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thissler 02-13-2013 07:06 AM

Punch, counterpunch!
Bam! Kapow!

STO was a great game when it was built around attacks and counters to those attacks via reacting. It still IS a great game. It's just maybe not working quite that way.

Well why would anyone say that?

First, is it a game of action/reaction? (or more properly, did it use to be?) Of course. The game has plenty of actions. Firing phasers. There's an action. Firing Torpedoes. There's another. Beam overload and High Yield. There's more. Those are all actions. And there are reactions. Brace for impact. Emergency Power to Shields. Transfer Shield Strength. And those are reactions, but are they really?

Well they certainly COULD be. You could see some torpedoes coming and sure you could Brace. You could take some fire to your shields and for some reason you haven't exploded and you could Transfer Shield Strength. So certainly they could be reactions. And if you DIDN'T react in time you could then be in Very Serious Trouble!

You could further argure that every heal in the game is a reaction. Cant heal if you didn't take damage and furthermore you would need to SURVIVE that damage if you're now around to heal it!

Okay well we should have some sort of sense of time for all this to happen inside of. Things take time right? Somewhere in here we could say that a player has a certain amount of time to begin to react to a situation before it spirals out of control. Before it becomes just plain to late. Where some damage is taken, but a player could just use the ship controls to survive. Swap power to shields, manually distribute, turn his ship. Things of THAT nature. Not "pop RSP instantly".

This is just a TOTAL guess. But with CRF being one of the shortest most powerful attacks I will say that the timeframe MUST fit inside of CRF's duration. And that's likely far to short.

But it was THERE. There was a timeframe that a defender had. Had. That's gone now.

Okay what makes anyone say that the timeframe has gone. Or if it hasn't "gone" it has shrunk to the point it is virtually meaningless to many players.

Tactical Team and Emergency Power to Shields, that's why. There is a large contingent of players that push using these to abilites as often as possible, proactively. EPS that's easy. TT not so much but you can greatly increase its uptime so the uncovered gap is about 5 seconds or so? Some expert on that will chime in. Still you can see the push is to have TT as often as possible, and EPS always. Well there must be a reason. That method of play IS out there. It is posted on fairly often. No one ever says anything to the contrary.

Well why is that? Why would a game obviously built around action/reaction now require a response team ability and and emergency power ability to be run full time?

Because the players know that at any moment that they don't have those abilities running thier ship is in grievous danger. More damage can come in faster than they could ever react to and the innate abilites of even a full health ship will not save them. And that's true and it can and has been demonstrated over and over and over that even a full health ship will blow up with ease under those circumstances.

And it doesn't MATTER that it doesn't happen every five seconds. It doesnt MATTER that it doesn't happen to you because YOU keep TT up as often as possible or that YOU can keep your trigger finger over that button or that YOU fly on a team with extends.

What does matter is that those things ARE in the game and it HAS pushed the players into a spot where if they don't proactively defend themselves to a very high degree they could simply "vanish". So now its no longer action/reaction. Sure that's THERE. But only if you survive the first blow. And to survive the first blow you need to have.......right. You got it. You need to be running reaction type abilites before anything has happened to react to.

Huh well thats wierd. How in the world of STO did we get to a place where Cruisers and Carriers can be one shot?

Here's a hint. Don't blame Doffs! Don't blame the rep system! It isn't gear sets! Not Boff's! Not captain abilities! But it is where those things derive from.

Cheers happy flying!

djwashu 02-13-2013 07:11 AM

Disappointed. Expected this thread to be about the 2010 TFCC exclusive figure.

naevius 02-13-2013 08:00 AM

It would be interesting to test (on Tribble?) a universal doubling of hull and/or shield values, and tweak from there.

On the other hand, there are already ships that can tank a ton of fire... the more general problem is that STO isn't good at limiting the 'extremes' - there need to be more hard caps on every buff and debuff.

mancom 02-13-2013 08:25 AM

It is probably completely impossible to rebalance the game at this point without massively restricting what doffs and special consoles can do.

Due to special consoles (and also hybrid boff layouts), many powerful abilities are not restricted to certain ship classes anymore. So it's difficult to balance these abilities against the hull/shield/movement restrictions of a certain ship class.

Due to Doffs (and in reverse direction due to AoE cooldown increasing temporal lobi sets), you never know at what value the cooldown of a Boff ability will actually end up (without any inherent balance in form of occupied boff slots due to doubling-up on abilities to reduce cooldowns). This makes balancing the impact of an ability very hard since you never really know how often the ability will be available.

Due to resist skills in the skill tree, you never know whether an ability will fire with full force or only a fraction of the planned power.

Cryptic has introduced way too many variables that have increased the variance of abilities. In its oldest (pre-F2P/SpecialConsole) form - the huge boosts to damage from abilities -, this variance has led to always-on EPtS becoming a necessity to slightly reduce the gap between buffed and unbuffed weapons hitting one's ship. In its more recent incarnations, this variance has led to the demise of shield stripping powers (CPB/TachBeam) and the rise of "everyone can heal through almost everything".

shimmerless 02-13-2013 08:30 AM

I would like to add to what Mancom said by reminding Cryptic that the original game incarnation was clearly balanced around rather specific cooldowns. Unlike other MMOs or similar games, STO has strictly-regimented skills that are designed to offset each other during the general ebb and flow of a given map instance. Damage pushes and defense pulls, etc.

The timeships and other cooldown-reducing/inflating gear, equipment or DOff options are severely breaking the flow of the game and dragging it into uncharted waters. STO's poor compatibility with cooldown reduction could be seen most clearly during the Romulan Embassy DOff bug: users of these DOffs were extremely difficult to counter as player ships were not designed to withstand the firepower of ~24 second interval Alphas or Subnukes.

Now, this is not to say that cooldown reduction/inflation strategies have no place in the game. I'm sure if properly play-tested and trialled before release, such items would be more than welcome within the current ruleset. The problem, as always, is that said items clearly weren't fully tested, and the game has greatly suffered as a result.

adrianm63 02-13-2013 08:36 AM


Originally Posted by shimmerless (Post 8027561)
STO's poor compatibility with cooldown reduction could be seen most clearly during the Romulan Embassy DOff bug: users of these DOffs were extremely difficult to counter as player ships were not designed to withstand the firepower of ~24 second interval Alphas or Subnukes.

that was fixed weeks ago.
you can counter apa easier than you can counter subnuc :rolleyes:

mancom 02-13-2013 08:51 AM

What amazes me about STO is how incredibly good and stable the initial design (and also S1.2) was. When we got the reworked TT, it essentially quadrupled everyone's shields! And yet, the game remained playable.

Unfortunately the current devs seem to be primarily interested in figuring out just how many hay bales you can load on this camel's back before it finally breaks.

shimmerless 02-13-2013 08:55 AM


Originally Posted by adrianm63 (Post 8027691)
that was fixed weeks ago.
you can counter apa easier than you can counter subnuc :rolleyes:

It was just an example that I felt many would likely be able to relate to. I actually don't think those DOffs are even close to the worst offender.

devorasx 02-13-2013 09:05 AM

I know exactly what you are talking about!

redricky 02-13-2013 09:52 AM


Originally Posted by thissler (Post 8026721)
Bam! Kapow!

Huh? Somebody call me?

But yeah, it's probably time to look at the state of things when what used to be counters are now maintained as a baseline. There is no longer an E in EPTS. I remember back in the day Cryptic said they had to choose between everybody being a captain and everybody starting as an ensign pushing buttons in main engineering. Well, we're kind of there. I actually do spend time just pushing buttons to cycle EPTx.


Originally Posted by devorasx (Post 8028151)

Er. Muh. Gerd. This hurts so badly to watch because I want STO to be awesome. It just makes me flash back to things like the temporal time out. I ranted that any time a player is put in a situation without a counter, a situation where removing their hands from the keyboard will have the same effect as leaving them there, that it was inherently bad for the game. And then there's the part in the vid about testing it rigorously. We were assured that nothing could hurt you in the temporal field so it wasn't really a stun, but then we got temporal tric'ing. It hurts, it really does, to see the advice is "Use your brain, think it through, and test it."

Watching that vid on balanced game design was like listening to great advice from a psychologist on how to build healthy relationships while thinking that I can't wait to get back to my girlfriend so she can empty my bank account and step on my balls some more.

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