View Single Post
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,241
# 20
03-24-2013, 08:42 AM
Originally Posted by bluegeek View Post
I've decided that I agree an alternative approach is needed in regard to the whole Tac/Enginer/Sci/Escort/Cruiser/Sci question.

Nerfing Tac/Escort is not the answer. Neither is buffing DPS for Eng/Cruiser or Sci/Sci.

Cruisers and Science Vessels don't need DPS... They do, however, need an effective and satisfying niche in both PvP and PvE gameplay.


If you think about it, Tac/Escorts already have their own kind of synergy where the Tactical abilities improve the ship's tactical capabilities and combinations of powers make the Tac in an Escort even more effective.

I agree in principle that there needs to be a very serious review of sci and cruiser / sci capt&eng Capt types for role synergy.

I disagree with your approach however.

I disagree because it does not address the source of the imbalance between the classes, it merely acts as a band-aid and that literally will simply create more serious problems down the line.

To find the source of the current problem we need to identify how it came to be.

We know this already. The F2P patch was the start of the class imbalance. Ships and captain types were almost perfectly in sync with their roles and could function very well in other ships. So what did the F2P patch do?

It narrowed down the required skill boxes for tactical skills and retained the highly complex boxes for engineering and science. That was the biggest change. Suddenly, any captain could literally max out the tactical skills and have more then plenty of skill points left over to max out defensive skills. Superficially this is a good thing for all captain types and I'm sure this is what cryptic thought at the time.

But....the reality of the change became apparent just within a week of the F2P patch. While cruisers and science ships did find themselves able to max out weapons, they also had to spend their points into both sci and engineer skills to try and perform their roles of tanks and debuffers/crowd control. To do so, the ships simply could not be running around with high weapon power and the cruiser/sci ships were simply not nimble, fast or (in sci's case) armed well enough to benefit from the reduction in tactical skills. For these 2 classes the game changed little at the start of the F2P patch.

Tactical/escorts on the other hand..received a massive boost from the changes. Full weapon skills for cheap investment in skill points meant they had tons of skill points left over to max out their armor/shield defensive skills as well as the power bonuses skill boxes. The result was that the once fast, high damage yet very vulnerable escort became very fast, extremely high damage output and very survivable. Lt level skills with 9pnts in the healing boxes coupled with very high defense stat from high power levels and speed skills meant the escort was free from needing a cruiser to hold hate and free from needing a science ship to debuff the target so he could it hit it better. Sci and cruiser on the other hand remained basically the same as pre-F2P.

That was when we begun to see escorts literally able to wipe out ships in one pass when before it would take them several passes. It is why we began to see a dramatic increase in escort population. All this happened in the first 3 months after F2P patch.

Shortly after those months another HUGE source of the current imbalance took place:

1- Tactical buffs and tac kinetic consoles began to boost science damage skills.
2- Shield auto-balance ability added to Tactical Team
3- Due to #1, the devs gave a huge boost to resist abilities which made most sci skills useless.
4- Omega Atk Pattern given immunity to hold.
5- For some unknown reason, cryptic begun to dramatically increase the 'bonus to' stats when a player ranked up.

To cover them 1 by 1:

1- The tac buffs and kinetic consoles boosting sci abilities became a huge boon to tac captains. We saw a dramatic shift in ship choice. Tacticals were flying the nimbler science ships or the advanced escort in great numbers for the gravity well, with tac buffs and kinetic consoles, could do absolutely insane damage per tick (if memory serves me right I had mine doing 6k/tic and the grav well held targets in the very middle the entire time). Tac buffs also boosted drain abilities and hold ability damage.

2- Shield autobalance was and is one the biggest causes of role imbalance today. The ability alone makes shield facings (fore/aft/left/right) no longer be relevant. Each shield facing literally became the sum of all shield facing HP's worth. What did this do? Escort survivability skyrocketed dramatically and it, at the same time, removed their role-function as the maneuverable ship that was the only one that could continuously maneuver to hit the same shield facing. In essence, the escort and any other ship simply stopped caring about maneuvering and the only maneuver that mattered was turning max weapons to target..where they hit was irrelevant.

3- Because of #1 science abilities became the primary source of complaints in the game. Cryptic decided to increase the effectiveness of the resist skills as a counter...which meant that basically every 1 point in a resist box would nullify nearly 7 points in the offensive sci stat skill. Result? What we see now: 9pnts in graviton/particle/flow cap does just 1/8th the damage it should vs a ship with just 1 point in power insulators and dampener skill.

When #1 and #3 were implemented the ship type population shifted once again from tacs in sci-heavy ships to tacs in escorts. By that time, the escorts had gained the ability to quadruple their survivability via tac team and were now almost immune to any sci abilities that could be tossed at them.

NPCs gained these resists as well. This is why where Pre-F2P a single well skilled out gravity well 3 pulled in ships into its maw and held them there (player ships could only break from it with emg to engine&full engine power or via polarize hull or evasive maneuvers) and did high damage, it became an ability where NPCs are pulled in just once and they, and players, simply fly out of it even with min engine power. The damage still being kinetic (not exotic as pre-f2p) was highly resisted and did little.

4- After a time, Cryptic gave the escorts one final boost: Attack Omega was given IMMUNITY to holds. Before it, atk omega only gave a very high resist bonus and it would only function against holds if the ability was activated...but since the resist amount was set, an omega 1 resist boost was beaten by a tractor beam 3. The change made the ability both a complete immunity when activated and while active. Since it was no longer a boost in resist but a on/off immunity, no tier of tractor beam could counter it. Result: Most escorts begun to use the standard 'dual omega1' setups that makes them fully immune to all holds while giving them tremendous damage, speed and defensive boosts.

Sci ships and most cruisers simply did not benefit from such a change. It was an escort-only bonus.

5- Finally, when all this was done Cryptic for some reason boosted the per-skill rank up bonus to stats. This is so absurd and so visible and so powerful a boost that it is noticeable the instant you rank up.

For example, if you start a KDF character now (before they make them start at rank 1) you will notice that no matter what ship you fly and no matter if you've maxed out your speed/maneuvering/damage skill boxes available to you @ Cmdr level... the instant you rank up to captain your ship instantly, suddenly, gains a turn rate boost equivalent of having equipped 3 RCS consoles. Your speed jumps dramatically. Your weapons just stop missing so much and hit tons harder.

This happens the instant you get the 'congratulations, Captain!' audio message...even in the middle of combat. BAM! Rank up and your ship performance just skyrockets. The same happens when you hit 40 and then 50. It has nothing to do with skill points..its an automatic rank-based boost.

....but it only affects ship movement, speed and weapon damage and accuracy. It does not improve sci abilities, healing abilities or resist abilities.

In short, it only benefits escorts.

So you have the source of the imbalance we have now:

1- simplified tac stats (=higher weapon effectiveness per point spent)
2- Tac Team shield autobalance
3- Omega Immunity to holds
4- Increase in effectiveness to resist skills
5- Tac skills boosting science attacks
6- Remove the increase in skill gained through captain rank-up. Make skill points spent and ship equipment the ONLY thing affecting gameplay.

All what these changes made was remove the escort from the 'trinity' of roles. They can now put out massive damage without caring where they hit (no need to shoot a shield facing), they have absolutely insane survivability compared to pre-F2P, are basically immune to their role weakness: holds thanks to the increase in resists and omega immunity ... and finally, because they have so many points left over after fully filling up their weapon skill boxes, they can fully spec into defensive abilities and power abilities that in turn makes them even less needy of having a cruiser tank or a sci ship debuff (though they really cant debuff npcs or players anymore due to resists).

Instead of adding band-aid solutions on top of the existing problem what needs to be done is address the ROOT of the cause.

This can be done in two different ways:

Option #1: Re-asses the changes made in the past which I outlined above.

This would mandate:

a- removal of shield autobalance from tac team. Replace with reduction of shield regen time to 2s not 6s as it is currently.

b- removal of hold immunity on/off from omega and turn it into a hold resist boost that only functions if the ability is active before a hold ability is used on you.

c- complete removal of all rank-based boosts to stats. Let ship stats/gear and capt skills alone determine performance.

d- addition of one more row of tactical skill boxes. Split the attack patterns into two skill boxes: One that improves damage bonuses the other improves defensive bonuses (of same atk pattern boff abilities); two more advanced weapon (energy/proj) categories that increases secondary effects/procs; crew combat efficiency (improves repair/regen in red alert) and finally bridge officer efficiency (reduces global/shared timers while in red alert).

This will reduce the amount of points tac section has left over to spend in eng/sci skills and introduces more variety into the now-cookie-cutter templates.

e- Return to exotic/particle damage type for sci abilities so tac skills do not boost them.

f- parity between sci offensive abilities and resistance to sci ability skills. One point in flow cap should be countered by one point in power insulators.

Option # 2

The above is ONE way of fixing things. Requires lots of work but it solves the root of the problem and creates a new balance to the roles in the game.

The second option is more cryptic-like... easy fix that does not address the source of the problem but rather buries it under a new combat paradigm.

and its so simple:

1- Increase hull HP and resists of all NPC's dramatically so that weapon damage is not very effective unless the target is debuffed by sci. NPC damage is not increased only their resists and hull hitpoints.

2- Modify NPC AI to have self-heals and trigger resist-boosting abilities (some NPCs do this now actually).

3- Add new slots to ship: Armor Slot. Each ship class has different number of armor slots.

Armor slots literally increase hull hitpoints not the resists to damage. Think of them as permanent jevonite hardpoints of sort.

Escorts: 2 slots
Science: 4 slots
Cruisers: 6 slots
Carriers: 8 slots
Dreadnaughts (includes voquv): 10 slots.

4- Removal of tac team autobalance shield and omega hold immunity (replaced by resist to function). This is non negotiable regardless of option.

What these 4 basic changes do: Reduces the current escort OP weapon damage output in both PVE and PVP as they need to shred much higher amounts of hull. Armor slots guarantee cruisers can really tank while escorts return to being highest damage but also most vulnerable. Since weapon damage from PVE and PVP is not being increased it does not mean they will lose survivability they have now... instead it simple makes their damage output not as effective as it is now.

...and it adds a whole new element to the game. With the return of the trinity of sci debuffs and holds greatly assisting tanks and escorts, with cruisers and bigger ships being able to tank once again...and escorts once again being the ones that can maneuver and slam a single shield facing and then the hull (no tac team shield autobalance remember?) the game returns to role balance.

... just like it was pre-F2P . sort of.

Last edited by cmdrskyfaller; 03-24-2013 at 08:49 AM.