As an Admiral it would make sense to have other vessels under your command. Below are suggestions for a system which would facilitate this whilst making use of extra Boffs and lower-level vessels which are no longer any use to players once they hit VA.
This system revolves around the use of Boffs as Captains under your command. Once a player hits VA, a ?Captain? promotion rank would become available for Boffs. This rank would prevent further use of that Boff as bridge crew but would open up the ability to grant them a vessel, taken from your vessels list, to command. Once you have commissioned a Captain with a ship, missions would become available for that Ship to undertake in way similar to the current Doff assignments.
Completing missions will grant the player will Admiral xp. Advancement will grant players the ability to command additonal vessels.
Boffs of a certain profession would only be able to Captain a vessel of that type. i.e. Science Boffs could only Captain Science ships.
Captains would have a set of sub-ranks which would dictate the type of vessel they can command. Captain level 1 would allow the use of tier 1 vessels only, Captain level 2 would allow the use of any vessel up to tier 2? and so on. Captains will attain new ranks as they accumulate experience for successfully completing missions.#
Captain traits would have an impact on mission success. Superior skills would offer the greatest chance of critical success.
Vessels and Crew
Vessels under your command will still need outfitting with equipment. This can be done by using a variant of the ship selection window (see Ship Stats).
Vessels under your command will need a bridge crew in addition to the Captain. These roles can be filled by additional Boffs from your roster with the traditional ranks associated with that vessel?s Boff layout (see Bridge Crew)
Missions under this system would come in several ?flavours?.
Tour of duty:
A tour is not a true mission type in of itself. It is an overarching activity type which will influence the type of missions a vessel encounters. A tour will last for a long period of time, approximately a week, and will allow a vessel to complete a variety of missions during its run-time.
To set the vessel off on a tour, the player has several options to pick from:
- Location. The location of a tour will affect they type of mission a vessel will encounter. Locations are selected from a list of in-game space sectors. However, whilst a tier 5 Captain will be able to tour in any sector, lower ranks will be restricted with more opening up as they progress. Tier 1 vessels for instance will be limited to ?safe? faction controlled sectors (Sirius for Federation Captains for instance) whilst tier 5 Captains will be able to tour dangerous sectors like Gamma Orious. The location will tailor missions towards a certain faction (A Romulan sector tour will give missions slanted towards Romulan and Reman focussed missions for instance) and will alter the difficulty of the tour.
- Length. Players will have options allowing them to dictate how long a tour will last from a selection of presets. 1 day, 3 days, 7 days or 14 days as an example. The longer a vessel is on a particular tour, the more rewarding the missions become. This could even be handled by an escalating string of related missions. However, with the possibility of increased rewards comes higher risks. The longer a vessel is on tour, the greater the attrition and chance of a vessel becoming ?critically damaged? (See the damage section later on). This would end the tour early and force the vessel into a drydock cooldown period until it can be sent on another tour.
- Purpose. There will be several options which will give an overall purpose to a tour. Examples: Tactical, Exploration, Diplomatic, Trade, Research. These will bias a tour towards producing a certain sort of mission. However, there will still be a chance of combat missions occurring during a Research tour and Science missions occurring during a combat tour (for example). Obviously certain professions will be more suited to certain purposes but this will not preclude a Tactical Captain going on a Research tour if desired.
- Vessels. Each tour can be undertaken be 1 or more vessels. This tab would allow a player to select how many, and which, vessels will be part of the tour. Putting more vessels on a tour will increase the occurrence chance of missions and events. It will also allow the appearance of mission that require more than one vessel to complete. Some Very Rare multiship missions may require different vessel types (science, engineering, tactical) to have a decent chance of succeeding. Having more than one vessel on a tour will also allow multiple missions to be performed simultaneously.
An encounter is a passive event that can occur during a tour. These would be minor and often result in the accumulation or loss of an item/items and well as an increase in Captain experience. These would be reported in a tour?s event log but would not require player intervention.
Missions at face value will resemble Doff assignments. These will be optional and will have associated with them a risk level as well as a critical failure /failure /success /critical success level. The success rate will be affected by the ships stats as dictated by its Captain, Boffs and equipment. Missions will grant rewards raging from Samples, Doffs, Equipment etc. The mission type will reflect the offered reward. There will also, like doff assignments, be some missions that require items to complete. Also like Doff assignments, missions will have a rarity associated with them which will influence their risk/reward levels. Once discovered, missions will only be available for a limited time and vessel may only undertake one missions at any time during a tour. This will create situations where the play needs to make decisions as to what missions they order their vessels to undertake.
Armada missions are rare missions which will usually occur near the end of a tour. These are missions where the player actively fights alongside other vessels under his/her command. These will be taken from a set of missions templates and will have the player working alongside 1 or more vessels under their command. These could be defend, escort or destroy missions, much like events and STFs where the player?s vessel make up their team, each having a their own info panel on screen. Players will be able to issue general commands to their vessels such as ?defend me? ?attack objective 1? etc by right-clicking the vessel?s portrait and selecting from a menu.
Captains will contribute to mission success in several ways. Ultimately their Captain level will be their largest contribution as this will dictate the tier of ship that they can command. However, certain events and missions can be influenced by the character traits the captain possesses. For instance, a mission may have a success condition of ?Stubborn?. As such, Captains with the Resilient trait will have a greater chance of success. Similarly, a critical success condition of the same mission might be Superior Resilient. This creates a benefit for using Very Rare Boffs who have a better selection of traits as Captains.
How well a vessel is equipped will have an impact upon its ability to complete a mission successfully. The values for equipment will be abstracted for the sake of simplicity to take into account equipment rarity and tier. For all intents and purposes, a Very Rare engine of the same tier will give the same stat bonus regardless of its type. Similarly, a rare Dual Cannon will give the same weapon bonus as a rare Phaser Beam Array of the same tier. However, the energy type being used will be taken into consideration depending on the foe. For this reason weapon load outs must share the same energy type for this calculation to be possible. Consoles that buff a certain weapon, defence value etc will also be taken into consideration.
In addition to the equipment load out, each vessel will have the usual slots for consumables. These will be automatically consumed to improve ?bad rolls? when determining mission success. For instance, if a vessel would fail a mission due to a bad roll when calculating success based upon its weapon stat, 1 or more weapon battery consumable will be consumed to improve the roll to the point where it succeeds. The caveat of this is that once a tour has begun, the equipment load out of a vessel cannot be changed. This gives each vessel a finite amount of consumables it can carry. This can be used to augment a vessel?s weak spot. A science vessel with poor armament for instance could carry several stacks of weapons batteries to make up for this weakness.
As an additional way to use Boffs, each vessel will need to have a bridge crew assigned as per the Boff layout of the particular vessel. These can be filled by Boffs from your roster of the relevant rank. Boff will contribute to mission success according to their profession and skill. Some missions may require one or more crew of a certain profession to perform, and additionally may require that Boff to have a certain skill. A science mission for instance may need 2 science bridge crew to perform and for those officers between them to have the Science Team skill (The greater the skill level the higher the chance of success/critical success).
If a vessel fails certain missions it can receive attrition points. Critical failure could cause the loss of multiple points. The amount of attrition points a vessel has equates to it's tier level. Once a vessel has taken attrition equal to it's attrition point total the tour ends and the vessel will require time in drydock to repair. During this time the vessel will be unavailable for further tours.
Similar to the Doff system, high risk missions could event present the possibility of Boffs dying upon a critical failure.
A possible additional feature would be for Fleet members to aid each other in certain missions. Players who are part of a fleet will encounter Fleet missions requiring a large number of vessels to complete. These would be added to the Fleet screen where other Fleet members can contribute vessels to help complete them. These would work a bit like Fleet projects and may require the contribution of items in addition to ships. Completion would give rewards to each participant as well as a bonus to the fleet star base.
As the devs have mentioned raising the level cap to above VA, this system could be a good way of facilitating the new rank. Traditional methods of gaining experience seem a bit unbalanced for a ?VA > New rank? promotion as through STFs, Doffing and general VA activity, VA?s accumulate a vast amount of XP. By making the transition from VA > new rank reliant on mission xp from this system, players will level by doing what Admirals do, commanding other vessels!
These missions would work well with the proposed faction reputation system that will be introduced shortly (I have taken this into account in the missions suggestions in my next post). Faction loss/gain would be a good reward in addition to Admiral XP and traditional rewards.
I appreciate this is a hefty tome to work through but if anyone has any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to give it. Please keep in mind the limitations of the system ad to keep suggestions reasonable. There may be many really cool things that would enhance the system but if they require massive amounts of development or are not supportable by the current engine, it would not be realistic to add them.
My reason for proposing this system is to create a use for old vessels which have no use once a player out levels them. I hate the fact that my Exeter is sitting in my hanger never to be used again. At least with this system it will once again be able to take to the skies, albeit under the command of another. Additionally this system will stimulate the market for Boffs and give them a purpose once you have filled your roster. It also gives a greater value to Very Rare Boffs with their superior bonuses. I hope the devs see this and maybe get some inspiration from it. If you read this thread and like what you see, please take the time to comment.
Profession Focus: Science
Missions revolve around analysis of anomalies and archaeological sites.
Samples, schematics and Science Doffs
Damage to vessel from whatever it is that was being investigated. Analysis of an anomaly could have caused it to explode or an archaeological site could have had an ancient security system.
Profession Focus: None
Missions revolve around trade and exchange of commodities, currency, and consumables.
Very similar to Doff system of Very profitable/profitable.
Unprofitable. Faction reputation damage.
Profession Focus: None
The process of exploration could be simulated by a hit or miss reward structure.
Exploration missions wouldn?t give rewards themselves but have the possibility of opening up other missions types (diplomacy, trade, science etc) of an escalated rarity level, or nothing at all (except XP).
The vessel finds nothing or is damaged (Ambush, special anomaly etc).
Profession Focus: None
Missions revolve around diplomacy and first contact. Missions would be themed to treaty signing, peace talks, Federation membership etc.
Faction reputation gain
Loss of Diplomatic XP. Upon a critical failure the vessel could even be attacked. Faction reputation damage.
Profession Focus: Tactical
Missions revolve around combat against installations or vessels. Target species will vary according to sector.
Salvage in the form of ship equipment and components, faction reputation gain
Damage to vessel. Faction reputation damage.
Profession Focus: Mixed
Missions revolving around the end to end colonial process.
Science: Missions relating to the analysis of suitable colonisation sites.
Engineering: Missions relating to the creation of colonial infrastructure.
Tactical: Missions relating to the protection of colonial assets.
Damage to ship from several possible sources (Anomalies, attackers etc)
Profession Focus: None
Missions revolving around clandestine activity, either against enemies or in rarer cases allies and first contact scenarios.
Rewards: Doffs, equipment, faction reputation gain
Risk: Faction reputation damage.
Profession Focus: Engineering
Missions revolving around the repair/support of faction installations/star ships.
Risk: Faction reputation damage. Vessel damage through malfunction, explosion etc.
Profession Focus: Tactical
Combat missions revolving around pirates and other non-faction foes.
Commodities, contraband, currency
Missions revolving around the supply of medical relief to planets or war zones.
Rewards: Commodities, Doffs
Risk: Ship damage via crew illness or damage taken in dangerous operational areas.