The player does not Trust the foundry mission to be something that they will enjoy. It might be a very deep and involved story, it could have alot of pew pew, it could take a long time, it could be very short. It could be bug free, and it might not be. When a player queues up for something even if they never played it before they have a general idea of what they are in for. In addition the majority of cryptic missions follow a simple formula beyond the FE missions. Speaking of those have you ever noticed that some players absolutely loved Of Bajor while others despised it? That is the issue.
Cryptic does not Trust the playerbase not to try and exploit the foundry rewards. While it would be great if an hour long foundry mission had greater rewards than you could get in the PvE queue if cryptic allows that to happen they fear the players would simply exploit them and ignore other aspects of the game. This is why the rewards have always been relatively low when compared to other activities aside from the now removed console clickies that is.
So enough of the negative how do we fix that problem?
For the first issue we need to give more information to the potential player so they can make better choices on the missions they choose. A simple star rating of the various categories would be a great start such as 'Space combat, Ground combat, Story, etc'. These can be set by the author but modified by player voting on the mission to show where the focus lies. In addition more categories in the search, like 'Diplomatic, Tactical, and Science' to cover story, combat, and puzzle respectively would be a big help. Finally an average play time set by the author but modified by player voting would be another great thing. People tend to trust something more when they have more information about it.
For the second I think it would be a good idea to have some form of 'foundry exclusive' reward along with a reasonable amount of general currencies to encourage participation. These should for the most part be things that would not compete with current things in game else most will simply try to grind them out. Instead things like costume unlocks, non combat pets, a player customized boff, and things of that nature would appeal a great deal to players I think without drawing in those who just want to grind out STFs/Dilithium and would only be interested in exploiting the system.
I have found some superb missions on the foundry....my ONE issue I have is I really wish people would take the time to, like, check their grammar and spelling. I have seen some horrendous phrasings/spellings (understandable I guess if English isn't your first language) in many foundry missions which takes me out of immersion fairly quickly.
I run foundry when I want to run foundry. So I'm prepared for the worst. But I'd much rather run foundry when I didn't know I was running foundry, but that would require seamless integration with the regular mission flow (say perhaps random popup red alerts or through actual cluster exploration).
Some people don't like the 'search' for a missions, and I can understand why. The UI, for starters, is abysmal. Star ratings tell you nothing about the type of mission you may be in the mood to play. If people could select missions by type, it would go a long way towards simplifying the process of finding the type of mission you want.
Then again, most people, in my experience, don't know what they want. They only think they do. I've seen how people react to running a mission they thought was a milk run, and it turned out completely different. Its the unexpected that engaged them. Thats why I think the only viable future for foundry is through seamless integration. I want to see the spotlight missions evolve into that, but at a much faster rate, and with much better attempts to move them out of the UI and into the actual game.
I think the whole emphasis on rewards clouds the actual issue. This game has done a bad job at itemization across the board and the result is that people are unhappy with 90% of the items they get from all types of content because after reaching particular thresholds it loses most if not all of it's value, particularly practical value i.e. the if the item could be used and not just sold for EC. Not that its fitting to this thread, but imagine if you could combine 10 lower quality consoles into one of a higher quality. That would actually give items some more value, a use beyond vendoring.
The focus on rewards seems odd to me, frankly, as the whole concept of the Foundry seems clearly more about boosting the game's story mission content. Turning Foundry into another way of item grinding would seems to be almost willfully missing the point. As long as random drops are on par with those in the Cryptic authored story missions, it'd be just fine. I doubt many foundry authors would be satisfied knowing people were playing their missions for the loot and ignoring the rest.
With increased rewards, or author-controllable rewards, you would see more people playing foundry... as a grind. And you'd get a influx of foundry missions and authors dedicated to no-story "go to system X, shoot all the things, collect loot" gameplay.
For me personally, story missions are what keeps the game alive, and, well Star Trek-y. Without the shoring up Foundry provides to that end of the content spectrum, STO would just be another boringly generic mindless FTP MMO grindfest. I don't want to see foundary's contributions as such fall by the wayside.
On the other end, you also don't want to devalue STF-level loot. Getting that stuff is supposed to be hard and tedious, 'cause it's, y'know, a reward. I think STF players like their STF gear as much for its cosmetic badge value as it's stats: it tells other players how much of a serious player they're looking at. Cryptic (or more accurately, PWE) won't want these devalued either, if the S-7 dil grind changes are anything to go by.
High level equipment/personnel is supposed to be hard to get. Asking for more ways to get it is at best courting power creep via devaluation and inflation, and at worst just the classic human nature "I wanna be awesome, but I don't want to have to work for it".
The stuff people've posted about improving the Foundry GUI, search system, and integration into the main game is all spot on though. Those are all great ideas that would go a long way to improving Foundry's visibility and standing. This current business of accessing the Foundry missions through a gorram phone book list in a backwater sub-tab helps no one. If it weren't for the spotlights and officer dailies you'd almost think Cryptic was actively trying to discourage Foundry play.
Last edited by connectamabob; 11-12-2012 at 11:23 PM.
Seeing people complain about the B'tran cluster being stripped of its dil rewards got me thinking: why does nobody like exploration missions?
1) No real rewards. Duh, that's what the B'Tran kerfuffle is about so obvious answer is obvious.
But, more that just that:
2) The missions themselves just really suck. They're all unengaging cookie cutter one click missions. The reason for this is obvious: there's way too many of them. The devs can't afford to spend the time making them interesting or unique, and are pretty much forced to just stamp them out en mass as short, cheap, cookie cutter missions.
Proposed idea: Create an "exploration mission" option for foundry mission publishing, and let Foundry authors do the heavy lifting. Foundry authors can create and submit missions specifically to become official exploration missions, via process similar to that used for spotlight or officer daily submission/approval. An approved mission gets assigned a door in one of the exploration sector anomalies.