Quick and dirty retrospective on Cryptic
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Quick and dirty retrospective on Cryptic
11-12-2012, 06:47 PM
How we got to where we are.. (and if you have corrective information on dates etc please feel free to post it up.. I'm doing this from memory)
Cryptic Studio's was NOT the original dev studio for startrek online.
They picked it up with I belive just over a year or two before the licence for the IP was due to expire and the development work horribly behind scedule and way over budget.
The original plan for the KDF was NOT for it to be monster play (ie the PvP faction).. It was (according the Cryptic) the best they could do to get a working game launched before the deadline. STO was esentially really just a late working beta at launch. Its been catch up ever since.
Cryptic was initially a dev studio under Atari.. which may have once been one of the great game developers (especially for console systems) but had ceased to be so some time back. Atari also didn't really have a clue as to how to manage the care and feeding of an MMO, and STO was rapidly heading down hill post launch with cutbacks in the work force, and being starved for development dollars. Up came PWI offering to purchase cryptic studio's from Atari with a phenominally generous (really generous) offer that not only threw some operating cash into Cryptics accounts, but if i recall would allow Atari to get out from a huge bloated financial debt. Atari hemmed and hawed I 'm sure just a bit, but frankly it was the very best offer they were going to get, and it wasn't going to last long because PWI could have offered them less and they still would have had to take it..and as it was either take the offer or die.. Atari's debt would have pushed Atari into receievership with a year or two if that long. SO yea, they took the offer. No one else was interested.
So PWI for all we may not like thier f2P stratagies did save Startrek online, Champions online, and Neverwinter. Now possibly Cryptic might have survived.. Certainly Cryptic's exec were making
noises about buying themselves out from Atari and going indy. They may have had an escape clause in thier agreement with Atari in the event that Atari could no longer support the studio. But Cryptic would have been seriously hurting with only the subscription revenue from STO and CO keeping them going. Odds are they might have lost the IP rights for NWO though having no real information on the agreement they have with the folks that own the D&D franchise I cannot say. It certainly would have set development for NWO on its ear for awhile.
SO, now about the game..Faction..Fed we know about but did you know that.....
the KDF was released as a PvP only faction because thats all there was time for!
It was not, and never was "The Plan" to have KDF be monster play. STO needed another years worth of in house development work if not 2 years, and they simply did not have it. It was launch the game or loose the rights to the IP period.
3 years later we players, especially we KDF players are still suffering under the effects of that situation. It is claimed that Cryptic did not have sufficient staff to bring the KDF faction up to speed. This is perhapes true, (I honestly have my doubts.. a mission maker, story writed and one QC person spending 30 aggregate hours per week total could have filled out every last need for KDF content over the last three years) but certainly something could have been done more then what was... The channeling of resources in to shineys and chrome certainly diverted resources away from further core gamer development (I would consider developing one of the games two factions a CORE GAME issue)
I can understand it being a purely business decision, but on the other hand, its been three years. Base users population growth has to have levelled out by this time, primarily because in spite of the IP, STO really isn't that good of a MMO at its core. Its terribly top heavy with crome add ons (Duty officer, Fleet rep, faction rep) and not nearly sufficient mission content.
The space combat mechanics are.. well... muddled is the best term I can come up with. And way overly complicated to the point where player keep finding way to break/exploit the space combat system in ways the Dev's never anticipated.. Last year the revealing of the shield doubling bug by the folks at STO'ked finally put paid to one of the most egregious exploits I think I'd ever seem in an MMO...and its an exploit that had been there from the day the game launched as best can be figured. Now I don't know if there is any other in the game that are that nasty. But the fact it took some savy guys from a pod cast to recreate it and show it to one of the dev's online who sat there live and said..."no it working as intended.. what the he....?" ((I consider that one of the greatest moments in internet journalism ever!!)) SO.. Yes the studio folks have been known to not see the obvious from time ... to time. More importantly, is the fact that the player base noticed this bug was not being paid attention to in spite of numerous complaints untill a studio Dev had to suffer what had to be a most uncomfortable level of proffesional embaressment by having thier nose rubbed in the eveidence of it before an international audience in a pod cast.. amazingly it got fixed very quickly after that.
Enter 2012 and season 5.. what do you remember about season 5.. well, I remember a new FE that was a lot of fun, ok, well, what about season 6...Oh yea Fleet system.. some content tacked on to it, but really didn't add all that much to the game other then access to some new shineys
As an FYI, in board and table top gaming this is what is known as "Feature Creep" and is considered for good reason a very great evil to be ruthlessly avoided.
My main issue with things like the fleet system and the rep system is they don't really add anything other then another level of complexity to the game thats all ready overly obtuse as it is. Most importantly in and of them selves, they are NOT CONTENT.. they are chrome, pure and simple.. content may have been added with them, but of them selves they are chrome.
We of the KDF have been of course told the the Fleet System in indeed KDF content.
Humm.. Doesn't look like content, doesn't act like content, doesn't smell like content.. doesn't taste like content.. dosn't feel like content. So, in what way is it content? Oh well, theres there missions you can do.. Ah yes missions.. could those mission have been plugged into the marauder system and worked" .. Well yea but.. not buts.. they perhapes qualify as content, but the rest of it does not.. it is chrome..
So.. here we are.. Season 7 is apon us. Yet another unholy amalgam of Crome and Content is released apon us. The Romulan/Reman stuff..yea I'm likeling what I see.. I assume that somewhere along the line Defara will get reworked a tad.. Of Course I am just a tad unhappy that as far as Omega Task Force reputation is concerned..... we who have spend 100's of hours running STF don't get a leg up in actuall Omega task force reputation.. No we get this box.. which we cannot open untill we hit level 3 reputation.
Great job cryptic.. you just at one fell swoop DISCOUNTED several hundred hours of game play by hundreds if not thousands of players. And are forcing them pretty much to start over again from scratch
*sound of rasberry sand other rude gestures both audio and visuall, some of them rather obscene*
This, I sure, will be claimed was not the intent. Right I'll belive you.. IF YOU FIX IT. If you do not fix it, then the only thing left to assume is it was indeed the intent in which case this studio will have one again driven several hunded subscribed users out the door, and likely never to return.
You know guys, Trek fans are not an infinite resource. Especially the number willing to spend cash on a clearly second tier MMO catering to a specialized audience. Less Gravy, more meat.. we want Trek..
Some of us want a nice friendly interstellar war with entire star systems, and maybe even sub sectors changing hands. And for there to be a way that even those NOT interested in PvP can contribute to the war effort. Either that or after 3 years its time to dump the fiction that the Federation and Klingon empire are at war. Because I sure doesn't feel like a war, and it doesn't look like a war.. so where the war at, and as a fighting member of the KDF, WHY DIDN"T I GET AN INVATION TO THE WAR?
*smoky unhappy look*
So, Nuff said for this post. We players that have been paying attention do quite understand that Cryptic doesn't quite get to make all its own decisions, how ever we are also quite aware that from a business standpoint we are seen as walking talking money supplys. How ever, Faith and stupidity only last so long as a revenue stream. Somewhere along the line this MMO is going to need more Trek, and less greed if its going to survive as more then an example of how to really leave a bad taste in peoples mouths.
Mission content is king. Its the only content that really counts to we the the players. Trek gamers want content.. ships etc are nice, and even fun.. but without something to do with them they are useless.
I truely hope that indeed season 8 is the season of the Klingon and there will be somewhere between 20 to 40 Klingon MISSIONS added to the game (the more the better)
If the dev team did nothing but add missions to the game for the next two years it would be possibly the very best thing that could happen to this MMO.
"I mean to misbehave" -Malcolm Reynolds