A few days back, the executive producer of Star Trek Online, Craig Zinkievich, posted a “State of the Game” message for the first week of open beta.
I know that “State of the Game” addresses are growing more and more prevalent in MMOs, even with the game in pre-release form (see here and, for a year old one, here). But, as a future/potential player, I really like it when game developers at least provide the illusion of speaking to the fears and demands of their players.
This in particular struck me as awesome:
On ship and on ground, pressing the scan button located near the mini-map will point you to the nearest object that you can interact with.
Looking for that last alien artifact on a bizarre and unfriendly alien world, but you just can’t seem to find it? Hit the scan button! Looking for a particularly hard to find spacial anomaly in a far-off star system? Hit the scan button!
Now that’s exactly what I had wanted in my scanning! (I just didn’t know it.) I really like the potential of exploration missions – “Go forth, and find some plant cocoons!” – but my experience with them came down to “now where the hell is that last object?!” Yet I didn’t want exploration to be too easy – the whole point is that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to find, or where. So providing the ability to get a direction – but not a pinpointed location – strikes me as incredibly ingenious.
Also, I found out this little bit about the “Path to 2409” stories: the writer responsible for them is still with Cryptic (I had read rumors otherwise), and plans on finishing them at some point. That makes me really happy.