Priority One’s KDF Q&A with The Devs
Part I. Introducing the Event
This Q&A session requires a brief introduction. Anyone who follows the KDF forums knows that, over the last few months, a number of recurring hot-button issues have been under discussion there. These conversations concern things like mission content (or the lack thereof), ships, faction-specific consoles (especially the plasmonic leech), uniform options, game philosophy, etc. The time has come for a direct conversation with the game developers. Thankfully, the Cryptic development team has agreed to just such a conversation.
As the main editor on this project, I really hoped that this Q&A would allow for focused, civilized, but nonetheless honest discussion about the many problems that plague the KDF. It is an understatement to say that many KDF players are frustrated about the present state of the faction. Many feel that they have been led along the way of hope by developers past and present only to be disappointed and overlooked. As I read through the answers below, I am fairly certain that they will provoke a wide range of responses: Many will find the devs’ responses illuminating and perhaps even encouraging. Some will be delighted to find that the devs are taking their proposals into consideration. And yet, I am also convinced that the responses to our questions will do very little to extinguish the fires of frustration in KDF members. Many of the answers refer to vague timelines, hopes, aspirations, and good intentions, with very few concrete answers. And yet, even in spite of some disappointing responses, I feel that this Q&A represents a step forward in KDF-Cryptic relations. But it is probably only just that: a step.
I want to extend a special thanks to those who submitted questions. We received a whole load of them. Unfortunately, not all questions could be included here due to (understandable) limitations on the devs’ time. You will notice that I tried to cram questions together into longer paragraphs in order to maximize the number of questions we could pose. Thankfully, the devs were willing to answer even these shrewdly-wrought composite questions. For this gesture of flexibility I am grateful. Some of your questions were excluded because they overlapped with questions that were answered in the recent September Ask Cryptic 2012. For your convenience, we have included in Part II KDF specific questions from September’s Q&A in Part II of this posting.
A few people need to be thanked for helping to make this event successful: the development team at Cryptic (esp. Dan Stahl), for providing prompt responses to our list of queries, some of which were lengthy; the fine folks at Priority One, who helped out at various points with numerous aspects of the project; the Gates of Stovokor team for both submitting questions and for helping me at key moments during the editorial process; and of course, the KDF players who submitted their questions. Without your support and passion for the faction, none of this would have been possible.
Fellow warriors, even though this Q&A is a small step forward, it is still a step forward. We have succeeded in bringing some of our concerns to Cryptic’s front door step. But we have a long way to go. Do not sheath your blade! Wars are rarely ever won in the course of a single battle. And persistence and doggedness are just as important as moments of incredible heroism and bravery. Qapla’, KDF! I raise now a glass of 2309 bloodwine (Martok’s favorite!) to factional uniqueness, to a complete storyline, and to victory!
Part II. KDF-Relevant Questions from September’s Ask Cryptic 2012
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: (lowestlvl) Wells Class… when? New KDF ships… when?
Dstahl: Currently both are scheduled for the second half of this month (September).
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: (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.
Part III. The Main Event: New Featured KDF Developer Questions
Q: p2wsucks: There was mention of Diplomacy being a key point of future development. Is there going to be a well-developed KDF version of this featuring various perspectives to represent the various Species point of view in the KDF (i.e., not just Klingon) on this?
dStahl: Diplomacy was introduced prior to the Duty Officer System and was previously added as a way to include more non-combat gameplay through dialog puzzles. Since then, we have introduced the Duty Officer System, which takes the concepts of non-combat gameplay in lieu of assignments. The KDF takes full advantage of this system with equal assignments tied to Marauding instead of Diplomacy. As we expand the Duty Officer System in the future, we will include Marauding as a component that is KDF specific.
Q: starkofthenorth: When will the full scale invasion of the Romulan Empire begin?
STO Dev Team: As you may have seen from the most recent Ask Cryptic and Raptr Q&A session, we’ve been dropping a few hints about how the Romulan story will progress in Season 7 and beyond. While we’re not ready to reveal all our plans yet, we can say that the Klingon Empire will be involved and interested in the developments of the Romulan Empire.
Q: Combined Question (G’hargh, diogene0): Many are upset over the factional consoles being thrown around in lock boxes. There is a concern that this introduces imbalance and removes faction-specific features that could otherwise draw new players. Do you have plans to leave some things exclusive to factions or is STO going to end up eventually as one big free-for-all? How will you maintain the KDF feel of individuality? How to you intend to give a unique gameplay experience to players if you give progressively all the KDF features to the Federation?
STO Dev Team: In regards to cross-faction consoles, it is important to note that these have limited availability to the opposite faction because they are included in Lock Boxes as one of the more rare prizes. As we consider future Lock Box offerings, we will be looking at which consoles will be available through these means. However, our current intention is that Tier 5 consoles will remain faction specific — these are the consoles we feel draw players to other factions.
The KDF experience in STO is very unique, and has come a long way since the game launched over two and a half years ago. The best thing is that we will continue developing the KDF as its own faction. As mentioned in previous interviews, our goal is to someday bring the KDF faction in line with the Federation in terms of being able to start a KDF character from the beginning (level 1). While that is not happening during Season 7, and our plans are not definite yet, we will be looking at how we can accomplish this in future Seasons and updates. We can’t provide a specific timeframe but please know that this is a major goal of both Cryptic and PWE.
Q: Combined Question (majesticmsfc and Soriedem): For many of us, the KDF is the only thing keeping us in the game, putting money into the game, yet the lack of development and c-store releases is a missed opportunity for Cryptic and PWE to capitalize on and make money—not to mention to please your customers, who are screaming for things to buy and bring something new to their beloved faction. Will there be a shift here to capitalize on this untapped market, bring in some new items like costumes, bundles and ships? If not why not? Similarly, does Cryptic / PWE even intend to make the KDF an equal faction to the Federation? Are they willing to expend the resources to get it there? If not, how far are they willing to take it?
dStahl: Ever since launch, when KDF was released as a PvP only faction, we have been committed to the player request to make the KDF faction a full PvE experience. Ever since then we’ve been slowly building new zones, new ships, and new mission that both factions can play in order to give the KDF player something other than PvP. Nowhere is this more apparent than our most recent update where the KDF has their own unique Starbase exterior and interior. If the question is “why don’t we sell more KDF ships?” the first answer is, we have made a lot of KDF ships and not many of them have sold. We continue to make them and release them regularly. There needs to be more KDF players in order for the ship releases to be as hectic as on the Fed side. This is why we’re committed to continuing to build the KDF faction so that someday they can start at level 1 and hopefully this will bring in more players to this faction.
Q: Sargon the Great: The trailer shown at the Las Vegas dev event is nothing less than stunning and inspiring . . . if one is a Federation player. As I watched, I noticed that, if I knew nothing about the game and had only seen this video, I would have absolutely no idea that a person could even play a Klingon character. Near the end of the video, the narrator addresses the implied audience with these words: “You are a Starfleet officer.” Klingons appear twice in the video, once in a conference room on DS9 (the figure is dressed like Worf in the First City) and once in space combat against a Federation ship. What this suggests is that in STO Klingons are meant to be background characters (the DS9 figure) or else just another bull’s eye for Federation phasers. We sometimes hear devs and players say that there is simply less interest in KDF among players. But when Cryptic doesn’t advertise—or even acknowledge—the KDF’s existence in a promotional video for the game, is this really any surprise? Key Question: Why, in the main video meant to catch people up in the narrative of the game is the KDF completely eclipsed by the Federation faction and not even mentioned as a playable faction? Caveat: The European video is much friendlier to KDF—a good improvement!
dStahl: While your observation is valid, the reason why we targeted Federation players when marketing the game to new players is because once we get them to download, then the only option they have as a new player is to play a Federation captain, so even if there were some potential players out there that were drawn in by a KDF themed video, it wouldn’t seem fair if they couldn’t create a KDF character from the start. Once we change this in the future, then we can consider whether a KDF video would draw in more players.
Q: Combined Question (Trek 21, sechserpackung, and kilemorgan): What’s the status on making more KDF ship designs, be they Klingon or non-Klingon? In addition, if we were to get new ships would it be possible to give a nod and helping hand to KDF sci captains considering that they are forced to use BOP?s most of the time. (E.g. if you were to make a c-store Neg Var like the Regent Class could we get a Lt. Commander Universal or if it is tac/sci have the same tac/sci lieutenant slot be universal? [LTC Tac/LT Sci/LT Universal]). The empire needs a true science vessel to call its own.
STO Dev Team: We’ll be introducing more KDF ships in the future – watch out for Dev Blogs on the topic, including one as early as next week (the week of the 24th). Also, feel free to leave your feedback in the KDF Shipyards forum as we are watching for feedback and player suggestions.
Q: Combined Question (Majesticmsfc and jnohd): Why were no KDF ships added as fleet ships? For instance, why were the Varanus, Kar’Fi and B’rel Retrofit (3 KDF ships that could qualify for a fleet ship and give KDF a discount), not included? Can they be added to give KDF players the discount option?
STO Dev Team: When we were preparing to launch Season 6, we took a look at which ships to make available in the Fleet Store — for the KDF, we decided on the 16 that are listed in this blog (http://sto.perfectworld.com/news/?p=621601). While not everyone’s favorite ship might have made the initial list, we plan to add more in future Seasons and updates.
Fleet ships typically cost 4 Fleet Ship Modules. However, if you already own the Tier 5 C-Store* Version of a Fleet Ship, you will get a 75% Fleet Ship Module discount to purchase the Fleet version. When we add more KDF ships to the Fleet Store, if they fall into this criterion, they too will be offered that discount.
*C-Store version means that it was actually purchased as the account-wide unlock, and not earned via Emblems or Ship Tokens received via a rank-up
Q: Walkincrow: Do you believe the game can continue to move forward by only releasing cross factional, endgame-PvE-grind style missions? So, maybe I should ask will we see more end game missions which are faction exclusive? The current approach offers no difference in end game play style between the two factions, which seems like less of an incentive to play another faction. So, maybe I should ask whether will we see more end game missions which are faction exclusive?
STO Dev Team: The game will be moving forward with all types of content being introduced. Some of this will be story-driven, while others will be events, Fleet Actions, STFs, etc. While we are discussing adding more KDF-only missions in the future, there are no definite plans as of yet. But, if we were to, the soonest we’d be able to do so is in Season 8.
At max-level, we’ve found that players want to team with their friends, no matter what faction they are currently playing. This is why we opened up cross-faction teaming for some of the events, such as STFs. With Season 6, we did introduce some faction-specific events, like No Win Scenario and Colony Invasion, but we are still considering if we’ll see faction exclusive max-level content.
Q: G’hargh/Roach: One particular player had an excellent idea for a new KDF tutorial where the new player kills his captain for being an Undine and takes the ship. This is how the player (at a low rank) becomes Captain. Is there any chance this idea could be made into a tutorial?
STO Dev Team: This is a pretty interesting idea! We’ll forward it along to the content and design team to consider. This would be a good place to note that we would like to revamp both tutorials soon™.
Q: Combined Question (Kilemorgan and Soriedem): When will the KDF have a more robust set of uniforms and off duty outfits included? (yes, like the feds came with). Related to that, but with a foundry focus, the Klingon Costume editor in Foundry is limited. We have a decent selection of premade KDF NPCs but most of them are created with many of the costume pieces currently available in the editor. Can we get more unique pre-made NPCs made available in addition to expanding the catalog of available KDF custom costume pieces?
STO Dev Team: We will be looking at what new costumes and other outfits we can offer the KDF as time goes on. Most recently, new KDF Fleet Uniforms were introduced with Season 6 and can be unlocked through the Fleet Advancement system. As for the Foundry, we are looking at what other premade NPCs and character options we can offer in the Foundry catalogs. Zero, producer for the Foundry, constantly watches the Foundry feedback forums so make sure you are posting your feedback and suggestions there, too.
Q: Soriedem: Klingon Foundry missions are limited to two sector blocks. There is a definite lack of doors in any of the other areas of the galaxy. When will the Empire be released from these restrictions and be able to truly go out into the galaxy and explore strange new worlds?
STO Dev Team: This is a great point to raise! Currently, KDF missions can start in any of the following sector blocks: Omega Leonis, Eta Eridani, Orellius, and Pi Canis. While we cannot promise anything for the immediate future, we will be looking at how we can allow Klingon Foundry missions to start from doors that exist beyond these 4 sectors, and hopefully to all the sectors that Klingons can currently visit.
Q: Combined Question (jnohd, Starkofthenorth): Would it be possible to re-purpose areas in the game for more Klingon activities? I personally would like to see the fighting pits in First City and Klingon Academy opened up to PvE and PvP dueling (using a similar system to CO, but with the center of the duel area limited to the center of these rings, with the sphere ending at the ring’s edge), and the arena on Forcas III re-used for an actual KvK Bat’leth PvP tournament event. And on a similar note, will there be any KDF social zones similar to Andor, Vulcan, and Bajor?
STO Dev Team: Another great idea here that we’ll make sure the design and content team sees. As for more social zones, this is something we will consider adding when appropriate. Similar to what players saw with the introduction of Bajor, more will most likely be added when there is content that surrounds them. We’d like to make sure that future social zones have life to them and missions or events to experience while visiting.
We can say that Season 7 will introduce a new, robust zone that will be available to both factions and feature social and gameplay features. It will be our biggest zone yet!
Sargon the Great is a Rear Admiral in the 110th Federation/KDF fleet (http://110thfleet.shivtr.com/). Unlike most other KDF Generals, he was born a Romulan. Inspired as a young man by Worf’s visit to a prison camp in the year 2369, he eventually left the camp, against the will of his parents, and joined the KDF. Although an outsider among Klingons, the increasing diversity in the Empire gave him room to advance in the military, until he eventually earned the confidence and trust of the High Council, which granted him command of the I.K.S. Rage of Kahless, a Bortasqu’ Command Cruiser.
Copyright © 2013 Priority One Podcast.
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