Latest STOked Interview with Dan Stahl

The guys over at STOked just released the raw video of their latest interview with Dan Stahl on justin.tv.  Although the interview was supposed to focus on the just-released still-beta foundry, its 32 pre-edit minutes are also packed with non-Foundry information, some of which I’ll highlight after the embed:

The big news for the Foundry is wrapper missions like dailies that will direct players to select highly-rated Foundry missions.  These wrappers will provide rewards, the lack of which was a topic in Fleet Vent last night. Cryptic can tailor the reward to the captain (emblems being mentioned specifically) and prevent the exploit fest that would have happened if authors controlled mission rewards.  On the other side of the editor, authors with highly-rated missions may get more project slots. Both are excellent ideas to reward using what I feel is one of STO’s most unique features compared to other MMOs. Letting authors sell missions on the C-Store won’t happen soon, but the idea is out there.

Craig Zinkievich is back at Cryptic as COO.  I share Chris and Jeremy’s guarded reaction to the news. To be fair, some of the good things happening now in STO must have started under Zinc’s watch. He just wasn’t around for the credit.  On the other hand, behavioral patterns can quickly and unconsciously resurface when former colleagues are reintroduced into the groups they’d left. The STO team has definitely grown since Zinc departed; I hope his return doesn’t revive bad habits or past policies that the new STO team–and community–have grown beyond.

The Klingons will get plenty of attention in Season Four: Qo’noS is getting more of a redesign than an ESD-style make-over. That includes the Klingon Academy as the mechanics and culture bootcamp for players choosing to start their STO experience as Klingons. The new leveling progression will refer players to featured episodes, and it will include Klingon retellings (prequels and sequels, not shovel-ware faction swaps) of Starfleet missions with Klingon tie-ins; e.g., Saturday’s Child an Kuvah’magh.

The Duty Roster system may need a new name given the inevitable effect “duty” has on post-Beavis-and-Butthead geeks like the STOked guys. More seriously, it worries me to hear Stahl refer to it as being like a trading card game, something I’ve never liked for its mechanics or pusher-like card rarity marketing scheme. I’m also not happy to hear that the active roster will be linked to captains instead of ships. I understand Jeremy’s relief at not having to reallocate rosters when changing ships given the agony of bridge officers, abilities, equipment, and power trays that is switching ships. However, it’s another step to making starships less like characters themselves and more just hollow shells filled with “stuff” by excluding them from the duty roster system.  I proposed on the forums [ My Longish Proposal, Begging Heretic, Heretic Responds] and still hope to see workspaces or bays on ships that complement the duty roster system and reflect the ship’s inherent mission (sci, tac, eng).

Taking this with the latest Ask Cryptic and Engineering Report paints a picture of a game that’s growing from a developer with ambition.  Personally, I think somebody should take away Obama’s Secret Transparency Award and give it to Stahl instead.

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