I'd like to talk about Bringing Back both the Foundry AND the old exploration system, but not in the way most would think.
There is no way that any of us can honestly say that Foundry and the old exploration system were without problems. Foundry kept breaking, and exploration was a smelly mess, and fixing the Foundry was too hard due to lack of available human resources to stay on top of it, and fixing exploration amounted to just removing buggy maps out of the random rotation. The game is arguably better or worse without these mechanics, depending on who you ask.
Recently, I posted a topic entitled "What would YOU add to STO?" The purpose was to get as many answers to that question in one discussion, rather than dredging up a whole bunch of existing threads, many of which would result in necro-posting if referenced. I felt it was important to consolidate as many responses into a current active thread. The return of the Foundry and the addition of exploration have been recurring elements. So I wanted to address them.
Those who are familiar with my posting history know that I am a strong proponent for exploration, and that I was a strong opponent for the removal of the Foundry, which after exploration was removed became the unofficial alternative.
The biggest problem with the foundry was its design. It relied on a database that was isolated from the core game's database. But there was only one game client. When the core game was updated, both the core database and the client were updated accordingly, but the Foundry database was not. That's why it kept breaking. The more the core game was updated, the more incompatible the Foundry database became with the client, making it a bigger and bigger mess for a team that did not have the extra manpower to spare to fix and maintain. Had STO been designed around the notion of user generated content being a core component, A shared database might have been possible, so everything could have gotten updated accordingly. And that is the answer to Foundry's return. As a shard of its own, like Redshirt or Tribble. It would have its own client, synced with the database. And if launched in a functional state, could be left alone to run independently of the core game, not breaking when the core game gets updated.
Nothing done on the Foundry shard would impact Holodeck, Tribble or Redshirt in any way. It would have its own ruleset, and could deliver an entirely interactive storytelling experience that could never be used to game the core system. It would exist to service those interested in the narrative aspect of the STO universe.
Playing on Foundry would be a different experience from the other shards. You won't create a character like normal. The Foundry Author will be required to create a primary protagonist character and his/her ship and that ship's interior map and bridge. When a player on Foundry first starts, the oldest Foundry mission loads and the player experiences it in the role the author created. when the story ends, the layer may react to the author accordingly:
If the player upvotes the author, then the next mission to load will be that author's next mission, if available. The system would always attempt to pull missions from authors the player has upvoted first, then neutral missions, and then downvoted missions. The upvoting or downvoting would only reflect individual players mission load priority and give the author a upvote to downvote ratio for his/her missions. Just because one person may not enjoy a mission does not mean someone else won't, so there should be nothing that impacts priority weighting for anyone other than the voter.
Under a mechanic like this, Foundry would be like experiencing fan fiction in the context of storytelling only.
The old exploration mechanic could be applied by an author to put the player into a random loop, with a potential encounter or plot-centric discovery in the process. Having the travel points being randomized adds a layer of unpredictability to the sequencing of events.
Under this approach, Foundry would be able to run as-is without mandatory updates, and will not need a dedicated coder to monkey with it every time the core game gets updated. And when new elements get added, the Foundry client and database would be updated and should continue to work.
I know that it is unlikely for Foundry to return in any form. This is just an idea of how it COULD return without the issues thst made it so problematic before...
Agree or disagree. No skin off my nose. I'm just an idea guy here.
When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.