As for me, I see three massive bits of potential with STO for end-game awesomeness...
1; the weekly missions. *If* they really do feel like weekly episodes of the ST shows can you imagine how cool they will be? It would be like having a Star Trek episode, except with you, your crew, your ship, and you are calling the shots.
This assume they will be epic and excellent....
2; The Genesis system. If it was fully realized its random missions could become more interesting, especially if the devs ever overhaul the basic exploration system to be more fun as they have talked about previously.
Nothing quite beats the coolness of stepping onto an awesome looking random world. its just that we'd like more variety for missions on those worlds, and we'd like a better system for getting to them, especially one that lets us move as a team easily and feels more exploratory.
This ties in with what you mentioned about class based content, and non-combat stuff, there is definitely the potential to make the accomplishing of exploration objectives more interesting than 'go here and click here'
3; you mentioned high end combat and raids OP. To me, an open-sector territory control full blown persistent PvP system would be welcome and awesome.
(there are enough pwnsome suggestions on these forums to fill a cargobay so I wont go into detail)
It would give the Two sides end-game objectives to constantly vie for.
Also, each little bit of this sector needs either a random map, or for special points a set made map, not just copies of the existing queue maps.
In that note, eventually more maps in the queued PvP would be nice.
Add this to a Klingon House system as I and I believe others have suggested, and you have even more possibilities for the Klingon side with regards to competitive PvP.
(Imagine, not just fighting for Imperial glory, but also for glory for your house!)
i Should clarify that i wasn't necessarily suggesting raids as a viable option, so much as using them as an example of what other MMO's have, to keep players on their high end alts rather then re-rolling. Raids in themselves are usually just a means to an end, however they are also distracting enough and challenging enough to keep players involved.
I wouldnt expect Cryptic to add them at all, however the point still stands that, a new High end storyline will only serve as a short term distraction before you get back to the key issue i want to address, and that is lack of variation in current repeatable content, and "Exploration"
I think that was the point?
They need to make a game they dont make to make this game in the OP's view as good
They don't make those kinds of games. Never have. It's not their design philosophy. So if that's the point, then this discussion is a dead-end.
If you want to play EVE or WoW ... you have those choices. Cryptic doesn't make those games.
The OP gets that actually. Reading his response to me I see the OP gets my point. But other posters ... and there are tons of them as I've read basically the "this sucks, let's raid instead!" thread since February dozens and dozens of times ... they chime in thinking how the best way to improve this game is to make it a raiding game.
It's pointless feedback. Cryptic does not make that kind of game. Feedback given. But no results will come of that.
So if that's YOUR point Deck ... then trust me ... you'll be sitting around for a long time with nothing to do.
Thundorn gets that. He's likely looking for ideas to improve the end-game. Which is admirable. But is willing to come up with ideas that fit into the games Cryptic's staff designs.
If you find that unacceptable and think this game will only work with dragon raiding Deck ... you're going to quickly get more and more frustrated with this game.
Weekly episodes ... Interiors ... STF's that are 5-man content ... Fleet actions for single groups ...
That's the kind of content this game is working on for the future.
Ideas to improve end-game need to work within those types of content pieces.
Cryptic does not design raid-centric, tiered end-game hiearchy, large guild motivated MMORPGs. They never have. This won't be one of those games either.
So any ideas on how to improve end-game need to keep that in mind. Ideas need to be solo and small group oriented.
Otherwise you're asking cryptic to make a game they don't make.
What would be the point in asking them to make a game they already make?
Overall, I don't disagree with you but I think they've shifted more and more towards a "sandbox at endgame" philosophy and have realized it's easier and more rewarding to develop endgame content, to encourage investment in a few progressed alts rather than create fifty avatars who never make it that high up the ladder.
This game (and Champions) are not City of Heroes and represent a shift towards an endgame focus.
The average player spends their time as captain hovering around nebulae, doing "Explore the X nebula/expance/belt", praying to all that is holy that Captain James Kurland will call them with a new mission in the next grade, and that the mission he gives you will yield enough skill points, that you dont have to repeat the same nebula mission too many times before the next one.
This paragraph sums up my experience during the rank of captain so well, haha!