Guest Blogger: “Only Six Missions” – Faction Parity, Disgruntled Fans, Lost Direction, and Years of Built of Tension

Lootcritter here:  I have my own feelings about the amount of content poised for release with Agents of Yesterday.  As information drips slowly out for us to dissect, rearrange, speculate and then vivisect (yes, a dead horse reference) – the STO fandom in general is both confused and concerned, and for some super happy at the thought of a TOS expansion.  

What I do know is that this release is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past.  The quality of the missions are top notch – and I’m not even ‘that much’ a fan of TOS when compared to all other Star Trek series.  We’ve only seen a mere sprinkling of what’s to come, and I have put aside my usual snideness ’cause I’ve had a smallish glimpse of the future.  Yes, Captain Gecko did say this was a ‘new’ faction.  I think that while his use of the term is accurate from a content volume point of view – for most players the thought of a faction comes with certain expectations.  

SirBoulevard is back to offer his opinion on the matter.  What started as a ten-page explosion of consciousness has evolved as we find out more, and we’ve decided to offer his views in bite sized  chunks 😉

 

SirBoulevard is a prolific foundry author, co-leader of the E.W.O.C. fleet, he’s a guy who thinks he can build a canon build and DPS at the same time. We might be concerned about his mental health, but luckily the voices in his head have some good ideas.

 

-Hl81Mc9

“Only Six Missions” – Faction Parity, Disgruntled Fans,
Lost Direction, and Years of Built of Tension

SPOILER WARNING:

THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR AGENTS OF YESTERDAY ON THIS PAGE AND GENERAL SPOILERS FOR STO IN GENERAL.

If you’ve been anywhere near STO lately, you know about Agents of Yesterday. You may have also heard the fandom cry: “There’s only six missions!” This is because when playing the new TOS faction on Tribble, at level 9 in the sixth mission, the player is dumped into the 2410 ESD and gets promoted to level 10. The cries went rampant with rage, even on more even keeled players. I will admit, myself, I found myself frustrated by this choice (though how we got there in the story was freaking awesome). However, we were promised there was more.

And there was. On June 1, we got our next mission added: “The Core of the Matter,” a mission on 23rd Century Galorndon Core, explaining why the planet is a complete nightmare in the 25th Century. I did play the mission on Tribble and it is amazing. If there is one thing I can say to the average player about Agents of Yesterday, it’s going to be an amazing expansion for the mission quality alone. However, there is one problem:

“This mission will be available to all players at level 19 and above once Agents of Yesterday launches.” – STO Dev Blog Galorndon Core

Allow me to demonstrate the reaction of everyone:

sisko

Ok, first, before I say anything: This is not meant as a personal attack on ANY of the Development Team either at Cryptic Studios or at Perfect World Entertainment. I’ve had tons of great conversations with several members of the team and I do consider them wonderful, hardworking people with great senses of humor. However, now, I have to do the criticism part. The argument people brought up wasn’t “there are only six missions in Agents of Yesterday.” The criticism is: “There are only six TOS FACTION EXCLUSIVE missions in the game.”

Now, we’ve had some further clarification from Al “Captain Geko” Rivera, during an interview with the G&T Show, that the rest of the TOS story chain, while shared, has different dialogue to differentiate. And while that’s laudable, this leads to why this series of articles is about to kick off.

We need to talk about what makes a faction in STO. Because very very clearly, the development team and the community have a massively difference perspective on it. Technically speaking, in all the backend stuff, the TOS faction is considered a faction. However, I also know, based on Al “CaptainGeko” Rivera’s interview on Priority One some weeks back, that some of the marketing people were hesitant to label our new TOS Feds as a faction. And now I see why. And that’s the player’s perspective on what a faction is.

So what from a player’s perspective, makes a faction?

  • Provides a unique gameplay and/or storytelling perspective from other factions in the game.
  • Roughly 20-30 levels minimum exclusive gameplay story missions (aka episodes)
  • Unique Character creation and customization exclusive to this faction, while still faithful to on-screen canon
  • Has unique ships indicative of a faction’s unique space faring military organization (I use this term because it’s the best all encompassing one)

We see a faction as a separate player organization to which you are aligned at character creation, which has at least 25-30 levels of unique story content, and has its own ships during level up and factional flavor. As of right now, the TOS faction has very little of this. Allow me to give the run down on the TOS faction:

  • Unique Gameplay and Storytelling perspective based around time travel
  • Has 10 levels of unique content not shared with other factions, before being shunted into a shared storyline.
  • Starting at Tier 2, shares all available ships with the standard Federation characters (this makes the Pioneer-class the only TOS-faction exclusive starship).
  • Has restricted Character Creation to keep “TOS immersion” that lasts for only the first 10 levels of the game before being shared with the rest of the community.

Now, we’re not getting into all of this today. Those of you who follow on twitter may know this was intended to be a one-shot article. Said article in first draft was 10 pages long, single spaced. And with information changing on a day to day basis, I can’t keep this relevant for more than a day at present. So, we’re ending this today with the announcement of a format shift. This is going to be a start of a series that will run until the content being discussed has been fully covered, and this time we’re going deep into the world of what makes what content what, executive decisions, community relations and dialogue, community vs dev perspectives on content, and the general cluster Agents of Yesterday and the 50th Anniversary represents.

So please, stay tuned for the next piece in this series: Only Six Missions TOS Federation: Faction or Fraction?

11 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: “Only Six Missions” – Faction Parity, Disgruntled Fans, Lost Direction, and Years of Built of Tension

  1. I consider the TOS faction to be a sub-faction instead of a full faction. I consider Romulans are their own faction because they have their own ships and a significant story to themselves. I can understand why Cryptic would go about making a sub-faction instead of a full faction.

    Hypothetical: Lets say Cryptic during a KDF revamp decided to give some non Klingon species their own intro missions different from the main KDF one. Instead of starting in with the B’rel your flying your appropriate racial ship.

    -Orions would start in a Orion Corvette or Raider
    -Gorn in a Vishap Frigate
    -Nausicans in a Nausican Destroyer
    -Ferasans in a Darkstalker Destroyer

    Each would have their own intro story, minor plod differences, Ranks, Uniforms. As well as having the option of using any of the others ships in the KDF because of diplomatic obligations. But they would sill be KDF and could not be independent while still having their own unique flavor. These are something I would call a sub-faction like the TOS.

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  2. are you really surprised by this , this is just like LOR and the DELTA recruit wombo combo , they used the delta style character creation tag and the LOR faction tag for ship purchases and such , while not a true faction like the kdf or fed , or even like the romulan for that matter , the fact the they promoted the game on the test server to get you to sub to get access is enough to see where Cryptic is taking sto . while the DEVS who work on the assets do great work , given us great levels to play and space magic to play with . they never fully implement changes in the game , while the new shinnies are nice , and pretty well designed there is no reason to buy anymore , why do i need another t6 ship when i have one for the main and maybe a alt or 2 . i would love to have some of the newer released ships , i just cant justify the expense or even the time needed to grind it out at current prices . which compared to NW are grossly high for exchange rates .they need to spend time on stream lining what they have and go in the direction for all the content on the same level , more adventure zones less queued content for one . Queues dont work past a certain time frame most queues have nothing to offer after your past t5 in rep . admiralty was a disappointment , lately sto has been not much wow ,more Meh most will come back for the agents release play then go back to whatever mmo they were playing a few might buy items but most i know personally have said nope there done spending money on the game there is no point. its become less of a mmo at end game and more like a match making game like destiny or even warframe you sit at your navpoint click a queue and wait . there is no reason to leave spacedock

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    1. My question being, why do you even play the game then? If your gonna be like most everyone else and whine, go back to Neverwinter and stay there. Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting in my T6 Sagattire class cruiser and trying to make sure this time travel stuff doesn’t give me a headache.

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  3. They did more for Delta Recruits, and that was just a side thing not an expansion! The least they could do was to add in small tie-ins to the existing missions if we’re going to be dumped into them at level 9, just like for Delta Recruits. Maybe this will be coming but from what I’ve seen so far I’m disappointed.
    They could tie this in with existing factions too, they are trying to promote exploration so why not make it a mystery or something? There’s something going on in the galaxy (maybe Na’Kuhl interference has caused temporal disturbances) and we have to replay old content with existing characters to find out what’s what, we have contact with the TOS universe and can experience things that had been changed in the 23rd century.
    The existence of the packs shows that Cryptic is only after grabbing cash though, what’s the point in any ship now that isn’t T6? TOS levelling ships that you’ll use for a couple of hours, then discharge at some point when your ship roster becomes too full? Give us a T6 Connie, TOS transporter and communicators at least!

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  4. Sadly, if what Geko has stated is going to happen, it won’t cut it, nor will it be accepted as a new faction by the community.
    I guess the devs will have to get ready for the oncoming storm.

    Trying my best to fan the flames on the forums/reddit, like Lootcritter, but the devs aren’t helping themselves much…

    Didn’t realize it was actually confirmed that this new TOS faction was nothing more than a tutorial and a few dialogue changes, and I can get why they were so hesitant to call it a faction in the first place.

    I guess they should have listened to marketing!

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  5. This “faction” exists basically as yet another completely unnecessary incentive to “PlayFedPlayFedPlayFedPlayFed” (or as a DISincentive to playing ROM/KDF) and flagrantly cash grab, seemingly. Haven’t had the desire to play since they announced this nonsense.

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  6. I’m going to listen to the podcast before commenting definitively. But I will say that without more exclusive missions, the marketing department was right to not call this a faction.

    Here are my opinions on what a faction needs:
    1) The first half or so of the leveling experience be its own storyline, *or* interweve its storyline into the larger STO story but still have exclusives after those “faction-agnostic” episodes. The “Fek’Ihiri Return” and “Vigilance” KDF story arcs are good examples. They come in after Spectres (and older-style Featured Episode series, for those who are newer to the game) but are still KDF-exclusive [save for Temporal Ambassador].

    2) A faction needs to have its own exclusive starships. TOS Starfleet *kind of* does this, but allows current 2409/2410 Starfleet characters to use them, as well. (Which is understandable from a flavor perspective, as TOS and 2409/2410 are both Starfleet and are going to be in each other’s “time streams.”)
    *They did one thing right in this bundle: They’ve included/will include 2-3 “faction agnostic” starships to give *some* incentive for non-Starfleet players to purchase it.

    3) It can be argued, but would take a lot more resources than can probably be spared, that a faction needs to have its own faction fleet and style of fleet holdings. However, considering the massive effort it takes to get just 1 fleet’s holdings up and running to maximum potential as well as the man hours it’d take to design all the new holding assets, I can see where this gets cut easily.

    Everything else about a faction could just be included in a mid-season update: PvE queues, reputation, DOFF assignments, an Admiralty campaign, etc. But the above 2-3 items, to me, would make a faction feel like a true faction.

    To make this post even longer, let me stick up for the devs: I can see why this is being called a faction *unofficially.* To pull off the storytelling they need to do, they seemed to have 2 options: make a new game (not likely, and definitely not in time for the 50th anniversary, I’d wager), or roll it into STO. To do that, it has to have at least some exclusive missions. That’s done by making it a faction choice.

    In *that* sense, yes, we’re getting a new faction: you have to make a new character with that theme, and it has its certain style and exclusive missions to get characters going. But this only speaks in the *mechanical* sense (“it had to be done this way to tell our story”), not in a player expectation sense (needs more exclusive story, more exclusive ships, etc.).

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  7. Why did you leave out the part where Geko said that the TOS faction would be AT LEAST(key words) as much of a faction as the Romulans?

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