Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
To Whom It May Concern,

So for whatever reason, I've had a gnawing thought to write an 'open letter.' This is odd because I am a terrible writer. I do want to write about this game and all involved in hopes of 2012 being a rebirth for STO. Before I go into the meat, I'll state my game style so everyone knows the kind of player I am.

Before STO, I had never played an MMO. STO is my first MMO experience. I was able to play a bit in Beta before the launch. My friend and I at college tore through the game and played for about 6 months or so. After there being nothing really left to do, we both took breaks. Came back for a "Welcome Back Weekend" around August, but wasn't really impressed. It was the beginning of this year with the changes to ESD that really impressed me. Until the Doff system and SFA, my favorite place to log out was in the shipyard looking out at the Galaxy and Excelsior. It was these changes, plus hearing what was slated to be coming (i.e. look at I believe PodSix's signature thingy) that I got my LTS.

My style is very causal. I do not figure out the best min/max set up, but I played a fair amount of PVP and understood a few of the finer points. I bashed my head through the old STFs just so I could get my 'wobbler' just in case the changes to KA took them out. I've run all the missions and now have 5 FEDS at two major levels; VA and LT. Now, I log in once in a while to run the race, do some DOFF, and that's about it as it stands. I am however reading the forums each day, seeing what's going down the pipe and what not.

When it comes to the game, I enjoy it a lot, more so when there is new stuff. Again, I do not try to get caught up in getting the best gear or crafting everything. I play to play and that's where I enjoy the game. I totally understand others get enjoyment out of crafting, PVP, working out a min/max character. I think it's great I can ask people that consider themselves 'specialists' to help me learn.

STO will be entering its current major change soon and there has been a fair amount of 'extremes' going on in the forums about the direction and the potential detriment. Again, I understand that everyone has different play styles and that people are very passionate about what game changes affect what they hold dear to them in game. I have not been too thrilled with some of the changes, especially the T3/T5 debacle, but I remember I don't play the game for those, I play for the fun which some could argue that my style lends to easier adjustments to change because its casual. This is why I haven't played the Defari Ground Event since it made the trek from Tribble. I don't schedule my play time. I only played the Mirror Event the other day for the 5th time, if that, since it got to Holo. And I can feel other players pain about other aspects of game play.

Just the other day I tried PVP after months. I will not go back for a long time. I went in knowing I wasn't kitted properly, but it was like day one again. A complete Klink shut out the two times I needed to finish the assignment. It's unbelievably annoying. Even though I do want to see a finished Klink side so I can finally explore that side, I joke to myself they need to do it, so Klinks will stop playing PVP because its all they have to do. My play style doesn't fit of course to play a lot, but I'd like to enjoy it. Balance needs to happen, some serious love that has been begged by the PVP community needs to be heard. I'd like to know how to clear Theta Radiation because my team responded with death. I laughed and said it was true.

I guess what I'm trying to get at with this keyboard catching random thoughts is the big picture of where STO is heading. As Chris said, "it is the only living form of Star Trek canon that we have now, of the prime of the universe." I will go one step further and say that STO is the last bastion OF the prime universe. Once STO has ended, after hopefully an abnormally long MMO life-cycle, that's it folks, the Prime Universe is over (Though Chris mentions other forms like books, etc). For me that's huge. I will admit I do enjoy what has been phrased the JJTrek, but realize that the rise of that is the fall of the Prime Universe. I highly doubt in a town rebooting everything under the sun, regardless of good or bad reboots, I seriously do not see any new prime Trek. It will just be considered old Trek.

That is why EVERYONE involved has to work to make STO worthwhile. Developers need to listen, the community needs to listen, and everyone needs communication. It was really nice, but also VERY disheartening to hear the J-Man being 'called' Tron because, though perceptions is everything and I'm sure people like Brandon and others are also 'going to bat for us;' it struck me that there are some people at Cryptic that SERIOUSLY could care less about loyalty and are not cognisant of how game changes will affect players perception of STO and Cryptic as a whole. Though I wasn't part of the base that benefited from this, but...SERIOUSLY, J-man had to fight for a special reward for the most loyal of players because some at Cryptic were willing to watch the forum burn instead? In a studio that is full of Star Trek fans, I'd assume more level-heading thinking would occur when it comes to major game changes.

The community has to continue to bring constructive thorough ideas, as many have, but also curb a lot of anger that some clock in saying it is passion for the game. It's good to hear, especially since the Voldermolt issue, (which I only know little about through watching STOked; I play with floating numbers and the like off, so I can add to immersion) that it seems like the lines of communication are opening up in terms of what needs to be addressed. There have been a few 'back and forth' posts from the community and the Devs about, 'well putting it that way really turns off interest in searching for a solution.' Communication is key, sifting through angry posts might need to happen, but cooler heads all around goes a long way. An idea I've had for months is a BOFF crafting game. Of course the DOFF system took some of my 'air' out of my idea, but was basically you create a BOFF, pick the traits, pick the rarity, and run certain mini games, like a phaser-range (that I think someone had brought up) for tactical officers, scanning like the two games now with anomalies and the SFA event for science, etc. They'd be dailies, because it could be considered class time or tutoring time with a cadet. The amount of time to 'train' your BOFF at SFA would play into rarity; so if I made a purple BOFF, I'd have to run two, three months of various mini-games before I could have him/her on my crew.

In all, I will end the wall of text I've created by saying that I am hopeful that 2012 will be the "Content Key" STO needs. DS9 is my favorite series and looking forward to the new FE, though late... It would be nice to finally see FE's on a regular basis; like they were originally rolled out to be. If you want an idea for a new FA, I would love to see DS9 in action as FEDs fight Dominion. Again, to me, STO is the last of its kind in a way, it is the last of a universe that will fade into (gaming) memory, but only if we let it.

Safe Warp Cores and No Hull Breaches,

All My Characters

P.S. If you make an Ambassador-class with a CptLogan 'Venture" like skin, the proverbial 'they,' will come.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-30-2011, 09:36 PM
I was not able to read all of it, but from what I read it was not a bad open letter of your thoughts and feelings. Thanks for sharing.

Long live Star Trek PRIME.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-30-2011, 09:40 PM
Thank you for paragraph breaks. I read everything and feel that you expressed yourself well. I even agree with much of it. I've been amongst the faithful for a while now. And hope to remain that way.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-30-2011, 09:48 PM
Not that I disagree with your message, but if you could get people to be positive and constructive by simply asking them to we wouldnt need rules and mods in the first place. A simple fact of MMO forums is there are always going to be a decent amount of people flaming/bashing and otherwise simply being unreasonable. And you cant reason with unreasonable people.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
12-30-2011, 10:03 PM
"If all men were angels there would be no need laws much less for government" ~James Madison

I completely agree Grand Nagus. You cannot reason with the unreasonable people. I probably shouldn't have phrased it as an attempt for that; there will always be bad apples. Thanks all for your input. Didn't want to sound too preachy, just one perspective. A cautious optimist of current affairs.

P.S. Its good sometimes because I laugh to myself at the entertainment value of some posts sometimes. One comes to mind you had Grand Nagus recently with someone else that was in the wrong but could not see it.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
12-30-2011, 11:31 PM
I read it from beginning to end. I would not classify you as a terrible writer. I won't attempt to dissect such a long post, so I'll just share what I took away from it...

I also believe this is likely the last and only "living Star Trek" we'll ever see. I'm sure a lot of people feel that way, and that is why we spend so much time in the forums (being bored with the game, lol) and try to communicate as best we can with the team responsible for managing this living product. As the stewards entrusted with this sacred duty, I just want to feel that responsibility is being taken seriously.

I have to censor myself quite often as I'm a rather blunt individual (Aries trait) so I try to monitor myself carefully and not be too overly critical here. And like many others here (because it's just the type of crowd you'd expect to be playing this MMO, casual or not), and that includes you, we tend to be bright and insightful. To have our thoughts consistently ignored can be frustrating and disheartening.

There are really only two things I want from Cryptic right now.

1. Honest, real communication. I want to know what their short-term and long-term goals are, and what their development schedule looks like. I know they've had to suffer through a lot of changes this year and that has set them back, but they've had enough time to recover now and any good software company will have a development calendar in front of them. Rather than "soon" I'd like to know "when." And I say honest, because I don't want to hear any false expectations. I just want the truth. "Our goal is to have the KDF a fully completed faction by this date, or this quarter. And next, we're going to tackle a Romulan faction because we think that the players would enjoy that immensely, having three factions to play with, and three story lines to independently follow."

2. I want to know they are listening and that they take our suggestions seriously. I read a comment today from a dev over the new skill system that is being released. He wrote it on page 3 of a 72 page thread. From what I could tell, that was his one and only post, and he ended it with the sentiment that "whether you like it or not, this is what you're getting." And the next 70+ pages are from a sizable number of people opposed to some aspects of the skill system, while supporting others. This should not be ignored. And many of us are genuinely concerned that Cryptic is taking this "free to play, pay to win" strategy too far. I think it is going to off-put a lot of potential new players. I want those players to stick around. And I don't feel they've done justice to the subscribers. They really need to make continuing to pay worthwhile. I want to buy an LTS, but I want to know that my investment was and will remain a worthwhile purchase.

So it really does boil down to real, substantive communication. This isn't your average MMO, and this isn't your average community. The majority of frustrations can be alleviated by simply communicating -- in a two-way manner -- rather than the occasional drop-in note and no follow-up. I think the players do their part. Here we are. Here you are, with your open letter. Where's the other side?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
12-31-2011, 02:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rswfire View Post
So it really does boil down to real, substantive communication. This isn't your average MMO, and this isn't your average community. The majority of frustrations can be alleviated by simply communicating -- in a two-way manner -- rather than the occasional drop-in note and no follow-up. I think the players do their part. Here we are. Here you are, with your open letter. Where's the other side?
"The other side" is extremely busy at the moment .
"The other side" also had a change in management , and apparently that management has a different take on what we need to know and what we don't -- and more importantly WHEN we need to know/not know it .

I like this attitude and I hate it as well .
I like it because I've had it with promises , half-truths , "PR" , BS , and disappointment .
I am well aware that sometimes development schedules change in mid-development , but I'm also well aware that that was not the only reason for the way we were strung along most of this year .

But I also hate this muzzled communication for the very reason everybody else hates it .
DStahl said once that he liked the open communication that Cryptic had , and he was interested in fostering it more . It just seems that that very "open-nes" had come back to bite Cryptic in the *** one too many times for "somebody's" taste .
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
12-31-2011, 04:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelfwin View Post
"The other side" is extremely busy at the moment .
"The other side" also had a change in management , and apparently that management has a different take on what we need to know and what we don't -- and more importantly WHEN we need to know/not know it .

I like this attitude and I hate it as well .
I like it because I've had it with promises , half-truths , "PR" , BS , and disappointment .
I am well aware that sometimes development schedules change in mid-development , but I'm also well aware that that was not the only reason for the way we were strung along most of this year .

But I also hate this muzzled communication for the very reason everybody else hates it .
DStahl said once that he liked the open communication that Cryptic had , and he was interested in fostering it more . It just seems that that very "open-nes" had come back to bite Cryptic in the *** one too many times for "somebody's" taste .
I can understand what you're saying, and I may not have been clear enough in what I'd like. Personally, I don't think devs should reply to posts in the forums. They get their feelings hurt and say things they shouldn't. They get defensive and unapologetic. They even make the company look unprofessional. I've read quite a few comments from devs that I would not consider to be appropriate and if they worked at my company, they would face consequences for those statements.

If I were managing Cryptic, I would have employees monitoring the forums for trends and then I would give those trends careful consideration and I would release an official press release on the subject matter at hand. But I would have been doing that from the beginning. But because of whatever reason (there's no point in passing blame or casting judgement), Cryptic has lost credibility with a lot of people.

As a manger, the way I would handle this now is to put forth an official statement or series of posts on the direction STO is heading in. It is not good to keep us in the dark on this topic, because many of us are contemplating just how much longer we're willing to invest in STO.

I think it would help to have a development calendar accessible to the players, so we know what's going on in the near future and down the road. Yes, many things can alter a development calendar. But expressing things in terms of quarters of the year would be sufficient and if the development calendar changes, I don't think it's necessary to provide any explanations why. At least we always have a sense of where the game is heading. Because right now, it doesn't seem to be heading anywhere.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
12-31-2011, 05:37 PM
I read that entire mountain of a post. You had a lot to say, my friend. I would like to comment on:

1.) I hope that we haven't seen the last of the Prime universe. We could always get back to it, even from the JJTrek. Old Spock does, after all, know Q. That alone brings in possibilities.


2.) I like your idea of raising a Cadet in to a Bridge Officer. It is sort of the Wesley Crusher approach. After two or three months of raising one, that new BOff is going to invoke much more feeling than one you get from completing a story mission or leveling up.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
12-31-2011, 05:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rswfire View Post
...I also believe this is likely the last and only "living Star Trek" we'll ever see. I'm sure a lot of people feel that way, and that is why we spend so much time in the forums (being bored with the game, lol) and try to communicate as best we can with the team responsible for managing this living product. As the stewards entrusted with this sacred duty, I just want to feel that responsibility is being taken seriously....
THIS! SO MUCH THIS!!

Star Trek is more than just a cool show or a way to spend an hour. It's a symbol of what mankind could become. It's intelligent, optomistic, and progressive. It was instrumental in forming many of my early perceptions and opinions.

So when I see Star Wars homages, silliness, or simple poor craftsmanship present in the game, I feel the need to speak out. I feel the need to let the responsible parties know that they're on the wrong path. Unfinished Klingons after 2 years? Cathedral-sized interiors? Incessant zoning when flying across space? Foot-races for a holiday event? No music from any of the shows or movies? These are the things that worry me.

I'll give credit where credit is due - the Starships are amazing. Space Combat is fun. The uniforms are looking sharp. Canon references are clever and welcome.

But please... take Star Trek seriously - it matters to many of us. More than it should, perhaps
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