After seeing the update live, I'm annoyed. Even though I didn't do exploration missions a lot, we've lost roughly half the doff missions in Cardassian space. That's half the NADRCs, and 1/2 of the rare commodity missions only found there.
Maybe they should rename STO to Starfleet Battles or Starfleet Command. Like the old PC game.
That would be an insult to those games. They had meaningful, thought out combat systems that didn't rely on console spamming or P2W BS. Oh and that would require Cryptic at least pretend to give a **** about the KDF
You know, for all the fuss, it is nice to be able to travel around the ESD area without bumping into that damned Delta Volanis pop up.
"Helm, set course for Eta Eridani sector block, best speed."
[30 seconds later...]
"Captain, we are cleared to warp to Delta Volanis."
"We are? Who requested this, exactly? And who told you to bring us to a stop here? Does 'Delta Volanis' in fact sound anything like 'Eta Eridani', which is the course I ordered you to set?"
It gets aggravating, and is, I believe, a major contributor to folks relying entirely on transwarp rather than flying through sector space. I like to admire the ship I built - but I don't like having to argue with the helm officer every time we leave ESD under warp drive.
Originally Posted by hfmudd
You are special, you are unique, and you are passionate. You are also insignificant. Get used to it.
With the release of Season 9.5 (AKA “how far can we push this before it breaks”), the Star Trek Online team is continuing with our commitment to improve the overall quality of the player base for all shareholders, this time by focusing on Exploration content. When this was created, we envisioned role players, Star Trek fans and exploration-minded players to enjoy and make use of the “explore strange new worlds” part of the Star Trek mantra. Exploration missions used automated tools to facilitate creating large quantities of widely varied free-to-play content. But then because of the grinding, income and server bandwidth use minimisation needs of our game, the exploration-minded players had to be discouraged from playing within the non income-generating elements of game content (the dozen or so Exploration Clusters seen across the galaxy map) which featured a limited suite of opportunities within which to introduce pay-to-win initiatives (each Exploration Cluster features only free content). The end results were thousands of simple players that all played in their own way without buying up any Zen from our online store – nothing close to what we now desire.
With the steadily improving quality of purchasable content available throughout the Zen store as well as our recent efforts to explore even more avenues of profiteering, Exploration Clusters have become something we’re reluctant to steer new players towards because they do not involve micro-transactions or milking player wallets for all they’re worth. One of the main reasons they’ve stayed in the game as long as they have is that we didn’t want to drive away all the role players and crafters without a micro-transaction framework established to replace the free content. As has been mentioned in other developer blogs, Season 9.5 marks a launching of our pay-to-win Research and Development system. This also comes with an update to how crafting materials are earned (most notably by adding them to the Zen store). As a result, we’ve been able to re-examine the inclusion of Exploration Clusters in STO and found them not to be part of the pay-to-win experience we want our shareholders to enjoy the benefit of.
Removing Exploration Clusters means that players will no longer be able to enjoy a diverse part of the game that doesn’t involve paying us money. Players that logged out in these maps will be redirected to the appropriate area of the Zen store immediately.
Duty officer assignments that previous took place inside the Exploration Cluster sector maps can no longer be accessed, and the equivalent benefits those areas once offered are effectively transferred to payment-based elements of the game. For example, colonization rewards previously utilised by the old free crafting system are now readily available in packs from the Zen store.
The transwarp powers available on the Tuffli Freighter and Suliban Cell Ship, that took players to these locations, will now be useless, and those players who enjoyed a play style that involved spending countless hours not engaging in micro-transactions will now either be forced to leave the game or engage with the PvE queues, Fleet content, new paid crafting system or (ultimately, as the only way to “jump the queue” in terms of performance within any of the aforementioned in-game systems) the Zen store.
Accolades that previously tracked completing missions inside each Exploration Cluster will now track completion of duty officer assignments unique to those Exploration Clusters, because there’s nothing more annoying to hardworking free-content players than devaluing their efforts by making older content and rewards much easier to earn.
The daily missions to explore these Exploration Clusters have been removed, including the Explore Strange New Worlds and We Need Breathing Room daily missions. In order to replace these sources of Dilithium, players will need to buy Zen from the Zen store, then convert that Zen into Refined Dilithium via the in-game Exchange tool.
For those who will miss the opportunity to explore the Exploration Clusters, we will be adding doors to the Foundry so that player-created missions can make use of these settings. The limitless nature of the inexplicable penchant of some players to perform our content-creation function for us for free, allows us to exploit that goodwill and use the Foundry tool as a paltry excuse for a “replacement” of the former robust Exploration Cluster content, whilst focusing paid resources on content that will entail micro-transactions and maximisation of value for money and profit.
While we are removing part of the player base, we hope that the result is a greater proportion of paying players within STO. In the end, we aim to make Star Trek Online something our shareholders are excited to be investing in every week.
Dr. Evil Von Moneystein
Zen Store Grand Nagus
$$$tar Trek Online
(It was a mistake to participate with the previous thread as I did, it didn't feel right and therefore I removed it.)
Yes, I too, appreciate that Cryptic pulled content that (almost) everyone agrees was sub par content, especially as far as STO has evolved. The Exploration Cluster content was a randomly generated set of maps that got Cryptic past a time that they could not generate content fast enough when there was no end-game content.
At the same time, having "exploration" removed still hurts because it was the only form of "exploring the unknown" that we have had and the fear is that since it's removed, there is no reason to fix it.
My feeling is that STO has everything that other MMOs already has, just the skins on the models are different. Having a way to explore the unknown would make it more unique and closer to being in Star Trek.
The best thing we can do is be creative, constructive and fair in our responses.
So, how can lots of unique, quality content be generated for players to regularly consume?
It would be almost impossible to hand-create exploration content at a rate and quality that players could be continually be playing new content.
An automated mission generator system, I believe it was called Genesis that was used for the Exploration Cluster content, was not very good - I wish I knew more about how it worked... but how can a computer program be so creative as to give truly creative content with a decent quality? The only possible way, that I can see, is to create templates (of maps, texture maps, dialog, races, etc.) that are randomly put together - sounds more like what Genesis was.
Besides the mechanics, it would need to be profitable for Cryptic/PWE or have no-cost in generating it. The Foundry, for what it is, it's the only solution that Cryptic see as the only stop gap they have for the time being. The is some great content in the Foundry but most of it I would not consider exploration though; I expect Cryptic to be the ones to create the content for their game. Even if you tie a Reputation to Exploration, you will still need regular (even non-story arc) content to be generated, besides what they come out with for each season.