Yes, you did read that correctly, psychology. Don't worry, I'll be sparing the psycho-babble.
Even so, this is mostly to Cryptic as a whole, and Mr. Stahl. I do like how he made such an excellent post and actually making some honest, positive changes after so long.
I'm also making this on a bit of faith that has been restored by all this. I'm willing to keep it civil and well-mannered if in return, it means that feedback will be taken more into consideration.
All this is more for Mr. Stahl though. I hope I might be able to at least slightly explain why this happened as it did, why there was so much anger, why people left, and so on. It won't need any game or coding work, just some time to read.
Alright, this is gonna be partially psychology, partially feedback, and partially my opinions. I might sound like an ass at some points, but for the most part I am gonna try and keep this straightforward.
I will start with the release of season 7. People got mad, people were infutiated, I was too, I won't deny it.
Now, if the game up to this point had been totally a-ok, no slew of bugs, no unbalanced PvP, equal factions, and people then started to leave en-masse because of season 7, yes, it would be extremely childish, rude, and they would need to learn manners.
But, they were not just merely mad because they didn't agree with the changes. They were mad for a reason, and they left, for a reason. If nothing else, season 7 did show us that people are willing to only take so much, and that the 'line' was 'crossed', in whatever reason the person felt.
Primarily I think this involves one or more of the following:
1. No time to adapt. There were a HEAP of changes done, primarily to dilithium. Thing is, these were all done in one fell swoop, and thus people had no time to adjust.
Some psychology/sociology: People, regardless of what they might say, DO adapt their lives to do things more efficiently for the most part.
An example in this game would be running Infected space on one toon, then switching and running it again, over and over, to build up dilithium. That's just how some might choose to best use their time. E
ven the Foundry exploit was pretty much just the best using of time for a reward. An exploit, I won't deny it at all, but an efficient means of using your time.
As such, when ALL these changes suddenly hit in one massive upheaval, people got very, understandably, mad.
Even then, they still did adapt. They started running Fleet actions, since they rewarded dilithium, by doing something like SB 24 so fast, that they could get it done in a couple minutes, then just switch toons.
2. Feeling 'ignored' about season 7. This is kind of an umbrella one. Or basically, a lot of people felt ignored about what they said to you devs, especially in the Tribble area. People gave a LOT of info about things that were clearly wrong, yet launched with season 7 as well.
Now I know part of this was obviously that TOR was being made F2P, deny that or admit it, the timing was too close to be 'coincidental'. BUT there was time, there was a chance to fix at least some things before it happened.
Often times, the feedback about the exact problem or exploit, or bug, or balance issue, or anything else, was just simply...ignored. Now yes, there WILL always be loads of 'you need to fix this because I say so', or 'I want this for this reason, and that's all the reason I need', etc.
But sifting through that, there IS plenty of stuff out there showing precisely what a problem is. Plenty of threads down in the ole PvP section which show exactly why something can be overpowered, or show a major exploit (like the old Voldemort one). Even putting aside that, the Omega conversion, regardless of you never posting the exact conversion rate.
In simpler terms for this part: People in this game, can...will...and DO figure out things. It is up to you, both individual devs, Mr. Stahl, and Cryptic as a whole to use it. You cannot say that we need to provide feedback or show numbers, etc, because players do it, and they do it often, for the better of the entire game.
3. Repeats of the past. The players of this game, have dealt with a lot of lies, lead-ons, deceptions, etc, about things in this game. Now some of these can be just overzealous talk, like a dev long ago once said he wanted to make like 9 FE's a year or something.
But, some things can be excused up to a few times, human error and all that. However, when the same things continued to happen over and over, they can understandably start to lose trust very quickly.
Like...the Federation recently got both the Vesta bundle, and the Steamrunner with season 7. Yet, not only has the KDF not gotten a brand new ship since the flagships were released (C-store ships I mean by this, not fleet ships, not lockboxes, and not the 1000-day ships), on top of that, you are already talking about the NEXT Federation ship (the Andorian one). Plus, all the while, talking on how you want to improve the KDF while still not doing anything as of yet.
With all that combined, can you honestly, and I do mean honestly, blame them for being sick of you 'feeding the Fed cash cow' so often? Even the Federation side gets tired of being 'milked' sometimes.
I know that is a rather cold way to view it, but that is how the players feel sometimes.
4. The minorities.
This is going on more on the lesser groups of the game, but certainly more vocal ones: KDF players, and PvPers.
Before anyone says anything: I will ignore all anti-KDF and anti-PvP in this thread, this isn't the focus, DON'T start it.
Here is some of the basic reasoning why they are mad, from what I can generally gather:
KDF: As stated above, they see more and more going for the Federation side of the coin, while little to none being for them. Even if you do include all the new ships this year and season 7's content, the proportional amounts of ships and content remain exactly the same.
Klingon players do not want a greater portion of the game for themselves, they want the game to feel like it's equal between them and the Fed-side. They want to be able to make a Klingon character from level 1 (and as their first toon), play unique, Klingon story missions (sharing the FE's of course). End game can still pretty much be the same on both sides, they just want the earlier stages to be Klingon, not just a Fed rehash.
PvP: PvPers for a long time have probably been the most angered, and most vocal part of these forums. They also seem to be the most ignored. Now, is this good? I don't think so, since so many have left because they were ignored time and time again. They were vocal because they cared, not because they were just complaining for the sake of complaining.
Plus they would generally try to kindly show problems (most of the people here do as well), and how they might get fixed. But most of the time (again, not just PvPers got ignored, look at how long the Foundry exploit stayed), 'being nice', got them ignored. So, they raised hell, 'whined and moaned' until they finally were listened to, and by that time, they were seen as just 'whiny PvPers' by a lot of people.
Now this is kind of seperate, but something worth bringing up about those two minorities:
KDF players are apparently 16% of the playerbase, and PvPers are .02%
Let's pretend the game has 100,000 players, and they only play one side, Fed or KDF.
That means, 16,000 of those people would be KDF players. Of that 100k, only a mere 20 people would PvP, and 3.2 (due to remainders left on the fraction) would be KDF players PvPing.
Now, whether or not those numbers are correct at all means little, instead...
Do not use those numbers, Mr. Stahl, other devs, Cryptic, as a means to say 'Well, because so few people play this, we don't want to put resources into it'. Instead, ask yourselves, 'so few people play this, how can we potentially get more people to play it'?
It is a 'build it and they will come' approach you need to take, but you also have to be willing to take that very leap of faith, or else nothing will improve.
The game will only ever be as strong as it's weakest link.
Well, I'm done for the time being. This is probably the longest single post I've ever written, and btw, no 'TL;DR' comments, because you chose to look at this, knowing the title had the word 'psychology' in it. There's nothing EVER short about something involving psychology.