Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I have been playing STO for a few months now and made a number of observations that probably many people will agree with. But I figured that I ought to lay out my case for changes to these features as clearly as possible so that something might be done.

So this is my first observation and recommendation.

The Exchange System Needs an Overhaul.

Essentially the exchange works reasonably well for some types of commodities but very poorly for others.

It works reasonably well for gear. Since my rare disruptor stun pistol may be different than your rare disruptor stun pistol, it makes sense to list each one separately and allow people to browse each one.

It works rather poorly for stackable commodities. Since each one is identical with others of its type it makes no sense to force the user to look at each one individually. And since it is organized by price per lot rather than price per unit, if I need to get 100 plasma samples I have to wade through all the entries where people have posted a single plasma sample for sale. I might end up getting frustrated and miss the spot where someone posted a stack of 100 samples for a decent price because it doesn't appear until the twentieth page. And because of this it becomes rewarding for people to be morons and post their samples one at a time.

It works very poorly for Duty Officers. The duty officers are listed by proper name, which is actually the least useful piece of information about them (unless you are really keen to have a Vulcan science Duty Officer named 'Tuvok,' for example), and you cannot search the exchange by trait or race or even faction. You have to do all of these things by hand. You also cannot make a search that spans more than a single career, which is annoying as well.

It works downright terribly for Bridge Officers. Part of the problem is that in addition to faction, class, and race a bridge officer has 12 separate features to look for: 4 ground skills, 4 space skills, and 4 character traits, and you cannot search the exchange for any of these features except by hand.

------------------------------------------

So here are my recommendations for fixing these issues:

Break Up the Exchange Into Separate Markets

The current exchange needs to be divided into three separate markets, one for gear, one for stackable commodities, and one for officers.

1. Equipment Exchange
The current exchange system can remain in use for non-stackable equipment, as it works reasonably well for those items. The only change I would make to that is to include a "results per page" feature because currently no matter how much you resize the window you always have to scroll up and down to see everything, which is very annoying.

2. Commodities Exchange
Stackable commodities need to be purchasable in bulk regardless of who is selling them. The engine already exists for facilitating this: the Dilithium Exchange. The system that runs the Dilithium Exchange could be copied for any other stackable commodity, allowing players to buy as many commodities they want at whatever price is current without having to purchase each unit separately.

3. Labor Pool
Officers should be exchanged through the "Request Duty Officers" interface. Using the Labor Pool to buy officers would open up this window. This will allow the Duty officer interface features such as selecting traits and officer fields (i.e. tactical, operations, civilian, etc.) as well as career. I would like an additional field for "species" to be added, but that's just me.

4. Break down Bridge Officers
To make Bridge Officers easier to manage I would change the Bridge Officer system to simplify it. Presently you can use a Boff as bridge crew or as a trainer. I would separate these two roles.

Under this system Boffs would no longer come with any skills. They would have their four traits and that's all. When you enlist them all their skill slots would be set to "null". Simplifying them in this way would allow them to be traded using a modified version of the system for trading doffs described above, and a listing for a Boff would only need the race, class, and four little icons to indicate traits. Boffs would be bind on equip items.

The skills would be separate and would be "crew trainers". They could be people or they could be datachips that have a "how-to" manual for a given skill (I like this idea better). Either way, the trainer would go in your inventory and once used to train a boff would disappear. When you go to the officer training officer in the starbase, he can simply sell you the chips, which would speed up the process. When you get your starting bridge officers you also get chips to start them off with skills.

When you use a Doff mission to recruit a bridge officer it could also come with such a datachip (or perhaps two - one space and one ground) which could be sold separately and the more rare the officer candidate, the more likely the chips will be of rare skills. Either that or they could be split into two separate Doff missions with less onerous requirements.

Finally this system would allow Bridge Officers to be convertible into Duty Officers. Not everyone gets to serve on the bridge - you're a Starfleet officer and you do what your captain says. Reassigning a Bridge Officer to the Duty Roster probably ought to be a permanent switch - certainly they would lose all their skills upon switching if officers were allowed to switch the other way.

This is the biggest change of all since it requires reconfiguring existing boffs and paying out skills to compensate people who currently have boffs that are valuable because of their skills. You would need a transition period where existing Boffs get converted to the new system - such a period should probably be as long as it takes for something to get kicked off the exchange for not selling.

------------------------------------

This concludes my recommendations for the exchange system. Where possible I have tried to suggest using existing systems rather than requesting new systems to be developed just to reduce the programming requirements for our fine young lads over at Cryptic.

Feel free to post your feedback.

Regards,
Peet Smi3th
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
06-15-2012, 08:17 AM
Agreed, the sate of the Exchange is rather dismal. I always figured the "Request Duty Officer" tab, back when they were just putting the system in, one piece at a time, would be home to a Duty Officer Exchange of some kind. The way it turned out was immensely disappointing.

Stacks of cheap commodities and data samples- and we know they exist - are unavailable cause some people apparently have the kind of time to list each radiation sample and medical supply separately. If nothing else, for stacked commodities, if this 400 listings limit remains in place, options to sort by COST PER UNIT, or NO STACKS SMALLER THAN ... might help putting an end that practice too, though there's definately something to be said for getitng your Hypos and whatnot through a variation of the Dilithium exchange.

As for regular equipment, as you said, the current system is passable there. But there is room for improvement. Just by simply making the search field not require search terms in the proper order, so I could search for "disruptor X" and it would list all weapons of the disruptor type that are mk X, we'd get a good deal more flexibility.

And really, a check-box, [x] Filter Non-Federation (or Non-Klingon) Items From Search Results, so we no longer have to look at (and occasionally, accidentally buy) the other faction's Boffs and Doffs, would be another quick improvement.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
06-15-2012, 12:05 PM
BUMP

im all in for this!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
06-15-2012, 12:16 PM
One more thing about the gear... you can't search for mods like [Dmg], [CritH], or [Borg]. It would be nice to be able to do that.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
06-15-2012, 03:40 PM
Start by separating the exchange

Klingon Doffs , Boffs and weapons on one
Federation on the other
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
06-15-2012, 11:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reave View Post
As for regular equipment, as you said, the current system is passable there. But there is room for improvement. Just by simply making the search field not require search terms in the proper order, so I could search for "disruptor X" and it would list all weapons of the disruptor type that are mk X, we'd get a good deal more flexibility.

And really, a check-box, [x] Filter Non-Federation (or Non-Klingon) Items From Search Results, so we no longer have to look at (and occasionally, accidentally buy) the other faction's Boffs and Doffs, would be another quick improvement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegeek View Post
One more thing about the gear... you can't search for mods like [Dmg], [CritH], or [Borg]. It would be nice to be able to do that.
Yes the Check box for Fed/KDF only for BOFFs and DOFFs is very much needed. And again Yes the Exchange does need a massive overhaul in search functions.

But Disruptor X not being able to be searched, is wrong. Set the Rank and type Disruptor, not the best method I agree but it's there.

As for Blue Geek you can search for Mods like [Dmg], [Acc], [CritD] and [CrtH] but there are no tradable [Borg] items out there. Perhaps I don't understand what you mean but I generally search for weapons with "[Acc]x2" in and find them if they exist.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
06-15-2012, 11:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegeek View Post
One more thing about the gear... you can't search for mods like [Dmg], [CritH], or [Borg]. It would be nice to be able to do that.
You can search for mods in a very ham-handed sort of way. Basically, you either know exactly what it is you're looking for (in which case you put the modifier precisely where it would be in the full name of the item) or you can put the modifier as a wildcard and use the rank/quality tabs to narrow it down (so you'd just put "[CrtH]" or whatever in the field). It's not ideal but it doesn't bother me that much since there isn't some enormous supply of weapons to sift through, unlike other commodities.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
06-16-2012, 07:15 AM
Does anyone search for random weapon as long as it has [Acc] [Dmg]?

I think you'll have a good idea what you want before you start.

As for the mysterious order that mods go in, it's alphabetical.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
06-16-2012, 07:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reave View Post
Agreed, the sate of the Exchange is rather dismal. I always figured the "Request Duty Officer" tab, back when they were just putting the system in, one piece at a time, would be home to a Duty Officer Exchange of some kind. The way it turned out was immensely disappointing.
[rant]
Not to mention that starfleet is against slavery, which would lead me to believe that we don't actually "own" our officers in the first place and therefore have no right to sell them anyway.
[/rant]

... but i guess this is an mmo, and not really the point of the topic ...

/agreed
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
06-18-2012, 05:25 AM
I'm happy to see that people support this idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by realuniqueone
[rant]
Not to mention that starfleet is against slavery, which would lead me to believe that we don't actually "own" our officers in the first place and therefore have no right to sell them anyway.
[/rant]

... but i guess this is an mmo, and not really the point of the topic ...
Well, you're right that as an MMO they need to have the system governed by some kind of currency. But since EC are what is in use within Starfleet, which is a non-capitalistic society, I always imagined that it really represented more of a favour-based economy, where as a ship captain you get credit with Starfleet for doing things and can spend them on your ship, since as her captain you are presumably the best arbiter of what that ship needs. Note that you get an amount of EC for completing Doff assignments even when it doesn't make any sense that there should be a monetary reward for them. In my mind this is Starfleet assigning value to the tasks that you have accepted. Think "Brownie Points" rather than dollars.

Meanwhile GPL represents the currency used by capitalist societies outside the Federation. Note that you can't sell gear to merchants for GPL because the gear really belongs to Starfleet and so any actual money that is obtained belongs to Starfleet - you just get those brownie points for bringing it in. There are occasional opportunities to earn GPL with EC or commodities because Starfleet recognizes that you may need some operating cash when dealing with outsiders.

It is worth noting that selling slaves to the Orions (which you do as KDF) garners you GPL, not EC. So when you sell a Doff you are really just transfering them to another ship and that captain transfers some of the favours owed him to you because you have done him a favour.

Peet
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