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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Problem:
Console Powers inherently break the opportunity cost balance of Bridge Officer Powers. This creates unexpected and often undesirable synergies, like the ability to stack more energy drain sources that will overpower any ship's ability to deal with it.
It also comes with a drawback for each power individually - their cooldowns tend to be long so that the problem is diminished - but that doesn't really help the issue, since it often only matters in PvP that you can do something at all ,not how often you can do it. On the other hand, if you don't use these synergies, it makes these powers feel irrelevant - if you can use an ability only every 2 minutes but can kill a PvE enemy within 50 seconds, you do not only not need this power - you can't even work it in your "PAWN-THE-AI" power rotation.

Solution 1 (Simple) - Making all Console Powers Devices
The simple approach for me that solves at least some of the opportunity cost issues is to make all consoles devices. That means they have an opportunity cost with batteries and some of the new consumable items introduced with FEs and missions.
This change would probably require adding device slots to all ships that have less than 4, otherwise Cruisers would have an unfair advantage.

Solution 2 (Complex) - Turn all Console Powers into Trainable Bridge OFficer Powers
This basically solves all the opportunity cost problems. Question is how to implement this. The technical nitty-gritty stuff would probably be complex, but I can't say anything on that. From the player side of view, I could see the following happening:
  • The consoles remain consoles, but they do no longer grant a power, but instead some kind of non-standard bonuses comparable to other consoles, with the extra perk of being universal, so you can slot them where you normally cannot get such a bonus. (Examples: The Ablative Armor Generator console for example could simply be an Ablative Armor console that you can slot anywhere. The Theta Vent console becomes a console that boosts engine power or maybe the Starship Engine Performance skill. And so on)
  • The Consoles also gain a new option - a "Train" option. This represents training a Bridge Officer to get the most out of the console. Training the BO gives him the old console power as regular BO power. The powers cooldown could be altered so that it works better in the context of a regular BO power, taking into account that raising a BOs rank in a console power reduces the cooldown.
A further perk of this is that it solves a certain conundrum with the existing ship system - the "felt" BO slot diversity would considerably increased if there are some new powers that you can train - even more so should these powers have no "class" affinity and any console power can be taught to a BO. (THough I leave it open at this time whether that should happen).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
06-04-2012, 01:06 AM
Something to keep in mind:

Before Cryptic allowed all consoles on all ships, the c-store consoles were limited to certain ship types, e.g. theta vent only on raptors and gurumbas. At that time, premade matches were played only with the then common SS/AMS ban, but all other consoles were allowed because the ship restrictions helped to prevent excessive stacking (and of course the Fed/Klingon divide removed some of the more problematic consoles from the mainly fed-based matches).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
06-04-2012, 01:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mancom
Something to keep in mind:

Before Cryptic allowed all consoles on all ships, the c-store consoles were limited to certain ship types, e.g. theta vent only on raptors and gurumbas. At that time, premade matches were played only with the then common SS/AMS ban, but all other consoles were allowed because the ship restrictions helped to prevent excessive stacking (and of course the Fed/Klingon divide removed some of the more problematic consoles from the mainly fed-based matches).
Yes, I think that was a sensible restriction from the balance side of things. I believe Cryptic probably did remove it because it did not really matter for PvE (what does), and instead meant that players would simply not buy ships because they knew they would be unable to use those consoles.

If you wanted to fly the Defiant Retrofit, there was no reason whatsoever to buy any of the C-Store cruisers or science vessels. And while most of us here probably fly mutliple ships over different characters, I think PWE's/F2P influence leads to the expectation that people play only one "main" and will invest in only that. The character unlocks from lockboxes and the STF grinds makes having multiple characters more difficult.

So I do not think we'll get this Genie back in the bottle. And I am also not convinced that it would be sufficient to restrict by ship class. Eventually, more ships with new console powers will be introduced, and undesirable synergies will crop up even with the restriction.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
06-04-2012, 04:34 AM
Just making the consoles not-universal would help. So if you wanted to run Acetoneassim and the leech, you'd have to give up two flow capacitator consoles. Would reduce the total drain from one build.

Another way, would be to give those drain consoles a negative bonus to flow capacitators. This would not reduce their function much on ships that were not built to drain max, but would make the maxed out energy drain builds less potent.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
06-04-2012, 06:51 AM
Setting up global cool downs (a concept that already existed in STO for several seasons) might help. Interactions between bridge officer powers and consoles that operate on the same system could be considered.

Anything that offers a passive bonus should also have a passive cost. Passives like Plasma Leech and Tet Glider could be changed to operate like DEM. But that complicates other issues:/.

The problem boils down to tier 5 PvP already being very... twitchy. There are so many abilities to keep track of and stack at all times. Now with consoles and sets we've added even more possible abilities that act totally independent of the mechanics which were already precariously balanced.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
06-04-2012, 07:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveHale View Post
Setting up global cool downs (a concept that already existed in STO for several seasons) might help. Interactions between bridge officer powers and consoles that operate on the same system could be considered.
This already exists for some consoles. I know at least the speed burst console shares CD with evasive. Problems with the energy drain consoles are that they are so different to other boff abilities... We have a stationary pet, carrier pets, passive drain through weapons...


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveHale View Post
There are so many abilities to keep track of and stack at all times. Now with consoles and sets we've added even more possible abilities that act totally independent of the mechanics which were already precariously balanced.
on a positive note, this is what makes STO space pvp so unique ang good! The complexity! We're approaching the point where the combinations and possibilities are endless! This is what makes STO pvp fun year after year for me, I never run out of new builds and combinations to tweak and play with

Maybe...in stead of thinking nerf, we should think counter or resistance?

- The Red Matter Capacitator is the ultimate counter to power drain... how about putting it in the c-store, and cutting the cooldown a lot? If that makes it OP, power bonuses may be reduced a lot on it, as long as it restores disabled systems.
- How about making it so only one subsystem can be go offline at a time? When one is down, the other systems can not go below 25.
- How about giving drain resistance/immunity for a while after one system has gone down and been restored? Just so ET has a chance to get off CD too. (This should also be done to SS and AMS)

Then, we just have to buff the crappy universal consoles, and we end up with a much richer and more diverse STO.
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