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Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,894
I creating this little text of wall for a simple reason: I believe Cryptic or better "the devs" have a very very wrong outlook on their own story content.
I also apologize for my probably bad english since thats not my main language.

And yes I'm writing that because I hope to get some support from the community and even catch some attention from the devs so they at least... Consider what I am saying.

Recently in an interview returning co Steven d'angelo said that there would not be any featured series. The reason was simple: he does not consider them as repeatable content - like the so called "grind" is. So they would be to expensive in relation to their use. That's why we just get the one or the other story mission when events come up.

That is, based on how those missions are implemented right now, obviously correct.
But the implementation is the problem.
Even the way they attempt to make them "replayable" is wrong in my opinion.
Also the missions design itsself, how matter how great the last one was, is going somewhat in a wrong direction.

So we have 3 major problems:
Regularity
Design
Lack of reward / replayability

Lets start with a little history lesson.

Originally story missions were considered the strong side of this game.

That's why the featured series came up.
The plan was very ambitious: they promised to make a new mission EVERY WEEK at some point.
And they wanted to add something new with every new series. They were supposed to show new tech and be shiny and everything.

Well I believe that were far to big plans. An episode per week is a lot of work, and I believe the player base would have gotten far to used to it. Just like the original leveling missions, some of them were great but most of them get no attention because they are lost in the mass.

So the first issue here would be an efficient amount.
What we, I believe, still need is a continuos story progression. Not every week but REGULARY.
So the featured series design was bad in that terms too. We got now and then a series of missions weekly for a short time, but then, again, nothing.
What I believe is to do:
MONTHLY missions. A mission per month REGULARY to progress the story would keep the players attention. We would have something to look forward to. Everybody would know 1. Saturday a month a new mission and logg in again.
A featured series like the ones we got would be content for 6 month that way.
As for mission specific rewards: a nice unique token reward like... A uniform piece unlock (like gloves or a belt) or a weapon with a unique skin or a trophy would be enough, actually it wouldn't even be necessary.

The second point was the DESIGN.
There are several flaws here.
First thing: as I said, they wanted to make every mission amazing. Every mission a highlight . Every mission some new tech.
That is I believe a very wrong assumption.

Even in the great Star Trek series not every episode was gold. When they made Star Trek they didn't have the luxurie to say "well we only want to make absolutely great episodes, so we only do 2 per year".
They had to do 22-24 a year. Period. Not everything was great, not everything was intended to be great.
Some were clip shows (those usually sucked) some where bottle shows, wich did cost(relatively to a usual st episode ) almost nothing, but some of those appear regularly among the best episodes.

What does that have to do with sto missions?
Simply, those monthly missions would not have to be like the new anniversary mission. That was great.
But if every mission is legendary none is.
There should be highlights like the current mission.
But the average mission should be just that: an average mission. They do not need great new tech, they do not need voice overs or guest stars. They need to be fun and progress the story a bit.
Now and then old environments can be reused. (Why not returning to the hobus system? If we enter another rapier class vessel reuse the rapier interior ect.. ) Some can be shorter then others.
The that would reduce the amount of effort to create those missions.

Also: they should start making STAR TREK ONLINE missions again.
One of the things that make that game unique are, for example, the bridge officers.
Now let's take a look a the later missions: during the Dominion series we saw our bos ONCE in a holodeck simulation and ONE was with us in the facility. Since then we had NO new mission where they were with us. But they are an essential part of she ground gameplay.
In general, everybody keeps saying the new missions are so much better then the old ones.
I have to disagree. While the new missions all look and are more polished and more shiny... They have kind of a railway design. They lack at the sense of freedom the old ones had.
Again: that might work better for "style over substance"- types of highlights, but not for the "general" missions.


Third and possibly most important is the REWARD and REPLAYABILITY factor.

Again: D'Angelo said the reason for no more story missions because they are no "repeatable" content.
The only reason for that is they do not MAKE it repeatable content.
Or better: not in the right way.
In the current mission we get an entire set for playing that mission again. Well that's a bad approach. Because that leads to grinding. The mission is good but they want us to replay THIS ONE mission again and again in a short time. That it repetitive. And makes us hate it over the time, no matter how good it is.

We need mission replay to be GENERALLY rewarding, not only one mission or only featured series.
That would make them repeatable content.
The issue now is:
This is an mmo.
In MMOs the players want CHARACTER PROGRESSION.
Character progression right now is tied to the rep system and fleet system. That progression is locked into a small circle of repeatable und repetitive content and can not be achieved by the current story missions. That's why people do not replay them. At least not enough.

And this is, I should stress (although it is obvious), not limited to the current story missions, it applies as much to the FOUNDRY and even the old exploration missions.

There are multiple easy ways to change that.
The easiest one is to simply tie an adequate amount of rep and / or fleet marks to it.
But since the rep system is obviously supposed to be tied to certain content maybe they should make an own, general "Story reputation". Maybe they even add 1 lobby (or up to 3 depending on difficulty setting) per replay (although missions should have a maybe weekly timer on that so people don't grind the easy ones like spin the wheel). If they think that would reduce the income from lock boxes they were not paying attention in their economics class.

Also, a small but EXTREMLY IMPORTANT detail: the reward should be higher with higher difficulties.
That, obviously, motivate players to play on higher difficulties.
This means they spent more time with playing the mission. It also motivates group play.
It also motivates to pay more attention on equip wich means more motivation on getting that better equip. (The only thing we need good equip for right now is pvp. )
Wich means ppl buy stuff in cstore including, obviously, master keys.


Bottom line: I can't speak for other, but story content was what I signed up here. And I know I'm not alone on that. Not repetitive mini games.
This is the way - or a way - to get the story content in line with the pwe model, the way to turn it into repeatable content without it being repetitive content.

I mean new Romulus, the Dyson sphere and stfs are fun now and then, but being locked into that content is just unpleasant, especially since there IS ENOUGH content to keep people happy for some time.

I do not only want to have cool ships and stuff, I want to USE it in an enjoyable way.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,288
# 2
02-03-2014, 09:04 AM
Lots to chew over, but I'd like to offer one suggestion.

Problem is, time/money calculations have to be made.

However, as Cryptic seem to increasingly do, they don't tell the whole story.

Essentially that sort of calculation misses out on measuring something nebulous but important: customer satisfaction.

Metrics that mine data will tell you a lot of stuff, much of which is hard to see any other way.

However they are never predictive, metrics have unavoidable lag built in, they measure what has happened.

They do not predict, by themselves, what will happen.

I'm assuming a dev has read Asimov's Foundation series at one point. Two words for you: The Mule.

Until Cryptic get their head around the possibility that they need some far more effective mode for using customer feedback, we're going to be stuck with these tin eared strategies.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,894
# 3
02-03-2014, 09:25 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinkster View Post
Lots to chew over, but I'd like to offer one suggestion.

Problem is, time/money calculations have to be made.

However, as Cryptic seem to increasingly do, they don't tell the whole story.

Essentially that sort of calculation misses out on measuring something nebulous but important: customer satisfaction.

Metrics that mine data will tell you a lot of stuff, much of which is hard to see any other way.

However they are never predictive, metrics have unavoidable lag built in, they measure what has happened.

They do not predict, by themselves, what will happen.

I'm assuming a dev has read Asimov's Foundation series at one point. Two words for you: The Mule.

Until Cryptic get their head around the possibility that they need some far more effective mode for using customer feedback, we're going to be stuck with these tin eared strategies.
The thing is: Cryptic doesn't earn money when we do their repeatable content. They don't get 10 cent for every one qing. They earn money by keeping us (or trying to keep us) intrestet, they want us to logg in every if possible, and spend money on c-store stuff to make playing the existing content more fun for us.

The problem with the metrics is simple (I tried to explain that in my post):
Right now their numbers say that Missions have no replay value, since people do not replay them.
And their conclusion is: People are not interested in those missions. A few even might not be... but a lot are.


The issue is: There is no reason for us to do so (beside of enjoying the mission obviously), not no reward that brings character progression. This is why a lot of people keep playing the repetitive reputation missions instead of story missions.

This is a repeating pattern in this game:
The KDF players always complain about too little stuff (costumes, ships, take whatever area you want).
The lack of content on KDF side keeps a lot of people away. Not the fact that they don't want to play kdf, the fact that the KDF in unfinished (even the new romulans have more stuff, and they are not even a full faction....) .
Cryptics conclusion: They don't like the kdf, so we do not invest resources.

Same for ship interiors: There is nothing to do there, they do not even have a vanity use because of their lack of customization, they are an unfinished feature. So ppl do not use them. I have met more then a few other players who do not even know how to get there (and some of them play for years).
So instead of integrating those interiors into the actual gameplay in some way Cryptic numbers say "They do not sell, people don't visit them, so no money here, no investment".
Here specifically a lot of money could be made if they would just be "fixed".

They just look at the numbers and never question why the numbers are the way they are.
Support more story content in STO
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,288
# 4
02-03-2014, 09:28 AM
Quite so.

Imagine cryptic made a bridge, but made it so shoddily that nails sticking up made a number of tyres burst.

Thus fewer people use the bridge.

Cryptic use the useage metric to suggest that there was never any demand for the bridge in the first place.

They ignore a huge petition asking them to remove the nails so people can use the bridge.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,459
# 5
02-03-2014, 09:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by revandarklighter View Post
The thing is: Cryptic doesn't earn money when we do their repeatable content. They don't get 10 cent for every one qing. They earn money by keeping us (or trying to keep us) intrestet, they want us to logg in every if possible, and spend money on c-store stuff to make playing the existing content more fun for us.
Not true. By getting people in the door they improve their odds of selling you something. That is what they care about. You are going to be in the game every day for 10 minutes doing your Party Event - and you might normally come into the game only once per week. The more people in the game the more likely they are to buy something - such as buying some Keys to open some Lockboxes to earn some Lobi, that they then trade for QMendations to speed-up the grind process.

Whether you understand it or not more people in the game daily means more sales so bringing people into the game increases their chances that you will buy something.
STO is about my Liberated Borg Federation Captain with his Breen 1st Officer, Jem'Hadar Tactical Officer, Liberated Borg Engineering Officer, Android Ops Officer, Photonic Science Officer, Gorn Science Officer, and Reman Medical Officer jumping into their Jem'Hadar Carrier and flying off to do missions for the new Romulan Empire. But for some players allowing a T5 Connie to be used breaks the canon in the game.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,288
# 6
02-03-2014, 09:55 AM
I really wont to see the story move forward i like storys its wot trek is. But i all so wont new stf type missions ones that take 15-20 mins n take team work to complete. That dont have npc that can 1 shot a fully buffed tank oddy thats just lazy dev build.
Welcome to bugs online were we only fix the bugs you like, and will ignore the ones you hate.
These are the voyages of the USS Farmville. Her 5 year mission is to boldly farm where no one has farmed before.
Say No to ARK
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,288
# 7
02-03-2014, 10:07 AM
There's a very easy way for cryptic to acquire new story content at a relatively miniscule price.

There are foundry author here capable of creating cryptic level story content.

I'd suggest someone at Cryptic be paid to commission and curate foundry story arcs.

Figure out some way to give a decent reward to the authors, short of actual money.

Perhaps these special foundry story arcs would still have the feedback form and the possibility of donating dil, maybe Cryptic could match fund the dil for these authors or something.

Anyway, point is, if a fair system can be put in place, the foundry could provide a near constant source of story content.

If Cryptic were to commission specific story arcs from picked foundry authors, we could be looking at some very interesting stuff.
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 13,034
# 8
02-03-2014, 10:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinkster View Post
Quite so.

Imagine cryptic made a bridge, but made it so shoddily that nails sticking up made a number of tyres burst.

Thus fewer people use the bridge.

Cryptic use the useage metric to suggest that there was never any demand for the bridge in the first place.

They ignore a huge petition asking them to remove the nails so people can use the bridge.
That's a blatantly unfair comparison.

A better comparison IMO would be having groups of people simultaneously complaining that the bridge is both too far east AND west to be "practical". Your comparison would require the game to be so buggy it damages people's computers.....

Geko went over why Foundry rewards are so low in the last interview. Short version: people exploit the ---- out of Foundry any time they can. Therefore the Foundry can only have token rewards.

Geko also went over KDF.... LoR expanded the KDF storyline with a bunch of shiny new KDF exclusive missions, a new tutorial, and made it so KDF characters can start at level 1. How much did that improve the KDF playerbase? Not much. So no. It's no longer true that the KDF is languishing because it doesn't have enough stuff. It's languishing because the players don't play it.
HAIL HYDRA!

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I can haz joystick!
MMOs aren't charities. Corporations are supposed to make a profit. It's what they do.

Last edited by markhawkman; 02-03-2014 at 10:27 AM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,189
# 9
02-03-2014, 10:55 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by markhawkman View Post
That's a blatantly unfair comparison.

A better comparison IMO would be having groups of people simultaneously complaining that the bridge is both too far east AND west to be "practical". Your comparison would require the game to be so buggy it damages people's computers.....

Geko went over why Foundry rewards are so low in the last interview. Short version: people exploit the ---- out of Foundry any time they can. Therefore the Foundry can only have token rewards.

Geko also went over KDF.... LoR expanded the KDF storyline with a bunch of shiny new KDF exclusive missions, a new tutorial, and made it so KDF characters can start at level 1. How much did that improve the KDF playerbase? Not much. So no. It's no longer true that the KDF is languishing because it doesn't have enough stuff. It's languishing because the players don't play it.
I am going to disagree with you on the first point. The concept mentioned is they will not make anything new storywise because it is unused. Noted reason for disuse is it is poorly assembled and positioned. The bridge analogy of the nails fits the poorly assembled part. Poorly positioned is imagin the free way goes to a town then stops at a ravine. It starts again across the ravine. To get there you go down slow back roads and finally have to cross the rickety bridge then meander back to the freeway. That is the analogy of the bridge versus story content. (Not sure I agree with the point but I see the intended point.)

Yes, foundry missions are uber exploitable as is. I again believe that the idea mentioned was that someone at Cryptic go over some of those missions and see which ones can be entered as official content with normal mission rewards. Some in game method of paying the designer without actually paying them being the key.

And I would counter your third arguement with a clarity. It is languishing because of the catch 22. Not enough players play the KDF side to encourage enough others to come in and be immersed. This barely improved number is insufficient for further work. From what I gather in your post.
I would say the issue here is quite a bit of the story missions are the same they already had, just dropped in level. Then you go run Fed missions again. If the level band of the Feklri and Fed War were kept the same or significant new missions replaced them when their levels dropped. Then there would be more interest in the new content. After all Romulans have their own arc and do not cross paths with anyone till later in the game. But when the KDF investigates Hobus, isn't it the same mission as the fed? If it was truely three branches in the arcs each would be weighed against one another and seen how they fit.

Now I am hoping they do intend to continue making the featured episodes. I have enjoyed the multi mission ones as well as Temporal Ambassador, Sphere, and Between the Stars. And I do replay them.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,288
# 10
02-03-2014, 11:03 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by markhawkman View Post
That's a blatantly unfair comparison.

A better comparison IMO would be having groups of people simultaneously complaining that the bridge is both too far east AND west to be "practical". Your comparison would require the game to be so buggy it damages people's computers.....

Geko went over why Foundry rewards are so low in the last interview. Short version: people exploit the ---- out of Foundry any time they can. Therefore the Foundry can only have token rewards.

Geko also went over KDF.... LoR expanded the KDF storyline with a bunch of shiny new KDF exclusive missions, a new tutorial, and made it so KDF characters can start at level 1. How much did that improve the KDF playerbase? Not much. So no. It's no longer true that the KDF is languishing because it doesn't have enough stuff. It's languishing because the players don't play it.
Sorry, but thats just sophistry.

The metaphor holds.

Cryptic make something that people are unhappy with, people don't play it, Cryptic use lack of people playing as excuse as to why not improve said experience.

Yeah, there were some decent updates to the KDF a little while ago.

But do you remember what state the KDF have been in since launch? The red headed step child of STO certainly.

The changes, by themselves, were a dollar short and a day late.

KDF still languish with bugs unfixed from months, if not years, ago.

Still have a terrible lack of customisation options.

And they've had to watch while the Romulans get their formerly exclusive battle cloaks and, to add insult to injury, get better versions of them.

Think none of that has any effect on KDF player numbers?

Now, if they have a whole season devoted to the KDf, where they really get behind the faction, and numbers stay low then you'd have a point.

But we're not there yet, not by a long shot.
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