My STO Fleet experience

Fed_StarbaseOne of the big changes that was pushed out with Season 10.5 is the concept of Armadas, allowing up to 13 Fleets to become affiliated (One alpha, three betas, nine gammas). This allows everyone to have access to projects to all the affiliated fleets, a win-win situation for both individual members who are often stymied by the lack of open projects in a mature fleet, and smaller/newer fleets who have difficulty completing their projects.

For anyone who doesn’t know, a STO Fleet is the equivalent of a Guild in other MMOs. As I pointed out before, the multiplayer aspect of MMOs is one of the things that attracted me in the first place; even though I ragequit Rift (because of the game, not the players), I still have fond memories of the Guild friends we made there, and I wish I could log on there again to say hi (my toons seem to have been deleted since, despite the Devs stating they don’t delete toons. Not sure what’s going on there). We did raids together, we did PvEs together, and we learned stuff from each other. It really felt like a proper group of friends, although my hardware limitations prevented me from chatting with them via Teamspeak or some other equivalent.

Fast forward to Star Trek Online. I’m sure we all have the same experience here: wet behind the ears and bewildered, we step on to ESD for the very first time looking lost, then WHAM, you get hit by a bunch of random Fleet invites. Once in a while, you get lucky and someone actually messages you before sending an invite. Not knowing any better, you accept the invitation, and now you’re part of a Fleet.

Fungi and I both joined this fleet, which shall go nameless here; subsequently our KDF toons also joined up with their KDF fleet. Now to be completely fair, it was the fleet founder who invited me, and he was (still is) a great guy; he was always open to talks and receptive to requests. A couple of the fleet officers also made an effort to run weekly fleet events, getting together to do STFs or “training/practice runs” for new members. For a while there it felt like the old Rift Guild that I missed. Times were good.

Then little things started happening. The two active officers stopped making an effort, or maybe got burnt out and stopped logging on. The remaining officers claimed they’re doing a lot of work, though we never figured out exactly what they were doing. Fleet projects were extremely far and few between — there was generally only one or two projects going at any given time, and we went for months without having anything to contribute to (Fungi made more Fleet credits with a different fleet in 2-3 weeks after jumping ship, than the entire six months in this one). A couple of times we asked one of the officers to put up more projects, and were flat out told NO. Worse yet, the fleet holdings were badly provisioned; several times I tried to purchase Fleet grade items and got essentially an “out-of-stock” message. The final straw was after the Fleet Founder personally promoted us, the other officers demoted us back the very next day; this actually happened twice, at which point we decided to quit.

Today almost all of my toons are in a different group of Fleets (run by the same people, on both the Fed and KDF sides). These are all larger fleets with more active members; projects get filled up quickly so it’s a bit of a crapshoot, but they’re pretty good with always having several projects active. However there hasn’t been many “Fleet Events”. Occasionally someone will ask for interest in doing a fleet STF, but these tend to be spontaneous and in terms of player reliability they are no different than a random PUG team (although as fleetmates they won’t yell at you if you’re clueless). The founder(s) and senior officers are nice people, so I don’t have a problem being a member of this group of Fleets, but sometimes I wish they feel more like a community or a group of friends, rather than just a convenient place to get and spend credits.

At this point, most of my toons have gotten the essential fleet grade items they need, so earning fleet credits and having access to high-level holdings are less of a priority. I am starting to ponder whether I should seriously look at finding a fleet that I can hang out and play with, and get back a bit of the “M” in MMO that I lost when I quit Rift. I have even heard of RP fleets, which sounds like something I might be interested in, although I have no clue how that actually works. Admittedly one major consideration that’s been holding me back is the fact that most of my toons have worked up to higher ranks within their respective fleets, and I’m somewhat reluctant to start from the bottom again. Quite a conundrum!

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5 thoughts on “My STO Fleet experience

  1. Great points and I can definitely relate to the fleet problems you’ve been experiencing. Having toons spread across several different fleets is an interesting idea because if one fleet is maxed out and hard to contribute to, you’ve got more than one source of fleet credits.

    My own experience with fleets in STO has been very mixed and varied. At first I was in the fleet started by my real-life friends whom I’ve known for years and who got me into playing STO in the first place. Things went pretty well at first, but then they all lost interest and moved on to other games, leaving me as fleet leader by default. I was reluctant to recruit people I didn’t know, but I nonetheless tentatively and slowly started hand-picking members to my fledgling little fleet whom I thought I could trust and rely upon. I was more interested in quality rather than quantity (tho of course quantity helps too when you’re trying to build up a fleet). Well, sometimes it worked out well, and other times (most times, tbh) it didn’t. People would flake out and not contribute to the fleet at all, or they’d start drama, or even get downright rude toward me. Yet there were the precious few great members whom I can truly call good friends who made my efforts worthwhile and made it fun again. One of them was my 2nd in command, who became my right-hand man in the fleet, who was a huge help to me and a great friend. But after a few months he suddenly stopped playing entirely and to this day I still have no idea why. I hope he’s all right.

    Anyway, I then brought another 2nd-in-command on board, who was a great and knowledgeable player who did a lot of recruiting and made some valuable contributions to the fleet. But long story short, he was such a egotistical jerk toward me and others in our fleet and it got intolerable after a while. He’d been gaming and building awesome custom gaming rigs for a long time, and I think it went to his head as he would criticize other players for not being as “1337” (elite) as he was. I made the mistake of telling him that I’m a Mac user (that’s right, I’ve been playing STO on my vintage 2008 24″ iMac for over 3 years now), and he never passed up an opportunity to criticize and make fun of me because of it, even calling me “stupid” and an “iSheep,” etc. And after a while I just had enough and told him straight up that if he continued with this behavior, I’d kick him from the fleet. Then he got all butthurt about it and rage-quit the fleet, then spread some lies and half-truths about me to many of the other newer members whom he’d recruited, and most of them left with him.

    Well, that whole ordeal got me thinking that maybe fleets were more trouble than they’re worth. So I told the few remaining members what was going on and explained the situation, and told them that they were welcome to stay if they wanted to, but they could leave too and it’d be no worries. After all, it’s just a game and we shouldn’t take it too seriously or make too much of a job out of it. A few of the newer members (who didn’t fall for any of my former “Number One’s” BS) hung on for a while, but they all eventually quit playing or left too. Back to square one. :/ Nonetheless I held on to that empty fleet for a little while longer, thinking maybe someday I could find some decent people to build it up with again. But at that point I was happy just to be free from any fleet drama and flying solo. Plus due to real life issues I wasn’t playing as much anymore anyway.

    Then one day I was invited to join a fleet by some people I had teamed up with in an STF, and they seemed like just the kind of fleet I’d been wanting to be a part of, so I joined their fleet while keeping one toon in my own fleet as a placeholder. I wish we had the armada system back then; I could’ve just brought my fleet into their armada and maybe built it up quicker. But this was about 2 years ago and way before armadas.

    Things went great in that fleet for about 6 months, and it truly seemed like a group of genuine friends rather than just another fleet/guild. People generally got along and helped one another. But we kept getting attacked by trolls, and the troll attacks kept getting worse and worse. Then one day I logged on to find that almost all the fleet leadership had left the fleet, and I asked people what on earth was going on. Long story short, it turned out that the “troll attacks” were just the fleet leader’s way of “testing” her fleet members to see how loyal they were. She was a very disturbed young woman who had some serious issues. I had grown to respect and become good friends with her so I didn’t believe it at first. But then later she admitted it and apologized to me and what was left of the fleet. I forgave her but was greatly saddened and upset by that whole situation so I left that fleet and flew solo once more. After all that drama it was great just to enjoy the peace and quiet of being fleet-less.

    Then after a few more months I was invited to a fleet created by some former members of that fleet who started their own. I had always gotten along great with them so I agreed to join because their fleet was brand new and I wanted to help them out. Most of us have been Trekkers for years (or decades) and sometimes we’re not even playing the game per se, we’re just chilling and hanging out, talking about whatever. It’s a good and relaxed fleet to be in and I never feel pressured or unduly criticized or anything like that. It’s a pretty positive and chill environment. I’ve been with them for about 6 months later and we’re making good progress; we’re almost at tier 4 so we should be at tier 5 by early next year at this rate.

    So, in conclusion (sorry for writing you a small book here!)… I’ve had some very mixed experiences with guilds/fleets in the 3 years I’ve been playing STO and I think if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t have done it at all to be quite honest. Or if I did, I’d be über-careful about whom I’d recruit and which fleets I’d join.

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    1. Yuck. Your experiences with fleets certainly made mine look like a walk in the park, but that’s probably because up till now I haven’t been looking for that “circle of friends” fleet environment, so I never put myself in a position to deal with a lot of drama. That said, I’ve had my share of drama in Mushing (online text RP) and I’m seeing many similarities with childish and abusive behavior to what you are describing. Nope, not fun at all. Wouldn’t wish that kind of experience on anyone.

      Okay, maybe I would wish it on my worst enemy. 😉

      The only reason I’m thinking about such a fleet now is to have a group of friendly people to play with. I pick up random friends here and there, but none of them knows each other and it’s impractical/impossible to bring them together to play as a group. A good fleet could fix that… but not if I have to wade through all that drama. >:p

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  2. Yep, and this sort of thing is precisely why nowadays if I do join a fleet/guild, I’m super-picky about whom I’m joining/teaming up with.

    Happily the fleet I’m with now has no drama going on and our fleet leader is awesome. She tolerates no drama or BS and will not hesitate to kick people who deliberately start problems. And she’s been a huge help to me. I’m sure that if you were to join our fleet, you’d be welcome and there’d be none of that drama. We go out together on STFs (queued events) pretty often and the fleet leadership (of which I am privileged to be a part) really do their best to help those who need it.

    But to be quite honest, I think I liked this game better before there were fleets. You just logged on and did your own thing, and there was no fleet drama or politics to deal with. I know you can still do that and never join a fleet, but the way the game’s set up now, it makes it almost like you “have” to join a fleet, especially if you want some of the fleet gear and fleet ships. I do appreciate being able to buy fleet ships and gear, but at the same time, I wish I didn’t have to. Building up a fleet becomes too much of a grind in itself (just a so you can get to the point where you can even buy fleet gear and ships), which I don’t enjoy as I hate grinding.

    And then there are the inevitable personality conflicts you get in a fleet all too often, especially a large fleet. People get weird, petty, egotistical, power-hungry about fleets/guilds sometimes, and it makes me wonder if it’s even worth the trouble. Fleets are just like any other imperfect human organization – made of imperfect human beings, all with their own unique personalities and idiosyncrasies that don’t always jibe with one another. And I’m always willing to work stuff out with people if needed, but again, given the choice I’d really rather just be able to log in and do my own thing and not have to deal with any of that. I don’t want the game to start feeling like a job. I already have one of those. lol

    So I think fleets/guilds are not for everyone. But so far my current fleet has treated me very well and been good to me, so I’ll stick with them indefinitely.

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    1. For a while there were five of us who played together fairly regularly; we weren’t in the same fleet but that was the “circle of friends” environment I meant — no worries about fleet holdings, grinding or drama. Too bad it didn’t last as one player lost interest, and the remaining two were European players so it was always difficult aligning with their schedules.

      I would take a peek at the fleet you’re currently in if you think it’s worthwhile — probably just for Heidy and not my other toons. Like I said, at this point I already have most of the fleet grade items that I need so I’m less worried about what level a fleet is (and if I need to, I can also just request an invitation from someone in my current fleets to buy something), yet at the same time I’m weirdly reluctant to give up my current Rank 5 to start at the bottom rung in a new fleet.

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      1. That’s totally understandable about wanting to keep your fleet rank, and it’s no worries if you’d rather stay there. I’m currently at rank 4 in my fleet and TBH I think I’d have a hard time giving up that level of fleet rank/fleet permissions if I were in the same position. But yeah, let me know if you’d ever like to give our fleet a try and I can let you in (perhaps with a different alt toon?). Most of our fleet leadership is in the UK, so their schedule is a bit different from ours, but I’m still able to play with them and run STFs fairly frequently. It’s not always easy but so far we’ve been managing it OK.

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