

    After the first "This drink isn't right. Get me another." I or my players would've phasered the clueless prima donna unconscious and hacked the inventory computer to find what we needed.


    Another example was a rescue mission.

    A Federation diplomatic party has been captured and are being held hostage. You and your ship are tasked with the rescue.

    Thanks to a bit of bad map reading and some dumb luck, I rescued the bulk of the diplomatic party before I'd checked all of the red herrings- and the game engine couldn't cope.

    6 of 7 diplomats rescued and beamed up to the starship in orbit- but when I found number seven he refused to leave because "a man of his stature wouldn't leave until all of his comrades had been rescued".

    I spent another forty minutes blundering around a now-empty map before the machine conceded I'd dotted all the T's and crossed all the I's and let me get the heck off the planet.

    Unfortunately, the game engine prevents you from vaporizing mormonic NPCs whether they might be needed later or not.

    There is no "stun the dumb @$$ unconscious and get the heck out of here" option.

    Or as Worf once complained in Doomsday Planet, "I have learned that had I been allowed to shoot the things I wanted to shoot when I wanted to shoot them, our lives would have been considerably simpler!"

    That having been said, I thoroughly enjoyed the "The 2800" Featured episodes- right up until the final adventure.

    The story itself is well-written and ties up a lot of loose threads from the canon shows.

    Normally, the tie-ins feel forced and artificial (I for one am sick to death of running into second-string Voyager walk-ons who now hold important positions in Starfleet). There is a general sense that these tips-of-the-hat were written by J.J. Abrams- and are intended as much as a slap in the face as a treat for the die-hard Trekkers.

    In "The 2800", the heroes get a chance to resolve several major plot holes from DS9 and to see and visit all the "cool" locations.

    There is at least one life-or-death situation in which the character chooses to either uphold his integrity as a Starfleet officer or give in to simple revenge- but it doesn't appear to have any direct effect on how the story unfolds.

    The satisfaction comes entirely from either the vicarious pleasure of the ability to mete out a well deserved fate or from the knowledge that you "chose not ...to kill...today".

    I thought the climactic battles were both ridiculously complex and stultifyingly dumb....and you need a high-end computer to keep up with all the action in the final starship action.

    Also, the final congratulatory speech has a rather glaring "Thank you <Insert Your Name Here> quality to it".

    That having been said, however, I also felt a real sense of accomplishment upon completing the story arc.

    The Bajoran town is intereting and well-laid out- but there is less going on there than you might expect (the location will undoubtedly be fleshed out and expanded in future).

    The NPCs are an interesting mix of the generic and the oddly personal. Two that really struck me are a Bajoran gardner working in one of the shops and a mother visiting the park in town for a few minutes of peace before going home.

    Having completed the mission (and saved the planet), I wanted nothing more than to go back to the woman and tell her that her town and her children were safe.

    Of course, the game engine wasn't up to the task- but it would have been a nice touch.

    For all the game's faults, I have expended a ridiculous amount of time there- and have even been working on exporting my NPCs for use in my table top games.

    By the by, I play STO as either selek@points7101 or Thol Ir'Idrani@points7101.

    If you catch me online, shoot me a message (but identify yourself has either Seventh Fleet or TrekRPG so I'll know not to ignore you).
    Last edited by selek; 03-15-2012 at 10:44 PM.

  11. #11
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    I'd love to try it, but the system says I'm not registered (after I register!) -- then goes into a flat spin.

    So I've asked the help desk -- to no avail. I apparently need to delete cookies/smash a dilithium crystal/travel back in time to find humpback whales to log in. WAY too much hassle, and life is just too short.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuclear Fridge View Post
    I'd love to try it, but the system says I'm not registered (after I register!) -- then goes into a flat spin.

    So I've asked the help desk -- to no avail. I apparently need to delete cookies/smash a dilithium crystal/travel back in time to find humpback whales to log in. WAY too much hassle, and life is just too short.
    Still, selek, after looking at your experiences... maybe I'm better off not even trying. I'll stick to my little TOS border RPG and count my blessings!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuclear Fridge View Post
    Still, selek, after looking at your experiences... maybe I'm better off not even trying. I'll stick to my little TOS border RPG and count my blessings!
    Fridge, don't let me dissuade you unnecessarily. The game DOES have its high points.

    For myself, online RPGs just aren't my cup of tea (mostly for the reasons I mentioned above), but it's not a bad way to kill a couple of hours of free time- and there are ideas and lessons to apply to your table top RPG, as well.

    As with all things in life, you mileage and mine will likely vary- you may get in there and have an absolute blast.

    As noted, the interface can be a little awkward, but there are some interesting surprises, as well.

    Starbase One, for example has the lecture hall (I beleive it's at about 3 o'clock) on the map face (noon being due north). As you start gaining rank and prestige, the cadets and officers assembled there pop tall and salute as you pass through.

    First time it happened, it caught me completely by surprise- and between the suspension of belief and the sense of accomplishment, it was a pleasant surprise.

    You get to visit a lot of cool places- some of the vistas are spectacular, and meet and interact with various characters.

    I could have done without Naomi Wildman, Eee-cheb, and several of the other Voyager supernumaries, but it was kinda fun running into Kirioshi O'Brien (Chief O'Brien's son), Captain MacKenzie Calhoun, and even Worf.

    The interactions are, of course, quite limited- but it was a lot of fun all the same.

    My Trek group here in Utah/Idaho (we're Starfleet Command's Seventh Fleet www.seventhfleet.org) has had several players (including our Rear Admiral) online since the beginning. I'm one of only a handful of officers who's character has actually travelled to the Gamma Quadrant.

    Call it a minor nerd-cred if you like, but its still a point of personal satisfaction.

    Once you get past the interface and into the story- there's a lot to find joy with in STO.

    One mission in particular has you crawling around the bowels of a defunct space station trying to make repairs.

    Unfortunately, you are not alone.

    The developers got the "dark and creepy" part of the setting nearly perfect. I was playing in a room by myself, with the lights dim, and wearing headphones- in short, almost totally immersed in the game.

    When the deranged psychopath (the NPC, not me) started whispering nursery rhymes in my ear, I jumped a good foot-and-a-half. Fortunately, my drink was on the end table, not the computer desk!

    It was- hands down- the best scare I've had in any gaming activity, and the best laugh since I went and saw The Lake House on a Friday night in a theatre full of teens and twenty-somethings.

    To wrap this up (I've already been monologuing far more than I intended), try it.

    It costs you nothing (except perhaps a dilithium crystal and a hammer or too) and it may spark an interest.

  14. #14
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    Bonnie-kin,bonnie-kin....
    A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions -- if only we lived in one.

    Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone"

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