Captain's Blog, Over Communicating Or TMI?

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  • href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;">Galactic Map

    the process of warping between local systems in Star Trek Online has
    been made relatively easy, sometimes traversing the vastness of space
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  • href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;">State of the Game

    week, Cryptic's Craig Zinkievich provides a new State of the Game for
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    things included and excluded) and we turn our eye to the future, the
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    Officer Abilities: Engineer

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Talk talk talk, that is the theme this week. I see where Cryptic and
the Star Trek Online team are going with this whole "let's be better
communicators" and I'm not sure I like it. My wife likes to talk, it
doesn't mean that my chores get done any easier. I'm getting ahead of
myself, let the news roll and then you'll catch on my
wool-over-the-eyes brethren.

Week That Was

style="margin-left: 0.5in;"> style=""> style="font-weight: bold;">Last
week was the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, California.
The land where Republican is a four letter word and we all hug (except
for Medawky, he still kicks people who try to hug him). Jumping right
into the fray, Cryptic announced with much fanfare that they are taking
a kinder gentler approach to community relations. Maybe not kinder, or
gentler, maybe just real. Did that strike a chord or a nerve? Let's
find out.

Is Over Communicate a term?

Ten Ton Hammers got the goods at this year's GDC which
included an href="">interview
with Craig Zinkievich the
biggest big dog on the STO Team. During the interview, Craig says "one
of the things
that Cryptic is going to try and do is to over communicate." Here is
where my spidey senses start tingling. Not because I think it's a bad
idea, but because it brings up some deep rooted issues I have with
people talking. Most people over talk so I inherently listen to only
half of what the say. This keeps my words heard per day closer
to the average. Game developers have taught me to soak up each word
they utter like rationed bread in the old Soviet Union. If Cryptic
opens the information floodgates, I may be overwhelmed. That is my
demon though, I'll fight it.

Looking under the hood.

topic that Zinc discusses in the interview is the transparency and
complexity of skills, powers and their effects.

style="font-style: italic;">"I
think that there is a lot of complexity in Star Trek Online
that is not readily accessible and it’s very difficult to see
“well if
I add to this skill what are my powers? What weapons of mine are
actually improving?”, so there are a lot of things we have
planned UI
wise to really improve that.  It goes for the bridge officers
too, “is this skill going to help me? Is this skill actually
going to
be usable on the ship that I have right now?” Yeah there are
a lot of
usability things that we can do, and you continually add to the game to
make it more in your face and better for the user."

Per some of my previous concerns, the lack of "math" has been a problem
for me. In a game that uses probability (i.e. dice rolls be it virtual
or actual) I like to know how I'm stacking odds in my favor or against
it. I like to understand the variables and then be able to adjust my
gear to put more odds in my favor for specific events, i.e. skills and
powers for crit versus damage, etc. I think this is a great direction
for the team and look forward to more of this transparency.

State of the Game 

some of their gaming firsts, Cryptic has been very forward in their href="">State
of the Games, and especially
with their href="">Engineering
Reports. Both are great strides
in the right direction. Some might say that these newly opened
communication channels are desperation grasps by the developers to
catch the coattails of people before they head out the door. I see it
as passionate people wanting their customers to see that they
(customers) matter, and that concerns have been
heard. Love them or hate them, they seem to really care about
the game.

From the Office of the
Obvious: Raids are not easy 

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">I'm glad to hear that the
first raidisode is no cakewalk. I hope it takes players months to
figure out. By then, they'll have even more raids to figure out. Many
things seem impossible the first time they are tried. It reminds me of
the first time I did some break dancing. At first it seemed impossible,
but in just a few short weeks, I was funky fresh. Actually, it's times
like these that I thank Al Gore for not inventing the internet
and things like Youtube until many decades later. 

Finally Some Answers

back to one of the earlier points, the information flow is still being
developed for the game. Many times I feel like I'm making some wild ass
guesses based on partial information when it comes to bridge officer
skills and effects. I haven't found a nice concise guide to show me
what is available so that I can determine
which routes I'll want to go with each of the ever-so-valuable bridge
officer slots. Luckily, Dalmarus has undergone the head-to-desk
smashing pain of clarifying the first of the three trees - Engineering.
Check out the interactive guide for href="">Engineering
Bridge Officer Skills and you'll
see what I mean.

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">Have a great week, and
thanks for reading.

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alt="Star Trek Drink of the Week"

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href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; float: right; width: 175px; height: 182px;"
alt="Scottie" src="">

style="margin-left: 0.5in;"> style="">  style="">Harry Mudd Slide

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">1 oz. Vodka

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">1 oz. Coffee

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">1 oz. Irish Cream Liquor

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">1 oz. cream

style="margin-left: 0.5in;">Shake all ingredients
with ice and serve in a cocktail glass. Umbrella optional, make sure to
check for your wallet.

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