It is an odd design philosophy, to make the game MORE boring for the player base's first 15-20 hours. Honestly, that's the real problem I've had with STO since Open Beta...everything else aside, the lower levels simply take too long, and during that time, you're stuck in the same boring ship as everyone else. XP rate should be doubled during that time period, at the very least.
From the description of the Constitution-class Tier 1 Gamestop bonus:
Players control this ship for roughly 20 hours before being promoted into the next class of ship.
Obviously it's been exaggerated to make the bonus seem more appealing but...really, Cryptic? You want players to spend 20 hours in their Tier 1 POS? That's more than enough time to get the hang of the game. 5-10 hours should be the very max, unless your goal is to lose as many player as possible in the opening month.
The point isn't to complain, but to let Cryptic know that unless they increase XP gain for Tier 1 - and soon - I think they're going to have a mass exodus of people who simply don't realize that the game vastly improves after the initial grind through Tier 1. Worse, I can't imagine anyone who reaches endgame wanting to make an alt, just to suffer through Tier 1 all over again.
i have played 7 hours since head start. been leveling at a rate of 1 level per hour. i think thats fast .plus my starter ship is great now that i have added consols and better shields and weapons.i can solo any mission with no problem.and am having fun.just stick to doing missions and you will be fine.
I found the first ten levels a bit of a chore in OB but I burned through them quite quickly in HS on the missions I got from Sulu and a fair number of those Deep Space Encounters. I wanted to get to Lt Cmdr for launch where I could do the interesting missions in my T2 cruiser. I'd say it took maybe 12-15 hours to get to Lt Cmdr in OB but only 7-10 hours in HS. I can't really see how it could take 20 hours to get to Lt Cmdr, unless maybe it's your first MMO and the whole concept is a bit new. Then I guess 20 hours is fair, bit that might be too much grind if someone is brand new to MMO's.
If I was making the game I would have probably started everyone off in a Runabout or something pokey like that, with everyone being a Cadet in SF Acadamy. Have that as the really basic movement tutorial with a couple of simple starter missions, maybe one of them to get your first BOff, then move onto the tutorial as it is now and get the T1 ship and your second BOff. Also I would have given players the option to choose what type of T1 ship you wanted (but no option to re-model it) instead of just a Light Cruiser as it seems a bit silly that SF would have 10000 Light cruisers floating about, and then given players that same choice again at T2 as we have now. That way people could change their choice of ship role without a huge-ish energy cost, and it would feel like you're making a bit of progress early on and the grind from the start of the game to T2 wouldn't seem as bad, and getting that third BOff at level 5 would have broken up that initial grind too.
But I didn't make the game so all the newcomers to STO are kinda stuck with that initial slog. Even though I got through it the second time around in 7-10 hours it's still kinda long to see some real progress.
It's annoying to have no ship choices until level 11. I could tolerate the combat and general time involved if there was some ship choices, something to make the experience more interesting. Even the klingon side, which is a lot faster a journey, involved grinding repeatedly just to make the game fun. And it gets fun after 11. I just don't see any point in keeping the first 11 levels so dull.
Maybe just a modified miranda cruiser or bird of prey. An extra tactical station maybe so players could experiment with another offensive power. Maybe let the players choose what station they want so science would choose a science station, engineer an eng station. There are many first level powers and you only get to use 3 in your ship unless you scrap the BO points you've already earned and train him with another skill, or use another BO. It'd be great if you had an extra slot to play with. All my BO points during that first tier go to the first 3 BO's I'm using, it doesn't feel like there is a chance to see what else is out there without wasting the points you've already spent.
It took me about 8 hours to make my LTC.2, and I would say it took me about 5-6 hours to get my LTC rank. So I would say geting 12 levels in about 8 hours is a decent pace. I am sort of lolly gagging and doing a lot of cluster missions. Thems the fun ones.
Perhaps something to consider is letting the player chose between a new Escort/Science/Cruiser ship halfway through Tier 1- call it Tier 1.5, perhaps.
Expecting the player to spend 15-20 hours in the same ship with no other options is a bit much, IMHO.
The learning curve is there for the old ship you learn weapon slots and tactics. Do you favor the broadside of the Cruiser. Do you want the firepower of a Escort. After 10 levels you have developed a deep enough mechanics of the game to make a informed choice on your chosen path.