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