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Leveling Fiasco

Captain's Blog Stardate 92442.27

I want to talk about all of this power leveling stuff that happened after the release of Delta Rising. Let me bring you up to speed if you're not aware of the situation. Delta Rising came out and people were leveling quickly by playing the patrol in Tau Dewa on elite. This allowed them to reach level 60 and earn a lot of specialization points very quickly.

Cryptic didn't like this so they shut down Tau Dewa and then penalized players who used this "exploit". Their specialization points were taken away. Of course players raged. All that hard work (even if it was using an "exploit") was now wasted. Some players who leveled by other "non-exploitive" means (did I just make up a word?) were also penalized because Cryptic used a program to find the "exploiters".

Now Cryptic apologized and said they are returning all the specialization points that were removed. Of course some people are gracefully accepting the apology and others are... well they aren't playing nice. So here's what I'd like to know from you. What do you think about this whole situation?

Here's how I see it. Cryptic made a major mistake by not adjusting Tau Dewa's patrol in Tribble. How are player's supposed to know it wasn't designed that way? It's natural to take the path of least resistance. Heck if Spock were real he would agree that it's only logical. So players did what they do best and found the easy solution. Cryptic essentially punished players for their (Cryptic's) mistake.

Do I blame Cryptic and think they were wrong? Not exactly. I understand their point of view. They didn't want players to level quickly so they fixed it, but they could have handled it better. Are the players wrong? Not really. They played the way they always do, finding the quick answer, but they could have been a little more understanding.

So in the comments please share your thoughts... and don't start any flame wars.

Written by Attilio on November 02, 2014 at 10:09 pm


Xicara (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 02:04 am

The biggest problem is all the adds in this website.. I can't use mobile version because it'll load up a pop-up and reset all the changes I made so I have to start over.

Reply to Xicara
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 03, 2014 at 07:41 am

This isn't the place for bug reports. If you have problems with the site you can email me or post it on the forums.With that being said, I am aware that some devices and browsers have this issue. Since each device is different it's difficult to solve the problem.

Reply to Attilio
Whodat (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 07:33 am

I think you're missing a big part of this... Why were players resorting to grinding patrols within a few days of an "expansion"? Maybe it's because the prospect of rerunning missions for the next 6 - 9 months was even less appealing. If the content they added was more enjoyable and paced better chances are the vast majority of players never would have even found the exploit or felt the need to be bothered with it. I just can't help but think the fact players resorted to grinding mind numbing patrols speaks volumes about the state of STO.

Reply to Whodat
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 03, 2014 at 07:45 am

That's actually a great point. Although from Cryptic's perspective they probably wanted to give us something to do for a few weeks instead of a few days.

Reply to Attilio
Villa (Guest) said...
November 03, 2014 at 10:25 am

It was not an exploit it was just entering a patrol.
Did players exploit the mission because of the rewards yes.
Should we call it a exploit no, I bet most players thought it's working as intended after the patch.
Players should never have to worry if clicking and entering to start anything is an exploit. Just for the record I was not one the people who lost points.

Reply to Villa
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 03, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I agree, most of them probably did think it was working as intended. This is most likely why the conflict happened. I'm certain that if it was an obvious exploit instead of a standard game mechanic then people would've been less infuriated.

Reply to Attilio
187 (Guest) said...
November 03, 2014 at 10:32 am

Personally I think ppl must be crazy to want to grind for so many hours! I wish I had absolutely nothing to do so that I could grind for hours to level up. as it is I get barely an hour or so to play and even then its late night after I put my kids to sleep and given my wife the attention she needs ;)

i only just got to lvl 56 and although i wish I had more time inthe day I think this is better (for me) as otherwise i would get bored!

Reply to 187
Chris (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 11:05 am

Ah, I hadn't read they were returning those points. (But I just looked and saw his post. Seemed a good thing to do with the mis-information they have from their 'data diving.')

I can see it both ways, but in the end I don't feel like they handled it very well.

Cryptic certainly 'trained' us to level up to max before tackling new content. In the past, if you ran the Jem'Hadar storyline at level 47, you needed to run it again when you hit 50 so you could get the updated Mk 11 set gear.
So, on my Alts, I made sure to hit level 50 before going to do those missions.

But, we can move past this-
Hopefully everything will settle down on the PWE forums, and Devs can get back to catching Bugs!
(They did have some good voice over patches this past week, so hopefully they will continue to keep fixing things so our Alts will have an even better experience!


Reply to Chris
TOIVA (Guest) said...
November 03, 2014 at 11:44 am

Simply running the Tau dewa patrols weren't the 'exploit', afaik.

There were however some people who reportedly used very low level characters to team up and fight very low level NPCs and still get xp corresponding to higher level NPCs.

I definitely agree with fixing such an exploit. I however am stronly opposed to calling any player running those patrols alone, or with a random team (which would normally be similarly leveled players) exploiters. Cryptic, by their unclear wording, made it seem like people leveling by repeating patrols (which players were told to use for leveling in game given the gaps between missions and levels) were criminally exploiting the game and thus needlessly dividing the playerbase. Shame on them.

Disclaimer: Personally, I've been robbed of (and later refunded) 3 spec points I gained solo grinding Argala patrol in the Delta Q (I did solo a couple Tau Dewa patrols but decided they weren't as 'engaging' as Argala).

Reply to TOIVA
Kurika (Guest) said...
November 03, 2014 at 12:16 pm

What probably caused the initial speedlevelling and exploit use was the promise of free dilithium instead of skill points once specialization points had been completely filled out. Promise someone a way to get something for free, and they'll use any means they can figure out in order to get it. The actual specialization points were just a bonus. And then they could continue to run the Tau Dewa patrol to continue massing dilithium after everything was full.

This is probably why the promise of the free dilithium once was also quietly removed in a patch shortly after launch. They realized it was way too easy to exploit.

Reply to Kurika
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 03, 2014 at 12:19 pm

What I find interesting is that even after fixing Tau Dewa, they still removed the Dilithium feature. I wonder if they'll ever bring it back.

Reply to Attilio
charvey (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Although I was not effected by the clawback. I think Cryptic handled it badly. Hopefully they will learn from this. They should have given the player the benefit of the doubt at first not later after the backlash.

Reply to charvey
kcperkins (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 05:04 pm

Everyone here seems to have valid points. In any given situation when someone is given an opportunity to make things easier on themselves and do so "legitimately" the fault is not theirs. For example, if you are in a retail store and you see several items listed for a sale price of $99.99 when in truth the store has made mistake and the for sale sign was placed there in error, the store must sell you the item at the listed price of $99.99. They can then, and only then, fix their error, after your purchase. They cannot make an additional charge to your credit card after the fact, which is what occurred here. You cannot penalize after the fact. Yes I can understand shutting down the TD Sector to fix the "exploit" but don't penalized those who have already worked for the rewards. Here is a thought, before release, why not try to exploit the new material "in house" and catch it BEFORE release. Lord knows I have seen some of the smartest people in this game. It would'nt take long to spot and fix. Just a thought.

Reply to kcperkins
Whodat (Member) replied...
November 03, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Funny you mention testing... the Tau Dewa patrol "exploit" was discovered and reported prior to live launch. Cryptic just didn't bother correcting it.

Reply to Whodat
Trooper298 (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Since I've been playing STWOR so much I didn't notice this, but this is... well, it's litteral STUPID, no other comments beyond that.

Reply to Trooper298
Thognong (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Perhaps if the rewards from the Delta Quadrant missions were more appropriate then people wouldn't have had to resort to this.

Reply to Thognong
RenwoodSTO (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 11:55 pm

I fully admit - I made level 50 by grinding other stuff. Starbase 24 was a big one. I didn't work my way through the vast majority of the story arc content until well after I'd already hit level 50.

Reply to RenwoodSTO
Thognong (Member) replied...
November 04, 2014 at 04:11 am

Have to agree, I was finding the mission too long and reward-less so I used the foundry and PVE queues.

Reply to Thognong
RenwoodSTO (Member) said...
November 03, 2014 at 11:56 pm

I fully admit - I made level 50 by grinding other stuff. Starbase 24 was a big one. I didn't work my way through the vast majority of the story arc content until well after I'd already hit level 50.

Reply to RenwoodSTO
Majestic (Guest) said...
November 05, 2014 at 04:19 am

I have to say I am shocked. My views on this is so Cryptic messed up again, lack of testing and quality assurance again. I have been learning about this in my diploma (game design) and QA is supposed to be an ongoing thing before production right up to even after release. True STO is a MMO with continuous releases, but their QA is outright non-existent.

So players were doing what players do best and finding the most efficient way to get what they desire in-game. I see nothing wrong with this, most likely they thought it was just an easy mission and not an exploit. Hell I would have thought the same thing. I played the same Romulan patrol mission over and over because it was easier and faster than the others back when I was leveling through the Romulan Rep system.

Cryptic found this out, like they always do and instead of taking it on the chin and say "We messed up, our fault, it's fixed now, exploit is gone", they punish players. They removed their rewards, all the grinding work they did. Is that any way to treat your customers, many of which have no doubt put a few dollars into the game at some point for this ship or that uniform? I have to be honest here, I have never been much of a Cryptic or PWE supporter. I think they are sloppy for a professional game company, ask too much for too little and aren't really honest with their customers. But to do this to people, to their customers, punishing these people because of a mistake Cryptic themselves made due to a lack of their own QA I find it disgusting and wrong, totally wrong.

It's not really the fact that they took these things away from their customers that boils my blood, it's the fact they screwed up, the players discovered it and they punished the players for not only discovering it, but because Cryptic themselves messed up due to their non-professionalism.

Reply to Majestic
jakmak (Member) said...
November 05, 2014 at 06:19 pm

agreed! the game seems too big to get anything done. I spent lots of money....and I get the reward of some retarded Boff when I make 60? really?!!! CHEAP CRYPTIC BASTARDS!!

Reply to jakmak
Majestic (Member) replied...
November 05, 2014 at 07:07 pm

To be honest the whole going to level 60 was a waste and really only done so they could make more money at the expense of players. Why do we have to buy ships all over again? Why can't they be upgraded to full lvl 60 (Tier 6) stats? C-store ships are expensive as hell, they equal like $20 each. That is a lot of money for a virtual item.

It's so they can re-sell the same thing all over again with a new ability and make it easier to make more money. Hell they are even charging us to refit the ships, should all ships get a free refit to level T5-U? Should lockbox ships be automatically refitted to T6 not T5-U?

This is further proof that they only see players as a means to make money and at our expense. T6, level 60 was my last straw with the game. I have fully closed my wallet to them, only log on occasionally, a couple of times a year to play new missions.

If they treated players fairly, treated them like they mattered rather as a aspect to exploit then maybe they may make more money in the long run.

All I hope for these days in required to Trek is a new competitor MMO to give Cryptic some competition which would benefit us players the most. Cryptic would need to clean their act up then or be faced with going out of business with STO.

Reply to Majestic
Attilio (Owner) replied...
November 05, 2014 at 08:29 pm

Well in all fairness, players have been asking for the level cap to raise to 60 for about 2 years. So they do care and have given us what we wanted.

As for them wanting to making money, well of course. They are a business, that's what they're supposed to do. If they didn't then we wouldn't have a game to play.

That being said, I do agree that our current T5 ships should get free upgrades. It's a little ridiculous to have to pay for it, especially since some of us already paid for those ships.

Reply to Attilio
187 (Guest) replied...
November 07, 2014 at 06:37 am

I would agree to that!

Reply to 187
Whodat (Member) said...
November 07, 2014 at 10:44 am

I just think ALLOT of the "F2P" game dev's look down there noses at the player base. Over and over again I get the sense that rather than seeing us as customers they see us as leaches that should just be happy we have a game to play.

The DR expansion just reinforces that feeling... if you want to see the new content you absolutely have to shell out $30ish bucks. And don't try feeding me that load about "but you can change dil into zen so it's free!", no matter how you slice it someone IS paying that $30.

Compare this recent blunder with leveling to a similar event in Eve a few years back. Cryptic freaks out and calls the playerbase exploiters... in Eve the dev's laughed it off with a comment about how we always find new ways to amaze them... so rather than absolutely toxic forums everyone had a good chuckle and continued on with life.

Then again let's look at yet another "F2P" game... MWO. Who has time and time again made outright snide remarks to player concerns and issues, banning people for making negative remarks regarding there game on ANY public forum. Compare them to say Funcom a company where it's not uncommon for dev's to open threads asking what would make life better.

While not all F2P games have crummy devs I think allot of them need to take a long hard look at how they treat players.

Reply to Whodat
mmkemp1997 (Member) said...
November 09, 2014 at 06:15 am


Well it wat what we and certainly Cryptic understand under "exploits".

Speaking of my main char, I had reached lvl 50 in 24 days by doing the Exploration, Foundry mission, the Episode missions and enroute to one the patrol missions.
So the question is are that the "exploits" Cryptic is refering to?
Well I already understand that 24 days isn't that fast, so I don't think so although I was always some steps ahead of the lvl of the episodes. Sure I my main had some luck with the 2nd anny and some other xp events.

Saldy now basacly that system doesnt work now for reaching until lvl 60, so the remaning question how much time are we willing to spend on the game or we have in realtion of real life things.

Reply to mmkemp1997
ShadowCallerLight (Member) said...
November 16, 2014 at 03:22 am

If they didn't nerf the hell out of missions aka the XP is too freakin' low to even play their Storyline Content in the first place. On top of it it'll take at least a lot longer to do the 'Eliting' the Specializations to even matter anyway..

That's a lot of Grinding in General, I've done more grinding in Tanks than in Star Trek Online. Though I have a grinder's mentality since I have 20 Tier 10 Tanks in World of Tanks.

I'll probably get all the Specialization Points before I level any other characters to Level 60 + 51 times aka all 60 Specializations since you get 9 specialization points through 51 - 60. >.>

16 million XP in Tanks, though I played straight for 3 Years in Tanks and sooner or later it's going to become Four Years old. That's close to 4 Million XP to get to Fleet Admiral (Lvl 60) + All 60 Specialization Points. It's nice that this game is getting bigger grinds though I don't really like the Korean MMO-esque grindfest since that's silly... and Ridiculous long grinds.

Reply to ShadowCallerLight
Sevenpenny (Member) said...
November 17, 2014 at 05:35 am

Perhaps a better way for Cryptic would have been to do nothing except warn the player base as a whole (which then again that would cause some to rage.) that they (cryptic) knows who made use of said exploit and their accounts have been flagged going forward. Granted there pretty much isn't anything that can be done to make the entire player base happy, because if those players that used the exploit aren't punished except a slap on the wrist that will be seen as unfair and those that get caught up in others shenanigans aren't going to be happy either....

Reply to Sevenpenny
Spraque (Member) said...
November 20, 2014 at 08:53 am

I played TauDewa and levelled 3 toons to 60 by doing patrols with Fleet mates...and we had fun doing it. Keyword=fun.
Now, the so called content that arrived with DR...hmm...ok, so raise the level cap by 10 levels...and give the players 3 lvls worth of quests/content! The whole DR experience, while some quests may have been within the parameters of fun, was and is so lacking on so many fronts! How the heck did they NOT expect people to try and find ways to lvl quicker, knowing the sub-par content they put out?! I for one am flabbergasted at the whole debacle!

Reply to Spraque
Soral (Member) said...
November 29, 2014 at 11:20 am

I find the way that Cryptic handled the whole situation to be honestly pathetic. I understand their desire to want us to continue playing content for a few weeks versus a few days. But, honestly, one mission per level rank was ridiculous. I had to go grind other missions just so I could get to the new content. And on top of that, my ship (which does 20-25K dps) couldn't hardly handle Advanced and was getting beat up on Elite. I had to go back down to Normal just so I could "enjoy" the content again.

So the new content wasn't the tough, yet enjoyable experience that previous content has been. It wasn't sufficient enough in its entirety to level up your captain to 60 in a reasonable fashion. In other words, Cryptic FORCED people, basically required them, to grind missions that they did enjoy playing just so that they could gain enough level to continue on with the story. Then they penalized people because they discovered or re-discovered the "easy out" that was reported on Tribble before Delta Rising launched and Cryptic was too lazy to fix.

Epic fail, Cryptic. Epic fail.

Reply to Soral
@whicky1978 (Guest) said...
February 10, 2018 at 09:49 am

I was not aware of this at the time 😮. People spend more money at level 50/60 too so it did not make sense. They should have nerfed the mission and moved on.

Reply to @whicky1978

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