Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Just a few random thoughts I've had since returning to STO a couple of weeks ago after a 6-month break.

The game opens with you as a 2nd year cadet at Starfleet Academy on Earth. I know this has been mentioned as one of the ideas to improve the first hours of gameplay by the devs before, but I'd like to add a small twist myself. The tutorial will take place 10 years before the events of STO, meaning it can take place before open war is declared with the Klingons but during a period of deteriorating relations. This may feel a bit more familiar to fans of Star Trek who otherwise join the game and are immediately thrown into a world where the Federation is being attacked from all sides.

Monitoring the Klingon invasion of Gorn space may be a possible end-point for the tutorial in some way, and the ramifications of it explored. The tutorial could end with the player earning themselves a battlefield commission to the rank of Ensign.

First Command and Level System Modification
10 years pass during which you are assumed to have worked your way through the normal ranks of Starfleet and finally earned your first command, although as this will be left "blanK" players can make up whatever story happened to them for those years without restriction. This means the player would immediately be a Captain, necessitating an overhaul of the current level/rank system.

The new system would be mostly a cosmetic change only. Instead of each set of levels being linked to a Starfleet rank as is currently the case, they would instead refer to your experience and reputation as a Captain. A very quick and dirty example

Green 1-10
Regular 1-10
Seasoned 1-10
Veteran 1-10
Renowned 1-10
Heroic 1-10
Legendary 1-10
Historic 1-10

So for instance, someone who had reached a Veteran level of experience and reputation within Starfleet would be considered for the Captain's chair on current Tier 4 starships (Defiant, Galaxy, Intrepid) and would be able to attract applications from more experienced bridge officers. Not only does this system remove the problem of Admirals running around everywhere, it allows for greater expansion of the level cap AND makes sense from a canon point of view. It would be very unlikely for a brand new Captain to be given command of something like a Sovereign-class, and while I'm aware Commander Riker went straight to a Luna-class upon being promoted, I count people like him as the exception rather than the rule.

In one swoop you expand the possible level cap (I'm sure someone more creative could do a better experience/reputation list than mine) without creating ever-higher ranks in Starfleet, remove the bugbear of an extremely top-heavy command structure, allow Fleet leaders to be called Admiral and have it mean something, and it still makes sense and can be done with minimal cosmetic changes to the current system.

A quick MySQL find/replace through the mission texts for {PLAYER_RANK} tags to replace them with "Captain" should deal with that minor issue. At least I hope so!

Where Are The Shuttles?
In the various Star Trek series, various forms of shuttlecraft were forever being sent out to do tasks. What I wouldn't mind seeing, and would make a certain amount of sense, is the ability to send out a Bridge Officer in a shuttle to scan anomalies in a mission. Obviously the default of flying there yourself is an option, but this would allow you to concentrate on something else while your crew performs the task of scanning anomalies. The chance to find a rare one should be based on the division of the Bridge Officer you send out, with Science-types being more likely to be successful.

However, it now becomes possible for an entirely new type of random mission, where something nasty/problematic happens to the shuttle and you have to deal with it. They may get jumped by hostile forces, in which case if you sent a Tactical Officer in the shuttle they'd be able to hold out longer against the foes. Maybe the scanning causes some sort of explosion and breaches the hull of the shuttle, in which case if you sent an Engineering Officer you'd have longer to get to them before an emergency beam-out was necessary. Just little things to spice up the game and make it more like you're a Captain in command of a crew rather than a solo hero with a little bit of backup on ground missions. I'm sure the creative community here could expand on the idea in far greater detail than I could manage.

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