Captain’s Log, Stardate Whatever

Added to the list of reasons to want to play Star Trek Online when it comes out, is that they’re going to implement some kind of captain’s log. Fans discuss what sort of functionality they’d like in a thread in official forums. Some of the suggestions include:

  • Automatic links to quests, NPCs, planets and achievements (if there are any)
  • Being able to dictate a log via voice chat
  • Being able to share the log with other people
  • Starmap showing the ship’s course over the past period of time
  • Ability to add custom personal notes
  • Listing when crew members join, increase in skill, and leave the ship
  • Send to friends via internal (or external) mail
  • Accessible via the web (ie. outside the game)

This is pie in the sky thinking but I’m excited about the sheer possibilities of an in game log. The fact that people are already saying that they want to share their content, to write their own notes, to attach them to some kind of in game database of quests, planets, species etc is pointing to a fully fledged social network.

What I actually expect to see is some kind of in game blog. But how exciting would it be to tag entries to make them searchable, let players vote on each other’s entries to encourage useful and entertaining logs, and build up a player generated, player searchable database in the game?

So imagine something like wowhead (a WoW database where you can look up quests and see comments that people have added giving hints or locations), but where you search in game for a quest name and can see all the relevant log entries, sorted in terms of which had higher scores.

Imagine players feeling encouraged to write in character log entries — this alone would get me to play Klingon. Imagine being able to browse the log entries from a web page even when you aren’t playing.

I have no idea what Cryptic plan to do with the Captain’s Log, but I’m excited about what it could be and where future MMOs could go with a similar idea. I’ve been talking about improved roleplaying via social networking over the last few weeks … but I don’t know if I expected it to happen so soon.

Also, if the game actually reads out the line “Captain’s Log, Stardate ((insert date))” when you access your own log, even I won’t be able to suppress a minor fangirl squee.