Q&A – November
We want to thank you for sending in your questions. We have consolidated most of them and have answered them below.
Q. Will the Borg and Mudd events come back?
A. We are big fans of both ships, and we plan to keep running events that use them! A good example of that is the “Apex Outlaw” event that runs once every month (last on October 24th) and leverages the Stella’s ability to damage eclipse ships and armadas, or the new “Threat Reduction” battle pass event that awards points for defeating borg probes.
In addition, for you Vi’Dar fans, we are working on a way to re-imagine the Borg Mega Cube as a shorter event that incorporates all of the great feedback – in particular, improved borg armada payouts – we received when we first ran it.
Finally, both ships were designed to hold value even outside events: The Vi’dar allows players to grind faction credits daily and the Stella upgrade/scrap loop allows players to complete valuable outlaw research. They remain great tools to speed up your progress in the game.
Q. Will there be any design changes to > OPS 40? It feels that beyond level 40 it gets very hard for players to progress.
A. We are looking at the G4 economy, and there is an internal task group that is looking at the best ways to improve the lvl 40+ experience. We will be implementing changes through this quarter and the next.
In the shorter term, we recognize the experience is not as great as we would like it to be, and have started to design events specifically tuned for lvl40+ players to provide a quick experience boost while we work to set the longer-term changes in place.
Q. What is the STFC team’s thoughts on ROE and is there any way you can implement this, otherwise how should servers implement this?
A. We prefer to leave social interaction and the creation of common rules of behaviour – be they Rules of Engagement or Mining Accords – to the players. We don’t endorse or reject any particular ROE, and much less will “hard code” any type of ROE in the game. It is up to the server’s commanders to live and perhaps enforce the “values” they have enshrined in an ROE and take adequate measures to police them.
Having said that, we will take action when we see abusive behaviour that infringes on our Terms of Service.
Q. When there will be an alliance internal trading function for Ressources, Blueprints and more? Are there any plans for trading resources / exchanging in the future?
A. We are at the early stages of exploring ways to create “black markets” where players can exchange unwanted items for other resources.
Q. We are seeing more PvP events. What’s the evolution of these events?
A. Our first directive is that you have fun playing STFC! A big part of that is that there are event types that cater to different player styles.
PvP events are by their nature harder to balance. Since we ran the original Live Target Practice, we have been iterating and keeping track of your feedback, considering what you like and don’t like in order to try to incorporate in new PvP events. For example, The Stella PvP and Discovery PvP in Discovery Arc 2 both iterate on the Live Target Practice I formula by allowing PvP in systems with housing (Stella PvP) or bonus scoring mechanics and long-form leaderboards (Discovery PvP). One thing we are discussing is to “twin” PvE and PvP (system restricted) events, where completing one of them completes the other, thus players could decide which one they want to do.
Q. Can you make an API for developing Discord Bots?
A. It is something we have not discussed at this moment, but we are not opposed to the idea. However, any such development will have to take a back seat to any performance or reliability improvement to our core game engine.
Q. Is the content like Jaylah, marketplace, crew loadouts going to be available anytime soon?
A. We have an aggressive content pipeline for the rest of 2020 and 2021 where many of the items you mentioned could become available.
Q. Will there be any new changes to the PvP Banding?
A. We monitor PvP engagements, but there are no plans to change the PvP banding logic in the wider game as of now.
Q. Will there be any new type of events as they all feel very repetitive? Anomaly events where a really cool idea but due to their issues they felt very underwhelming.
A. Absolutely! We have an internal proposal for a number of different event mechanics and scoring criteria that we hope will provide variety to events.
In the meantime, we will be shaking up the Battle Pass and weekly events to expand the number of different events you see in any given month along with trying out some new event types like the cross-server competitions etc..
Q. As much as the newer content covering Discovery is exciting, some of us are fans of Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager era of Star Trek. When can we expect to see content from those shows begin to make it’s way in game?
A. We are all great fans of Picard, Sisko, Janeway and their crews! We are locking down the content for next year, but you can expect at least one of those series to be the focal point of an arc soon.
Q. What language/platform is used to develop STFC?
A. STFC was (is) built in Unity, and the server side software is in Python. We have a number of in-house tools that we constantly upgrade to manage live operations (events, sales, refineries) and CS granting.
Q. With the recent announcement of having the entire Star Trek timelines available which opens up the door to more crews, ships, etc; are there plans to make the existing ships and crew cost less / reduce requirements to obtain them given the struggle new and low level players would have in order to catch up to others?
A. Great question. Our team is constantly making minor adjustments to the economy to ensure higher level content can be acquired through time and sustained engagement. Long time players will recognize some of these changes, such as: improved refinery rates (vs launch), improved event payouts, and new additional game activities that allows them to acquire items in-game through engagement that were previously only available via the store. In essence, we have increased the amount of resources/materials/credits players can obtain instead of reducing costs, but the net effect is the same. We remain committed to help players catch up, so they can also experience all the great content STFC has to offer.
Q. When are you going to implement a “friend list” or any other social feature for the game?
A. We are actively looking at new social features and we hope to be releasing more tools for alliance management.
Q. When will the road-map features be coming out?
A. They are all at different stages of development, some of them will be in the game very soon, other you can expect to land at some point in 2021.
Having said that, we cannot promise that all of the roadmap features will end up in the game. Some of them are in pre-production and we might decide to against implementing them if we determine that they won’t be up to the quality standard that you deserve.
Q. Can you give us an update on Server Merges?
A. We plan to re-start the server merge process early next year for servers with very low populations. We are consolidating our learnings from the first round of server merges to ensure the experience improves, in terms of both the pre-merge event and the merge itself.
Q. Why were there so many issues with the Anomaly events?
A. There was a combination of factors at play in the issues we saw in September.
Initial accumulation of ships in event systems was larger than expected. Our initial calculations assumed that most players would only send one ship (a Discovery) to the systems and use it to complete the event quickly. However, the very first weeks we saw 3x that amount, as players sent all their ships to the event systems and in many cases left them there. This unexpected amount of ship activity pushed us to increase the number of event systems to alleviate congestion. In later rounds, we saw players changed their behaviour in a way that matched our initial estimates and that helped the events go smoother.
We also experienced significant instability from our server provider (Amazon Web Services) during September and (to a lesser degree) October. Sadly, this problem couldn’t have come on a worse moment, the introduction of a new event is a key moment to create a good first impression.
Q. Can you develop the capability to have multiple copies of officers like multiple ships?
A. All major entries to the Star Trek universe, from TOS to Discovery, revolve about a diverse and talented crew of individuals whose union is more than the sum of its parts. In keeping with this tradition, we want our players to have fun collecting different officers and experiment how to best combine their officer and captain abilities for maximum effects so we probably won’t encourage everyone to use the same officer multiple times.
Q. What is it like to be one of the developers?
A. It is a great responsibility to carry the torch for this great franchise we all love. Most of the time, it’s a lot of fun to work on a game you love. It is also a responsibility we are excited to carry on our shoulders.
We work collaboratively with our peers in Dublin and LA, and we endeavour to bring as much enjoyment as possible to all of you because we know its you and this great community that makes STFC the success story it is.
The STFC team