Personally, I think we need to stop with all of this "Cryptic wants to make money so they must hate us" garbage. We all knew that when they announced that STO was going to go Free to Play, that they would find whatever ways they could to generate revenue without requiring a subscription. At the time of the announcement, I was figuring that they would be creating tons of playable content and selling it as mini-expansions... Instead, playable content took a back seat to fluff items. People scream that they would quit if they started having to pay for playable content. And yet they complain about not having enough playable content and feel like quitting.
Now, there is more of a focus on content development, and an increase in hatred for Cryptic for all the monetization. Thing is, if they did not have the monetization they have now, they would be charging for playable content. And we probably would not have so many veteran Star Trek actors reprising their roles in the game. The only beef I have with them is they still cannot manage to create enough content fast enough to satiate our appetite for it. I would like to see them take three months to produce resources and story content and then roll out 24 episodic missions over the next nine months. In other words, they should produce it like a Star Trek TV show. Have the season written with and mapped out in advance, with all the art assets and voice acting produced and recorded early on. A lot of art assets can be creatively reused. I've seen foundry missions that manage some pretty impressive locations all with assets that have been around from the beginning, but just used in clever ways. Cryptic can do the same thing. They don't HAVE to produce all new assets for every little thing. Just when an episode calls for something specific that cannot be believably produced with existing assets.
And the episodic mission season can contain product placement of items that are on their way to the C-store. In this way, the mission content would drive Zen purchases.
People who take a break from STO for whatever reason tend to come back when new content comes out. So the more content Cryptic produces, the more people will play. And let's be clear... If they are not playing, they surely aren't paying.
Because Cryptic wants to make money does not mean they hate us. But I think they could make MORE money in the long run by streamlining their content production process so that they can release material far more regularly than the currently do. Right now they push things out all at once, and we blast through it all almost immediately. With content releases broken into bite-sized chunks and spread out over nine months, even though we would consume each chunk almost immediately, we would not have to wait so bloody long for the next one to drop.
And what would we do during the 3 month hiatus? How bout a the introduction of new settings scattered throughout the galaxy that function similarly to the way Fleet Holdings work, except that they are not locked behind the fleet wall, meaning anyone visiting them can contribute to them. Maybe it is a new space station being built, with new NPC characters showing up as it progresses, and the new season launches from that location. So players will be vested in the rolling out of the new content, and can actually see something they participate in grow as a result of their actions.
We need to stop always looking at Cryptic as if they are the enemy and start finding ways to meet in the middle. Those of you who have known me the longest know that I have been extremely critical of Cryptic in the past. It's easy to be an armchair developer and jump on the cynicism bandwagon. But that does not get anyone anywhere. STO will be what keeps it in line with PWE's profit expectations. If we can wrap our heads around that FACT, maybe we can start asking for things that keep it real within that scope and give us a gameplay experience that keeps us coming back, or better yet, encourages us not to leave in the first place.
But as long as our relationship with Cryptic/PWE remains driven by the "Us vs. Them" mentality, the developers will have no desire to engage with us on anything meaningful. And I cannot say I blame them.
When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.