Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Over these past few days to weeks, I've been playing STO fairly often, and enjoying Season two very much-- but as I have, there's been a growing suspicion that there is something horribly wrong with the game's development to date, one that I'd like to try to show.

When you look at Season two's features page, you notice that it lists about six real things; the level cap increase (and rewards), klingon episodes, Diplomatic Corps, Fluidic space (zone), ship interiors, and minigames in the form of Dabo and Scanning.

So what's the problem? The problem I fear is that there is a serious lack of focus when it comes to developing content for the game. Take dabo for example- there's obviously been a lot of effort put into this minigame-- and to be frank it's wasted effort. While I like Dabo, it doesn't serve any real purpose, and it can't really be made to do anything at a later date-- the rewards are pointless in the extreme, for example, and any real rewards will likely cause problems later on.

The Dabo game is an excellent example of misspent development resources, but not the only one. Let's look at Diplomatic corps. Now, Diplomatic corps is something that should have been in STO since before the beginning, so it's good that it's in, but when we finally start to play the missions we find that it's obvious that not enough time was invested in developing it. Why is it that doing the diplomatic mission on Vulcan, or scanning rocks in the middle of no where, give the same amount of Diplomatic experience? In fact, since ever single giver of Diplomatic experience, as far as I can tell, gives 10 DXP, it's almost simpler to drop the zero and just say '1 DXP'.

I find it incredible that not once during the development process of Diplomatic Corps that no one realized that giving all the missions the same XP might just be a bad thing. It's almost as if not enough time and resources were invested in it's development to develop it better. Indeed, several of the Memory Alpha diplomatic missions seem almost completely pointless and created at the last minute to make it seem like there was more content to the DC than there actually was. This has to be an example of a lack of developer focus, I can think of no other reason for this, generated by Cryptic trying to appease the player base quickly.

This brings me to Ship interiors..

Since beta, ship interiors have been asked for, and I, and many others, have wanted them, But unlike my fellow players, I was rather saddened to learn that time and resources was being invested in Ship interiors; I had feared that Cryptic would try to push them out the door without the ship interiors meaning anything much. And my fears have been realized. Currently, ship interiors are nothing more than 3 different sized hallway maps with rooms glue onto them. Worse than the fact that ship interiors didn't get the development resources or cycle they deserved, is the fact that resources were spent on them, resources that will likely be a waste until Cryptic chooses to invest more resources and make them useful.

(I'd also like to take this time to point out that refit ships and the RA5-VA1 content suffers from the same lack of focus. In the RA5-VA1 content department, there simply isn't enough content (in the form of missions) to really justify adding new levels (example- lack of patrol missions) and many of the missions feel like they're half done, ending too quickly, or else just having no point to them. Refits are a special case, because ultimately I don't think people wanted refits so much as they wanted ships not to be limited by rank as they are. As the Captain grows, the ship should grow with them, adding console slots and increasing the Boff slots rank. If I want to fly a Nova-class ship throughout the game, that should be possible.)

The problem is, to put it simply, that Cryptic needs to focus on only one or two things at a time and ensure they're well done and have the depth they deserve, not merely 'done' to say you've done them.

So here are my suggestions for moving forward
1) Cryptic, try to focus on as few things as possible for an update. Do things well, not merely do them.
2) Fix what's already in the game. Before Season 3 should even begin it's development cycle, Obviously it already has, but you need to push out fixes for DC at the very least.
3) Stop trying to appease every player's every want. The truth is, you can't. Trying to do so only leads to trouble like this, where you try to do so many different things at once you end up not really developing any of them at all. I'm not saying don't listen to the players never, but just because someone really, really wants ____ doesn't mean you should develop ____ over, say, Gorn customization options, or improving ground combat.

tl:dr version: Season two has a lot of good content, but seems to suffer from quantity verse quality problems.

Hopefully this is too ranty or incoherent. I truly enjoy STO, and I do like what was added with season two, just not the feeling that more time was invested in getting an actress to voice act for a minigame than making sure that there was enough content for the RA5-VA1 (Or klingons!) levels to be worthwhile.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
08-03-2010, 11:27 PM
I think you have to take Dabo and Poker as learning experiences in part.

They want mini-games for things like overriding door locks and hacking computers and fighting viruses. But it's probably helpful to get the basics of mini-games down when mission outcomes and NPC and environmental AIs aren't tied to it yet.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
08-03-2010, 11:30 PM
Yes, how dare they waste time and effort giving players what they've been asking for!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
08-03-2010, 11:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
I think you have to take Dabo and Poker as learning experiences in part.

They want mini-games for things like overriding door locks and hacking computers and fighting viruses. But it's probably helpful to get the basics of mini-games down when mission outcomes and NPC and environmental AIs aren't tied to it yet.
Why would you fight viruses with a minigame?

A minigun maybe, I mean look at the size of that thing!

And I do agree with the whole learning experience thing, and I have nothing against pointless minigames like dabo or poker, just that in this case, it feels like a lot of season two's content feels like a dev team trying to do too much to please too many people at once.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
08-04-2010, 12:41 AM
Cryptic also needs to learn, in some cases, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

I have to agree, they seem to have a bad habit of half-a**ing things during development and pushing it live faster before really fleshing it out and making it more interesting. I'd rather they put out content every 4-5 months and really work to make the most of it (and give ample testing time to sort out bugs) than rush the job just because some players are getting angsty about having nothing to do.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
08-04-2010, 03:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nileight View Post
Yes, how dare they waste time and effort giving players what they've been asking for!
I sincerely hope you mean it ironically. But I have to agree with the OP. What good are those interiors? I went there once. Same ugly and unbelievably huge as bridges so I will never visit it again (STO is the first game I have ever seen where they can not make a normal to scale interiors. Hell even the old Wolfenstein from 1991 had it up to scale...). And if I want to see halls for giants, or a room of a size of a football stadium, I will go to a ground mission.

The same with Dabo. Played for 10 minutes and left. Clicking on a button over and over and over and over and to hear that terrible voice of Leeta every 5 seconds really is not my idea of having fun. Moreover there is NOTHING to do with the latinum. Well you can buy a crappy holoemiter for 15 minutes. How could I have played wtihout it. Why not simply put a change machine there which will exchange credits fot latinum at 3:1? It would be faster and the result would be the same.

Diplomacy? Do not even start. I have been playing since the release yet I had to do tons of exploration missions like an idiot to get to 160 points. While some newbie comes and gets tons of DXP just for doing storyline missions. Hello you there, I did those missions too damned! And even when you reach that 160 points all it does is open "diplomatic" missions for you. I was naive to expect some special ineresting missions. What we got are normal exploration missions, you just can be sure there will not appera any enemy out of nowhere...

Moreover instead of fixing current bugs (planets which does not hail you, übermobs who wipe your team in 2 seconds, Kerrat for gods sake...) they intoruduced a ton of new bugs (PvP queues, no loot for VA...). Why do they have a test server when they completely ignore what players tell them? And the last issue with the billing system not working is making me wonder if it is really worth to pay for STO. I give Cryptic last month, then if I do not see any improvement, I will not renew my subscritpion as I have never seen a clear statement as Yes, we know about this and that it will be fixed in a next week patch. All we get is Yes, we know about it and is one of the main issues for Season 3. WTF? I do not want any new season. I want bugs that have been there since begining fixed.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
08-04-2010, 03:52 AM
Players asked for ship interiors and minigames. Specifically Dabo, in fact. People wanted these things. Cryptic can't be blamed for giving players what they asked for.

See how pleased folks are that Dabo's in, with voiceover by a DS9 actress? There you go. That's why they did it.

The problem is not that these things are in the game. People want them to be in the game.

The devs want to add more rewards for Dabo later down the line. They're also gonna be making ship interiors functional. This is an MMO. More stuff can always be added at a subsequent date. We don't have the complete systems - we have the start of them. They'll be better later.

The trouble is...this doesn't stop folks from looking at the implementation we have now, and thinking...what? That's it? Because what we have now, right now, is pretty thin.

Sure, it may get better later. But a lot of people aren't gonna stick around and wait. That's the problem.

But the devs have to constantly add new features. They can't wait until the new stuff is perfect - they're under pressure to constantly release new things. And that pressure comes from players.

For the same reason, they also can't stop all development and just fix bugs. Especially since the people producing new content aren't always the same people whose job it is to work on bugs.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
08-04-2010, 04:00 AM
The mini games and the few interiors are a foundation to grow off of. They added the tech to make mini games, and they have a few basic ones. Yea the dabo may seem a waste, but you can always add to the rewards (gasp). This also means they can make more minigames, and more complex ones for different acivities to cure the "press F 5 times" issue.

Interiors are useless now, but it lays the foundation to add functionality and missions to them. They may not have plans for expand on them right now, but they can eventually add tons of rooms like astrometrics, holodecks, and so on. They may be spread a bit thin, but following your advice, season 2 would be all about getting the Tech for interiors, getting the rooms we have now, +1 or 2, and maybe a minigame to heal injuries or something. but hey, what little they had would work great.

Maybe you think that would be better than having 10 different things that are buggy and aren't totally complete. Honestly though, it's just 6 one way, half dozen the other. They can only do so much in a season.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
08-04-2010, 04:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_Drake
The mini games and the few interiors are a foundation to grow off of.
The whole game currently is just "a foundation to grow off of". But instead of actually growing, or making the foundation they have stable, they instead keep slapping on more poorly-designed and shabbily-constructed "foundation".

The OP is exactly right. And the excuse "well, the players asked for it" doesn't fly. What the players ask for should be considered, certainly, but players don't have the information to understand what resources are available, and how a given request will impact other priorities like fixing bugs and creating actual content.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
08-04-2010, 04:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_Drake
The mini games and the few interiors are a foundation to grow off of. They added the tech to make mini games, and they have a few basic ones. Yea the dabo may seem a waste, but you can always add to the rewards (gasp). This also means they can make more minigames, and more complex ones for different acivities to cure the "press F 5 times" issue.

Interiors are useless now, but it lays the foundation to add functionality and missions to them. They may not have plans for expand on them right now, but they can eventually add tons of rooms like astrometrics, holodecks, and so on. They may be spread a bit thin, but following your advice, season 2 would be all about getting the Tech for interiors, getting the rooms we have now, +1 or 2, and maybe a minigame to heal injuries or something. but hey, what little they had would work great.

Maybe you think that would be better than having 10 different things that are buggy and aren't totally complete. Honestly though, it's just 6 one way, half dozen the other. They can only do so much in a season.
No, I think totaly opposite. I would like to have one or two things that are not buggy. And that about the foundation I have been hearing since Season 2 went life. So when you build a house, you build foundation and move in? No matter there are not walls or roof? I do not think so. The same is with these things. Why release something that is useless? There are so many, and I mean MANY bugs in game and so many people considering leaving because of them (visit the TTS channel), that this is what they should focus on. Instead of that we got another tons of bugs. And nothing will change the fact that they are ugly and COMPLETELY out of scale. I for myself will not visit ship interior again (as I will not bother going to my footballstadiumisnotbigenough bridge). The ship looks bigger from the inside than outside!
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