Priority One Podcast 209 | Grindhouse

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Greetings, Admirals! You’re listening to EPISODE 209 OF PRIORITY ONE PODCAST, the premier Star Trek Online podcast! This episode was recorded on Thursday, February 12th 2015 and made available for download on Monday, February 16th 2015 at!

Brace for impact, Admirals — we’ve got a great episode for you this week. For starters, we #TrekOut the latest edition of the Official Star Trek Magazine and explore the Delta Quadrant! In STONews, we’ll review the latest patch notes which include the activation of the Foundry Top-3 System, we’ll remind you upcoming events, and inform you of updates to the new Bridge Officer Training system. We also spend some time offering our first impressions of some of the latest ships to hit Holodeck, address some issues with R&D Boosts, and address the concept of “grinding” in Star Trek Online. 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!


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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26 Comments ON " Priority One Podcast 209 | Grindhouse "
  • alt_example

    Setti Tym February 16, 2015 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Thank you for the conversation about grinding. It was thought provoking and reasonable, and the acknowledgment of the semantic nature of the debate was appreciated. Jayce’s counterpoints were especially on point.
    What I can say is that I am very grateful that the discussion/rants are actually about STO. I stopped listening to some other STO show a while back because of the host unleashing some reactionary rant about a real life topic during the show. Even if I don’t completely agree with Elijah, at least his rant is about the actual game.
    Thanks again for the show.

    • alt_example

      Elijah February 16, 2015 at 8:07 am - Reply

      I’m glad it resonated with you in some way! The nice thing is having the chance to dialogue with people who want to do so constructively.

  • alt_example

    The_Grand_Nagus February 16, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I think arguing whether the game has a grind or not is a waste of time, because the term is subjective. One person may consider a certain playstyle or system a grind while another person may not, and neither is right or wrong because there is not some official MMO dictionary out there.

    Many of these words we use only have a casual understanding among gamers, but even that is open to debate and interpretation. What I dislike is when some people insist their definition of a subjective term is right that other people who don’t share that same definition are wrong.

    • alt_example

      The_Grand_Nagus February 16, 2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

      Also, here is the problem with the forum poll: they told us years ago that the vast majority of the playerbase does not use the forums.

      Also, human nature is such that people are more vocal when they are upset than when they are satisfied. This means that there are more upset people on the forums than satisfied people.

      Both of these issues combined means that the results of this poll will never accurately represent the majority of the playerbase. And putting a link on the launcher that most people will ignore doesn’t change anything.

      Until they find a way to have a poll pop up in game when you log in, they will never know what the majority of their playerbase thinks on a given issue.

      • alt_example

        Elijah February 16, 2015 at 10:02 am - Reply

        You’re right. The forum poll — unless injected into the game — may not accurately measure the mass populace of STO. However, it will serve as a reflection towards the most vocal members of the forums. Where some demand one thing… others demand another. In this case — the forum — which is a very volatile atmosphere – will end up conceding to itself.

    • alt_example

      Elijah February 16, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Nagus – most points are subjective. There will never be a mass consensus of what is “the worst ‘something'” in gaming (especially in an MMO). So, we can either just report the news and never offer an opinion — or we can inject a little of our own views into the discussion. Right now, those that are most vocal seem to be screaming “grind.” I disagree. So do many players I engage with. What I dislike is broad generalizations that paint a picture that isn’t there.

      • alt_example

        The_Grand_Nagus February 16, 2015 at 10:32 am - Reply

        I’m not arguing with you. I don’t personally feel like STO is a grind either. But even though I don’t feel that way, that doesn’t invalidate the opinion of people who do. Their opinion is just as valid as mine.

        So yes, opinion based discussion is fine and good, so long as people are willing to admit that the opinion they disagree with is just as valid and “right” as their own.

        • alt_example

          T'Rev February 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

          I think you make a good point here, and while ‘your’ definition of a grind may make it so that STO does not have a grind, your definition also precludes any other main stream MMO as a grind as well. I know you used WoW as a reference, killing boars, but that is and has always been part of a quest. No different then when you go do a mission and have to kill so many Nausicans before you move on. Or kill so many random Jedi in SWTOR. The idea of a ‘grind’ is a long used term from back when there was nothing to do but quest in order to level. That word has sort of evolved into what it is today and that is the grind to a certain level, or piece of gear, or whatever end.

          The problem that most people have, I also to an extent, is that there are a lot of leveling systems in this game. You can feel very overwhelmed and just feel like there is no reason to continue on very early on. Thus as cookie stated, it feels like a job and you do not want to do it. R&D feels like a job, but if I want to get gear over MK XII then I need to acquire upgrades. I can either ‘grind’ the R&D system, ‘grind’ the omega mini game right now, best option from what I hear, buy zen and convert to dilithium, or buy them off of the Exchange.

          There are options but they are all some sort of grind to get there. This is not a bad thing necessarily, the only point that I make, is that as a returning player (started playing again the first of the year, been gone for at least a year) my level 50 character felt like he was still at level 1. Not only did I have no clue what to do, but to just do the new story progression I was rocked immediately. I was not in full MK XII but a steady supply of MK X and MKXI gear. If I am leveling still, as I would, only being level 50 now, the only thing I had to do was to go run some STF’s or replay missions. I dont mind going back to replay missions for gear, but if I am coming back I want to experience this new content and start playing. I was max level so this would be the same thing that a new character would face upon leveling to 50. A character should not hit a huge wall like that. So I have done nothing but reputations, which means lots of stf’s (and that is a repetitive thing over and over for marks :P) and some missions on New Romulus for Epohhs. Thats not necessarily fun or different.

          People will always go for what gives them the best bang for their time, so if during Dilithium weekends doing the mine is worth it then people will do it every day on every toon, so they can maximize the dilithium they acquire. When you cap things and set systems up behind any sort of gate, be it time, real life money, or in game currency, it is inevitable for there to be a grind to acquire the end goal.

          I really enjoy the game, its got a lot of fun things about it. It can be extremely overwhelming and many aspects of it can definitely feel like a job; DOFFS, Dilithium, and R&D being chief among them.

          I enjoy the show and hopefully just because I have a differing viewpoint you wont think I am just some angry troll. Keep up the good work it always helps me to hear others talk about the game that I am playing.

      • alt_example

        The_Grand_Nagus February 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm - Reply

        One last thought on the “grind” subject. As I said before, I don’t consider STO a grind game. However, I can understand how some do. I think that grind feeling can come from the fact that STO regularly adds new advancement systems, be they reps, traits, specs, or whatever. And because new advancement systems are always being added, you are never really “done”.

        So even though there are many different advancement systems that each have several types of content to choose from, I think the overall idea that you are never done because you are always “grinding” something is why some people get that impression.

        Of course, the alternative would be not adding these advancement systems, meaning people would have no way to continually advance their characters’ skills, so I’m happy to have the various advancement systems. After all, they are all optional.

  • alt_example

    wardcalis February 16, 2015 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Elijah I’m gonna do a review on the Romulan 3pack. I have found 2 bugs with the 4peice bonus

  • alt_example

    Canis February 16, 2015 at 11:46 am - Reply

    While Elijah made a very good point about what exactly a grind is I think something these musings on the XP “grind” have overlooked (or at least I haven’t seen them addressed) is that at least some of the people who feel compelled to “grind” for XP to advance the Specialization Trees do so because of the way the Trees have kit module and high level BOFF ability training manuals locked so deeply into them.

  • alt_example

    the LootCritter February 16, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Great podcast.

    J’s math on the Research Boosts value is right on. It’s better to buy dil and take that shortcut than to use them bonuses. I suspect that the creation of these tokens were first seen as new content for lock-boxes and R&D Support packs. If they were 4-5x as generous in terms of XP, they’d be worth it.

    “I speak for the silent majority” is arguable. If by that you mean you have 1 or 2 captains, and you play 3-4 hours a week, then yes that description fits. For hardcore players, with 5+ alts and 10-20 hours or more per week, it’s a different story. We tend to be the Tribble testers, the math junkies, and the people who go out of our way to earn everything as quickly as possible.

    Grind is subjective, and I’ve given up the dilithium grind. I don’t see reputation as a grind, nor do I see crafting in the same light. Reps can be accomplished in relatively few hours in terms of dilithium and marks. Crafting I see as a long term investment of a few minutes every day.

    For a F2P player, the game is definitely a grind. It’s meant to be. My issue with the description is that there isn’t an inexpensive way for the F2P to drop $10 periodically. And recent changes to their Zen process (eliminating the $100 option for a $200) just reinforce the adage that this game is for those who can afford it.

    Add the difficulty increase, the perceived XP nerf, and what was a purely insensitive response in the forums, and it’s no wonder why so many people left the game. Even paying players left the game.

    It’s one of the reasons why we made the infographics.

    Personally I went 18 months without dropping a dime. Clearly i wasn’t the only one, and it’s those people in my opinion that the changes have hit the hardest. You could grind enough dil to get the next ship release. Today that’s no longer practical.

    So I no longer worry about dilithium or spec points. I purchased my way through the upgrades, and with the launch of the Command ships, dropped even more money to try them all. I am a ship junkie. And due to the changes with Zen purchasing over $100, I’m sitting on enough leftover zen to buy whatever they have planned in the next 2 months. *shakes an angry fist at the sky*

    So to be clear – Yes, the game is grindy for F2P players who don’t spend any money. And that’s ok in my books. This is a business.

    I just believe Cryptic could do a better job in allowing micro-payments to spread the love a wider audience. On this I think one point (grinding) we agree.

    As to the command ships, they’re decent and a tad overwhelming in terms of new abilities, powers etc. Add to that the new BOFF system and its almost like a new game again.

    Since posting that initial review last week, I’ve refined my opinion. The models shown on the Cryptic website simply don’t do them justice. The variations in terms of personalization will have Space Barbies fans jumping for joy. (I will admit I love doing this now). The Romulans got the best work in my opinion. And my initial thoughts of the KDF were wrong – they look much better in person.

    @laughingtrendy should seriously do videos next time. I hope they free up the marketing resources as it would double their sales.

    In terms of the consoles, my tac and engineering toons have dropped most of them resulting in some very powerful and tank builds. I’ve kept all four consoles on the science builds, for some situational fun.

    Now would I buy them as full sets again? In my case I have enough active alts that it was worth buying the super bundle. But If I was playing a single alt account, I would only buy the tactical version. It’s a decent cruiser, the platform has value, the synergy with the free Samsar console is excellent, and the trait in its current form is OP.

    Looking forward to your next podcast.


  • alt_example

    Armok February 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Long time listener, first time caller.

    You folks mentioned the hefty price tag of $120 for the 9 ships.

    The Delta rising pack when it first came out was for $125, and not only did we get 9 T6 ships, we also got a new cross faction costume, 3 unique bridge officers for each faction, 3 new duty officers, 3 starship upgrade tokens and 3 equipment upgrade kits.

    That’s one heck of a deal. but 120 for just 9 ships that function 80% similar to one another? if Cryptic wants me to tell them “Shut up and take my money” then they need to sweeten the deal.

    throw in some new doffs that have traits to help the command ships, and how about some nifty command bridge officers as not everyone is specked to train command officers and not everyone likes that kobali command officer.

    • alt_example

      Elijah February 16, 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      That’s a really great comparison, Armok! I bought the Delta Operation Pack because of its value… but, I don’t get the warm fuzzy feeling with these ships.

  • alt_example

    SomeGuy February 16, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I did buy the Presidio (think that’s how you say it?), it’s a good ship but I don’t like the Console that comes attached. Jayce, it’s worth while but I’m not going to go for all the ships because it’s a waste. I think they should have kept the Tier 6 ships at 2,500 Zen and then just drop the price of the Tier 5 ships, but they didn’t. Keep it up guys!

  • alt_example

    foxman86 February 16, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    I have had a chance to try out the tactical federation side Command Cruiser. I brought the federation 3 pack

    This cruiser is a very good cruiser. It has a very good base turn rate for a cruiser, decent BOFF layout, a console layout that is very balanced which will allow you to do alot of variations. The Hull is a decent for a “battlecruiser”.

    The hanger was a bit of a surprise on this ship, but a nice little addition. 4/4 weapons layout and the ability to load cannons on this ship makes it have a feel of a “jack of all trades” type of ship.

    I managed a 11K DPS run in ISA, however that was with only MK 12 very rare gear in my tank style build. I can only imagine what i could potentially do with a fully upgraded ship (Im a engineer captain).

    Some People say that the loss of weapons efficiency comm array ability stops them from getting this ship. Honesty with the Inspiration abilities and the way this ship is designed, you will barely feel it if you design the ship well.

    The one downside in my opinion is the starship trait on he tactical ships are a bit overpowered, and I believe it needs to be toned down a bit.

  • alt_example

    Woody_Valley February 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    You do make a valid point there Elijah, though I seem to have a different approach to understanding the grind.

    If you look at systems/ projects that are in place. Working on levelling up, fleet projects, reputations, getting gear for you ship and character and to upgrade them. It can be very tedious, feel like a grind and very tiresome and not so fun anymore over time. Especially if this is in place for the end game content.

    And the thing I feel is once players get tired of doing this, they could find that this other MMO is not so bad after all.

    So I really hope the EP and Lead Devs take this on board so have a look at breaking this up a bit, maybe with some exploration that is not made into a economic system and just make it fun to do.

    Thanks Guys!!

  • alt_example

    Ben Churchill February 16, 2015 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    I bought the 3 pack Federation bundle and fly the Presidio, tactical. I have found it to be a good replacement for my Odyssey. I LOVE this ship, it suits my playing style perfectly. I’m yet to set it up the way I want yet and go through the command abilities etc. I notice with the inspiration that these ships benefit from team work, something Cryptic seems to be pushing a lot more recently.

    As far as the price, I understand with inflation etc prices will generally go up – costs have to be covered and these tier 6 ships are offering more than other ships.

    The only real criticism that I have of these ships is for the extra zen involved they should have had their own bridges. I love my immersion and when I went to visit the shiny new bridge on my new command tier 6 cruiser, I was super disappointed. I was expecting to see a bridge full of officers working at their new command stations only to find that I had entered the “Standard” bridge. It’s a shame, because to me this is no standard ship.

  • alt_example

    hatchery February 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    I don’t really see the grind in STO, there are plenty of choices to spend game time on, however, the game mechanics simply make it appear grindy, because it is all the same, strictly repetitive.

    I question some of the basic design concepts of the game. When I think of my favorite Star Trek show, I believe at least 90% of it consists of scenes where we don’t see a weapon being fired or held.

    In the game, however, almost all mechanics revolve around combat, and despite that, combat has degenerated to “go there, press spacebar and F to win” or similar schemes. There is very little challenge once you have the required powers/experience (NWS is a very nice example).

    This makes the game not necessarily grindy, but strictly repetitive, no matter what content you pick.

    Other mechanics, like the Doff system, or crafting (essentially the same!), are little more than time gated click parties, equally repetitive, and very simple, very easy to figure out, leaving no surprises to fuel any interest.

    Then there is the issue of Star Trek and immersion. This is a Star Trek game after all, yet I can’t help but notice that my favorite Star Trek shows all take place aboard a ship or a station, and that they focus to some degree on the development of characters and their interactions, among other things. With almost no non-combat powers available (party amplifiers and such aside), interaction between players is limited to chat, or PvP.

    Additional interaction with other players would certainly provide much needed variety. Star Trek can provide all that. Why can’t I play as a Starfleet Doctor, healing wounded players in my Sickbay? Why can’t I be an engineer installing plasma conduits on other player’s ships docked at some Starbase? Why does my Ferengi have to be in Starfleet? There is so much to explore, yet we are so limited in STO.

    In short, the game may feel grindy because of repetitive, unsurprising gameplay, and lack of player interaction mechanics. I am hoping for the upcoming exploration missions to surprise me, but I fear they may be just as repetitive.

  • alt_example

    Jerry Lewis February 16, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    I bought the Romulan 3 pack, mainly due to the lack of Romulan t6 ships, and they were the best looking of the 3 sets, by far. I have enjoyed them a lot, though I did lose about 10k dps using a similar build to my Scimitar, so I will have to go back to the drawing board and see what I can do about that. As for the cost I do think 60 dollars is a bit high, obviously not enough to stop me from buying them, but it doesn’t surprise me. 20 dollars for t4 ships, 25 dollars for t5 ships, so this is just the natural progression. With the 15% bonus zen however this set only cost 50 dollars, 5000 zen + 300 bonus zen + 750 bonus zen from the offer.

    • alt_example

      Jerry Lewis February 16, 2015 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      I also wanted to mention that I was at a loss when I got the Samsar and realized that the 3 consoles from the command cruisers, that make up the 4 piece set bonus with the one from the Samsar, can not be slotted on the Samsar.

  • alt_example

    Eklinaar February 17, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    I won’t be buying any of the recently released command ships. The price is too high and they just don’t appeal to me enough. Personally, I’m holding out for the Galaxy to get the same treatment that the Intrepid got with the Pathfinder, and I think the T6 Galaxy remake should be a command ship. “This is Captain Picard of the Enterprise. I’m taking command of the fleet.” $30 per ship really is too expensive, though. What happened to $20 per ship?

  • alt_example

    seannewboy February 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    The show hosts should not generalise about players generalizing about grind.
    I have not bought the command ship pack, still trying to decide how many of them i need. I do not like the price. Excellent show everyone.

  • alt_example

    Kov February 18, 2015 at 4:31 am - Reply

    On T6 ship costs.

    The main problem I see is that adding 500 Zen per Tier doesn’t seem sustainable.

    Will T7 ships be 3500? T8 4000?

    How much will ships cost by the time we hit the 10 year mark?

  • alt_example

    Dan Kochheiser February 19, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Good topic, grinding. And some nice points made. But I would like to say some more on the subject.

    First off, grinding, while subjective by nature, can be clearly defined. Grinding is when you have no choice in how an end goal can be achieved in game. For example, in WOW, PVP is a grind in that you have to play pvp to get the pvp coins to get the better pvp gear so that you can advance in pvp. But in WOW, getting tier pieces in not a grind because you can run the raid, or kill world bosses, or have your followers in the garrison try for it. Multiple options to complete a goal is not grindy.

    In STO, their are lots of ways to get dilithium ore, but in order to get any end gear you have to convert the dilithium ore into refined dilithium so that you can buy that stuff. Which means the only way to get end gear is to refine dilithium daily at the max rate if you want the gear at the fastest possible rate. On top of having to use dilithium for everything, you are limited on how much you can get in the game through play.

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