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Queues/TFOs, and why most of them don't get played

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  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 9,427 Arc User
    I have to admit.. I sympathize with Cryptic here because I honestly don't have a solution for this problem. How do you make Normal rewarding enough for new players to play it while not leaving it open to exploitation from well geared players? Ideally, you want to attract new and under geared players to normals, and more experienced and a little better geared players into advanced. The problem is, this is a lot harder then it sounds.

    I honestly don't know a good way to do it.
    The reason the easy content is "open to exploitation" is because it's more rewarding than the hard content. If the rewards were properly set up, everyone should want to play at the highest level that they can. Of course, it's very hard to do if everything rewards the same dil and marks, but with unique rewards it's quite simple.

    STO has even had it. In the before time, the long long ago, when there were no rep system, the STFs randomly dropped unique gear sets. Mark X or XI for Normal and XI or XII for Elite. The Normal drops were quite enough to improve your build, but once you were ready for Elite you really wanted that Mk XII and it would've been folly to go back to "exploit" the Normals since you'd never get the big shiny there.

    There were no empty queues back then.
    What could've been done, imo, was to apply some sort of short skill-check in form of a solo mission, that needed to be completed in order to gain access to advanced queues. And similarly to elite.
    I agree. In fact I'm pretty sure I suggested they add unlock conditions to the higher levels when the whining started after DR. Because Advanced was most certainly not too hard.

    Even just properly informing players of their performance or lack thereof would've helped. I honestly do believe some newbies back then would've believed they'd won the queue when the 10 mark consolation prize popped up with no explanation.
  • lordsteve1lordsteve1 Member Posts: 3,492 Arc User
    edited September 2018
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.

    I remember the time very well.
    The day DR went live i joined a pug run of CSA as i had been doing for months previously. I was flying an Engineering Vesta variant and that build had served me excellently for many months without issue.

    That first run was a goddamned nightmare.

    The simple assimilated BoP's had gone from simple cannon fodder to million+ HP monsters that could not be killed by anything we had at our disposal. Even bringing one down with every single trick we had in our arsenal was almost impossible and eventually the timer just ran out on us. The Kang was in no danger because it too had a trillion HP's or whatever, but nobody could do any meaningful damage against the wall of HP's.
    It was a perfect example of utterly lazy and half-arsed game changes trying to make a mission more difficult; the old "whack a million extra HP's on everything" trick that Cryptic are so fond of.

    The fail conditions were not an issue for me, i like a little bit of risk in my runs and nothing was more fun that clawing a messed up run back from the brink with half the team leaving early. I met some awesome friends doing that, pulling victory from the jaws or seemingly certain defeat.
    SulMatuul.png
  • tunebreakertunebreaker Member Posts: 1,222 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.

    I disagree to a point. I wouldn't mind seeing fail conditions on Elites... however... with the vast majority of the playerbase playing Advanced... having fail conditions is a recipe for disaster. I speak from experience.

    One of my early Advanced runs of Infected back when DR hit... I had someone from a... CERTAIN FLEET we all know... decide to go "hunting for his spec point". The rest of us... being the veterans that we were, went off to the left per normal operation procedure for Infected. The Spec Point Hunter, lets call him Bozo, decided to go right and pop a Generator right off the bat, then said "Nope. Not here". So there we were... SCRAMBLING to keep from failing... because Bozo decided to be a Troll and fail us on purpose.

    In the end... we got the standard 30 minute lock out... no reward... and in general just a crapload of frustration for our efforts to complete Infected of all things. All because Bozo wanted to fail us on purpose for teh lulz.

    Fail conditions just ASK for abuse in this form. For a game full of casuals... this is a problem that added to the uproar on the forums. I remember the fires on the forums during Delta Rising...

    Never underestimate the ability of a Troll to ruin your day. They will FIND ways to do so. And once they do... they will exploit it all to hell for their own amusement and to the frustration of others around them.

    So as I said... I disagree to a point. Fails in Elite is fine because its SUPPOSED to be a challenge. Fails on Advanced... are just too easy to Troll the entire community with.

    Ok, but consider this. Ground elites are pretty much equal to space advanced in terms of their popularity relative to other difficulties (no one plays advanced ground, unless elite doesn't exist for that map). Undine Inflitration, back when it wasn't bugged, was an extremely popular queue which popped incredibly fast. It also happens to be the easiest queue to troll, because other players can't do anything at all when someone decides to choose wrong answer on purpose. In ISA, you can at least try to kill the spheres ASAP or contain them with control powers, in there, there's nothing you can do. Furthermore, even if you managed to get through that part, in caves someone could force the entire team to quit with a carefully placed Cover shield.

    Yet, there were not too many complaints about it. Sure, there were some, but considering how popular the queue was, I'd say the trolls were not too frequent. I think over the 2(?) years I actively played that queue, I met both of those trolling "tricks" only once. So yes, trolls can always find a way to ruin your day, but I believe most of the "but think what would happen if someone were to troll it" concerns are slight overreactions. But maybe I've been just lucky.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 55,672 Community Moderator
    warpangel wrote: »
    STO has even had it. In the before time, the long long ago, when there were no rep system, the STFs randomly dropped unique gear sets. Mark X or XI for Normal and XI or XII for Elite. The Normal drops were quite enough to improve your build, but once you were ready for Elite you really wanted that Mk XII and it would've been folly to go back to "exploit" the Normals since you'd never get the big shiny there.

    There were no empty queues back then.

    There was also quite a few instances of the Random Number Gods hating some people and loving others. One person could run Kitomer Ground 100 times for a week straight and NOT get the shiny, while the next guy over just got his 5th in a row.
    I speak from experience. I was one of those who didn't get the shiny for QUITE a while. Was really aggrivating.

    While I would not mind seeing something like a unique drop come back to STFs... I'd rather it not be tied to any of the rep gear we can earn. Make it something truly unique. I don't wanna end up with that aggrivation of not getting the 1 thing I need to finish my MACO set for WEEKS again.

    So... leave the reps as they are... but ADD something cool that can be earned as a drop that is only available in a particular STF. I'm one of those oddballs who actually likes the more tactical feel of ground combat at times.
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
    The nut who actually ground out a Delta Pack, Temporal Pack, and Gamma Pack
    The resident forum voice of reason (I HAZ FORUM REP! YAY!)
  • tunebreakertunebreaker Member Posts: 1,222 Arc User
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    DR had many intial weave-errors (to out it mildly). Some Advanced queues, for instance, were way too difficult, at start. By 'accident' (according to Cryptic, though the cynic in me believes Geko had done this on purpose, to spur us to do the whole Upgrade spiel). So, eventually toning those down a bit (after we did most all of our Upgrade spending already) was only fair.
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.
    I remember.

    Me and several of my friends who regularly teamed to do the old STFs tried Advanced Mirror day 1 in T5s and level 50 characters.... we got curbstomped. Mainly because of how much firepower it took to kill everything. Taking down a single battleship mob required us to stick together... and you NEED to split up for this one.
    lordsteve1 wrote: »
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.

    I remember the time very well.
    The day DR went live i joined a pug run of CSA as i had been doing for months previously. I was flying an Engineering Vesta variant and that build had served me excellently for many months without issue.

    That first run was a goddamned nightmare.

    The simple assimilated BoP's had gone from simple cannon fodder to million+ HP monsters that could not be killed by anything we had at our disposal. Even bringing one down with every single trick we had in our arsenal was almost impossible and eventually the timer just ran out on us. The Kang was in no danger because it too had a trillion HP's or whatever, but nobody could do any meaningful damage against the wall of HP's.
    It was a perfect example of utterly lazy and half-arsed game changes trying to make a mission more difficult; the old "whack a million extra HP's on everything" trick that Cryptic are so fond of.

    The fail conditions were not an issue for me, i like a little bit of risk in my runs and nothing was more fun that clawing a messed up run back from the brink with half the team leaving early. I met some awesome friends doing that, pulling victory from the jaws or seemingly certain defeat.

    @meimeitoo - It feels like you did an awesome job carrying me... oh wait, I didn't even know you at that time yet. Who the hell was carrying me then? Cause I know I was a totally awful player back then (I made my first DPS-10k eligible parse on 24th of November 2014, a month after DR, and it was in a pug), with only semi-decent gear on my Avenger an abomination of skilltree, yet I didn't feel like there had been a too big leap in terms of difficulty. The enemies were tougher, alright, but was it really that horrible?
    I'm not going to argue with you though, cause indeed, those memories are a bit fuzzy for me, plus player experiences *can* differ.
  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 9,427 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    warpangel wrote: »
    STO has even had it. In the before time, the long long ago, when there were no rep system, the STFs randomly dropped unique gear sets. Mark X or XI for Normal and XI or XII for Elite. The Normal drops were quite enough to improve your build, but once you were ready for Elite you really wanted that Mk XII and it would've been folly to go back to "exploit" the Normals since you'd never get the big shiny there.

    There were no empty queues back then.

    There was also quite a few instances of the Random Number Gods hating some people and loving others. One person could run Kitomer Ground 100 times for a week straight and NOT get the shiny, while the next guy over just got his 5th in a row.
    I speak from experience. I was one of those who didn't get the shiny for QUITE a while. Was really aggrivating.

    While I would not mind seeing something like a unique drop come back to STFs... I'd rather it not be tied to any of the rep gear we can earn. Make it something truly unique. I don't wanna end up with that aggrivation of not getting the 1 thing I need to finish my MACO set for WEEKS again.

    So... leave the reps as they are... but ADD something cool that can be earned as a drop that is only available in a particular STF. I'm one of those oddballs who actually likes the more tactical feel of ground combat at times.
    Of course. Randomly dropping the rep gear wouldn't be unique at all. It wouldn't be any incentive to play more diverse content, because everyone could still grind the same Easy Mode stuff to get it. It would just be a shortcut for someone who got lucky partway through the grind.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 55,672 Community Moderator
    I wasn't referring to Rep gear. I was saying add something NEW that isn't tied to the rep.
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
    The nut who actually ground out a Delta Pack, Temporal Pack, and Gamma Pack
    The resident forum voice of reason (I HAZ FORUM REP! YAY!)
  • lordsteve1lordsteve1 Member Posts: 3,492 Arc User
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    DR had many intial weave-errors (to out it mildly). Some Advanced queues, for instance, were way too difficult, at start. By 'accident' (according to Cryptic, though the cynic in me believes Geko had done this on purpose, to spur us to do the whole Upgrade spiel). So, eventually toning those down a bit (after we did most all of our Upgrade spending already) was only fair.
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.
    I remember.

    Me and several of my friends who regularly teamed to do the old STFs tried Advanced Mirror day 1 in T5s and level 50 characters.... we got curbstomped. Mainly because of how much firepower it took to kill everything. Taking down a single battleship mob required us to stick together... and you NEED to split up for this one.
    lordsteve1 wrote: »
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.

    I remember the time very well.
    The day DR went live i joined a pug run of CSA as i had been doing for months previously. I was flying an Engineering Vesta variant and that build had served me excellently for many months without issue.

    That first run was a goddamned nightmare.

    The simple assimilated BoP's had gone from simple cannon fodder to million+ HP monsters that could not be killed by anything we had at our disposal. Even bringing one down with every single trick we had in our arsenal was almost impossible and eventually the timer just ran out on us. The Kang was in no danger because it too had a trillion HP's or whatever, but nobody could do any meaningful damage against the wall of HP's.
    It was a perfect example of utterly lazy and half-arsed game changes trying to make a mission more difficult; the old "whack a million extra HP's on everything" trick that Cryptic are so fond of.

    The fail conditions were not an issue for me, i like a little bit of risk in my runs and nothing was more fun that clawing a messed up run back from the brink with half the team leaving early. I met some awesome friends doing that, pulling victory from the jaws or seemingly certain defeat.

    @meimeitoo - It feels like you did an awesome job carrying me... oh wait, I didn't even know you at that time yet. Who the hell was carrying me then? Cause I know I was a totally awful player back then (I made my first DPS-10k eligible parse on 24th of November 2014, a month after DR, and it was in a pug), with only semi-decent gear on my Avenger an abomination of skilltree, yet I didn't feel like there had been a too big leap in terms of difficulty. The enemies were tougher, alright, but was it really that horrible?
    I'm not going to argue with you though, cause indeed, those memories are a bit fuzzy for me, plus player experiences *can* differ.

    It was more the utter shock of the sudden and massive changes i think.

    We all went from melting faces off in Elite queues like ISE, KSE, CSE and suddenly we could barely kill a single enemy with the ENTIRE team shooting it. Obviously a few of the top end players who were already doing 200K+ back then would have fared a little better but the changes were massive.
    And it wasn't really any more difficult, the only thing was that everything took about 10x longer to kill if you were lucky. The fail objectives at the time were bad simply because suddenly every player didn't have enough time and/or DPS to actually be able to kill everything needed.
    It was bad game design and pushed a lot of people away. I remember the queues went from highly active and varied to dying of cancer overnight almost.
    SulMatuul.png
  • meimeitoomeimeitoo Member Posts: 12,395 Arc User
    lordsteve1 wrote: »
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    DR had many intial weave-errors (to out it mildly). Some Advanced queues, for instance, were way too difficult, at start. By 'accident' (according to Cryptic, though the cynic in me believes Geko had done this on purpose, to spur us to do the whole Upgrade spiel). So, eventually toning those down a bit (after we did most all of our Upgrade spending already) was only fair.
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.
    I remember.

    Me and several of my friends who regularly teamed to do the old STFs tried Advanced Mirror day 1 in T5s and level 50 characters.... we got curbstomped. Mainly because of how much firepower it took to kill everything. Taking down a single battleship mob required us to stick together... and you NEED to split up for this one.
    lordsteve1 wrote: »
    While I don't remember that time quite well, cause I was only a 10k-er back then, I do think they made advanced queues too easy by removing every way to completely fail them.

    I remember the time very well.
    The day DR went live i joined a pug run of CSA as i had been doing for months previously. I was flying an Engineering Vesta variant and that build had served me excellently for many months without issue.

    That first run was a goddamned nightmare.

    The simple assimilated BoP's had gone from simple cannon fodder to million+ HP monsters that could not be killed by anything we had at our disposal. Even bringing one down with every single trick we had in our arsenal was almost impossible and eventually the timer just ran out on us. The Kang was in no danger because it too had a trillion HP's or whatever, but nobody could do any meaningful damage against the wall of HP's.
    It was a perfect example of utterly lazy and half-arsed game changes trying to make a mission more difficult; the old "whack a million extra HP's on everything" trick that Cryptic are so fond of.

    The fail conditions were not an issue for me, i like a little bit of risk in my runs and nothing was more fun that clawing a messed up run back from the brink with half the team leaving early. I met some awesome friends doing that, pulling victory from the jaws or seemingly certain defeat.

    @meimeitoo - It feels like you did an awesome job carrying me... oh wait, I didn't even know you at that time yet. Who the hell was carrying me then? Cause I know I was a totally awful player back then (I made my first DPS-10k eligible parse on 24th of November 2014, a month after DR, and it was in a pug), with only semi-decent gear on my Avenger an abomination of skilltree, yet I didn't feel like there had been a too big leap in terms of difficulty. The enemies were tougher, alright, but was it really that horrible?
    I'm not going to argue with you though, cause indeed, those memories are a bit fuzzy for me, plus player experiences *can* differ.

    It was more the utter shock of the sudden and massive changes i think.

    We all went from melting faces off in Elite queues like ISE, KSE, CSE and suddenly we could barely kill a single enemy with the ENTIRE team shooting it. Obviously a few of the top end players who were already doing 200K+ back then would have fared a little better but the changes were massive.
    And it wasn't really any more difficult, the only thing was that everything took about 10x longer to kill if you were lucky. The fail objectives at the time were bad simply because suddenly every player didn't have enough time and/or DPS to actually be able to kill everything needed.
    It was bad game design and pushed a lot of people away. I remember the queues went from highly active and varied to dying of cancer overnight almost.


    ^^ This is my recollection precisely. The early days of DR were truly terribad.
    ChCDpuh.jpg
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 55,672 Community Moderator
    Agreed. We went from being able to melt everything... to fighting HP Sponges that made us feel like lv 1 players again. I think it took me half an hour just to get through the the big fight over Vaadwaur Prime... IN THE STORY MISSION!
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
    The nut who actually ground out a Delta Pack, Temporal Pack, and Gamma Pack
    The resident forum voice of reason (I HAZ FORUM REP! YAY!)
  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 9,427 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    I wasn't referring to Rep gear. I was saying add something NEW that isn't tied to the rep.
    So was I.
  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 55,672 Community Moderator
    Maybe for Infected Space we could have a chance at a Photonic Variance Torpedo or something. Whereas Infected Ground could offer a unique ground weapon like Picard's holographic Tommy Gun.

    Just spitballing here but... would be interesting, and if they keep to a theme, then they can come up with a lot of stuff. Like Days of Doom could offer a special red variant TOS phaser array, as I believe in the original airing of TOS they bounced around on what the ship phasers looked like.
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
    The nut who actually ground out a Delta Pack, Temporal Pack, and Gamma Pack
    The resident forum voice of reason (I HAZ FORUM REP! YAY!)
  • lordsteve1lordsteve1 Member Posts: 3,492 Arc User
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Maybe for Infected Space we could have a chance at a Photonic Variance Torpedo or something. Whereas Infected Ground could offer a unique ground weapon like Picard's holographic Tommy Gun.

    Just spitballing here but... would be interesting, and if they keep to a theme, then they can come up with a lot of stuff. Like Days of Doom could offer a special red variant TOS phaser array, as I believe in the original airing of TOS they bounced around on what the ship phasers looked like.

    Totally. This is the sort of things that would be unique but desirable to players and hopefully make them want to play the content.
    Allow players to trade the rewards and you've created a system where those that can, get rewards and those that can't/won't can buy them.
    SulMatuul.png
  • meimeitoomeimeitoo Member Posts: 12,395 Arc User
    patrickngo wrote: »
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    I have to admit.. I sympathize with Cryptic here because I honestly don't have a solution for this problem. How do you make Normal rewarding enough for new players to play it while not leaving it open to exploitation from well geared players? Ideally, you want to attract new and under geared players to normals, and more experienced and a little better geared players into advanced. The problem is, this is a lot harder then it sounds.

    I honestly don't know a good way to do it.


    Well, one way, albeit draconian (not including RA's) is to simply bar better players from doing Normals. "Reach lv 50? No more Normals for you!" And then step up the rewards for Normals a bit. But I can already see the forum rage, if they ever did that. :)

    problem being, your 'Normals' AND YOUR ADVANCED are both starting at 50 now.

    When "Normal" started at 45, that might've been one way to gate it.

    but it's a weak gating mechanism, since story progression now goes all the way up.

    Better solution:

    Normals open at level 40 (or 45, if you must) as they used to.

    to 'qualify' for Advanced, you have to beat the 'normals' in each grouping first. all of them, both ground and space, with Optionals.

    set it up so you only have to do it once, but use that as your 'qualifying round' for Advanced, and offer 'down rated' versions of STF gear (mark x or mark XI maybe) in the rep store until you're actually qualled for Advanced, with a Level lock (50)


    The problem, the way I see it (or, rather, if I understood @seaofsorrows correctly), is not so much inexperienced players doing Advanced queues, but better players steam-rolling Normal queues (if the rewards for Normals were any good). So, ideally, you want to prevent the latter. And not allowing you to do Normals any more, above, say, lv 50, would open the way for Cryptic to hand out some decent rewards in Normals too. And then, ironically, inexperienced players wouldn't feel the urge any more to do Advanced queues before they're really ready. :)

    There's also nothing inherently wrong with gating it both ways, and do your 'Qualification Test' to gain entry to Advanced. Although I believe -- player resistance wise -- ppl will find it more palatable/fair for the more experienced players to just no longer have access to Normals.
    ChCDpuh.jpg
  • lordsteve1lordsteve1 Member Posts: 3,492 Arc User
    Why not just have it so you must complete x number of runs of each queue at normal to unlock advanced. And the same for unlocking elite level. That way players will at least be familiar with a queue before jumping on an advanced run which you could then add in fail conditions again.
    And tbh it’s not hard to run through say 5 goes at normal Infected when you’re at day level 40 so that when you get to 50 you’re all clues up for the advanced runs.
    Also tie the said queue into the mission arc like they are trying to do and you get players learning them as they level up. By the time they are max they should be at least familiar with the basics as ideally you’ve encountered the relevant content and prerequisite runs already whilst levelling.

    Honestly a bit of failure never hurt anyone. I remember stfs used to go up the creek all the time in the past. Never stopped me and it gave runs a sense of challenge at least.
    SulMatuul.png
  • baddmoonrizinbaddmoonrizin Member Posts: 7,651 Community Moderator
    Just try and keep it civil and on topic, guys. I've no interest in shutting down a discussion about the issues with queues.
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  • tunebreakertunebreaker Member Posts: 1,222 Arc User
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    patrickngo wrote: »
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    I have to admit.. I sympathize with Cryptic here because I honestly don't have a solution for this problem. How do you make Normal rewarding enough for new players to play it while not leaving it open to exploitation from well geared players? Ideally, you want to attract new and under geared players to normals, and more experienced and a little better geared players into advanced. The problem is, this is a lot harder then it sounds.

    I honestly don't know a good way to do it.


    Well, one way, albeit draconian (not including RA's) is to simply bar better players from doing Normals. "Reach lv 50? No more Normals for you!" And then step up the rewards for Normals a bit. But I can already see the forum rage, if they ever did that. :)

    problem being, your 'Normals' AND YOUR ADVANCED are both starting at 50 now.

    When "Normal" started at 45, that might've been one way to gate it.

    but it's a weak gating mechanism, since story progression now goes all the way up.

    Better solution:

    Normals open at level 40 (or 45, if you must) as they used to.

    to 'qualify' for Advanced, you have to beat the 'normals' in each grouping first. all of them, both ground and space, with Optionals.

    set it up so you only have to do it once, but use that as your 'qualifying round' for Advanced, and offer 'down rated' versions of STF gear (mark x or mark XI maybe) in the rep store until you're actually qualled for Advanced, with a Level lock (50)


    The problem, the way I see it (or, rather, if I understood @seaofsorrows correctly), is not so much inexperienced players doing Advanced queues, but better players steam-rolling Normal queues (if the rewards for Normals were any good). So, ideally, you want to prevent the latter. And not allowing you to do Normals any more, above, say, lv 50, would open the way for Cryptic to hand out some decent rewards in Normals too. And then, ironically, inexperienced players wouldn't feel the urge any more to do Advanced queues before they're really ready. :)

    There's also nothing inherently wrong with gating it both ways, and do your 'Qualification Test' to gain entry to Advanced. Although I believe -- player resistance wise -- ppl will find it more palatable/fair for the more experienced players to just no longer have access to Normals.

    Problem with that is, I would believe you'd hit level 50 (or even 65) before you'll have the chance to get into queues in the first place, given how much storyline missions we have these days. So, saying we do restrict the access, we should be doing it with a different criteria - but what would that be? Furthermore, this poses another problem, say I want to take my weaker ship and show out to someone how a queue works, in normal, cause they feel they are not ready for advanced (or Cryptic has implemented the "qualification test" as you said). What would be my solution then?

    And talking about something that rewards well in advanced (say Infected or Crystalline), are ISN and CCN really *that* bad? How much less marks do they give?
    Also, I don't think Normal getting a reward boost would do anything to drive more experienced players in it, if the rewards for Advanced and Elite stay competitively better. And plenty of those self-proclaimed "experienced" players *should* actually be doing normal in the first place.
  • seaofsorrowsseaofsorrows Member Posts: 10,913 Arc User
    edited September 2018
    \

    Problem with that is, I would believe you'd hit level 50 (or even 65) before you'll have the chance to get into queues in the first place, given how much storyline missions we have these days.

    Yes, this would be an issue for sure.

    You can't gate off Normals by level, it just won't work. Players might play through story content and reach level 60 before they even realize queues are there.. then what?

    Here is my admittedly rudimentary attempt at a solution..

    When players reach level 40-45 Normal Queues become accessible. Advanced become accessible at level 50, Elites at 60.

    Normals should have any fail conditions that may be present in Advanced. It should be an exact clone of advanced with weaker enemies.

    All players have a counter assigned to their individual character of how many times they have successfully completed the normal mode queues. So if you join a normal Infected Space and you complete it successfully, with optionals, you get full rewards. They should be good rewards too, a fair amount of marks and dilithium and even say 3 borg neural processors to get you started on your rep. If you run it a 2nd time, your counter gets set to 2 and you get a lower amount of Marks and Dilithium and 1 BNP. After that, the rewards continue to scale down until you have done it 5 times and which point you get a moderate amount of dilithium and marks for all subsequent runs. The Elite mark would only be awarded for runs 1 and 2. This is to get people to do it a couple times before moving to advanced.

    After you successfully complete the queue with optionals on Normal, the Advanced mode unlocks.

    Once you complete the Advanced mode successfully, the rewards for the corresponding normal queue are permanently set to the bare minimum. You're free to re-run them as you like, so no one is 'cut off from content' but the rewards will be much less then running the Advanced Level.

    Advanced Queues, need a draw, so on top of the rewards they currently offer there should be a chance at something desirable. In my opinion, the best way to do this without breaking the power cycle is to offer cosmetics as a potential reward for running advanced. Things like Vanity Shields, costume unlocks, accolades, or even possibly something like a Phoenix Upgrade Kit or a small chance at 1 Master Key. Completing an Advanced Queue has a chance to award one of these items and everyone on the team has a 1/5 chance to get it based on the Need/Greed/Pass system currently in place.

    After successful completion of Advanced, the Elite version (if applicable) is unlocked. Elite queues that have no Advanced Version could either have no pre-requisite or maybe the pre requisite is you have to have 2 other Elites unlocked to gain entry. Unlocking an Elite would not have any effect on Advanced Rewards, this way if you give it a shot and find it's above your level you can return to advanced no harm, no foul. Elites would reward more marks and Dilithium then Advanced but instead of 1/5 chance every member of the team gets a random chance at the special item. It would be possible in Elites for several members of the team to all get a 'special' reward for each run.

    The random unique reward should be something different for each queue. That way you can't just do ISA over and over hundreds of times until you have everything.

    This is an obviously basic outline, but something like this is what I was thinking. The goal is to make Normals the best place for new and under geared players to go, make Advanced Queues something people want to play and make Elites something that people desire to be able to do.
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  • tunebreakertunebreaker Member Posts: 1,222 Arc User
    Wow, @seaofsorrows, you thought it through. And I like it. However, I would say that Elites probably could remove the RNG aspect altogether from it's special reward.

    What I mean is that, as I understood from your proposal - in advanced, there's a 20% chance that, in addition to regular rewards, something special drops just for a single player in the team. And then in elites, there's a ? chance for everyone, but there might be someone who loses out.

    What I would propose, instead, would be that advanced and elite get their loot tables, where each item has the same chance % of dropping, and either...
    1. Advanced gives the random item taken from the table to just one person in the team, while Elite gives something to every member
    2. Advanced has, say, 20% chance of giving some to everyone, while Elite again has 100% possibility to give you *something* special.

    Obviously, the reward part can be fleshed out, but the general outline of your idea, especially how to deal with Normals, is exceptionally good.
  • seaofsorrowsseaofsorrows Member Posts: 10,913 Arc User
    edited September 2018
    Thanks Tune,

    Ideally yeah.. I would like to see everyone in an Elite get something 'special' I just toned that part down because I can already hear the outcry from people saying that they never get the drop in Advanced and that they give everything to those that play Elite.

    I do like your proposal for the Elite rewards though, that would be a good way to handle it. I am not a huge fan of RnG either, I am just trying to work inside the boundaries of what's common in STO. Cryptic loves that RnG. :smiley:
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  • peterconnorfirstpeterconnorfirst Member Posts: 6,223 Arc User
    edited September 2018

    Ok, but consider this. Ground elites are pretty much equal to space advanced in terms of their popularity relative to other difficulties (no one plays advanced ground, unless elite doesn't exist for that map). Undine Inflitration, back when it wasn't bugged, was an extremely popular queue which popped incredibly fast. It also happens to be the easiest queue to troll, because other players can't do anything at all when someone decides to choose wrong answer on purpose. In ISA, you can at least try to kill the spheres ASAP or contain them with control powers, in there, there's nothing you can do. Furthermore, even if you managed to get through that part, in caves someone could force the entire team to quit with a carefully placed Cover shield.

    Yet, there were not too many complaints about it. Sure, there were some, but considering how popular the queue was, I'd say the trolls were not too frequent. I think over the 2(?) years I actively played that queue, I met both of those trolling "tricks" only once. So yes, trolls can always find a way to ruin your day, but I believe most of the "but think what would happen if someone were to troll it" concerns are slight overreactions. But maybe I've been just lucky.


    Yea as for UIE it’s too bad they changed it.
    I cannot even say for sure if the map is broken or if we look at a design change only. Has been too long since I played it. From what I can fathom the infinity charged story mission fire extinguisher does not only *not* work anymore but also hinders you from taking the limited charged extinguishers on the map itself. Even if one takes the extinguisher of the map I think it is down to 1 load meaning you need to run for every single fire you put out to get an extra charge. Of course if 3 players are blocked now as they have the story extinguisher in inventory the reaming two hardly have enough time to tend to the task.
    Here is for annoying game mechanics (that I am sure only 2 or 3 forumitees will find exciting but the ignorance of the community towards that map should speak for itself now).

    Nevertheless the fact that so many other ground elites are appealing enough to get played (even preferred over advanced), should in one way or the other be the solution for more attractiveness for the under used space maps.
    What do most grounds have which we lack in space?
    - Most time gates are intelligently hidden in the terrain to be covered not via artificial timer. And if one encounters a timer you are likely to be busy enough with the task at hand not to notice it as much.
    - A working effort/reward ratio as ground builds are a lot whole cheaper and the resulting performance span of players is far less extreme compared to space.
    - Engaging, non DPS centric, side quests which are intelligent enough to make u feel that you do more than just press F when you don’t shoot stuff for a change.
    - Most maps are shorter in overall duration for good teams resulting in hard fails not to be that of a biggie as not much gaming time is lost.

    At the moments it is as if one plays an entirely different game on ground with the map designer being entirely different people.

    The more I think of it all the more I believe that the changes you propose in the OP are the very only thing that should be done at least at first to see how it plays out.
    The great paradox we have on most space maps is that low DPS players cannot cope with the DPS checks there but would not mind most time gates to get the rewards (hello MIA afk); High DPS peeps on the other hand are too much annoyed by the timers for which they did not invests millions of EC and Dil into their builds just to sit them out. They however can cope with the DPS checks easily and dont mind to carry others (like in ISA or CCA).
    If cryptic would implement your changes all of this would balance it even. I would not mind putting let’s say CPE into my daily game routine if the transport scenario would not be that much of a long downer with hardly any influence on the reward outcome and it’s not as if the two of us could not cope with the final DPS check on our own no matter in what bad pug we would end up in.
    Post edited by peterconnorfirst on
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  • peterconnorfirstpeterconnorfirst Member Posts: 6,223 Arc User
    edited September 2018
    As on the discussion of adding unique or different rewards to incentive peeps to go more for elite I have my doubts that unique gear drops as in rep gear (as we had in the past) would do much as to trigger me to play the respective maps a single time more often than I have to get the said items *if* the map/activity is dull. Also it’s not as if we wouldn’t need to tend to the respective PvE in the first place at the moment to fill the sliders of the reps and which soon will be 250k rep XP by the way. If a map is dull enough I can assure everybody that I won’t set my foot there ever again the moment my goals are achieved *waves at dranuur colony simulation*.

    I could however be encouraged to some extend if those rewards move beyond the immediate need and are ongoing. Cryptic tried that a bit over salvage tech and purple crafting mats which backfired naturally as both of which are the least required substances when trying crafting/upgrade business as best as possible. Sadly just another half assed attempt.

    Throw in more blue mats for elite as they are in fact needed; throw in Fleet Dil voucher on all elite maps that reward fleet marks; throw in Rep gear Dil vouchers on all elite maps that don’t; throw in upgrade accelerators; hand out a single ultimate upgraders as rare drop chances on elite and I’d be game a lot whole more even if the maps are less fun to play than ISA.


    Post edited by peterconnorfirst on
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    felisean wrote: »
    teamwork to reach a goal is awesome and highly appreciated
    Bring it on
    coldnapalm wrote: »
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  • reyan01reyan01 Member Posts: 15,536 Arc User
    edited September 2018
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Maybe for Infected Space we could have a chance at a Photonic Variance Torpedo or something. Whereas Infected Ground could offer a unique ground weapon like Picard's holographic Tommy Gun.

    Just spitballing here but... would be interesting, and if they keep to a theme, then they can come up with a lot of stuff. Like Days of Doom could offer a special red variant TOS phaser array, as I believe in the original airing of TOS they bounced around on what the ship phasers looked like.

    Whist I completely agree with this idea/suggestion, they tend to keep things like that for new episodes - the proverbial carrot on the stick to convince us to repeat-play the new content.
    Thus I can't see them introducing such items as PvE rewards :(
  • mustrumridcully0mustrumridcully0 Member Posts: 12,958 Arc User
    I like the idea of requiring to play the Normal difficulty to unlock Advaned, and Advanced to Unlock Elite.

    Once you completed it with all optionals, you get also a once-in-a-lifetime (per character? per account?) reward. It might not even need to be unique, really. Just decent, like 8,000 extra Dilithium or 3 Elite Marks. (If it's per character, it might be wise to make it something limited to that particular character, otherwise it will get abused by farmers.)
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  • nimbullnimbull Member Posts: 1,547 Arc User
    Another extremely annoying feature is how either being shot at or shooting yourself completely breaks almost every interaction on missions, whether it is closing a portal, transport or whatever. Thus, an incredibly good QoL change would be if at least being shot at wouldn’t cancel said interactions. Said mechanic feels just to be thrown in to annoy the hell out of everyone, while actually not adding a layer of challenge.

    This is HIGHLY annoying. Especially when the thing shooting at me hardly damages my shield indicators. I can't seriously believe I'd stop everything for that. I'd keep going and finish what I'm doing before shooting that guy but nope.. *PINK* start again *PINK* start again *PINK* start again... I'll play something else.
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  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 9,427 Arc User
    edited September 2018
    reyan01 wrote: »
    rattler2 wrote: »
    Maybe for Infected Space we could have a chance at a Photonic Variance Torpedo or something. Whereas Infected Ground could offer a unique ground weapon like Picard's holographic Tommy Gun.

    Just spitballing here but... would be interesting, and if they keep to a theme, then they can come up with a lot of stuff. Like Days of Doom could offer a special red variant TOS phaser array, as I believe in the original airing of TOS they bounced around on what the ship phasers looked like.

    Whist I completely agree with this idea/suggestion, they tend to keep things like that for new episodes - the proverbial carrot on the stick to convince us to repeat-play the new content.
    Thus I can't see them introducing such items as PvE rewards :(
    3-4 times. Hardly seems worth the effort to me. They would be much better spent as random drops, even in the episode missions.

    At least I don't even repeat the new story missions for the gear sets, because they're guaranteed choice drops. Since I can get any of them no contest anytime I want, it's better to leave them all until I need them for something. Which I rarely do. I have actually discarded mission rewards just to get them out of my inventory.

    The spec points are much more incentive to play featured episode...once per week. Always some Recruit needing to fill their "spend bazillion spec points" tasks.
  • baddmoonrizinbaddmoonrizin Member Posts: 7,651 Community Moderator
    patrickngo wrote: »
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    patrickngo wrote: »
    meimeitoo wrote: »
    I have to admit.. I sympathize with Cryptic here because I honestly don't have a solution for this problem. How do you make Normal rewarding enough for new players to play it while not leaving it open to exploitation from well geared players? Ideally, you want to attract new and under geared players to normals, and more experienced and a little better geared players into advanced. The problem is, this is a lot harder then it sounds.

    I honestly don't know a good way to do it.


    Well, one way, albeit draconian (not including RA's) is to simply bar better players from doing Normals. "Reach lv 50? No more Normals for you!" And then step up the rewards for Normals a bit. But I can already see the forum rage, if they ever did that. :)

    problem being, your 'Normals' AND YOUR ADVANCED are both starting at 50 now.

    When "Normal" started at 45, that might've been one way to gate it.

    but it's a weak gating mechanism, since story progression now goes all the way up.

    Better solution:

    Normals open at level 40 (or 45, if you must) as they used to.

    to 'qualify' for Advanced, you have to beat the 'normals' in each grouping first. all of them, both ground and space, with Optionals.

    set it up so you only have to do it once, but use that as your 'qualifying round' for Advanced, and offer 'down rated' versions of STF gear (mark x or mark XI maybe) in the rep store until you're actually qualled for Advanced, with a Level lock (50)


    The problem, the way I see it (or, rather, if I understood @seaofsorrows correctly), is not so much inexperienced players doing Advanced queues, but better players steam-rolling Normal queues (if the rewards for Normals were any good). So, ideally, you want to prevent the latter. And not allowing you to do Normals any more, above, say, lv 50, would open the way for Cryptic to hand out some decent rewards in Normals too. And then, ironically, inexperienced players wouldn't feel the urge any more to do Advanced queues before they're really ready. :)

    There's also nothing inherently wrong with gating it both ways, and do your 'Qualification Test' to gain entry to Advanced. Although I believe -- player resistance wise -- ppl will find it more palatable/fair for the more experienced players to just no longer have access to Normals.

    Problem with that is, I would believe you'd hit level 50 (or even 65) before you'll have the chance to get into queues in the first place, given how much storyline missions we have these days. So, saying we do restrict the access, we should be doing it with a different criteria - but what would that be? Furthermore, this poses another problem, say I want to take my weaker ship and show out to someone how a queue works, in normal, cause they feel they are not ready for advanced (or Cryptic has implemented the "qualification test" as you said). What would be my solution then?

    And talking about something that rewards well in advanced (say Infected or Crystalline), are ISN and CCN really *that* bad? How much less marks do they give?
    Also, I don't think Normal getting a reward boost would do anything to drive more experienced players in it, if the rewards for Advanced and Elite stay competitively better. And plenty of those self-proclaimed "experienced" players *should* actually be doing normal in the first place.


    here's your answer to the gating mechanism...

    you have to complete the relevant storyline missions before the queue unlocks. and it only unlocks to "Normal" mode until you've beaten all the 'normal' modes, both ground and space from that set.

    (AKA for the Borg STFs the 'borg' mission set, Dyson sphere the Dyson story set, etc.) You have to finish the relevant story-arc, then you get to queue for the "Normal" missions.

    To Queue for 'Advanced' you have to beat the 'normal' queue missions (with all optionals) once. That means all six of the original STF's (Infected, Khitomer, and Cure, with optionals in "Normal" before you can advance to 'Advanced", and again, all six with optionals, before you can queue for 'elite' and unlock Hive ground and Space.)

    My proposal is kinda punitive though-to prevent sandbaggers from ruining it for people honestly trying to advance, the Rep store should offer the following:

    MkX (Purple) gear until you've qualified for 'Advanced'. (trade-able)
    MkXII (Purple)gear until you've qualified for "Elite" (account trade able-you can give it to your alts)
    Mk XIV or Gold Mk XIII for Elites.(Character Locked)

    yes, this means including lower-tier versions of sets, like we used to have, and to keep it 'spicy', the upgrade paths for "normal" have different stat boosts than for 'Advanced', and both have different upgrade/customizing paths from 'Elite'.

    This lets Borticus and Geko fool around with different powercreep metas, while giving crafters something to do, and for players who don't want to grind dil for upgrade tokens, there's a path to 'decent' gear by straight up pew-pewing PVE.

    basically opening gates. the accolade hunters get to hunt accolades, the people who want fail conditions and a sense of exclusivity get their merit-based pay, and the queues get...well, we have to eliminate the "all marks" boxes from Red Alerts. Seriously. need to go.

    but staging it (finish all of a given queue set before progressing to the next tier) is really kinda basic-you have to beat normal to do Advanced, you have to beat advanced to risk Elite, you need to be well-rounded to tackle the final, Elite mission because it's fundamentally LONGER than the warmups-and has additional mechanics, methods of success, and paths to failure.

    Thus, creating that draw-progression.

    And I'll hammer the one exception in the reps;

    Competitive. Should be open at level 30, with tiered rewards and skill points, set up as an alternate leveling/progression from re-doing story missions on alts, or as a sop to try and bring back a PvP community that's dead-and-gone, but only because it's dead and gone and yet still advertised. There really IS no way to scale between normal/advanced/elite with the comp rep missions because the challenge comes from other players. Unlocking perhaps additional mission types by succeeding may be an option, and thus, you can eliminate the unused levels of PvP, by converting those into 'advanced' and 'elite' style maps for competitive rep players-but only with some serious work.





    I actually like this.^
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