Captain's Log: The future for fleets

Captain's Log, Stardate 64731.1...

Hello, computer (and players)! On my way home from work today, Jason DeRulo's Ridin' Solo came up on my iPod's playlist, and I thought to myself, how boring -- who would want to ride solo? Most of us will agree that we have the most fun when we are teamed up with someone while playing. Whether it is for the social interaction or the companionship or just so that we don't have to keep zerging, we play MMOs so that we can play with other people from around the world. Our games also allow us to take teaming one step further in the form of guilds. In Star Trek Online, joining a fleet is one of the most popular ways to play the game.

Since the early days of closed beta, thousands of fleets have formed inside Cryptic's server, fleets that have brought players together from around the world. It truly does not matter whether you speak English or not -- some of the larger fleets out there have members who represent dozens of countries, languages and ethnicities. Whether you are into PvP, roleplay, raiding, PvE, or accolade-hunting, there is a fleet for everyone -- but it doesn't stop there! As time warps on, developers of the game are going to be adding new options and creating new gameplay that will change the way you will interact with your fleet. So what are they?

Ensign, warp 10! Let's talk about the future of fleets...

Last August, I had an amazing opportunity to meet up with 13 of my fleetmates at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. While we attended the daily events, and in between our adventures through Sin City, we often talked about some of ideas that we would love to see happen for fleets inside the STO universe. As we shared our experiences of being in guilds in other games, we came up with a list of ideas that we would like to see implemented in STO: fleet owned starbases, the ability to work as a fleet to complete guild missions, and a few others. As time went on, these dreams began to fade away as little dev spotlight was placed on further fleet development... until a week ago.

12th Fleet's interview with STO's Executive Producer

12th Fleet recently interviewed Dan Stahl about the future of fleets, asking him questions that fleet-members sent in. Read on for my summary!

Fleet starbases -- One of the most commonly requested features by fleets is the ability to obtain their own private starbases. Dan reveals that the STO team is working closely with Champions Online programmers to create technology that will make this dream a reality. It has also been mentioned on numerous occasions that he would like the Foundry to play a part in this, meaning Fleet Admirals would be able to "build" the base through the UGC toolset. For the first time ever, Dan tells us he envisions that each player's duty officers will populate it, as well. If I could have one wish granted by the STO genie, this would be it. I cannot wait to see this implemented, and I call dibs on the master suite!

Real Fleet Actions -- Dan reveals that the development team is going to be taking a look at the game's Fleet Actions (similar to dungeons and instances in other games) and bringing them closer to the vision that the team originally had for them. The devs plan on allowing fleets to create their own private match of any of the instances through a "lobby UI," which will allow invitations to be sent out and allow players to join in on the fun without having to travel anywhere. I have always wondered why these were named "fleet actions" when it was extremely difficult to get members of the same fleet in the same instance; this should definitely help out with that, and I cannot wait to organize some events around them.

Fleet size -- Currently, the cap for fleet membership is 500; this is not going to change anytime soon. However, Dan would like to see larger fleets able to have larger banks -- something he calls "scaling banks". This would also mean banks would scale down with smaller fleets, and he would like to see the minimum number of people required to create a fleet lowered. I am currently in a fleet of 500+; we had to create a second fleet for our alt toons. While I understand that the cap is set at 500 due to technological constraints, I would like to see technology that would at least allow multiple fleets to be linked, or "allied," together.

Other fleet additions in development

Fleet missions -- Something that players are accustomed to in other MMOs is the ability to complete guild quests that help the group earn accolades and rewards. Cryptic would like to create a similar system in STO and implement it sometime in the near future. I can see this working if a fleet has to send out groups to tackle the STFs and complete them within a predetermined time. Completing all of them with this achievement could unlock a buff that all players get when they run the STFs.

Crafting new ships -- An idea that ties into the "fleet missions" is the ability to create high-tier ships through the pooling of resources by a fleet. This has been often talked about in the STO forums as being the foundation for the Tier 6 ships that will be coming out when the game's level cap is raised to level 61, also known as "Fleet Admiral." This is a great idea, but it will be interesting to really see how many resources it would actually take to build a ship and if there would be enough to go around for everyone.

Sector control PvP -- Future fleet starbases could be seen as a central hub to a future PvP style dubbed "sector control." Fleet members would participate in various rounds of PvP; the more they win, the more power they have in that sector. I would like to see rewards granted to you when you have control of a sector. For instance, if you had control of a sector block, your starbase would gain a transwarp portal that would instantly take you to the sector blocks that surround that sector you controlled.

The Foundry -- Aside from starbase creation, the Foundry could be one of the most amazing tools that a fleet could use. As fleeties make their missions, they could share them with the fleet to play for RP purposes and story progression. Stonewall Fleet is planning on using the Foundry to create missions that will introduce new members to the fleet's officers, code of conduct, and fleet history.

Well, Captains, we have come to the end of this week's log entry. As you can tell, the possibilities are endless when it comes to fleet interaction in STO. While they may not be on the top of the development team's "to do" list, the above ideas, when implemented, will make a large impact on the game and allow it to stand out among its competitors. If you are looking for a fleet to join, check out this thread that I created on the official STO forums -- Fleet Admirals have been responding to it with information about their respective fleets. So what do you think of the current state of fleets? What would you like to see happen? Could the above ideas be game-changing? Until next time, fly safe captains!

Computer, terminate recording.

Boldly going where no one has gone before, Brandon Felczer transmits Captain's Log through Subspace right to your PADD every Thursday. Join him as he discusses the latest news, gossip, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Hailing frequencies are always open to his bridge through brandon@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.