Duty Officers 101
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Join Date: Dec 2007
06-18-2011, 04:56 PM
Assignments represent both on-board and off-board appointments of personnel (usually) and commodities (sometimes) or other resources. All assignments take differing amounts of time before they are completed; the time can range from as little as a few minutes to as long as a week - rewards scale, but shorter completion times are weighted more heavily, since they require more player management time.
Assignments complete in the background; set your duty officers to work on them, go shoot things, consider another assignment, or go offline and read a book and the assignment will continue to plug away. When the assignment is complete, you will check the roster and view the results.
Assignments may have requirements (e.g., these two slots on the assignment may only be filled by engineers) and may also have modifiers (e.g., this slot gives you a better chance of success if it is filled by an Andorian or a duty officer with the Trader trait).
A player may only have a limited number of assignments going simultaneously. This number has changed several times during development of the feature, but is currently 10. It is very possible this may change again before the system goes live.
Previous mission or assignment completion will also be a prerequisite to having certain assignments available. For example, you might have to complete the "Establish Colony in the T'Ong Nebula" assignment before you are offered the "Provide Security against T'Ong Nebula Raiders" assignment.
Which assignments are available will change every few hours, and may also be gated by your captain's rank, what sector you are in, and other achievements.
Inputs may also include commodities such as medical supplies or provisions.
Rewards almost always will include skill points and bridge officer points and energy credits. Depending on the assignment, other rewards may also be available including DXP, merits/honor, badges/marks, energy units, commodities, items, additional assignments and new duty officers.
Each assignment has a rarity ranging from Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare. There are also a few custom rarities as well.
Difficulty versus Reward
The rarer the assignment, the less frequently it will be available, but the more rewarding it will be.
Assignments are built to be leveless, meaning that wherever appropriate numerics (skill points, energy units, bridge officer points, merit/honor, etc.) will scale to what is appropriate for your level.
Commendation points are not scaled, as they are independent of the standard ranking system. You could have hit Tier 4 in Military or Trade and still be a Lieutenant Commander, in theory.
(In practice, since you get skill points for the vast majority of assignments, even if you did nothing but assignments and never went into a mission, you'd probably level up a few ranks by the time you hit Tier 4 in a commendation category.)
Some assignments do have a minimum level requirement, but these are generally not "better", they're just locked to higher level for thematic or practical reasons - for example, you don't get Undine and Borg assignments until you can access the appropriate sectors. We may make certain accolades that require some of these level-required assignments; for example, we have been considering accolades for things like successfully raiding every planet in the Sol system as a Klingon, or completing archaelogical expeditions in every sector.
An assignment's degree of reward is based on several factors:
Rarer assignments have better rewards
Longer assignments have higher absolute rewards, but lower per capita/per second rewards (i.e., they are less efficient)
Assignments that have a higher chance of injury or death will have higher rewards
Assignments that have higher inputs (commodities, anomalies, energy units, etc.) will have higher rewards
Assignments that have no chance of disaster or failure will have lower rewards
Assignments that have a lower chance of success will have higher rewards; most assignments start at around 75% chance of success, but some are closer to 50%, meaning you need to put better duty officers into them for a more reliable chance of success
Assignments with more specific requirements will have higher rewards; for example, a requirement of "Projectile Weapons Specialist" will generally reward more than one that will take any Tactical officer
Assignments with tougher trait modifiers will tend to have higher rewards
Most situations where an assignment is qualitatively or quantitatively better are due to either rarity or due to qualifying for them due to having achieved a higher tier in certain commendation categories. For example, early on you can get a fairly rare assignment to get a bridge officer, and your degree of success will determine what quality level that bridge officer is. Later on, meaning once you've ranked up one of several commendation categories, you can encounter rare assignments that you simply need a basic success to get a blue or purple bridge officer.
Each assignment as one or more "outcomes". The standard outcomes are:
1. Critical Success
Not every assignment has all of these; some simply have Success, some have all but Disaster, and so on.
Duty officer traits - which may be species specific, specialization specific, or other - on an assignment by assignment basis may weight one or more of these outcomes more heavily either positively or negatively. A duty officer's Quality will also always positively affect the assignment's Success or Critical Success outcomes.
The current plan is that before accepting an assignment you will be told which traits will be good or bad for that assignment (and yep, a trait that is good for one assignment may be bad for another), although you probably won't be told the difference, say, between a trait positively affecting Critical Success and one positively affecting plain Success. Currently, a large majority of assignments affect Critical Success/Success equally and Failure/Disaster equally, though there are exceptions that are left for you to discover - for example, there is one where the Seduction trait increases your chance of both Critical Success and Disaster, but not Success or Failure.
Generally (and there are many exceptions), a critical success outcome currently will give you about ten times whatever numerical rewards there are, and in the case where the reward also includes a duty officer or item, a bump in quality level as well. There are lots of exceptions to this, and many special cases, however.
Similarly, a disaster outcome usually results in the deaths of any white quality duty officers put on the assignment and a chance for each higher quality duty officer to spend some R&R time in Sick Bay. Sick Bay and death results for white quality duty officers do sometimes occur outside of disaster outcomes, note - you can see crewmen die even on the successful completion of a ground action.
Any inputs to the assignment, such as commodities or energy units, are lost regardless of the outcome type.
In general, the chance of success is highest, followed by failure, critical success, then disaster as the most rare. Dangerous, risky or simply very uncertain assignments - and it should be pretty obvious which these are, so things like espionage infiltrations, ground military actions, or even commodities trading - tend to have roughly equal chances of success and failure, meaning you are highly motivated to put your best duty officers on those tasks. On the other hand some assignments like transport runs may not even have any chance of failure at all.
Rewards are scaled based on time (although longer assignments are per capita not as rewarding, since they require less micromanagement on the part of the player), assignment rarity, success versus critical success determination, amount of inputs (so if you have to put commodities or another type of item to do it, it will generally be more rewarding), danger to the assigned crew, chance of success, and existence of non-numerical rewards.
We are experimenting on integrating special assignments directly into missions. It should be emphasized, however, that this is an experiment.
OMG this sounds complicated...
Putting random guys onto assignments will honestly work just fine for most Common assignments, so just start with that and as you use the system more, hopefully the subtleties should start to make more sense.
The truth is, while you won't maximize your return on the system and you may have trouble with some of the rarer assignments, if you just throw a random Science duty officer on that anomaly-gathering assignment that requires any scientist, you'll still do just fine.
For purposes of sending duty officers on assignments or on your active roster, just ignore rarity. Rarity is only really relevant for collectors or if you want to figure, for example, how hard it might be to randomly pick up, say, a Blue Saurian as opposed to a Blue Vulcan.
For assignment, rarity/quality does matter, insofar if you see a Purple assignment you know it may be a long time before you see it again, and you also know it will be very well worth doing if you can complete it successfully.
When considering what duty officer to put on an assignment, first consider the mandatory requirements, then see if you have some of the preferred requirements - for example, Ferengi have the Trader trait, so while it isn't mandatory for a Trade assignment, it will be much more likely to succeed on it. Then put the highest quality (color) duty officer that you can afford to put on it if you want to increase your chances of success.