Federation Cruisers. Again. Enough already!
I noticed that for the past two weeks, we've been missing our weekly cruiser buff thread! This is unacceptable and is being rectified right now.
So let's look back at what most of the other threads have covered (god there have been so many...):
- Cruisers as is, are not very useful in PvE (which makes up a HUGE portion of the game) short of being pure and dedicated tanks.
- Cruisers are capable of dealing substantial damage, but in order to do so MUST sacrifice a good portion of their survivability, thus gimping their strength and barely adding on to a weakness.
- Cruisers are acceptable healers and support ships, and excellent tanks (ironically tanks are useless in PvP, where they'd actually be GREAT at their job. Anyone who has tried to kill a well-built cruiser can attest to this).
- Cruisers can't turn or move for beans, with the exception of two (Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit, and Heavy Cruiser Retrofit), and even then, it's not very impressive.
- The remaining Cruisers are practically rail-roaded into using weapons that are horrendously inefficient, but are the only ones that are really viable for them considering their terrible turn rates/move speed.
- Anything a Cruiser can do, an Escort can do better (with the exception of hull tanking, which courtesy of how massive torpedo damage capability has become... is a null point).
- KDF Battlecruisers are vastly superior to Federation Cruisers in almost every aspect. And that which they don't surpass them in, they come close enough it doesn't really matter.
Proposed solutions (again from cruiser threads, not necessarily what I want):
- Buff Cruiser turn rates by 2 (minimum 1)
- Decrease BA power drain
- Add in Heavy BAs AND reduce power drains
- Nerf Escorts
- Nerf DHCs AND Escorts
So far, not horribly productive. The only negative part is that a lot of these threads just turn into flaming fests and pointless arguments. And to be completely honest, with the level of chaos and lack of consensus, if I were a dev, I would put the cruiser threads up for a good laugh during lunch hour, and not actually consider ANYTHING being said. Wouldn't you guys? I mean, seriously. Read a lot of the threads from start to finish. They become jokes and chaotic. Complete wastes.
However that should NOT be the case. Our feedback shouldn't be a joke, something to laugh at, nothing more than entertainment.
So I would ask you guys this. Enough with the petty crap, enough with all the flame fests. We need to agree as a community (even if our voices don't seem to count for crap). Who knows, maybe if we all agreed on something, it might change.
Anyways, let's get started.
Tweeting this to Branflakes.
The ultimate problem with this issue is that there is too much division around it. For every two people saying cruisers need a buff, there's an escort fanboy ready to weigh in the opposite opinion because he's terrified of having his supremacy challenged.
The devs won't touch this subject with a thirtynine and a half foot pole because the community is not of one mind and one voice about it.
I don't understand this 'escorts are OP thing' my cruiser can do just as much dps as my escort in something like ISE. Heck I regularly come in 1st place in fleet events over escorts. I just fly my escort more because it's more fun to me, but that's my playstyle.
I have a fed engi cruiser that does a very decent job of healing in PvP. Sadly I have retired her from space STFs since she can now barely scratch borg (~3k-ish dps). I have seen cruiser builds out there that can do 15k+ dps in STFs. But then they had tac captains riding them. They would also be worthless in PvP. I mean, clearly - a cruiser can heal, and a cruiser can dps. The problem here seems to be captain class riding it. If I'm not mistaken, cruiser class were meant to be flown by engineering captain, however since an engineer cannot take full advantage of the craft, there must be something wrong with that career as well.
Oh come on, cruisers aren't that weak, it's science ships that suffer. Cruisers can be highly effective healers and/or tanks while putting out 4k DPS or more. Those two high turn rate retrofits are even better damage dealers and sacrifice little in healing and tanking. Sci ships can scarcely manage 4k DPS when fully dedicated to damage dealing, their CC is negligible, and their healing is far weaker than a cruiser's. The Vesta and possibly the Wells are exceptions to this, but saying those fix the problem is like saying the D'Kora proves that the Assault Cruiser and Star Cruiser are in great shape. Fix sci ships first, then we can think about whether cruisers need a buff.
Huh, my Tac console thread didn't make it on the list?
I'm not going to argue the points made by OP, even though I disagree with them in part. However, I want to add on to what has been mentioned:
To further expand on the subject of tanking...
In PvE, cruisers can tank fairly well because of how AI works and how Threat Control can force AI to target cruisers over other members of your team. However, it doesn't mean a whole lot if cubes and the lot cannot withstand or retaliate the assault of multiple escorts.
In PvP, you either tank or you heal, but tanking means nothing if you cannot pose enough of a threat to draw players' attention or force it on you. Likewise, it also means nothing if your shields aren't all that much stronger because once one quadrant falls, you're toast: unlike escorts, you can't manoeuvre to cover your weak spots. Healing seems to just about the only role that cruisers can safely provide, but some cruisers are made to heal better than others.
As for the OP's suggested improvements, I think that cruisers lack in variety compared to other ships, and are also incapable of tanking adequately, as I have explained above. If cruisers can't fulfil their tanking role well, then why must they be stuck with a turn rate that appears to be actually slower than that of a Borg Cube?
I won't deign to comment on nerfing either escorts, dhcs, or both, since those are separate issues, and involving them in the topic would only lead to unnecessary antagonism. What we ought to discuss should specifically pertain to why cruisers are underperforming, or otherwise undesirable, compared to other choices.
Personally, I think that a few cruisers could use a boost in their turn rate, which is to say that every single cruiser with the exception of the Star Cruiser, Support Cruiser, and the Odysseys. Moreover, while the characteristics of cruisers are not identical, they are ultimately oriented towards roughly the same capabilities of healing/support/tanking, when it might be better to distinguish within these rough categorical outlines. Some cruisers may be built for pure tanking, while others qualify as offensive tanks or the more esoteric role of "point defenders" (cruisers that can exercise both mobility and tanking qualities).
Beam Array power drain is excessive and causes a massive decrease in the effective DPS of a cruiser, which is already inferior to escorts under most circumstances. Beam abilities are hobbled by disadvantages that are not present or otherwise negligible for Torpedo and Cannon abilities. While I don't have any particular qualms about the scattering nature of Fire At Will, Beam Overload comes into mind for the exceptional number of faults it has, namely in terms of its reliance on power for damage, delay and interruption of firing cycles and its disconcerting tendency to miss and do no damage at all.
Cruisers would also be more viable if they could make effective use of kinetic weapons such as torpedoes, but the ship class as a whole would be far more effective if they either had conditional mobility capabilities or the ability to enforce zoning (i.e., cripple enemy mobility or force them into a situation where they must engage the cruiser).
Just to clarify: the proposed solutions are not solutions I necessarily want. I am just saying that those were the solutions proposed in a lot of the cruiser threads.
I think a problem is that half of the people want to adhere to the MMO trinity of Tank/Heal/DPS and half of us want to go a separate but equal route. Currently we have a soft trinity, that doesn't do anything for either player. Hardcore trinity fans are sad because DPS is the only role we have, and sbe players are sad because Escorts outperform everything so much its a moot point.
I am definitely in the later camp, so I want to see a cruiser's broadside be as devastating as an alpha strike. Mostly this as I am entirely a new player to the game, but my perception of Star Trek is that cruisers rule space, which is opposite of this game. For example people in these types of threads use 'Kirking' as a pejorative, but in a Star Trek game, shouldn't making 'Kirking' both fun and a decent way to play be an objective?
Personally ensuring each ship can deal damage, in their own way, and survive, again in their own way, should be an end goal. Moving up Cruiser damage should be a good thing, as long as its accomplished in a way unique to cruisers. For example if EPtW, or any other LT+ Engi power was strong for cruisers, they could be built to better utilize in ways that Sci or Tac ships can't, much the same way the others get more mileage out of their respective high level BOFFs. I would also like to see Beam Arrays be as useful as Cannons, if for no other reason than only the Defiant Fed side made use of cannons.
As for throwing out useful suggestions, buffing Cruiser turn by even 1 would be pretty noticeable, after all I saw a huge boon going from the Galaxy to the Sovvy. I really liked the idea of giving Cruisers an additional passive resistance to energy drain, representing their massive warp cores. Beyond that I would if Beam Overload did not kill energy, or if there was a single target version of Fire at Will, Cruiser Cannon Rapid Fire ie. Preferably I think changing BO to something more usable in practice would be better, as it keeps the ships from overlapping, but CRF works for escorts with 0 downsides, so going with what works is not bad either.
Edit: Also on the though of making all ships more rounded, I think getting rid of large enemies just targeting one player would be the thing to do. Punish a ship for being pure dps, by either having to disengage or slot some survival. Afterall, Cubes are shown to have far, far, far more arrays than any other starship, and constantly shoot anything nearby.
Accordingly you ought to be able to Kirk in the type of ship Kirk used, really.
I think a lot of things could/should be improved about cruisers - perhaps some inherent advantage to damage taking, e.g. built in resistance to hull hits to represent heavy armor built-in. I dunno. I do know however that a 1-2 deg/sec buff to cruiser turn rate would make a world of difference in terms of PATIENCE and likely not have that much of an impact on actual practical applications - it's still slower than a Klingon cruiser's turn rate, but it's easier on the patience.
Anyway, if I think of anything direct to add to this I'll toss in my hat, but not everyone thinks Kirking is bad, and I am more than a little surprised at those who do. Star Trek Online is not going to be like every other MMO out there - the thing's got two MMO's layered on top of one another, that's a basic mechanics difference right there.
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