Summarizing Salami_Inferno’s Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

The AMA was a lot of fun to follow yesterday, but there was nothing super revealing or landmark in terms of new information. There was the usual commentary and praise for the good stuff, with the usual ‘why can’t I have…‘ lines, plus some fun banter between STO staff members.  Giraffes were scandalized.  We found out his personal favorite game is Call of Duty. He knows how to make sausage (Wild Boar Bratwurst) And his nickname came from his youth (but no details – begin the wild speculation).

Not all questions were answered, due to the volume and time available. I know I appreciated all of his responses, and was thankful he took the time to respond to my question.

And I’ve done my best NOT to read too much between the lines.

Interesting tidbits I came away with:

  • NWS was scrapped. If it is to return, it would have to be rewritten to accommodate the new meta.
  • No plans for account-wide unlocks for things like the Terran Agony weapon.
  • UI improvements are already ‘underway’
  • Late 2016 look for animation improvements to melee weapons
  • PVP improvements are not on the schedule (doesn’t rule it out either)
  • T6 Odyssey & Sovereign are ‘coming’, possibly Nova as well. (no formal confirmation, just hints)
  • They are willing to look at the pricing structures on older ships
  • Cardassians as a faction not off the table. That’s why we won’t see any new ‘Cardassian’ ships, but this was not a confirmation that ANY new factions are being considered at this time.
  • The new TV series ‘may’ have an impact on the game.
  • Exploration would be something we would love to get into the game. “When” is a far more difficult question to answer.
  • No additional lifetime perks after 1000 days.

I’ve done my best to organize like-themed questions and answers. I have not edited Salami’s responses. Questions have been edited to reduce space. If I have taken something out of context, please correct me in the comments below.

The full AMA can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/sto/comments/3tctcv/im_steve_ricossa_the_executive_producer_and/

Salami_Inferno’s responses are in purple.

Incoming Ships

themosquito: Most important question to me: scale of 1-10, how likely is it we’ll get a T6 Nova-class? 😛

I would say it’s 42 out of 10. Though realistically, anything is possible as we go through our existing ship library and create T6 variants for everyone.

Thexare: Since talon’s comment was updated, guess I’ll throw in my questions now. After writing them, it occurs to me that the first three are more like suggestions than questions. The last one’s a real question I swear
Are there any plans for more bundles like the Galaxy set? That is, a set of ships from a given class at several different tiers. Others you could do include Nebula Bundle (give T6 nebula pls), or an Expanded Battlecruiser Bundle (adding the Avenger, Mogh, Valdore, and Mogai Retrofit). It’s a cheaper way for those that want them to get the full console set and customization options, and – for newer players – has the additional advantage of giving them improved levelling ships.

Yep! I’m very happy with the community reaction to those bundles, so it would be safe to assume we’ll get more out there eventually.

Thexare: On the ships note, has any consideration been given to lowering the prices of T5 ships? While they’re still endgame-viable, they’re obviously missing a lot of features people want. They could be made a cheaper entry to endgame c-store ships.

We regularly look at our pricing structure and I’m willing to make changes if it looks like the need is there.

Thexare: Would a T6 Science bundle (in the same style as the last several three-packs) help alleviate the supposed “no one buys KDF science” issue? I’m a sucker for space magic, and I’d like my Ferasan to have a competitive option. The Varanus just doesn’t cut it, and the Palisade – while a great little ship – isn’t KDF.

That would certainly be one way to do it!

AMLross: When are we getting a tier 6 sovereign and Odyssey?

We have a plan for them. That’s all I’ll say!

tiberius7picard : Will we see a greater diversity in the types of ships added in the future, namely with an increasing presence of science vessels?

Yes, you will see a larger variety of ships over the coming year.

Avantine:I know people are going to get all over you for new ships and whatever and to bitch about mechanics and that’s fine, but in the grand scheme of things I think I’d really like to know more about how you make decisions than about rehashing decisions you’ve already made or trying to get you to make specific ones in the future, so…
What about STO feels most like Star Trek to you, and why?

Generally my leads team looks at player feedback and our own internal player tracking numerics to see what the game needs at any given point in time. Based on our research we’ll then brainstorm a variety of features that can meet those needs, and eventually whittle it down to what is the most important and achievable. Sometimes the research process can be nearly as long as the development process, which is why I like to plan so far in advance.
As far as what feels the most trek to me I would say the story content and the ships. The episodes we make feel like episodes of the TV show to me, and the ships are always the star of those episodes.

Tucana66: Steven – Thank you for doing this AMA.
1.) “STO Player Idea Factory” (or other catchy marketing term of your choosing): Might you consider sponsoring a submission process where STO players can submit ideas for new features/additions to STO?
I’m suggesting a limited entry period somewhere where players can submit ideas for serious consideration. There are so many good ideas around here and the official forum.
2.) Any plans for Memory Alpha in the near future?
3.) What is your favorite STO FED, ROM and KDF ship? What is your favorite STO lockbox ship?
4.) Any plans for Andoria ground?
5.) How likely is it we’ll get a T6 FED Nova/Rhode Island-class?
6.) When will players be able to get the Omega FED carrier?

1.) If we could find a way to keep it orderly and civil, I could get on board with that.
2.) Nothing concrete, but I know a lot of devs would like it back.
3.) Defiant, Scimitar, T6 B’Rel, and the Tal Shiar Assimilated Lock Box ships are pretty baller.
4.) Not at this time, but anything’s possible with the power of imagination!
5.) It’s possible.
6.) Sooner than you think. It’s glorious.

On Torpedoes & the Kinetic Community

OdenKnight: What’s the general focus for future development of STO? More story missions, instances/STF’s, featured episodes, open “world” combat/interaction, or something else?
How do you plan to address the wants and expectations of the diverse community within STO? (RP, Foundry, Ground, Space, Economic, PvP)
For the Kinetic Kommunity: Season 11 seems to be the “Season for Torpedoes”. How do you plan on continuing to develop the various weapons (and weapons platforms) in this game to encourage build diversity without over-doing it for one weapon/weapon platform?
For the Kinetic Kommunity: Will destructible torpedoes (especially TriCobalts and the TDD) EVER be fixed? 😉 Will mines become viable? Will a consolidation of Tac consoles be considered?
Why is there a photo of an Intrepid in the background when there should be a mock-up of the Defiant!?!?! The Emissary will not be pleased 😉

I always like to have more of what we know we’re good at and the players like, as well as mixing in something new to keep things fresh. Season 11 saw us get out more episodes, more queues, and some episode revamps, as well as adding the brand new Admiralty system. So the short answer is yes to everything, more of the existing content with some new stuff to keep things exciting.
It can be tough, but it’s a challenge we like to think we’re up to. Generally we look for community reactions and use them as part of the decision making process for what we can reasonably address.
We regularly like to keep our eyes on the build du’jour and see if it’s effectiveness is intended or if it needs to be addressed. We also like to see what people aren’t using and find a way to make them more desirable to players, like the torpedoes you mentioned.
I’m personally a fan of the torpedo resurgence and I’m hoping we get even more changes in for them. Mines are something we all look sideways at, trying to think of ways to make them good without making them OP.
Agreed! No jambalaya for whoever chose the Intrepid over my beloved Defiant.

On the [BORG] Proc

Liesymmetrymanifold: Can you please fix the proc on the old Borg weapons so it works and doesn’t disappear when upgraded? I want to use them again!

I’ll have the systems team look into it!

Foundry Improvements

Primar13: When can we expect to see more foundry development appearing on the cryptic Schedule?

Good question! You most recently saw some dedicated scheduled time for the foundry with the Top Three system. It was a system that I really wanted to get into the game to expose as many people as possible to our best foundry content, as well as to add life and a sense of exploration to the existing sector maps.
As for the next time, it all depends on what features get brought up and how they prioritize against our existing plans. If there’s a great idea that we feel like we just have to do, we’ll take the time to do it!

Quadrant Expansion

RyunosukeKusanagi: any plans to expand on the alpha, gamma, and delta quadrants?

Absolutely! DS9 is my favorite series so the Gamma Quadrant is somewhere I would love to go, and there’s always room to make the gigantic sector maps even larger.

Carrier Pet AI

Atheonyirh: If I had a question, I suppose it would be if there’s any work being put into the AI, functionality, and balance of hanger pets.

I’m a huge carrier player, so pet AI is something near and dear to me. This is something that’s always being iterated on in small ways, so hopefully you see positive improvements as releases make it to the community.

On bringing back unique event rewards / replays.

jtrom93: Is there any talk amongst staff of bringing back previous exclusive event rewards for a rerun at any point or making those rewards account-unlock like event ships are now?

As for your question, we were actually just talking about the best way to get those replay rewards back out to the community. Can’t promise anything soon™, but we’re thinking about it!

neogabi: One: Will we ever find a way to complete console sets for event ships now that they’re being permanently removed from the game?
Two: Any progress on the idea of removing the gender marker from Gorn so we can play females?
Three: Will there ever be an option to play Ferengi on the KDF side or, baring that, adding Ferengi parts to the alien costume designer?

Potentially. No progress but not off the table. Both are options we’ve thought about. I never call a feature off the table when you’re on a live game.

Pennylong: Will event awards such as the current Mirror Invasion gun be made account wide unlocks like the event ships?
Will we ever see the episode reruns return?
What are the chances of more unique reward items in game such as limited time costume unlocks?
What is your favorite mission?

There are no plans for that right now, but that could change.
Yep!
We just gave one away with Midnight! Costumes are something we love to get out to the community, limited time rewards coming back are a possibility as well.
Boldly they rode! I love me some DS9. Though step between the stars is also pretty cool…

Admiralty System

lootcritter: Question(s): Given the disparity between the factions for available science starships, will you be adding additional cards to help supplement the Admiralty system for those players who can’t maintain large inventories of ships?
Supplemental: As a collector, I have a ridiculous wealth of starships, but even my KDF and Romulan alts find it hard to meet the requirements with Admiralty assignments. Could we see card packs for sale? Could we see cards as mission rewards in doffing? Could we call in a favor from another faction and have them lend us ships (ala Picard/Klingons). And most of all – will we see a day where we can openly produce and trade cards on the exchange?

We’ve been really excited by the community reception to the Admiralty system. We’ve been having regular discussions on ways to get more ship cards out there and keep the system fresh for everyone.
“Calling in a favor” is actually a pretty cool idea…I’m glad I chose to talk to loot critter.

Personal reflections on the game

greyspectre2100: Looking back over the history of the game, what moments are you most proud of? Of course there’s another side to that coin: what moments stick out to you as something that could/should have gone better?
Even if you don’t get to my questions, I do want to express my appreciation for the recent improvements made to the game, and for all the hard work that you folks do. Thank you.

Having been here since a year before launch, I would say launching the game was a huge deal to me and to the team as a whole. The advent of featured episodes, the revamp of fleets, adding reputations, remaking the tutorials, the duty officer system, admiralty system, the armada system, there are so many great moments! If you’re forcing me to choose I would go with the following releases since they were so key to the history of STO “Free to Play Launch, Regular Launch, Legacy of Romulus, and Delta Rising”. As for a moment that could have gone better, the launch of Season 4 was pretty rough and is still used as a warning of what can happen if you’re not on the ball.

On the question of Queues

Rosetyler51: Do you have any plans to handle empty queues?
KDF and the Romulans could use a hand with science in the requirements for the Admiralty system. Could we get a hand?
(This question is from me) Can we get any teases about what’s next in STO? I do understand if you don’t, you say anything and it does not happen the pitchforks come out.

We do! We’ve discussed potentially rotating queue availability to increase populations to the remaining queues, but we’re looking at a lot of options available to us.
We’re definitely taking a look at the system and finding ways to help out players for all factions.
You’re right, the pitch forks would come out! I’ll say we have some exciting time travel themed stuff ahead that I can’t wait for everyone to play.

Sunain: Why was No Win Scenario removed from the game? Will No Win Scenario return?

No Win Scenario was a fun queue, but as the player base got more skilled and gained access to more powerful weapons it became anything but no win. In addition, the reward structure made certain non-ideal behaviors the optimal way to play. Because of the way the queue was built it couldn’t be easily fixed, so we chose to scrap it instead.

On the ‘Talk to the Lootcritter’ Bug

Vulcorian: As we still get the interact ‘talk with loot critter’, what would you talk with the loot critter about and how would it reply?

We’ve fixed this bug a handful of times and it keeps coming up in different ways. Sometimes bugs can be like that, and we’ll keep squashing it until it stays down for good. Our long time players may remember spawning as a ship on the ground or as a person in space, that one took years to finally discover the root cause.

Lootcritter: I hope they never fix this one… 😉

On a personal note, what are you doing this weekend?

carrowcanary: What did you do last weekend, what are your plans for this weekend, and what did you do on your best weekend ever?

Last weekend I made 10 pounds of wild boar bratwurst, watched football, then caught up on the Flash and Arrow while painted some minis for a tabletop game.
This Saturday I’ll be relaxing after a long week. On Sunday I’ll be hiking around Mount Hamilton in the early am, then watching the 49ers in the afternoon.
My best weekend ever…will be left to everyone’s imagination.

UI Issues

Sirfragula: A lot of important functions are hidden by the UI, clustered in tiny icons around the map in the top-right of the screen. Additionally the UI is incredibly resource intensive.

We’re working on some improvements that may make things better for us and for you from a usability standpoint. There is no solid date for this yet, but some preliminary work is being done.

On future charity Events / in-game ‘gifting’

STO_ZEF:
1) Is there anyway where there could be a “gift” option added so we could gift a ship that we’ve purchased from the Z-store?
2) I would love to see more of these charity events like the one Chase Masterson had last week. Any chance we could have charity events similar with Zstore items such as Lock Box keys with part of the proceeds going to Charity “X”?

We would love to do gifting! It’s something the game team itself can’t implement but we’ve had it on our core software wishlist for a while!
The charity event was really popular and as a team we love supporting good causes. I would say it’s very possible you could see more of these in teh future.

Zip lines on Risa?

STO_ZEF: Can we have a zip line on the Risa Resort that takes you from the top of the mountain, and down through trees, and stopping in the water.

Maybe…if you’re good.

On Immersion, the Romulan Experience

Maximus_Rex: I realize and appreciate why Romulans have to be allied, but is there any chance we can do more to make them feel like an actual faction. Romulan Computer voice, security officer at New Romulus Command so I don’t have to travel to my allies homeworld to do certain BOFF assignments, actually being able to team with all Romulans despite who their choose as an ally. I’d really like actual Romulan Fleets with actual Romulan Starbases too, but I’ll try to not get too carried away. Thanks!

There are a lot of options we had to consider when first introducing the Romulan Faction, and the limitations you’re describing are the results of the discussion of those options. STO has been around a long time and we’ve learned that anything can happen, so while there are no plans for your requests now it doesn’t mean that won’t change in the future!

On PVP

007meow: Are there any plans for PvP development?
What are your thoughts on the current state of PvP?
Will we see the Space Assault map/game type coming back?
What’s the word on implementing the tournament queues and leaderboards we heard were close to completion?

It regularly comes up as an option for future season development, but it hasn’t actually made it on to a schedule as of yet.
It’s small, but has a very loyal following.
When we talk about PvP we always talk about the old, new, and existing game types we could introduce.
Also something we’ve brought up on a number of occasions, it’s just all about scheduling.

On reward perks for lifetime and gold subscribers

woodcat5: Question related gold users, there is a plan to keep the reward incoming (1100 days, and go on)?

1,000 is the max we’re planning to hit.

On episodic content

Velhym: How has that production calendar changed since you’ve all started this way of approaching STO’s FEs?

The episode creation process has been iterated on non stop for over six years. I wish we had the amazing process in place at launch that we have now, it makes things so much smoother to develop. In general we like to give people more time, more individual creative control, and clear guidelines for deliverables. The calendar itself is simply full of more episodes 🙂
We have a generic amount of time we use for different types of episodes, but we do look at how important an episode is when we decide how much time to give it. Midnight, for example, was given more than double the standard development time for both content and art to hit the quality bar we wanted.

CommanderArcher: One of my biggest problems with the game is how time travel works, and knowing that a time travel Era is coming, im worried on how it’ll be handled.
In the past when we go back in time, enemies scaled with us, but this makes no sense at all as going back in time with our ships would be like taking the US Pacific fleet back to fight in world War 2.
What are your plans to better make the game scale properly with time travel?
And have you ever had a chance to hike the lost coast?

While it would be cool to go back to the enterprise era with an Odyssey and just own everything you see, it certainly wouldn’t make for a very interesting gameplay experience. We always try to make our time travel shenanigans fit as well as possible within the IP, but sometimes it doesn’t always make game play sense.
And I haven’t had a chance to hike the lost coast yet!

Warbird_7: What did you like and dislike about the procedurally generated exploration system?

I liked the fact that there were tons of missions out there to play. I didn’t like that most of those missions were very similar, buggy, and slowed our build process down considerably.

Thexare: Is it true that The Breach had to be pulled because the Herald ships wouldn’t fit, or were there other issues? It was by far my favorite queue and I’m really hoping it comes back soon.

That was not why the queue was pulled, and I would say you haven’t seen the last of it. It’s one of my absolute favorites too, from a gameplay and development perspective.

What does the future hold?
Brickus: Obvious but important question: What does the next year or so hold for the game? Do you feel like it’s in a better position now than it was compared to a year ago, or does the new T.V. series put the future somewhat in doubt?

The next year holds some really cool opportunities for us as a dev team and for you as part of the community. We’ve primed ourselves for a great year next year, and we were incredibly excited to find out about the TV series and can’t wait to see what it brings to the game.

On rewards, in this case melee weapons

Monkeyrogue: My question is, can we get some melee side arms?
Romulan swords (Sword of S’Task?!) Honor blades Human katanas
Laser swords. Just saying.

We’ve been making some animation improvements that could make this possible mid to late next year!

On his favourite episode

Mr_Osmosys: Hey Mr Ricossa!
What’s your favourite Star Trek episode and why?

DS9, Pale Moon Light, because I can live with it.

On exploration

Druhin: When will you be bringing back REAL Exploration to STO?
When will DS9 interior be revamped to more faithfully recreate the look from the show?

Exploration would be something we would love to get into the game. “When” is a far more difficult question to answer.
We’ve put time into DS9 several times over the last year, a revamp is something we have planned and would like to execute on at some point.

On the Gateway

denali42Nosnnu: First, let me say I love the Cryptic games. My question is this: Neverwinter has a really interesting Gateway. However, it looks like the STO gateway… has kinda lost it’s way. Are y’all possibly considering picking it back up as a project and expanding it?

Gateway is something we’d like to revisit someday, but we have to consider it’s prioritization against other new in game features we’d like to make.

On a new faction – Cardassian?

xavyreLegate Tylam Mynar: So one of your guys (or maybe it was you) pretty much ruled out a Cardassian faction since we already do not have enough people playing the Klingons or Romulans as we have playing Feds. But can we expect to see any player usable Cardassian content in the future such as uniforms, the Keldon or the Hideki? Any and all of those would be wonderful.

We never ruled out a Cardassian faction! With that as the case, no you probably won’t see the other items you’re asking for until then.

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