Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,254
# 11
03-03-2013, 09:42 AM
I would love to be able to make exploration missions in the Foundry, which then come up at random in Exploration Clusters. I know some people don't like Foundry missions, so there could be a setting where they can "disable" Foundry missions in Exploration Clusters and just play the randomly-generated ones like the ones suggested here.
"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
-- Q
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 12
03-03-2013, 09:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycoticvulcan View Post
I would love to be able to make exploration missions in the Foundry, which then come up at random in Exploration Clusters. I know some people don't like Foundry missions, so there could be a setting where they can "disable" Foundry missions in Exploration Clusters and just play the randomly-generated ones like the ones suggested here.
I vaguely recall Dan talking about something like that once, so they may well be planning to do just that.

So long as it is special exploration foundry content like you suggest, which would exist alongside dev created exploration content, then that could be fantastic. If it is just general foundry content, which could order you right back out of wherever you are trying to explore every time you go in, then it simply wouldn't make sense. So I do hope that Dan wasn't thinking of just making exploration zones nothing more than elaborate foundry portals.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 278
# 13
03-03-2013, 11:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnmanx View Post
A story for every planet would be a lot of work, and there would never be enough of them to keep us occupied. I agree with your general sentiment here, but if exploration is supposed to be more-or-less endlessly repeatable content, then surely we would need something that can be turned out in bulk (so to speak)?
Hmm, I wonder if they could create proper exploration instances; these would be huge areas full of randomly generated content (at the time of their creation), representing just a single sector of an entire unexplored expanse or nebula.

Players work together (or just sporadically) slowly map out the area and uncover every planet and random encounter in the instance. Once the instance has been significantly explored a new one is created.

So when you enter say the Delta Volanis Cluster, you would be given a grid of sectors to choose from, each displaying the percentage they've been explored by. Generally you will pick ones that haven't been fully explored, but you may go back to some in order to follow-up missions. These would need to be time limited so that instances can eventually be deleted to make way for new ones.

This might give a better sense of actual exploration as you go into a sector that others have started exploring, and starting finding new stuff of your own to map and interact with. It might be nice to see some proper phenomenon mapping/analysis mini-games mixed in, not the "fly to position X and hit scan" but trying to different types of analysis in a science lab on your ship to determine what a nebula is comprised of, could also have some good potential for random scenarios such as contamination on your ship, long dormant Iconian virus etc.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 14
03-04-2013, 07:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by haravikk View Post
Hmm, I wonder if they could create proper exploration instances; these would be huge areas full of randomly generated content (at the time of their creation), representing just a single sector of an entire unexplored expanse or nebula.

Players work together (or just sporadically) slowly map out the area and uncover every planet and random encounter in the instance. Once the instance has been significantly explored a new one is created.

So when you enter say the Delta Volanis Cluster, you would be given a grid of sectors to choose from, each displaying the percentage they've been explored by. Generally you will pick ones that haven't been fully explored, but you may go back to some in order to follow-up missions. These would need to be time limited so that instances can eventually be deleted to make way for new ones.

This might give a better sense of actual exploration as you go into a sector that others have started exploring, and starting finding new stuff of your own to map and interact with. It might be nice to see some proper phenomenon mapping/analysis mini-games mixed in, not the "fly to position X and hit scan" but trying to different types of analysis in a science lab on your ship to determine what a nebula is comprised of, could also have some good potential for random scenarios such as contamination on your ship, long dormant Iconian virus etc.
So you're thinking persistent (for a time) randomly generated zones, rather than ones made fresh every time you go in? Intriguing. I could get behind an idea like that; though I'd prefer it if there were a way to hid the presence of other players I wasn't teamed up with. I'm a little tired of the crowds in the exploration zones; makes things feel too busy to be unexplored space.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 15
03-05-2013, 06:56 AM
Suggestion 9

The thrill of exploration comes, not just from what you might find, but also from what might find you. The exploration zones, as they are now, don't have much in the way of atmosphere; there's no tension, and no sense of danger. Going exploring should be exciting and a little bit scary.

I would suggest firstly that they be made darker, cloudier, and creepier places. Areas of space that have not been fully explored because people generally prefer to go around them; rather than risk getting lost or ambushed in a dense nebula hardly anyone ever visits. This would particularly make sense for exploration areas close to the main factions core territories; it's hard to rationalize there being a big patch of unexplored space right next door to Sol.

I would also suggest that effects be added to add to the atmosphere. Intermittent sensor contacts, strange signals, ghost ships, etc. Very occasionally, there should even be attacks; with enemy ships, or strange space critters, coming out of the fog to pursue us. Perhaps make it possible to lose the pursuers in the fog (if you are quick), so that a fight is not inevitable.

More atmosphere would also be desirable on the planets (so to speak). LV-426 was a pretty boring pile of rocks if you think about it; but the howling winds, the storms, and the dull grey light, added quite a bit of tension to the Nostromo's visit (OK, an alien spider with abandonment issues helped a bit, but...). Not saying that all the atmosphere should be bad, scary, tense, atmosphere; but a little wouldn't hurt. A few exploration worlds which require environment suits might add a little something too.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 16
03-07-2013, 06:37 PM
Suggestion 10

This is simply my opinion, but I don't believe that anyone has ever tried the exploration content in STO for the challenge. The fights in the existing exploration missions are a pain; 'kill 5 enemy squadrons' kind of stuff that takes far too long, and feel far too grindy. This is true for both the space and the ground missions.

I would suggest that in any future exploration content, the number of enemies be kept to a minimum. This is, after all, us doing the whole 'To boldly go where no one has gone before' thing; and it seems to me that this is where the encounters should be a little more like the shows, where the 'enemy of the week' was usually represented by a single ship.

To make things more interesting, I'd also suggest there be fewer missions where fighting is the whole point; and more missions where it's something that just comes up while we are doing something else.

For example:

We go to investigate an anomaly of some kind. We launch a few probes, take a few readings; then an alien science ship shows up to investigate the same thing, and isn't willing to share the discovery. There's a fight, we win, and we finish our investigation.

Maybe the enemy ship could even survive the battle, if a little worse for wear; that'd make a nice change.

This could, perhaps, tie into Suggestion 1; with an enemy maybe showing up, or maybe not. Maybe holding a grudge and showing up again in some other mission; or again, maybe not.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters

Last edited by capnmanx; 03-12-2013 at 11:45 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 17
03-08-2013, 11:03 AM
Suggestion 11

Critters. I quite like the critters in STO; however, there aren't all that many of them. I assume that the creation process isn't all that speedy. A galaxy's worth of unique alien creatures is unlikely to ever happen.

What if new critters could be made as easily as player characters though?

A selection of templates, such as serpentine, biped, quadruped, etc. A variety of body parts to go with each one. A selection of skins, like long fur, short fur, fine scales, large scales, armoured, or feathered; with strategically placed dense patches, to cover up any gaps or odd joins which may result from being assembled from parts that don't really go together well.

Then optional bits like horns, tusks, beaks, spikes, wings (perhaps unlocking a 'flying critter' option). Then nice, broad, colour palette to finish.

It would make the populating of strange new worlds with unique creatures a fairly quick process; resulting in fewer empty wildernesses. It would also make a nice addition to the foundry I guess (assuming it doesn't already have functionality like that; I really must try out the foundry someday).

...

Of course, for all I know, it already works a bit like this; in which case my suggestion just becomes 'Make more critters!'.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 18
03-12-2013, 12:30 PM
Got some more.

Suggestion 12

Thinking about Doff assignment chains gave me an idea. Linked chains of short missions, that may be randomly encountered in exploration zones; maybe in a specific zone, or maybe spread over a selection of exploration zones (for example, some shadowy threat beyond Romulan space, might involve all of the exploration zones which border Romulan space).

It would almost be like watered down FE series'; except that finding these missions would be a matter of random chance.

They could be anything really. A series of encounters with a machine race determined to wipe out all organic life, leading up to a search for their point of origin to either destroy them at the source, or convince them that organics 'aren't so bad really'. An archaeological expedition which uncovers clues that a race previously thought extinct was actually alive and well; eventually leading to a first contact situation. The discovery of destroyed planets, suggesting at the existence of another Doomsday Machine; then an attempt to find it and stop it before it reaches any inhabited systems.

They need not be big and complicated things; just tell a little story that doesn't fit in anywhere else.

Suggestion 13

Speaking of the Doff system, what if there were certain events that were triggered by completing enough Doff assignments of a particular type, in a particular zone?

For example, if you've set up x number of trade routes into the region, perhaps the local races decide to try forming trading alliance; and you get invited to mediate at the negotiations. Or if you have helped establish x number of new colonies in the region, you then get asked to assist with establishing a new Starbase or outpost; so that Starfleet can provide security for those colonies.

It would further the sense that the players are actually making a difference by their actions; helping create the illusion that what they do out on the frontier is having some lasting effect on the game setting.


--------------------------

Now, I just wanted to take a moment to explain some of my thinking when it comes to exploration content.

What I'd really like to see here is content that is technically 'repeatable', but allows each player to come away with his or her own story to tell.

'What did you get up to today?'

'Well, I explored some ancient ruins full of man eating bugs, made friends with a rather attractive pirate lady, and saved a planet from a giant space amoeba. You?'

'Had a running battle across three systems with some low-tech Cylon wannabes, made first contact with a race of orange conjoined twins who argue a lot, and narrowly avoided getting married to a tribal chieftain's daughter by this much [--].'

'Was she pretty?'

'Not really.'

It would be better than just complaining about grind whenever we compare notes, yes?
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters

Last edited by capnmanx; 03-12-2013 at 02:42 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 604
# 19
03-12-2013, 02:39 PM
The first, and most important, thing to look at for a revamp of the exploration system is the rewards structure. Let's make it something people will want to do, then we can look at making it better. In it's current state I could actually see myself blowing an hour or two in the exploration clusters every few days but for one major issue: lack of rewards.

Currently you have a wrapper mission on a 24 hour cooldown that gives you a pittance of experience and dilithium and a 30 minute repeataple for each cluster that gives a pittance of experience and nothing else.

I've talked with a few people in my fleet and they were in general agreement that scrapping the 24 hour repeatable and giving the 30 minute repeatable a dilithium reward of something like 480 or 500 would be a step in the right direction. Alternately, leave the wrapper and add a reward box, such as the one that used to be attached to the foundry daily wrapper way back when, to the repeatables. Something besides experience so that you've got a reason to want to run the missions.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,001
# 20
03-12-2013, 05:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by canis36 View Post
The first, and most important, thing to look at for a revamp of the exploration system is the rewards structure. Let's make it something people will want to do, then we can look at making it better. In it's current state I could actually see myself blowing an hour or two in the exploration clusters every few days but for one major issue: lack of rewards.

Currently you have a wrapper mission on a 24 hour cooldown that gives you a pittance of experience and dilithium and a 30 minute repeataple for each cluster that gives a pittance of experience and nothing else.

I've talked with a few people in my fleet and they were in general agreement that scrapping the 24 hour repeatable and giving the 30 minute repeatable a dilithium reward of something like 480 or 500 would be a step in the right direction. Alternately, leave the wrapper and add a reward box, such as the one that used to be attached to the foundry daily wrapper way back when, to the repeatables. Something besides experience so that you've got a reason to want to run the missions.
That seems reasonable to me. Enough to take you up the refinement limit if you spent your gaming day just exploring, but not enough to be exploitable.

I hadn't given rewards much thought myself; since, deep down, I suspect any revamp of the rewards would lead to 'exploration reputation' or similar. Didn't really want to dwell on that.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
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