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Archived Post 05-20-2010 01:28 PM

[Recommendation] Improvements to Fleet
Today I made my first post, and it was a bit rambling and long winded, and after Storm posted an 'Anti-Trolling' edict, I got a tad nervous about my first post to the forum and thought it wise to quickly post a list of improvements for fleets i've been writing up in my free time. I really don't want to get the reputation early on as a troll. I felt the definition, Storm applied may have been a bit broad. I think there are things here and there we can all say we're dissatisfied with.

I love the game, I've noticed some drawbacks to some of the direction the game has taken generally, and I was hoping to begin discussions in the community to aide in building a compilation of recommendations that we could formally present to Cryptic and at some point, discuss with them. This will be a massive undertaking.

A little about me, I'm a graphic and web designer, so I'm in a production environment. I do deal with criticism and critiques on a regular basis. I have some generalized knowledge about how programming works.

In this post, I've included a list of potential changes to fleets. I firmly believe that the next logical step to make the game more engaging, is to help characters have the freedom to really build their own stories. Really invest in writing Captain's Logs, and working harder in game to participate with other players in an environment where the Role Play aspects can be fundamentally backed up by a reward system that reinforces the fantasy of the Star Trek Universe.

Proposal for Changes to Fleets

1. A Ranking System
a. Based on Criteria which should be determined by the player base before formal proposal
2. Recruitment
a. For the purposes of being as inclusive or exclusive as users wish
b. Profession
i. Aiding players in developing their skills, being menteed and mentoring other players
c. A promotional system
i. Local Promotions at homeworlds (i.e. Vulcan, Andoria, and Klingon Equivelents)
ii. Global Promotions (by ingame system that promotes based on Fleet Ranking / Prestige system )
iii. Mail Box Adverts (Unblockable by Spam through purchase of Mail Advert Tokens in C-Store)
3. Generalized, Fleet Application System
a. Fleet Admins should be able to review formal applications of players interested in joining by reviewing stats, items and other things. All information regarding a player as to who he’s friends with, and so forth should be made available to Fleet Admirals as it would be in any military setting.
4. Fleet Rewards
a. Fleet Admirials should have the following abilities
i. Promotion of Fleet Members (in real game terms)
ii. Assignment of Ships
1. This includes the ability to assign a ship tier to a player who does not have the rank on his own to possess such a ship.
2. Such ship assignments should be balanced by setting a limit on the number of respawns for the ship
a. Encouraging Admirals to spend resources on their best officers
b. Encouraging players to perceive value in the ships they own.
c. Respawn restriction lifted once player reaches level that can purchase ship tier on their own.
3. Restrictive naming of Vessels
a. An assigned ship purchased by an admiral cannot be renamed by the player until access to ship tier is reached
4. Base / moons

Item 1: Ranking System:

Fleets should be able to compete with one another. The Algorithm to determine fleet rankings should be discussed by the community itself at this time, before presentation for consideration by Cryptic. However the reward system would benefit from unique textures or patterns for ships or other esthetically pleasing awards from the game developers themselves.

The current weakness for a new player approaching a new fleet, is the ambiguity of said fleet. Fleets hold no prestige, nor is there any public record or database of information on a fleet, so one does not know the extent of the aide they would receive for joining, aside from what their told by spammy users who are polluting the zone and area channels with fleet upsell.

The most reliable way, currently for a player to know what a fleet is about, is to create their own fleet. This is to the deteriment of the game itself, as it would cause many fleets to be created and abandoned out of frustration of recruitment and other issues such as material resource gathering. While Cryptic has encouraged players to recruit people they know into the game, and those players would normally form into guilds, not every player is so lucky to know anyone they could convince to play.

The databank for players to review a fleet could be handled similar to the system in the exchange in how data is processed, organized and presented. Details for a fleet could be represented in rows and columns, topics including membership, member activity, damage delt, fleet bank reserves, fleet action missions accomplished the frequency of those missions accomplished, exploration missions accomplished, anomalous data statistics etc, could be useful metrics pertaining to how a fleet is ranked.

Additional Ranking Metrics and Usability

Fleet commanders could tick a box when creating a fleet, for RP or Non RP, if RP is ticked, Star Trek Online could automatically generate a RP chat channel. The game could keep track of the chatter on the RP Channel in order to establish another metric whereby to rank RP fleets against one another. This metric would not apply to Non RP fleets in consideration of Ranking.

Players could be able to prioritize the order of the list generated by preference. If they want to eanr more experience though fleet actions, organizing fleets by fleet action success would be one option they could use to organize a list . RP Chatter, another. While the potential for abuse of an RP channel to enlist others to join is possible, it is likely such fleets would disband quickly.

Item 2 - Recruitment

A fleet recruiting system could be implemented in Sol System, or other relevant federation systems to Racial, or Professoinal Fleets, as well as Non Racial, non-RP, and Non Professional Fleets. A fleet Kiosk on homeworlds for specific fleets with a bend towards one race or another would play a part in a larger societal-system to be explained later on in the discertation. An attitude of racism in Star Trek is not unprecedented, and could also play a reasonable explanation for certain fleets consisting of mostly Vulcan, or Andorian, or et. al Captains. Interspecies favoritism exists in Star Fleet( See DS9 episode Take me Out to the Holosuite).

Examples of Where this would work:
Memory Alpha – Science Based Fleets
Utopia Plantia / (Mars not currently in game) – Engineering (SFCE)
Space Station K-9 / Deep Space 9 / Sierra 39- Tactical Fleets

Only in those locations could you see information and be able to apply for Specific Professional Fleets. Those fleets would have an ingame quota of some kind. Quota would be the standard to maintain the fleet and encourage Admirals to work towards the goals of their profession, before each specific fleet could compete with one another. Rewards such as special items, or officer pools for distribution amongst fleet members would be one reason why quotas would be encouraged to be met. Exceeding quotas would branch into the competitiveness between fleets, and reward fleets with better recruitment of Player-Character candidates through application based on their score in the fleet ranking system.

Ultimately since a player should be able to decide what’s important to him when reviewing the database of fleets based off their information, it will not change that fleets that are doing more work and accomplishing more, should appear on the top of their list more frequently.

Localization of Fleets to a specific home world or territory or profession would be beneficial in aiding players with associating with others of their own profession to the end of fleet banks that benefit a certain class, (as currently stands) or for Role Play (which does not currently stand).

Archived Post 05-20-2010 01:37 PM

Item 3 – Applications

Information on characters and their stats should be exchangeable both ways so that Fleet Admins can weed through candidates.
Admins should have access to stats about the player’s collection of equipment, anomalous data, Memory Alpha participation and ranking, number of ships killed, number of PvP battles won, etc. etc.
This will create incentive for players to better participate in game mechanics that have already been designed and implemented. The goal would be to increase usage of Memory Alpha, Exploration Missions, and the PvP system (which will be under review later in this document). This would discourage grinding for the sake of grinding levels.
Negative Metrics to account for should be under the lines of ‘average rate of respawn’, battles lost, etc etc. Basically anything that could be taken into account should be taken into account and presented in nice neat statistical bar graphs.
Admirals should be able to request a ‘PADD’ version of an application. This would behave as an item would, allowing a Fleet Admin to review side by side, applications as one might compare items when equipping a starship. Accept or Deny buttons should come with the padd, a notification would be sent to a player to let them know eitherway through mail.
Players should have the ability to apply to 3 fleets at a time, and have a time limit on when they can respond to an ‘acceptance’ notification. 3 days, or one Week should be more then sufficient. Players should also be able to apply for fleets while in a fleet. Notification of applications for a ‘transfer’ would be CCed to Fleet Admins

Players should also be able to click a ‘resign’ button on their fleet page, in order to leave a fleet at their leisure incase of abuse, or acceptance into a more prestigious fleet. Perhaps a feature similar to this already exists, however I have not seen it as a member of a fleet, so at the very least it is an obscure option.

Item 4: Fleet Rewards

If a fleet administrator holds the rank of Rear Admiral, things should become very interesting.

One of the most noticeable complaints about the game is lack of ingame content. Why not allow players to create their own, in some small way by helping them develop and mentor other players.

Administrating a fleet, as an Admiral should give players the right and privilege of

Promoting other players
Administering Experience based on game criteria that permits the RA to do so as to avoid abuse
Giving a Player a Starship that is one tier above the rank availability in the shipyard

Lets explore that for a second:
Captain Picard was a Captain, and yet he has a Soverign Class Starship, why then are only Rear Admirals permitted to hold such a vessel? Ben Sisko was a Commander when issued the Defiant, which can only be held by a Captain in Star Trek Online:

Let’s assume, for a second, that Star Trek Online’s ship tier system is exactly the way Star Fleet manages their vessels. At certain ranks you get a certain access to bigger ships. Makes sense. No one would argue otherwise.

Working inside a fleet for the purposes explored previously would encourage players to compete amongst each other for fleet resources. A fleet’s resource bank should include available starships. This could perhaps be automated. Admirals could purchase with their own energy credits, vessels to add to the fleet bank, players could then earn enough fleet prestige points or some other currency specific to accomplishing fleet priorities to then purchase ships directly from their fleet shipyards. A special dispensation option might also benefit players, as Admirals can reward players directly.

Penalties would include a limited number of respawns with said ship, so that Admirals are encouraged to give ships to their best performing players. Players are encouraged to meet those standards by being level headed Captains who know when to run, instead of fight. Strategy of accomplishing missions would then require more assistance from other players, and would be completely optional, if someone wants to push through a level utilizing the respawn, they can, it just means they might get looked over for a fleet promotion.

If a fleet meets a quota for long enough, why not give them a base of operations. Could be very speck, but having a place to get together commonly as a guild hall would reinforce the idea of being in said fleet. I’m sure customization would follow, but for now lets just say that this aspect is pretty simple in it’s implementation. Fleet NPC’s could sell fleet specific items, creating a mini-exchange. So a player sells to a fleet merchant, fleet merchant can sell back those items to other fleet members at markup, any profit of energy credits goes directly into fleet banks. Most of the time you spend in the ‘ground’ game mechanic, is on bases, at least for many new players. It might make sense that those bases you spend time at, are related to the fleet you participate in.

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