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Cryptic Studios Team
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 507
Hi all,

There's been a lot of hubbub about the Tribble changes to the cooldown lockout between Tactical Team, Science Team, and Engineering Team, and I wanted to come give you a rundown of what the change accomplishes and why we chose to do it.

There were multiple reasons to remove this shared cooldown:
  • Certain team powers were rarely getting use due to perceived or real mandatory nature of other team powers - Engineering Team suffered the most here, while Science Team was in-use but played a significant "second fiddle" to Tactical Team
  • Dispel-type abilities are timing-sensitive in nature, but holding off using non-dispel powers so that a dispel would be available when a debuff is applied is unsatisfying gameplay if the debuff never comes or gets put on someone else
  • Similarly, needing to use Tactical Team to survive meant Science or Engineering debuffs applied by Voth or Borg were extra frustrating due to feeling like the player made the best choice they could (surviving) but still being punished (not being able to use the dispel they have equipped and hadn’t used)
  • The shared lockout itself was based on an old paradigm of design within the game that has since been moved away from. It was entirely thematic in its nature – the “Teams” were already busy – and not mechanical – the “effects are too powerful together” justification.
  • The combination of parts 1 and 4 meant that Engineering powers (Emergency Power to Shields) were the most frequent Shield heals, and Science powers (Hazard Emitters) were the most frequent Hull heals. This is contrary to the desired niches of the abilities.
  • Engineering Ensign and Science stations were far less desirable than intended due to Science Team and Engineering Team being on CD when Tactical Team was used. This was discussed back when the D’Deridex was created and again now when we relaunched the Galaxy.
  • Giving players the choice of burst effectiveness but longer gaps in effectiveness (All 3 team powers on 30 second CDs rather than rotating a Team every 15 seconds) is interesting gameplay - deciding whether to mete out my heals over time or blow them all at once determines how vulnerable I am/how many cards I still have in my hand over the next 15 seconds.

"This is disruptive to current meta-game – is this intentional? Is this good?"

It’s definitely intentional. We want players to be able to use Engineering Team and Science Team, but we recognize the importance of Tactical Team in the currently widespread gameplay pattern adopted by many players. We want to make Tactical Team less mandatory over time (and in fact think the power itself is quite overloaded in terms of what it does), but bringing Tac Team’s effectiveness down substantially would be more disruptive than allowing players to use Sci and Eng Team in conjunction with Tac Team. We’re also hopeful that players will now be more willing to use Science and Engineering Teams on allied players once this change is made, since they won’t have to make as much of a choice between selfishness and selflessness as they did before.

The metagame in general is dominated by choices that are “too good” compared to the other choices available. This leaves players dissatisfied with false choice. For instance, Beam Fire at Will is ostensibly an AoE power, but deals more damage to a single-target than normal Beam Fire does. Conversely, Beam Overload is a single-target damage power, but actually lowers the user’s medium-term DPS despite providing burst due to its more-than-substantial power drain, and due to competing with Fire at Will for a power slot. Long term, the more real (nontrivial) choices we can present players with, the happier they will be with the game. This is exemplified in our Trait revamp and our upcoming Kit Revamp, and our ongoing efforts to make all of our ship classes competitive with each other but in different ways.
Jeff "Adjudicator Hawk" Hamilton
Systems Designer - Cryptic Studios
Twitter: @JeffAHamilton

Last edited by adjudicatorhawk; 03-05-2014 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Formatting
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,209
# 2
03-05-2014, 04:46 PM
This is a great explanation Jeff, thanks for that.

Now if you can get Geko to tell us why the Galaxy-X can't have a LtCmd Boff station as has been requested by almost everyone on the many threads that have sprung up in the wake of your announcement.

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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,000
# 3
03-05-2014, 04:47 PM
You have no idea how happy I will be to have Science team back on my tray. I got rid of Science Team and Engineering Team once I got into STF (years and years ago) in favor of a combination of Tactical Team Transfer Shield Strength and Hazards for cleansing. While on my main builds I doubt I'll see Engineering Team returning, it will be on some of my tanks where I dropped it in favor of other heals like Aux2SIF since it didn't interfere with Tactical Team.
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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 156
# 4
03-05-2014, 04:48 PM
Well of course there players are going to use Tactical team is it suprising?
Why use two powers that have no use, Engineering team is for tank ships; no need for it why? nothing in game to tank against
Why no one uses sci team there's nothing to crowd control or heal in the game cause things go down faster than warp speed in the game, you want them to use those powers give them a reason too no need to complain about us not using them when they are completely USELESS
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Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 194
# 5
03-05-2014, 04:53 PM
Thank you for the great rundown of the reasoning behind the upcoming change. I, for one, really appreciate the peek behind the curtain. I am looking forward to other changes that might make some bridge officer powers more useful, and certain careers (ENGINEERING) more viable.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,588
# 6
03-05-2014, 05:00 PM
Ok, I'm happy for the reasoning behind it. So does that mean we can expect more positive tweaks to rarely used boff skills based on usage? My main concern is that ET and ST both clear sci debuffs (ET clearing VM).
Ensign
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 22
# 7
03-05-2014, 05:01 PM
This is great news. Now if I can try and make a better build then the one I have.
Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 33
# 8
03-05-2014, 05:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by adjudicatorhawk View Post
Dispel-type abilities are timing-sensitive in nature, but holding off using non-dispel powers so that a dispel would be available when a debuff is applied is unsatisfying gameplay if the debuff never comes or gets put on someone else
But when it works it is very satisfying. I know it's sub-optimal, but I usually hung on to tac-team as a dispel (or panic button).

Personally, I think it would've been better to spin the auto shield balancing off into a new power (preferably engineering, we need more of those, especially at ensign level) and keep the shared cooldown.
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 474
# 9
03-05-2014, 05:06 PM
Excellent post I hope you do more balance posts like this with methodology and reasoning, unlocking them I think is move in the right direction. But Tac team needs a reworking of some mechanics. Including the whole redirecting shields system. Specifically allowing it to be on toggle. I also think less things need to cleared by tact team, only tactical debuffs and abilities. Same with engineering team with engineering abilities like boarding parties, and eject warp plasma, Aceteon beam. Science same deal here.



I could see Tact team being a accuracy and defense buff though not a percentage buff and just set increase, based on the level of tact team.

As much as I like my warp core doff, the ability to use emergency powers as debuff clears, it makes using teams much less import. Because how emergency powers work currently, but if they were different it would break engineering heavy builds, and a lot of pvp. So there is really no good solution to this one.

Last edited by cryptkeeper0; 03-05-2014 at 05:09 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,158
# 10
03-05-2014, 05:07 PM
thx 4 insights, really appreciated .

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