Cryptic has heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth. They are not blind
to your protest signs. They also know that the renewal period (aka
witching hour) is upon us. If you've been thinking about quitting Star
Trek Online because of (insert issue X, Y or Z here) then make sure to
peruse this week's state of the game before you hit that cancel button.
Instead of just posting the wall of text showing off the State of the
Game, I'm going to break this down a little bit and provide some of the
feedback that comes to mind for each major section. At the end, we'll
take questions, but only good questions. Dumb questions will be logged
under "next week's Captain's Blog Ideas."
THE X FACTOR
First, every newly launched title's first State of the Game must be
sprinkled with accolades, dashes of mea culpa and bring out the
cheerleader in all of us:
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
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hopelessly out of date.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
Next up, always go right for the softball. Everyone knows that customer
service is the thankless job where developers can never hire enough
people, and it will always be slammed at every turn. Reassure the
community that you really do have people in that department and that
they actually show up for work:
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
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
THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
Enough of the preamble, it's time to talk turkey. What are you going to
do for us Cryptic Studios? How are you going to entice people on the
fence to stick around? Just solve all of our problems and that will be
a start. It appears the top whiners on the forums will have to come up
with new material if Cryptic can follow through on the upcoming
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
- Death Penalty
- Difficulty Slider
- More open auto-fire
- Replayable missions
- Improving Memory Alpha
- Fixing those Commodity
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
accidentally breaking things we didn’t have time to test. I
like the Red Matter Capacitor or something…"
- Amen on the respecs. I've
painted myself into a corner already,
I sure hope they come up with a way for me to save this character. More
on this later, stay tuned.
- Death penalty you say? What
ever could they mean? More of a penalty, less of a penalty, different
penalties (PvP vs.
PvE)? The mind whirs with anticipation. The drama machine is revving
up, I can smell the burning oil.
- Difficulty Slider - awesome.
I've not seen that in any other MMOG. Expect much more discussion about
- Commodities/Crafting is
lackluster at this point, so I would expect major overhauls and
improvements to this aspect of the game through the next several
(dozen?) State of the Games.
FEAR OF THE DARK
Hardware interlude. The next section of the SotG explains what's
happened with the test server and when we can expect to see that little
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.
NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING
Endgame update on its way. The
of all the people who raced to Admiral has been heard and Cryptic is
preparing to launch "Raidisodes" which are essentially five player
instances to help provide some endgame options.
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Special
Task Force: Infected
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. style="margin-left: 40px; font-style: italic;">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,
style="font-style: italic;">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
It appears that Cryptic is
lining up a nice set of Raidisodes to keep us busy for the time being.
If only the first raid was named STF: Utopia (see where I'm going with
that?). At least they didn't go with Special Task Deployments (STDs).
Are five person raids enough to
keep the endgamers happy? This is the first MMOG that I can think of
where a raid was this size. With the current population still winding
their way through the leveling/ranking up process, I believe the
development team has some
time to flesh out the endgame, but not too much.
style="width: 630px; height: 439px;" alt=""
BRAVE NEW WORLD
1: Classy Marketable Name Coming Soon
first major update is receiving a final coat of paint, too.
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.
style="font-style: italic;">New Klingon ships? Oh, my
yes. And they look... style="font-style: italic;">awesome. style="font-style: italic;"> Re-specs are also
coming, of course. style="font-style: italic;">All style="font-style: italic;"> of Cryptic can't wait to
see that particular feature out the door. New PvP maps and Fleet
Actions are rather nice, too."
New ships for the "pretty" race
and thank gawd re-specs are coming our way. I'm saving my C-store bucks
for respecs. I've enjoyed the heck out of the Fleet Actions, so I'm
looking forward to some new maps. Even if Dalmarus is right about the
fact that Fleets should be able to go into Fleet Actions, but that is
another story ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/features/editorials/fleetactions">Putting
the 'Fleet' back into Fleet Actions).
SOMEWHERE IN TIME
Big finale time for the SotG, and Craig "Zinc" Zinievich doesn't
disappoint. He touches on things that are on their way after the first
big patch, things they want to do, and reassures the players that they
matter. We're not just numbers to them.
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
- Who are the Undine and what
- 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
- Which faction should be
playable next? Romulan? Cardassian? Pakled? Dominion? Horta? Okay, not
so much the Pakleds.
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.
people get that. Some people don't. We're here for those that do.
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.
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.
style="width: 630px; height: 354px;" alt=""
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.
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
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."
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."
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,
you guys post and say and do in-game and on the forums is the biggest
factor we consider when making our decisions.
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.
The finale is a good mix of
teasing about the future, qualifying the vision for the
game, and re-asserting that the players come first. Zinc is right, the
lion's share of us have no idea what it takes to make a game or make
changes to a game once it's live, but we do know when we are and aren't
style="font-style: italic;">"...we made a conscious
decision to not water
things down and go "mass market." I'm
still noodling on the ascertion that STO is not made for mass market. I
believe there are some hard core MMOG players that might disagree. The
more I play it though, the more
I uncover some layers of complexity or
avenues of diversity which really tantalize me to see what's in the
PIECE OF MIND
The Cryptic State of the Game
brings it all home, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy,yes just like a
tribble. If you want to read the unadulterated version, you can read
of the Game on the official
site. After doing your own noodling, share some of your thoughts in our
forum (link below).
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.