By PWE_BranFlakes @ September 21, 2012 at 12:00pm
Now that we are a few months into Season 6 and rapidly approaching the release of Season 7, it’s a good time to give you an update on the State of the Game. First off, a big thank you is due for continuing to send in your questions for the monthly Ask Cryptic column. Your feedback and questions about the game provide valuable feedback to the development team and help to provide a constant reminder of what you find important about STO’s future.
At the end of the last Ask Cryptic there was a poll asking which feature you would most like to see in 2013. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and to the almost one hundred pages of discussion responses about the results. It is great to be able to talk about the long term future of STO and realize that the game is moving forward. Season 7 will be launching this November, followed by our 3 Year Anniversary in February. The team continues to grow. We’ve been very lucky to land some great talent from 38 Studios and Paragon Studios. As these new team members come up to speed on the game, they will be adding their own personality and style to the game and they are very excited to show you what they can do.
Looking at the results in the Ask Cryptic poll, it is clear that there are some very strong opinions about where we should be focusing all of this talent. We want to tackle all of your feedback and deliver everything you want to see in the game. As we look over our 2013 development plans, we will be taking your opinion into consideration as we build the schedule of what comes next.
After the last Ask Cryptic, I posted the following rundown of the top issues we are looking to tackle. It seems appropriate to repost this in the State of Game as it gives a solid overview of where we are and where we are headed in the near term.
Reading through the many comments after last month’s Ask Cryptic, here are some of the biggest topics on the development team’s radar.
The Foundry is awesome and the people who make Foundry missions are even more awesome! There are so many amazing missions being made on a weekly basis that it is a downright shame that we haven’t found a better way to integrate these missions into the standard flow of the game. Right now they are on a filtered tab, but we can do so much more. Foundry missions should also offer better rewards and fill content voids where they exist. If we could adopt the missions and ensure they are integrated with the overall arch of the game, it would show the power of crowdsourcing.
It is no secret that PvP in STO has suffered from a lack of development effort. This has been a shame because it could become a much more compelling aspect of the game as whole. The storyline behind the game pits the Federation against the Klingon Empire in a state of war, and yet the PvP doesn't reflect the conflict in a meaningful way. Territorial gameplay or iPvP matches would go a long way towards improving this part of the game.
The Klingon Empire
The KDF faction has a long history of trying to establish itself and has suffered greatly from the "what is it going to be?" thrash. While there is a passionate contingent of KDF players at max level who want more KDF specific content, there is also a large number of players who pass on playing in the KDF because you cannot build a KDF character as your first. In either case, the KDF wants to feel established and have their own agenda in the game instead of always playing the "foil" to the Feds. The best way we could tackle this issue is to take a “build it and they will come” attitude and find a way to let players create Klingons as their first and primary character.
Aside from the KDF, there are a significant number of players who would like to play as a Romulan, but don't want that experience to be as simple as a "playable species". Playing a Romulan should mean having your own story and agenda, your own ships, and your own experience. Given the games development history with the KDF, there is skepticism that a Romulan experience would be any better than what the KDF had shortly after launch. The fate of the Romulans is also a topic of debate. What has happened to them since Romulus was destroyed? Are they splintered? How many are left? Who's in charge? Any effort with the Romulans should start from a perspective of "Telling their Story" so that the design is fulfilling to fans.
Those are some of the big issues and features we want to start tackling and resolving. It doesn’t mean that we are ignoring everything else – we will continue to look at features like more episodes, more ships, more Duty Officer and Crafting system improvement, as well as exploration and general gameplay bugs. It does give you an overview of the broad strokes we’re considering for the near future.
As we move forward it is also important to look at where we’ve been and how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. When you consider what it takes to run an MMO in today's highly competitive marketplace, STO has been kicking some butt. Despite what some may think, we have a deliberate path and long-term goals that we've been tracking quite well against. STO has not only survived, but is thriving at a time when many MMOs have kicked or are about to kick the bucket. The STO community has been a big part of our success and has truly impacted both the development and health of this MMO. We can’t thank you enough for supporting this game. The company is recognizing your support by throwing more resources at the team than we’ve had since pre-launch. Our team size has nearly doubled since a year ago, and we’re still hiring!
If you don't mind, I'd also like to give a shout out to this amazing STO team. Since my return as EP last February, STO has been on a steady pace to deliver fun new content and address some of the top issues in the game.
As a reflection of what we've been able to accomplish, check out what we've done in the past 6 months:
- Dominion Featured Episode Series
- "Alpha" one-off KDF Episode
- Dilithium Mining Event with new Mini-game
- KDF Federation Blockade Fleet Action
- First Contact Day Event
- Vault Shuttle Event
- Ferasan Playable Species
- Fleet Advancement Starbase System
- New Starbase Fleet Events
- Over 40 new ships
- 2 new Duty Officer Packs
- Half a dozen new costumes
- Revamp of Defera Adventure Zone world missions
- New Tholian Adventure Zone with two new boss battles
- New Foundry features and assets
- Lots of new loot
Here are some of the things we’re working on for the next 6 months:
- New Personal Advancement System with Reputation based personal projects
- New Embassy Fleet Holding with related projects and rewards
- Several new 5 and 20 man Fleet Events some of which are cross-faction team-able
- New Max Level Sector with Daily Patrols
- New Romulan Colony "Adventure Zone" – our biggest to date – includes BOFF gameplay
- Into the Hive STF – Finally fight the Borg Queen
- New Ships including the Vesta class
- New Duty Officer Pack
- New Loot
- New Foundry Spotlight feature
- New Foundry assets
- UI improvements including the Queues
- Updated Winter Event
- 3 Year Anniversary Event
In addition to that, a small subset of the team has also been working on the ships, costumes, and consumables that appear in the C-Store. There are probably things that I even left out, including bugs, that we continually squash week to week, but the gist is, we are aggressively moving forward.
Altogether, that is a healthy amount of new updates this awesome, little team has delivered since we launched F2P. In 2013 will deliver even more as we continue to staff up and train our new team members.
As we move forward into Season 7 and then on towards 2013, the STO development team will be keeping all of the hot topics close to our heart so that we can ensure that the features we deliver in upcoming Seasons reflect the best decision of where you feel the game needs to go next.
So please continue to discuss the game and what it could and should be. Send in more questions! Post more feature requests in the forums! We are listening and do find value in the dialog we share together.
Thank you for taking the time to participate and communicate, and most of all, thank you for your continued support. We want your business and will continue to work hard to deliver for months and years to come.
Star Trek continues to shine thanks to you.
Live long and Prosper STO!
Until next time,
Star Trek Online