In this brand-new edition of Ask Cryptic, Executive Producer Dan Stahl delivers answers to player submitted questions.
Q: (maddinm214) Can we get more social missions, i.e. looking after a colony or crew? Will the social maps like the Academy or Risa be extended?
Dstahl: One of the primary new zones in Season 7 will be a new Romulan colony world that will contain several new social missions as well as many other types of missions involving looking after the new colony. This zone will be test environment for what we would eventually like to see done to all existing Social Zones, such as Risa.
Q: (starcrow1701) When will there be shuttle hangars? Will there be new shuttle missions?
Dstahl: One of the new Fleet Holdings in Season 7 will involve a Shuttle Bay. In addition, we are working on a new feature that will allow all players to select a default starship and shuttle so that if you queue for a shuttle mission while in your starship, it will swap you to your default shuttle for the mission. Once this feature is on Holodeck we plan to add more shuttle specific missions.
Q: (flottenkommando) Would it be possible to define the alert state of our ships and fleet starbase ourselves? (Ex.: Green Alert: no shields, weapons deactivated; Yellow: shields active, weapons not active; Red: shields and weapons active, personnel on battle station)
Dstahl: This is a great feature request and something we will consider in a future update. It would be really cool to see the NPCs on your ship or Starbase react differently depending on what status you set the craft to. We’ve had some technical graphics challenges when it comes to hiding and showing different lighting schemes on the fly, so first we’ll have to get some technical support from our graphics team to see if this is feasible. In the meantime, we can at least consider making different alert states of Foundry map templates so that authors could create a mission on a Starbase/Ship Interior that is in different states.
Q: (alphanius) Any plans to have more diverse designs of starbases, i.e. possibility to choose between project A and B with different outcome?
Dstahl: Not in the short term, but we do have plans over the next year to introduce more options for Starbase exteriors that are more reflective of a specific species technology. For example, what would a Gorn or Vulcan Starbase look like? We would ultimately like players to have the ability to earn the ability to alter the design of their base.
Q: (michaelfinnern99) Could we have some kind of honorary event for Gene Roddenberry, e.g. featuring the Glorious Heritage Class?
Dstahl: What a great idea! In addition to the 1000 day veteran rewards coming up in October, we will look into adding something special in honor of Gene.
Q: (xxxhellspawnyxxx) Any chance to add more fleet mark rewards?
Dstahl: We continue to add new ways to earn Fleet Marks. We recently had a “Fleet Week” as well as introduced Fleet Marks for running the Foundry Mission daily. In addition we plan to introduce several new ways to earn Fleet Marks in the up and coming Season 7 content releasing in November.
Q: (nometa) Will you be raising the level cap to have a rank Admiral for example?
Dstahl: We do intend to increase the level cap to Admiral at some point, but first, in Season 7, we will be introducing a reputation system that will allow players at max level a new way to develop their captain’s career and earn new bonuses and rewards.
Q: (patrickkillian) Will it be possible to buy additional DOFF mission slots in the C-Store one day?
Dstahl: We are discussing alternate ways to introduce new DOFF mission slots other than via the C-Store. We are first looking into ways to add new DOFF games that use your existing roster, but use the individual DOFFs in new ways. While this feature is only in discussion at this time, we want to investigate new ways to use DOFFs before we simply add more mission slots.
Q: (ackreed) Could Season 8 maybe be dedicated to the KDF? With new costumes, ships, and missions for Level 1-22?
Dstahl: This is being discussed and nothing definite has been announced yet. If we were to add more KDF-exclusive missions, Season 8 would be the earliest it would happen. Without trying to get hopes up, I will acknowledge there is a chance the KDF could get a boost in Season 8 if Season 7 goes as well as Season 6 has thus far. We will have a better idea of this once we get to the end of the year.
Q: (crittio) Will there be more playable races/factions in the future? Like Borg or Romulans?
Dstahl: Yes. We would like to see both factions added. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time if STO continues to grow as it has been.
Q: (oxylon) Will the Galaxy X with a detachable saucer make it into the game at some point?
Dstahl: Yes. The Animators and FX artists have been working on this and we plan to release it in an upcoming update.
Q: (commadorebob) When will we see the Andorian escort?
Dstahl: While I can’t confirm if it is an escort, there is an Andorian ship on the schedule to be released before the end of the year. More details to follow.
Q: (vinru821) when will we fight Tholians in space combat?
Dstahl: Currently, Tholians will appear in Season 6 PvE queues depending on the Starbase progression level of a Fleet Member in the mission. We are also introducing two different Tholian 5-man space Fleet Actions as part of the mission package for Season 7. Also, we are discussing which Tholian groups we will make available in a future Foundry update.
Q: (lowestlvl) Wells Class… when? New KDF ships… when?
Dstahl: Currently both are scheduled for the second half of this month (September).
Q: (thehavraha) Fleet Marks were attached as rewards for Foundry missions on Fleet Week, but then were removed. Are there any plans to add them permanently.
Dstahl: This reward is now live once again and will remain available for the time being.
Q: (maxxina) What can we expect for the DOFF system in the near future?
Dstahl: We have been playing around with the possibility of adding DOFFs to the web. We would all like to be able to manage our Duty Officer Assignments even if we aren’t in game, so that is something we are looking into as a possibility for 2013. First though, we plan to re-introduce the ability to check in on your captains via the web. That feature should be going into Beta either before or shortly after Season 7.
Q: (tomk123456789) Will we see any new abilities for ground and space?
Dstahl: Yes we do have some new captain abilities that we plan to introduce either with the reputation system in Season 7 or with the eventual skillcap increase to Admiral.
Q: (akrilon) It’s been mentioned that featured episodes will be returning “in a big way” in Season 8. Can you give us any preliminary details on how you forsee this being rolled out?
Dstahl: The development team loves making feature episodes, as is evident with Dominion series that finished in March. Up until recently, our development staff has been small enough that we’ve had to constantly juggle what we were working on at any given moment. This meant a toss-up between Feature Episodes, Fleet Actions, STFs and other max-level content, PvP maps, or anything else that involves creating missions and new maps. As we’ve staffed up, our ability to tackle more of types of content simultaneously has increased. Season 7 will be our next big push for max-level content and then we plan to shift the majority of the resources back to other content types. This includes focusing on Feature Episodes for Season 8. While the details are still being ironed out, the early indication is that there will be at least one new series at launch of S8 and maybe even more than that. Once we get closer, I’ll share more details.
Q: (kobayashlmaru) Now that some of us are approaching the 1000 day vet rewards, is there a plan to extend beyond the 1000 days? If so, in what capacity?
Dstahl: First, we intend to ensure that the 1000 day vet reward is awesome for both FED and KDF players. Then we plan to go back and review the rewards at each tier to ensure we have everything implemented as was discussed. Only after that will we consider going past 1000 days. We are discussing this with Champs, but for now, there are no details yet.
Q: (trekkiematt) When will we get a playable Breen ship?
Dstahl: This is on our schedule, but we aren’t ready to discuss timeframes yet. There are a lot of other ships we have in line ahead of it, but it is coming.
Q: (sl1ckm1ster) How long until Spotlight missions get rewards and journal features? And how long after NW launches before we will see all of their new updates to the STO Foundry?
Dstahl: The Foundry development team is currently working on the Spotlight feature and they are expected to hand it over to the STO team for implementation in our UI later this month, so my estimate is that you’ll see it in game either end of September or into October. Discussions are still ongoing as to which features STO will be able to port over after NW launches, so there is no ETA at this time as they are still developing the Foundry features for NW.
Q: (tovalmorgan) Are you ever going to fix the decloaking bug? Whenever your bridge officers talk to you or any kind of interaction window pops up on the screen while you are cloaked, the pop up window forces your ship to decloak.
Dstahl: To clear up some confusion about this issue, let me shed some light on how cloak is intended to relate to interactions within the game. It is our intention that any interaction within the game will remove stealth. Anytime you are expected to take a game action of clicking on a button to respond, whether it is to scan something, or acknowledge a bridge officer, or make a command decision via a contact option, it should pull you out of stealth. With that said, there are undoubtedly missions out there that were made prior to the inception of the mini-contacts (the ones that fly across your screen) which are just providing information and shouldn’t need to be acknowledged. One reason we created mini-contacts was to allow information to be given by your bridge crew without you needing to acknowledge it for game design purposes. If you feel that a specific mission contact could be switched to a mini-contact that doesn’t need acknowledgement, then that is the type of suggestion that should be made. We can then look at the mission specifically and determine whether it warrants a mini-contact or not.
Q: (Sean2448) When will we see a crafting update and when will we get an STF store update?
Dstahl: There is a crafting proposal that has been submitted for design review, but we have not yet scheduled this update. We talked about it being in an upcoming season, but at this point we have not yet nailed down exactly which update. The STF reward structure is being reworked for the launch of Season 7 when we intend to release the Omega Fleet as a Reputation progression which will allow players to earn existing and new rewards.
Q: (icegavel) I’m not saying State of the Game is bad, but could we please have our Engineering Reports back? Also a simple quality-of-life request: Can we get a Deposit All/Withdraw All button for the EC storage in our account bank?
Dstahl: Given the general feedback regarding the State of the Game blog, let me join you in missing the simplicity of the Engineering Report list of what’s being worked on. The trouble with the Engineering Report is that it is changes frequently as our tasks shift from item to item and so while it is for the most part reflective of what we are investigating or working on at the moment, it is only a snapshot of the bigger picture and would often mislead readers into thinking something being discussed was coming sooner than it was. If there is a format that will allow this level of transparency without causing frustration, then I’d be happy to field any suggestion. Also, I’ve forwarded your request to the software team to see if that is something they can squeeze into their backlog.
Q: (russell1997) What are the plans to make the currency rewards consistent? In the PVE queue, some missions reward Dilithium and some reward Fleet Marks. Both are end game currency. I think all PVE Queue missions should reward both Dilithium and Fleet Marks.
Dstahl: While it is understandable to consider Dilithium and Fleet Marks as max-level Currencies, you can earn and spend Dilithium way before max-level and as such there are Events that reward Dilithium and some that are specifically designed for Fleets that reward Fleet Marks. This is an intended part of the design. To help clarify this, we have been working on an update for the PvE Queue which will allow denote and filter the primary type of reward each Event rewards. Below is a mock up for what that design will look like. This should be hitting Holodeck before Season 7.
Q: (jonathanlonehawk) Speaking of the Regent, can we mount 2 of the torpedoes one fore and one aft (even if they have to be redesigned as such)?
Dstahl: Unlike novelty weapons such as the Blue Phaser banks, high-end prototype weapons that come on premium ships are intended for max-level, and as such, we restrict them to one per ship. You’ll discover this if you un-equip your torpedo, dismiss the regent and then reclaim it and attempt to slot both of the 180 degree torpedoes. It is also unlikely that we will even introduce a 360 degree torpedo launcher for game balance reasons. If we did entertain the option of allowing multiples of these to be slotted, it would be restricted to either fore or aft.
Q: (alastorforthrigh) As a member of a small but active fleet I’ve felt the strain on resources that a fleet Starbase gives. It's very difficult for small fleets to acquire the resources to finish featured projects on time. It's even more difficult for small fleets to gather the necessary DOFFs for base and project upgrades. Is there something being talked about by the Dev team to make it less straining on a small fleets resources so that they don’t have to spend 100% of their time grinding resources to devote to the base?
Dstahl: Yes. There are several updates in the works to help alleviate some of the strain of finding some of the rarer items needed by projects. While I don’t expect the feature projects to change much, we do intend to put all feature projects back into rotation at some point in the future. Balancing the Fleet system when Fleet sizes range from 1 player up to 500 players is challenging, and so we’ve tried to find a happy medium by analyzing all of the fleet statistics to come up with the common denominator while still encouraging players to be in a fleet. We recognize that smaller fleets will be challenged but if it were any easier, big fleets wouldn’t be challenged at all. That said, we continue to add benefits and options to help smaller such as the Fleet Mark boost (available from Starbase vendors) that we just started offering for Fleet Credits. If it is any consolation, our internal development has a small active fleet (about 25 devs) on Holodeck (we’re purposely using anonymous non-dev accounts so that we can’t cheat) that is in the same situation. We have internal contests related to getting out team Starbase to various levels before Season 7 releases, so we have an active incentive to keep an eye on this and make sure we are feeling the same pain.
Q: (fedwarrior) For two factions at war, the feds and klinks don’t appear to engage each other much. Is there any plans to improve PVP and make it more a core part of the game?
Dstahl: Even though this question pops up every month, it is important to note that I’m taking the “build it and they will come” attitude towards the KDF. Despite the fact that a minority of players play KDF, there is still a dream that we can build up the two factions into two healthy adversaries that could warrant the “war” that is going on. This is why I’ve been actively pursuing all of the resources necessary to tackle the biggest issue first – which is to allow players to create a KDF faction character as their first character. As it is, you must create a FED, level it to 24, and then you can roll a KDF toon. Problem is, you’re already invested in your FED, so it makes it more challenging for you to want to play KDF. This means building a KDF tutorial and ensuring that you can play KDF from level 1 onward. Once this happens (which I hope it will in the future) it will warrant the type of PvP Battlegrounds that PvP fans (and PWE) are wishing was part of this game.
Q: (thegreendragoon1) There are many assets, maps and features that are in-game, but haven't made it into the Foundry. Will we be seeing any of these assets get added soon? Is there anything we, as the community, can do to aid the Devs in identifying what still needs to be added to the Foundry?
Dstahl: We do intend to continue adding more assets and maps into the Foundry. The current owner of “the list” is ZeroniusRex. As we get closer to an update where we plan to add more assets, she will start a thread in the Foundry forums and start pulling together everyone’s requests. Keep an eye out for that thread from her as it is hands down the best way to get something considered for the next update.
Q: (wazzagiow) on a side note, I think you need to do more official polls.
Dstahl: I totally agree! Here’s one that may have an impact on what we do next, so vote wisely!
Which of these features would you like to see most in 2013?
Click here to participate in the poll.
Thank you for all of the great questions. Sorry if your question did not get answered, but you can rest assured that I do read the questions and even questions that don’t get answered to get flagged for the internal team to address. Thank you for continuing to make Ask Cryptic a useful feature for the game team.
See you next month!
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