This is an interesting thing to discuss, especially with the other post in mind. However, given the size of the TSN, it may be impossible for just the GMs make RP more engaging for everyone. With that in mind, I think it might be best for senior officers in particular to keep these things in mind, since to a certain extent they are the GMs for their ship in their smaller groups.
The largest problem with this, in my mind, is the inconsistency of crews. It is uncommon that a ship have a dedicated officer for each station who is extremely consistent. Usually at least one station is manned by someone without a permanent assignment. Having a fairly consistent crew would both encourage RP and maximize enjoyment (at least that was my experience during my tenure on Phoenix).
However, the TSN welcomes casual players who might only be able to make one or two shifts a month, and it would be detrimental to everyone if that were to change. I don’t see a good way around this particular problem, but if anyone has ideas, i’m sure the SOs would appreciate the input.
Assuming, for the moment, that no changes are made to the current method of crew assignments, what else can we do to maximize engagement? I mentioned the command officers’ role in this earlier, but perhaps that should be fleshed out a bit more. First of all, aside from following orders and attack patterns and stuff like that, there’s not a whole lot of RP on most bridges, from what I’ve seen, at least. And especially in the heat of battle, I find myself focused on what I’m doing, and not so much on enjoying the experience. That is to say, I’m not intentionally enjoying executing orders. Outside of battle, on the other hand, it almost seems like a waiting game. When’s the next enemy going to appear? When will we get back to the station? How much longer is this mission/sim going to take? These are the thoughts that sometimes go through my head. Can anyone else relate? Anyway, especially outside of combat, I think it would be great if captains were to give orders and ask questions that are purely RP and have nothing to do with the game:
Engineering, how are we doing on spare beam capacitors? Ensign, while we’re en route, re-calibrate the targeting scanners. Lieutenant, run down to the galley and get everyone a Hjocoa. What are the DamCon teams up to right now? Tactical, have the torpedo crews prepare for a drill at 0800 tomorrow.
Personally, it took awhile to get comfortable enough with the RP to start saying things like “Hull breaches on decks 2 and 3!” instead of just listing damage. And that’s fine, I still enjoyed being on shift and doing my job, but each person’s level of comfort with RP varies.
The nice thing about a consistent-ish crew is that a captain (and XO) can tailor such RP to those who are more comfortable with it. In the absence of a more in-depth relationship with a crew member, it may be advisable to have a quick OOC discussion about RP preferences and such, just to get to know someone a bit better, especially for cadets and ensigns who may not be fully into the swing of things. Also, it might help if DOs explained some of the basics of the RP to newcomers. Once you understand the RP a bit, it’s easier to enjoy.