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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 465
# 54
11-29-2012, 09:47 AM
There are several issues synergizing to cause an apparent or real drop. Now this is only from my perspective, but I have also observed a drop in active players through seeing who is on from my friends list, who is on in the fleets I am in, and queue times. In talking with many of my friends and regularly surfing the forums, these six issues are outstanding.

The first issue is the general dissatisfaction of Season 7. Each seasonal release brings new content and systems. The unfortunate thing is the new system is now a third Facebook Style system. The DOFF System was perfect for this type of set-up and hit it well. The Fleet System, well a second type was fine because it balanced the DOFF system ? you had a system to generate resources and a system to serve as a sink. Now using this for sole basis of the Reputation System is where many are having issues. The Rep System serves as a personal resource sink but with a third grind attached to it.

The second issue is the launch/re-launch/beta of a few additional titles. There is now a F2P MMOFPS just recently launched, a major themepark MMO recently went F2P, and a third game in beta with better PvP. Many people I personally know have migrated to one of those three games. The migration was heightened by the dissatisfaction with S7 and last minute changes to the games economics. People will migrate and try out new things in their quest to have fun. Some may return, some will not, and some will migrate again. That is just how it goes with games.

The third issue is the tedium of the grinds placed before the playerbase and the limited avenues of rewarding gameplay. I will say that Cryptic has held to its word that the initial season launch will mainly be system oriented. However, inter-season bug fixes and content deployment has been sorely lacking. Take the Fleet System for example, there have been no ?new? fleet events since the launch of S6 and we are stuck grinding the same few missions. Additionally, no new DOFF expansions or chains since the launch of the last FE. The DOFF system has received some attention, but that has been overshadowed by the nerfs and taxes added to it. The STFs did at least get two new missions and we did get a new adventure zone, but this still leads to the fourth issue.

The fourth issue is that players do not feel that all types of content in game are equally rewarding for the time invested. Although the Reputation System does offer somewhat more diversity in how to grind than the Fleet System, both suffer from a limited amount of content that must be highly repeated. Exploration does not feel very rewarding since the launch to F2P, crafting has never felt very rewarding and was made worse with the launch to F2P, I can go on and on with other systems. The bottom line is that players are feeling the pressure of being forced into types of gameplay they may or may not like.

The fifth issue is the heavy monetization of the game. It is obvious to everyone Cryptic needs to keep the lights on and needs to pay the bills, this is understood by the playerbase. The constant sales, promotions, lock-boxes, and items to purchase are omnipresent. However, the main tactics used (especially the push for zen ? dilithium conversions) are being seen dissatisfactory by the playerbase. Take the fleet ships (especially the Klingon ones), after heavy grinding through a heavily monetized system, the end product is also heavily monetized and very marginally improved. This leads to a lack-of-value feeling. Now each player is going to have a different perspective on what they feel is ?value? for their dollar but overwhelmingly on the forums here the overall feeling is quite obvious.

The final issue is that many people are just tired of waiting. STO has suffered greatly since launch for a great lack of diversity. The current dev team has been trying hard (and doing admirably) of trying to play catch-up since. A transition to new ownership and to a F2P model has not helped the growth of this game. The lack of progress on some long-standing gameplay issues with STO (PvP, Exploration, Crafting, Klingon Content, Foundry Integration) is apparent. The development of this game now suffers from the rapid push of systems and content to meet these demands then the subsequent lack of polish and testing time further dissuades many. Now approaching its middle-age (yes three years is middle age for an MMO), many people are simply giving up.

I feel for the dev team, they have the heart but seems they have had an uphill battle with STO since launch. I am highly critical of the game, but still play and still somewhat enjoy the game, simply because I am a Star Trek fan. I?ll probably always play the game whether it is my primary or not, but I can say that if I feel something more enjoyable comes along, my time in game would drop.