An Alternative Approach
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Join Date: Jun 2012
03-20-2013, 08:27 PM
From the point of view of diversity, I think the most interesting PvE encounter in the game is the Starbase Blockade. As long as you're competent at what you do, almost any approach works for protecting freighters: you can kill the pursuers, you can cc them, you can heal / buff the freighter. Killing the pursuers is not even the most efficient way to accomplish the goal (cc is probably the most effective, because if you do it well, you can fire and forget it and head off to protect a second freighter; fighting them locks you into combat, which takes longer to complete). Still, it shows that encounters can be designed in such a way that damage is not the only solution.
I agree entirely that supporting diversity (in everything -- powers, builds, classes, ships) is highly desirable for the long term health of the game. If one thing is clearly "the best", people will gravitate toward it, and game play becomes much less involving as a result. But that topic is worthy of its own essay.
I think there has always been a thread about (Federation) cruisers not doing enough damage, and another thread about tacs doing far more damage than everybody else in space, but the recent outcries about beam arrays being too weak, about tacs being the only useful character class in space for PvE, and about escorts being strictly better than cruisers are all new themes. Very little has changed in s7 with regard to beam arrays in PvE, and very little has changed about the PvE enemies they are being shot at -- almost all the recent changes can only have increased the damage of beam arrays in PvE, in fact. I suspect these are largely spillover from PvP perceptions, as the value of beam arrays has definitely changed in PvP.
I can think of several factors that might have changed these overall perceptions and possibly the reality of the situation, but I find it difficult to put my finger on any single cause. Possibilities that come to mind include:
- a general increase in durability of all ships from gear and reputation passives in s7, giving escorts "enough tank" to increase their on target time instead of needing to maintain high speed and defense for survivability. The effect on PvP seems even more significant, but I'm trying to focus primarily on changes in PvE
- the slight nerf in Fire at Will damage, combined with the removal of 100% accuracy for Fire at Will (compounded further by the recent discovery that weapon qualities are not applied for Fire at Will, but this has a much greater effect in PvP than PvE)... this was a long time before s7, but it may have contributed to FaW not being used by many up to date cruiser builds
- the increase in doffs that reduce power cooldowns of all sorts, increasing tac power up times. Although there are now many hybrid ships with Lt Cmdr tac stations, escorts of course have the greatest access to tac stations, which are the only ones which provide powers giving direct increases to damage. Perhaps escorts benefit the most from the use of CD decreasing doffs.
- large boosts to crit rates, from boffs, consoles, and reputation passives. These provide a multiplicative boost to damage overall.
That's quite a few changes, but I wonder if I'm missing something. What else could have affected the value of beam arrays, cruisers, and the effectiveness of tac officers since s7?