With all of the uproar about the dilithium changes, grinding, multiple currencies, etc., I thought I'd make a few suggestions. The changes were made to close some exploits (quickie clickies, B'Tran double dip) and to shift focus from some content (STFs) to others (FAs... and then back to STFs). Mr. Stahl pointed out that many players were not making their 8000 daily refinement, that it should take 3 to 4 hours of gameplay to hit 8000, that dilithium is supposed to be a time played based reward, and that changes were made to make it easier to get 8000 on a given character in the timeframe they feel appropriate.
My frustrations seem to be similar to many people on the forums and in game, but perhaps not spelled out quite the same way. It feels as though to make any advancement in some of the end game and newer content, you have to repeatedly play certain aspects of the game over and over, abandoning aspects that you might otherwise want to play for the fun of it. For example, I have played a small handful of foundary missions. I enjoyed the stories and the escape from replaying some of the content over and over. However, many of the well done foundary missions, if you take the time and play them as intended (read the dialog, enjoy the story), take a significant amount of time to get through. As a result, I enjoyed the time spent playing the mission, but I did not spend time playing content that would have helped me advance my fleet or my reputation (the content focuses of seasons 6 and 7). I therefore, feel discouraged from playing foundary missions, replaying main story missions, or even trying to dabble in crafting.
I appologize for this turning into a wall of text, but what I am getting at is why not reward all content more? With time gating functionality and refinement caps already in place, it seems as though providing more rewards should not break the economy of this game, but improve it. I would think some of this is evidenced by the dilithium exchange dropping from 320ish to 160ish from S5 to S6, and it seems to be down in the 140s now post-S7. From a sales standpoint, Cryptic probably has a better understanding than I do, but for me I would buy Zen to make Z-Store purchases when the exchange rates were 320+. When it's down to the 140s, I would rather grind dilithium than spend real money on purchases of ships and costumes.
So what I propose is perhaps something along the lines of the following for rewards:
Missions - 160 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points - 1 Hour Cool Down
-Main story missions and perhaps doubled to 320 when featured.
Daily Missions - 480 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points - 20 Hour Cool Down
-Academy lore missions, Traelus, and other missions that are already setup this way basically.
Explore X Cluster (Normal) Daily - 480 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points, Exploration XP - 20 Hour Cool Down
-480 for three easy missions, and it gets non-VA players into these areas.
Explore X Cluster (VA) Daily - 960 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points, Exploration XP, Diplomacy XP - 20 Hour Cool Down
-VA versions of these areas should be harder and should reward a little more. It would encourage VAs to do more exploring and reward those that prefer exploration to queue combat.
PvE Queue (Normal) - 960 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points, Marks - 1 Hour Cool Down
-FAs provided no dilithium, then 1440, and now 480. It seems like they will be played only slightly more than pre-S7. Why not make FAs and FEs give 960 dilithium and fleet marks, and normal STFs give 960 dilithium and omega marks? The same could be applied to Romulan content and any future reputation content (Cardassian missions give 960 and Cardassian marks, Deferi missions give 960 and Deferi marks, etc.).
PvE Queue (Elite) - 1440 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points, Marks, Proto-Gear - 1 Hour Cool Down
-I'm applying the same thinking here as with the exploration above. Elite missions should be harder, and reward more. Elite STFs are already gated by level, and you could even introduce Elite versions of FAs, FEs, and any other missions in the PvE Queue.
Investigate Officer Reports Daily - 2400 Dilithium, Gear, Skill Points - 20 Hour Cool Down
-The reason the dilithium is so high here would be the amount of time invested (1.5+ hours). Perhaps this is too high. I was trying to keep everything with the 480 theme. The missions that qualify could be hand picked by the devs, such as only spotlight missions count. That way, we avoid quickies.
Again, I'm just putting all of this out there as a suggestion. Dilithium refinement is already capped, everything is time gated to prevent abuse, and you get rewarded for trying everything without feeling like you're falling behind with your fleet or personal advancement. Mr. Stahl and the developers here have created some amazing worlds and missions, and I have enjoyed most of the content available. I wrote this great wall of text because I have enjoyed this game, and I want it to continue to be enjoyable for myself and for others. It's sad to see so much anger when new content was release. I don't think that most of the players wanted to be upset, and I don't think the developers spent this much time and effort with the intent of enraging people. Ultimately, I believe the developers want people to enjoy and appreciate the body of work that they've created.
I've played enough MMOs over the last decade and a half to know that devs can't respond to every post. My hope though, is that perhaps one can, even Mr. Stahl himself, provide some insight and counters to such a reward system.
Thanks again for letting me play out childhood dreams of flying around the galaxy as a captain of a starship.