Here are some of my ideas to improve the game and make it competitive with other MMO’s and help retain players
A five-fold increase in story driven content. The random mission generators in the Expanses do not make up for quality, directed, and story driven missions.
Justification: This will give the game replay value providing the player a different gaming experience.
Since you have decided on a three class system, Science, Engineer, and Tactical Officers you should have three class oriented story through lines for the game.
Justification: This will give the game replay value as well as adding a more immersive game play experience. They can and should be interrelated; have the three classes working the same story but each class has a different role to play. See the first 20 levels of Age of Conan.
Do not add any new races without giving them game content beyond grinding in the Expanses or PvP. Not all players enjoy PvP, and those that don’t resent being forced into it.
Justification: Player retention.
All MMO missions break down as either fight or click missions, but please increase the complexity of the missions in STO. The template of 5 you are using is uninteresting. 5 Anomalies. 5 MoBs. 5 Access databases. 5 databases with 5 MoBs.
Justification: Player retention and recruitment.
Evasive Maneuvers should only be a massive defensive buff and a movement debuff, i.e. counters the effects of a chroniton or warp plasma attack. It should not be a 10s speed and maneuverability buff.
Justification: It breaks immersion and is not represented in Star Trek lore. Either an enemy ship was faster and more maneuverable or it wasn’t.
Make the levels longer, much longer. Whether you are talking about MMO structure or the “reality” of a career in Starfleet making Vice Admiral in under two months of not powerleveling is ridiculous.
Justification: Player retention and replayability of the game. A large part of the game is played in space, so while your ground avatar is a constant through the game your ship is not. My observation is that by the time I’ve bonded with my ship and have gotten good at using it I get promoted and handed a new one.
Allow players to keep their ships and “refit” them to match their new abilities. If a player bonds with a particular ship let them keep it throughout the entire game. This can become very complex in terms keeping each ships characteristics unique while at the same time normalizing them so players can compete with the environment and each other. The Federation has proven it can make smaller ships more powerful, i.e. the Defiant. It could create a graphics lag issue since the players GPU will need support an increase in ship models.
Modify the Skill tree and remove the boxes for the specific types of energy weaponry. Replace them with skills specific to offense like accuracy, recharge, energy consumption, range, damage output. The Skill tree already has specifics for weapons types such as Beam, Mines, Cannons, and Torpedoes so keep them. You could also break some of the “must have” skills like accuracy or damage output into separate boxes, i.e. Accuracy at LtC and then Advanced Accuracy at Admiral.
Justification: Allows players to play earlier earned ships without having to be concerned that as an LT I was phaser-centric but respec’ed as a Commander into plasma. It would also allow a player to play the different ship types not normally associated with their class and not worry about making different weapon choices. For a gun crew, a gun is a gun and what it is firing doesn’t matter to them. The only people the care whether a gun fires phaser or plasma energy are the maintenance crews.
Add a profile manager so players can configure their ships such as equipment to be used, Bridge Officers, their powers, and their tray configuration to a saved profile. When a player selects their ship they can then load the ships profile and be ready to fight almost immediately. The current process is manual and tedious.
Justification: Ease of play, player retention and recruitment. It will allow me to mentor new players by not just exempting to their level, but also playing the game with a ship consistent with their level. It can’t be very fun for a new player to have an Admiral with his massive ship come in and finish missions. Without struggle and jeopardy, it is not a game.
Simplify, simply, oh please, simplify the purchasing process for equipment. For the life of me I cannot figure out why you made the purchasing process so complex; the best I can come up with is it is intended to thwart RMTers. If your intent was to make RMT difficult you probably succeeded, but you also made it incredibly frustrating for the other 99.9% of your player base that just wants to play the game and be able to purchase, via hard work and planning, the equipment that will make our ships perform.
Justification: Ease of play and player retention.
Skills and powers come in two flavors, player and NPC Bridge Officers. Please clean up the UI so that it is easier to distinguish between the two. The skill tree dropdown is ridiculously long once you have a full crew and a large ship, allow me to select Me, or a specific BO and then view what skills need points. The same applies to the Powers window when configuring my tray; have it display ground or space, and then Me or BOs.
Justification: Ease of play
Co-op mission between factions. It is already possible for the Federation to have Klingon BOs and the Klingons to select races associated with the Federation as BOs. This strongly implies that in the STO universe the altercation between the Klingons and Federation is not a total war scenario, so even though they are in conflict; the Borg and the Undine, and to a much lesser extent the Romulans, represent a clear and present danger to both factions. One would think that enlightened starship captains would band together, occasionally, to fight the greater threat.
Justification: Immersion and recruitment.
While teaming with other players on ground missions, it would be nice if we could all bring down our NPC crews. We spend a lot of time tricking them out to meet our game play styles, we spend a lot of time outfitting them – and then no one ever gets to see them.
Justification: Immersion, when captains are combining forces – they are combining forces.
This one is a two-parter, but inner-related. One, I would like the missions to scale based on team size, my current observation is enemy MoBs get slightly tougher based on team size. Large teams should be rewarded for their long journeys to far flung Systems with missions that aren’t completed in under five minutes. Two, it would be nice, especially in the Expanses, if I can set a preference for ground or space combat when on a team. It would still randomly generate missions but would favor my preferences, and while teaming the number of anomaly grabs and click missions should be moved to zero. If I’m on a team, I want to fight, I don’t want to run around clicking things waiting for a combat mission to be generated.
Justification: Immersion and player retention.
There should be some controls over fighters. Not just an attack my target option, which they break off if I click on a teammate to buff them, or a different enemy to debuff. I want buttons to Assign Target, Return to Ship/land, Attack my target, and Patrol where you are. Lastly, I would like icons for my fighters so I can monitor their health. And of course, last lastly, Feds should have a carrier as well – attrition warfare is not an alien concept in human history and we have to do something to solve the Denoblian problem.
Personal opinion ideas
Starships are naval vessels. I would like a more naval feel to the game. The game currently plays more like a jet fighter sim, which makes a certain amount of sense, but slowing the ships down and curtailing their turn rates would add a more naval mood to the game, and would also help delineate the differences between your capital ships and escort vessels while promoting flotilla operations.
Buffing powers in Engineer and Science officers needs altering. I would be happy with it being accomplished in one of two ways. One, double the range of a buffing power (specifically buffs, not debuffs, they are fine). Because the ships zip around so much flotillas don’t stay in range of each other for very long and it is oftentimes difficult to get in range of a distressed ship to help it before it goes kaplooey. Two, leave the buffing range as is, but substantially increase the duration and/or effectiveness of the buff.
Significantly increase the damage done by mines. Deploying mines at just the right time and distance so they hit a completely downed shield is an art form and very difficult to pull off. If you get good at it you are rewarded with a difficult to use weapon that isn’t overly effective. Star Trek lore and modern naval warfare do support mines being hella-weapons.
Stop putting mobs at the spawn points in space battles or at least put a 10 second no one can fire rule in place. The only exception to this would be in directed story driven missions where an ambush is part of the story.
I would like to have more control over the design and layout of my ships interior. Since this is rarely seen by other players, it wouldn’t have an impact on game play, and except for load times when inviting a captain to see the splendor that is my ship, it shouldn’t cause a GPU problem. I would like to be able to do something while in my ships interior, what, I’m not entirely certain. Maybe you have to be in your ship to swap in and out BOs, access the Exchange for posting but not purchasing, resetting BO powers. Perhaps some missions can occur on my ship interior as in I’ve been boarded. Having a ship interior that is only good for me to run around and look at seems. . .seems like something that should never have been given to me in the first place. As a player, I’m given the option to outfit and dress both myself and my BOs in their own Starfleet uniforms. Additionally, I would like to be able to outfit them for both onboard ship uniforms and away team uniforms. Ship interior NPCs should use my BOs as their costuming template. This will complete the uniqueness of my ships interior and make my crew consistent. Again, most of this only applies while I’m on my own ship so shouldn’t create a GPU issue.