So I was thinking about what I would do to improve end game.
We need some sort of long term goal. Currently, every time I log on is pretty much the same as the last. I do my Dailies for my points to buy gear, and then log off. We need a reason to log on, we need to be able to effect the galaxy by our participation.
In it's current form, STO feels like Battlefield: Bad Company, or Modern Warfare 2. The more I play the more skills and gear I get. It's a lot of fun to fight the battles. But in the end, when the 5 to 20 minute battle is over, everything resets, and we start all over.
There's a war on! We need some way to effect the map!
1-Have four factions (Feds, Klingons, Romulan, Cardassian). Realistically this could be implimented with just the current Fed/Klingon factions, the others added later. Each has their own little empire as they do now. The borders between them are in dispute. Systems in the disputed zones can be "conquered". This opens up a universe of possibilities! Fed Fleet enters Beta Eridani system. Klingons are defending their space stations (4) with AI backup ships scattered throughout the map. Feds destroy the space stations, get space superiority. Then you you have to engage in ground combat against the Klingon ground forces to capture a few key points on the map. Presto, Feds own Beta Eridani, and their space stations and AI ships go up. If the Klingons want it back, they have to attack.
Guilds and PvPers could spend years with the back and forth of fighting to control these systems! Guilds planning and executing raids against a certain planet. Sneaky solo Klingons using cloaks to pick off a few AI's while solo Feds hunt them down.
I don't think this would be that hard to implement. Some of the current Space and Ground maps could be used, just kept running longer then the current few minutes of battle per instance. Yes, server capacity and bandwith could be an issue (you would need to allow fairly large numbers of players in at the same time), but I think it could be done.
Currently everyone plays on the same server, just enters different "Instances". This would not be true for these "Disputed" systems, wait times could be long. There could not be a "Beta Eridani 23", "Beta Eridani 24". But you could create many "Planets" along each border to give people a chance to get into one of them. Upon death you could get booted to the back of the battle wait list as a death penalty.
-Would need larger maps, especially ground maps (although some of the battleground maps COULD work). Space maps that they already have could be made to "feel" larger by simply disabling Full Impulse.
-Each faction has their "Warp in" point on opposite sides of the map, the death penalty is the long drive back to the point your fleet is at. Early in the battle you are close to your spawn, and the enemy is far from his. As your fleet moves forward, your travel time after a death is longer, and theirs is shorter. You avoid death because you don't want to make the long trip back to the battle. Besides, smart opponents will position a few ships between the battle and YOUR spawn to pick off the ships returning.
-Solo players could effect the battle, but in small ways. Picking off AI's, engaging returning enemies from the spawn point so they can't reinforce the main battle, or banding together to form smaller PUG fleets. But in the end, systems really only change hands when Fleets of players band together and attack with a plan.
-The Space Stations provide stability to the mixture. Even a well equiped solo player (or small group) can't conquer a system when server population is low. They could come to the zone of course, and fight AI's and whatever enemy faction players there might be. But they simply can't do enough damage to the space stations (think of them as Elite Bosses from WOW for example) to destroy them.
-Each planet can provide a small advantage to the faction that controls it. A vendor that sells lower cost gear, a researcher that allows you to upgrade certain equiment, interesting Bridge Officer Recruits. Once a system is controlled, players from your faction can access the "perk" for that system by travelling there. But of course they have to pass through the PvP zone to get there.
Federation Guild "The Generics" puts out the call the day before. The Klingons have held Eridani for too long! They assemble their fleet of 20 ships and warp in. The only Feds already there are a few Solo players working on AI's and dodging the few Klingon defenders.
The Generics join the Beta Eridani queue and most get in right away. The rest get in not long after as spots open up. Soon they begin slicing through the AI's and player ships in the area. Clearing out AI's near the first Space Station fairly easily, and after a long fight to take out the well defended Space Station they move onto the next. All is going well at station 2 until they get a surprise from their old adversaries, the Klingon Guild "The Klings". They heard that the Generics were attacking Beta Eridani and gathered together as many people as they could on short notice. The best the Klings can gather is 10 ships. The Klings are defending, so they have the advantage, but they also are rushing into battle.
The Generics have trained to keep a good formation. Cruisers set for max shields on the edges of the fleet. Escorts ready to rush out and hit he enemies weak points and retreat safely behind the cruisers. Science Ships in the back repairing the damaged ships and jamming sensors or spotting cloaked ships.
The Klings can't seem to keep a good formation tonight. As usual they are doing plenty of damage. But unless they can break the Generics formation they will loose this battle.
The battle lasts for hours. Ships trying to flank get seperated and picked off. Cloaked Klingons get in a few good hits that threaten to break the Generics formation. Solo Captains hear about the battle and warp in to help on both sides. Small skirmishes break out all over the map. But the Generics continue moving through the system destroying AI's and Space Stations. Eventually through skill and determination the Generics take out the last Space Station.
The battle then moves to the planet surface. The Klingons put up a good fight, but having lost the space battle they are demoralized. Beta Eridani falls to the Federation!
The Klings, nursing their wounded pride, plan for the counter attack the next day.
Maybe I should clarify. I didn't intend this as a replacement for what SHOULD be done, adding more meaningful high end content. But IMO this is something that can be implemented quickly, using mostly existing code and systems, and provide something meaningful for us Rear Admirals and Fleets to do.
Whatever endgame PvP they will come up with, I hope they will add features to eliminate The Zerg factor.
That is the biggest PvP killer for me (as it was in WHO too).
Guildwars dealt with The Zerg issue very nicely in their Alliance Battles: the side who mobbed up usually lost due to not being able to hold onto the cap points they zerged over. I think the idea there was to balance the number of people who can play on the map with the number of capture points and the distance between them.