Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 453
# 1 Hiding the Grind in STO
02-21-2013, 01:34 PM
First off, I want to thank Dan for taking part in some much needed late night conversations with the community. I feel this level of communication, open discussion, is just what the community needs. It does not need to be details of the new content Cryptic wants to surprise us with, rather an open discussion about the game, where it is going, how we feel about particular aspects, and what steps could be taken. This community is anything put passionate and criticism can sometimes come off wrong (especially my own sometimes) in text.

With this behind us, I want to bring up one point that is becoming more pervasive as the game evolves and can be dealt with swiftly because development in this direction is nascent. It is what every MMOer terms "the grind".

Quote:
Originally Posted by dastahl View Post
And as far as Season 7 being "grindy" - welcome to the MMORPG genre. While it isn't the perfect solution, it is where we are at now. We want to make it better, but it takes time. We will increase the level cap. We will add more reps. We will add more feature episodes. We will add more adventure zones. We will add more ships. We will add more rewards. We will add more of everything that STO needs.
Right there Dan does say they want to improve the general feel. We feel the game is leaning toward a more grindy MMO, but why? What can be done? What specific or general actions can be taken to "hide" or "mask" the grind short-term, mid-term, long-term? Can the general paradox of grind in MMO's be re-thought?

I would like this to be a civil discussion that could hopefully be engaging for both the developers and us so for ease of discerning the information please try to keep to the following format. I will go first.

Does the game feel "grindy" to you?
Yes, the shift from a more causal to a game that requires more intensity has left me feeling the game is becoming too grindy. I know many other people who not only use that term but refuse to log in anymore because the game feels "like a chore" or "feels like work rather than fun".

Why do you feel the game is too "grindy"?
I feel it is grindy because the end-game systems are too focal, up front. When logging in, I am hit with the focus my game play being "filling" the boxes rather than playing for enjoyment and filling the boxes later with the fruits of my enjoyable game play. This simply relates to the low diversity and amount of content available for the end-game systems. Although the Romulan Rep system is in better shape in terms of diversity, in general the Fleet and Reputation Systems generally have little content support that needs to be repeated many times. With the large quantities of end-game currencies needed and only a limited amount of content to play through, things become tedious. When things become tedious, they are less fun and the "grind" rears its ugly head.

What do you think can be done to "hide the grind" in the short-, medium, and long-term?
The grind needs to be better hidden in its emphasis; it needs to feel like an eventual outcome of playing the game for fun rather than the focal point. Here is what I think could be done to start "hiding the grind":

Short-term

Bug Pass on Existing Fleet and Reputation Events
This boils down to some of the content for the Tau Dewa Sector remaining in a broken state, i.e. Azure Nebula Rescue Red Alert.

Mid-term

Foundry Spotlight Romulan Missions and Fleet Events
Have members of the foundry community submit these spotlight missions for approval just like the regular spotlight missions. The Fleet Events must be done in a group and reward the Fleet Marks Romulan Missions similar without the need for a group. Thus, only approved and qualified missions count. The Foundry community is a huge and enthusiastic resource that can and is willing to aid in improving the game.

Release Cryptic Designed Missions on a Regular Basis
These two systems have launched and we are seeing little support for them. I think even if every month if Cryptic were able to add one Fleet Event, One Romulan Event, and one Omega Event, over time these three systems would become robust,. What happened to the Fleet Alerts? The random Red Alert system was a great concept that has received virtually no support, it could really be used here.

Review Reputation System Costs
This is in particular for the stores. Is it necessary to have three levels of grinding for the store items that are character bound? Pay resources for the rank, pay resources for the unlock, and then pay resources for the items. Honestly, the appropriate stores should just unlock with you earning the appropriate rank. How many people are going to unlock the Mk X and Mk XI gear stores in the first place since this is an "end-game" system? I understand the need and desire to have rewards at each rank but to have things that will not see great use or purchases tied to additional grinding is not good. In the end, this just leaves the Reputation UI cluttered with missions only a completionist will take.

Long-term

Continued Support of Existing System
With each season publish there should be a few additional missions/events/red alerts that increase the diversity and amount of content. In essence, this back-filling support of the Fleet and Reputation system should continue until the highly repetitive feel has diminished. The fire and forget system we have now needs to be altered to a fire and support system. For a healthy game it is better to have a few diverse, deep, and well supported systems compared to many, shallow, unsupported systems.

Better Initial Planning
Each new system needs to launch with enough variety and amount of content to support it until the next publish. Five or six Fleet events since Season 6?s launch nearly six months ago does not suffice. Although Fleet marks have been added to other content to increase the diversity, and the amount of fleet marks rewarded has been increased, we simply still suffer from a lack of avenues to obtain them. We still require a high amount of repetition on a small content base.

Last edited by commodoreshrvk; 02-21-2013 at 01:37 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 199
# 2
02-21-2013, 06:10 PM
Hmmm, that is interesting and iam not surprised that Dan is willing to listen in such a medium. I do wish he would talk to the community in far more transparent way. With that said, i would like to stated what i see in regards to grinding and removing that grind or at least removing it to a certain degree and i think it can be done effectively.

First off, i would be utilizing the foundry community of STO, give them a set of criteria and open up the assets that are need to accomplish this content which you will see why i state this. I think and i don't understand why Cryptic doesn't exploit the need of the community create content. But, in order for this to work effectively they need to also expand and i think overhaul the Universe that currently exist.

We all know that the Universe is tiny in comparison to what it is, it would also allow for that of content not being in short supply, but this would take Cryptic to set a criteria by whomever and state the following;

We need to expand into this area, we are thinking along these lines and you have A, B, C to accomplish, while allowing for 3-6 variants of the content.

Now, some will ask well will this official content. Why not? Isn't that what the foundry was for? This also doesn't take away from what Cryptic authors in new episodes or official missions.

I think that in order to expand the game and not allow it to feel like a grind, the Universe overall needs to be overhauled and iam not saying expand and leave it. No, expand and have content available, that is where the foundry comes in, none of this can be accomplished otherwise, if you cant then what is the point of having the foundry? I don't understand why Cryptic doesn't exploit the foundry community, so many great, great authors.

I want to further add, that we could use a system of exploration to go along with that, to we have been hearing about a territory system forever which would also eliminate a means of grinding and purpose.

I look forward to anyone's responses.

Last edited by typhoncal; 02-21-2013 at 06:13 PM.
Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 488
# 3
02-21-2013, 06:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by typhoncal View Post
I do wish he would talk to the community in far more transparent way.
I watched him dive into a thread the other day; I suggested that an outright apology would be wasted. He offered it anyway, and all he got in return was the constant ******** from basement dwellers who have invested too much emotionally and financially into this game.

I appreciate venting on the forums; in fact, I was defending the ability to do so in that very thread. But put aside your rage for a few moments when you have an opportunity to actually engage in dialogue with the developers. Rage the other 99.99% of the time the developers seem too preoccupied to pay attention to the players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by commodoreshrvk View Post
Right there Dan does say they want to improve the general feel.
And in the same comments he says it's a matter of time; it's a matter of talent and vision - it takes roughly as long to implement bad ideas as it does to implement good ideas.

I literally handed him one of those QoL improvements the genre loves and is normally the domain of Blizzard; we'll see if he has the sense to implement it.

Last edited by millimidget; 02-21-2013 at 06:21 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 203
# 4
02-21-2013, 06:20 PM
When I think of 'grinding', I think of spending hours killing the same mobs, or running the same dungeons over and over, or the same repeatable quest....in other words, being actively involved in my grind. I agree with Dan in that, yes MMO's just necessitate a need for grind somewhere - it's just their nature. I expect it, but at the same time I think it needs to be implemented properly and in the right context. Tagging Epohhs and repeating the 'vending machine' projects plugging in consumables over and over doesn't really fit into that context IMO.
____

The o3 - Killed you good
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 199
# 5
02-21-2013, 06:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by trellabor View Post
When I think of 'grinding', I think of spending hours killing the same mobs, or running the same dungeons over and over, or the same repeatable quest....in other words, being actively involved in my grind. I agree with Dan in that, yes MMO's just necessitate a need for grind somewhere - it's just their nature. I expect it, but at the same time I think it needs to be implemented properly and in the right context. Tagging Epohhs and repeating the 'vending machine' projects plugging in consumables over and over doesn't really fit into that context IMO.
I agree to that notion, that is so right but again it comes around full circle of a content issue. Like i love doing Colony Fleet Mission, that would awesome if it had some variations of that which could be accomplished and many others. Iam not saying the same path, or even eliminating the rotation of enemies, as iam talking different paths of the mission and surprises like we see that giant ape of some sorts.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 199
# 6
02-21-2013, 06:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by millimidget View Post
I watched him dive into a thread the other day; I suggested that an outright apology would be wasted. He offered it anyway, and all he got in return was the constant ******** from basement dwellers who have invested too much emotionally and financially into this game.

I appreciate venting on the forums; in fact, I was defending the ability to do so in that very thread. But put aside your rage for a few moments when you have an opportunity to actually engage in dialogue with the developers. Rage the other 99.99% of the time the developers seem too preoccupied to pay attention to the players.

And in the same comments he says it's a matter of time; it's a matter of talent and vision - it takes roughly as long to implement bad ideas as it does to implement good ideas.

I literally handed him one of those QoL improvements the genre loves and is normally the domain of Blizzard; we'll see if he has the sense to implement it.
Yeah, well i go far back into ST Gaming and it has always been a passionate community overall. No escape and iam not trying to say that no other community has this but with it being ST it has that element is issues and people that are very very passionate, more so than normal and it can and will be hard thing to balance. I appreciate him at least trying, i would even perhaps entertain the idea of a forum area that allows users to give technical layout or what they would like to see, which would take Cryptic to come up with perhaps a standard layout. We have seen many people give some great layouts on suggestions.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 203
# 7
02-21-2013, 06:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by typhoncal View Post
I agree to that notion, that is so right but again it comes around full circle of a content issue. Like i love doing Colony Fleet Mission, that would awesome if it had some variations of that which could be accomplished and many others. Iam not saying the same path, or even eliminating the rotation of enemies, as iam talking different paths of the mission and surprises like we see that giant ape of some sorts.
I think, for me, it's just not 'direct' enough. I can grind some various content, but I'm still plugging in the stuff in that Rep window from anywhere and while it's convenient it's certainly not immersive. I know, it's a big galaxy and it's takes forever to fly from one part to the other but if you had to talk to specific races/people in person sometimes it would feel a lot like I was actually accomplishing something in the process. Under the old STF system I felt more like I was involved in something, having to go to DS9 for the store, the NPC's being there and seeing a lot of other players at that same location brought a feeling of relevance and accomplishment. Now it just feels like going to the lunch room at work when I have enough change to get a Snickers or a Coke.
____

The o3 - Killed you good
Commander
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 289
# 8
02-21-2013, 06:39 PM
Since the sale of STO from Atari to PWE the model changed into what PWE wanted. There are 2 types of MMO models the Suscription based and the F2P based. The pay games dont need to rely on the grind model to survive but STO does. After a player hits lvl 50 and has completed the story missions, there needs to be end game content. Instead of releasing expansion packs and more story missions they can add grind content for less cost and less man power. We have to remember that PWE is having trouble right now compaired to the larger MMO companys. They need STO to bring in revenue and what better way than the large Dil/EC requirements from season 7 and the Lock boxes, We just got the Jem ships and here comes the Andorian ships, most games would space them out but PWE needs money. C-store items Zen and Lockboxes are what keep this game running. Im surprised that you can't buy fleet marks yet or exchange Dil or Zen for Fleet marks. With a few min of google searching on PWE stock you can see why they are cranking out new items to buy and more things to grind.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 199
# 9
02-21-2013, 10:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by trellabor View Post
I think, for me, it's just not 'direct' enough. I can grind some various content, but I'm still plugging in the stuff in that Rep window from anywhere and while it's convenient it's certainly not immersive. I know, it's a big galaxy and it's takes forever to fly from one part to the other but if you had to talk to specific races/people in person sometimes it would feel a lot like I was actually accomplishing something in the process. Under the old STF system I felt more like I was involved in something, having to go to DS9 for the store, the NPC's being there and seeing a lot of other players at that same location brought a feeling of relevance and accomplishment. Now it just feels like going to the lunch room at work when I have enough change to get a Snickers or a Coke.
I agree with your assessment of the situation, i just wasn't sure how to put it and i think you nailed it. I think it is a lack of being persistent? It feels too much in the sense of what you have stated. Its very unfortunate, perhaps they will bring things back around to getting back to that feel that you have described.


Quote:
Originally Posted by admgreer View Post
Since the sale of STO from Atari to PWE the model changed into what PWE wanted. There are 2 types of MMO models the Suscription based and the F2P based. The pay games dont need to rely on the grind model to survive but STO does. After a player hits lvl 50 and has completed the story missions, there needs to be end game content. Instead of releasing expansion packs and more story missions they can add grind content for less cost and less man power. We have to remember that PWE is having trouble right now compaired to the larger MMO companys. They need STO to bring in revenue and what better way than the large Dil/EC requirements from season 7 and the Lock boxes, We just got the Jem ships and here comes the Andorian ships, most games would space them out but PWE needs money. C-store items Zen and Lockboxes are what keep this game running. Im surprised that you can't buy fleet marks yet or exchange Dil or Zen for Fleet marks. With a few min of google searching on PWE stock you can see why they are cranking out new items to buy and more things to grind.
Unfortunately true, i understand that and iam rather taken back that they haven't done more in monetizing it when it comes to the C-Store. I guess the boxes are doing that? Iam surprised, we don't see unique clothing, boots you name it people will eat it up as it is trek. Perhaps a plan is waiting to be implemented or something.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,060
# 10
02-21-2013, 10:31 PM
Quote:
I watched him dive into a thread the other day; I suggested that an outright apology would be wasted. He offered it anyway, and all he got in return was the constant ******** from basement dwellers who have invested too much emotionally and financially into this game.
I take offense at your use of "basement dweller" when "neckbeard" is available.
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