I play for the friendships and for the social aspect of the game that I enjoy so much. Sure the fact that its Star Trek helps, and I do enjoy the game play experience. But really if not for all the friends I play STO with, friends that I?ve met playing this game, I probably would have moved on a long time ago. Instead, I bought lifetime and have personally underwritten a Team Speak Account and a Website for our Fleet.
This letter is not a threat of me leaving. Or complaint from changing how one earns dilithium from the Officer Reports or Explore Missions. In fact, I was generally excited for Season Seven coming into Tuesday. I loved that there was finally going to be some legit rewards for running the great missions that so many foundry authors labored on. And the new Romulan content looks like a lot of fun and I can?t wait to waltz through the new sector block.
But the changes to the STFs, specifically as it pertains to no longer getting dilithium as a rewards, really concerns me and I am afraid of what will become of just not my fleet, but also of those friendships formed.
The group I run with loves the challenge of STFs, of going for the optional, of trying new tactics when taking down a boss. We loved running new fleet mates through those missions, showing them the strategies and helping them on their ship and character builds. WE LOVED going from a bunch of low DPS noobs to 8k average DPS beasts once we realized that we could be better players if we just worked at it. We loved the joy of getting, or seeing a friend, getting that one desired piece of prototype tech they have been hunting for.
And now? Why run them? Or more appropriately, can we run them? Can we complete our Starbase? Can we complete the new Embassy? Is it possible to get a character?s reputation up in Omega and Romulan?
As of last week from what was indicated on Tribble and personally addressed to the forums by members of the Development team, this was very much possible. By still getting dilithium from STFs, even at the reduced amount of 980 or so per elite run, we could work on both the Omega Reputation system and earning dilithium. At the same time, we could continue to have fun. We could continue to play STO for what it is. A game.
But now that the dilithium reward from STFs have been dropped? Can we afford to run missions that, while the ones we like playing, do nothing to directly support anything outside of the Omega Reputation system?
In order to complete our Starbase/Embassy and all of the reputation stuff we have to grind. The Season Seven Developer Blog #17 stated that it would take 4 hours of grinding to hit the 8k dilithium cap. But in order to do so, we have to give up on running the things we like to run ? STFs. We have to focus on missions that do nothing to directly support our Fleet. We have to focus on missions that do nothing to directly support our Reputation advancement.
And we have to focus on missions that are not social or challenging in anyway.
To be blunt ? Fleet Actions are NOT challenging nor are they social. The go by really fast and require no thought. There is nothing challenging about Starbase 24. There is nothing challenging about Gorn Minefield. There is no strategy or heck even common sense involved in completing those missions. Just run on in and fire away. The same goes for the Fleet Mark Events. You go in, you shoot, you leave.
Even the communication between PUG teams is different. It is possible to meet a lot of people in STFs, people who eventually become friends and fleet mates. Sure there are times were an STF team chat is ignored or becomes a place for troll mongers and fools , but at the very least you could count on a ?gg? after a match. Fleet Actions? I?ve posted ?hi? and ?gg? in those team chats and never once got a response. Friends? I?ve never left a Fleet Action with new Friends in my Friend?s List. The bulk of my current Friends List was built from STFs. Ditto new recruits for our Fleet.
So the question I would like to ask ? what now? Where can a player and his friends go in Star Trek Online and find a challenging and social experience? Will my friends leave out of boredom from grinding dilithium day after day? How about my two friends who have no job at the moment, and earning dilithium allows them to get better gear so they can own me in a PVP or steam roll the Borg in an STF? How about my friends who are in college and only have one hour or so a day to play the game, if they are lucky? How about my friend that loves everything about the Romulans, but with his 2-3 hours a week he can afford to play he?ll be able to do nothing short of sitting in our embassy?
And what about me? Will I still be playing with all of my friends months from now fighting the Tholians and stopping a *potential* temporal war? Or will I be sitting next to holographic Morn at an empty starbase while all my friends have moved on to other games?