Priority One Podcast 208 | Captain on the Bridge!

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Greetings, Admirals! You’re listening to EPISODE 208 OF PRIORITY ONE PODCAST, the premier Star Trek Online podcast! This episode was recorded on Thursday, February 5th 2015 and made available for download on Monday, February 9th 2015 at PriorityOnePodcast.com!

We have another big show for you this week, Admirals! We’ll be jumping right in to STONews to continue our initial reviews of the Fifth Anniversary Content. Then, we have two interviews to share with you. First is the second part of our interview with Star Trek Online’s Lead Designer, Al “Captain Geko” Rivera. Followed by an interview with newly appointed Executive Producer, Stephen “Salami Inferno” Ricossa. So sit back, relax, and let’s look at what’s in store for Star Trek Online over the next several months! Finally, before we wrap the show, we’ll open hailing frequencies for your incoming messages!

Don’t miss our video demonstration of Command Space Powers with special guest, Systems Designer, Jeremy “BorticusCryptic” Randall!

TOPICS DISCUSSED

The winner of our Design a Priority One Podcast DoFF is: Tiberius@ Borg_Unimatrix01! Congratulations!!

Tiberius_2

This week’s Community Question:

  • For those of you fortunate enough to have gotten your hands on one of these ships – what are your thoughts? Do you have a loadout that seems to be working well & what’s your DPS output looking like if you’re parsing?

Let us know YOUR thoughts by commenting below!

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21 Comments ON " Priority One Podcast 208 | Captain on the Bridge! "
  • alt_example

    Setti Tym February 9, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Thanks again for the podcast, good job everyone.
    In regards to the grind in STO, I want to bring up a few points:
    1. One of the biggest issues is that many of the newer systems are radically different than before. There is obviously a big adaption period as the game hasn’t changed this much in a long time.
    2. While, yes, grinding in MMOs is standard or “normal”, this is does not mean it is necessarily a good thing–in STO or any other game for that matter.
    3. Take a look at a game like WoW. I am not a big WoW player, mind you, but take a look at how much content they have. It’s a lot. More than STO. (It’s been out longer, granted, but still…) There are also many different types of content to play, more varied types of content so you don’t necessarily have to repeat the same thing over and over. I feel like in STO, repetition becomes necessary in short order. If you are doing different things (even if they are mostly similar) it makes gameplay feel less grindy (even if it isn’t.) Content in STO, especially lately, is really high quality, but there is not a lot of it, at least compared to many other MMOs. Probably not enough to support the current XP curves they’ve implemented, at least in my opinion. Having alts also increases the repetition.
    4. It’s not just about experience grind. There is the experience/specialization grind. But also reputation grind. Crafting grind. Item update grind. Time-gated special event grinds. It all snowballs. As the word suggests, it can grind a player down and severely decrease motivation to play as enjoyment leeches away.
    Above all, I desperately want to take a break from the game for a while. That way my interest and enjoyment with the game can recharge. But they intentionally design things to try to have people login at least once a day, forever. I play this game a lot, but I will end up hating this game if I can’t pull back from it for a while.
    I love this game in many ways. I am a huge Trek nerd. The art, UI, stories, and voice acting are all pretty damn good. Many of the mechanical and system choices are problematic, at least in my opinion, however, especially since the release of DR. And the bugs, the persistent recurring bugs. I feel bad for the QA guys. There’s what, a whole five of them? I am sure they bust their butts, but they can’t seem to keep up.
    Many of the new choices reflect much more blatant attempts at monetization. Now, I know it is a “free to play” game and they need to make money somehow, but it is getting pretty hardcore in your face. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on this game. I am a LTS. I bought the Delta Pack. And I feel like the game is constantly telling me “No, it’s not enough. You should spend more. More. Now.” The blatant monetization attempts along with the transparent time-gated content designed to keep people playing constantly make me feel manipulated and used. Like I am being taken advantage of through my own passion for the Star Trek franchise. And I don’t want to feel like that, especially because despite all of the problems, part of me still definitely loves this game.

  • alt_example

    wardcalis February 9, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    hey guys great show, I love it when you do long shows like this one. I really want to weigh in on the grind part.

    The Spec grind is huge and feels like it. The reason behind this is that without at least 1 full primary and secondary tree, there is a void, a vacuum that lacks power. I think a great compromise is that once you hit level 60 and have the 1st 10 points, you gain triple xp for the next 80 points until you have 90 points. that allows 1 full primary and 1 full secondary tree, then it will feel like much less of a grind as you fill out the other trees.

    By lacking a full tree that can be active you are lacking a level of power. and when it takes 2-6 hours for the average person to gain a single spec point it can be very frustrating to try and be at that level and face that content. It’s feels like a cat chasing a laser, it’s always just out of reach. I’m sure many have this kind of feeling.

  • alt_example

    The_Grand_Nagus February 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Two very good interviews; I enjoyed them both. It sounds like there are a lot of great updates in the works to look forward to.

  • alt_example

    agoogleuser February 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Hey, can you guys ask:

    Why make 3 maps, just make one HUGE map… like a true galaxy?

    Although I can see making the Delta Quadrant a sepret map, or something special.

  • alt_example

    AberrantParticles February 10, 2015 at 9:17 am - Reply

    In response to Episode 208 1:15:40 talking about grinding and setting goals.
    First let me say I am not an STO or Dev hater. I am in fact a Preorder lifetime subscriber, who has bought both the Legacy and Delta packs. I do in fact love the game, and I spend about 30+ hours a week playing. I’m looking forward to the new features coming down the pipe for us in 2015 and I’m excited about the direction the story is taking.
    After hearing Mr. Ricossa’s statement I have to say this sounds like an excellent philosophy; the only problem is that the developer’s are pigeon holing players into a single type. And worse still they are basing their decisions about gains off of a minority of players. This is resulting in an imbalance of time vs. reward from game play.
    I believe there are three types of players and generally they can be broken down into the following; casuals (players playing 1 – 3 hours at a time a few times a week,) vs. moderates (players playing 4 – 6 hours every few days a week or 1-3 hours every day), and hardcore (playing every day for 4 – 8 hours). The system as it stands is rigorous for hardcore players, as for moderate and casuals it seems like a grind.
    One solution that has been introduced in other MMO is bonus xp based on play time. For example Everquest 2 had a system in place that gave players who hadn’t logged on a bonus pool to their xp, this bonus was based on the length they had been away from game. Thus the bonus allowed casuals (based on the above definitions of player types) the ability to see a large return for their limited play time, but it also gave hardcore’s a small bonus for the hours they weren’t playing. In many respects this did level the playing field for xp rewards between the different styles.
    Now I’m not saying this is something that STO should adopt, what I am saying is that other MMO’s have recognized that there is a difference between players and the time they have to play. Hardcore players will always advance faster than their peers because they are dedicating more of their time to playing the game. But casual and moderate players should not be penalized for this simple fact. This doesn’t mean that hardcore players love the game more than casual or moderate players, it only means they spend more of their time playing.
    The developer’s recognized the discrepancy between player types a while back as well, and took actions to put it in check. As an example one only has to look at the reputation system. What made the reputations worthwhile is that, no matter what your play style, players could advance at an even pace with each other. 40 days to complete a reputation for everyone on their first character, 20 days for each additional character.
    While I agree with Mr. Ricossa’s assessment that STO is not a grind like you would normally find in other MMO’s that agreement ends at rank 50. My perception of game play is currently much like this. I liken the leveling pace to running a steady race only to be faced by a 45% incline at the end. Further it seems that this incline is meant to slow down the hardcore players, but has an all but halting effect on casuals. This isn’t how it should be. Again there will always be hardcore players in any MMO, it’s just a fact of life for any game.
    That perception is based on what I can see with causal players that are in my fleet or on my friends list. And also what I have seen and experienced with my daughter when she plays on her free account. Each of these players has a limited amount of time, and while I am slugging out spec points at a steady pace, they are not. Many of these players will only see one spec point in a week. And since spec points are measured on the same scale as ranks, it would be the same as getting one rank in a week. That by definition is a grind. As it stands it would take them over a year and a half to get 90 spec points at that pace. Let’s compare that to ranking up. I’ve seen casual players get to level 50 in about a month of play. I have yet to see a casual get to level 60 in a week of play. In fact from what I have seen it is taking nearly a month for casuals to get to 60. Again that is the definition of grinding.
    A suggestion on how to fix this might be to further increase overall xp rewards. While I understand the need for balance, in this regard preventing hardcore’s from advancing is actually counterproductive to the overall game flow. Since hardcore players don’t represent the majority of players they should not be the target of game balancing decisions. Instead the developer’s should be looking at and measuring flow by casuals and moderates to determine the best pace of the game. This doesn’t mean increase the dilithium flow or allow more to be processed. It just means open up the XP floodgates and let everyone have the joy of seeing their characters progress in a satisfying way.
    My fleet used to engage in elite STF content almost constantly. It wasn’t done for the marks or the dilithium, but done because we used STF’s to gauge our overall builds and develop new ones. It was fun and we had a blast even if once in a while we might fail. Some of our favorite moments in STO come from poor outcomes during Hive Space, and we still laugh about them today. Now instead of doing STF’s for fun we do them mostly because it is a necessity. A point I think the developers should keep in mind. Challenges are fun, but when you make them a “have to” they lose their enjoyment value.
    Geko made a statement on twitter about lumps in the game mechanics and how you handle them. While he made a good argument he missed the point. The lump wasn’t an exploit; it was in the xp management of the game. Even he admitted that in any system there are going to be those that take advantage of the “loopholes”. I’m not saying the using of exploits is acceptable. But the reaction of the Developer’s in effect punished the entire player base because of the actions of a few. This was unwarranted. This was a reactionary fix to a problem rather than a calculated response to fix the real issue. The issue being that XP post 50 is sub-par when compared to the rest of the game.
    This effect isn’t just found in the mechanics of xp exclusively. As pointed out in the POD cast other areas, such as hanger pets, have felt the gravity well of developer over balancing. Another is the increase in hulls to elites. These were again reactionary changes. They were changes that weren’t compared well to the relative balance of the game.
    In no way am I saying put the game on easy mode, what I am saying is more effective evaluation needs to be given to these changes. I’m also inclined to believe that the metrics that the dev’s are using for making these decisions are skewed, or old enough to be inaccurate, and should be evaluated again under new concepts. The game has grown, the players have grown, and the metrics should grow as well. This isn’t the same game that we started with 5 years ago. It is a much better one. Granted it has a ton of bugs, balancing isn’t quite right, pvp is still not what it could be, but overall the game is doing well.

    Those are just my two cents.

  • alt_example

    HippieJohn February 10, 2015 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    It was a good couple of interviews for what was covered.
    I am extremely disappointed in the Priority One team, however, for not bringing up in any specific way the incredibly painful slow experience grind.

    It’s a major sticking point for a lot of players, and yet you for some reason never address it.

    Otherwise, good interviews.

    Of note, this episode’s Skit at the beginning was probably the most boring of the skits you’ve done so far. Normally, I like them, but this time i couldn’t wait for it to end so we could get to the show.

    • alt_example

      Elijah February 10, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Hi HippyJohn! Actually — we did address the grind with Stephen Ricossa. The fact of the matter is that there is no grind in Star Trek Online. I don’t have to kill 100 wild-boar to earn EC. I don’t have to do a dungeon crawl and pray to the almighty MMO gods that I get the drop I want. We do not subscribe to the idea that STO is a grind fest — neither do the silent majority of players that we play with nightly and chat with in the P1 Chat or in TeamSpeak.

      Also, although, I appreciate your feedback regarding the Preludes, I expect more constructive criticism from you. To just insult the work of a volunteer project by calling it boring and expressing how you “couldn’t wait for it to end” is not how I would expect a Foundry author to critique a piece of creative work.

      • alt_example

        AberrantParticles February 10, 2015 at 10:49 pm - Reply

        Hey Elijah! It was a good POD cast.

        I have to say though that you have a limited definition of what a grind is. Yes a grind can be quest related “kill 100 boars to earn x reward”. It can also consist of grinding out materials for crafting levels or just to sell for money. But the one you forgot, which is the grind most people refer to when saying the word grind, is for XP. And post rank 50 STO is just that, a constant grind for little rewarded XP. This is an issue that many players have talked about.

        Keep up the good work.

        • alt_example

          Elijah February 10, 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

          I can recognize a “grind” when I see one. If you recall, when the Starship Mastery System was first introduced, I was quite vocal about the length of time it took for a player to complete the tiers. Many-an-episodes were spent discussing it. The problem with the Specialization Tree is that it’s function seem to be more “supplemental” than an absolute necessity (like the Mastery). The Spec Skills are nice to have — but, I could probably keep playing w/o them and not notice they were there (or not there). Whereas the Mastery was a more “urgent” necessity (hit points, passives, etc). I don’t think the Specialization Tree is supposed to play like the Starship Mastery in that way. Then again — it takes so long to earn a point that I forget it’s even there — and perhaps that is also an indication that there is a problem with the system… Hrm… perhaps a discussion is in order… 😉

          • alt_example

            AberrantParticles February 11, 2015 at 8:13 am -

            Can can agree with your view here about the necessity of ship mastery. And lets not forget the necessity of the upgrade system as well.

            My perception of specializations was much the same as yours before Delta Rising came out. After a few days of Delta Rising and experiencing the elite play mode, it become painfully clear to me that much of the Specialization perks were a necessity to keep up with the curve.

            Yes, if you would, please address this in your podcast. I’m sure the dev’s have their reasons for this, but as I said in my first posting above, it seems they intended to curb the hardcore players without realizing that it would more effect casual and moderate players.

            I’ll be honest, I’m a hardcore player. My daughter is a casual player. I see everyday the huge difference these spec points make once you can earn them.

            Thanks for the responses, and again keep up the good work. I like hearing the Dev’s points of view even if I don’t agree with them 60% of the time.

  • alt_example

    Jayce February 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Hey HippieJohn, it might not have been obvious but the Q&A with Geko was the remainder of the same interview that we’ve been running in parts for a couple weeks. We talked at some length with him about rewards including XP in I believe the first part, which was sparked by the conversation about marks “nerfs” in space queues. He mentioned adding XP for ground adventure zones and some other changes coming though as always make of it what you will. Al interviews are usually quite long so have to get broken up, and we did part of this one in a new format as part of STONews in the previous episodes.

    Thanks as always!
    Jayce

  • alt_example

    HippieJohn February 10, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    What i am referencing (in regards to the xp “grind”, is simply the fact that past level 50 the amount of experience needed to level becomes astronomical. This has the effect of making a casual player see these amazing new spec powers , etc. That are simply so far away as to be, in any real sense, as to be unobtainable. Additionally they lock the story content behind these levels, which again places things that one might want to play behind a seemingly unscaleable wall of “grinding” enough xp to even play the missions.

    150K+ per level?
    It’s ridiculous and no one out there is calling them on this.

    So far as the skit at the beginning. Sorry I wasn’t more constructive in what I said about it. Just compared to the skits you guys have done thus far, this one fell flat. There was no actual conflict, merely something presented as an implied conflict with command styles. Also, the lack of any other voices besides the two in the scene, really stood out to me. And saying it was a boring piece of the continuing story isn’t as bad as you make it sound. My fav trek shows had boring parts I couldn’t wait to end.

    Still Enjoyed the show. Don’t mistake that. And thanks Jayce for pointing me back to the earlier part of the interview, I will relisten to hear what I apparently missed.

    • alt_example

      Elijah February 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      Ah, Ok… I see what you’re referring to. Yes, that “grind” for things like Spec Points is a bit slow. But, we did address things like the mission-gate with Al Rivera when we had him on shortly after the release of DR. And – like Jayce pointed out – we talked more about rewards this interview as well. I see your point about the spec points, and thank you for sharing those numbers. I think that’s an excellent discussion to have in a follow-up interview regarding things like Spec Points earnings. I’ve barely finished one tree — let alone start a new second one…. and I primarily play on only ONE toon! I can only imagine Alts — which reminds me… We were also teased about Alt love with Trendy. Ultimately, we do ask these questions.

      I appreciate the additional feedback about the Prelude. Like most series — a story has to be told… Not everything can be phasers and s’plosions! I assure you, the story will continue… you just gotta stay tuned! 🙂

      • alt_example

        wardcalis February 12, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

        Grinding for spec points is a problem. It is bad and it sucks and it is NECESSARY. For example. You need it to train boffs and for abilities and for ship traits. Spec point should not be a time gate. I’d rather not have a dill reward for after I’m done and instead gain spec points 5x faster. No matter what the devs intended spec points are not something that can be gain leisurely. It is mandatory to have at least 1 full Primary tree and 1 full secondary tree. then you should have the option of gaining the other trees leisurely. But most wont want to wait. They need to increase spec gain substantially and not use it as a time gate

    • alt_example

      AberrantParticles February 10, 2015 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      I agree 100% with your assessment of post rank 50 XP HippieJohn. There are enough complaints about it out there for casual and hardcore players that the developers should really be taking the complaint seriously at least. Instead it seems they just blow it off as just the grumbling of an unsatisfied few.

  • alt_example

    HippieJohn February 10, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    “We do not subscribe to the idea that STO is a grind fest…”

    Neither do I, except in the area of experience past level 50 being absolutely ridiculously slow compared to the amounts of xp needed to achieve the new powers, or play the new level gated content.

    A few weeks ago, you asked how many spec points people have at this point.

    almost 5 months after DR launch and I have (on my most played toon) a grand total of 12.

    While people who grind every damn day have like 60+ .

    This is becoming no longer a game for a casual player to enjoy. And that … is a problem.

    • alt_example

      seannewboy February 17, 2015 at 4:50 am - Reply

      like he says.

  • alt_example

    the LootCritter February 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Interesting interview, i only caught the tail end of the live recording, and listened to the polished version.

    BTW – The outtakes are worth a listen 😉

    Gecko’s humorous take on the loadout issue was probably a miscalculation on his part as it only fanned the flames on the forums. Maybe it’s time for Gecko to take a break from giving interviews, or at least stick to a prepared set of responses.

    He’s doing more harm than good.

    It would have been better for the community in general if you had pressed the issue with him.

    I’m in agreement with many who have posted here that STO is no longer friendly to the casual gamer. R&D has no benefit for the new leveling player; it’s only that he can now purchase his way to improved gear (more on that later in our blog). And post 50 has become a miserable grind. I recently convince 4 fleet mates to return for the anniversary, all of whom have now given up on the game for good. ‘Too expensive’ ‘Too grindy’ ‘loadouts are busted’ where the common threads in those conversations.

    But as always, I’m hopeful for the future. SalamiInferno is earning my respect almost daily with his level of concise communication. Gecko may want to take a step back and re-examine how to communicate with his customers.

    • alt_example

      seannewboy February 17, 2015 at 4:56 am - Reply

      Al definitely has no idea how some of his comments sound, he has lost the perspective of the players, he now talks from a privaledged point of view. He doesnt understand stipends or many of the problems of non lts players. I personally would like all devs to take at least 1 month playing the game as a free player (no dev tricks, Smirk!).

  • alt_example

    Eklinaar February 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with what Al said about the Klingon faction and I’ve been saying for years that the easiest way to solve the player distribution problem is to remove the teaming restrictions. Allow any player to team with any other player for any content regardless of faction. Allow Klingons to join Starfleet fleets and allow Federation characters to join Klingon fleets. The factions can still have their own low level story content (but they can bring other factions with them) and ships can still be restricted, but remove all the other barriers. Merge all queues. This would eliminate the problems of having a low population faction.

    I also agree that the game is too grindy now. I used to be a hardcore MMO player, mostly in LotRO, and a little bit at the launch of STO, and I have since become a more casual-to-moderate player. I think any of the systems in STO by themselves are fine, mostly, though crafting XP should be easier to get and things like the free winter ship and free anniversary ship should require only 10 runs instead of 20 or 25 runs. The real problem is all of these different systems being piled into the game, each with their own time investment requirements and resource sinks, while the ability to gain resources has not increased at all. More and more dilithium sinks keep being added, but dilithium is still earned at the same rate it always has been. In LotRO, when a new instance cluster was added, the devs made the rewards for the previous instance cluster cheaper, so it was easier to get. STO devs should consider doing the same thing. Every time a new dilithium sink is added, reduce the costs of previous dilithium sinks.

    Lastly, in response to the criticism Priority One is receiving over not being critical enough with the devs, I disagree. The more vocal parts of the STO player community have become hostile and negative, and quite frankly, it’s not fun to play with most groups and it’s not fun to chat in Zone chat because everyone’s complaining all the time. This persistent negativity drives away a lot of players and it hinders with communication with the devs. Priority One should be applauded for continuing to keep their love of the game and love of Star Trek first and foremost in its podcasts, and the STO player community should seek to emulate them. This is why the devs keep coming back to Priority One, because they are appreciative and enthusiastic and positive, and this also enables the Priority One team to voice their criticisms of the game in a much more constructive environment. Kudos to you, Priority One, for creating the most enjoyable STO community and for continuing to facilitate meaningful and constructive conversation with the devs.

  • alt_example

    seannewboy February 17, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Wonderful show everyone, i especially loved the immersive sounds, best immersive sounds in show business.
    P.S. more in sto forums.


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