I wish the patrols were repeatable as some of them can be fun to do. And, as well with the idea, surely patrol means a repeatable task. Some days nothing happens while other days they do. So perhaps the patrol could be circle the planet x times. Deal with any problems as you see fit. If you complete the cycle without killing anything great. If you have to kill stuff to finish it great. Have the mobs randomly choose to spawn, so that you could repeat the same patrol but the 2nd time have someone to fight or a request from the planet for assistance.
Explorer Mission example
Okay, the planet needs aid in the form of Radiation Particles, go searching in the surrounding space fields to find them and return here when you have. Thank you. Oh, while you were gone a band of marauders came and attacked and kidnapped some of our scientists. Could you go rescue them please. Thank you. Talk to freed lead scientist. Thank You for rescuing us, it has delayed our research on the artifacts around the planet could you help us out a bit. You would ? Great. Leave the planet with a bunch of loot for killing the guys who had the scientists, only to have their friends waiting in space for you to fight your way through.
Grammar aside ( as I am typing fast rofl ) did you see what I did there. Now if only they could mix and match the different missions to build a storyline that varies significantly. Yes it would ultimately be repeated but once they have a library of individual missions with the flexibility to merge them into bigger ones it could be cool. The more missions to randomize and merge the more variable they would be and unexpected. And as usual take into account of the people in the area and respond accordingly.
Well thats my idea. I know it would make my gameplay more enjoyable but I sure won't quit over it if it is not wanted or never implemented. I love the game for what it is. And if there is some way our ideas can improve on it then its a bonus. Especially at such an early point in its life cycle.
Expanding on the initial idea surely we could expand further.
So, we have explorer missions ( to explore sectors and find new systems to explore ) and then we have patrol missions ( known systems with known problem spots ).
Surely these could be combined somehow.
An unknown system is only unknown ( to the player ) until they discover it so they should be able to go there repeatedly if they so wish as they know where it is etc. To other players yet to go discover it, it would still be unknown until x days/weeks/months/years when the report is handed in by the original discoverer or multiple discoverers in which case surely it should then become part of the constant system.
You could balance this out with sudden planet/system upheavels involving rescue attempts prior to the system or planet being destroyed forever.
It may not be feasible now if the data system is unable to handle it but it would be something interesting to have included.
Okay, I posted this in reply to someone else's exploration ideas which I will like here shortly for your perusal at leisure but thought it made sense that my expanded idea on permanent discovery should really be here as well
And this is the expansion on my discovery permanence:
For one thing the unexplored sectors need to be large, similar or larger than known sectors. Especially considering there seems to be hundreds of unknown systems there rofl.
So, how about .. we expand the area to twice or even three times the size of a normal sector or have multiple unknown sectors side by side to show its a large expanse of unexplored space.
Now, unless it is a strange anomaly, and we know star trek episodes have included some of those in the past, systems don't disappear and move location rofl. Once you personally discover a planet you should see it there when you go back to that sector.
After you have reported your findings to starfleet those 3 unexplored systems should now be a permanent fixture and revistable. ( I believe I mentioned something similar in my own post ). We can give the benefit of the doubt that Starfleet will automatically forward any new data to other captains when they are given their next explore mission group in that area.
Perhaps we can go one further on this and have it so that instead of the random generated name Omega Theta Pi III it could be named by the first explorer to discover it. Xrystalia III sounds much nicer to me Of course maybe the renaming issue for old sectors may not be fair to incorporate with so many people before discovering them but perhaps the new ones you are adding *hint hint hint*.
So then the recently unexplored areas can eventually become a part of the normal explored area with new patrols once x number of solar systems in the area have been discovered. Then expand the unexplored sectors to offer more areas to search.
Now, as you pointed out, there should be more than a single planet or asteroids in the system sometimes. Maybe only one of them will be habitable but we should still see it and be able to fly to it. Our science officer can always tell us it isnt a class M planet etc and thus not safe to visit at the time.
Now, when I enter a system I expect to arrive on the outskirts of the system and expect to travel amongst the planetoids to identify which ones are able to be visited and with different orbit sizes, speeds, angles each system should be possible to be quite different.
Now this is the sort of thing I would like to be able to do when exploring. I don't expect it anytime soon however as I am sure the system isn't set up to be this complex yet even if possible.
First contact may not be really feasible in a game as time is a factor here, I'm not sure what the time speed is in the game at present but one of the things that would be cool with first contact that star trek tries to uphold in the movies and episodes are to study but not contact those planets below our tech level. But you can still go there to check on them now and then to see how they have advanced.
So, if it was possible to discover a populated planet in a previously unexplored system, perhaps it could be flagged up as a patrol mission to check on the tech status of the planet and maybe after a somewhat realistic time frame we can make that first contact and see if they want to join the federation. Woot, a new planet to visit and relax on and to trade stuff with.
Okay, think I've said enough now but Im sure my creative part of the brain can expand on this if someone doesn't beat me to it