Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Broadside Proposal/Discussion
03-23-2012, 03:28 PM
The topic has been brought up from time to time by forum posters and Al. I think that it might be time to start pinning down how ships with a broadside arc work. The foundation needs to be laid before the process gets very far.

Purpose:
Broadside vessels could serve a fleet support and true Escort role. Escorts currently behave more like Rogues by hiding, backstabbing, retreating quickly, etc. A fleet support vessel would improve the survivability of larger, more vulnerable, vessels. They could clear enemy fighters, incoming projectiles, and harry fast moving Escorts.

The addition of a Broadside class could lead to a more symbiotic relationship between ships in PvP. Perhaps as T6 dawns and more impressive capital ships are released, they will need additional support. If players can keep their big warship alive for longer, then it can do more damage to the enemy fleet.

Performance:
The general attributes of the ship would be something like a light Cruiser or heavy Escort. They would need to be somewhat nimble and fast, but not fighter like. They would need passable shields and hull, but the ships are designed to protect a fleet, not soak damage.
Weapons:
Weapon Firing Ars (direct image link)

This is the interesting part. I am proposing 9 weapon slots, as opposed to the typical 8. Science ships, and some Escorts, have 6 or 7 weapon slots. Some ships have more, or fewer, consoles. I believe that based on the weapon restrictions, that 9 slots will make sense.

Weapons should be restricted on the broadside arcs. No regular Phaser Arrarys. This will prevent overlapping of the broadside arcs and substantially reduce the maximum number of weapons that can be brought to bear on a single target. See the linked image above for examples with the various weapons equipped.

It might be possible to equip all turrets and fire 9 weapons at once, but that is just turrets. The damage falls off with range and the reduced maneuverability of the Broadside class could mitigate the utility of 9 turrets. If this really is a problem, turrets could be restricted to only the fore and aft slots.

Consoles:
Due to the additional weapon slot the Broadside class could possibly have reduced consoles. Do keep in mind that the firing arcs are structured to reduce overlap, so these ships will do substantially less direct DPS than many others.

Powers:
Science ships get Subsystem Targeting and Sensor Analysis. This helps mitigate their fewer weapon slots of the class and reliance on tight arcs for the Science powers. The Broadside class would need an ability or two that could help them support larger fleets. Perhaps an improved BFaW like power that works with Canons and Dual Beam Banks. Maybe another power could be an improved Transfer Shield Strength type power that represents a deflector dish that is tweaked for support.

I believe that having some unique abilities based on the Broadside class will help the ship fill its role and keep it from just being a slightly different Cruiser or Escort.

Factions:
Faction diversity can really help spice up PvP and provide reasons to play the other faction. I do not propose completely locking the Broadside vessel, but perhaps one faction could specialize in them. As always with me, it comes down to the Romulans. There are few canon examples of Romulan ships. The ones we see the most of are the largest warships or the smallest shuttles. I propose that to give a new faction some flavor, the Romulans could specialize in Broadsie ships. Soft canon sources often refer to large Romulan fleets that dominate the Beta quadrant. They certainly would have other ship designs beside the Warbird. In a post-Romulus time, it may make sense to produce smaller support ships, as ever large ship would be a very valuable asset.

Closing Thoughts:
Whatever happens, I would like to see the typical Cruiser, Science, Escort tree shaken up a bit. I think that there are many new ideas that can be brought into STO, while keeping the theme and spirit of the game intact. There will come a point when no matter what the skin of the ship, it will just be a minor variation on an existing layout. Adding this distinctly different class could prevent us from running out of ideas any time soon.

Be sure to check out the firing arc image that I worked up: Direct image link
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
03-23-2012, 03:47 PM
The ship seems to me to lend itself better to Tactical Captains, witch I like. I don't like flying Cruisers with my Tac but a proper heavy escort built to stay next to the big Cruisers would be nice.

As far as special abilities go, What about some sort of automated defense batteries like the Steam preorder one? Make it more powerful than the current console so that it is more effective at clearing fighter spam and not just good for heavy torpedoes.

And as far as the Romulans go I'm right there with you.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
03-23-2012, 03:55 PM
I think you're designing against two very different goals.

You've described a battleship, but you're calling it a support vessel and adding abilities obstinately to offset weakness it shouldn't have if it was a proper support ship.

A cruiser like ship with broadside weapon mounts would be cool. It doesn't need more weapons, but changing the centering can make for interesting variation (I'm thinking 3 per broadside and 1 each forward/aft). No need to restrict beam arrays, the point of a ship like this is to get canon and torpedoes on a broadside arc. With arrays you get at most 7 firing at a time which is less than a normal cruiser. So really you want narrow arc canons on the broadsides and arrays for/rear (for 5 weapons 3 of which are canons/torpedoes on target at once). The main advantage of this ship is it makes weapons other than beams viable for the slowly-circling-cruiser playstyle. This will probably manifest as higher burst damage and lower DPS on a ship with the same survive-ability as a cruiser.

A proper support combat support ship would be interesting. Really it would just be a science ship more tac stations, at the cost of it's science stations (an LTC and an Ensign would do). That way you can out scatter-volley, or higher levels of fire at will or full spread. You could also heal reasonably well and play AWACS with scramble sensors, viral matrix, etc. You'll be maneuverable enough to get in the way of enemy ships, but not maneuverable enough to chase down a fleeing escort/bop. Your crowd control is weaker than a normal science ship, but you can do picket duty better, and you have more punch when firing on the team's focus target.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
03-23-2012, 04:09 PM
In history we see ships that have cannons along both sides of the hull. Hence the idea of a Broadside attack. It was a way to wage battle. In today's age, warships have the ability to rotate the cannons from a forward to a side firing position. Even from a rear to side position. So why is it in the future we have digressed to a "you can only have cannons face forward"? Does it make sense that we as a potential space exploring race would diminish our ability to wage battle when the need arises? I personally feel that cannons should be awarded the same firing arc as beam arrays. Bring on the Broadside! Damn the torpedo's full speed ahead!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
03-23-2012, 04:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtlewing View Post
I think you're designing against two very different goals.

You've described a battleship, but you're calling it a support vessel and adding abilities obstinately to offset weakness it shouldn't have if it was a proper support ship.

A cruiser like ship with broadside weapon mounts would be cool. It doesn't need more weapons, but changing the centering can make for interesting variation (I'm thinking 3 per broadside and 1 each forward/aft). No need to restrict beam arrays, the point of a ship like this is to get canon and torpedoes on a broadside arc. With arrays you get at most 7 firing at a time which is less than a normal cruiser. So really you want narrow arc canons on the broadsides and arrays for/rear (for 5 weapons 3 of which are canons/torpedoes on target at once). The main advantage of this ship is it makes weapons other than beams viable for the slowly-circling-cruiser playstyle. This will probably manifest as higher burst damage and lower DPS on a ship with the same survive-ability as a cruiser.

A proper support combat support ship would be interesting. Really it would just be a science ship more tac stations, at the cost of it's science stations (an LTC and an Ensign would do). That way you can out scatter-volley, or higher levels of fire at will or full spread. You could also heal reasonably well and play AWACS with scramble sensors, viral matrix, etc. You'll be maneuverable enough to get in the way of enemy ships, but not maneuverable enough to chase down a fleeing escort/bop. Your crowd control is weaker than a normal science ship, but you can do picket duty better, and you have more punch when firing on the team's focus target.
Part of what makes Beam Array overlap acceptable, for our current broadside style is that torpedoes do not overlap with the broadside firing arc. If Beam Arrays were placed on the sides and torpedoes fore and aft, this would place the torpedo directly in the center of the overlap for the Beam Arrays. Effectively that load out would be better than any existing Cruiser. You would have the same overlap, but an extra weapon right down the center of it.

I think that restricting the weapons sort of forces a different play style, similar to how equipping all cannons forces a different style. The objective here is to end up with a unique ship type that is not just another cruiser or escort.
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