Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 319
WARNING: Long and detailed - meant primarily for dev team review.

Rumor has it our talented dev team is currently working on a tutorial for the KDF in order to make them a full-fledged faction. So, I thought this would also be a good opportunity to give the Fed tutorial a quick polishing pass at the same time to address some of its problems.

There are currently two ways to start STO after creating a new Federation character - running through the full tutorial or skipping it (if it has been previously completed).

I'll begin with the full tutorial:

One thing really missing from the full tutorial is any kind of connection with Starfleet Academy - which should be the touchstone for all Starfleet officers, especially new ones. It would be really cool to have the character start at the Academy, right during the graduation ceremony shown here: The resources that made this video are saved somewhere; just plug the character into the crowd during the Commandants speech - it's really good! This would make for a great inspirational beginning to any characters career. After this short graduation ceremony, a dialog box would pop up assigning the character to their ship and their first mission - a mundane supply run to the Vega colony (where lo and behold, the Borg make their first reappearance after their long absence). The ship is pressed into service to help an ad-hoc fleet repel the invading force and the story continues as it is now...

The following are issues within the tutorial I've seen which could use polish (listed in order of when encountered):

As the character first appears inside the ship, klaxons are going off and people are running about, but no information is given to the player about what is happening or where they are. A pop up dialog box elaborating on Spocks immediately preceding voice over cut scene by the department chief (the first NPC the character interacts with in that room) stating the ship has dropped out of warp in the Vega system near Vega V and is moving to support ships already engaged with the Borg who have made a sudden, violent reappearance after decades of being absent (maybe incorporated into the mini-pop up box that appears now saying, "Ensign, get over here and give me a status report!") would be a big help. The pop up dialog that follows shouldn't have the chief say the Captain needs all hands to battle stations (this probably could be removed altogether) - because the captain restates that out in the hall. (Oh, and the door to the Armory (the beginning room for Tac officers) should be colored red - as the science one is blue and engineering is yellow)

The Captain should say in his second dialog box that the Vega SYSTEM is being attacked by the Borg - NOT colony, because the planet where the player starts is NOT the Vega colony itself (the colony is on Vega IX) - the attack on the actual colony comes much later (at a totally different planet as can easily be seen when playing the tutorial). The same goes for the first dialog when the character speaks with Captain on the bridge.

The captain should state after saying the U.S.S. Khitomer is coordinating the defense, "We are having a hard time hailing them. We could use your unique talents to break through the interference and find out what's going on!" giving a generic (department-wise), but vital, job to the player. Otherwise any NPC on the bridge could have pushed the button to make that call.

Once the PC is ordered to transport to the Khitomer, the Transporter chief should say somewhere in her dialog that other ships are also beaming help to the Khitomer (an allusion that the player will see and possibly cooperate with other players there). Her last sentence should say, "Looks like they're still fighting over there, that's a hopeful sign. Your priority is to make contact with the EMH, not fight the Borg..." because I think everyone's first instinct is to try to help repel the boarders - not talk to some puffy hologram.

Next, the green written EMH dialog sentence "Report to Lt. aux control" needs to be moved from the dialog box after scanning the patient to the next window (just before the "Assist Lt. Thelis" button). It's confusing where it is now.

In Lt. Thelis' third dialog window, "Let's use the transporters..., he should say, "Target those Borg trying to break through the forcefield for beam-out... I can only spare enough power for two drones. But at least that should slow them down" (or there should only be two Borg drones over there). After all, why wouldn't you beam them ALL out otherwise?

Shouldn't both Lt. Thelis and Commander Davis (from the next dialogs) both be in Engineering yellow uniforms? They sure are performing engineering tasks and Commander Davis certainly seems to be the ship's chief engineer - being in Main Engineering and all (see below).

All the personnel in Main Engineering at the barricade are labeled "security personnel" regardless of uniform color. I?m not sure if uniform colors are randomly generated in the tutorial or not - if so, maybe a more generic 'Khitomer crewmember' title would be more appropriate for them all. Also the interaction button to talk with Cmdr. Davis says, "Talk to Commander tactical officer" when clearly everything he's said up to this point indicates he is an Engineer (and again his uniform should be yellow here - see above). In said dialog box, the second paragraph should start with, "We can handle the Borg from here, they are still pushing us..." and then as written. This makes way more sense considering the endless numbers of Borg that will continue to show up. The first time I did this part, I tried to help out the defenders and spent a good deal of time here until I figured out that the Borg will just continue to spawn - and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

In the next dialog window, Davis should say, "Unfortunately, it looks like the Borg have now hit your ship too. We need..." and then as written. The second paragraph should say, "The door to...assistance on your ship, so thanks to your help we can now spare an officer to send back over with you." This cleans up this section and eases the transition into the next step.

The next dialog window says to talk with "Chief Sherman", but the green mission text says "Pim Dahl". (yet his title overhead is "Starfleet security officer" when you get there - lol). This whole thing needs some clean up.

The very first dialog box with the Chief starts with him talking about the Vega colony and beaming you there - but then says he is going to beam you to your ship. Remove the first two paragraphs here to remove the confusion.

The engineering NPC 'bridge officer' you talk to should have the words, "...said you might need another hand, and he..." cut from his first dialog box as there is no longer a choice of which officer to choose from.

When ready to talk to the Chief again, his interaction button says, "Talk to Starfleet security officer" - this should be fixed (Talk with Chief Pim Dahl)

After getting the awarded bridge officer, Pim's dialog box (which is incorrectly titled "Chief Sherman" now - lol) says, "Use the Transporter pad to beam back to your ship. I'll also beam the officer you selected aboard to meet you there." There is no 'selection' anymore - that last sentence should say, "I'll also beam your new tactical officer aboard to meet you there."

Maybe state in the first dialog box from your new bridge officer after going back to your ship say that, "The Borg have hit the fleet hard here, but are advancing. The fleet is pursuing them. We need repairs before we can help." Then segway into helping the medical ship - which leads to the repair ship....

Speaking of the repair ship, perhaps have the new bridge officer say, "Captain, we're receiving a hail from the S.S. Renown. I'll put it on the main viewscreen:" Then have the conversation with a civilian captain - the S.S. Renown being a freighter who just happened to be in the area when the fight broke out and hid near the asteroid. They can resupply and repair ships, so you can help pursue the Borg. (this makes way more sense than a crippled Starfleet starship handing out spare parts when obviously they need them as much, if not more, than you do).

In the last dialog box before warping out to follow the Borg, it should say, "Captain, the fleet has sent out coordinates..." and then as stated. This info shouldn't come from the Renown. And the very first dialog box on the next map should remove the word 'Renown's' from the first sentence as well. Once warped in to the next map (with all the inactive Borg probes) mention, "Looks like there was heavy fighting here, but seems the Borg are continuing their advance to Vega colony at Vega IX. I?m sure the rest of the fleet will need us there once we finish here" This will give some clue as to continuing to follow the Borg to the Vega colony.

On this same map, the dialog window which deals with "Firing (ship) weapons" should also include information on how to select weapons to "autofire". (maybe in the "help" box as well)

The "long range sensors back online" dialog just before warping to the next map (Vega colony space) should state that the Borg have made it to Vega Colony and have begun an attack (not, "let's stop them from regenerating" - that was just used on the inactive probes)and that only part of the fleet remains and is needing reinforcements. The help box here concerning BO manning ship consoles should be removed?or placed way earlier in the tutorial (preferably in a non-combat situation - lol!) and should say HOW to place the BO's in the slots.

Once on the ground at Vega IX, the dialog with Commander Kelly shouldn't be about the Borg devices calling for reinforcements - - it should be about them blocking communication with Starfleet. He even says that just before you beam back to your ship.

Once back in orbit, the first dialog box should say, "There is an incoming transmission from Fleet Admiral Quinn back at Earth, sir. I'll put it onscreen." Just to clarify this guy is the head honcho and he's not in the battle area.

In the last dialog box in this section Quinn should say, "All available ships are meeting to try and push the remaining Borg out of the system at Vega III. I want you and..." then as written. This to clarify that it's a new place you are going to, but still in the Vega SYSTEM. The mission objective box along the right hand side should state, "Go to fleet rally point" or some such (not 'go to Vega colony' - because that's where you are currently! lol)

Quinn's dialog box after the final Cube is destroyed should have the first sentence changed to, "Well done Ensign! I am officially promoting you to the rank of full Lieutenant for your actions today!" then add in near the end, "The fleet can handle the rest of the Borg there - you are welcome to help if you wish - but when you are ready, please return to Earth Space Dock and see me in my office."

Once back at ESD, the EMH's last dialog and voice over sentence should be changed (or removed) regarding "Ensign".

Afterward, when discussing equipment for your new ship with Quinn in his office, he should say that the bridge of your ship took some damage when the command staff were taken and will be refitted and changed to your choice as new Captain (under "tips for New captains"). This would explain why you can?t keep the same bridge as the one on your ship shown in the tutorial. Also his dialog says to see Elsa Mora in the Shipyard for new BOs. She is actually near the Sickbay.

Quinn's references to the Shipyard should include talking to Malcom Sissel (as he is the only one which tells folks to use the turbolift to get to the actual shipyard area with all the ship NPCs).

And in the opening dialog for the mission "Stranded in Space", Quinn should probably state "AFTER you are finished with your other business here on ESD, then you may want to talk with Malcom about it" - it's too easy right now for someone to jump right on the mission and never get a chance to fix uniforms, outfit their ship, get BO's etc.

Whew! Now that that's been covered, let's move onto 'skipping' the tutorial issues:

By skipping the full tutorial, you are beamed to Starfleet Academy and told to go to the Commandants office (followed by the locker run and BO selection parts). Isn't the whole point of skipping the tutorial to get a character started in the game quickly? The player is obviously already experienced in choosing equipment, BOs, etc. So what's the point of this part? Why not just have the 'veteran' character start outside of Quinn's office on ESD (the same starting spawn point used when the game first launched) with all the stuff to start with? (windows immediately popping up to give BO choices, etc. after spawning in). Once that is done, then the character is told to report to Quinn for possible assignments ("Stranded in Space").

But if the above suggestion isn't taken and the Academy beginning is kept for vet characters, there are some issues that need attention. The whole part of picking up a kit and weapon out of the lockers then returning to the BO selection officer is clunky and doesn't flow smoothly (this could be fixed with better dialog transitions). Even worse is the "Report to Admiral Quinn" interaction when he suddenly calls you and starts his ship equipment dialog - while you are still on the ground at the Academy. It's obvious that you should beam up to ESD and talk with Quinn before this dialog is triggered.

Well, that's it. I hope my suggestions (and observations) will lead not only to a better Fed tutorial, but also a better KDF tutorial by avoiding the pitfalls shown above - making the starting play experience much better for all players.

Thanks for your attention.
My consolidated list of game improvements for STO:

Last edited by captainhunter1; 02-13-2013 at 01:12 PM.

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