Star Trek Online has matured a lot since it was released, with the addition of Queues, Duty Officers and the Admiralty system.
An early, frequently made request was to allow the player to remain on their bridge while the ship traverse sector space on the way to the next mission, and this was shot down on the technical basis that the engine just didn't support it.
Things however have changed: At release, almost all content had to be accessed by flying to it - The PvP zones where in Klingon space - Alerts would pop up randomly on the map. Even PvE queues were associated with specific Stars. Crafting could only be accessed on Memory Alpha.
Now, the vast majority of the end-game content can be accessed from the players preferred social (or non social) map. I can stay at the Academy, in a Fleet Holding - or even on the bridge of a friends ship, and queue for PvE and PvP content - I can use the Admiralty system, send Duty Officers on tasks and perform Alerts, queue for PvP and grind reputation in the PvE queues and be returned back to exactly where my captain started each time.
So, without negating the option of Sector Travel, I think it's time for Star Trek Online to embrace this move. As it has dropped the requirement for sector travel for the other tasks - add the remaining content to a Queue like system so that we can do Missions: Episode and Repeatable, Patrols, Dilithium mining and Foundry content all from a single new user interface.
How can this work:
My proposal is that STO would choose from the available patrols, "next" episode content, in progress, foundry etc missions and build a system similar to the Admiralty or Duty Officer system where some number of promoted missions can be displayed and filtered by type. Players can select a mission - one for every ship they possess in their Ship roster and "Send" the ship. Again - like the DOFF and Admiralty systems - the mission has a timer that counts down - when the mission is ready the player can claim it at their leisure. Claiming a mission would use the Queue system to take the player (flying the ship they selected for the mission), and their teammates - to the starting location of the patrol/mission/foundry map.
This system would not remove sector space, so the wait-times the system imposes can be easily be bypassed by simply navigating normally to the mission location. They could continue to use Transwarp to get there "instantly" in sector space - but the new system would probably include a "transwarp" option too to avoid even the wait time.
Conversely it benefits players by giving them more opportunity to remain in social areas, at the "cost" of having multiple ships prepared.
Cryptic benefits because:
* Players can finally stop asking to be able to remain on their bridge while travelling to missions.
* Players will be encouraged to buy more ships - have more ships equipped - buy more ship slots all of which drive the demand for dilithium and Zen.
* Players and Cryptic benefit from having a more natural way for Cryptic to add new content to the game as this can easily take on the task of promoting content
I would also hope that the system would encourage the growth of new kinds of mission content as it could easily host scenarios based off the Admiralty and Duty Officer system missions: Quell Pirate Activity, Assist Freighter in distress, etc. would naturally fit into this as random dailies.
Playing STO from Your Social Area of Choice 9 votes
Being able to Queue for Patrols and Mission content would be cool. Make it so!
I like the general idea of spending less time away from social areas but the idea needs imprevements (below).
I think sector space should remain the only way to access episodes, patrols and other missions. Thumbs down.