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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Meditations: Scramble Sensors
08-27-2011, 01:56 AM
Though another, recent thread on the subject was closed, when the discussion wandered away from the topic, Scramble Sensors is a power that is a hot topic for discussion amongst the PvP Community, so, rather than a discussion on whether it should or should not be included in competitive play (at least, in its current iterations), let this be a place to discuss the mechanics of the power, and possible alterations or tweaks that would make the power more balanced/enjoyable.

In the absence of a dedicated PvP Dev (and, I understand that the team will be expanding in the near future, and I welcome the opportunity to introduce more of the team to the PvP side of the game), we, the PvP Community, need to work together to provide clear, concise, and well-reasoned feedback on any of the game's mechanics that, potentially, need to be tweaked to improve the gameplay experience for everyone. Suggestions, feedback, and commentary are welcomed, and I encourage anyone to contribute.

SCRAMBLE SENSORS:

Observations:
  • Significant difference in effectiveness of versions 1, 2, and 3.
  • Target-switching is vastly more frequent on skilled versions of SS2, or any version of SS3.
  • Anecdotally, causes self-only powers to fail (or be triggered on other targets?). Volume of anecdotal evidence leads to conclusion that this is, in fact, occurring.
  • Fully-skilled, can almost be cycled indefinitely (with minimal downtime between copies, even on the same ship).

Benefits:
  • Good counter to powerful Healing, as it slows down a Healer's ability to Heal effectively, particularly due to the target-switching.
  • Moderate counter to enemy Escorts, especially with the target-switching aspect, can quickly disrupt an alpha-strike, if an Escort Captain is not careful.
  • Powerful in PvE against multiple targets, who do not carry the appropriate counter (Science Team).

Drawbacks:
  • Target-switching leads to frequent inability to effectively clear the 'scramble' effect.
  • As mentioned above, target-switching can cause 'self-only' powers (e.g. Evasive Maneuvers) to fail-to-activate (or, perhaps, be thrown elsewhere).
  • Counter-intuitive change to UI, in that all targets become 'friendly' in appearance, yet you can attack and/or heal any of those ships.

Possible Modifications to Improve/Balance:
  • Add a short resistance timer, upon expiration of a copy of Scramble Sensors, preventing the re-application (or shortening the duration) of future copies for the duration of the timer. (Probably the simplest and most 'elegant' solution, with a minimal impact on PvE play, while dramatically improving the effects of usage in PvP.)
  • Change Scramble's effect so that all targets present as 'hostile' rather than friendly. (This would retain the ability to fire upon any target in range, and remain perfectly viable in PvE, while preventing heals, specifically, the counter: Science Team, from being randomly thrown to targets on-screen... However, this might carry the problem of 'forcing' ships that are dedicated to healing to carry a Science Team...)
  • Remove the target-switching effect completely, replace it with a simple target-break at the application of the power, while retaining all other, current aspects of the power. Alternatively, replace the 'target-switching' with the aforementioned 'target-break' and then disable tab-targeting for the duration of the power. (I am unsure if the UI could handle disabling 'tab-targeting' for the power's duration, but this seems like it might be an interesting mechanic, forcing a player to manually 'click-target' friends and foes, for the power's duration. The initial 'target-break' seems like it should be incorporated, in any case.)

The biggest complaint, the target-switching (and its effect on either 'self-only' power activation or reliably clearing the debuff), seems to be something that should either be done away with completely, or modified to prevent an inability to clear (which, invariably, is problematic for any power, in any game) and certainly to prevent interference with 'self-only' powers.

Perhaps the power needs a re-work from the ground up for PvP, staying largely the same for its effects in PvE, but behaving entirely separately in PvP? In any case, I put this to the rest of the Community, for your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions.

-BRJ