Shared Space in STO

It’s interesting how no matter what the type, features or theme of a mmo there is always something for the industry to learn from them. No matter the age of a title, the development company, the size of a project or whether it’s a shameless wow clone there is always something there… some more than others obviously.

Star trek online is a relatively forgotten mmo, only recently revived in the last year and with a relatively niche audience. It does what it does well in the genre and there is really no other space mmo like it out there. It’s more of a pve approach on what’s usually the domain of PvP and they’ve created many interesting features that suit the theme well. Now, because it appears so different at first glance you might think there is nothing the average fantasy theme park could learn from it… But there is, and it’s a part that I would love repeated far more than it has been as it improves at some very important aspects. And that is the excellent shared space.

Star Trek Online has created a system wherein the high and low level characters are constantly mingling together. Throughout every zone you have missions around for a lot of different progress points, newbies completing there first few missions right next to someone in a gigantic cruiser who might be on their final story arc or just exploring the universe. There are random missions sprinkled all around as well which keeps players of different types in many zones. The crafting nodes and materials are also almost completely universal meaning you get all different types of players in every area rather than the one high level area that matters.

Having all players of various levels in progression, of experience and in terms of play creates a more inclusive environment. It makes it easier for new players or anyone really to seek out help from those more knowledgeable. It provides an enormous inspiration for long-term goals as you’re constantly seeing the high level gear and ships. I’ve seen so many amazing ships that I know aspire to and I think, without this inspiration I might not have bothered playing as much as I have lately.

It also makes the world and the game feel that much more alive. Questing through lower level zones in any mmo after the first few months is an incredibly lonely experience and you can’t help have thoughts regarding the health of your server and the game in general. It’s just nice to be able to see people wherever you go and I imagine if such a system was in any other mmo I’ve enjoyed over the last few years then it would have been a lot more sustainable over the long-term with a lot more moments to meet others and form connections.

Oh, and a lot more enjoyable


8 thoughts on “Shared Space in STO

  1. An interesting post, I didn’t know this about STO. That’s quite a powerful plus for altoholics and slow-progressors like me. When playing older MMOs, like EQ2, that have so much content and so many likeable features – the one major disadvantage for me is that it seems like 99% of the playerbase are invisible, stuck in the end-game zones or idling in the major trade cities. The world outside is largely deserted…

    • Yeh, it’s great for alters and the slow levellers but also just making it better for anyone picking it up after the rush of a release.
      It’s a much better designed Leveling system than having most players crammed into a couple key areas

  2. This was a big plus for Everquest. Zones encompassed many level ranges, often requiring you to come back later for their conclusion. Later quests often involved killing mobs that rarely spawned in lower level zones.

    It helped breath a lot of extra community into the game. While higher players didn’t necessarily always help, some would respond to aid requests by newer players. Likewise, newer players got to see more of what they would one day become, which fueled a want for aspiring higher and higher.

    It also felt a hell of a lot less ‘gamey’.

    • Yes! It does feel a lot less games. Bring as streamlined in levelling as it usually us feels far more artificial.. This feels more real like this.

    • hmm Neverwinter doesn’t see the same… I think it would be more like it have a handful of huge, overarching zones and then going into instances, the small building missions with yourself or party.

      The do seem to like having a central hub more than other companies

  3. I am so going to need to try this STO thing. Your posts have persuaded me! Also, given it is a Cryptic game and I love NWO that gives it a big plus. 🙂 NWO isn’t as Hub-friendly as you described though (despite what Asmiroth says). Outside the city it’s pretty much zones by level with high ends only returning to whack dungeons every now and then. What they -do- do well though is the events wherein you can have a level 1 fighting along side a level 60, against the same baddie and that enemy scales!

    Baddie hits level 1, takes 5% of health. Baddie hits level 60, takes 5% of health. A similar method for taking damage too. It’s so simple yet so clean at the same time.

    • wow, I’m peddling this off to everyone right now. It seems we’re all desperate for an online game haha.
      Eriena in game. just realised I can jump on an earlier ship too so I don’t melt everything in earlier missions

      that seems a good idea for events, lets everyone join in while keeping it interesting

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