Star Trek Online - Future Lookouts regarding PVE/PVP
I do want to fire this thread up to have a discussion towards the future of Star Trek Online disregarding Season 8 & 9 in the upcoming year. I do want to use the current state-of-the-game as a matter of example in order to fulfill my view points I am going to be explaining in just a second. As a matter of fact I am talking more as a player inside the game, ex-developer of previous games in other game areas such as RTS and as a financial observer in the current state of the economy based on the current seat of Cryptic Studios which is in the United States of America.
Cryptic Studios is a sole provider and developer of computer video games such as Star Trek Online, Champions Online, and the upcoming Neverwinter. Based on fact information is Cryptic owned by Perfect World Entertainment in the United States which makes most of its profits based on the PVE system in any of these games. As a developer stated "PVE is a feature that has been abandoned".
Based on point 1 we can assume that Cryptic has a team of about 40 people which develops and maintenance all of the three games above. The work though, from a developer view, is that working on these three games can be quite challenging to keep them different from each other in matter of balancing.
Why is PVE more interesting than PVP?
Most of the community inside a regular Free-2-Play system are solely interested in the PVE portion of the game. In a matter of fact PVP can be either challenging a player to become the best or simply give up cause it is useless to grind every little money to enhance towards PVP. This results in a turn-down for PVP. We take Star Trek Online for example as a reference here as we have multiple systems that make PVP unbalanced: DOFF System, Reputation system, different kinds of weapons, modifiers that out-balance each other from a statistical data, and simply exploits exist to advance or simply "cheat" the system. In fact a simply change in balance can destroy someone's PVP build which is a grief inside the community to constantly use respect tokens to adapt to the new balance of the game. In a less frequently game this would be alright in matter of spending money towards respec tokens.
Would be an entire Season be enough to recover PVP and make it more profitable for Cryptic?
Player Opinion: Yes
Developer Opinion: Semi no-yes.
Marketing Purposes: No
The regular player opinion looks optimistically towards the future in hope towards changes and a complete revamp of the PVP System.
In a developer opinion, in my point of view, it would mean to completely re-balance every component of the game such as weapons, consoles, systems (DOFF and Repuation), ships main information regarding Tiers 1 through 5 and create consistent PVP tests by the community on a PVP-TEST-ONLY Server disregarding PVE altogether. This would be !all! possible, but only if two separate PVE-PVP servers are created and are not colliding with each other on any basis.
In a marketing point of view it would be impossible to do so as the game heavily sits on PVE content and continues to do so. Not keeping up with PVE content can be a big loss of money for a studio if it does not develop enough continuation of existing systems. With a team of about 40!!! this is may not be possible while the work is of three games is spread out on everyone.
I do wish to hear other players opinion and also would like to invite the developers to this conversation as how to approach the upcoming seasons towards PVE and PVP. I took Business Administration as a college major and I am heavily involved with ongoing decisions regarding money and business management. Please do not use this thread to troll or anything similar as it should be a !productive! possibility of rescuing PVP, enjoy PVE in future, and prevent balance problems in future seasons.
PS: If you find any misspelled words, you can keep them :).
At this point, there is no realistic way to restore PvP in STO. The Key things the PvP community has been asking since the launch of STO almost entirely been uninitated.
And to add purpose like Territorial PvP (not a reputation system) with Open PvP where a PvEr can choose to enter a fight and participate in PvP, doing a a PvEvP mission (to contribute to the war effort), or do a PvE mission and support in their own way.
So unless Cryptic is willing to go to such lengths in the upcoming Season, their efforts in fixing the current PvP is near impossible and their time would be better spent on future PvE content and increase interest in the game.
I do have several options on how to recover certain aspects of the game. I would like to present them:
Option #1: Get rid of all modifiers for every weapon and create a stand alone weapon where as the different rarities make more damage, but where as the other person compared to the one who carries higher damage weapons still have the both the same chance that the shot misses the target.
Option #2: Create a exchange based on a + and - table where as weapons of higher rarities cannot be sold in tremendous amount of money making it unable for someone to reach it. This also goes for every other console including ships to create a non-inflation system.
Option #3: Separate PVE and PVP systems altogether and create two different balance sheets for both systems where as every balance sheet can be adjusted separately according to the Season update.
Option #4: Revoke every universal console as it is proven that universal consoles can be a game changing effect on both systems and/or include specific abilities within the ship without consoles.
Option #5: Revamp the entire system as it was mentioned before by a ex-moderator on the forum in order to make !all! ships accountable in every fight no matter how old or what kind of tier they are.
We can keep adding to it, but I think this is more of a foundation I would assume. Opinions?
And thank you azurianstar for participating.
I agree with Option 3. I myself for 3 years have long argued that Cryptic have seperate values for PvP, similar to other MMOs like Everquest. That way if an ability is strong in PvP, it would not affect PvE (which has occurred many times).
Option 1, 2 and 5, sounds like it would require a major overhaul of the game in order to incorporate. And don't think Cryptic can afford such a gamble at this time. Not to mention it might not be very popular with the playerbase.
Option 4, also might not be popular since players due to them already invested currency into them. But could see a new PvP system that would turn them off or limit them in PvP (using Option 3).
As for PvP, there's been talk about a PvP reputation system (no ETA on release, but it's on the radar as a possibility), Fleet Marks being added as rewards, balance passes, and changes/ updates based on player feedback. This is evident by just a few of the very recent updates/ discussions (Trico changes, testing vendor, etc.) and the support that is being shown for PvP Boot Camp. While Boot Camp was a player initiated movement, it is overseen by me, supported by everyone at PWE and Cryptic (including creating a reward to give out to participants upon graduation) and will help drive up interest for PvP. This means more players in the queues, which means more players wanting to see PvP content, which means the greater possibility of us spending developer resources on it. I've been chatting with some of the content and systems devs about their ideas they have for PvP and they sound incredibly awesome. Drumming up interest in PvP will hopefully bring those ideas, as well as those we read in these forums, to fruition.
Earlier this year, the Foundry community and I worked on resurrecting the Spotlight on the Foundry. It was such a success that there is now a dedicated spot for spotlights in the in-game mission journal, as well as special rewards for them being added (these were in testing on Tribble but were not released to Holodeck due to a couple bugs that were found; we hope to have them on Holodeck very soon). Using this as a precedent, I'm very hopeful that the same will occur with PvP due to the increased interest that we'll see in PvP after the first class of Boot Camp participants graduate.
As a final word, it is without a doubt that we would like to see STO's PvP to be as epic as it's PvE content. The above will help us get there, and once we do, I can't imagine another game that could have as epic PvP as STO would have.
For me the real point of the discussion is the long-term financial stability of the game.
The requirements in terms of essentially a 'new build':
The realities speak for themselves. PvP clearly isn't a driver for revenue, otherwise this discussion would not even occur.
To put a more finer 'Star Trek' point on the discussion:
The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few (or PvE'rs).
While I have issues with quality of support, I really enjoy the game. I enjoy it to the tune of 'hundreds of dollars' in the past year alone. I want to keep enjoying it. If my vote has weight, then money does talk.
[Edited out - not a fan of PvP, don't want to be seen as Trolling]
A Different Approach:
I would propose a different approach to the issues of PVP: points-based ship builds. Using the existing DOFF, BOFF, consoles, weapons, hulls, engines, deflectors and shields create a test generator. Allow everything. Allow players access to ALL ships in the Z-store.
Only the Captain would be unique to the player.
Players could create a 'build', and save it to thier account. These ships would only be available in the generator. PvP would be separate from the existing game. Players would choose between 1000, 2500, and 5000 point builds. Then they could fight.
No new consoles would need to be created. And as for balance, everyone would be equal. it would become a game of skill - and not who has the biggest bankroll.
Heck - you could even run contests, award trophies, create fleet events.
The marketing team would love it.
- I could test ANY ship I wanted before buying. I guarantee you'd see more purchases of ships after a 'try it' chance in the generator.
- New players to STO could get a feel for the game before committing - try the big guns for fun, etc. This is your best attribute, other than the IP itself
It's going to have to take a steady march of steps, not an all-boiled-at-once to correct the issues in PvP and balance those corrections against PvE so that new players aren't overwhelmed and existing players aren't driven off.
I.Phase 1: easy stuff.
a) New PvP maps-Cryptic HAS the ability to dip into a huge backlog of existing parts and components to create new maps-Foundry players often build up their maps from this same store of parts, it's "plug it together", then put the maps in place. A lot of "blank'' locations exist in the various existing sectors-planets that are basically placeholders, so changes to sector space maps should be fairly easy as well.
b)PvP Rep system. This is a small way to recoup some of the costs, just as the existing PvE rep systems are a small way to recoup some costs, and the Starbase system is as well. Most of the code already exists or there are existing mission components that can be hijacked to handle most of this.
c)Quality Assurance. The ****storm over the season 7 and Rep grinds (and the resultant powers) pointed to one basic fact: QA and testing were absent-without-leave and/or under-developed for the task of handling both bug, and big-screw-up issues. MANY to MOST of the bugs that bug PvP'ers also impact PvE'ers negatively-though they often are unaware of this, due to the relatively low-intensity nature of PvE play.
II. IPhase 2: ntermediate activities
a) Balance Pass-link this to QA in phase 1. do the rebalance based off of the 'basic' weapons of the two major factions-how their procs work vs. say, Tetryon or Polaron or the like, with balancing based on end-state DPS and critical hit probability for unbuffed versions of each weapon type. Then, test each weapon type WITH the assistance of all "Universal Consoles" that might affect them...then take off the Unis, and test with Rep Passives, then in combinations, on a grid-style system. Something similar should be done with each type of common shield, before moving to Fleet sets, STF sets, and other Rep sets. Special attention to assure that each 'improvement' has a counter that can be obtained/equipped/skilled for at the same level of availability as the item itself. (aka: no more Godmode powers, please??)
b) Open PvP maps. Ker'rat style open PvP maps in each major faction sector, filled with sector bloc specific 'enemy' NPC's. Why is this an intermediate step, instead of an opening move? because Ker'rat's got bugs that remain unrepaired. Phase 1 part C should deal with those bugs before entering this phase-which also allows for the new sectors to NOT have long-running bugs.
c) Que modification: separate "Team" and "Individual" ques to avoid the facerolling by premades against PuGs/casuals. Premade tams can go fight each other, rather than having easy-meat steamrolls against random groups, and the randoms can play without the bad experience of getting ganked by a team that's played for years. FIRM separation-if you're 'teamed' with someone, you go on the Team Que (even if it's only ONE other player) if you're by yourself/not in a team, you go into the OTHER que.
d)Other Missions: currently we have 2 PvP mission types on the Que-Arena, and Capture&Hold/Assault, and two styles of play: ground and space. Additional mission types may be of some use-a "Convoy Escort/Convoy Raid" mission where one side must attack an NPC asset, while the other must defend it, with equal-yet-different rewards for either side seems appropriate as an example.
I notice the PvP Reputation system being mentioned again, and it concerns me. Because it would have to be presented in a way that it's not able to directly affect PvP, and done in a way that PvErs could completely opt out (for it wouldn't affect PvE as well).
Why? Because we seen in the past that PvErs didn't want to PvP at all, were in it for the marks / emblems and caused people who did want to PvP, to lose diliberately. So this would cause unwanted frustration in the community.
And for a PvP Reputation system that did boost PvP prowless would only cause a greater gap between hardcore and casual (or new) PvPers. Right now, a properly geared ship / character in a veteran's hands already cause a wide enough gap between Hardcore and causal PvPers, so adding more of a gap would only serve to be a negative.
So then what purpose could a PvP reputation then serve if it cannot be used for PvE or PvP? Which makes me hope that Cryptic carefully considers such angles when planning a PvP Reputation system.
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