Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 41
03-23-2010, 01:41 PM
Originally Posted by Ayenn
Given your continuing piercing assessments here and other places, I would like to know your thoughts on the subject. Please, do
Much appreciated I'm liking where you're going with the exploration ideas. The following is a long read; I hope it turns out to be worth it

I sat down and thought about this for a while, and yet the more I thought about it, the more I found myself off in different tangents, so apologies if this comes across a little scatter-brained. It's more an attempt at a brain dump of ideas. It also fluctuates a bit between myself as a player and myself as a character, apologies if people find this confusing.

So, I started with a fundamental question: what are we here for? For the Federation, why did we join Starfleet; for the Klingons, why did we join the KDF. Ultimately we as characters represent the military and exploration arm of a galactic empire. Our goal would be to further the capabilities of that empire. As I look back over the episodic content STO has, and it's not bad even if I do tear it to pieces in other threads, I have a constant nagging feeling in the back of my mind. It's that it has no real effect - for every story where we find some new piece of technology or solve some problem, the actual state of the game world changes not at all. This should not be interpreted as a call to remove instancing - merely that we have zero way to influence the game world as it stands.

I want to do my part. I want to complete something and feel that I made a difference. The following ideas are created around Federation terms, but they could be entirely applicable to other playable races as introduced (I believe some should be area specific to increase the different playstyles on offer).

Idea 1: Better meaningful DSEs
Right now, vendors are static. I propose that whilst the Federation has a limited supply of weapons etc. in reserve, the majority comes from trade both within the Federation and from without. Supply lines are important. So, instead of merely vendor X selling items A, B, and C, we have a fluctuating supply & changing prices. These are linked directly to actions in space.

Each sector produces certain goods. DSEs roam those sectors. Engaging and completing those DSEs reduces prices and/or increases availability. We could have new forms of DSE where it's not merely about engaging the enemy, but protecting transports.

Idea 2: Moving DSEs into PvP
Whilst we're on the subject of transports, we should have contested zones where DSEs protecting transports aren't just PvE, they're PvP. These would form the basis of moving front lines - the more supplies you can get through to your front lines, the more your lines can advance.

Population imbalance needs to be considered. The only way to adjust a DSE for that is in the DSE itself, to avoid exploits in merely having ships present in the sector. I would propose something like the following for a Federation offensive DSE at the front lines junction (more on that in a minute) (i.e. attacking the enemy's supplies):

10 Klingon transports
30 Klingon defenders
30 Federation attackers
(Precise numbers not really important and open to balance)

of which the game would substitute via warp in and warp out players with NPCs and vice-versa, appropriately balanced (one NPC != one player after all) given player level. It would be totally open to any rank, and capped at say, 5-10 players per side. A quiet sector yields effectively PvE - a busy sector is heavily PvP oriented.

As DSEs move away from the front line, they become harder for the attacker, and easier for the defender (the numbers above and potentially player cap changes). Note that this doesn't mean you can just go defensive all the time - the impact of completing or defending each DSE would be linked to the distance from or behind enemy lines (the more defensive, the less impact, the more offensive, the greater, possibly with a modifier based on number of human players present).

What impact? The most obvious is that said front line moves. However I believe the impact should go further into ground combat.

Idea 3: Heating up Ground Combat PvP
Solar systems close to enemy lines where ground confrontations occur should be tougher, with more support for the defenders e.g. turrets, random orbital bombardments, greater supplies, and consequently greater rewards. Key points should be persistent between instances and captured or disabled based on cumulative running totals for either side.

As an example, as part of a ground combat area, defenders have a fairly major automated turret system laying down defensive fire (random mortar fire in the general approach areas of the attacking side). As part of the assault, the attackers can choose to have engineering and/or science officers (specifically) present in an area to hack the turrets. The defenders of course can choose to try and disrupt that. Within a single instance, a successful hack merely turns off the turrets for that instance, that time, but repeated cumulative hacks disables the turrets for all instances, from the start of the match.

Why do I have the tougher ground combat & greater rewards close to the front line? Recall that the front line moves as a result of one side completing tougher, deeper attacks into enemy space. If ground combat were best rewarded with the toughest encounters at the back of enemy space, you'd have no incentive to push your front lines forward into their territory. Some areas would also not be accessible until the lines were close enough.

Idea 4: Enhance sector space size
This really is to help tie in the next two ideas & make them more workable. Make sector space roughly three-five times the size it is now. Keep everything the same scale & relative positions, and make warp as fast in terms of time to travel as it was before. All we're doing is making more room to work with.

Idea 5: PvP region design
Multiple regions (side by side along a longer front line) might be required, or it might all play well with a single region - for K vs F, even Eta Eridani might repurpose well with a bit of redesign, though my current feeling is that sector space generally needs to be bigger for this to work. We'd have to see. The basic layout would be something like this, since STO works with sector space boxes: at each end there is a headquarters. Scattered throughout the region are a series of solar systems. The region begins with the front lines in the middle.

I would envisage perhaps five sectors - each sector unlocks once the front line moves into it. Once the front line has reached the far edge of the rear sectors, the gameplay changes slightly. The headquarters becomes accessible to assault in stages. First, a series of PvP engagements to deal with outer defenses. Second, space engagements to clear defenders in orbit of the HQ station. Thirdly, ground assault within the HQ to take the station over. These would follow the same basic pattern of instance repetition (with some variation to make it appear different, e.g. clear space turrets in the left sector, assault the docking ring of the station) but with a window of opportunity. Failure to capture the starbase within a day results in the station resetting (an NPC relief fleet arrived and drove you all off).

Capturing the headquarters lists the region as conquered/liberated/call it what you will. The opposing side gets advantages to assist with turning the tide until either the front line moves back in front of the HQ or the HQ is recaptured.

Idea 6: Fleet starbases
The idea itself is not new, but I intend to link it into our growing persistent Star Trek world.

Fleet starbases would be expensive - sufficient to deter small fleets from having a starbase unless they happen to be extremely rich. They would be located in real space i.e. not just an instance somewhere - they go on the sector map and you can visit them if so desired (they are of course actually an instance, but I would like to see fleets that are large enough to be able to make a mark on the map).

However, rather than have Cryptic try and keep abreast of the current state of the economy to ensure we don't end up with thousands of starbases, starbases would be determined by supply and demand. A sector with several starbases in already would be prohibitively expensive - an empty sector would be cheaper. Equally the closer you are to Sol, the more expensive it is.

However, there's more than just basic purchase cost. Starbases are huge stations with complex systems; they need resources to run, and Starfleet already has their own starbases to worry about. So, there is an associated upkeep cost with the Starbase, linked to three factors: proximity to Sol, what services you install, and how well DSEs are dealt with in that sector by your fleet. Each DSE notes the members present when completing it, with a suitable check for activity to avoid exploits of just sitting there, and if fleet members are present, that DSE counts towards reducing your Starbase's upkeep.

However, there's a way to have no upkeep costs at all. If you place your Starbase in a PvP region, it costs nothing to run; it's Starfleet funded. You are recommended to outfit it with suitable weapons & defenses (which do have a purchase cost), because the price of no upkeep cost is that you're contributing a base for the war effort. It can be captured by the enemy much like the region headquarters; your fleet has a responsibility to defend it as a material war objective, though non-fleet members can assist. You are making a statement that your fleet is a PvP fleet, and that for you, internet spaceship PvP is seriouz buzinezz.

(Next ideas in next post due to post character count limit - my god I've hit the character limit!)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 42
03-23-2010, 01:42 PM
Idea 7: What about PvP queues
So currently PvP queues are a bit awkward, and have a strange tie-in into sector space whereby you can jump in at any time, anywhere, yet apparently it's at a specific place in the Eta Eridani sector. Lets' change that.

Since we've just created objective-based PvP, the focus of the other PvP queues etc. should be a more formal challenge-style event. I would therefore create two types of PvP event, set at present in the Azure Nebula. This location offers perfect real estate as it's on the border of Federation, Klingon and Romulan space, is mostly uninhabited, and obscures sensors, enabling random encounters and sudden attacks without warning (*1).

What does the above blurb translate to? The first style would be Random PvP - you join a queue, and you and four other people are dumped unceremoniously into the nebula, just as five other random queuers are dumped into the same instance on the opposing side (both sides are automatically teamed for the duration). Now go shoot each other (either a kill or time limit or some points-based objective). This offers a unique experience where you have to coordinate and work with strangers, akin to fleet actions. It can yield some incredibly fun encounters, as both sides are equally disadvantaged and must learn to work together, overcome their weaknesses (e.g. you find randomly you're all cruisers) and exploit the enemy's. It is a perfect trial by fire experience for those seeking to react favourably to any obstable.

The second style would be Team PvP - you form a team of five, the team leader queues, you all join in. This is more organised, more precise, more two oiled killing machines facing off, but requires more thought, organisation etc. (which is why I added Random). This would be closer to the current PvP queue, but aimed squarely and precisely at teams, whether pick-up or fleet or organised.

Idea 8: But wait, I hate PvP!
Never fear! Those seeking a PvE challenge can still contribute beyond merely making their trade routes safe (Idea 1). What does every budding space empire at war need? Resources and allies. Exploration now isn't just about finding badges. Players can establish trade agreements via diplomacy, or conquer worlds and strip-mine them for resources. Players can find new allies, or conquer worlds and draft the inhabitants into your war machine.

Exploration missions can have more meaning - that random encounter with 5 squadrons of BadNameians now really does help protect your trade routes established with far off distant worlds. Sadly I can see no way to ever get those strange demented researchers in all those asteroid bases helping, but you never know.

How would this work? Each exploration area has a resource counter that is always slowly dwindling. Exploring worlds and finding raw resources boosts it a bit (that's just scanning) - exploring worlds and setting up trade via diplomacy minigames, or conquering said world gives it a real boost. There's also a risk of attack counter that always slowly goes up, and is decreased by destroying the usual random pirates. The net effect is that your empire is receiving a supply from those sectors equivalent to some net figure resulting from those two counters, which boosts various effects around your empire. Perhaps starbase equipment is cheaper, or more exotic weapons are for sale at vendors more often, or the front line in a PvP region moves that little bit further.

There's more stuff bubbling away in my brain, but that's far more than enough for now. Congratulations to anyone who actually managed to read this far and is still awake.

*1 I believe that this nebula is the one mentioned in the Voyager episode Flashback, describing how Sulu took the Excelsior into a nebula near Rura Penthe in an attempt to rescue Kirk during the events of Star Trek 6: Undiscovered Country. I have no direct canon evidence, but looking at the map, it fits the available facts I could find. It makes a perfect PvP arena zone because it's a place where you could really be sneaking around and have random encounters, limited by nebula sensor disruption - indeed that's why Sulu went there - to avoid Klingon detection along the Neutral Zone.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 43
03-23-2010, 02:06 PM
Originally Posted by pneumonic81 View Post
and yet, your playing it and wasting your time reading the forum, replying to threads, etc. Clearly you want more. So do a lot of other people, that's why we post.

I am not really playing it anymore, but I did pay for the game so I have a right to express my points as well as you do.

People post negative things cause they feel they got ripped off and cant get a refund so they vent and feel better about it.

That’s not my case, however, I knew this was a game I would play for a month or less, I paid my money to try it out see what it was like first hand, knowing cryptic and reading about the game, I knew it would not be good or serious or long lasting.

I read these forums cause I am at work and they amuse me. I find it funny what many of you guys say here, and I am entertained by well,,I will be nice,,by your point of views. Making long detailed posts on how to better the game, and what you would like to see, as if that were going to do something and simply ignoring the obvious, huge core game design flaws (ie sector space, no bridge view, simple acrade game design combat, space ship view, no real "universe just a giant space map that connects a ton of small instances ect ect)

This forum reminds me of TR’s when that game was active, Tabula Risa if I am spelling it right. I used to be critical on that forum too, in hopes people would wake up and demand better, that game just got worse after lunch and everything “negative” one said a bunch of fan boys would jump in and flame you. Of course that game shut down in about only 1 year. And that was a better game then this one.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 44
03-23-2010, 02:36 PM
Originally Posted by Ayenn
And each additional TF would be another 4ish hours. that is problematic for continued sustainability, obviously.

I'm talking about the generation of endgame that is theoretically limitless. what I have discussed in other threads is the creation of a system that puts endgame in the hands of players. that which I have mentioned in the past is one option, a proven option. If that were included in the development of STO down the line it would go a long way to forming social game-play. Acknowledging that potential, can something more, something other than that, be formulated.
I'd love to see them go almost competely away from raiding / pvp as end game. New ideas and all that.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 45
03-23-2010, 05:53 PM
My gripe with the STFs is that they are team based. I only game with Real Life friends, and so far that's not happening in STO. I want more soloable RA content. Otherwise, Im really left in the dust, content wise.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 46
03-24-2010, 02:00 AM
Originally Posted by Jerstone
This forum reminds me of TR’s when that game was active, Tabula Risa if I am spelling it right. I used to be critical on that forum too, in hopes people would wake up and demand better, that game just got worse after lunch and everything “negative” one said a bunch of fan boys would jump in and flame you. Of course that game shut down in about only 1 year. And that was a better game then this one.
I for one believe Tabula Rasa did get better after lunch (you clearly only gave the game 12 hours!), and people did demand more, from beta onwards. The devs didn't listen very well. Cryptic by comparison are. I don't see any fanboys in this thread; people are actively contributing to ideas to improve the game, which by definition states that the game as it stands needs work.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 47
03-24-2010, 02:57 AM
PvP must be improved, greatly improved. When Feds outnumber Klingons by 5 or more to one having control of a sector or more decided by PvP with associated rewards going to the owner is only asking for trouble.

Here's what I recommend to spice up PvP:

1. A ground tournament or challenge arena where players can consentually wager each other in 1 on 1 ground combat. They need to be able to limit weapons, for example to bat'leth or melee only. This area will allow fleets or individuals to organize tournaments of various kinds and for individual players to come and try to make a fortune.

2. A to the last man/Klingon/whatever 40 player (or whatever number) cage match. Die once and you are out. This should be multi-tier and will allow fleets to take picked teams into matches.

3. Sector and planetary open PvP (multi-tier) areas with large numbers of players able to battle it out. (Open PvP in this case means you can attack players from opposing factions, not all players.) A mechanism needs to be included to keep the ratio of players from any faction to no more then a 2:1 over any other faction. In the space sector there could be areas where local conditions prevent the use of cloaks, bases for each side, gravity wells, wandering "space monstors" and other oddities. There should be several very large ground maps, some with restricted routes between the sides' spawn points. Automated defesnes around the spawn points shouls be sufficient to provide serious problems to even the best equipped and determined spawn campers.

All three of these are straight out of *********, they aren't rocket science.

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