Delta Recruit Rewards – Holy $#!@ So what’s the Goal?

Reading through the rewards list, I kept saying to myself that ‘this’ was extremely well thought out. Designed to impact not only new players (It’s a great time to start STO), but to offer a sugar coated “we miss you” to every player who for one reason or another has taken a step back from Star Trek Online.

It’s as if there has been a critical thought-shift in terms of player engagement. Well played Cryptic, well played.  And then I started to wonder why.

As a recruitment tool, the Delta Recruits Campaign hits all of the right notes. It’s alt friendly. You don’t have a deadline to complete the missions, only a deadline to register. For a new player the benefits are definitely a step up for reputation, fleet development and starting gear. The EC bonuses alone for a new player are enticing.

Earlier this month I made a post describing this as a ‘Win-Win Scenario‘.  My impression hasn’t changed.

Lets get into the fundamentals:

  1. The rewards are designed around encouraging new players to try the game, and offer returning players a reason to start a new alt for rewards that benefit the entire account.
  2. Cryptic is giving everyone 1 new character slot to enable this.
  3. Any new character created during the events run doesn’t have to complete all the objectives during the event.  No Rush.  Take your time and enjoy yourself – All of the rewards can still be earned by Delta Rising Recruits after the event has run its course.

Lets talk about the rewards:

Large-ChartHoly $#!@.  Pretty amazing deal.  So is it worth it?

Given the state of progression in the game, the race to level 50 is something that you can achieve in a few days time.  During our recent review of the ‘new character experience with R&D, it was fairly simple process to reach Lvl 50 1/3 of the way through the available missions.  There is enough content, both in terms of mission and the Foundry, to keep the casual player engaged potentially for hundreds of hours.

But I digress:The R&D system has practically no benefit for casual players.  Logging in 2x a week would take a casual player years to achieve anything worthwhile.

And that’s perfectly fine for most casual players.

So yes this is good, if you’re a casual player this is a sweet deal.

Where this gets ugly is for players looking to stay after level 50.

The rate of progression is significantly slower.  Multiple changes to everything from XP to R&D, to rewards have been tinkered with one goal in mind: To create a structure of time-gates that impact the long-term player.  Old reputation abilities have been downsized in terms of accessibility, all for new abilities which you can slowly earn.  The latest scheme – new abilities that you ‘earn’ by buying a ship.

Level 50 and beyond is the realm of the paying players.  It’s not F2P, it’s Pay to Play.   It’s the stage where the casual player literally has no hope to progress in any reasonable sense to keep up with the games changes. Just look at the recent videos of player who spent hundreds of dollars to achieve EPIC status on all of their gear.  These players did not do this playing F2P. I know this because I’ve dropped $700 to help build up my alts.

Why?  For starters the player base has dropped.  The STF’s and missions have become more difficult.  Good fellow players are hard to find unless you’re willing to work very hard at become a ‘decent’ pilot, or you invest in better gear.  Those better players have left the public queues and public chat channels for the private queues.  When you have 2 hours to play, mission failure is not an option.  They left the public rooms because the fail conditions became so high, average player could not longer participate.  Unless they upgraded.

Star Trek Online for the dedicated player has become a DPS arms race that Cryptic is only too happy to encourage.

OK.  End of the rant portion.

So why is Cryptic now giving away the store?

It’s a numbers game. The player base has shrunk due to DR launch mess.  While DR was financially successful (according to comments made by CaptainGecko) it’s clear that the player numbers are ‘not what they could be’.  We all know why people left.  Cryptic itself has been impacted by poor financial performance of the NA arm of Perfect World.

Star Trek Online must grow.  It must perform.

The emphasis on new ships and new abilities and traits?  Money.  This is targeted at the dedicated player. I’ve purchased 15 ships (plus the freebees) now because the next ship was going to be better than the last.  Or the Ship mastery Trait was a ‘must have‘.  Or the new class specialization has special seats for ‘new abilities‘.    And I bought into that bullshit hook, line and sinker.  But I think the ‘pilot enhanced’ ships may have turned even me off.

For the Star Trek license to thrive, the game must have increasing revenues.  That means new players.  That means rebuilding and retaining their player base.  The only way left to the management is to give away the store to attract enough whales who will commit to the game long term.

And I’m not sure that’s the best way to go.


Edit: this got way longer than intended.  Sorry for the wall of text.

*Equipment Pack Details

All equipment contained in these packs is Bound-to-Character and has a 0 EC Sell Value. All assigned [Mod]s are static up to Purple Quality, and will be the same for every Delta Recruit character. This equipment can be Upgraded if you like, but will remain BoP and 0 value, and will gain random [Mod]s if the Quality increases.

At each Level Milestone (10, 20, 30 and 40) you may choose from one of the following four Equipment Packs:

  • Ground Equipment
    • All of the following:
      • Assault Rifle Ground Weapon
      • Energy Resistance Body Armor
      • Personal Shield Generator
      • Kit + Modules for All Slots (appropriate to Profession and Kit Slots)
  • Space Equipment
    • All of the following:
      • Deflector Dish (improves primarily Science Abilities)
      • Impulse Engine (+Turn)
      • Covariant Shield (+Cap)
      • Warp Core (or Singularity Core)
      • Torpedo(es) and Mine Launcher
        • FED/KDF = Photon
        • ROM = Plasma
  • Space Consoles
    • All of the following:
      • Shield Capacity Science Consoles
        • +1 Particle Generator Console @ Lvl 40
      • All Damage Resistance Engineering Consoles
        • +1 Turn Rate Console @ Lvl 40)
      • Energy Damage Tactical Consoles
        • Matches the primary energy type of your faction:
          • FED = Phaser
          • KDF = Disruptor
          • ROM = Plasma
    • The number of Consoles included increases at each Level Milestone, in an attempt to fully outfit your next tier of starship
  • Space Weapons
    • All of the following:
      • Beam Arrays
      • Dual Heavy Cannons
      • Turrets
    • Matches the primary energy type of your faction:
      • FED = Phaser
      • KDF = Disruptor
      • ROM = Plasma
    • The number of Weapons included increases at each Level Milestone, in an attempt to fully outfit your next tier of starship

7 thoughts on “Delta Recruit Rewards – Holy $#!@ So what’s the Goal?

  1. Yep have to agree. I already feel left behind. I took a break pre DR and came back post DR. I am sad to see how a game tells me straight in my face that I’m a “third class citizen”… I simply can’t afford all the ships (and traits that come with them) let alone lockbox ships which still aren’t account wide unlocks. The worst that happened is that i can’t even play with some of my ingame friends since i don’t meet the “elite” requirements anymore. Back then i could do fine in a 9 console ship on elite but now? I think what DR has done is to split the player base into those that can or are at least willing to pay and those who can’t afford it or refuse to for one reason or another. Nowadays economy is probably as harsh for a single person as it is for cryptic as a business but in a game ppl should be equal. What other reason to game do we have other than flee RL for a couple of hours and enjoy ourselves? Just my personal thoughts…


  2. Since the game became “grind or get left behind” it just isn’t the fun game I used to love and play extensively. I’ve taken a break and with each day that passes the more I feel like all those spec 60+ levels the remaining player base are earning only widens the gap between themselves and I. That thought alone dissuades me from re-involving myself. It’s funny how back when there were no extra levels to earn I couldn’t stop playing. Now that there are those extra goals I couldn’t be bothered. I think if the rewards for those extra levels had been toned down to tiny incremental gains, so that they weren’t something to get anxious about grinding out, my whole state of mind would be different. Take Diablo 3 for example. That’s how they handled their rewards for leveling past lvl 70 and it felt much more relaxed. You played and had fun and if you were up a handful of levels at the end of the evening you were happy for the miniscule improvement to your characters and not so obsessed with burning yourself out trying to reach the next level. Most importantly those extra points applied across all your alts which is where STO lost sight of the player experience. I liked playing my alts for the different races, ships and class abilities, but the dedication required for grinding each of them past 60 was non-viable. I hope they’ve fixed this since I left – I’d be back in a flash if they did! While the recruit event listed looks generous all I can think is how adding another alt to my stable is just another character the spec point grind convinces me I would have to neglect after a point. And that leaves me feeling annoyed.


  3. It’s exactly that. They are short sighted and need to impress someone in management. After the event it will all be back to normal. I an mit one of those ppl saying the game is dying since i don’t have the numbers but i see that most of my ingame friends don’t play the game anymore. Also i think they need to stop binding game breaking items (I’ll call it that be it ships, traits or anything else) to pay walls like lockbox ships or at least make it easier to obtain them.
    I feel the same way about a new alt but since you can’t pug most queues anymore i might as well solo play missions again…


  4. Everyone but the most dedicated (read big-spending) players lost the DPS War. I wasn’t even fully aware of it after DR, because I didn’t grind to L60 immediately. When I did, I realized that pretty much everything now requires more resources than I have. S10 seems more geared toward STFs than stories, and STFs are now ruled by the top % of DPS. I could probably bring a couple toons up to spec, but not all. One of my longest-running STO buddies has quit already, and I don’t see how much more I can do here.


    1. I agree. Most of my fleet mates left within days of realizing just how expensive the game has become. I don’t mind dropping coin on the game if I’m having fun – but the thought of grinding to epic, or buying my way there – grinds my gears.


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