As I mentioned yesterday I believe, I was getting close –
And now I have a character at level cap on both the Starfleet and Klingon Defense Force sides of Star Trek Online. It took me a while to get into the groove of the KDF side. And I’m still not entirely there. The dark tones make everything dim and illegible, and the ship bridges are horrifically red-lit (along with then entire UI – wish I could fix that). Clearly I’m not much of a Klingon person – which explains why my character and my entire Bridge crew is made up of anything and everything but Klingons. And…why I haven’t completed a single mission on the KDF side of the game outside of the introductory epidsode.
Yep, I literally leveled from 23 (or 22?) to 50 using nothing but the Duty Officer system. Granted it would have gone a lot faster if I had been running episodes, but why bother when I could spend the time working on my main character while leveling this alt in the background? The Doff System as it is called by most in game, is a prolific source of Skill Points (XP – the green double chevron). Take a look:
Yep, that’s a regular, common duty officer on an assignment that is only uncommon (and thus fairly regular) in the system. Generally, with a decent sized pool of Doff’s, you can rake in at least one such assignment every day. To give you some perspective, that’s the same reward I would otherwise get for completing a full on Episode mission, which takes aroudn 45min to an hour to play. But I got that while offline. And it gets even better. With an uncommon officer and an uncommon assignment, about 10% of the time you will get a critical success – resulting in this:
Now we are talking. Even more amazing is that Cryptic has said that they are working on a mobile gaming component that would allow you to upkeep your Doff assignements through your phone. Personally, I have no problem with this. I enjoy being able to go back and do the missions at my leisure, with a full suite of abilities at my disposal, and my full set bridge crew in place for RP and story writing opportunities.
Some people have expressed distaste in this though. The ease of leveling certainly makes one wonder “why bother at all, just give it to me at cap” – but I do think the little bit of work you have to put in, if nothing else, acts as a kind of tutorial and learning grade (not cliff a la EVE) to get familiar with the game. The other complaint is that it makes some of the ship selection rather useless. But truth be told, there is not a huge difference between the ships you have at, say, 20 and the ones you have at 50 (that you really got at 40). While I haven’t tried it myself (but intend to this weekend) I’ve been told reasonably skilled players, with appropriate ranked equipment, can utilize those lower tier ships with no problem. Remember that in STO, weapons and gear are modular on the skeleton of the ship – the only difference is in total hull hit points (which is modified by damage resistance plates by level) and number of weapon slots. And these vary only by one or at most two slots between the tiers. So I believe that’s not an issue – if there is a lower tier ship you enjoyed (and you don’t want to join a fleet and get the level 50 version) you can still play it with success through any missions.
Which leads me to the thought – why is it that more games don’t focus the core of their attention on endgame rather than the leveling curve? And why box certain areas into certain levels only to see them deserted again? When players are willing to camp out and play 20 hours a day to cap within a week on the staunchest and steepest of leveling curves – why bother? Make a nice easy slope (with say a two month expectancy for the average player) and then give everyone lots of goodies at the end. That makes sense, right?