Playing through tribble F2P test I thought about writing down some positive and negative thoughts/fears to give some feedback to cryptic. The more feedback the better right? WARNING: TL;DR incoming.
First off the new story chain thing for featured episodes. I totally get why it's been designed like this to have a sort of guide for new-players to go down to level up, the interface looks great easy to access hailing/replaying I love. I also enjoy the faster pace of level 1-10, after that 10-20 or whatever it is seems way too fast
The really big disspointed is that you are locked out of the next episode until you complete the previous, this I've already experienced TWICE, can be disastrous when a quest glitches (like unkillable npcs.. twice) and you cannot proceed at all. You are virtually stuck until it's fixed or can somehow find a way around the bugs, if a new player experiences a bug like this as such a low level they probably won't bother coming back.
My suggestion would be leave the interface but seperate episodes out into related chunks i.e All devidians together then next set. It's perfectly fine to lock a mission unless previous RELATED missions isn't done. (Part 1 then part 2 and 3 locked etc).
Use is more as a guide than a tunnel to funnel the great unwashed down, Fix the rewards they don't scale and the order the featured episodes are in make no sense. Drake? Section 31? Straight after tutorial? No damn logic involved.
I'm all for simplifying the currency and I know devs have said the prices and cap are 'temporary' but seriously was there any logic behind the prices that were implemented even if they were 'temporary' 8k cap per day (Which i don't even fill at the minute, most dailies don't even give ore. This is AFTER the patch) while equipment is 10k, 20k, 60k at endgame. I have a full ship to equipt, my captain and 4 bridges officers. You would be RA 20 times before grinding enough dilitium. Amazing. I could understand a grind end-game to outfit in the best equipment but even then.... Rent is too damn high.
Anyway, you don't spend enough time at any level to get enough dilithum to afford parts of equipment nevermind a new ship. Why get rid of free ship tokens? WHY? Such a terrible decision. Which is why most players including me ship whole tiers of ships to be able to afford the next one. This is what new player will do, Skip tier 2 get Tier 3. Wasting those ships. (Unless you pay for 2.5 ships, which is fine but give the damn basic free ships out.) If anything at promo I should be able to afford a ship and outfit my ships with atleast a few new peices of equipment.
Something positive; I love the new event system such a great addition. (Mirrior Uni one was fantastic) it's a great way to introduce new content and special missions to enjoy, and to earn some (way too) precious dilithium, however can we get some more exciting events? Scaning blue orbs at the academy was... fun for 5 minutes... atleast until killstealers and orbstealers came and ruined it completely (FIX THAT SHiii..ahem and less collasping blue things PLEASE)
-Klingon/Borg/Tribbles invading spacedock/vulcan/academy
-Hold out until renforcments arrive/waves of enemies
Just generally different objectives to spice things up so it's not all.. samey.
Duty Officer System
Absolutly love it. Well done to however is incharge of it, It's so simple but adds so much. One thing I would say it's not exactly easy to figure out what level and how to gain access to more doffs and things. A tutorial or a npcs to help you would help. At the really least hovering over 'Duty system button' should display 'You will be able to give order to your crew at Lt. Commder 12' Or something similar 'Hail Mr DUTYOFFICER HALP for additional assistance'.
Also some 3day missions don't seem to be that rewards I've seen some 3day ones with 20xp rewards and nothing else, not sure if it got fixed though.
For me personally I love the crafting system but hate scanning those daft pink floaty things, it just doesn't 'feel' right. I propose to be able to send certain duty officers, perhaps C-Store things if needed, on 'Gathering' Missions. Now I know there are missions that rewards alien aftifacts or whatever but thats not what I mean.
Imagine you are in the delta volaris cluster, you click duty officer and assignments and see 'Excavate Alien Ruins for artifacts' or similar you click accept and brought to the normal screen and choose your duty officer as normal however there would be a 'Hour Slider' where you choose how long between 1-10 hours say, to send your officer to gather your crafting materials, critical success could award more resources or rare particles.
So while you sleep/pvp/pve/stand in the fountain at earthdock you can earn crafting mats and to hide away from the nasty pink floaters. It would still use 'Commendation points' so you'd be sacrificing a mission slot and earing no xp just the crafting materials well maybe science xp or whatever.
Dailies especially exploration dailies. Get rid of them. COMPLETELY. They will ruin the game for many people, I work and probably won't log in everyday as most people do. Why are we being punished and left behind because of this? This goes completly against what you said when you first announced the game about 'People who play less won't be completely left behind' Well I don't know the exact question asked but it was when first gameplay was shown....
Also how about some pvp events in the new event system? Invading eachother's 'home', capturing dilithium mines, etc. Just a thought for those poor pvpers.
TL;DR? I like some improvements but it greatly need balancing and fixing with a sledgehammer.