We have the Star Trek facepaints on, we're flying our cardboard cutout ships around the living room, we're setting up ock battles with the kids next door, we're adventuring to "new" worlds and explore "new" civilizations, and boldly go where everyone else had gone before, and still is waiting in line.
We can play dress up the dollies, and we can play cops n robbers, and we can play king of the hill, and we can play hide and seek, and we can play picking flowers, and we can play shoot the zombies, and we can play Tribble Ranch and grow our pet gerbils.
Also, we can play fast-paced hardcore detailed technical space combat, and paper rock scissors ground combat.
Of all of these, only one is remotely interesting to me. The rest of that stuff is way more fun to do outside with my neighbor's numerous children, and they come up with all kinds of imaginative rules and ways to cheat and they tell wonderful fabricated tales all about it. Kids are fun. I'm not one myself, but they are a ton of fun.
If I was a little kid I probably would like a hide and seek MMO, and I'm not entirely opposed to some aspect of a real game for me involving some hide and seek... but I'm not going to pay $15/mo to play hide and seek with strangers who verbally abuse me for being good at it, or tell me that the game is only about hiding and not about seeking, or who say that hiding is OP and I need to stand directly in front of them and wait for them to stop arbitrarily counting down until they win, or complain that the seekers get better costumes than the hiders, or whatever.
Turns out, the reason I'm getting bored is because I'm just ... too mature for a game this simple? No, that's not right.... Oh! I'm too mature for a community this Simple? No, because then they'll just react with "you ARE in the community, Mister Simple!" to which there will no doubt be a "ur mom" joke (anything can be made into a 'ur mom' joke. "I made 'ur mom' a joke." See? Oh, I was trying to express why I'm so bored of figuratively punching figuratively stupid people in the figurative face... hmmm.
I find myself in this strange position of having a ridiculous amount of time to spend learning my ship and how it works in various conditions, and I've done that for every ship I care to fly... and now I'm faced with an issue. Either I can continue to PvP against complete noobs who have a rainbow colored firing arc and no bridge crew, and pummel them like the squishy little bugs they are... or I can take my fleetmates into combat against a premade team that exploits every possible broken game mechanic with surgical precision, about as well as a robot would. Both are boring.
I don't want to punch the intellectually challenged in the face any more than I want to punch the business end of a wood chipper, neither option is appealing. Is it because of balance? No.
It's not a balance problem, I've mentioned this before in another thread. It's that the AI in PvE is so mind-numbing that it actually prevents anyone who isn't used to having their mind numbed from ever getting interested in this game. Instead of 500 braindead NPC klingons in ships with no equipment flying around a nebula, how about a couple groups of actually semi-intelligent teams, group size relative to party size? I mean, facing 5000 intelligent enemies WOULD be a challenging prospect, patently impossible even for James Tiberius Kirk and his esteemed crew of liberal alien bureaucrats from the 1960s TV sitcom universe. Howeve,r one smart ship, or occasionally two, isn't farfetched as a "combat scene" and can be made hard enough that players will have to think and adapt and become mentally engaged in the game, but not so hard that it's the final scene from "The One" or something.
I'm tired of killing THOUSANDS of ships per toon, only to have no real impact on the overall storyline. I mean, a spacefaring race with a LARGE population is up around six billion, the average is two billion. Assuming it's anything like earth's space program, only about 0.0001% of total people in a given race would even work directly on the space program. Of those, only about 1% become notably heroic. So, assuming that the Klingon Empire is somehow matching the number of pilots killed, ten thousand federation pilots shooting down five thousand klingon pilots each would mean that the Klingon Empire numbers around half a trillion people, or 70 times that of earth's human population.
I don't think so.
Maybe you personally from the standpoint of an MMO see the MMO combat situation as an unavoidable grind, but I think you could get away with making *every* enemy in this game a subboss. Afterall, this is outer space, nobody "normal" or "subnormal" makes it off a planet, much less becomes a Warlord amongst the Constellations. Why would any empire just throw ships and soldiers away like that?
Why not make PvE combat more realistic by getting rid of the hordes of mindless zombies in starships, and throwing us a curveball with interesting PvE combat? I've probably killed several small planets worth of borg drones by now, they should be getting pretty close to extinction at this rate.
I understand that you have to make certain kinds of believability sacrifices in order for this to be an MMO in the first place, but I don't see the "squashing ants" method of PvE as an important, or even good, way to approach the "grind."
As a company you want a salable product that keeps people buying, MMOs have a seemingly limitless supply of fans, but it only seems that way. Most people who play MMOs, try a different MMO when the first one starts feeling more like work than fun. As a Corporation you see everything as worl, fun is just a side effect of the product that is sometimes expressed by the consumers as an emotion that makes them keep buying the game. That said, manipulating the human psyche is what advertisement is all about in the first place. By locking onto the Star Trek IP, you have acquired human resources beyond your comprehension. Star Wars found this out for the first time when they did the CU, and drove everyone away over night. It's a legend in the MMO world, discussed by both the consumers and the developers of MMOs ever since, and probably until technology changes dramatically enough that MMOs are obsolete. Until then you are stuck with it, and in more ways than just the common threat of quitting on a random forum posting. The CU was a perfect storm of coalescent factors, and is a shining example of bureaucratic inefficiency leading to its own downfall.
Stop thinking of your customers as marks, even if it's true, and start thinking of them as people who want something to do besides the daily grind they already do. Adding more grind to an already long boring day just isn't what people want from their entertainment. Nobody wants it but that one guy in that other forum post who thinks that grinding is what makes people social... and even in his case what he really wants in non-judgemental human interaction, and grinding is just an excuse for him to spend hours a day on the forums and typing in chat where he can get validated by other people. It's not wrong to feel like that, this society is so mechanical now you can feel the most alone you've ever felt in your life while you're standing in a large crowd of people. Everyone is different. That said, they're still all people.
People don't always know what they want, and almost never know what they're talking about. You can't give them what they ask for, because they generally aren't asking for the thing they think they're asking for. You have to read their freakin minds and give them what they didn't know they wanted. This last patch 1.2 is a great example of exactly that.
Now, while 1.2 is a major success in balancing the PvP combat, some of the other game systems are now broken as a result of being previously adjusted to broken mechanics. You wanted combat slower, well it sure is slower. Where it used to be that a typical match was 20 minutes, and a good match between two really good teams was 90... now almost every match goes an hour or more and between good teams the matches take longer than people have in a given day to be on and playing.
In short, it's too slow now, and there's several ways to speed it up, one of which would dramatically reduce the network hardware load on one side and redistribute that power to the other side by simply making NPCs smarter and less numerous with higher rewards. Afterall, every second rate thug in the galaxy doesn't get his own flying city, so why is outer space more heavily populated than any given planet, and how did people so amazingly stupid ever get put in charge of several million EC worth of hardware?
I have to disagree with your time assessments. I'm not saying you didn't encounter these times, just that they're the exception rather than the norm.
I've played primarily PUG matches and done some premade matches with reliable teammates (generally from the same PvP fleet with Vent).
I've never seen an hour long match in either situation - let alone a 45 minute match.
There are, however, some suggestions on modifying weapon power level scaling (do slightly more damage for less power while having the high-end scaled down slightly less). This increases base DPS for everyone (meaning a 50 weapons power ship will be able to contribute something meaningful).
A very well thought out and brilliantly worded OP with nothing but perfectly placed points of critique.
And the fanboi brigade doesn´t disappoint, again.
Keep on Trekking.
I actually responded. His experiences regarding PvP match lengths seem far removed from the norm (his contention is actually regarding PvP playtimes and challenges being too long for pre-mades and next to no challenge)