Difficulty: Challenging Responsibilities: To act as a centre for the rest of the crew by issuing clear and concise commands to the others. Abilities: Gameplay-wise, none. It is up to the other players to follow the captain's orders. Key qualities: A keen tactical mind; coolness under fire; charisma Expectations from other players: To follow your instructions; to provide you enough information so as to make an informed (or semi-informed) decision.
While the Captain is the leader, the captain is not the most important part of the team. Being the Captain does not give you the rights to boss other players around. The purpose of the captain is to assess the current situation and provide instructions to the other players so that the ship acts as a cohesive whole, instead of flying apart in five different directions.
Consider this basic scenario: The ship is running low on munitions and energy and must return to base. However, several things must be assessed before a decision is made, and each of the other players has the answer:
Can we afford to cut power to everything except engines to conserve energy? (Engineering)
Do we need to replenish any casualties to our repair teams? (Engineering)
Is a specific type of munition in stock at the station? (Communications)
Is there a specific type of munition we actually need? (Weapons)
Once this and any other relevant information has been received, it is up to the captain to tell the helmsman which direction to go and how fast to go:
e.x: "Helm, proceed at bearing 285 at Warp 1".
While the helmsman may go anywhere he likes, whether that is another station or somewhere else entirely ("Let's go look at the space whales!"), it is not in his best interests to ignore the captain, as doing so would jeopardize the game (and his position).
In this sense, the captain's role is to ensure the well-being of the crew as a whole.
A captain must, at all times:
Issue clear and concise orders. An ambiguous command ("I said bearing 255, not 225!") may lead to the ship running out of fuel, running into enemies, or running into something far more mundane but equally deadly ("OH MY GOD GIANT ROCK").
Act in a professional manner that inspires confidence in the officers. No one wants to lose, and if the officers think you're not trying, they'll be less inclined to follow you - and thus make everybodyhave a bad day.
Weigh various options and make decisions affecting everybody. While the weapons officer may feel that he can just get one more shot off to neutralize that enemy, it is not his call to tell the helmsman to turn and give him that last shot. The captain must see that, for example, energy reserves are severely depleted or a key objective is under attack.
Be humble. You're the glue that holds the crew together and gives them a sense of direction, but you're not a component yourself. You don't even have a console!
Never micromanage. You're playing with other humans, not random bots. Sometimes you'll need to trust your officers to make smaller decisions, like helm knowing when to back off. If not, though...
Step in when necessary.
Never covet fame: "The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom."