So, most people understand that when a game goes F2P, it's a second chance for the game to shine and attract new players. So, I am playing through STO in the testing grounds, and attempting to gather information on things that could use some attention, from a "new player" perspective.
That in mind, what do you think needs some attention in STO...BEFORE...F2P launches?
Remember - you only get once chance to make a first impression. If you get a second...that's a rarity. Don't blow it!
So here are some major things which I feel ought to be polished, BEFORE the re-launch:
1. Lower Tiered Ships: Alot of players don't particularly enjoy Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander levels in this game. Why is that? Personally, I think the Tier 1 (Miranda series) and Tier 2 vessels by default, could use a bit of a boost. I think this is the area that is the MOST important and seriously needs attention.
In particular, I think the Tier 1 and 2 vessels should have 3 Fore / 2 Aft weapon points. Additionally, there should be a minimum of 2 consoles for each department, so 2 Eng / 2 Tac / 2 Sci. Bridge Officer slots and general stats would remain unchanged from what they are currently.
What does this accomplish? Well, playing through at the low levels, especially in the Tier 1 vessels, feels more like a chore than it does any fun. Slogging it out with battleships in a Miranda, can take 2-5 minutes each, and given the amount of battleships in the lower levels, that is not alot of fun. So they might be a bit overpowered? Who cares? You want new players to have fun, and want them to keep playing, right? Currently, the combat on the ground feels about right in the lower levels, but the space combat feels long and boring, more of an exercise in draining enemy HP and shields than action oriented combat. Boosting up the first 2 tiers of vessels slightly, could correct that issue.
Think of it in terms of most other MMOs. When you first start out, it's a breeze. Enemies are weak, and killed with ease. Boosting up Tier 1 and 2 to make them a bit OP, will simply follow the accepted trend for most MMOs, and will keep players more interested.
2. Bridges: The bridges NEED serious help. With the release of the TOS bridge, you set a new standard for interiors (quality, scale) but apparently forgot about the rest. This might not have been such an issue, if you hadn't taken one of the WORST bridges in the game, and slapped it into your new tutorial, for all the new players to see right off the bat. This needs to be addressed. Really, all the bridges should be brought up to par with the TOS bridge, but if that simply isn't doable, then at the very least, the default bridge should be remastered, and put in place of the behemoth bridge in the tutorial. Remaster the default bridge so the view screen isn't off-center, the bridge not quite so cavernous, and not so "plain-Jane" either. Additionally, the 3 default interiors should be updated as well, to match the quality and scale of the TOS hallways.
3. Turbolifts: They should all open (like the one connected to our bridges) or they should all be a flat glowing panel. Not both. Having both door styles in game looks incredibly bad, and very incomplete. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the tutorial, where both versions exist. Granted, you couldn't fix all the doors in EVERY mission prior to F2P, but you could certainly make sure the tutorial is consistent, and all the general open areas are fixed as well. (Spacedock, Bridges, etc.) Additionally, any new content produced should follow the new standard, rather than the old, which is flat and boring.
4 Uniforms: The uniforms could use a pass, to fix issues people have been bringing up. Cryptic is known for "character customization" so you better believe that new players will pay very close attention to this aspect of the game. Things like the problems with the TWoK Monster Maroon uniform, the lack of a proper "TNG Movie era" admiralty uniform, clipping issues with various rank pins and combadges, etc. Your players have detailed out these things for quite a while. Make a pass, and make the character customization shine.
5. Starter bridge officers: It seems very strange to start with only 2 bridge officers, yet in your first mission, you really ought to have 4 to accompany you aboard the Azura. I think giving the players their full command staff right off the bad, would be a welcome change. Consider that the reason you are in command, is because all other senior officers on your ship were killed, and you had to take command. So, shouldn't the good Admiral make sure that before he sends you back out into the great unknown, you have a full staff on-board?
6. Klingons: We are told that the conflict between the Klingon Empire and the Federation is the central story for STO. But somehow, that doesn't feel true. We fight them as Lieutenants and Lieutenant Commanders, mowing through wave after wave of Klingon ships and warriors like Superman, but then we jump over to the Romulans, the Cardassians / Jem' Hadar and finally the Borg, and we never really revisit the war. This feels very strange, considering that we have a joint task force in Borg-ville with the Klingons, even though we are at war with them.
Perhaps, you should look at a more Gorn focus for the first levels, then take all the existing KDF missions and spread them out over the entire range of Level 1 thru 51, so the war has a more central focus all through the player's career. Right now, the war seems like a minor footnote, instead of the central story.
I agree wholy with the klingon state of things. This is a war, there should be constant missions through out all levels dealing with them. There should also be random klingon attacks, and random missions dealing with them regardless of where we are traveling.
Although it doesnt really affect those of us whove been here a long time now one thing the tutorial doesnt do is give you some indication on how to spend your skill points and where would be in your best interest or using the dorp down to see what skills relate to which power etc.. for new players explaining this would save them a lot of confusion and googling.
Also the Doff system really needs an ingame explanation, tutorial, hints, and help area that you can access to get those quick answers on things like commendations, how to get more DoFFs, the risks associated with assignments, how often the assignments reset, what the heck the request more officers tab is and when it can be used etc.. even down to simple things like explaining yhe duty officer button under the mini map will flash green when you have completed assignments.
Yes this info to some degree is on the forums but not everyone who play visits the forums so havign some sort of in game database, help section that can drop some visual and tagged pop ups to lay this stuff out in simplistic terms will really hel new players get drawn in without putting the onus on them to find it all out for themselves.
Also just a thought but the assignments that can lead to a DoFF demise should have a warning in red on thier description just to make it abundantly clear to anyone reading assingments that by picking the relevant ones they are potentially facing that risk if they assign one of thier white doffs.
Also not really polishing but maybe giving the F2P'ers something like a starter pakcing some consumables beyond what the cap and Bo's start with, a temporary xp boost, a few complementary C points to get them going (nothing substantial), maybe some tribble of some sort (the preorder one maybe) to get them going, would be a nice incentive and wouldn't really impact the game in any balance fashion for the rest of us who are already playing.