So, I think one of the real requirements for a good MMO is a good Fleet/Guild/Ect system. It is what really solidifies the social aspect of the game, which is the point of a Massively Multiplayer (the MM in MMO) game. Currently I’d say that STO is about average as an MMO when it comes to the social aspect with Fleets/Guilds/Ect. Not as much material in that aspect as the primary MMO that is used as the measuring stick, you know, the one made by a company named after a snowstorm but not nearly as lacking as the main competing Science Fiction MMO, though that will probably change soon.
There has been some discussion, particularly recently, about changes to the importance of (or focus on) fleets. I know that per the September 2011 Ask Cryptic Fleet Starbases, Fleet Advancement, and other Fleet Gameplay things are planned for Season 5 (or maybe 6). And per the Season 5 Dev Diary #11 Fleet Advancement is planned for Season 6. Anyhow, that is really all that has been officially announced that I am aware of, but I think Heretic is working on Fleet Starbases and Fleet Advancement (probably among other people) and I think it was mentioned that DOFFs would be a big part of Starbases, as well as them requiring a large amount of Energy Credits and Commodities.
I figure these will be coming out first based on the fact that I have heard a lot more about them than any of the other Fleet things. I’ve heard that it will require a large amount of Energy Credits as well as Commodities but haven’t heard any firm numbers on either, or what Commodities will be needed. Are we talking a couple of hundred of each Commodity, a hundred thousand of each? Will we need every commodity? For instance, are we building our starbases with Contraband? Will it be a one-time cost or will there be maintenance costs too? I’ve heard rumors of other things being needed too like Dilithium or other items, any word on that, and if it will take Dilithium, can we go ahead and have a way to donate Dilithium to the Fleet like we can with Energy Credits? I’ve heard rumors or ideas of other things that would be required like Armor, weapons, kits, ect.
I think Heretic mentioned in the DOFFJobs channel that DOFFs would be important to Fleet Starbases and I’d really like to know some things about that. First, I have hit the 400 DOFF max several times (currently the only Common DOFFs I have are Refugees so I’ve been giving Uncommon DOFFs to Fleetmates), will we be able to “donate” DOFFs to the Starbase/Fleet or will they have to get the DOFFs on their own? Will the Starbase/Fleet have the same DOFF max that characters have, will it be like 2000 or something, ect? Will there be “Active Duty” slots for Starbase DOFFs too? If so will it be a decent amount of Active Duty as Starbases are considerably larger and have considerably more that people would be active in. Also, I would think Starbase Active Duty buffs would be different than Ship Active Duty buffs too. If you add DOFFs to the Starbase/Fleet will they then be Bound to the Fleet? If so, will you be able to Grant DOFFs that are currently Bound to the Fleet (particularly ones that the Fleet would not be able to get otherwise, like Support Crit DOFFs)?
I’m somewhat concerned though that I have heard Fleets and particularly Starbases will be a big PvP thing. I know there are several people who will want nothing to do with Forced PvP and will avoid Fleets if it means they have to do PvP. If there are large enough numbers of people in Fleets that don’t like PvP they won’t want to spend the credits and other stuff to then be forced into PvP. I guess my main point here is that the devs really need to consider is that there are a lot of people that play who do not want to be forced into PvP.
Now, this area both has pretty much no information and huge potential. To be honest though the first thing I thought about when I heard about Fleet Advancement was the “Guild Perks” system from a previously mentioned Fantasy based MMO. Basically, my thought was that it would be a leveling type thing (again, hopefully not just something for PvPers) with lots of tiers (I believe the previously mentioned game had 25 tiers, and I think they required more XP per level, much like the CXP levels) with each tier giving bonuses for everyone as well as specific items (not game breaking items or anything, but like pets or uniforms or ship skins) that could be purchased if you have reached a specific level of “reputation” with the Fleet by doing things either with the Fleet or other things. Some examples of Fleet Bonuses (ones for all Fleet members regardless of “reputation”) would be things like the following:
Transwarp – Transwarp to Fleet Starbase
XP Boost – like a 2% XP boost on missions (possibly additional level for higher level Fleets like Rank I, II, and III)
Speed Boost – something like a 1-2% speed boost in sector space(possibly additional level for higher level Fleets like Rank I, II, and III)
Banking – 5% additional EC from missions (that additional 5% is automatically added to Fleet Bank) (possibly additional level for higher level Fleets like Rank I, II, and III)
Hull Strength – slight decrease in damage acquired to ship in Elite space missions
Nursing – slight decrease in injuries sustained in Elite ground missions
Trade Ship – Summons a ship to your location with Fleet Bank access (appropriate cooldown)
Fleet Transwarp – Allows you to summon your entire Team/Group to your location
Plentiful Scanning – Additional Crafting mats from anomalies
Bartering – Slight decrease in EC costs from Vendors
Those were just a few ideas, I’m sure there are other things that could be added too. Some of the other bonuses (either for the Fleet specifically or for Fleet Members of a specific “reputation” level) would be Things like the following:
Fleet Bank Tabs – Additional Fleet Bank Tabs only available for Fleets of a specific level (for instance, if there are 20 levels maybe 1 tab available at level 10 and one at level 15) as more active Fleets would probably need more space.
Account Bound Items – Weapons, Armor, Consoles that can be traded between characters on and Account but not to others.
Special Uniforms and/or Costume Pieces
Special access to Crafting Plans – not entirely sure how to let Fleet Crafters craft them for Fleet Members but not just have then fill the Exchange
Special Ship Skins
Access to Special VA level ships – If added, should only be for top level Fleet (say level 20/20) and those who reached top level of Fleet Reputation (say Tier 4 100000/100000 if using the same scale as CXP)
The reason for Fleet Reputation is so people don’t just find the highest leveled Fleet, join, get all the special perks, and leave as that would completely invalidate the reason for the perks, as well as the reason for a Fleet in the first place.
I like your ideas, it was very much what I was thinking about. With the Fleet Reputation thing, perhaps it could be timed based, or there could be a permission based thing, where the president can set a time for when certain perks unlock, (based on the actual progress of the fleet of course) plus have the ability to give the perks manually if needed. There would need to be minimum and maximum for the time of perks, depending on what they are (to stop 'boosting' fleets).
The only problem with acquiring Fleet reputation for the Fleet Advancement System, would be that as far as I know, STO doesn't already have a Reputation Grind system built into it. There aren't Federation faction reps, or Klingon faction reps.
The only thing that would qualify would be a new tab category added to the preexisting DOFF system. It would have to be it's own Fleet XP Tier and either Replaying Episodes (Certain Fleet XP cap per day) or doing DOff missions would be the only ways to have it awarded. (Thus far).
I like the idea of Fleet Starbases in General because there aren't really any reasons for cooperative advancement IN GAME at present for Fleets. It's more something that exists outside the game. People working together in semi-common cause.
That said, Once Fleet Starbases are implemented, I think there should also be FLEET REWARDS as well. Say that a FLEET organizes several STF runs OR some sort of Organized FLEET ACTION. they on top of the individual rewards, the FLEET should receive something neat/new/special for their STARBASE to utilize. Whether that be BORG TECH upgrades, modifications, bonuses... whatever.
Incentivize the process while still making it something that has to be worked towards.
Maybe a Fleet designed Shuttlecraft available to all members of the Fleet (once appropriate Rank attained) or maybe a Fleet Shipyard with Ship upgrades only available to Fleet members (once appropriate Rank attained) (You'd probably still have to pay EC for the upgrades once your Fleet had earned and Unlocked them though.
Just more little perks and whatnot. Maybe extra ship slots, character slots. Special DOFFS unlocked by fleet advancement that you could then aquire access to purchase with EC instead of Dilithium.