With apologies to the Doff system and its fans, most everything in this game has turned into mind numbing Pew Pew.
There are plenty of games where you can play the time tested formula of shooting something and getting experience, or an item, or something you want from the experience. Well this is Star Trek, and Gene Roddenberrys was not one where violence was the answer or should be rewarded.
For awhile the Devs were on the right path. They put in a Diplomacy system that was non violent and peaceful players had a reason to play the game. It took 1360 diplo points to make it to ambassador and people had reason to participate in the game beyond having a ship that could blow everything else out of the sky. The new content gave a nod towards peace and prosperity. The Deferi were balanced and appreciated peace. The Devidian mission had an episode where you got an accolade if you achieved progress through non violence. The Reman series featured a Horta that preached a No Kill Philosophy and you could use diplomatic means to achieve goals. You had mini quests for accolades to help the miners. Obisek was misguided but you understood his viewpoint. SS Azura was redone and there were accolades based on rescuing the crew.
Diplomatic missions were very popular when they were released. Im not even sure you can do the Vulcan one anymore and the fact that you need 100,000 diplomacy points to make Ambassador makes it pointless. Exploration missions had aid the planets and you could get offerings of friendship and other nice prizes. These should be put back into the game. You could get scan and scoot missions where you would scan for things rather than shoot at them.
Back in the day, people that didnt want to pew pew could log on, collect samples and craft up supplies for their fleet. People loved and adored these players that filled fleet banks with crafted items. We made friends with them and they felt they could contribute even if they didnt have the best ships for shooting things.
Before Starfleet Dental declared war on the role play community and basically won it there was a thriving role play community in this game. People did fashion shows, and treasure hunts, and created their own role play experiences.
All these activities that make up a thriving MMO community are being swept out the door and sucky 7 is another step in the wrong direction. The crafting tax was the start and it just about killed crafting. People couldnt craft without dilithium. The people that would spend an hour a day collecting samples and an hour crafting them and donating them to the fleet bank are all gone. They liked being helpful and they liked showing up chatting with friends, feeling useful, valued, and needed and part of a fleet and community. You just dont see people like that anymore and they were some of the nicest and most valuable people to play the game. You dont see the diplo players. You see far fewer role players. The people playing costume fleets have put those fleets on hold. The economic Merchant based fleets are dying or dead.
When DStahl says that he wants people playing 40 hours for an item and "earning" it he is targeting the pew pew players. Maybe there are ways to earn fleet marks, romulan marks and Omega marks and dilithium. But they primarily revolve around pew pew.
This game is pushing out everybody but the pew pew crowd. And it is being done with their full support and vocal cheers. A succesful MMO probably needs to accept and embrace diversity of game play. Pew Pew is not enough. Especially one that badges itself as being Trek.
What can you get in this game without shooting something? Not much anymore. We all hoped that Latinum would show some value but it didnt. Short of usefulness in some doffin missions its use has been limited to getting some holographic ships. So much more could have been done. Half of what is sold in LOBI stores should be purchasable with Latinum especially all of the Ferengi costumes, items, and gear.
Craig Z was intent on letting people enjoy the game in a variety of ways. In every interview he would say we want people to have fun and we want to allow them to progress via the nature of their own choosing. Choice seemed important to him. The DStahl era seems to reverted to you must do it my way era of choice.
Sure you can get "some" dilithium from Doffin missions but not much and often you have to wait hours to get it and you might have a success or you might fail or even watch your doffins die. Honestly, if you want dilithium now it means you go pew pew for it. Dilithium is the thing now. Energy Credits are primarily a store / exchange currency. But what people want most is dilithium and to get it you need to kill things. Pew Pew Pew.
The clicker missions were great. You didnt get much dilithium from them but you did get some and you didnt have to show up and pew pew to get it. Of course people that love pew pew think the clicker people were lazy but it goes deeper. There are people that do not love shooting the same things over and over and over and over and over again. They could show up do a clicker and then craft something. They could show up do a clicker give dilithium to a fleet and feel they contributed. If a Starbase got a hunting lodge, dance floor or even tribbles to hate they were happy. All thats gone now.
The main way to get dilithium now is to shoot stuff. You get rewarded by killing stuff, beating it on the head, destroying it. DSTahl says he doesnt want to give out dilithium unless you buy zen in a store or spend hours upon hours of mind numbing grind based mind numbing killing of zergs.
I really object to being "required" to spend 40 hours of my time to earn a single piece of gear for 1 of my toons. To have to spend 240 hours per toon for a space and ground set just is beyond contemplation. To have to do it by killing zergs forever just pushes me away to another game. To be forced to do it in lieu of contributing to my fleet, helping my friends, crafting or doing something productive for someone else just makes me vomit. The need to require players to spend 100s of hours doing things for themselves just stomps on cooperation, friendship and companionship which are things that ideally would be the heart of a fleet structure. Fleets are starting to already gravitate around players that buy and donate zen and dilithium and Im not sure this is a good thing.
Many of us were hoping for a quantum advance in game play with season 7. Sucky 7 just is another season of rebadged pew pew at its core. If I were to ask how I could enjoy sucky 7 without doing more rebadged pew pew, Im sure that most would respond that I couldnt. Not only is there more pew pew but requirements have been put forth that you cant and indeed shouldnt be allowed to enjoy the game anymore unless you are willing to knuckle under and do it.
People want to have dance floors in their starbase, they want to craft, they want to buy zen with dilithium, they want to buy items with dilithium. And they want to enjoy the game.
Cryptic is telling us: NO, you are not going to be allowed to enjoy our game unless you put for hours of work into mind numbing pew pew that we could care less if you enjoy. We are going to make our game as miserable as can be and if you dont like it then buy Zen or leave. You do what we say or you can watch us withhold the fun aspects of our game from you.
Its a mistake. Many of us feel cryptic should be making the game more fun and not less. Sucky 7 is a major quantum leap for showing that the game should only be fun for Pew Pew players and thats how Cryptic wants it.
They werent really missions that were valuable uses of time. If you want rom marks or omega marks the fastest way to get it is to do do pew pew in the pve queus. Im not talking about just making more areas to explore but rather to give a wider variety of missions. After people do the "social" content 3-5 times they will return to pew pew missions because both types will turn into boring grind fests and if you have to grind you might as well pick that which lets you complete it faster. The clickers were a grind. Nobody ever said they were fun. But at least you got good value of reward for your time spent.
Take Lord of the Rings for example. You can do missions where you get a job bussing tables or using emotes to perform a part in a play. You can build a snowman. You can deliver goods and services such as beer to a festival or party. You can do those missions if you want or you can do traditional kill zerg missions. But you have a choice. And either way, LOTR rewards your time invested by giving you a solid reward of value for time invested playing their game.
Beyond the featured episodes, and with a nod towards diplomacy and to doffs. Most of the new stuff is stale the day it arrives. These arent missions they are kill and cash your reward. Its grind based content. We all know it. Short of Doffs, innovation died the day the foundry opened. Cryptic punted to the players and the best new missions are foundry based except nobody wants to play them because there isnt any good time gate reward for your efforts there. Even if you enjoy them, the foundry missions take a long time and do not reward you well for your time spent there.
Cindy, I have a feeling that people that have played mmos that had real crafting, real role play, and embraced the social aspects of a massive mulitplayer online role play game know what is missing here and feel it more deeply than the pew pew crowd.
When diplomacy came out, I built a character that was meant to be levelled up and played in a manner reflecting that of a pacifist where 95% or more of her essence would be role play and game play befitting a diplomat and avoiding combat. She would craft, and do diplomacy, and role play. She loved the Doffs when they came out.
Now I just cant seem to enjoy her because you only get dilithium through pew pew and that was not my intent when creating her or how I hoped to enjoy the time I spent with her. She is a rank 1 leader of a really big fleet and I like the people in the fleet but I dont see how I can enjoy this character and play her when the way to enjoy the game is so at odds with the role I hoped to play when I created her.
Few really understand how real role players can get into their characters and enjoy them. STO is quickly becoming a hey dude lets go shoot things MMORG. And I think the Devs are angling it to appeal to this limited demographic.
The only thing I know from my many, many years of Role Playing experience across multiple games is this.
When you focus on the crunchy bits, you destroy the story bits. The more you focus on making sure people "earn" their share, the less room you give people to make up their own ****.
When I came to this game when it went F2P, I did so because a good friend of mine told me all about all he RP she'd had and done in game. I've found precious little of that myself. As of right now, I've been finding *just* enough to keep playing...but it's small. There's not much in there.