I'm not exactly your crafter type. In fact, in most of my MMO experience I avoid it. I simply do not like the idea of standing in front of some crafting station playing some mini game click fest in order to grind to make good gear. So, it was refreshing when I heard from Cryptic in a prerelease interview that that element was not going to be a part of STO's version of crafting.
I very much looked forward to the idea of bringing the necessary materials and immediately creating the item I wanted. However, come release after I had spent many hours rigorously searching for anomalies and then spending credits to buy more when I simply ran out plus the items required, I realized something. Memory Alpha is just a store and not a good store at that as you have a better variety of items via stores at Earth Spacedock and K7 which DON'T require tons of money or time. And you have practically zero control over the type of items you choose at Memory whereas at these other places you do have some measure of control over your selections.
In fact what you are doing at Memory Alpha is basically the same thing you do at the other stores in the game. You are trading items(anomalies + gear) for gear. It's no different than going to the stores on Earth spacedock and trading in exploration badges for premade items. It's even called a store at Memory Alpha no less.
Frankly,crafting is not a store and you generally have some measure of control over what stats go on items as well as the type of items you create. Memory Alpha simply does not have that element. All of the items there are cookie cutter items with LESS variety than items found cheaper(time + credits) at other stores in the game.
As an example, you can't even get consoles at Memory Alpha. At least on Earth Spacedock I can get those. Even the shields for example there are all the same type, i.e. Covariant. At least on Earth spacedock I can select from several different types of shields for LESS time investment and LESS money. At memory alpha I can only get one basic type of deflector(+emitters +deflectors +sensors). On earth spacedock I can at least choose to buy a deflector that generally has the stats on it I'm looking for. At Memory Alpha if I want a kit I only have 2 choices. On earth spacedock I have ALL the choices.
In summation, Memory Alpha needs to be reworked from the ground up because currently it serves no function due to the fact that the other stores are simply better due to variety and being able to choose what you want somewhat. Frankly, the entire store model that was used for it needs to be dropped also. We already have enough stores offering equipment all over the game. We don't need another. I want to feel like I'm crafting with control and not buying premade cookie cutter items from a store.
And now, that I have somewhat criticized and spelled out what I see as the problem, I will now offer what I feel would be a good and reasonable solution to the issue that will be in keeping with the prerelease interview that Cryptic put out and that would actually make Memory Alpha feel like crafting, STO style.
Keep the starter mission for it just like it is. Quinn still gives you the research mission in which you have to go talk to Egenn on Earth space dock and then head to find Romaine over at Memory Alpha. Once you get to Memory Alpha things from the starter mission flow much the same way. Romaine tells you to deposit the samples in the receptacle and you go back to her and she gives you a small amount of experience for it. However, one thing is different. There is no store on Romaine's list of things she will talk to you about. Instead Romaine gives you some green mission text along the lines of,
"We are in desperate need of new data in order to maintain our technological advantage in this war. But before I can give you access to our research here or put in a good word to my colleagues, you first need to prove that you are dedicated to our cause."
At that point Romaine begins offering you missions that will eventually culminate in you gaining access to the facilities(research areas) at Memory Alpha.
Basically her first mission is a "go collect" mission.Romaine wants you to go out and collect a specified amount of certain types of anomalous data for her. Perhaps her first mission will be easy, as in, Go collect 20 samples each of the tier 1 anomalies. So you accept her mission and go do that. Once you return with it, Romaine tells you to once again deposit them in the receptacle. You do that and then talk to her again. Now Romaine, wants 20 each of the of the tier 2 anomalous data. And so on and so forth. Basically, it would be up to the discretion of the devs here exactly how hard they would like the players to work to gain access. Perhaps she gives 6 total missions, one for each tier of anomalous data. Or Maybe she wants more than 20 of each from each tier. Basically, I'm sure the devs could figure out here what an acceptable amount of investment would be required before Romaine opens up Memory Alpha to you. I personally would set the bar high as what I'm about to get to is some pretty powerful and marketable equipment as result of your hard work for Romaine.
So you finally get Romaine's approval from doing her fetch missions. Now what?
Romaine at this point, tells you something to the effect of.
"You have proven your worth to us and my fellow researches are impressed. So and So from the engineering section would like to speak to you. So and So from Scientific research would like to speak to you. So and So from the tactical division would like to speak to you."
Your new mission is to go talk to these individuals. I won't go through them all as it pretty much follows the same structure for each of the individuals at this point. So, I'll just use one of them as example of what the others will basically be like.
So you decide to head over to the Science section of Memory Alpha first and talk to the head honcho over there. As you enter you see the NPC and go speak to them. Again, there is no store here. The NPC gives you some text along these lines:
"My name is So and So. I run the scientific division here at Memory Alpha. I've heard great things about you Captain ____ . Romaine has spoken highly of you so I am trusting you with access to all of our latest scientific advances here. Scattered about the room you will see several industrial replicators. The replicators have all been preprogrammed with our latest scientific advances. The replicators to the east handle starship equipment such as deflectors, science consoles, and shields. The ones to the west handle personal equipment such as scientific kits, personal shields, and weapons. You may now use them at your discretion. In order, however, to maintain open access to you there is a cost involved in using them. You will need to supply an equivalent mass to the replicator in order to create your item, energy credits, as well as a certain amount of anomalous data consistent with the type of item you are creating."
After his spill you now have free access to create anything of any level or rarity within the limitations of it being science in nature provided you have the necessary resources for it. So You decide that you want to check out the starship equipment industrial replicator first. You move over to it and it's interactive. You access it and a menu opens for you.
On this menu you see a couple of basic options - ship deflectors, ship shields, ship consoles.
So today you decide you want to make a deflector. Actually you want to make a specific type of deflector. You want a captain level deflector of the very rare variety made that has +deflectors, +emitters, and +deflector field stats on it. So you select the option "Deflectors". Once you select that option another window opens and replaces the initial one(with a "go back" option at the bottom to return to the previous menu).In this new window there is a box where you can place something. Just like the head honcho told you, in order to even begin replicating this deflector you need equivalent mass. More specifically you need a deflector(it doesn't matter what kind, what tier, or rarity as long as you have any kind of deflector to put in this box you're set to go). So you open your inventory and grab a deflector you had in there and place it in the box. Then you select the "Are you ready to proceed?" option which is at the bottom of this menu.
Another window then opens and replaces that last one. On this window there are 2 sets of options.
One menu set has these selections on it:
Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Captain, Admiral.
The other menu drop down has these options on it:
common, uncommon, rare, very rare.
You select Lieutenant and that selection has an associated cost of energy credits which is displayed for you at the bottom of the overall window. But remember in our example you wanted a captain level item. So you select that option and guess what? The cost in energy credits goes up. Now that you have that option selected. You then move to the rarity option. Selecting common won't raise the cost in energy credits by much but selecting very rare will. Fortunately you have enough credits to select both Captain and very rare today. So you select those 2 options and hit the "Are you ready to ready to proceed?" icon at the bottom of this menu.
A new and final window opens for you. On this window there are several options. In fact on this window you will see all associated stats that can appear on a deflector dish available and perhaps some unique science stats that don't normally appear on deflector dishes as well. There are four fields in this window. The four fields represent the fact that you can put up to 4 different statistical mods on the deflector. You're only needing 3 of those fields today because you only want +deflectors, +emitters, and +deflector field on the item. All the fields have exactly the same options in them. For example Field one has a hypothetical set of the following options:
(all other fields will appear exactly the same as well.)
So for the field one stat you select "Deflectors" and at the bottom of the window or maybe out to the side of the stat in the field you are informed that to put this stat on the item it's going to cost you 5 anomalous mineral samples.
You then goto field two and do the same thing there except in field two the option to select deflectors is greyed out because you have already previously selected it in field one. That's ok. You want "Emitters" here anyways. So you select emitters and of course it's going to cost you something like 5 Biological samples to put this one on the item.
Now you head to field three and select the final mod you want on the item which is "Deflector Field". This one is going to cost you 5 plasma anomalous samples. In field four you just select the "None" option and it won't affect your cost in anomalous data. IF you have the required anomalous data to add these at the bottom of this window there is an option that says:
"Replicate" or "Cancel". You select replicate and then get a message box asking you if you are satisfied with your choices. You click accept and presto, the item is instantly created for you and transported to your inventory. It will be a very rare deflector dish of captain tier that has +"Deflectors", +"Emitters", and +"Deflector Field". Also the resources you used in the process will be taken from your possession at this point.
Basically, the other research areas/replicators work in a similar fashion and have craftable items geared towards their sphere and of course you wouldn't have options like putting +photon torpedoes on deflector dishes or putting +impulse speed on a shield.
Anyways, that's just a bare bones outline of what I would like Memory Alpha to be like.