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There has been a lot of talk lately about the changes to the Foundry daily mission, and I wanted to take some time to give a comprehensive and complete overview of why we made this decision.
Fleet Marks were introduced in Season 6 as a reward that can be used by Fleets to advance Fleet Holdings. Due to the fact that Fleet Marks are spent by Fleets to advance Fleet Holdings, it is intended that Fleet Marks are to be rewarded for completing Fleet-based gameplay.
We monitor the amount of Fleet Marks earned by each character and each player every day. We do so for game design reasons to ensure that the amount of progress Fleets are making on Fleet Holdings is as expected.
After the release of Season 7, we noticed that the amount of Fleet Marks players were earning per day started declining. As we expected, it was mostly due to the introduction of new content and the new Reputation system. Players were now spending less time in missions that granted Fleet Marks, and more time in missions that granted Dilithium and Rep Marks. We adjusted this at the time by adding Fleet Marks to the Foundry and Fleet Action dailies. The Foundry daily subsequently was turned into a 30 minute repeatable, which made Foundry missions an amazingly easy source of Fleet Marks, but because of the drop in Fleet Marks at the time, we left it in as a temporary bonus that would last up through our Anniversary.
Concurrently, we also closed a major loophole in Foundry missions in Season 7 which removed Dilithium rewards from what many considered "exploitative" Foundry missions (literally "log in click a button" get a boat of Dilithium). The number of players who were exploiting this type of mission was vast and so there were several weeks where we aggressively adjusted Dilithium rewards in order to keep Dilithium earnings back in line with our goal of getting more Dilithium into players hands without using the exploit. Due to the tuning we?ve done with Season 7, players are now earning more Dilithium than ever without the Foundry exploit.
We know based on progression data that there is further room to add more Dilithium to the economy and so today we have added in additional rewards to Foundry missions that grant a daily amount of Dilithium in addition to scaling rewards based on the gameplay of the Foundry mission. This now makes qualified Foundry missions an excellent source of Dilithium.
As part of this change and now that we?re past our Anniversary, we have removed the wrapper mission that granted the additional 50 Fleet Marks every 30 minutes for playing a single Foundry mission. We did this for a number of reasons. While we want players to enjoy Foundry missions, they should not be the one stop shop for all Rewards in the game. They are now arguably the single best source of Dilithium per mission, and they should not also be the best source for Fleet Marks. Another reason is that Fleet Marks should be for Fleet Gameplay and we will begin adjusting where Fleet Marks are granted to keep Fleet Marks in line with our Fleet gameplay goals.
Over the next several months we will be adjusting where Fleet Marks are granted to be more in line with our original design - Fleet Marks are for Fleet Gameplay. This means that Fleet Marks will be granted in more places where Fleets group up for missions, because the reason you need Fleet Marks is to benefit the Fleet.
This leads me to a frequent Ask Cryptic question that I want to address - Why are the Fleet Holdings so challenging to complete for small Fleets?
We monitor Fleet sizes and Holding progress and we do understand that small Fleets are finding Fleet Holdings to be expensive in both Fleet Marks and Dilithium.
Let me take a moment to explain our philosophy behind the Fleet Holdings so that there is a better understanding of our actions when we adjust economies like this.
First, keep in mind that that Fleet sizes in STO range from 1 member up to 500 members.
When we were crafting the Fleet System, we considered two options for how Fleet Marks and Fleet Progression would behave. There are pro's and con's to both options we considered.
Option A was that Fleet size would determine the maximum tier for Fleet Holdings. The larger the Fleet, the higher the Fleet Holding Tiers could achieve. This is how many other MMOs gate Guild progression, but we felt that it is artificially limiting to the many active small Fleets in STO.
Option B was to allow Fleets of any size to achieve all tiers of Fleet Holdings. The drawback is that because Fleet sizes range so much, we had to find a balance so that Large Fleets had some challenge, while still allowing small Fleets to achieve all tiers, albeit at a much slower pace. If you are in a Fleet less than 25 players, then it is expected to be more challenging than the norm.
So from our perspective we choose the sensible Option B, with the goal of ensuring that our active large Fleets had a decent challenge and wouldn?t complete the Fleet Holdings overnight. It needed to be a challenge for 500 member Fleets. It is a sign that you went through extreme effort to achieve the goal.
The end result of this decision is that smaller Fleets may achieve maximum Starbase sizes, but it is expected to be much harder. You can achieve all tiers, but you are doing so at a great disadvantage, especially if you are under 25 Fleet Members or your Fleet Members don't play at least three times a week.
We understand that we could have introduced a handicap for small fleets into the design, but that solution could and would be exploited. In trying to find a way to exploit the system, we would end up having to create a wealth of rules and regulations behind how the handicap works and at the end of the day it is not in line with our goals of ensuring that top tier Fleet progression is a great accomplishment. (congrats btw to the Fleets that are just now hitting this tier!)
That said, we continue to investigate options that may help small Fleets without making it a cake-walk for Large Fleets. Because of our decision to not limit tiers based on guild size, we will not be scaling all projects based on Fleet size. What we will continue to do is find ways for small Fleets to play hard and gain the Fleet Marks and Dilithium needed to advance the Starbase. While there are always exceptions, for the most part, the data shows that small fleets are more starved for Dilithium than they are for Fleet Marks. Thus we continue to add more Dilithium to help all players, and along with that, small Fleets.
Likewise, even though we've removed Fleet Marks from the now super Dilithium rich Foundry mission, we will be adding Fleet Marks to other events, but not immediately. Look for us to further classify Events and Fleet Actions as having Fleet Marks in the near future. We are also entertaining suggestions to merge fleets or other ways that small Fleets can accelerate their progress.
Just as max level players are now earning far more Dilithium than they ever have due to adjustments that we've made along the way, we will continue to adjust Fleet Marks in the same way.
Hopefully this post helps to explain our position and why we continue to make the decisions we do. We want Fleet Progression to be a reward for Fleet Gameplay. We want players to earn more Dilithium. We want Foundry missions to have useful rewards. We want small Fleets to only be limited by group effort, not by artificial caps on progress.
We will continue to make progress towards those goals and welcome your feedback. Nothing is every "final" in MMOs, and your constructive comments are always valued.
This change has brought my starbase and embassy to a total halt. I can endlessly grind now, extremely repetitive content on nukkara, defera and pugged fleet events for over a week and not finish an assignment.
No thank you.
There is no other endgame content that has not been played ad infinitum, other then building the starbase. I don't mind the time, but I do mind the lack of content.
I will no longer be playing this game until such time as fleet mark rewards are restored to the level they were last week.
If I'm a member of a fleet, then all gameplay is fleet gameplay. I regularly team with other fleet members but we don't play those fleet-based missions, we like playing different content. How will you resolve this conundrum exactly?
Thanks for putting out some rationale behind the recent changes. Communication ftw - even if we don't like what we hear.
We are also entertaining suggestions to merge fleets or other ways that small Fleets can accelerate their progress.
1. Aside from more fleet content I'd like to see some way of earning fleet marks by simply running any content with exclusively fleet members (amounts that would not take away from fleet content being the best source overall for FMs).
2. I also think its essential to implement systems to allow for mergers (at the expense of any committed resources). But only at a holdings level. The other aspects of fleet merging should be handled through inter-player diplomatic channels.
3. Furthermore, perhaps now is the time to explore inter-fleet alliances, whereby smaller fleets in particular can commit to initiating joint advancement projects with other fleets in order to advance. The benefits of such player interactions and commitments could be lower requirement costs, or reduced wait times.
4. One final point on the foundry dilithium rewards: Right now, it is extremely unclear -ingame- whether or not -any- foundry mission offers -any- type of reward. I suggest some clarification be added to the UI sooner rather than later.
p.s. in an unrelated but relatively important note, the QA department need some serious attention, the recent patch was far from flawless. Its as if QA has no defined checklist or understanding of the extent of changes a patch has to test, before release.
Non mega-fleets get no help for higher tier projects, and Cryptic "might" add fleet marks to other things "eventually"?
1. Fleets under 25 are going to have a hard time completing projects = by design.
2. We will be adding more Fleet Marks, just not on Foundry missions. We will be making several changes up until the May update in order to bring Fleet Mark earning back in line: including reclassifying the difference between Events and Fleet Actions, Adjusting (increasing/decreasing) Fleet Marks with a focus on giving more Fleet Marks in Fleet Based Events, Possibly merging Fleets, Possibly offering other incentives for Small Fleets.
3. Data shows, most small Fleets are far more starved for Dilithium than they are for Fleet Marks. There is need for both, but more need right now for Dilithium than Fleet Marks - thus today's change. More Fleet Marks are coming - just not in Foundry play.