I feel Cryptic is going in the wrong direction with some of the Season 7 changes and would like to try to offer a bit of feedback in an attempt to illustrate why.
But first, a short STO recent history lesson. When F2P was launched and dilithium introduced there were two forms of advancement that were heavily impacted. The first was the redone STF system that allowed players to earn dilithium and drops that could then be exchanged for gear. Most of the gear was brand new high end weapons and sets superior to 99.9% of the existing gear in the game. In addition, the old gear that was previously earned from the long and extremely difficult STF missions was also available and easier than before to earn. Crafting also saw a large change as dilithium costs were added to the existing items but no new items were added increasing the amount of progression available.. This made them much more difficult and expensive to acquire. I'm sure it is very easy to see which system became more popular and was more successful even if I have left out key details of those systems.
That is because of a simple truth in the majority of MMOs, when the progression bar is pushed and new items/levels/etc are introduced it is expected that the existing stuff becomes easier to acquire. This allows the new players a chance to finish the progression within a single lifetime and it helps bridge the 'casual' to 'hardcore' gap when the casual crowd can finally progress. Granted STO is much more casual than a typical MMO but the point still stands. This change is going to impact both the STF and Doff system with the launch of S7, and in the same way it effected crafting.
Currently players can progress by earning Mk 11 purple gear to fight the borg without an expenditure of dilithium by playing enough STFs to get the EDCs supplemented with the random drops. In addition a player can earn Mk 12 purple gear by partaking in the Elite STFs and the random drops from them. And while random is random aside from the 'set' gear the rest is fairly easy to acquire. When S7 hits this will all change. Now granted it is true that new gear is being added but the advancement bar is not being pushed as far as the gear is concerned. Instead a new form of progression is being added and required by those who have not completed the item progression already in the game. In addition their is now a higher cost for those items. Seems strangely familiar to the crafting history lesson I believe.
Instead the old items that could be purchased from the STF store could become unlocked very early in the new system and remain relatively cheap, atleast the Mk 11. New rewards could be made available, such as ultra-rare Mk 12 gear for good old fashion borg slaying, the retro set could get a Mk 12 version as a high end unlock, and we have the new cross-faction set to stay as a high tier unlock. But the existing stuff should not become more expensive than they currently are. That goes counter to standard MMO expansion progression mentality.
The next change is the increased cost to getting a great set of doffs. When the doff system was released it had a limited quantity of doff abilities and traits. Since release we have seen a significant increase in the number of abilities, traits, and even specializations available and an increase in the quantity of difficult missions. At the same time very little new recruitment capability has been added to the system.
So with season 7 we can expect to see it become more expensive/difficult to acquire and upgrade a doff roster. In addition having a great set of doffs has become an important portion of the overall progression systems in this game. Granted it will not effect me personally much, I already have more great doffs than I truly need, but I feel bad for those who don't, and those potential future players.
Simply put, when you add new ways to have progression in a game, the old standard is supposed to become easier to achieve. Even SOE knows that!
PS: I do not know who's bright idea it was to change the 'focus' on activities for gaining dilithium in the game but let me ask you if this sounds like a good idea. Lets take the most important resource in the game for a player to acquire, and in order for them to get it in an efficient manner force them to play the oldest, unpolished, buggy, repetitive, worst content there is. Sounds pretty frelling stupid to me. Post F2P your game has done well and the STFs are one of the main reasons for that followed closely by the Doff system. Don't F them up. And if you want to put an example of STO under a spotlight I would not recommend the Fleet Actions.
Join Date : September 2010. Still boldly going forward because Cryptic couldn't be bothered to install reverse.
I am currently unsupervised, anyone who know me will tell you that this will most likely lead to trouble. =3