I don't post on these forums very often, but I do read them a lot. I have also been playing the F2P test on both Fed and KDF as much as my time permits. As far as my experience with the test goes, my understanding comes a lot more from the forums and reading other peoples' experiences than from my in-game experience.
I'm not one to hysterically react to changes, especially when these changes are in a testing phase. In fact, I am impressed by how many changes are being applied to the test server due to feedback here, especially with the duty officer system. You are doing an excellent job in keeping up with two test servers and Holodeck, as well as other games. I play Champions Online as well and highly enjoy it. Bravo Cryptic, keep up the good work.
Another thing to keep in mind is that I have played this game for a long time. Not since closed beta like some, but enough to be well over 500 days on my lifetime subscription. I have faith in this game. It is the Star Trek game I have always wanted to play.
First, let me say I am impressed with my experience so far on the test server. The daily events are great (getting high level and rare crafting samples at Lt 5 made me laugh with glee), and I'm liking what I'm seeing when it comes to the new ground and space sets, as well as the simplified economy and the STF changes. I still have the same fun playing the test server that I do when playing the actual game, which is what I want when I play STO: fun.
I am, however, concerned. I simply do not believe most of the hysterical reactions I've been reading, but I can't, as a rational individual, dismiss the concerns that are growing in my mind. Perhaps someone can put my mind at ease. Here are a few situations I want to bring up:
I have a relatively new toon (Lt 7) on Holodeck who I'm holding off on leveling up in order to get the new Constitution. If I level him up using my standard method of changing my ship at least once at commander, constantly shifting my abilities around to see what I like, and expecting to be able to fly a shiny new ship when I rank up, will I run into any problems? I've already been stuck in an old ship on my Klingon for almost a level into Commander before I could buy my K't'inga, and I don't like having to do that. I am a lifetime subscriber, and would appreciate knowing how I have to change my gameplay style, if at all, so that I can fly updated ships. I purchase frequently from the C-Store. To put it simply, I throw money at you because I like your game. I am a supporter of it, and I will gladly save my stipends and keep throwing a few dollars in to buy new things like the Sao Paulo and new costumes and everything you've been doing with the C-Store. I have purchased almost every Federation ship you've put on the C-Store, and at least 2 of the Klingon ships. I don't mind buying more ships, and would appreciate you keeping the prices down as much as you possibly can. What I will mind is getting my new character to Vice Admiral and discovering that despite paying in dilithium for maybe one ship throughout the entire game I still have to grind like crazy to buy top of the line weaponry. What I will mind is being stuck in lower tier ships when I should not have to be. I get that dilithium and discount tokens are the new method, and that's fine. However, I enjoy this game with being able to upgrade, and I want to be able to adjust my leveling method so I can get a new ship AS SOON AS I AM PROMOTED.
Please don't make me grind for another 500 days just to buy good weapons for my T5 ships.
Please don't make me get stuck in lower tier ships after I've spent my time leveling up earning/refining dilithium.
Hopefully the rest of these will be shorter.
My main character is level 51, and has been for a while. Due to the earlier veteran reward, he currently has 266 emblems. How much refined dilithium will I be getting for these? Do I need to go ahead and buy Mk XI weaponry to replace the Mk X weaponry he's had since before Vice Admiral was a rank? I was hoping to wait and use my Emblems to buy newer equipment. Please tell me this is realistic.
I have several friends that will be coming in to play STO. Some will be starting on Silver, and some have played Gold in the past and can't afford it, so they'll be playing Silver. There are two questions here:
1. Will new players, coming in to play Silver, be just as good paying the subscription fee because of how much they'll have to use the C-Store? Reading these forums, you'd think that basically you're stuck in a Tier 2 ship until Captain, and then a Tier 4 ship until 3 months after you hit level cap (exaggerating). Can you please tell me this isn't true, and we're talking about new players just needing to play slightly differently to keep up with the curve? Or do I need to tell these players that this is a lot like every other F2P game in how much it relies on microtransactions, but there is a stipend for subscribers?
2. Will people that have previously played Gold and have VAs lose a ton of stuff when converting to Silver? Should they leave their old character alone and start new just so they don't lose things in case they want to subscribe later?
And lastly, one request: please don't make gaining dilithium a grind. After a while, doing exploration missions is just annoying. Take it from someone who grinded his Mk X Antiproton set on his main character at Rear Admiral 5 back in the day: that wasn't fun. If I have to do exploration missions consistently while leveling up, can we please get an improvement to how interesting they are? I know you've been talking about this for a while, so I'd just like to reiterate that I find the concept exciting. Please let exploration truly embody finding really strange things like quantum filaments, spatial anomalies, odd situations, parallel universes, and other things we'd normally see on the show. I don't consider scanning 5 objects exploring. In fact, if certain foundry missions were linked with exploration, THAT IS ALL I WOULD DO. Not insanely long ones of course, but reasonable length intriguing missions would be very interesting to stumble onto in the exploration clusters. I'd also love it if patrols and some other missions gave dilithium as a reward as well.
Anyway, I know this is long, so thank you for reading. I hope this reaches the devs and there can be a discussion here instead of more panicked predictions of doom and gloom. Please try to hold off on the flaming here guys, these are honest questions and concerns.
Ok, let me give you a hint for Tribble play that will make life much much easier for you.
First off your going to need dilithium. You get that from doing Exploration daylies, certain DOFF missions, the Lore missions at the Aaademy. and a few other odds and ends. Thats Fed side where you'll need to make up a shortfall of Dilithium as you advance up the ranks to get your ships. My own second fed toon I stayed in my Miranda started untill I hit commander. That toon is now sitting on over 50k Dilithium which will get used when I hit Admiral as I will NOT be buying a Captains T-4 ship so I can keep the stipend there.
For levelling all you really need to do is follow the mission arc under "Hail Starfleet" Overvieew tab, Episodes window. On occasiona you will hit a road block where it will not give you the mext mission.. thats when you go grind a touch to get the needed rank to qualify for the next mission. I didn't run into this myself untill the Breen story arc. Your experience should be about the same.
Do DOFF missions by all means.. You can get one hour buff, procs in space and ground comabt.. all types of fun stuff, and its a pretty cool mini game in its own right. and it will gain you XP!!!! (and some Dilithium now and again, special equipment etc)
I put a post up specificly to help folks KDF side which has some glaring holes that cannot be helped (hopefully the worst of em fixed this next patch..
As soon as your KDF toon finishes running arounf First city (DO Everything skip nothing!) the first FIVE things you should do are the two lore missions in First city , then take the Ly Commander exploration daylies for T'Ong Nebule, and D'kel star cluster along with "Welcoming the Federation" which is fighting AI feds in the Khalass expanse. This will not only net you abour 5k Dilithium ( a touch under actually) but will get you to COMMANDER rank and give you the additonal Dilithium to get your commander level ship with a little left over to pick up some bridge officers
(which as of this post are not being awarded as you go up in ranks,,again looking for fix next patch)
Excellent. I managed to figure out most of the KDF stuff you mentioned (not the lore missions though, those are on my agenda soon, very soon), but the Fed details should help a lot. Gonna hopefully have a good chunk of time to devote to leveling my Fed Tribble toon soon.