So I've wallowed through the season 7 mire long enough to max out one character on the reputation system. I've done most everything in Tau Dewa/New Romulus at least once. And with the balance adjustments put in place already, presumably this is season 7 as the Devs want it. That makes it a good time to give feedback regarding all of it.
TLDR: S7 is bad, too grindy, too much inventory trash, too expensive.
For those of us that can read, lets start with the reputation system. While I think the idea of the reputation system is a good one, to avoid the situation of doing STFs forever and never getting the drop you want or need, its insanely expensive and utterly unfun.
I spent between 4-5m credits on consumables and commodities getting to tier 5, all of them bought as cheaply as possible (IE not from the market). I can say quite certainly that drops in STFs do not cover the cost. You'll get the marks far faster than the credits, leaving you needing to grind credits somewhere else.
Now before you say play the market for credits, which one can do, it is avoiding reality. The reputation system siphons out a LOT of credits. If you do not earn them somewhere else from drops or missions, etc, you are only lowering the credit supply, which causes the market to falter as people have less cash to buy things. I'm not going to go into market economics though. But for me, I'm that much poorer, and much less likely to buy things on the market because the reputation grind is so expensive.
Now, Tour the galaxy is supposedly a good credit earner, but I've yet to find time to do that since it has been implemented, and since it is on a rare cycle. So for me, I lose a lot of credits doing this system with no clear way to make them back again. This is a major stumbling block to the system for casual players like myself who don't have time to grind endlessly for credits just to grind more for reputation. But my rep grind is over, right? No.
The next point to make is the fact I have 10 characters at VA/LG. I have finished one grind, and have 9 more to go, most in various stages of tier 1/2. Do I NEED to do it? No, yet, that same mentality is what has screwed me over in season 7.
I didn't NEED to push hard to get all those characters borg/omega/etc gear before season 7. I could run a few STFs now and then and hope for the best, save up my EDCs for when I wanted to buy a piece (and pre season 5, it only took 1 STF run to get a borg set piece!).
Now season 7 comes around and I got screwed hard. Most of my characters that could have had the set parts I wanted, don't have them because I didn't push harder earlier. So now I feel the NEED to grind, because who knows what will be done to the system to make it even harder in a couple more seasons? But I have no desire to grind at all, and burnout comes fast with this system. This ends up making me play the bare minimum to get a few reputation projects going and then log off and do something fun.
Probably most frustrating is that as a gold subscriber, I get zero anything in this system. My extra characters and slots mean I suffer a lot more than F2P players who maybe have 2-3 characters total. Account based reputation doesn't make much sense, however giving gold subs a discount or partial refund on mark/commodity costs would make a lot more sense and give real value to the virtually nil value to subs these days.
Whats more, this system makes me very averse to ever starting a new character because of the impending tedious grind they will have to do to get end gear. This costs Cryptic $$. Why? Personally, I make a character to enjoy a new playstyle. Eng/cruiser, sci/escort, etc. and with all the ships out there you can get some pretty interesting combos. But if I don't want to start a new character because of the rep grind, I don't have any interest in new ships that would offer a new playstyle. This means I'm not buying zen and, it means I'm not selling my dilithium for zen, because I have nothing to buy with it. And why not just try new ships on an old character? Because then I would need to respec, out of another playstyle I liked.
This grind is just daunting, and some of the worse parts of it are the mark costs versus rewards. Elite STFs give about 3x more marks than normal STFs, despite taking maybe 30 minutes vs 20. This, for me, has completely killed the desire to do normal STFs, and because elite is frustrating with the nonsensical one shots, I always avoided them in the past. So now I have to do something I don't want to do because its just dumb to do any less.
Additionally, the projects in the reputation system have absurd costs. 500 marks for one part of the mk X borg set! The legacy set is mk XI, and you could get that with one run of a full STF, or 5 runs of a season 5 normal STF. But to run normals for that now, you're going to end up running no less than 25 STFs, and get worse gear, while you should have just saved those marks up for the mk XI set, or finish the rep grind with those marks and then work on mk XII. Considering there is no real reason to ever buy the mk X set, it should cost maybe 50 marks per part.
The mk XI set, being the legacy set, is also vastly overpriced at the old standards, especially given that you have to do more STFs to get the reputation to even begin working on getting marks for the set itself.
That said, this is actually one point the omega rep system has over the romulan system. The romulan mark grind is atrociously painful and slow compared to doing STFs for omega marks. The comparative activities for R-marks like the azure nebula rescue and mine trap give out a fraction of marks that the STFs do, and fleet marks I care nothing about. The daily is repetitive and time consuming, and the New romulus missions are no better. Epohhs can die in a fire, and don't work out to be much better for time invested. Yes they make you feel better to get one big lump sum for it, but it takes many days to get there.
This much slower, more tedious grind for R-marks is extra painful when the items and projects cost exactly the same as their omega counterparts, and are not better or more valuable.
And on the subject of tedium, the reputation grind is horrible. Log in, claim rewards, fill in the sliders, oops, wait, I need more stem bolts. Run out to Regulus, buy a few hundred of them from a freighter, and energy cells or whatever else, then go log out next to a ground consumable vendor so the next few days I don't have to do this all over again. Maybe run an STF or something to get some marks. Now consider trying to do this every day on 10 characters. I don't either, 2-3 is enough for one day.
Why not buy several thousand commodities at once? Stacking limits and inventory space. I have to keep going back and forth to various vendors to get the silly projects going because I can't possibly get enough space for it all. This is a point in itself.
Season 7 has seriously too much inventory garbage with the commodities and consumables for rep grinding and the dozen different collectibles on New Romulus for the various missions, like rock and flower and radiation analyses, epohh garbage, etc. Why? I mean why are there all these silly things to take up inventory space when they are nothing but currencies? I've never had enough inventory space in this game, and season 7 just makes it worse. Buy more? No, not with 10 characters and no account inventory option.
So lets change the subject. Dilithium. Yes its been gone over before, but I'm no more happy with it now. Firstly, I'm not in a fleet. I could not care less about fleet requirements or fleet ships. However, it is not lost on me that dilithium is far harder to get in season 7. A normal STF grants a third of what it used to give. I don't know what elite STFs used to give, but presumably that is a third of what it used to give as well. I also think that EDC vs mark/processor dilithium exchange favors the old EDC turn in by a fair margin.
Yes now I can do fleet actions for dilithium. Great! Except it takes the same time as an STF and doesn't give much else as a reward, especially considering the ridiculous amount of marks I need for the reputation system.
Changing the foundry daily is fine with me. The system isn't that good as it is now, but definitely it is more in line with what it should be. Of course it did have a major impact in the dilithium supply.
Oh but now I need dilithium for all my reputation equipment. Great. Yes the reputation project rewards are somewhat helpful, but overall, its extra cost for things that didn't used to cost dilithium at all. The costs at least seem mostly in line with other purple items, nevermind how overpriced it all is, but relatively, at least it seems fair.
Still, I'm a casual these days. I don't meet my daily refinement cap, and never have. Making it harder to get, making my time less valuable and less rewarding is not at all appreciated. I'm not hurting for dilithium either. I still have gobs from the conversion, and plenty of contraband. But I do not like the system as I see it when I consider that if I didn't have all that dilithium and all the equipment from pre dilithium days, it would be exceedingly painful to get it all again.
However, the DOFF grinder changes really tick me off. The upgrinder is now useless. It serves no purpose because the cost is exceedingly high and you still have no control over the reward you get. It means I end up swimming in white/green doffs I don't want and can't get rid of. Its why my mail is full of doffs that didn't sell on the exchange. I did want a mostly Orion DOFF crew for my Orion captain, but that is totally impossible to work towards now. I did want to build up a good purple resolve set for the console assignment, but that is impossible now.
Are there other ways to get purple doffs, resolve doffs, even get rid of white/green doffs? Yes, and none of them are reasonable in terms of time spent finding/unlocking them, availability, and rarity. Most of the gamma quadrant exchange chains I have yet to complete because I never find them when they are active. Do I have massive amounts of purples for the months and months the grinder was worth it? Not even close. I earned less purples from the doff grinder than I have fingers on one hand. That is why it was a good option for me, because I don't have that kind of time to spend on flying all over the galaxy, every. single. day, because then I can't get anything else done.
So in conclusion, season 7 seems aimed squarely at the F2P crowd who doesn't spend money and accepts grind in exchange for "FREE". For those of us with less time and want value for our time and money spent, we get less than ever. Its no surprise I spend less and less time in this game and spend my money elsewhere.
It could all be improved, though. The DOFF grinder could change to let you pick the type of DOFF you get, or put the costs back to where they were. The relative value of dilithium has changed significantly in season 7, so the old costs are still effectively more expensive than ever.
Commodities and consumables could stack to 1000 at least, or you could lower the input required, considering how many credits they eat up.
Mk X and XI reputation projects should have their mark costs slashed dramatically. They exist for no other purpose than to be a red herring and get people to waste marks and dilithium.
Normal STFs and most romulan missions should reward more marks. Of course elite STFs still need to fix the phantom one shot non-crit torpedoes.
Gold accounts should get a discount, either slash all the input requirements for reputation projects by 25% or give a refund of the same after inputting the required amount. Alternatively gold could earn 25% more credits/dilithium/marks as a standard feature, and then of course you can sell timed boosts for such in the zen store for free players.
And to close, if you didn't read all of this, I don't care about your opinion about my opinion.