Four days ago, Al Rivera responded to many of the fans and critics regarding Star Trek Online in a personal post on Reddit. You can visit the original post here.
We chose not to respond. His comments speak volumes. His post was personal, heartfelt and puts into perspective the difficulties and complexities of managing a great IP like Star Trek Online.
Here is his post in it’s entirety.
Hi, This is CaptainGeko (I dont spell my name using GeCko). So if you saw a Capt Gecko (or any other spelling of the name) it isn’t me. I don’t play STO using that name. I play anonymously. If you want to verify this is me, you can check my twitter account @CaptainGeko. I’ll tweet a link to this reddit.
I am not the content lead, the systems lead or the executive produce. I am the Lead Designer of STO. That means in one form or another, I am responsible for all aspects of the design of the game. I am not responsible for the art, the code, the web, the marketing or even the business of the game – although I do work closely with all those involved with those departments. We all collaborate to bring you the game.
Building a Free to Play MMO is no small task. Its a huge challenge and, for the most part, Cryptic studios is blazing a trail, along with Perfect World, on how to deliver a FTP MMO. There are lots of different models. Some companies will, say, charge for content or expansion packs. STO does not do that. We rely on microtransactions to keep the lights on and bring you this game for free.
Let me say one thing that is very important to me. I love Star Trek, and I love Star Trek Online. If you listen to any of the podcast I go on, such as Priority One, STOked, G&T show, Podcast UGC, Trek Radio, and more, I hope you will get a sense of the passion and respect I have for the IP and the Game. I have been a trekkie since I was probably around 5 years old. My sister introduced me to TOS and all sci-fi. I have seen every episode and every movie multiple times – even before I started working on STO. And I have been working on STO from the very beginning – almost 7 years. I was one of 6 original employees on the projects. I have put a lot of my life into STO. It is my art and it has forever changed me. I’ve been at Cryptic Studios for 12 years now. Before STO, I worked on Champions, Marvel, and City of Heroes and City of Villains. Before Cryptic, I worked on the Sims Online at Maxis, and before that, I was at Sega.com/Sega soft where I worked on 10SIX, Vigilance and I was involved in the online aspects of a few Dreamcast games.
If you are reading this, you probably are more than an average fan. So I assume you like the game. As the Lead Designer, most design decisions come through me one way or another. Not all the decisions are mine. Like any business, STO exists to try to deliver the best product we can and to get as many people to play as much as possible, and in turn, earn money for the company. As with any game, I realize there are parts of STO that some people don’t like. In also know that most people who play STO love the game. If you are reading this, I am going to guess there are more things about STO that you like then there are things that you don’t like. If you didn’t, that would be strange – I would imagine you would stop playing and stop reading forums and reddits about it.
I sometimes read post that people don’t like me because of something in the game. That’s ok, it comes with the territory. I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt my feelings, but I have been in the industry long enough to understand things like that are typically only said because someone love the product you are working on or wants more from that product. So in a weird way, even when someone says something mean, its sort of a compliment. Hey, I love my I-phone, but I have more than once cursed the company and the leaders of Apples for the product. Although I love my I-phone, it’s not perfect and it still sometimes frustrates me. But I get it – humans made it, humans use it. I am still glad for it and admire those who made it.
When it comes to the business, I have a boss just like everyone else, and he has a boss, and so on. Not everything we do is my decision, but I stand behind everything we have done and I am proud of it. STO is the best game I have ever had the privilege to work on. I hope you love the game as much as I. I suspect there are some here that may even love it more than I. At Star Trek Conventions, I meet some wonderful people who love this game. I have met wonderful fans, men and women, children and adults, people of all races, creeds and colors. I met a young boy who showed me pictures of his STO themed bar mitzvah. I have met people who have dedicated countless hours making videos and podcasts dedicated to STO. And I have even met a couple who lived in different countries, met on STO, and then got married. Those people make it all worth it.
I guess the main point I am trying to make is that I know not everyone loves every aspect of STO, and sometimes I am the scapegoat for that. That’s OK. But remember this – If there are design aspects of STO you dont like, I am probably in some way responsible for that. I am sorry you dont like those things. But on the other side, if there is something you love about the game (the story, the systems, the ships, the characters, the missions, the items, the enemies, the Star Trek-iness), I probably had a lot to do with that too. And so did a lot of other talented people. I hope there are more things you love about STO then there are things you don’t like. And if you are on this reddit, I am guessing that is true – and that makes me happy. I will always strive to bring you the best Star Trek experience and the best game we can possibly deliver. I appreciate every one of you and I hope you will all play for a very long time.
Al “CaptainGeko” Rivera