Leviathan99, well said. That was a very educated post and well written. And most important you're right! And the latest FE I can see where Cryptic attempted to form the villain with the Jem Hadar that disobeyed orders. I just feel it was poorly executed, and they rely on the skinner box model to keep the long term players playing.
What STO needs is a new central villain and a more focused conflict. As it stands the Federation and Klingons are at war, and both are at war with the Borg. I can see where it could be confusing for new players that weren't here at launch to know what the conflicts are. You have PvP where it's Klingon vs Federation and then you join a Borg invasion or STF and you have Klingons and Federation fighting together.
Granted PvP is very underwhelming in this game, I think defining the conflict between the two playable factions is a great path that Cryptic can take. The groundwork for a story line to temporary peace to fight the Borg has already been done.
Something tells me you learned about the skinner box recently. That aside, nearly every (i say nearly because there is bound to be a few that are different, possibly eve) mmo is a skinner box. Wow, tor, EQ, DDO, rift, they all have a loot driven end game. As a result, players keep running the newest dungeons/raids trying to finish gearing themselves out, just in time for the next raid to drop and restart the treadmill. Its not cryptic being evil or diabolical, its an mmo being an mmo
Admittedly, this is true.
A skinner box is not necessarilly a BAD thing if someone is enjoying the experience.
Now Zynga... they're evil. That there is some grade-A prime malfeasance. Maybe an exaggeration, but read 'A Video Game Ghost Story' for how they come up with that sort of thing. You'll be reluctant to play a social media game ever again.
There's a lot of diverse discussion. I've never been a min-maxer in any game in recent times. Having the best gear is not the objective that I set. I could farm elite STFs with friends to get all of the best gear but at the moment the reward per time spend is not high enough so I do other stuff.
For me the goals are trading of all types to see how much I can get. One of the things I specifically like are the different currency systems and the disparity between those systems. Disparity that I can trade on. Other than that there's a few C Store ships that I'd like but I'm in no rush to get them.
Players need to set their own goals, which are not necessarily those set by the developers, and stop playing stuff that you don't find fun.
As Frontline said, this is the basic model for MMOs. Besides, if you look at the statistics, not everybody falls for the "skinner box trap" or whatever you were talking about.
MMO-Champion runs statistics on ******** pretty regularly, and the vast majority of players run the easiest level of content -- Heroic 5-mans and Raid Finder/Normal level raids -- just to experience the content, and are frankly pretty content with the gear they get from it. The gear is, by and large, guaranteed after a certain amount of time due to the Justice/Valor point system, so there's an obtainable end goal provided one puts in the required time.
While Cryptic doesn't release numbers the way Blizzard does, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that the vast majority of people playing stick to the Normals, or don't do STFs at all. I personally got a set of Mk XI Omega Force gear for my Captain, and Mk XI MACO gear for my ship. I have zero desire to do the Elites, and thus zero desire to go for Mk XII gear. I'm going to go ahead and assume that a lot of players, likely even more than half, are like me. That's admittedly an assumption on my part, but I feel pretty safe making it.
Nobody's being forced to grind Elites for Mk XII. People are CHOOSING to do it, and there's a huge difference.
Maybe you don't understand the concept of conditioning via the skinner box method. The reason you cant get the purple rares via the EDC method is continued game play. If the developers can condition someone to play the elite STF's for the better MK XII gear; you can prolong the play of someone who has completed all the missions and has all the rewards. How often do you repeat missions for 'the fun of it'? It's very rare and if STO relied on that aspect the game would have crashed long ago.
All I'm asking for is CONTENT, not to be confused with gear or rewards. I want something that when I log on I want to fight for a cause. This is where Eve Online excels, not via pve but through the sov warfare of 0.0 security space. There is player generated conflict and cause to fight, this translate into a 'want' to play the game.
While an interesting topic Issueman, I disagree, because I feel as humans of a certain age to be playing online games, we have the ability to take in information before we run the maze to get the treat.
We are not forced into the circumstance.
We can choose to be well informed about the process behind the box/maze and button/reward system before we take part. We crucially also have the option not to take part.
It is that choice which prevents the forced conditioning of people in my opinion (as regards to STFs and Lockboxes which you cited).
Of course, people who are subjected to different types of conditioning in other parts of their daily cycles may be less inclined or able to exercise their capacity to make informed decisions as adults. They become more like the rats in your example, and less like humans in my mind.
This is not meant as a derogatory expression on my part, but as a point of comparison between the mental facilities of a conditioned mind - be it a rat's limited mind, or a human's mind who chooses or is forced to partake in circumstances - compared to those of a mind whose capacity to remain independent remains intact, either by choice or by desire or by circumstance.