Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 101
01-03-2012, 10:27 PM
Question -- what keeps Cryptic devs that are really good writers from just ... making content with the Foundry? It HAS to be quicker than other tools. What's so hard there?

What happened to hair tech? Character customization hasn't bee expanded since game launch. There's a lot the game is slacking in that's not just content. And yes, you're 6 months behind. I think we as a player base never really got an adequate explaination as to WHY we're 6 months behind either, other than "A Sale Happened". Well what did that entail? No cups in the break room? Well fine. You don't need cups in the breakroom to write a mission. Where did all our content go during that time period? If you want us to be understanding about that, I think you need to open up a bit more about that time period and exactly what the hell went wrong.

But that's just me analyzing your position from my perspective. If you want a truly creative idea -- do a cold call of experienced Foundry authors to make officialized content for you via the Foundry. If you don't have the staff, then let the players make content that gets looked over and touched up on by Cryptic devs and officilalized, at least for a while.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 102
01-03-2012, 10:33 PM
"Under promise and over deliver! " That is my hopeful projection for 2012 given what has been said so far.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 103
01-03-2012, 10:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
stuff
As always, thank you for your patience with these forums. We appreciate the open communication lines we have. Some people won't be happy unless they have a spy camera in your office or a telepathic link to your brain.

I think 3 FE's a year is a good goal. A reasonable mountain to try and climb. Perhaps if you are able to staff up you might be able to squeeze out a 4th, but I think I speak for many people here when I say :

Don't rush a poor FE out just to get it out. Give us 3 quality FE's, not 5 crappy ones



Oh, and keep up the good work. I played more in December then I think I have in quite a while.


.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 104
01-03-2012, 10:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
I'm not sure where some people got the impression that the STO team was staffed up. We're trying to staff up, but the team is not any larger than it has been in the past... and is smaller in some critical areas. Staffing up will take time. I didn't talk about the second half of 2012, because we hope to do a lot more once we have more staff... but it depends on a lot on how successful we are at finding the right people to hire.

I'm sorry that the news that we can't produce more featured episodes is a surprise. I was not aware that anyone indicated that it might be possible to get a more continuous stream of them going. I was really happy that I might be able to get 3 series out in one year, and getting 3 serious out seemed like an "epic win" for the dev team to me... but I didn't know that anyone had expectations that more than 3 series in a year was possible. I don't really think it is possible unless the team grows significantly. So I'm sorry that I get to break the news to you all.

The Klingon faction work is definitely on 2012's list, but I can't promise any date or details at this time. Once I have a more confident dev schedule, I'll share what I know. I don't want to share anything until I have an actual dev schedule that makes it very likely to happen.

I'm also sorry about how little came to the game in the middle of 2011. I can't do anything to change the past, though. I inherited the game as it was in late September, and I'm doing my best to bring you as all much as I can as quickly as I can.

I'm also trying to set realistic expectations with you all about what the team can do and plans to deliver. The STO dev team is amazing, and while they can't do everything that this forum crowd apparently wants, I think that 2012 is going to be a great year for the game.

Stephen D'Angelo
Executive Producer
Star Trek Online
Looks like I just paid my last subscription fee.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 105
01-03-2012, 10:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
I'm not sure where some people got the impression that the STO team was staffed up. We're trying to staff up, but the team is not any larger than it has been in the past... and is smaller in some critical areas. Staffing up will take time. I didn't talk about the second half of 2012, because we hope to do a lot more once we have more staff... but it depends on a lot on how successful we are at finding the right people to hire.

I'm sorry that the news that we can't produce more featured episodes is a surprise. I was not aware that anyone indicated that it might be possible to get a more continuous stream of them going. I was really happy that I might be able to get 3 series out in one year, and getting 3 serious out seemed like an "epic win" for the dev team to me... but I didn't know that anyone had expectations that more than 3 series in a year was possible. I don't really think it is possible unless the team grows significantly. So I'm sorry that I get to break the news to you all.

The Klingon faction work is definitely on 2012's list, but I can't promise any date or details at this time. Once I have a more confident dev schedule, I'll share what I know. I don't want to share anything until I have an actual dev schedule that makes it very likely to happen.

I'm also sorry about how little came to the game in the middle of 2011. I can't do anything to change the past, though. I inherited the game as it was in late September, and I'm doing my best to bring you as all much as I can as quickly as I can.

I'm also trying to set realistic expectations with you all about what the team can do and plans to deliver. The STO dev team is amazing, and while they can't do everything that this forum crowd apparently wants, I think that 2012 is going to be a great year for the game.

Stephen D'Angelo
Executive Producer
Star Trek Online
Hmmm....
Ya know, sometimes I almost have pity on your position, sir.
You havn't been steering the ship since it first hit the water, but you have to answer for everything the past Captains have done just because you're steering it now...and I can understand...But, let me ask...
Have you ever seen this? Really read through it?
http://www.stowiki.org/User:Peregrin...ryptic_Studios
That's why some, myself included, have little faith in what is said and what actually comes to the game...
That's why some, myself included, get aggrivated when the word "content" turns out to be little more than eye candy when we're really wanting missions. Especially at Endgame. And especially for the KDF.
You make it sooo easy to level now, even easier than it used to be, so we can do...what?
500 STFs for the one in a tiny chance of getting 2-3 super rare drops?
It has been this game's weakness since launch and for almost 2 years we've been hanging onto continous promises from one person or another of more missions only to have it put off for whatever reason or another while consistantly not seeing very much in the way of something to do besides Cstore shineys to look.
*rant off*
PLEASE make missions more of a priority, I thinlk a large portion of the playerbase is really really tired of the same missions over and over...no matter what you might get as a mission reward.
It get's boring very quick and bored players tend to find something less boring to do...like other games...there's a lot of them out there as I'm sure you're aware.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 106
01-03-2012, 10:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
I was not aware that anyone indicated that it might be possible to get a more continuous stream of them going. I was really happy that I might be able to get 3 series out in one year, and getting 3 serious out seemed like an "epic win" for the dev team to me... but I didn't know that anyone had expectations that more than 3 series in a year was possible. I don't really think it is possible unless the team grows significantly. So I'm sorry that I get to break the news to you all.
"Anyone"? Are we not allowed to use DStahl's name anymore? It is of course him who really got people excited with posts like these.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 107
01-03-2012, 10:55 PM
I think there is huge miscommunication as a KDF player as well when we say content and its not really just a KDF issue with content like some others have stated in different ways. All the same the issue is the end game its like if you do not grind STF's to death the KDF has the Pi Canis Sorties althought most of us who are KDF have burnt ourselves off on that. To put it simply to Cryptic Studios we want you to change the journey of this game from hitting VA or LG to that being the begining of your Star Trek adventure. Otherwise eventually no one will want to play this game after making 50 characters. We would then find a planet that we cannot enter an instance and retire them all there to a retirement colony.

It's kinda sad too being that our player base of KDF is so small we lost a lot of good players on this long wait for everything to get to us. That being its few and far between to find players of acceptable gaming skill level in this game now that majoirty of the decent players have left. As far as skill level is concerned I can see a lot of these STF's getting dumbed down especially with noticing ppl in forums who do more posting than playing and coming to an Elite STF and just slowing down the team.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 108
01-03-2012, 11:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
I'm also trying to set realistic expectations with you all about what the team can do and plans to deliver. The STO dev team is amazing, and while they can't do everything that this forum crowd apparently wants, I think that 2012 is going to be a great year for the game.

Stephen D'Angelo
Executive Producer
Star Trek Online
Stephen,

I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on this, and I really can understand the difference between "what seemed possible in the past to Dan" versus "what seems possible now to Stephen". Your job is to prepare us with reasonable expectations based on the situation as you know it, and you're doing your level best to be honest with us. I truly believe that, and really appreciate that, and I think at lot of us do.

Unfortunately, Cryptic has to deal with the issue of "broken promises", that the players see based on what things we were told were "in progress" or "in planning" or "being discussed".

I'll use the obvious (for me) example. The Ambassador Class is one near and dear to me. It's been my favorite starship class since the TNG episode Yesterday's Enterprise first aired. Early indications that it would be coming helped me feel justified in my Lifetime Subscriptions. There were polls asking which ships we wanted, there were posts from devs hinting that the Ambassador Class would be unlocked in a special Romulan FE focusing on "what happened to the Enterprise C".. There were many many months of Engineering Reports promised that the Ambassador Class was "in Design Discussion", and as end of summer 2011 came around, it seemed the Ambassador Class was coming soon, as it got moved into "Upcoming Season 4 Update" and later "Before Season 5".

And then suddenly, Cryptic's record skipped a groove. Engineering reports stopped dead, and any mention of that ship, or that FE simply stopped.

The Ambassador Class is just an example. I could as easily pick out other issues, near and dear to others.. New Hair, Catian Hair, Poker, Utopia Planitia, more PVP maps, etc etc.

Now of course, as I said before.. I really do understand that Cryptic has had more than a small upset in it's operating process. The loss of the EP, the change from Atari to PWE, surely came with it's own top-down changes in focus. Plus the relentless drive to F2P, which I suspect may not have gone as smoothly internally as you'd have liked. There's been tons of changes, revamps of huge sections of the economy, skill systems, the introduction of the doff system (which is really fun btw).. You've been super busy... I get that.

But there are a lot of us who are still clinging to things we wanted "before".. that we still want. And from the outside, it does look like cryptic is so focused chasing new customers, that it's forgetting it's existing customers, and seemingly unaware (as your post indicated) that we feel we've been promised things.

It might behoove you to go through the Engineering Reports, and take note of the things we were told were in progress, being discussed, etc.. and maybe give us an update about what's being done, what really IS still planned, what's on the back burner, and what's no longer being considered viable.

Sure, you'll get a little heat from people when they find out that their favorite pet "coming soon" item isn't really looking likely in the next year.. but I think you'll earn a bit of goodwill for not keeping us hanging on promises you don't intend to keep.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 109
01-03-2012, 11:23 PM
PART 1


I mean no offence to the guys at PWE, but you really screwed up on the company you bought. Champions online was making enough money to stay afloat, but STO was only JUST making enough money to be remotely viable in the short term. This is why Atari sold Cryptic.
Someone in the sales department needs to be fired, as buying Cryptic was a VERY bad decision.

There are many reasons that STO was failing. The biggest are:

1) And every single fan of star trek will agree with this: The writers suck. I mean really suck. The writers dont know their ferengi from their breen, their remans from their Klingons, and their stovokor from their cease-fire agreement with species 8472.

2) Too simplistic. The skills system was poorly written, but was complex enough to be expected in a Star Trek game. The ship customisation options was far too simplified. General concensus amongst the Star Trek fan community is that the ship customisation system used in the Starfleet Command series of agames is the best system for ship customisation.

3) WoW in Star Trek costume. We continue to play STO because we a) have lifetime subs, or b) have nothing else "Star Trek" to play. But what we WANT is Star Trek Online. Not World of Star Trek. The limitations of the Kit system for Captains makes no sense. The level based ranking system makes no sense. The promotion system makes no sense. It is all designed to try and capitalise on the simplistic design that made WoW a hit. WoW is fantasy. Any fantasy game can do it. But you CAN NOT do it with Star Trek.

4) Broken promises. This may be the biggest. Cryptic have time and again broken every promise they made. Remember when Season 5 was supposed to be out end of '10. And how when feature series was introduced they were supposed to be coming 1 FE every week? How long has it been? What about full Klingon content? Or Romulans? What about expanded customisation for Klingon factions and full customisation options for Alien?

5) Cryptic is NOT CCP. You are 6 months away from launch of season 6, and you are only just planning. CCP has 6 or more dedicated TEAMS of 3-4 people each that do nothing but work on content for expansions, bug fixes, etc and they can, now, BARELY manage an expansion upgrade in 6 months. Cryptic has constantly shown they can not manage 1 per year. And I mean that adds actual significant gameplay.


Part 2


While I am excited to see that Season 6 will be released soon, It feels like PWE is doing the same thing that Atari did with Cryptic. Make a promise, give no information or minimal information, then break that promise.

Note: This is how ranking/leveling should be done: No level. Skill point total. You start at rank commander. Once you have spent half max possible skill points you get promoted to captain. All tier weapons have skill points spent requirement rather then level. Same with ships. No need for spawns to change, since all spawns now 'level match' to skill point matching would be easy.

For an Ensign to be in charge of a ship, no one would be left alive, except civies. Civies can not run a star ship. For a Lt to be in charge, beyond emergency circumstances, is rediculous. and it is a PATHETIC idea to ever be promoted to Admiral, unless we are given the ability to control more then 1 ship at a time.

Perhaps a AI tree we can build ourselves, and attach to a ship, and depending on admiral rank we can take other ships we own ourselves with us. 2 at first admiral rank. 3 at admiral grade 6, 4 at Admiral grade 11


EDIT: Part 3
First thing, I am glad to see that you guys are at least willing to talk to us!
Now

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
The Odyssey class starship and the new Klingon Flagship will be available through game play using in game currencies (this is a promise). There may be variants of these ships in the C-Store at a later date, but you will definitely be able to get these ships in game. We'll reveal more about how they will be available later this month.
You mean like the Federation carrier class that WAS promised to us a year ago? Its already in the game (The Typhoon) and Cryptic did promise they would bring it to us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
To set expectations on featured episode series, I think it's realistic for the development team to produce two or three series a year. I know we can fit in two series in 2012 and I'm trying to build a schedule to get a third one in, but it's not clear that it'll happen. As it is right now, you can expect the second series of the year to come out a little after the Season 6 launch, probably in July. (Note that once again this is a forward looking statement and not a promise, because pretty much anything could change by then.)
Cryptic, as mentioned before, promised 1 FE every week. You set the expectations. Not us. Your writers currently suck. They need to be fired. Take a look at the best rated community works. Hire ex star trek and science fiction writers. Or MAKE ALL YOUR WRITERS WATCH EVERY EPISODE OF NEXT GEN, DS9, VOYAGER, AND ALL THE PICARD MOVIES.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
It's my belief that it takes a range of game play options to keep the game going. When it comes to my "something new" comment, I am thinking broadly. Consider how December went. We did the launch one week, Q's Wonderland event started the next week, the Duty Officer event the third week, and the nanopulse weapons in the fourth week. That's "something new every week" by my definition. And I think that the majority of players liked that there was something new (even if it was small) happening regularly.
Your belief sucks. It takes GOOD GAME PLAY to keep a game going. Look at EVE. Look at Guild Wars. Look at DC Universe. Look at, to a lesser extent, champions online. Look at WoW.
No, the majority of the players liked that there was something new, something major (a new environement with the wonderland, and the duty officer system) that they could actually do. We do nto consider the gekli and other pets, a new ship SKIN, or those flashy weapons something new. We consider them something pathetic designed to destract us from the fact that baring the simplification of something already simplified (skill revamp) and the duty officer system there is NOTHING new so far as actual playable content goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
It's unfortunately impractical to deliver story content all the time. In fact, story content will mostly be coming through the featured episodes (with somewhere between 9 and 13 episodes next year as per above). I'm working hard to get in more special events (like the Q's Winter Wonderland), more calendar events (like the Mirror Universe or Starfleet Academy), more content that is repeatable (like the STFs), and more fun little weekend events (like the recent Duty Officer weekend). We'll also sprinkle in things like the Duty Officer expansion and some new game features. There are a lot of ways to provide something new to you all.
Why is it? Every other MMO that is not a sandbox game delivers story content all the time. Sorry, every NON CRYPTIC MMO. Even DDO delivers more story content then the STO dev team. and this is STAR TREK
STAR TREK is story driven. Sure, all the hard core trekkies, myself included, would like a more sandbox styled game (think more like eve, but with a less player driven economy), but right now, your game is not sand box. WoW is more sandbox.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
And I'm totally okay with people being skeptical about delivery. Until the game builds a track record of delivery, feel free to be skeptical. We're working hard, though, to get things on track. I think December was a nice start, and that the next few months should prove out that we have the development team delivering. I'm sorry for the apparent stall in January, but the free-to-play conversion is a LOT of work and necessitated a brief slow down.
Why? if PWE did what they promised, regarding staffing, you would not need to slow down. Hell, find some of the community members who created missions and live relatively close to the STO HQ, and hire them for mission development. That will make things MUCH better for all concerned.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 110
01-03-2012, 11:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdangelo View Post
The Odyssey class starship and the new Klingon Flagship will be available through game play using in game currencies (this is a promise). There may be variants of these ships in the C-Store at a later date, but you will definitely be able to get these ships in game. We'll reveal more about how they will be available later this month.

To set expectations on featured episode series, I think it's realistic for the development team to produce two or three series a year. I know we can fit in two series in 2012 and I'm trying to build a schedule to get a third one in, but it's not clear that it'll happen. As it is right now, you can expect the second series of the year to come out a little after the Season 6 launch, probably in July. (Note that once again this is a forward looking statement and not a promise, because pretty much anything could change by then.)

It's my belief that it takes a range of game play options to keep the game going. When it comes to my "something new" comment, I am thinking broadly. Consider how December went. We did the launch one week, Q's Wonderland event started the next week, the Duty Officer event the third week, and the nanopulse weapons in the fourth week. That's "something new every week" by my definition. And I think that the majority of players liked that there was something new (even if it was small) happening regularly.

It's unfortunately impractical to deliver story content all the time. In fact, story content will mostly be coming through the featured episodes (with somewhere between 9 and 13 episodes next year as per above). I'm working hard to get in more special events (like the Q's Winter Wonderland), more calendar events (like the Mirror Universe or Starfleet Academy), more content that is repeatable (like the STFs), and more fun little weekend events (like the recent Duty Officer weekend). We'll also sprinkle in things like the Duty Officer expansion and some new game features. There are a lot of ways to provide something new to you all.

And I'm totally okay with people being skeptical about delivery. Until the game builds a track record of delivery, feel free to be skeptical. We're working hard, though, to get things on track. I think December was a nice start, and that the next few months should prove out that we have the development team delivering. I'm sorry for the apparent stall in January, but the free-to-play conversion is a LOT of work and necessitated a brief slow down.

Happy new year everyone!

Stephen D'Angelo
Executive Producer
Star Trek Online
Thank you for the frank answers Stephen. Allow me to be equally frank with you in reply.

I know you'll be sick of hearing 'Dstahl said...' but it's worth pointing out that the 'expectations' of more comes from a comment (which damned if I can find it...but still) that after series four (on original schedule) we would see Feature Episodes on a schedule of roughly 5 weeks on, 2/3 weeks off, five weeks on....that would give about eight series a year. That's where people's expectations come from.

That said, I'm not surprised by this - and actually? To get three new series in a year would be lovely and very much welcomed (at least by me). I'm also of the presumption that while this may be the sum of the ongoing story development, I'd hope that we will see more content in addition to this, and it's worth pointing out to people some of the content that we have in fact received in the last twelve months or so:
  • Q's visits (in all their many forms, were a new element of 2011)
  • Defera Invasion
  • Borg Deep Space Invasions
  • STF Revamp
  • PVE Queue (which has given Fleet Actions a revamp in turn)
  • Federation and Klingon Mirror Events
  • The various academy Lore/Scanning events
  • Q's Winter Wonderland (a temporary event, but still)
  • Romulan Feature Series (again - 2011, worth remembering)
  • Duty Officer system (a huge thing here)
I'm sure there's more I've forgotten, but I did want to point out that there's quite a bit actually happened, as much as it doesn't feel it sometimes.

Now obviously this hasn't been enough to satisfy the community as people have been lacking new things to do, I agree we need 'more to do' but for people to expect it to be feature series all the time is obviously naive, but if we get a variety of stuff to do then go for it. Transfer some foundry episodes into a more visual area, get us better/improved PVP in there with more variety, maybe think about finishing off some of the started projects so people see things we were teased with a long time ago finishing off - Tholians, the Enterprise F, and other things that we've all got excited about that escape me now - that'll score some nice points I've no doubt.

December has indeed been a good month for Star Trek Online, sure there's been the lashback on the grab bags (and I'm not a fan of them) but we've seen a lot of new things come in that you've listed and it HAS been noticed, I'll say it's fun and I've got a lot out of it, but it also seems that Star Trek is busier than it

It's important to note also that a lot of the problem that people have had with the content drought comes from the fact that what, at a guess, would be 6/7 months of stall while you prepared the game for going free to play - now this may be good for the game on the whole, but in the short term has felt like a kick in the teeth (please keep paying us while we get ready to make the game free...please) so also, understand that. It's also worth pointing out to the community that without Free to Play coming on that we should expecpt a rise in the amount of content coming in one way or another due to the resources not being spent on Free to Play.


Relating to your other post elsewhere regarding the staffing up of the STO team, I think it's probably a misconception that people see the team as staffed up due to the increase in faces appearing in the Dev Tracker, it's reasonable to say that you've had new hires I take it - we've seen you move into the (Acting?) Executive Producers position, and Dstahl's returned and gone into Foundry. We've seen Borticus move in, and additionally Brandon (though not strictly a developer, he's a 'Dev Post' staff member) I'd encourage the sentiments of other posters, look at people producing things for STO, iOS and Android app developers, Foundry authors (and there's some excellent stuff out there) and pull in them, their products, to help pad out STO.

I'd also like to draw out this link to those saying 'do this, do that'
http://crypticstudios.com/openings


Visit it, see if you qualify, and apply.


2011 has been a tricky year, change of ownership, management, and priorities. Fans won't always see all of what is happening, and neither should we. The openess of Cryptic's staff is both it's greatest strength and a potential weakness, we get excellent previews and can be easily excited - but when things aren't delivered it can be dissapointing. I prefer the new communication methods, they're more honest and refrained, offering realistic expectations - if I'm expecting 2/3 series a year, that's what I will make my decisions based upon, but if I'm promised 8 and don't get 1? Well...



Keep up the good work Cryptic, it's been a good month or two and I'd like to see this continue
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