For adjudicatorhawk, a look at the big picture
Your time and efforts on these forums the last few days has been greatly appreciated. We rarely get this level of transparency and insight into the thoughts of the designers, and as passionate as our responses may become, we are thankful that you took the time to be honest with us.
It's easy to be passionate about a game we have all made into an online community. Most of that passion stems from our greater understanding of how the game works and flows, and just how much potential it has to make the leap from "almost there, but just missing the mark", to one of the best available MMO's in it's genre.
We recognize and accept that, like any MMO, Star Trek Online has to cater to the largest group of players first: the casual players. We don't think that you're mistaken in that mentality. However, we do feel that in balancing the game around casual play, you make it impossible to balance the game at high-end levels.
Most casual players eventually start to evolve to become more interested and invested in the game. Instead of having a diverse, stable end-game for more skilled players, the game starts to funnel them into a place where they realize that the options for success are actually very few. There aren't many things that work exceptionally well when facing off against an actual challenging opponent. It becomes frustrating to the evolving casual, because it isn't much fun.
What the casual player didn't realize before was that it would benefit them more for designers to balance for a stable end-game, and then work backwards to ease the slope of the learning curve for the casual players. They don't realize that balancing for the casual player is what leads to such a huge imbalance when playing with or against more highly skilled players. The casuals play a game where every ability is effective, so when a higher-skilled player who knows better comes around, they get absolutely crushed. This is why casual players often feel that high skilled players must be hacking. This is why there is so much complaining about skilled players sharing the same queues as casual players.
This is exactly why PvP and end-game PvE are where they are now.
This is where our community can help you!
It has become apparent to us that the developers feel that PvP and PvE are two completely unrelated entities. But they're not. PvP is actually a huge indicator when it comes to the parts of PvE the developers are constantly admitting may need some reworking.
An example (from your own admission in another post) is the technician duty officer, where you feel the recharge rate might be too high. But you're worried that changing it will have a negative effect in PvE. And you should be worried. What you're figuring out now is what the PvP community has known for a long time: Cruisers are as good as other ships in the game only after you effectively DOUBLE all their bridge officer abilities with technicians. Without technicians, no one plays a cruiser outside of a healing role (which right now is a role that isn't needed for PvE) because they just aren't good ships.
This isn't a new discovery, and anyone following the bleeding edge of PvP would already know this. And this is just one tiny aspect of the game that top-level PvP has insight into. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that PvP is the best testing ground in the game for balance, as it offers the most difficult and challenging opponents. Not only that, but our community rigorously tests EVERYTHING to understand if it can provide an advantage.
We can help, we want to help, and we are a free resource just waiting to be tapped. Star Trek Online needs only minor changes to go from a casual-only game to a serious contender in the genre. Believe it or not, we want that more than you probably do.
It doesn't begin with us telling you what to specifically change. It begins with you starting to ask us for better understanding of where the game is now, and accepting that it's in a pretty tough spot.
We're ready to go.
And if you stay as involved as you've been so far, we're glad to have you around.
More pvper supremacist rhetoric. :rolleyes:
There are some elite pve-ers who test things as extensive as the best pvp-ers but they do it in the dominant environment of the game.
Just because we don't pvp doesn't mean we aren't as obsessed about every little bit of performance we can get out of our ships.
Though I agree the devs need to ask for help these days. They aren't doing a great job of fixing the games problems by themselves.
No offense was intended :)
EDIT: I facepalmed after re-reading the line I wrote: "the higher you progress, the less you actually have to work with", because it sums up my entire wall of text in one sentence. I need to be more concise.
It's not so much a PvP vs. PvE thing...it's not even a case of Hardcore vs. Casual - what Cryptic's doing, although it may very well be what's keeping the game afloat and allowing further development...it's gone well beyond Casual. Even average/casual gamers are wondering what's going on...Cryptic's gone that far with it and there's no end in sight.
Really great post Vox.
Well said, and I agree.
There is a difference.
This is coming from someone whos background in MMOs is one of the performance obsessed, PvE environment crushing, 40 to 80 man raid games, etc.
That's right, I'm a reformed PvEr. :P
When many objectively minded PvPers evaluate something, they ask if its balanced - because whatever it is, it can be used on them as well as their opponents.
PvE lacks this dynamic. PvErs only use their powers on their opponents.
It should be no surprise that the PvE forums focus on
A) Powers/ships/abilities they feel underperform.
B) NPCs that are too powerful/annoying.
It's exceedingly rare that they ever go into "X is too powerful" outside of players who only play 1 ship/captain type and have a grudge against other ships/captain types.
Generally they might say the opposite, the elite ones anyway, "Y content is too easy". They like their power, they want to keep it. They "earned" it, now they want to crush new, harder enemies with it.
Elite PvErs who test things are more conerned with crushing the hell out of PvE, finishing things in record times. More power to them, go for it and have fun.
They very rarely report those things, they'll share it amongst themselves, word spreads - and if a nerf hammer ever comes down its usually because it becomes such common knowledge even casuals are posting it or because the devs in their datamining see a pattern they think is out of line with their design goals.
Not for nothing, ask a dozen PvPers if Double Tap beam overload is overpowered and you will have a knock-down drag out forum war.
Ask a dozen PvErs and they will probably tell you beam overload sucks for DPS.
So there really is quite a difference.
I understand that there will always be people who aren't happy with it, and it will never be perfect for every person. I also fully understand that a game 3+ years old is NEVER going to be completely overhauled without ruining itself.
What we want, and what we need are two very different things now.
Well, I used to think devs didn't pay any attention to PvP but I've changed my mind recently. Devs do fix things for our community. Obviously they can't fix everything. Obviously some things are harder to fix than others. And obviously they can't dedicated 100% of their time to us. But still, you have to give credit when it's due. In the last couple of days alone they did some good for pvp: nerfing double tap and the black ball of goo. All these things are good for PvP in general, despite our mixed feelings (and our fear of healing power in sto:rolleyes:).
-proper testing: they don't
-responding to feedback they ask for in a timely manner: they don't
-stating contradicting ideas: I remember a guy recently said they didn't give the Rommie time ship a singularity core because it'd be power creep, yet the entire line of Rommie ships have then and better stats/bo layouts and arnt power creep?
I could go on.
A few fixes here and there when we cry for attention the loudest? Been there done that.
Excellent post, Vox. I feel much the same way.
As an example of what I have done, I tested the heck out of the EWS modifier on an elite core. Most people had already dismissed it, going for AMP, but still never actually looked at EWS.
I tested it considerably, both in PvP and PvE, pretty much saying that it was totally pointless in both, there was almost no reason to run it (and any reasons that you would, you would probably want AMP more anyways).
(If anyone wants to read more on that, just click my sig)
Point from that being, yeah, you are right, we are willing to test things to their most extreme limits. And we are willing to help, they just have to be willing to accept it and actually use that help.
STO: A textbook example of what happens when you use the same underlying system for your PvP and PvE without making certain both spheres of existence are designed to use the mechanics in play in the same fashion.
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