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Monday, April 18, 2011

Data Samples and Common Decency

Before I get into the point of my post lets do a little background explaining about Data Samples and their importance. Data Samples are the raw materials that are used for crafting in Star Trek Online. They spawn randomly in each map that is generated for your missions. Locating Data Samples are made easier by the use of a scanning tool next to your mini-map. Much like a ore node in World of Warcraft they are first come first serve, which usually isn’t a problem since your are normally the only person on your map. However sometimes you are grouped with other players and this is what I will be writing about today and something I have noticed is a problem in STO.

Some missions are in what can best be explained as, public areas that when you enter the zone you are automatically grouped with any other players who might also be on that mission. The basic idea is that you work with your new teammates to complete the mission. Think of it as an automatic pug generator without any input from you.

 Now the Data Samples are generated the same as in regular solo maps and are available for anyone to get. Every time I have been voluntold to group with another player I have noticed the same thing occurring. During the mission my new teammate will inevitably streak off in their ship towards the closest Data Sample and collect it. I have even had teammates do this while I was fighting for an objective. So instead of helping in defeating the enemy they have gone off to collect a nearby sample. Usually their behavior remains the same on any ground based portions of the missions and will quickly run up to collect any samples we stumble upon. All this is done without a single word being said.

Now maybe it’s just me, but community loot or collectables found during group play should be at the very least discussed before someone collects it, but in STO it would appear that it is a matter of whoever gets there first wins. I have even had some grouped missions where the other person collected all of the available samples without blinking an eye. Now for comparison, in World of Warcraft some dungeons hold Ore nodes and it was common practice that party members either rolled for it or took turns collecting. The question is why isn’t this same instinctive sharing trait occurring in STO?

Do I believe the average STO player is incapable of common decency and manners? Absolutely not, in fact I have found them for the most part friendly and helpful. But for some reason when it comes to data samples it appears that a lot of players no longer keep manners in mind. Also I have found on forced grouping players will not interact much at all.

In contrast players in a PVP match often seem overly friendly and talkative for the manner of game play. I am still dumbfounded by the zone talk that occurs inside a PVP match between the two teams. This has included helpful advice for better gear or tactics, to both teams working together in trying to get a player unstuck from a glitch. I love this open banter as long as it doesn’t detract from the match, but it just goes to show you the level of common decency found in STO. So why isn’t this the case with Data Samples?

I believe part of it has to do with STO, for the most part, is a single person game. Most missions and maps are generated for individual players and the occasional forced grouping that occurs is unusual enough that people forget they are indeed with another person. Has anyone else out there experienced similar behavior? Or have you unknowingly been one of the mass takers?

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