But I read this post by Dstahl and it affirmed I've thought before...
Originally Posted by dstahl
don't put too much faith in that number - it literally changes week to week.
I would also posit that the number is also very similar to the number of players who dress up as Klingons at Star Trek conventions.
Are there Klingon fans? Heck yes. Are they a majority of fans? nope and never have been. I'd argue that just counting people who dress up at cons, there are just as many andorian, trill, and vulcan fans as there are Klingon fans.
I guess the Andorian fans are just more polite about wanting their own faction...
Factions in STO don't make sense if developed like factions in WoW or Guild Wars or Star Wars. However, that model of what a faction is has been pursued by Cryptic and demanded by players (Federation and Klingon)). I don't think that works. Not for two factions. Not for twelve.
I think we need a real overhaul of what a faction IS and how content is designed for them, honestly. It's the harder route in some respects but, I think, the more forward thinking and more tenable one.
I'm going to use the WoW analogy because it's the big and dominating paradigm, not because it's the best fit.
Klingon = Death Knight
Tactical = Blood spec Death Knight
Science = Unholy spec Death Knight
Engineer = Frost spec Death Knight
I realize the analogy isn't perfect because you need situational hostility and alliances between Star Trek empires/factions. But, at the end of the day, I think FvK combat is basically like a Paladins vs. DKs battleground. The professions in STO are not divergent enough to be the real analogy for classes in other MMOs. (And a profession respec IS demanded and makes snese, IMHO.) In turn, the fanbases for various factions are not large enough to support treating them as conventional factions.
As it stands, an STF is five captains working together, imperfectly modeled on, say, The Dominion War where you might have Captains of a single faction team up. Now, I know there has been discussion for ages about cross-faction teaming as an option in STFs. I'd go one further and suggest that STFs (and teaming in general) should be scenarios like "Day of the Dove" where Kirk and Kang team-up, "Allegiance" where Picard is in a chamber with a Bolian Starfleet cadet, a Mizarian, and a Chalnoth, etc.
This is a radical redesign. This isn't just "let Klingons and Feds team-up" or "open some (or most) Federation missions to Klingons." I'm suggesting that what a mission is shouldn't have faction. It should be a situation which anyone who encounters will have a stake in and participate in the same side, potentially, in.
Star Trek Empires are basically classes with hostility flags that are situational. Science, Tactical, and Engineering are basically trees, not classes. This is the only way anyone could effectively support a twelve faction game. A two faction game isn't really viable for the IP, even with hundreds of millions of dollars.
As a matter of basic proportions, I think Stahl's observations are right but that what they show is that Federation is just the popular "jack of all trades" class when modeled properly in an MMO and that other empires are not "equal and opposing factions" (all the opposition is very un-Trek and the numbers don't support it, in terms of prospective player populations) but other classes, simply with a class-based hostility mechanic thrown in.