As a whole, I like the Star Trek Online Reputation Systems. I look at the Rep System like leveling my character. Instead of doing activities to gain "Experience Points" until I get enough to go from level 50 to 51, I'm performing activities to gather resources to progress from T0 to T5 in a given Rep. There are even similarities to the rewards: Additional abilities, access to new gear, new missions, etc. It's basically the same thing.
There are some issues with the system. Most really are pet peeves and minor annoyances that can easily be overlooked, but here are the Top Three Problems with the Rep System and how they fortunately can be overcome:
Problem: The Rep System is "Grindy"
I think one of the major difference between increasing your Rank/Level vs. Rep Tiers is with the former the game is set up to take you through a story as you progress from mission-to-mission, whereas for Reps the player is forced to play a relatively limited number of missions repeatedly. Over and over and over.
Offer Marks to Vice Admirals from All Missions. There are more story-missions than necessary to make it to VA. This is especially true with Feds, but even KDF and Romulans can get to VA before completing their stories. My Rom Alt got to VA before even getting to Nimbus III, and is only just now fighting the Elachi. I only wish I had time to run the Story missions and still be able to Rep-Level. So! Existing content like Story-missions, PvP, Patrols, Events, Foundry, Explorations, maybe even DOffing, etc... All content available to End Game characters should award End Game resources. I get it, the goal of the Rep System is to keep players visiting every day! I think they'd be more willing to do so if they got to play whatever they wanted. Drop a Multi-Mark box at the end of any given mission and be done (20-40 Marks of any time, amount varies by mission).
Make More Rep Missions. Not much explanation required on this one... Make more Omega STFs, Nukara Events, etc. (But really, there is more than enough content in STO. Cryptic just needs to use what they've already got! See previous bullet.)
Problem: Excessive Boring Clicking!
To me the least fun aspect of the Rep "Grind" is visiting vendors, buying the same old hypos, shields, regens, commodities, etc. over and over again... It's better now that ground items let us buy in quantities of 100 (with the frustrating exception of Power Cells, still at 20). But I still have to make too many trips to a vendor, and click too many shops, slide too many sliders, etc. And then once I get the resources, I have to click too many times in the Rep window on Contribute, Sliding the Bar, etc.
Increase the Large Power Cell purchase quantity to 100 like the other items (this, at least, needs to be done ASAP).
Use Energy Credits. Change Rep System projects to require Energy Credits instead of vendor trash. The idea that there's any Role-Playing/Immersion involved with these projects goes out the window when you realize you're running the exact same two projects over and over and over and over... It's not like DOffing where the Assignments vary enough that you could imagine this stuff happening.
Increase storage stacks on all Rep items (commodities, ground devices, etc.) to 999.
Increase purchase quantities of all Rep Items to 999.
Add a Rep Auto Fill option. I start a project and if my Auto Fill is checked-on it automatically pulls necessary resources from my inventory and starts the project if it's filled. If you don't want this to be an Option, then make it a Button on the upper Rep menu. Start all projects for all reps, click one Autofill button. Assuming you have all the resources available, they get eaten, and all Rep projects start. Having to click Contribute, Slide, Ok 24 times a day for 36 days sucks.
Problem: Rep System is not Alt Friendly
Especially now that we have a third faction, the desire to create Alternate Characters (or simply "alts") has been increased. However, to "finish" each character would require re-running the Omega, Romulan Republic, and Nekura reps all over again, and this gets harder and less appealing with each Alt. This problem will only get worse as more Reps are added to the game.
There are a couple of ways this could be resolved. Some people have suggested making Reps an account-wide unlock (ie completing a Rep on one toon, completes it for all toons), but Cryptic has already given that the kabash, and honestly, I'm not in favor of that. There's too much benefit to having a Tier 5 Rep, that there should be some work involved. That being said, I do suggest any of these mitigating features:
Resource Discount: For each character that reaches T5, other characters on the account get a cumulative resource discount for that Rep, perhaps 5%. For example: when our first character gets to T5 in Omega, our other characters get 5% off their Omega project costs (marks, dil, commodities, etc.), when another gets to T5 the rest get 10% off, etc. If you get four T5 Nukara Rep toons, your other alts get 20% off Nukara resources. And so on. The more toons you have, the higher discount rate you get. If necessary, put a cap, but it should be high like 50-80%. I mean to get an 80% discount means you've Rep-leveled 16 characters to T5... You deserve the break.
XP Grant: The first time you have a toon reach T5 in a given Rep, each of your other characters get a one time 15,000-32,500 Rep XP windfall. This means if you start a new character they will already be at T2 or T3. An existing character with partial rep, just gets an automatic bump, that many XP. Maybe there's a special project with nominal inputs that could be run to unlock the boon, but it should be no more than the equivalent fees for buying a Tier.
Make Rep Gear Account-Bound: This would allow one T5 character to purchase Special Items, Set Pieces, and Mk XII gear, and then share it with other alts on the same account. This is similar to how the Pre-F2P Emblem system worked, one Vice Admiral could gear-out others. If an Alt wants the powers, accolades, mission and costume unlocks, and other rewards of a given Rep, they will still have to complete the Rep.
If Cryptic could implement these changes I think Star Trek Online would improve dramatically! It would go a long way to improving the game's Fun Factor and Quality of Life.
Thanks for visiting/reading. I welcome your feedback.
Oct 18, 2013 Update:
Coming in Season 8 will be a new Reputation Sponsorship feature. It will allow a character with a T5 Rep to run a Project (costs 100 Marks) that creates a Sponsorship Token. Then, using the Account Bank, transfer that Token to an Alt. The Alt can then run a Project that uses the Token to unlock a Double-XP Bonus in that Rep. So instead of only earning 2,800xp per day, your Alt can earn 5,600xp per day, cutting the grind in half!
The Sponsoring T5 character can make as many Tokens as they like for each T5 Rep they have (come Season 8 this will work for all Reps: Omega, Romulan, Nukara, and Dyson). So you can pimp out all your Alts from one Main character.
Obviously being in test, there are details that may change, but this is really great news, and I'm really looking forward to S8 all the more!!