Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Questions and Observations
12-16-2011, 07:43 AM
I'm a returning player for Season 5 and I have a few questions that hopefully folks here can help me with.

I came back to STO because there is, believe it or not, some buzz about F2P among PvPers in other games who are thinking about giving STO a go. I leveled a Fed Tac via PvE to see how long it takes in STO to level now. Having never leveled a player via much PvE nor spent much time in that part of the game, I can say the game has come a long way since I played from launch through Season 2. It only takes about 2-3 weeks of play to casually level a Fed, a lot less if you know what you are doing. The Patrol missions and episodes have replaced the exploration missions as the PvE grind in STO on the Fed side and quite frankly, that side of the game is really well done now (it's entertaining if you have never done it). I had only done PvE for exploration daily marks from early 2010 through about August 2010, and I remember doing the first STF once on both of my engineers (having to solo the boss at the end both times to finish the STF for my group), so I have no frame of reference for the PvE side of STO other than those few and limited options back in the day to compare.

Leveling via the PvE side, everything in game play has been as I remember it, or at least gameplay coordinated well with how I remember playing PvE except visuals are better and I never did the same thing twice (which back in the day, we did the same thing over and over). Finally, even after farming Kerrat at every level along the way, I was disappointed that I didn't find PvP in Kerrat until last night when I made VA1 on my Fed Tac (not counting an hour of PvP while goofing off with my SCI VA1 testing new crap after first returning). Wow things are very different than I remember it, and I have no idea what is going on nearly all the time. It was very nice to see RZR in Kerrat though, exactly where they were 16 months ago. Guess some things never change (Cryptic should honor that btw, those dudes are more of a staple in Kerrat than Sulu is a staple of Earth Spacedock in STO).

After playing a few matches I tried to ask some basic questions in OraganizedPvP channel, but I ended up getting responses from some group of 2am booger pickers who were eager to respond with their intellectual shortcomings and virtual crotch adjustment skills. Hopefully better returns on assistance can be found here.

Questions:

1) Pay to Win. I've followed this on the PvP forum, but I didn't and still don't get what they are talking about. There are some neat new abilities being used in PvP by both sides, so where can I get them? Folks keep saying the C-Store, but I don't see them as an option. Does that mean I have to spend c-store points to buy each ship to get the abilities that come with the ships? Is there a way to get that gear via in-game gameplay? Is it the high end ships only or can I buy the lower tier ships and use those abilities? Is there somewhere I can read all of this explained? I have several hundred thousand of that pink currency crap and tens of millions EC hoping the game would make sense and I'd know what to do with my main characters, but after leveling up a newb in Season 5 I still feel like a know-nothing Season 2 veteran and Season 5 newb. Where is the PvP tip guide for Season 5, as in - what the abilities actually do that come with each c-store ship and what is unique to each faction and apparently some of these abilities can be taken off one ship and put on other ships(?) What's useless in PvP, what's better for PvE, and what should I avoid... etc? Where is this priceless yet basic information being hidden? Searching the forums doesn't work, too many responses to filter...

2) Where do newbs get gear other than Kerrat? Is that what STFs are for now? What about episodes, are the gear drops worth the effort? PvPing with green/blue MK X is just as crappy in Season 5 as it was in Season 2, except in Season 5 it isn't as easy to earn the pink currency as it was to earn marks back in the day. 8K limit? Really? What is Cryptic scared of by placing a limit on stuff like that - more players? I don't want to transfer 100 mil EC to my newb Fed to deck him out like a champ, I'm trying to keep it as if this was a F2P guy who just joined the game to see what their options truly are to compete at the high end of the game when starting from scratch. If there are few options or if it becomes a major PvE grind, PvP isn't going to benefit from F2P.

3) For those who whine about balance, balance in PvP appears to be at least as good as I remember it (granted, haven't seen the exploits folks claim exist). There are still great individual builds and great builds better suited for team play, and for every bit of punch I can throw with a Tac, I still seem to have good disruption options with my Sci and my Eng is a better tank/healer than I ever remember. The DOFFs and new abilities have added yet another layer of random excellence and fail to any individuals PvP encounter, but while most of that is individual it is still my impression teamwork & skill > individual kit in STO PvP - same as it has always been. Is my small sample of Season 5 experience missing something here? Haven't run the QQs, haven't been able to find public ones popping anymore.

Observations:

The economy of this game is completely messed up now. I've been able to gear up my Fed Tac VA1 in mostly blue and pink X and XI stuff without problems, but in leveling to VA1 I only earned a grand total of about 35K of that pink crap currency despite doing daily missions. That's enough to buy only one MK X very rare ship weapon from the NPC vender, for example. WTF? Is it the intent of Cryptic to make the Exchange economy the economy of the entire game? What use is the limited pink currency if EC income is unlimited in gameplay, and the pink currency is governed so heavily both on the input and throughput side of the economy? That doesn't even count c-store points, which is very much critical to the economy since with the 400 c-store point stipend a month it makes more sense for me to quit playing right now, buy a lifetime membership, and come back after another 16 months away and then use my 6400 c-store points on whatever is current to be exactly where everyone else is. Based on the cost of c-store points, that is actually a less expensive approach than buying enough c-store points to fill my various characters. Is there no in-game alternative that would entice me to actually play towards similar rewards?

I think the economy issue is a big deal that vets may not realize exists, because at this rate a player would have to earn 8K pink crap currency per day for 80 straight days to afford MK X Very Rare NPC vender gear, and I haven't even looked at MK XI gear. Is that intentional? 80 days of 8K pink crap converted per day - which takes 3x or more longer to earn than Marks did when they were only earned by daily's? 80 days NPC equivalent is a huge wall for a F2P player, at least as big a wall as the c-store P2W hurdle. Obviously drops and the exchange can reduce the time requirement, but maybe not? I haven't even looked at Very Rare MK XI stuff, which probably has it's own economy and will require a PvE grind.

I'd appreciate any responses to the questions, even if it is just a link to something a newb like me should be reading. I'm also curious for some honest discussion on the viability of F2P to boost the PvP population of STO, because after starting from scratch and looking at my options on my new character, I'm just not sure F2P is going to do much of anything for boosting the PvP community in STO. Unlike most of STO, which is social and casual, PvP is a gameplay style among those who are dedicated to the art, as it tends to attract a much more serious level of gamer, but the need for any new player to be individual competitive is a basic requirement - and I'm not sure that requirement is achievable within the first 2-3 months of gameplay for any new player given the mechanical limits of what can be done per day in STO. I'm looking at my new Fed Tac thinking I am looking at a huge hurdle if I ever want to be competitive with that specific character in space PvP, although in ground PvP the bar is much, much lower. With that said, I probably have more hours in ground PvP than 99.9% of the current STO PvP community and I haven't played in 16 months, which is yet another hurdle F2P is unlikely to resolve.

What options am I unaware of? Is the economy not as broken as it appears to be? Is the game poorly designed for new players reaching the high end? How much of a difference can a fleet really make when virtually everything of consequence in PvP is bind-on-pickup? I think these answers need good answers before anyone suggests PvP will improve with F2P.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-16-2011, 08:01 AM
There is a Dilithium Exchange ingame, that allows you to trade Dilithium for C-Points and the reverse. STFs are the way to get top gear. PvPers chased eeryone out of the PvP Qs. You have to buy the new ships in C-Store then take the special console off and put it on your current ship to get new abilities, most are class specific (escort only, cruiser only, Sci only). I have yet to buy any gear since season 5, I use rare borg salvage to get it at DS9., Mk X to Mk XII with (borg) bonus.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-16-2011, 08:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided View Post
1) Pay to Win. I've followed this on the PvP forum, but I didn't and still don't get what they are talking about.
2 Components. All lower Tier (Tier 1 to Tier 4) ships are definitely ships in the C-Store are better than their in-game equivalent, even if you ignore the special console power. (They have, at least, one extra BO power and one extra console slot available to them).

The "Pay-To-Win" consoles are the consoles on these ships, and yes, the only way to get them is via the ships that come with them. These consoles don't have to be "P2W" per se, but it seems they are at least currently badly balanced and allow unforseen and not well balanced combinations.
Note that currently, each faction has access to a different set of console - this may change eventually, but if you see a cool console on a Klingon ship, it is currently not available for the Federation, and vice versa.
Also, most of these consoles can only be used on ships of their class (so a C-Store Cruiser console can only be used on Cruisers). A small subset of consoles (mostly Tier 5 legacy vessels like the LRSV-R, Galaxy-X, Tatical Escort and Galax-Retrofit ones)

The Tier 5 C-Store ship are not strictly "as overpowered" as the lower tier C-Store ships are on their respective tier, but many will argue (and probably rightfully so) that the Multi-Vector Assault Mode Advanced Escort and the Long Range Science Vessel Retrofit are the strongest of their respective class.





2) Where do newbs get gear other than Kerrat? Is that what STFs are for now? What about episodes, are the gear drops worth the effort? PvPing with green/blue MK X is just as crappy in Season 5 as it was in Season 2, except in Season 5 it isn't as easy to earn the pink currency as it was to earn marks back in the day. 8K limit? Really? What is Cryptic scared of by placing a limit on stuff like that - more players? I don't want to transfer 100 mil EC to my newb Fed to deck him out like a champ, I'm trying to keep it as if this was a F2P guy who just joined the game to see what their options truly are to compete at the high end of the game when starting from scratch. If there are few options or if it becomes a major PvE grind, PvP isn't going to benefit from F2P.
[/quote]
I have no idea how people collect their gear right now. The regular PvE missions seem to offer a good set of rewards now and can be replayed. For making Dilithium - Exploration, Duty Officer System, PvP, Fleet ACtions and STFs are options. And I think the Foundry Daily (play 3 Foundry missions) also grants DIlithium. Plus the events may grant some Dilithium rewards.


Quote:
3) For those who whine about balance, balance in PvP appears to be at least as good as I remember it (granted, haven't seen the exploits folks claim exist). There are still great individual builds and great builds better suited for team play, and for every bit of punch I can throw with a Tac, I still seem to have good disruption options with my Sci and my Eng is a better tank/healer than I ever remember. The DOFFs and new abilities have added yet another layer of random excellence and fail to any individuals PvP encounter, but while most of that is individual it is still my impression teamwork & skill > individual kit in STO PvP - same as it has always been. Is my small sample of Season 5 experience missing something here? Haven't run the QQs, haven't been able to find public ones popping anymore.
You're certainly missing elements now. A lot of stuff takes time to pick up. Like the Galaxy-Refit (not Retrofit) Antimatter Spread console for example grants Fed Cruisers the ability to use Scramble Sensors and Jam Sensors in one, with additional quirks where you occassionally can't fire off powers at allies at all (which isn't what Scramble does).
Combining some of the new drain and area effect damage/slows also seems to cause issues. Since I am currently more a remote observe rather than an active player, I can't give you more details.

It's true that teamplay still trumps most other considerations, but the more unbalanced abilities can lead to more frustration when encountering a better team.



Quote:
The economy of this game is completely messed up now. I've been able to gear up my Fed Tac VA1 in mostly blue and pink X and XI stuff without problems, but in leveling to VA1 I only earned a grand total of about 35K of that pink crap currency despite doing daily missions. That's enough to buy only one MK X very rare ship weapon from the NPC vender, for example. WTF? Is it the intent of Cryptic to make the Exchange economy the economy of the entire game? What use is the limited pink currency if EC income is unlimited in gameplay, and the pink currency is governed so heavily both on the input and throughput side of the economy? That doesn't even count c-store points, which is very much critical to the economy since with the 400 c-store point stipend a month it makes more sense for me to quit playing right now, buy a lifetime membership, and come back after another 16 months away and then use my 6400 c-store points on whatever is current to be exactly where everyone else is. Based on the cost of c-store points, that is actually a less expensive approach than buying enough c-store points to fill my various characters. Is there no in-game alternative that would entice me to actually play towards similar rewards?


I think the economy issue is a big deal that vets may not realize exists, because at this rate a player would have to earn 8K pink crap currency per day for 80 straight days to afford MK X Very Rare NPC vender gear, and I haven't even looked at MK XI gear. Is that intentional? 80 days of 8K pink crap converted per day - which takes 3x or more longer to earn than Marks did when they were only earned by daily's? 80 days NPC equivalent is a huge wall for a F2P player, at least as big a wall as the c-store P2W hurdle. Obviously drops and the exchange can reduce the time requirement, but maybe not? I haven't even looked at Very Rare MK XI stuff, which probably has it's own economy and will require a PvE grind.
I sometimes think Cryptic wants everyone to buy C-Points to buy Dilithium from the few that have the time to spend it on Dilithium-Acquisition. Actually gathering Dilithium seems a slow, boring process I have no interest in doing seriously. I hope that my Tribble Testing stipend and the conversion "money" I got will get me through the worst of it.

The daily refinement cap is a way to ensure that pepole don't get gear too fast. This also stabilizes the Dilithium Economy. It may also be an incentive for the F2P crowd to log in regularly, which also increases the opportunities of them to check out something in the C-Store.


Quote:
I'd appreciate any responses to the questions, even if it is just a link to something a newb like me should be reading. I'm also curious for some honest discussion on the viability of F2P to boost the PvP population of STO, because after starting from scratch and looking at my options on my new character, I'm just not sure F2P is going to do much of anything for boosting the PvP community in STO. Unlike most of STO, which is social and casual, PvP is a gameplay style among those who are dedicated to the art, as it tends to attract a much more serious level of gamer, but the need for any new player to be individual competitive is a basic requirement - and I'm not sure that requirement is achievable within the first 2-3 months of gameplay for any new player given the mechanical limits of what can be done per day in STO. I'm looking at my new Fed Tac thinking I am looking at a huge hurdle if I ever want to be competitive with that specific character in space PvP, although in ground PvP the bar is much, much lower. With that said, I probably have more hours in ground PvP than 99.9% of the current STO PvP community and I haven't played in 16 months, which is yet another hurdle F2P is unlikely to resolve.

What options am I unaware of? Is the economy not as broken as it appears to be? Is the game poorly designed for new players reaching the high end? How much of a difference can a fleet really make when virtually everything of consequence in PvP is bind-on-pickup? I think these answers need good answers before anyone suggests PvP will improve with F2P.
From a PvP perspective, the game is badly designed as little in the game prepares you PvP. The NPCs fight totally different from players, basically. Doesn't look like Cryptic can change this.

Fleets make a huge difference in PvP, simply because they allow you to train with like-minded people. Teamplay is crucial, and Pick-Up-Groups usually lack a lot in this regard.

I don't know if the economy is all that broken, though I do think gear is far to expensive and there isn't really a good way to "slowly" improve your gear. You either have the Dilitihium for Very Purples, or you have to deal with the stuff you found in drops or common gear. THere is no progression from "all uncommon" to "all rare" to "all very rare" gear or anything like that.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-16-2011, 08:11 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided View Post
After playing a few matches I tried to ask some basic questions in OraganizedPvP channel, but I ended up getting responses from some group of 2am booger pickers who were eager to respond with their intellectual shortcomings and virtual crotch adjustment skills.
Heh, I noticed that conversation some time after it started and wondered what was up with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
1) Pay to Win. I've followed this on the PvP forum, but I didn't and still don't get what they are talking about. There are some neat new abilities being used in PvP by both sides, so where can I get them? Folks keep saying the C-Store, but I don't see them as an option.
C-store. Basically, you buy a ship and get a universal console that will give you an ability. Here's a list of all of them: http://www.stowiki.org/Universal_Consoles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
2) Where do newbs get gear other than Kerrat? Is that what STFs are for now?
Yeah, basically Cryptic is now funneling everyone into the STFs to get top gear & top sets right now.

However, there's still the Aegis set whose components can be crafted or bought off the exchange. Good gear can also be bought with dilithium at ESD/K7/Qonos/Ganalda. When all else fails, there's always the exchange & random ker'rat drops.

Here's a list of all the sets that are available in game: http://www.stowiki.org/Set

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
What about episodes, are the gear drops worth the effort?
There's some good equipment & weapon rewards with that, but it's also mixed with a bunch of annoying and useless stuff too. The good stuff is usually marginally underneath the quality of the top gear available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
3) For those who whine about balance, balance in PvP appears to be at least as good as I remember it (granted, haven't seen the exploits folks claim exist).
I would say it's not as bad as many say, but it's not good either. There's lots of cheats being exploited, and game mechanics lean too heavily towards healing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
The economy of this game is completely messed up now. I've been able to gear up my Fed Tac VA1 in mostly blue and pink X and XI stuff without problems, but in leveling to VA1 I only earned a grand total of about 35K of that pink crap currency despite doing daily missions. That's enough to buy only one MK X very rare ship weapon from the NPC vender, for example. WTF?
Yep, grinding is the name of the game now unfortunately. I'm glad all my characters have what they need already (I'm not bothering with STFs because I'm not a big fan of PvE or grinding).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
I think the economy issue is a big deal that vets may not realize exists, because at this rate a player would have to earn 8K pink crap currency per day for 80 straight days to afford MK X Very Rare NPC vender gear, and I haven't even looked at MK XI gear.
Yeah, I'm glad I don't plan on making any more new toons. I wouldn't want to have to deal with all this grinding. My five toons have their mk x/mk xi purple gear & sets, so I'm just logging in to finish the doff system & get some PvP in. Hopefully I can finish the doff stuff soon so I can just log in every once in a while to do some fighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided
I'd appreciate any responses to the questions, even if it is just a link to something a newb like me should be reading.
That STO Wiki I linked to twice above is a useful resource, although much of it is now out-of-date with all of the Season 5 changes, so tread carefully. They seem to be updating it well though, if gradually.

Edit:
After reading Mustrum's post, yeah, the motivation for the economy change by Cryptic seems to be to make people work more for top gear, dragging out the process through grinding, while giving people the opportunity to shorten it by paying money.
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