Massively Exclusive: Fleet Advancement
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Join Date: Dec 2007
06-04-2012, 11:42 AM
PvE and PvP
The initial implementation of Fleet Starbases will include only PvE content. We are very interested in incorporating PvP into this system, but the decision was made to hold off on this until we have fully integrated a set of new PvP tech that was developed outside of STO.
Starbase Defense Content
Starbase defenses will fall into several different categories, but in no case will you ever lose anything other than the opportunity to earn additional Fleet Marks, which are one of the inputs for Fleet Starbase Projects.
The pop-up, Red Alert-style 5-player Starbase Defenses will require that all members be in the same fleet. The regularly queueable Starbase Defenses consist of a 20-man space that requires the organizer to be in a Fleet, but individuals in other fleets or not in any fleet can be invited as well. The 5-man space and 5-man ground regularly queable ones have similar restrictions, although individuals not in any fleet at all must be invited to a private queue for these.
The system was specifically designed to not require upkeep costs. I consider upkeep for this kind of system generally counterproductive.
Small Fleets versus Large Fleets
There are two basic types of Fleet Project - standard and upgrade. Upgrade projects, once started, can take anywhere from days (at the early tiers) to weeks (at the upper tiers) to complete. Only one upgrade project can be undergone at a time.
Very large fleets (say, 50+ active player accounts) will tend to fill up their upgrade projects quickly, certainly much more quickly than smaller fleets, but they will still have to do the upgrades one at a time and wait the completion time.
Above a fleet size of about 25 active player accounts playing 2-3 times a week, the expectation is that these fleets will fill up project requirements quickly but be gated by the time it takes for the upgrade projects to complete.
A smaller fleet of 5-10 active player accounts will certainly be able to make progress, even quick progress at the early Starbase tiers, but it will likely take that fleet longer to accumulate the necessary resources for the various fleet projects.
Various Feature Projects will be available; some of these may always be available, others may be available to start for a limited time (for example, for this week and next week).
Feature Projects will frequently have high requirements, but also the ability to unlock very unique, primarily aesthetic improvements. (The specific details on what these will be is still under development).
For duty officer assignments, a single player puts in all of their inputs at a single time, immediately kicking off the assignment.
Fleet projects are staged; a fleet officer sets a particular set of fleet projects to be available. Players then - at their leisure and individually - contribute inputs. As players contribute to a fleet project, they receive Fleet Credit (what is spent at Fleet Stores) immediately. When the fleet project meets its input requirements, it automatically kicks off, starting a countdown before it is complete.
The ability to assign a project to being active will be a permission assignable as normal fleet permissions.
Provisioning Fleet Equipment and Fleet Ships
Some fleet projects are "provisioning" projects. These work exactly as any other project, save that when the project is complete, the appropriate fleet store will be stocked with a number of, say, fleet ground weapons or fleet escorts or operational assets.
Players then can go to the fleet stores and spend the Fleet Credit they received from donating to various fleet projects (and, yes, if you leave a fleet, you keep your Fleet Credits) at stores.
For example, Fleet Alpha completes the "Provision Elite Defiant Escort" fleet project, adding say 5 Elite Defiant Escorts to the fleet ship store. Player A can then go to the Fleet Ship store and spend personal Fleet Credit on one of these escorts, also using up one of those provisioning credits.
If the fleet wants more available, it can simply run the fleet project again. Yes, we expect there to be fleet politics as to what projects different people want to prioritize; this is intentional. That being said, we want to set the provisioning appropriately so they are in a reasonable supply - the intent there is not to make them highly exclusive, just to make sure that they are appropriately paid for by a fleet.
The intent of this approach is to build in repeatability into the system so you don't have a fleet that simply gets everything and then invites the whole server into the fleet.
Just a Fancy Social Area?
I suppose it depends on how one qualifies this but:
New personal daily missions
Unique fleet stores
Starbase Space and Ground defense group missions
This is not, it should be noted, an intended end point for a territorial control game, something that we continue to be interested in in the long term. This is one of many necessary staging points to reach a point where that could theoretically be done.
Military versus Tactical
The categories are Military, Science and Engineering to correspond with the personal commendation categories of those names. As the system of Fleet Advancement expands past merely starbases, the current intent is to open up more of these categories.
Duty Officer Commendation Tiers and Starbases
We are currently planning on holding off on increasing the personal commendation tiers from 4 to 5. However, we are planning on introducing additional - probably static - assignments that open up at Tier 4 to allow players to turn in CXP for Fleet Marks.
The thinking behind this (other than wanting to make sure we have enough good rewards for the existing tiers, let alone new ones) is to encourage use of the entire duty officer system rather than people simply hunting for a new set of assignments that directly reward Fleet Marks.
We are also considering additional tie-ins to the duty officer system. Several, actually, but what exactly is done is still being experimented with.
There was a comment about Operational Assets being a kind of currency; they are essentially consumable super-devices that are bought with Fleet Credits from fleet stores stocked by provisioning projects.
For example, there is one that is called "Forward Base" that (at least at this point in testing), beams in a cover shield and four maxed out phaser or disruptor turrets for the ground starbase defense. Others call in permanent ship formations, deploy turrets and torpedo platforms that can fire out to 20km, and many other options.
Starbase Progression Speed
A group of five casual players should be able to attain a Tier I starbase in a week or so, no problem.
The absolute fastest time - due to upgrade speeds - that any fleet could max out everything would be about 6-7 months, but practically speaking I expect this to generally be much longer.
The intent is for basic starbase functionality to be very easy for any fleet to unlock, but to provide a long progression path and everpresent goal for fleets to collaborate and cooperate towards.
Equipment Availability in Fleets and Outside Fleets
Fleets are intended to be a major avenue for a lot of the new equipment, including ships. Note that this may include new versions of existing ships.
However, this is not intended in any way to replace the C-Store or Dilithium store, the latter of which we are particularly interested in strengthening.
Project Input Numbers and Types
There are a lot of potential inputs that any particular project can have. In general, the vast majority of projects - with some notable exceptions - will require Fleet Marks and Dilithium. Beyond these, most projects will have a mix of 3-4 additional requirements which will consist of commodities (including rare commodities), data samples, duty officers and bridge officer points. Other inputs are still being considered, but the above stated ones are definitely present in the current iteration of the system.