Cryptic and their customers

While I still consider myself a newbie to the world of MMOs and STO in particular, I have noticed that the official forums for Star Trek Online tend to be negative in the extreme. Most threads are either (A) DOOOOOOM, (B) Cryptic sucks, (C) I want this, and I WANT IT NOW, (D) You don’t know what you’re talking about because you’re a n00b. In other words, fairly standard fare for online forums. 😀

But Cryptic introduced a couple of new things in the last week or so, which makes even me wonder about how well they know their customers.

The first is this ship here:

Pathfinder

The brand new T6 Pathfinder class is for all intent and purposes the USS Voyager, with a different name and slightly different look. Evidently the main draw is the interiors: the packaged deal includes show-accurate Voyager bridge, captain’s ready room, mess hall, engineering and so on. I admit I don’t go to my bridge very often; there’s simply no real reason to, and the cavernous, opera-house-sized bridges feel weird (i.e. “I said, launch torpedoes!” “What? Can you shout louder?”). But we all had a glimpse at the accurate Voyager bridge in the Mindscape mission — if I had that bridge I might hang around there more often.

The problem is Cryptic chose to introduce this ship a few weeks after the launch of Delta Rising…. after owners of Intrepid-class ships spent the money to upgrade to T5U, and now something better comes along. It’s not just the Pathfinder’s stats that people are whining about either — sounds like more people are unhappy about the ship interiors that come exclusively with the Pathfinder.

The smart thing for Cryptic to do, is to sell the Voyager interior as a separate bundle (much like the special bridges) and make it usable on any Intrepid line of ships. Because let’s face it, people will buy that. Lots of people. Happy people. Don’t force people to buy the new ship to get the interiors for an inflated price. They end up with lots of unhappy customers.

I don’t have an Intrepid myself, but I can imagine why people are miffed.

The second is this:

Club47

Club 47, a disco dance club in Earth Space Dock. No, really. A flashy dance club at a naval installation, because reasons.

Disregarding the in-universe rationale for this, I was actually looking forward to it. As I noted in past posts, two of the draws of MMORPGs for me are the multi-player part and the roleplaying part. STO has been lacking in dedicated social zones (no, the podium outside the ESD exchange doesn’t count) so a club would be nice to have around.

Because the STO forums are generally so negative, someone is bound to whine. In this case, the particular complaint was that Cryptic chose to dedicate resources to do something that may see limited use, over fixing known bugs and issues. Even Fungi expressed the same thought! I disagreed, because I felt having a social zone opens up some new play potential.

Evidently, I don’t know what I am talking about. :/

I’ve popped into Club 47 almost every night since it opened, and the largest crowd I’ve seen there was… five people. For the last two nights there was one other person there.

I am a newbie. My expectations can be way off. But can Cryptic be so far off-target as to what their customers want? They put in all the time and effort to build a dance club, and no one goes there? Wow, that’s disappointing. I feel bad for the art team who developed and built this.

That made me think back to “social interactions” I have had on STO. Sometimes I run into people who stop to commend on my toon’s looks, other times people would comment on their bios, and other times I comment on theirs; those folks generally end up on my friends list. But every time there is an open social area where people idle and gather, there are bound to be trolls who suffer from ADD. You know the people who randomly pop disco balls (thank god for party nullifiers), bug-spray you, toss ice balls at you, impotently shooting at each other… well let’s just say they ruin any attempt at public roleplay. I imagine the “serious” roleplayers play in private locations, and I’m guessing serious Trekkies would rather play on a ship’s bridge rather than some Tron-themed dance club on ESD.

So I don’t know. Maybe it’s too early to call, but Club 47 doesn’t look like it’s working as Cryptic intended.

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2 thoughts on “Cryptic and their customers

  1. Club 47 used to exist on the old ESD. It was not tucked away behind a staircase and walls but rather was visible from the main area of ESD. You could be walking to the exchange and there were people dancing, etc. However, it was never really a busy place.

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  2. Fair enough, although I was still hoping I would find more than a maximum of 5 people there. Maybe my expectations as a newbie are unrealistic, but somewhere around 20 would be good for a social zone on an MMO.

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