Star Trek Online State of the Game 2/25/10

Posted by Jason Triplett Friday, February 26, 2010

In the first of two big STO stories today, we bring you the newest "state of the game" address from the devs. It simply must be read, as it should address any and all concerns with the immediate future of the game.

Pay close attention to all the acknowledgments of the community's concerns at large, and what they intend to do about it. It may be lip service at this point to counter-act all the forum trolling this game recieves. However, I believe CBS/Paramount will keep these guys on task no matter what.


Welcome, you noble purveyors of Federation policy and fierce warlords of the Empire! Welcome one and all!

Wait now... Let's just take a moment to de-cloak, disarm and drop our shields, shall we? This State of the Game is of interest to you all.

So very, very much has happened over the last few weeks! It feels like every single time I began to write a new State of the Game, we'd have to quickly douse live shard fires, juggle major play tests and push critical late night patches. By the time the dousing, juggling and pushing was done, the outline of my State of the Game would be hopelessly out of date.

Given how tirelessly we've been working, if some ethereal, omnipotent resident from the Denorios belt hadn't stepped in and considerately put the breaks on space-time with a bit of temporal wizardry, I might have found myself eternally rewriting this single State of the Game.

Thanks to you, oh great wormhole-y one!

We. Are. Live. And so, supporting you -- yes, you, specifically -- is an effort that consumes us night and day.

Ask any bedraggled MMO developer about launch and they will inevitably assure you that it never, ever gets any easier. Crunch all you like, friend, it only gets harder after the game actually ships. STO is certainly no exception. Supporting a user base as large as ours requires dedication -- no, devotion! Our crew is, thankfully, more than up to the task. We are pushing the workplace warp core to maximum in an effort to better address any and every bug and issue that comes up in-game.

Our objective: Implement as many of the stability and gameplay adjustments you asked for as soon as humanoidly possible (as safe practices allow, of course). To this end, Community has put more effort into moderating the boards and CS has recently staffed up in order to get through your tickets quicker. The idea being, "we can hardly fix what we can't see."

We've also thrown a metric ton of hardware and man hours at getting the server capacity up. Our Network Operations crew has been performing admirably, to say the least. I won't begin to count the times I've heard, "Sorry, Captain! I'm giving it all she's got," come out of their work area, only to be quickly followed by a confident, Scotty-like, "It's done." Beautiful. Almost makes me want to demand them to, "fly her apart, then!" I might just because I know those boys and girls will hold it together in the end, whatever I say.

Bottom line: When -- if -- you see Queues, they should be much shorter and stability will be much better.

Game Adjustments:
Now that the game is out and in your loving hands, we're taking long, hard looks at everything each and every one of you is interested in seeing changed. Cruiser turn rates? Death penalties? More open auto-fire? All those topics and more are being scrutinized by the all-seeing eye of... um, us!

Some of the few things on the way:


Death Penalty

Difficulty Slider

More open auto-fire

Replayable missions

Improving Memory Alpha

Fixing those Commodity missions

And there are a bunch more. We’ve heard you and are working on all these issues, but we want to make sure that they come out clean and finished. We hate rushing out features – it inevitably leads to us accidentally breaking things we didn’t have time to test. I dunno – like the Red Matter Capacitor or something…

Tribble Coming

In order to better accommodate our players during the Head Start weekend, we merged the physical machines dedicated to our Public Test Shard (Tribble) into the live Shard (Holodeck). It has since been difficult to find viable hardware to test new patches on before pushing them out to you.

Well, we've got more hardware now and Tribble will be up pretty soon. Problem solved.

Once Tribble’s up and running (insert whatever tribble joke you’d like to here) – we’ll be able to start releasing those core game adjustments to you guys for deeper testing and feedback.

Special Task Force: Infected

We're in the final stages of testing the first STF (the five-man raids we internally referred to as "Raidisodes"). STF: Infected is just about ready to release.

You know, I might actually record one of our internal play sessions. The excited cries for more shielding and healing get the blood pumping. Although, once our testers reach the end room and the action really heats up... Well, it's not exactly "family friendly" in there. Definitely going to be an exciting, thrilling mission for our players, though.

After Infected, we'll roll out more STFs. "The Cure", "The Khitomer Accord" and "Into the Hive" are all coming along nicely. We look forward to regularly releasing these and seeing what everyone thinks.

Update 1: Classy Marketable Name Coming Soon

The first major update is receiving a final coat of paint, too.

There's quite a lot of genuinely cool stuff in Update 1: Classy Marketable Name Coming Soon. Expect to see it pushed to the newly revived Tribble Public Test Shard over the next couple weeks.

New Klingon ships? Oh, my yes. And they look...awesome. Re-specs are also coming, of course. All of Cryptic can't wait to see that particular feature out the door. New PvP maps and Fleet Actions are rather nice, too.

Beyond Update 1?

Right now, we're planning it. We haven't set the future of STO's content into stone because so much of it will be determined by you, but we're laying out what we'd like to focus on for the next 6 to 12 months.

Who are the Undine and what drives them?

How can we better exploit the Genesis System to create even more compelling content?

Where can we boldly go next? Where shall we take exploratory missions, as there's so much potential there?

Which faction should be playable next? Romulan? Cardassian? Pakled? Dominion? Horta? Okay, not so much the Pakleds.

And that’s not even the start of it! Ship interiors, more bridges, crew quarters, First Officers, Fleet advancement... You have subscribed to a service that delivers a universe unending, and we shall see that universe populated with compelling content or, by the Prophets, we will die trying.

Some people get that. Some people don't. We're here for those that do.

Throughout development, we guessed Star Trek Online might be polarizing. Some people don't get it and some people simply don't like it... But, others fall in love with their ships and captains and bridge officers. Those are the ones who can't live without beaming down to strange, new planets and participating in lively stories.

We guessed this and still we made a conscious decision to not water things down and go "mass market". Frankly, I think that's perfectly OK. Because, no matter what, there will be one single thing, now and forever, that drives everything we do: you.

We have a very healthy -- and healthily testy -- core community that gets it. And there's nothing we look forward to more than working together to make STO better.

Sad part is, you may not even know it. Far as I can tell, there're no hidden cameras and mics scattered about Cryptic's office. So, how would you know that we refer to our community almost as if it were an absent developer?

"Well, The Users think that we need to do more non-combat."

"Guys, I'm sorry to interrupt, but The Players really want ground auto-attack back. Drop what we're doing."

"We already know what you think about a death penalty, Craig – but The Community really thinks it's a good idea and their opinion is more valid than yours because they probably don't own goats."

It’s a little unnerving -- sometimes feels like we work with a giant multi-headed feedback monster that simultaneously loves and hates us. It whips even as it hugs! It rages even as it cries! And it fumes even when it's happy. It's unnerving, yes, but pretty freakin' rad, too.

What you guys post and say and do in-game and on the forums is the biggest factor we consider when making our decisions.

I am sorry if it ever appears that we're not listening to you or trying to make the game better. Because that is pretty much all we ever do.


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