Are you ready to lead? Star Trek Online's executive producer Dan Stahl announced that the rank earned at the next level cap (61), Fleet Admiral, is more than just a name--players will finally be given the ability to control and manage a fleet of their own!
The details are light in the Q&A that announces the new rank, but having a small armada of ships under the player's direct control would be a huge change for STO's space combat system, which currently only allows players to control their own individual ship. The space combat is one of the things that Cryptic got right in STO--it's paced just right, with direction taken from the shows and movies to choreograph the ships as they battle in the depths of space. Adding whole fleets that could take orders from players wouldn't have to be overwhelming (the pacing is fairly slow in its current form), but it could be if Cryptic doesn't make these changes very carefully.
It's easy to picture this becoming a fantastic addition to Star Trek Online. The extra planning and tactics make sense in the Star Trek universe, and could create the perfect style of combat for high-level players--who should've learned how to control their ships by now, and can handle the added thought processes required to control a whole fleet. Players already control their A.I. away team members on the ground, and Cryptic could take a similar approach to a controlling your armada of ships as the Fleet Admiral.
I can't help but wonder why Cryptic is prioritizing this development over improvements to ground combat, though. Ground combat has never been the most lauded feature in STO, but lately I've begun to appreciate it more and more. Not that Cryptic's really changed much with it, but I've finally gotten the hang of using my away team's abilities and learned to put more thought into what I'm doing. There's some real potential here, and I hope they're working on fleshing out the ground combat more, in addition to these excited space combat changes. It'd be a shame to leave ground combat in it's current state, no matter how great the space combat gets!
Read the full Q&A for more information.