Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 731
For a long time, I have pondered many issues this game has. As with all games I've played, I also have pondered the solutions to them. But merely musing on these issues does nothing to see them implemented in a timely manner. So, this is THE post. A conglomerate of every musing I can remember at the time of the posting. My intention, however, is not SIMPLY to post MY musings. I invite you, the reader, to discuss not just my ideas, but yours. I will do my best to read them all and, once they've been thoroughly discussed and the details worked out, eventually I will add them to this post. My goal is to create a list of those ideas that would benefit the game without being terribly broken. Yes, this will eventually mean saying "nerf this." This is needed. There are things in this game that are a little too powerful. Recent updates (Legacy of Romulus is a good example) have done much to address this, but there is still much to be done. However, the nerfs I will propose myself are small, well-founded, and entirely open to discussion and possible revision later. I am always open to new ideas, and I have been known to be wrong.

So, with the above preamble spoken, allow me to cut to the chase. Hereafter follows the list of all my present musings; what the issue is, as well as how I feel it should be addressed. Let it begin.

The Galaxy Dreadnought: The Only Dreadnought Lacking Dread.
Everyone in the game knows (or should) what the Galaxy-X is. The three-nacelled variant of the Exploration Cruiser Retrofit, first seen in TNG: "All Good Things..." (7x25/26), is currently the only playable Federation Dreadnought (yes, there are other playable dreadnoughts Feds can fly - but this is the only Starfleet design). It comes equipped with a cloaking device and has a build in ability called the "Spinal Phaser Lance." It's also by far the oldest playable dreadnought in the game, having originally been a Referral System reward as well as a C-Store ship either at launch or not long after. Players who see the ship these days... they laugh. Why? For some time, the gradual power creep in Tier 5 ships has effectively rendered the Galaxy-X (as well as several of the original Tier 5 ships) impotent in the current state of the game. As the title says, it's the only dreadnought that lacks a sense of dread in those that face it. Why? Simple: It doesn't hurt. Most Gal-X builds tickle the enemy. I've flown the Gal-X. I still do, having found a relatively viable PvE build. But it certainly needs something. So, what are the issues and how do we fix them?
The first issue is a general lack of damage. The Bridge Officer layout on this ship is far more characteristic of a typical tank. The only Tactical stations are an Ensign and Lieutenant. It can?t support the higher-tier Tactical abilities needed to really give it what it needs. Surprisingly, this is easy to fix. It has an Ensign and Lieutenant Tactical station. The fix here is to merge the two Tactical Bridge Officer stations on the dreadnought into a single Lieutenant Commander Tactical station. Such a simple change immediately gives the dreadnought a surprisingly large amount of new options, from mounting level 3 Torpedo and Beam abilities, to mounting level 2 Cannon powers, and even allowing it Attack Pattern Omega. The number of Bridge Officer abilities it can have stays the same, and the lack of the extra officer (whose Traits may contribute to a build) mean this change isn't as drastic as some might think. And, there IS precedence for a ship with two Lieutenant Commander slots. The Atrox Carrier, the Palisade Science Vessel, the Recluse Carrier, the Vo'Quv Carrier, the D'Deridex Retrofit, and the Orb Weaver (I believe that?s all of them).
The second major issue, and the last for me at the moment on this matter, is the Spinal Lance. It is, in essence, a Beam: Overload I with a 45-degree firing arc, less damage, and a three-minute cooldown. Oh, and the skewer effect (that is, if there are enemies in weapons range either between you and your target or linearly behind them, they will also take damage). Yes, I said less damage than Beam: Overload I. This is not speculation. Using a damage parser, I examined the unbuffed (and buffed) damage of both the Lance and Beam: Overload I (with which the lance shares a 15-second Global Cooldown) using a Beam Array (Dual Beams would have artificially inflated the disparity in damage). The Lance did less damage consistently per hit (Beam: Overload may only fire one, but that one is more than one Lance hit ? and Overload has a 30-second cooldown). For a three-minute cooldown, this is? well, it?s laughable. Not to mention, the Lance has a good tendency to miss. This is like saying "We're glad you used this ability. It did nothing and you can't use it again for the rest of the fight," considering all but the biggest of foes will fall over long before the cooldown ends. This from the weapon that, in the show, fired four shots and completely annihilated a Negh'Var Warship. So, this fix is considerably less simple than the fix to the Officer seating on the ship. To make the Spinal Lance effective again, its base damage needs to be increased by at least 25% (and more along the lines of 50%), as well as a 25% boost to its accuracy and a cooldown reduced to two minutes. What might also be interesting is an integration with Cruiser Commands, a feature that did not exist when the Dreadnought Cruiser was released. For instance, it does not benefit from Command: Weapon System Efficiency. So, I additionally propose Command integration. If you have Command: Weapon System Efficiency active, the cost of the Spinal Lance to your Weapon Power is reduced by 25%, as if the Lance were a weapon. If you use Command: Attract Fire, the Lance?s first pulse will fire on-target, with the second pulse firing at another enemy target in the firing arc (if there are any), as well as forcing both affected targets (if NPCs) to attack you for 6 seconds (thus attracting the fire of those targets). Not only would this make the Lance fearsome, but it?d also make it a utility in many fights.

Teams: Bringing Engineering and Science Team to Par.
Every build in this game calls for Tactical Team, unless you only have one Ensign slot and use it for something else more needed for the build. The reason for this is that Tactical Team is, frankly, great. For ten seconds, you are immune to Boarding Parties and other Tactical debuffs, you gain a buff to Energy and Projectile Weapons, and it has an automatic distribution of shields to wherever you?re getting shot. It?s a very valuable Tactical buff. What does Engineering team give? Well, it?s a hull heal (at rank 3, the heal goes almost all the way to 12k with most builds) and it repairs disabled subsystems... for 5 seconds. Science team has the shield heal and debuff cleanse... for 5 seconds. And neither Team power has anything to equal Tactical Team's distribute. So, how is this to be fixed? Well, frankly, the 5-second duration on Science and Engineering is lackluster. I've heard cases for all three Teams to have the Distribute? but that would be out-of-place on Engineering and Science Teams (as out-of-place as Immunity to Movement Debuffs on an Attack Pattern). So, what do we do? I propose the answer to this should be to increase the duration of the lesser Teams, and to give them a second class-specific buff to equal the Distribute. But what buffs are these? I have an idea here, too. Engineering Team, under this, would grant a scaling All Power Level buff (+5 to +15, depending on rank); Science team would similarly gain a +5% to +15% buff to Exotic Damage for the duration. These buffs would give the three teams their equal to the Distribute, and would make Science Team competitive in late-game builds (I haven't seen almost ANY build using ST in a VERY long time).

What You Get For Your Money: The 1000-Day Veteran Ships and the Scimitar
The Heavy Destroyer line, one ship per faction, is the reward for having subscribed to Star Trek Online for 1000 days, or have bought a Lifetime Subscription. On their own merit, they're decent ships (and better, now that there is a Fleet upgrade available ? though, in my opinion, a Fleet upgrade should never have been necessary). 3/2/4 Console layout, a versatile Bridge Seating, a Beam: Overload Fire-at-Will power, and a straight up Shield Steal that can benefit from Dyson Shield Refrequencers (and Auxiliary to Batter Duty Officer Cooldown Reduction, though I highly suspect that?s a bug ? even though I've reported it three times and it hasn't been fixed). So, why do I have a problem with them? I fly them, I love them (even if the Chimera is uglier than sin), and they're a solid ship. They're a moderately strong hull. My issue is no flaw with the ship itself, but how it stacks up to other ships. The biggest comparison to be drawn if to the Romulan Dreadnought Warbird line (a.k.a., the Scimitar). The instant I saw the stats on the Scimitar, my mind drew a comparison to the Veteran Ships. This was for two reasons: One, I don?t think the Daeinos (the Romulan Veteran Ship) had been out for more than two weeks; and two, the Dreadnought Warbirds have the exact same bridge officer seating at the Veteran ships (which, I may add, is my favorite Bridge Officer seating in the game ? highly versatile, lots of damage, reasonable potential to tank). A comparison was inevitable. So, now we have the Fleet Destroyers (or the "glad you've given us at least $200, give us a few more for good measure" upgrade), with a tenth console (an Engineering console) and Fleet-grade stats. So, let?s compare the stats between the Fleet Daeinos Warbird Destroyer and the Scimitar Dreadnought Warbird.

(Daeinos) Hull: 37,950 ------------| (Scimitar) Hull: 40,000
(D) Shield Modifier: 0.92 ----------| (S) Shield Modifier: 1.1
(D) Weapons: 4/3 ------------------| (S) Weapons: 5/3
(D) Crew: 750 ----------------------| (S) Crew: 3,000
(D) Devices: 3 ----------------------| (S) Devices: 4
(D) Consoles: 4/3/4-----------------| (S) Consoles: 2/3/5
(D) Base Turn: 14 ------------------| (S) Base Turn: 7
(D) Impulse Mod: 0.22 -------------| (S) Impulse Mod: 0.15
(D) Bonus Power: +10 Weapons | (S) Bonus Power: +10 Weapons, +5 Engines
(D) Cost: $200 minimum------------| (S) Cost: 2500 ZEN for 1, 5000 for bundle ($50)

So, taking it from the top, the superior Hull is reasonable. The Scimitar's far larger than the Daeinos (which also allows for the higher Crew). The Daeinos' Shield Mod is reasonable for an Escort-like ship. Likewise, the Scimitar's shield modifier matches Cryptic?s Flagship meta (though, it beats the Bortasqu' line by 10% and only loses to the Odyssey line by 5%). That's where the reasonability of the Scimitar fades away. It's got five forward weapons (one of only 3 ships WITH this, and the only one that isn't Federation-only), five tactical consoles, and a base turn that beats the Galaxy Retrofit by one degree per second (despite the Scimitar being even more MASSIVE). It also has a fully functional battle cloak (for which the Daeinos pays by having a lower Shield Mod than the Chimera, but for which the Scimitar pays for with nothing), a Hangar bay, and more bonus Power. Oh, and the bundle is a quarter the cost of the Daeinos' minimum price, which assumes you bought a Lifetime Sub while it was on sale, and got the Fleet Ship Module off the Exchange. Otherwise, you're looking at $300, $305 (if also buying the FSM with cash), or as much as $505 (subscribing every month for all 1000 days, and then an added $5 for the Module). So, as much as $500 for a middle-of-the-road Escort-type ship; or, $50 for the Dreadnought that keeps its shields when it cloaks (even in battle), can have temporary hull and shields as "oh, crap" buttons, has more DPS flat out by virtue of more big guns, is far more durable, which barely loses turn rate (an issue easily mitigated with a maxed Dilithium Mine, or even a couple million Energy Credits for an RCS console), has a Hangar with exclusive access to some of the best Frigates currently available, can fire EVERYTHING while cloaked for a time, and has flat out more power in its conduits... Hmm. Real hard choice. But even comparing it to other ships, ships that aren't completely broken, the only 1,000-day ship that wins in its faction is the Peghqu' (which is only because of the lack of good KDF-exclusive ships that can do the same job - dip into the Faction-agnostic pool, and even that goes away, done in by Temporal Destroyers and Attack Ships). So, with the Thousand-day Vet Ship... What do you get for your money? Well... in short, not enough.

So, we found the problem. We have a ship that's far too costly for what you get and a ship that's far too effective for its cost. Two problems, two solutions. Let us first look at the Veteran ships. One of its biggest points is that it transforms. It has two modes and two special attacks. That is bound to a Console, which takes up a console slot. This can easily be rolled into an innate power (i.e., the Spinal Lance or the D?Kyr?s ability to launch its Tal?Kyr Support Craft), freeing the Console slot. But it still requires something more... something unique. In this vein, I propose a new feature, exclusive to the Veteran ships - A single Universal Console Slot. This is a simple concept: It would add a single console slot, into which you could add anything; any console, regardless of type. It would make the Veteran ships distinct for this (having 11 consoles - not that we won?t have that and more when the level cap goes to 60), as well as adding build variety and versatility. Need more damage? Put a Tactical Console there. Want more Damage Resist? You can drop a Neutronium Console in the same slot.

Likewise, we have a ship that is too powerful for the money you put into it. But the subject of "nerf the Scimitar" is both well-documented and difficult. I formed my opinions on it before flying the Scimitar? and now that I do have it, they have not changed. I've always been in favor of a mild nerf. I remember Geko saying on PriorityOne (I believe that was where it was) that he wanted Warbirds to feel "big and slow." Well, Geko, you got one of those down. The Scimitar certainly feels big. You just forgot the "slow" part somewhere. As previously said, the Scimitar, at base, out-turns the Galaxy Retrofit. It also has the same hull as the Galaxy Retrofit, and matches the Fleet Galaxy Retrofit in Shields (though, the Fleet Gal-R has 4k more Base Hull). So, my nerf set is small, and is as follows: Reduce the Shield Mod to 0.95, and reduce the Base Turn to 5, but add 2 to the two-piece console bonus to compensate (which would still bring the boosted turn rate to 9) This would accommodate the ship's size for its turn, as well as make it feel slightly more "carrier-like" (it IS, after all, the only flagship with a hangar). My main issue with the Scimitar is that, for all its massive power, it doesn't lose enough. All take, no give. In essence? it feels too much like the Scimitar in Nemesis: completely unstoppable, an indestructible master of war. It could only be worse if the Thalaron Cannon were more potent (thank the Prophets it isn't ? it?s the only balanced thing about this ship).

As said in the preamble, all these are open to discussion. So... discuss.
All Good Things Must Come On Tuesday. (it's a liiiink!)

Musings of a Mad Man; Or, What This Game Could Fix

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Last edited by icegavel; 11-29-2013 at 08:43 PM.
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 7
I agree with a lot of the points you have raised. Being that I don't play STO as much as I did when I first got it, nor have I had the desire to pay for much in the game, I do not have as much personal experience in what you mention.

That being said, I have noticed some things. First, as simple as it may be, the Borg vessels are too easy to drop. Granted some time has passed, but it took just one Cube at Wolf 359. ONE. Yet in the sector Red Alerts, a group of about 5 players can complete the mission with ease. Yes, a couple ships may be lost, but only a couple. That's just wrong.

I also would like more of a Trek story to the game. How this would be accomplished is open to discussion, but if done right could definately bring back some players. Also, the ships are broken. Science ships should be needed for well-done healing (TAC and ENG should of course be able to do a decent job alone), and tanks should be allowed, but less emphasized. Again, this is all open to debate, and other issues should also be raised.

Let's get Cryptic to fix this game! Or at the very least, get CBS to give the licence to a studio that can remake this game into something better.
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ME: genejg@geneijg - USS KAPPA SIGMA II (Avenger-class), INDEPENDENCE VII (Odyssey-class SCI)
Admiral in Rank, Captain in name and action
"What is to give light must endure the burning"
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,579
# 3
12-25-2013, 08:39 PM
Congratz on being the longest post I've never read or ever will bother reading!

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