Some thoughts on ship classes, balance, and roles
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Join Date: Jun 2012
09-02-2012, 09:35 AM
@ OP: The sad truth is the game had balanced ship roles pre-F2P. The F2P patch changed the entire focus of the game to DPS-centric and escort-focused. This is probably because PWE mandated the game to be a shooter game where they could market and sell power-ups (which is the PWE money maker).
Here's what the ships USED to be like pre-f2p:
Escorts: Fast, maneuverable. Damage output was lower than cruisers (over time but they had high burst damage. aka 4 gun slots in escort vs 8 in cruisers bearing on target). Its role was to use its speed and turn rate to strike the weak shield facing of targets.
Cruisers: Slow, bad turn rate...and darn resilient. Cruisers were the quintessential main force of the fleets.
Science: Relatively slow, relatively low turn rate (worse than escorts but better than cruisers). Excellent shields but very weak hulls. Science ships were the premier debuffers and healers in the game. They were also crowd controllers and damage add-on via science abilities (gravity well, etc).
The game was balanced by the fact that weapons did not do as much damage as they do now. In fact you can still see this balance in the early levels from level 1 to about 30 where escorts really do not have the supreme damage output they do at end game and cruisers and science ships excel at their class roles.
But, since the F2P patch, with the great dumbing down of the skill trees and the idiotification of the combat system the whole thing became escort-centric and ever since Cryptic has been peddling nothing but escort firepower and escort content (for example look at all the content released post season 5. It all relies on ships having extremely high dps to kill npcs quickly before X scripted event happens or before the npcs reach X point ... cruisers and science ships cannot perform those tasks).
To return the game back to balance escorts need to lose a significant amount of damage output and the game overall needs to be re-tuned to return to the pre-f2p balance.
.. but that will never happen. Too much work which will not net zstore sales and there is no talent left at cryptic to code such changes. This game has been on life support pimp-it-before-it-dies mode since season 5.