The community - Are we loosing our way?
(For the TLDR;'s jump to the bottom, there is a conclusion of the whole thing).
Did you watch STOked on the livestream yestoday? I did, and it got me thinking.
I won't go into detail about what was said in that episode, but I strongly want to encourage you to watch it when it is released in a few days. It's both informative and depressing.
By the time I finish writing this, a few hours has probably gone by since I started writing, since I want it to be, not only written, but I want it to be written right, and send the right message. Understand that I am writing this from my perspective, and that I want the game to go on, potentially as long, and preferably longer than WoW.
Anyone who has taken notice of my name here in the forums, knows that I am not exactly a supporter of many of the changes... Especially the Lock boxes are a front where I am very active at the moment.
However, what many of you may not remember, is that I have been in fact very supporting of Cryptic and the games development pre-season 5, and that I am running a front to expand fleet development in a thread.
I want STO to succeed. I want the game, and us (as in you and me together) play this game in 10 years and laugh at 2011 and 2012 as the years of hell, where everything was changing and people hated it, but luckily also changed the game into a strong MMO that had a unified community.
But watching STOked yestoday, some of the topics that were brought up made me think... We, the community are fractured... There are pro and con lock box factions, pro and con fed carrier, pro and con F2P, timegates... You get the picture.
While this is unavoidable, since people have different opinions on things (something that I encourage), it has come to a point where we may have become so aggressive in our opinions, that it reflects into our discussions in a negative manner.
Discussions are no longer well written arguments, but more a collections of "I think <subject> and that is why you are wrong", rather than the "Ok so if we look at this <subject> compared to this <topic>, then you must at least be able to see that there is an issues with <subject in focus>" usually replied with "True, but you also have to remember that <argument> has an impact as well".
What is even more frustrating (for me) is that every thread, eventually turns into a discussion about lock-boxes.
Lock boxes has become STO's version of Goodwins law. Really... Once Lock-boxes comes up, you know the thread is going downhill (let't try not to turn this one into that please).
But all of STO's problems are not caused by Lock-Boxes. Some of them are caused by Cryptic, Some by PWE and some by... dare I say it: Us... The players.
Someone (don't remember who) recently wrote something like this: "I can, just by looking at the title of the thread, and the username, somewhat predict what the reply-post is going to say", and I caught myself thinking "right back at you" since I felt the same...
This is not very "us". When these forums launched, I had fun going into a discussion. It was the only forums where I was happy when I entered, and happy when I left. Now, I tend to be happy when I enter, and think "who stupid can people be" when I leave.
I wish I could blame F2P or Cryptic for this, but I can't. While yes, there are significantly more people who annoy me now than before, I also have to take into consideration that there are more people than before.
Sure, some of it is because if you get banned, you can simply quickly create a new account and start over, but in the end, I don't think there's more now, than there was before.
And while Cryptic sometimes really mess up, that's to be expected to a very high degree.
I'd like to see us return to the way things were last year around this time. We knew that Cryptic was for sale, and we were all looking towards a brighter future, despite things being very uncertain at that point. And some of those people are actually the ones who are most resistant to current changes.
We should'n just accept some of the worse changes made to the game. Of cause we should continue to fight the good fight and tell each other what we believe is best for the game, but we should do so by being analytic in our approach, looking at things from more than our own narrow perspective, just like we used to do, and in the process we have to try to avoid derailing threads with talk about lock-boxes in carrier threads and things like that.
With all that has been going on, I can see why we have reduced Dev interaction on the forums. If a Dev enters a discussion, he better be wearing a asbestos suit, cause he WILL be flamed.
Yes, we are close to a new season release, and as such Dev comments are always fewer than usual, but they used to appear, and when they were longer more detailed.
But when a Dev can't even post on a private forum, without seeing his comment on massively only a few hours after that, despite the comment might not being the wisest of choices (you all know what I am talking about), we may have reached a point where tossing mud is all there's left?
Don't get me wrong: I don't disagree with people that the comment in question was a bad and disturbing move, and I don't think massively does not have a right to post said comment, because it is a matter of concern, But whoever made massively aware of this did probably not consider the consequences it would have... Or maybe he did? Who knows... They might just be sick of going here... or that incident might have persuaded PWE to shut the free interaction down for good?
We used to have some really good communications between Cryptic and the Community, and the community as a whole. I'd like to get back to that.
To sum it up
I think that the STO community has lost it's way. We are fractured into dozens of smaller camps, that fails to be analytic about topics and provide a solid discussion, and recognize the pros and cons of the opposing opinion of things.
Every discussion eventually turns into the STO variant of Goodwins law, the lockboxes, and somehow we always manage to derail posts using that.
We may even to some degree have scared the Dev's away or "forced" PWE into imposing a non communication policy, by twisting and turning dev words, sending them to blogging sites and by that making them feel unwelcome or unappreciated.
I for one, will try to live up to my own post, and get back on track, by thinking about this post in the future when I post and try to be a better poster.
I hope you will join me.
The problem with STO is the same problem that it had long before it went FTP......lack of content.....TPTB were making money from sub's when the game was Pay to play and content was thin on the ground.....the game went FTP and still dispite the lockboxes bringing in these supposed riches to Cryptic and PW, the same issue still exsits....lack of content......only this time round now that its FTP Cryptic seem to think they no longer need to pander to customers complaints and worries about the game.......their silence on everything from the hacking way back in 2010 to the lockboxes is defeaning and simply comes across as pure contempt for the people they expect to spend money on this game.
The lockboxes have simply emphasized that even when Cryptic and PW are making money they dont seem to be willing to invest or improve the game.......so its no wonder people are getting sick of it and TPTB, and that's why they vent they anger, because that's all they have at this stage, its the position they have been put in my Cryptic and PW.
As I said... This thread is not somthing I want derailed by discussions about lockboxes... It's about me seeing the community coming apart, when we can accomplish more by being better at working together, and seeing things in the bigger picture.
Its about the community... and the problems IN the community... Not the game (primarily).
Since we have no common denominator on which we could even base our discussions it's imho no wonder that speculation runs wild and various camps, supporters and haters of feature X or game element Y, pop up all over the place.
In my opinion Cryptic needs to come up with a clear, decisive and - most importantly - reliable plan for the future of the game (and all that rather sooner than later). They should split their team into 3 groups:
* a small team that only works on the small things that are bugging the community (typos, inconsistent descriptions, UI improvements, etc.)
* a large team that only works on providing long overdue polish and updates (crafting revamp, sector map revamp, exploration revamp, mission revamps, etc.)
* a large team that only works on new content (new STFs, new PvP modes, new missions, etc.)
Cryptic is standing at the same edge CCP was standing with EVE Online some time ago. They put out payment features the community hated and the things the community wanted, and what the game needed, suffered because of it. The players got up in riots all over the game, including media coverage also in non-gaming newspapers. Finally CCP got their act together and focused on making the game better instead of flooding the game with payment things everyone hated.
We broke apart as soon as the Jam'Hadar Attack Ship came into play.
You have been here long enough to know that we have had tons up tons of really good constructive ideas for STO and it's future since Beta. Cryptic or PW, don't want to hear/read it. With F2P, it's not about what the community wants or needs, it's about how to make as much money, with bare minimum spent.
The STO that we wanted in whatever shape or form, is not going to come now and I think deep down, a lot of people realise this.
Doesn't mean I don't get what your post is saying and trying to achieve and Kudos for you in trying that.
It seems like at every turn we see them asking for more money in one form or another, saying all these things are coming, but we end up with just about only the more money items.
The few things we do get that we're told is coming are half baked, full of bugs, and seemingly disconnected and incongruous with other things in game.
Some will like any change, and others won't.... The same goes for pretty much everything in the universe.
But I've also seen some really good discussions turn into some really good changes in STO (look at sector space as an example).
I am well aware that there will always be pro's and cons, but as it is right now, with a community that generally stops at 4 lines of text max, I doubt any usable resources are produced from it... and I know WE can do better.
I am really "worried", because we used to be so much better at producing high quality discussions and conversations, and we seem to have lost that recently.
You and I can't change the game, but as long as we don't at least try to create "the best possible" solution for every one, and give that to Cryptic... How can we expect Cryptic to find the best in between when we don't even seem to want to do so ourselves?
The rest is up to Cryptic.
One problem is that Cryptic created an us vs them feeling from the start. The other ist that there seems no real plan where STO is heading. This leads to many bad attitudes and frustrations that is vented on the forum.
Adding sald to the wound like giving away KDF unique things or adding others didn't help either.
It leads to even more frustration.
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