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Ensign
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 14
# 3397
11-18-2012, 02:19 PM
PREPARE FOR TEXT OVERLOAD
This is a long read, but one I hope will be worth your while, either as a player or a developer.
If this fires up a long discussion or vitriolic debate I will repost this whole mess in its own thread and simply change this post to link to it from here for the convenience of any dev or forum goer who might want to come back review/laugh at it.


Short-term
Borg Neural Processors are nearly worthless. Granted, they can't be used for getting items until you reach the final tier, but that doesn't mean their ancillary purpose as a dilithium supplement should automatically be so... well, so miniscule. Currently each processor is worth 200 dilithium and five must be collected to turn them in. That's an awful lot of work for very little reward and as such provides little incentive for players to use the feature.

A more reasonable arrangement might be allowing processors to be turned in two at a time for a value of 1,000 dilithium, but with a wait time of two or three hours. This would make it akin to the "turn in contraband" assignments, though for half the reward. This will allow players to spend some of their processors for a worthwhile gain without using it as a primary source of dilithium income and save some for later use.


Mid-term
Fix them torpedoes. I might do a whole ?nother giant wall of text explaining my thought processes on this. Maybe. Otherwise I had nothing to put in mid-term. Ignore this.


Long-term
-Fix the Reputation system.
+Problem A1: The wait.

The system is boring and effectively rewards players for NOT playing the game. This is bad. Once a project is started there is nothing to do but wait for very nearly two days. What will players do in the interim? I can't speak for the entire player base, but personally I'll be playing something else.

+Problem A2: The wait for loot.
The rewards at any tier of the reputation system aren't worth it. It takes 81 hours just to reach the first tier, then another 40 to unlock anything. Unfortunately it's all worthless junk. Certainly the set items are worth acquiring, but each set only comprises 3 items. However, a Vice Admiral ship requires seven to eight weapons, and those bought from the store require significant investments of dilithium to purchase and 40 more hours of thumb twiddling before they can even be bought. Fleet weapons, while more expensive, are vastly superior and don't require two months of waiting to unlock mark 12 quality.

In short, a player's time and resources are far better spent working towards fleet weapons, shields, and other hardware rather than buying anything at all from the reputation store, let alone bothering to unlock them in the first place, as that would slow down unlocking the only desirable items for sale: the unique sets. If these could be acquired through other means I doubt hardly anyone would bother with the reputation system after reaching tier one and seeing the costs and wait times involved for everything.

+Problem A3: The wait for expendable loot.
40 hours for a consumable? These things better have a bazillion charges in them or do something hilariously awesome that isn't listed in the description, like spawning tie fighters and storm troopers. I can get scorpion fighters and cryo grenades in just an hour or two--and they're not even that useful. What possible incentive is there to spend two days getting an item I might burn up in a single STF and may not be all that useful anyway?

+Problem B: The XP.
Projects intended to level up a player's reputation quickly award 2,000 and 800 rep XP. All other projects award a whopping... 10. This is dumb. A player would have to do 80 such projects just to match the lesser of the two previous examples. Are there even half that many projects to do on the way to tier 5? The reward is effectively zero and seems more like a reminder--a taunt, even--that this project is actually costing you oodles of rep XP instead of awarding you an item.


Addendum
At this point it may seem like I hate the reputation system and wish it would go away. The former is true; I hate the reputation system in its current state, but I definitely want it to stay. It's a powerful tool that allows players to order their own high end content at will. That is extremely cool.

It also gives the developers a way to deliver other content that was previously available only from lockboxes. I believe the official reason for not offering unique vessels like the Galor or D'Kora was because it "wouldn't make sense." As if that matters. With the reputation system, however, it does make sense. More on that later, though.

In any case, I want the reputation system to be something I'll actually use. At present the whole thing is such a giant hassle I might only climb it with one captain--and merely out of curiosity, rather than a real desire for the content it delivers. That's very unfortunate because a lot of effort obviously went into its creation and at present it seems like a lot of the community hates almost to the point of abandoning the system until it changes. So in that vein I posit the following solutions.


+Solution A1
Remove the arbitrary waiting malarky. Frankly it's a dumb idea, or at least it is with the preposterously long waiting times. Removing most of the wait times altogether and increasing the resource costs seems like a better idea to me. Increasing the costs by a factor of 10 would require an investment of 10,000 dilithium for each level up project. That's slightly more than a day's worth, even for a veteran. This would allow long players who've accumulated vast sums of dilithium (or have several captains to generator large quantities in a short time) to quickly scale the system and acquire gear of a quality they are used to much faster than new players, who would might actually benefit from going through the long leveling process their first time. The climb to the top is only fun once or twice.

This may also encourage players to buy ZEN and convert it into dilithium to speed things up or be forced to wait a little longer--but not as long as they currently do. There wouldn't be much point having two separate reputation XP projects if it were done this way, so they could be combined into one project. This would not only be easier for the players to manage, but would also leave one project slot free at all times to do other things. This would in turn encourage players to unlock things in the store rather than hoarding their precious project slots to climb to straight to the top, skipping everything else on the way there. Store items also happen to cost dilithium. This would further increase the demand for dilithium beyond a player's daily refining cap and consequently further encourage use of the dilithium exchange.

The strength of this solution is that it should be incredibly easy to implement. It mostly involves changing around some numbers, which could presumably be done in a matter of hours, if not minutes. Reduce most wait times to a range of 30 seconds to a couple of hours and increase most project costs by a factor of five or something and leave everything else as is. Extremely simple. Unless players go on a massive dilithium buying frenzy it will still take around 35 days to reach tier five, but players will at least feel like they are working towards something, rather than simply waiting on it. A small, but very significant difference.

It might also be a good idea to replace the XP milestones for leveling up the store as well. Why not, instead of using the Skinner Box model, make the milestones a linear progression? An average five days spent at each tier seems fair. It would give the player enough time to make a few wortwhile purchases before leaving it behind forever.

+Solution A2
This solution could be rendered moot by solution A, but I think is worth considering anyway. If getting to the end of the reputation is going to take forever or cost a vast fortune in dilithium and commodities to reach, then at least give us something that is worth the insane wait or cost. Something like starships. I want a Romulan Warbird, darn it. Or how about a special ship from OMEGA? That old Excaliber flagship design (LINK) look like just the sort of thing OMEGA might have cooked up to combat the Borg. Commodities already exist for purchasing rare and pwoerful ships; right now they're called Fleet Modules. With an easy rebranding as "Construction" or "Ship Modules" they could be adapted for use in the reputation store.

+Solution A3
This is also easy to fix. Either make consumable projects unlock them as store items or have the projects award a buttload of consumables. It would also be nice to know how many consumables are awarded by completing the project, since that is not currently listed. This solution could be moot for all I know. Maybe buying the scorpions gives me a stack of a hundred? I'll never take a chance wasting my time with the project unless I know for sure, though.

+Solution B
This was a weird complaint, I know; but one I couldn't let alone for some reason. Just make every project worth a minimum of 200 or 400 xp or none at all. Those crumbs of XP won't add up to anything even over the course of a two month grind to the top.


Parting thoughts.
Even after a player has reached tier five they should still want to buy stuff from the store. Making the merchandise just expensive enough to be out of reach without some use of the dilithium exchange is one way to go about things, but what if a player isn't interested in the consumables? I probably won't be unless, as previously mentioned, they spawn copyright infringing mooks that will breakdance and broadway at the snap of my fingers. So I posit a different way to keep players using the reputation store: rentals.

Rather than selling all those sweet mark 12 weapons and sets, why not rent them out? I'm sure every non developer reading this is seething with rage at the mere mention of the idea, and rightuflly so. It would be very hard to pull off and make it feel worthwhile. But personally I'd like to keep coming back to rep store, instead of getting everything I want from it and then abandoning it completely. I think a good way to ensure regular use of the system would be to allow players to "rent" complete weapon loadouts and item sets.

Instead of having to buy everything one piece at a time over the course of a week or two, wouldn't it be better to make a single lump payment that will secure you access to all the gear you want for say... a week? I don't know how much it would cost, but perhaps something in the neighborhood of 20,000 dilithium for a group of any 8 weapons of my choosing? That's 2,500 for each one. This may seem cheap to a developer, but it isn't for a player, and remember that they're rentals. Guaranteed not to last.

Certainly the option to actually buy your equipment should remain available, but renting should carry some unique bonuses that make it worthwhile as well. Being able to choose any mark 12 weapons you want and adjust their modifiers seems like a great way to do that. Having a tough time buying a complete set of [CRT]x3 antiproton heavies? Well now you can get them any time you want.

This would also be an invaluable tool for developers as well. Tracking which weapons and modifiers are rented the most could provide valuable feedback for balance changes. I bet there's more than one torpedo and energy weapon that will be almost totally untouched by a majority of the player base and now the devs could for sure what they are without combing the forums for complaints and instead work solely on solutions.

And with that my giant wall text, surely visible from orbit by now, is done.

Last edited by ocilon; 11-19-2012 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Corrected some numbers and incomplete sentences.