I had a thought about the Tutorial, and how it involves the weakest Borg in the game, and is generally just...well...out of place with the rest of the game.
And then I thought about Wesley and Nog's Academy experiences, as well as Red Squad, and I thought "hmm...there's an idea"
See, I remember three things very clearly about those cadet experiences:
1. Wesley was forced to take a "test" that forced him to make a tough decision. In his case, Wesley was forced to decide between saving an injured crewman, or saving a crewman who could save himself. In STO's case, the test could be an invasion of the Academy/Earth/ESD, or simply a test of loyalty (similiar to Section 31's test of Bashir).
2. Kobayashi Maru. Supposedly it's an un-winnable scenario, with exception to Kirk, who cheated. Presumably, there are other combat tests in the Academy, so the tutorial could be either the Kobayashi Maru itself, or another battle simulator.
3. Pre-graduation tours. In both Wesley and Nog's cases (and further expanded with Red Squad), Cadets usually served for a time on a starship prior to graduation. In the cases of Wesley and Nog, they were sometimes (or frequently) called upon to pilot the ship. In the case of Red Squad, cadets actually ran the entire ship.
So I was thinking. The Tutorial could be changed to a series of Academy tests, culminating in a graduation ceremony and a posting to a ship as an ensign. This, coupled with my rank suggestion, would necessitate the following changes:
1. For Ensign, Lieutenant JG, and Lieutenand, the player would choose and fly their ship, and would pick up and complete orders as normal. However, instead of showing a Bridge Officer during the in-mission dialogues, an NPC captain would be shown.
2. At Lieutenant Commander and onward, the player would be considered the commanding officer (as is the case now), and all in-mission dialogue would be seen as bridge officer suggestions.
Combine that with my idea for Tier Elimination, and it would allow players to "work through the ranks" of their ship, and take command (roleplaying that the captain had retired, transferred, or been killed)
because currently there is a certain interest in adding earth but no practical use for
the academy since, as an officer, you'd go to Starfleet Command and not the academy, unless you acted as a teacher.
So a new tutorial would actually warrant the need for the academy as a place on earth to visit.
yea the tutorials should have had some kind of tie between origin and academy storylines. it was the obvious choice, but sadly many missed opportunities here that, hopefully will get fleshed out and enhanced as time goes on.