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Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,117
# 38
06-25-2013, 01:03 PM
I like the idea of ability combos. I think its novel, and could be implemented pretty easily by having abilities apply a buff the player ship when activated that triggers a secondary effect when another ability is used.

I also like that bluegeek has drawn our attention to the role of synergy between our captains and our boff abilities. This highlights an intrinsic difference between the potential that different captain abilities can achieve.

A fire and forget captain ability like miracle worker does its thing and goes on cool down. The limit upon how usefull it can be is intrinsic to its own qualities and ballencing it is relatively simple.

A buff like attack pattern alpha on the other hand provides multiplications which can be combined with additional multiplications ontop of a number that has already been inflated to a maximum point. These sorts of abilities are a nightmare to balance as any addition to the game has the potential to alter the maximum achievable effect of the ability. That said there are plenty of people with no understanding of STOs stats and mechanics who will never approach the maximum potential benefit of the ability, so how do we ballence it?

Sadly I don't see combos as any sort of a solution to STOs current balance woes. I think that captain abilities themselves are not the cause of our problems. I think captain abilities mostly suffer from an imbalance in our perception of them rather then an imbalance in their usefulness.

Tactical captains can stack their damage buffs and get a big impressive damage output with lots of digits. the buffs themselves may not be too exciting to look at but every one agrees that multiple big digit numbers are good, you don't need to be a stat monkey to gawp at the massive BO3 crit that a tactical captain just did.

Science captains get abilities that are noticeable.

Every one can see the big bubble. Look a big bubble! get into the big bubble! Doesn't matter whether the big bubble really does very much, people see it and assume it helps.

Sensor scan is what we used to use on groups of enemies we had gathered up in a gravity well before the big aoe attacks hit. Not so useful since the EP2E buff but oh well, its still something people can still see happening.

Subnucleonic beam is largely ignored by PVEers, though it shouldn't be, it has its uses. But in PVP nothing annoys people more then seeing all their buffs disappear so it is also very noticeable.

Finally photonic fleet, is probably the flashiest captain ability around, so again it doesn't really matter how useful it is as it has 'Corr blimy, would you look at that' factor.

So this is why people see engineer's as being at the bottom of the pile. Their buffs are fantastic, but most people don't understand the stats, they are looking for 'flash', which engineering buffs don't have. Also pre-LOR their miracle worker really wasn't grate, now with the new trait it is.

Nadion inversion. Most under rated damage buff ever. People look at the description: 'resistance to power drain', and never bother to click it. This is a grate ability for any ship that uses all energy weapons, the diminishing damage numbers you see in each volley will magically fail to diminish.

EPS Power transfer. This ability buffs all power levels, that means it buffs EVERYTHING. How is that not good? by putting your weapons power over the 125 cap your reducing those diminishing damage numbers with successive shots again, by increasing your shield power your getting more passive regeneration which your tactical team can shunt to where it is needed, your engine power may be increasing your defense value if you arnt already at the cap, and helps you advance to deliver bigger damage or withdraw to take less, your aux power increases the effectiveness of your tanking abilities or science skills.

Rotate shield frequency and miracle worker require no explanation.

So that's why I see captain abilities as a PR problem rather then an actual balance problem. I love the idea of combos, but I see them as a fun addition rather then a balance fix.

That said I am very weary of anything that encourages us to use career appropriate ships. Encouragement usually becomes necessity after a few balance passes. I don't like the idea of peoples ship selection being limited by their career choice.

Personally I would rather see synergy between the 'science team', 'tactical team' and 'engineering team' abilities and their appropriate ships worked on, rather then between captain types and ships. If these buffs were striped of their healing components, all given shield rebalancing and all made to enhance the other abilities available from their slot type then I think a huge number of the complaints people have about ship balance would be resolved.

Last edited by pwstolemyname; 06-25-2013 at 01:06 PM.