June 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm #153452
is here! Or, at least a hint of what is coming. Please read.
and thenJune 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm #155447
More info from the devs:
PvE and PvP
The initial implementation of Fleet Starbases will include only PvE content. We are very interested in incorporating PvP into this system, but the decision was made to hold off on this until we have fully integrated a set of new PvP tech that was developed outside of STO.
Starbase Defense Content
Starbase defenses will fall into several different categories, but in no case will you ever lose anything other than the opportunity to earn additional Fleet Marks, which are one of the inputs for Fleet Starbase Projects.
The pop-up, Red Alert-style 5-player Starbase Defenses will require that all members be in the same fleet. The regularly queueable Starbase Defenses consist of a 20-man space that requires the organizer to be in a Fleet, but individuals in other fleets or not in any fleet can be invited as well. The 5-man space and 5-man ground regularly queable ones have similar restrictions, although individuals not in any fleet at all must be invited to a private queue for these.
The system was specifically designed to not require upkeep costs. I consider upkeep for this kind of system generally counterproductive.
Small Fleets versus Large Fleets
There are two basic types of Fleet Project – standard and upgrade. Upgrade projects, once started, can take anywhere from days (at the early tiers) to weeks (at the upper tiers) to complete. Only one upgrade project can be undergone at a time.
Very large fleets (say, 50+ active player accounts) will tend to fill up their upgrade projects quickly, certainly much more quickly than smaller fleets, but they will still have to do the upgrades one at a time and wait the completion time.
Above a fleet size of about 25 active player accounts playing 2-3 times a week, the expectation is that these fleets will fill up project requirements quickly but be gated by the time it takes for the upgrade projects to complete.
A smaller fleet of 5-10 active player accounts will certainly be able to make progress, even quick progress at the early Starbase tiers, but it will likely take that fleet longer to accumulate the necessary resources for the various fleet projects.
Various Feature Projects will be available; some of these may always be available, others may be available to start for a limited time (for example, for this week and next week).
Feature Projects will frequently have high requirements, but also the ability to unlock very unique, primarily aesthetic improvements. (The specific details on what these will be is still under development).
For duty officer assignments, a single player puts in all of their inputs at a single time, immediately kicking off the assignment.
Fleet projects are staged; a fleet officer sets a particular set of fleet projects to be available. Players then – at their leisure and individually – contribute inputs. As players contribute to a fleet project, they receive Fleet Credit (what is spent at Fleet Stores) immediately. When the fleet project meets its input requirements, it automatically kicks off, starting a countdown before it is complete.
The ability to assign a project to being active will be a permission assignable as normal fleet permissions.
Provisioning Fleet Equipment and Fleet Ships
Some fleet projects are “provisioning” projects. These work exactly as any other project, save that when the project is complete, the appropriate fleet store will be stocked with a number of, say, fleet ground weapons or fleet escorts or operational assets.
Players then can go to the fleet stores and spend the Fleet Credit they received from donating to various fleet projects (and, yes, if you leave a fleet, you keep your Fleet Credits) at stores.
For example, Fleet Alpha completes the “Provision Elite Defiant Escort” fleet project, adding say 5 Elite Defiant Escorts to the fleet ship store. Player A can then go to the Fleet Ship store and spend personal Fleet Credit on one of these escorts, also using up one of those provisioning credits.
If the fleet wants more available, it can simply run the fleet project again. Yes, we expect there to be fleet politics as to what projects different people want to prioritize; this is intentional. That being said, we want to set the provisioning appropriately so they are in a reasonable supply – the intent there is not to make them highly exclusive, just to make sure that they are appropriately paid for by a fleet.
The intent of this approach is to build in repeatability into the system so you don’t have a fleet that simply gets everything and then invites the whole server into the fleet.
Just a Fancy Social Area?
I suppose it depends on how one qualifies this but:
New personal daily missions
Unique fleet stores
Starbase Space and Ground defense group missions
This is not, it should be noted, an intended end point for a territorial control game, something that we continue to be interested in in the long term. This is one of many necessary staging points to reach a point where that could theoretically be done.
Military versus Tactical
The categories are Military, Science and Engineering to correspond with the personal commendation categories of those names. As the system of Fleet Advancement expands past merely starbases, the current intent is to open up more of these categories.
Duty Officer Commendation Tiers and Starbases
We are currently planning on holding off on increasing the personal commendation tiers from 4 to 5. However, we are planning on introducing additional – probably static – assignments that open up at Tier 4 to allow players to turn in CXP for Fleet Marks.
The thinking behind this (other than wanting to make sure we have enough good rewards for the existing tiers, let alone new ones) is to encourage use of the entire duty officer system rather than people simply hunting for a new set of assignments that directly reward Fleet Marks.
We are also considering additional tie-ins to the duty officer system. Several, actually, but what exactly is done is still being experimented with.
There was a comment about Operational Assets being a kind of currency; they are essentially consumable super-devices that are bought with Fleet Credits from fleet stores stocked by provisioning projects.
For example, there is one that is called “Forward Base” that (at least at this point in testing), beams in a cover shield and four maxed out phaser or disruptor turrets for the ground starbase defense. Others call in permanent ship formations, deploy turrets and torpedo platforms that can fire out to 20km, and many other options.
Starbase Progression Speed
A group of five casual players should be able to attain a Tier I starbase in a week or so, no problem.
The absolute fastest time – due to upgrade speeds – that any fleet could max out everything would be about 6-7 months, but practically speaking I expect this to generally be much longer.
The intent is for basic starbase functionality to be very easy for any fleet to unlock, but to provide a long progression path and everpresent goal for fleets to collaborate and cooperate towards.
Equipment Availability in Fleets and Outside Fleets
Fleets are intended to be a major avenue for a lot of the new equipment, including ships. Note that this may include new versions of existing ships.
However, this is not intended in any way to replace the C-Store or Dilithium store, the latter of which we are particularly interested in strengthening.
Project Input Numbers and Types
There are a lot of potential inputs that any particular project can have. In general, the vast majority of projects – with some notable exceptions – will require Fleet Marks and Dilithium. Beyond these, most projects will have a mix of 3-4 additional requirements which will consist of commodities (including rare commodities), data samples, duty officers and bridge officer points. Other inputs are still being considered, but the above stated ones are definitely present in the current iteration of the system.June 6, 2012 at 10:32 am #155448fatman592Fleet Member
I must say I’m excited for this and it’s good to see the importance of fleets elevated. Whenever we find out costs and mission requirements I’ll be ready to contribute.
On a side note: That forward base, if it’s powerful enough and I understand it correctly, will make any space elite STF a joke.
"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5June 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm #155449
Since there’s a lot of info on this subject, I thought I would consolidate it here.
Official dev blog post: http://www.startrekonline.com/node/3218
Compilation of other dev posts:
The “sweet spot” for fleet size is in the 20-50 active player range. Past that, and while the resource collection capabilities would improve, the bottlenecks inherent in the system will most likely lead to a lot more politics about which provisioning projects the fleet should engage in. Below that is perfectly doable, but it does mean it will take longer for a smaller fleet to progress.
Currently, the absolutely fastest a fleet could obtain a fully tricked out starbase is about seven months or so, and even large fleets I expect will take longer than this. The intent is for this to provide a long-term goal, not something that can be burned through in a few months.
In addition, a fleet can only run one upgrade project at a time, and upgrade projects can take as long as a couple of weeks to complete once the input requirements are attained. There are a lot of upgrade projects.
Meaning, “at least seven months” is not a soft cap but a hard cap.
As an additional note, we data mined the amount of refined Dilithium, Energy Credits, Bridge Officer Skill Points people earn on average in a week, and used this as the starting baseline for costs, assuming a casual fleet of about 20-25 players. We will necessarily need to iterate on this as we get more practical data from the system as it is actually used by players.
Starship provisioning projects begin being available once you have a Tier I Shipyard (Military track), which can actually happen before you even hit Tier I for your Starbase as a whole. Which ships are available at each Shipyard tier is still being hammered out, but every tier is currently planned to make available additional ship provisioning projects.
When you contribute, you gain Fleet Credit which is what you need to spend at fleet stores. Your Fleet Credit is yours – if you leave a fleet and join a new one, you retain your Fleet Credit.
For the Military/Shipyard track, this means ships and personal weapons. For Engineering this means personal engines and armor. For Science this means personal shields and deflectors.
Science also opens up access to Transwarp Conduit upgrades as well as a sickbay. Engineering also opens starship repair capabilities, a ship tailor contact and eventually a crafting station as well.
A large number of specialized upgrades also become available from Bartenders and Chefs to Skill Respec contacts to Bridge Officer trainers to Personnel Officers and Security Officers.
Aside from the upgrade sinks which are of course one-time sinks, everything else is, in fact, a repeatable sink. Provisioning projects for buffs, ships, personal equipment and operational assets are all repeatable as the completion of each project only provisions the fleet store with a limited number of items.
So, yes, we’ve done some fairly expansive data mining on fleet sizes, average frequency of play, average Dilithium, Bridge Officer points and Energy Credit accumulation and expenditure per week. The catch, of course, is that up until now fleets have been social organizing tools and have not had significant functional gameplay attached to them. As that changes, it is possible (read, very likely) that this will impact and change all of the results of the data mining.
We have started with numbers and reasonable guesses for how we expect most fleets to react, and then factored in how much time we want the system to take, but iteration is inevitable.
Regarding the questions about small fleets versus large fleets, I will say that a hardworking, dedicated fleet of five players can easily exceed the productive capacity of a casual fleet of 25 players – in the data mining it is very evident that the difference in earned inputs between a casual and a hardcore player is far more than x5. If you want a high tier starbase, thus, you can either get a lot of people together, or you can work hard, or you can work at a more measured pace and it will just take longer – but you can still get there.
Fleet Marks and Fleet Credits are yours and follow you whatever your fleet status. Until they are actually expended, they have no impact on your fleet.
Fleet Marks are gained through various types of content and other areas – such as T4 duty officer assignments. Fleet Credits are gained by contributing to a fleet. You can earn Fleet Marks by helping another fleet out in their starbase defense, and then spend those Fleet Marks on your own fleet’s starbase. Similarly, you can earn Fleet Credits by contributing Dilithium or commodities or duty officers to your fleet’s starbase projects, then leave the fleet, join a new one, and spend your Fleet Credits in your new fleet’s stores.
Both Fleet Marks and Fleet Credits are yours until you spend them. You can earn Fleet Marks in one fleet, change fleets, and spend them in your new fleet. You can, in fact, as a member of Fleet A help Fleet B defend their starbase, earn Fleet Marks, and then spend those Fleet Marks in your own Fleet A’s fleet stores. Fleet Marks and Fleet Credits are bound to your character. The current plan is that even a solo player earns Fleet Marks, and if the player joins a fleet in the future those marks can be spent as desired at that time.
Duty officer input expenditures for fleet projects are permanently lost.
All inputs – including Fleet Marks – are expended by the individual player. Fleet officers only determine what the selection of fleet projects is available. Those fleet projects will never complete unless individual members of the fleet contribute their personnel Fleet Marks, commodities, duty officers, Bridge Officer points, and/or Dilithium or data samples to a particular project.
Fleet members who contribute get Fleet Credit to the degree they contribute. If the member is booted, they keep their Fleet Credit.
Fleet officers could, certainly, bring someone in, let them donate, and then kick them out, sure, but the booted member will retain their earned Fleet Credit, and the fleet owner will have a hard time convincing anyone else to join their fleet…
The starbase will be primarily accessible through the Fed-KDF neutral zone; we are, as well, investigating other possibilities such as perhaps a transwarp option.
We would like you to be able to name your starbase, but we aren’t able to commit to this right now. Longer term, meaning past Season 6, we are keeping the door open to the possibility of fleets controlling additional holdings – possibly other starbases, possibly other things entirely – in other regions of the galaxy.
Customization is something we really (really) want to see, but there are a lot of technical and schedule challenges we have to maneuver around, so we can’t commit to anything in particular at launch of the system at this time.
(Starbase defense missions) works much like a standard queue, except you will warp back to your starbase to defend it. Depending on the scenario, the objectives and size of the team may differ. Your starbase will have offensive and defensive capabilities dependent upon the Military, Engineering and Science tiers your fleet has achieved, and we are experimenting with some options of tying some operational assets to affect your starbase’s functionality as well.
Fleet items will not be tradeable.
There are several things we have put into the system to try to make it work both for small and large fleets.
Progression is gated by several steps:
The first step involves getting the necessary inputs for fleet projects. Larger fleets will inevitably always have an advantage here, as will fleets with people with large stockpiles of fleet inputs.
The second step involves the number of projects that can be going at any one time, which is three normal, plus one upgrade plus one featured, as it stands in the current plan. Projects are how you earn category XP (i.e., Military, Engineering) which is how you qualify for upgrading your Shipyard, Communications Array, Industrial Fabricator, as well as your Starbase itself.
The third step involves the upgrade path. A fleet can only upgrade one thing at a time – that “thing” can be the starbase itself, the outlying facility (e.g., Shipyard), as well as adding specialized contacts to your starbase interior. Where normal projects finish fairly fast (usually under a day as we are currently doing it), upgrade projects can take anywhere from a couple of days a couple of weeks. No matter how many resources you have, this hard gate means it is impossible to fully upgrade your starbase in less than six or seven months, and that would presume you had every input already earned and waiting.
The early tiers are, moreover, aimed to be accessible even if you have only a few players in your fleet. The current estimate, based on data mining, is that a casual fleet of about five active players could obtain a Tier I starbase in about a week.
Rewards, moreover, are generally not simply better as you go up in tier, but mostly just different. For example, at one tier you might have access to an operational asset that allows you to call regular escorts to your aid in starbase defenses, while the next tier up might give you access to Nausicaan escorts. In some cases the higher tier will have different abilities, but the intention is that there is always a reasonable choice for a fleet, and they won’t simply always pick the highest tier operational asset, for example.
A small active fleet will probably be able to hit Tier II or Tier III in a fairly reasonable amount of time. A larger fleet will get there faster, but not simply as a multiple of their additional members.
Furthermore, while larger fleets will have a resource advantage, they also have a disadvantage in that there are a limited number of projects, meaning that larger fleets will inevitably see a lot more competition over which provisioning projects are selected. Really want a ship that your fleet won’t provision? Might be time to break off and start your own fleet or join a smaller one, or one with a different focus.
The expectation is that most fleets will wind up clustering in the 15-50 active player range. Larger fleets will tend to have fewer resourcing problems but more internal competition problems, while fleets smaller will tend to have the reverse issue.
(PVP) is something I would like to call some attention to, actually. We had really hoped to be able to include PvP starbase offenses/defenses at launch, and even though we didn’t have the time to do this, the design is built to accommodate it relatively seamlessly.
We’re still looking at what can be done, but we have been investigating the possibility a number of ideas such as attackers and defenders putting up Dilithium or Fleet Marks in potentially asymmetrical bets for PvP matches. For example, Fleet A knows it’s worse than Fleet B, but will accept a 3:1 Dilithium or Fleet Mark bet with Fleet B in return for accepting the challenge. Offensive-only operational assets, for example, might open up an entirely new type of operational asset that could be provisioned for. Perhaps you start with a space battle and if the attackers do well enough it turns into a boarding action on the starbase interior itself.
All of this is entirely theoretical and under discussion, but I wanted to make sure people knew PvP was definitely not forgotten in this design.June 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm #155450
And more info from today:
So, several points here, and I will try to hit the major ones.
On the issue of time to completely finish out a starbase, if all of the rewards were achieved only after 7+ months of play for a large fleet, I would completely agree with your assessment. This system is not designed to be like a Feature Episode, however, that you can play through quickly; it is intended to be a long term system that will be with a fleet for most of that fleet’s lifetime, especially once one takes into account potential expansions to the system.
As such, it’s not like character progression where you only really care about the rewards at the end of the trail; each tier has roughly comparable rewards, with subsequent tiers expanding your options without making the previous tier’s rewards obsolete. This means a small or casual fleet that only gets to Tier II or III will have, in fact, about half of the potential top-tier rewards in the system.
If the measure of success is only on exhausting a system, then sure, this could be considered a major grind, especially for a small casual fleet. My hope is that people will instead see the system as it was designed, which is an essentially endless road with rewards all along the path.
If anything, there are more things that impair large fleets whose members will have a harder time getting their needs prioritized unless they have a very responsive and organized fleet leadership, and who will have fewer input options per player, since projects will tend to fill up faster.
Those screenshots (from offical dev blog) are a little out of date, but the most expensive Dilithium cost is the starbase facility upgrade from Tier IV to Tier V, which is 1,250,000 Dilithium. The average Dilithium cost currently for a project at Tier V is about 30,000 for a non-upgrade project (upgrade projects are generally about three times that cost, but only ever need to be done once).
By comparison, the current, subject-to-change Dilithium cost to upgrade a starbase from Tier 0 to Tier I is about 22,000, and the average Dilithium cost for a project at Tier 0 is about 3700 Dilithium.
There will be intermittent starbase Red Alert defenses that present opportunities to members of your fleet to earn Fleet Marks, but if you do not engage them, or if you do and your starbase is brought offline, there is no effect to gameplay once you leave the instance.
There will also be queueable fleet actions that you can generally invite non-fleet members to participate in as well that will involve various scenarios around your starbase, but these are optional, and again, if you do not choose to engage them or engage in them and damage accrues, as soon as you leave the instance your starbase will be fully operational. (In fact, it is possible for a single fleet to have multiple of these scenarios going at once in separate instances – in this case there is no effect across instances).
Starbase scenarios are only there to provide opportunities to earn Fleet Marks, which are necessary inputs to progress your starbase. There will, as well, be other areas of the game that give similar opportunities to earn Fleet Marks.
Project slots are freed up only after the upgrade is complete, not merely after it is funded. All provisioning projects, including ship provisioning projects, are repeatable.June 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm #155451
Projects are generally always available assuming your fleet meets the requirements, although there are a limited number of project slots which a fleet’s leadership must decide how to fill.
There is a concept of “featured” projects that may be available only during certain promotional periods, but in the current design – obviously subject to change – these do not count against your normal list of slots but occupy there own slot.
Upgrade projects are done only once; standard projects are repeatable any number of times to ensure that there will always be a source of Fleet Credit.
The metrics are aimed such that a fleet of 20 or so active casual players would probably take up to a year to completely exhaust the system – but that’s literally taking every single upgrade and focusing laser-like on development. A smaller fleet will take longer, but the early tiers are very accessible and rewards are spread fairly evenly across all tiers – the intent is that a small fleet of 3-5 people would probably hit Tier I, for example, in about a week.
The intent of the system is to create a system, not a pre-specified piece of content that everyone does every part of. A fleet’s starbase should feel like its own starbase, and different from others based on the fleet’s development choices. The fleet advancement system is designed to provide a backdrop of social group advancement while you are doing all the other things that a character does, not to be something everyone focuses exclusively on indefinitely.
Yes, very small fleets will have a harder time gathering the necessary resources for the higher tiers; it’s still, however, perfectly doable, it will just take longer.
In other words, the goalposts that should be focused on are individual upgrade and provisioning projects and category tiers, not exhausting the system. The important questions are how hard it is to get individual upgrade and provisioning projects and particular categories, not how hard it will be to exhaust every last possible upgrade – which inevitably will include a lot of upgrades your fleet really probably doesn’t care about.
Larger fleets, as well, will also have their own challenges that I think are being overlooked in some quarters. There are a limited number of projects that can be active at any one time, and extremely large fleets will have fewer opportunities to earn Fleet Credits than smaller fleets. Moreover, the competition for project slots for provisioning will inevitably turn political.
We realize this system as it is isn’t going to be painless for everyone, but adding any functionality at all to an existing mechanic – in this case fleets – was going to result in that challenge. The expectation is that over the next year the game will probably see fewer very small fleets of 1-2 people and fewer very large fleets that are more than about 30 active accounts, but people will still be able to play with very small or very large fleets, but it’s true, there will be consequences and trade-offs.
Of the new starbase defense scenarios, only the Red Alert one is for fleet members only. All others allow for invites to people outside your fleet. Moreover, operational assets are designed to be potent enough to partially compensate for fewer players or pickup group dynamics.
There, are, in addition, other mechanisms – such as the duty officer system – for gaining Fleet Marks, so it is not even necessary to engage in fleet starbase actions, although that will be the most efficient way to accumulate Fleet Marks.
Scaling of material requirements by fleet size is very, very challenging to do without resulting in exploits, unfortunately, but there are a lot of checks on very large fleets built into the system as it stands, and more can be investigated as the system rolls out.
No Tier II project has more than 225k Dilithium cost, and that is for upgrading your Starbase to Tier III. Currently (and this is all very subject to change), upgrading your facilities – for example, your Shipyard – to Tier III would be about 112k Dilithium, and standard projects are more like 12k Dilithium.June 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm #155452
As noted elsewhere, the primary inputs for fleet projects will be:
Duty Officers (all qualities)
Data Samples (including Particle Traces)
Bridge Officer Skill Points
Other, rarer inputs include:
Bridge Officer Candidates (meaning, unpacked and in your inventory)
Items (such as food for the Chef upgrade or Dosi Rotgut and Romulan Ale for the Bartender upgrade)
…Possibly other things.
One of the functions of the (starbase) system is for it to serve as an economic sink for duty officers. Lacking a proper sink is one of the things causing certain inflationary and deflationary tendencies in the exchange market for duty officers. With the presence of a more robust sink, the negative impact of this on players can be reduced.June 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm #155453
There is a Dilithium-equivalent and an EC-equivalent budget for each fleet project based on tier, type of project, and several other factors. Dilithium + Dilithium-equivalents will approximately equal the Dilithium-equivalent budget, and similarly for the EC-equivalent budget.
For example, if a fleet project required 5000 Dilithium equivalent, the cost could be:
1. 5000 Dilithium
2. An amount of Duty Officers valued at 5000 Dilithium
3. …Or some combination of the above, which is the most common situation.
The value of duty officers in Dilithium is based both on the quality and the specificity – if the project requires, for example, a particular specialization, that duty officer requirement will be valued higher than a duty officer requirement that simply requires a particular department.
The current plan is for Fleet Marks and Fleet Credits to be bound.June 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm #155454
Different inputs are in fact valued differently – 1 Duty Officer is more valuable than 1 Dilithium which is more valuable than 1 Energy Credit. The amount of Fleet Credit you get for a donation is based both on what you are donating and how much you are donating.
Duty officer inputs specify the quality and sometimes the specialization as well. The more specific the duty officer is and the higher quality, the more Fleet Credit will be earned by the individual contributor. While all qualities are asked for throughout the system, the system is actually biased somewhat towards the lower qualities. My expectation is that duty officer prices on the Exchange will rise once the system goes to Holodeck.
Starbase construction is, in fact, throttled.
A fleet can only do one upgrade project at a time, and each upgrade project takes anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to complete. The total time of that means that a fleet cannot fully upgrade in less than the time mentioned, even with unlimited numbers and unlimited resources.July 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm #155455SargonFleet Admiral
this really sounds good. how many active people does the 44th fleet have? hopefully in that 25 to 50 range. i have a handful of friends that i will suggest joining the 44th.
let me know when and how to contribute.July 7, 2012 at 10:49 am #155456SargonFleet Admiral
i can barely see the previous post. let me know how and when to contribute to the fleet base. is there a location yet?
well now i can see the post??July 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm #155457
i can barely see the previous post. let me know how and when to contribute to the fleet base. is there a location yet?
well now i can see the post??
Yeah, the black text is a forum bug that Intrepid hasn’t been able to track down. But it usually fixes itself in a few minutes. If you can’t read it, just highlight it with your mouse in the meantime.
For starbases, you can see for yourself on Tribble server. Highly recommended since this is tribble weekend. But otherwise, here’s a thread with the info that we have gathered so far:
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