EDITOR'S NOTE (11/13/2012): The following information was posted before Season 7's launch. From the time since this blog's posting, updates were made to Dilithium rewards earned from STFs. Please read this Dev Blog for more information.
STFs are Changing in Season 7
If you’re a max level player in Star Trek Online, then you’ve probably heard of the Special Task Forces as that’s where most of the best gear in the game can be found. As part of Task Force Omega, players have been facing off against the Borg for many months in order to obtain gear such as the Mark XII Very Rare MACO, Omega Force and Honor Guard sets.
We know it is “many months” because when we looked at the data, it showed that players were running Elite STFs hundreds of times and still not receiving the drops necessary for this gear. We didn’t really need to look up the data because a handful of players were telling us how frustrated they were that these drops were so rare. This was all marked as “working as designed” because it was exactly how we set them up. Getting the best gear was meant to be extremely challenging.
The problem, however, is that it’s unfair when someone lucks out and gets the very rare item they need after only playing one elite STF while another person is still running the same STFs over and over hoping to get the drop.
We agree it isn’t fair and are about to change the STF reward structure. We now have a better way to keep the hunt for these items challenging while removing the randomness of drops.
That is why in Season 7 we are nuking the STF reward tables from orbit and replacing them with the much clearer Task Force Omega Reputation system.
There’s a lot involved with this, so this blog post is going to go into all the details.
Why the new system is better:
By removing the random drop nature of the STFs, players will be able to use the Reputation System to visualize their progress towards obtaining these awesome gear sets. It is clearer, easier to understand, and by reducing the number of STF runs needed, the rewards are flat out more realistic to obtain for the average player.
That said, this does mean that the existing reward structures that use the 42 various items are being replaced with ones that use the 2 new items: Omega Marks and the Elite STF commodity (Borg Neural Processor).
Conversion of Existing Items
*Subject to change
When Season 7 launches, we will be converting all existing STF items that you have to Omega Marks and Borg Neural Processors using a rate that takes into account how many of these items you have acquired, and not yet spent, on your character.
We’ve reviewed the number of items currently on all characters so that we can ensure a smooth transition to the new system. The goal of the conversion is to make it fair and equitable for everyone and especially reward those that have been playing STFs for “many months” so that you will have a leg up in the new system.
NOTE: All STF “currency” items not spent before Season 7 launch will be converted to the new system!
There are 42 items that will be converted including:
All types of these items will be immediately converted to Omega Marks and Borg Neural Processors when the owning character logs in for the first time after Season 7 releases.
(Updated!) Any items converted this way will go into a storage device which cannot be retrieved until the character reaches Tier 3 in the Task Force Omega Reputation System.
The storage device, called an Omega Conversion Crate, will denote how much of each item is stored for later retrieval and will remain locked until you achieve Tier 5 in the Omega Reputation System. Once unlocked, your character will be able to retrieve the Omega Marks and Borg Commodities that were converted along with a bonus amount of Dilithium Ore.
The Omega Marks (and Dilithium Ore) can then be used immediately to assist in purchasing any unlocked gear set rewards. After reviewing the data, the conversion rate for most players will allow for the purchase of a partial and in some case full set of their choosing. Or, if you’re already fully geared, an option will be available to convert surplus Omega Marks into additional Dilithium Ore.
Any existing Accolades, gear rewards and costume unlocks you have already earned by running STF content are yours to keep, even if you choose to not participate in the Reputation System.
Also, with the STF stores on DS9 going away, The MACO, Honor Guard, and Omega Sets will now be obtained directly through reputation projects which you select. This allows you to control which items you want next instead of waiting for a random drop and the stores can be accessed from anywhere.
If you are concerned that this system will be a difficult gathering challenge like Fleet Starbases, let me put your fears to rest. The Reputation projects are balanced for a single player, whereas Starbase projects were balanced for an average of 25 players. That’s a big difference. We want this to be much easier for individuals.
Furthermore, gathering inputs for the reputation projects isn’t based on players that can invest 18 hours a day into Star Trek Online, but rather on the average gaming habits of our entire player base, most of who play very casually.
Our calculations show on average a 60% reduction in the number of runs needed to get a full gear set using the Task Force Omega Reputation System versus the odds of getting the random drops you need. It is still challenging, but much easier and less random than it was before.
The inputs for Reputation projects will include readily available in-game items such as Expertise, Omega Marks, Refined Dilithium, and the new Borg Commodity (Borg Neural Processor). This is a grand departure from having to run the same STF over and over trying to get that one rare prototype tech you needed for an item which then needed to be turned into another item and then sold to the proper store to get the item.
What a confusing flow chart that was! We apologize this didn’t get improved sooner. It will now be much smoother when you can play a much wider variety of Borg missions to get those inputs and select the exact piece of gear you want next.
Vendor and Reward Changes
*Subject to change
In addition to the above changes, the existing STF vendors on DS9 will no longer be selling their wares. This impacts all of the Deflectors, Engines, Starship Shields, Personal Shields, Personal Armors, Kits, and other “standard” loot items they offered.
Instead, the STF stores have been moved and updated to become part of the Task Force Omega Reputation System. Once you reach the proper tier and complete the store upgrade project, the stores will become available directly from the Task Force Omega Reputation UI.
As part of these store changes, the existing “Anti-Borg” weaponry will be phased out, but will be replaced by newly upgraded weaponry that utilizes unique high-quality weapon models, and employs an improved anti-Borg damage proc that scales based on weapon firing speeds (slow weapons will deliver large bursts of kinetic damage, while fast weapons will deliver smaller hits on each pulse).
Aside from the existing STF rewards, the Omega Reputation will offer a collection of exciting new equipment that has been created specifically to entice players that have already obtained their prizes of choice, to progress through the system and reap the benefits of their prior efforts and experience.
Most notable among these new prizes are the following Space and Ground Sets:
The removal of the Assimilated Module from the existing Borg Space Set has been a balancing move we’ve been meaning to make for some time now. The availability of a four-piece set was an anomaly in our high-end gear and something we were not prepared to support or balance against. The fact that players were capable of benefiting from the 2- and 3-piece bonuses of the Borg Space Set, while using something other than the Assimilated Regenerative Shield Array that was intended to be part of that set, led to an unintended synergy that was never part of the original intended design. We’ll be watching feedback closely on how the set performs under these new restrictions.
The four-piece bonus of this set has been moved down to being a second 3-piece bonus. Players that obtain and equip all 3 pieces of the Assimilated Space Set will now have access to the Borg Tractor Beam in addition to the 2- and 3-piece bonuses already present on the set.
Players that own the existing Borg Space Set will find it has changed to being designated as a “Mk XI” set. For players that do not already possess it, this Mk XI version will be available at Tier 3 of the Omega Reputation, while a Mk X version can be obtained at Tier 1 and a Mk XII upgrade at Tier 5.
Aside from sets, players progressing through Task Force Omega Reputation will also be able to obtain upgraded versions of the Borg Prosthetic Arm Weapons (previously available in the Defera Ground Invasion zone) as well as Anti-Borg Consumables that will assist in their ongoing fight against the Borg.
With the restructure of the rewards associated with STFs under the new Reputation System, players that enjoy participating in Special Task Force content will find a new, rewarding way to earn ongoing progress toward their end-game equipment goals. This predictable, regimented progression will allow players that have been playing for months (perhaps even years) without receiving the rewards they have been seeking, to finally have an achievable goal in sight, while also addressing the inconsistency of others receiving that same sought-after gear on their very first boss defeat.
We also believe that having an easier-to-understand reward structure will encourage more players to try out Special Task Forces, in order to advance their own Reputation and reap the rewards that come alongside that advancement.
Before Season 7 launches, the above changes will be implemented on the Tribble Test Server -- this will allow you to check out the updates, including the chance to take a look at the contents of the Omega Conversion Crate you would receive based on the amount of the 42 different drop items your character has at the time of transfer to Tribble.
We will be monitoring the forums and reviewing feedback so let us know how you feel about these changes. I am also answering player questions in this forum thread, so make sure to stop by or watch the Dev Tracker. We realize that there will be a few people who may not like the change, but for the vast majority of players this should be a significant improvement. If any of the above information during the course of our testing, we will update this blog post as applicable.
We hope you are as excited as we for the launch of Season 7: New Romulus. We’ll see you in-game and in the STF queues!
Star Trek Online