Without a doubt, nothing even comes in at a close second; what I’ve disliked about the so-called Persistent Universe is its lack of persistence. I’ve detested the Super Mario save point behavior of getting to a station to persist where you are in the world or to retain the contents of your ship. I’ve always hated that the items placed in my ship are lost on a disconnect or server death. From the start of the PU, they knew they were building an MMO. So why on earth is item tracking this late in the scheme of things?
I’m waiting with bated breath for actual persistence in this MMO. Losing profits due to 30Ks aside, many sandbox gameplay opportunities will present themselves when ships and player locations persist reliably. The critical aspect here is consistency and reliability. One of the things I enjoy best is creating new roles for myself once I reach the end game. It almost always involves crafting and, where possible, offering a service.
In EverQuest 2, I built a decorating service that was so popular it ended up dominating all of my game time. I created new unique items by combining standard crafted pieces. I wrote guides on adding life to items with animations by layering and resizing other components.
My farm wagon in ArchAge offered rides to other players who would sit on top of my crates and pay me with fuel that increased the wagon’s movement speed. As a Warlock and Mage in World of Warcraft, we charged for portals and summons in addition to selling items on the auction house. It’s the different roles you can create for yourself in a mature game with good mechanics that adds extra flavor.
I know the professions I’ve backed via ships in Star Citizen are a ways off. Hell, they’re not even on the roadmap yet. Data running in the MSR. Information hacking in the Herald. Food production on the Endeavor. Managing a hospital in the other Endeavor. Commerical transportation aboard the Genisis Starliner. Building outposts with the Pioneer. Manning a traveling bazaar with the Merchantman. There are things I enjoy that I could be doing in place of my professions, except we don’t have actual MMO style persistence yet.
While I don’t consider myself a roleplayer, I think of myself as my avatar when I’m in-game. And there are a few enterprises I’m looking forward to trying when actual persistence arrives.
The Floating Noodles Vendor from the Fifth Element is high on my list. Imagine a stylized ship floats into view. Onboard it has cold and hot storage containers full of what your body craves. Yes, a specific ship would be incredible but unnecessary. Any medium-sized vessel with a fast quantum drive and a convenient entrance will suffice. I want to load up with the various consumables from around the star system and deliver them on request. Out mining and forget water? Aly’s Food Truck to the rescue. Doing planet-side activities and need food or medpens? Call Aly.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when I want to exist in a game world without doing anything in particular. Take in the scenery. Converse in global chat. Help a noob or two. The players flying their amounts above Stormwind is what comes to mind. We can take that to a whole new dimension in Star Citizen.
A roving bar that tours the star system picking up passengers from the popular orbital stations, is another activity I want to try. Passengers can purchase alcohol and snacks while chatting locally, perhaps using FOIP or having their own private conversations taking in the view. Maybe throw in a little drunken Fight Club? But you didn’t hear that from me.
Treasure Hunts with prizes aboard the 890 Jump will happen! Stash physical items around the ship. Provide a list of what to find. Then, they have to tell me where they found it and provide the article to turn it in. No sneaking in your own shit. No, mam! And, some of the hunts will include murder mystery roleplay, something I’ve wanted to do for years.
Why can’t I do these things now, you wonder? Because a disconnect or 30K will throw away all the time spent setting up the event. It will whoosh the items I’ve placed on the ship into oblivion. If I DC, I’m just as likely to end up back at my last port of call versus back aboard my ship. No thanks! When I have time to play, I want the reasonable expectation of there being the appropriate mechanics to play. Spitting into the wind isn’t an activity I find enjoyable.
There are a host of emergent gameplay opportunities to be had with actual, traditional MMO persistence. Here’s hoping it arrives in Star Citizen sooner than later.