I want to start this off by saying that I am not expecting what I am going to propose to change overnight, but I think I have some suggestions that may help improve space combat segments of a mission. I know a lot has been said on this already, but hopefully this will spark some debate. here are my suggestions, post yours and lets see where it goes. for the sake of clarity can we please try to keep this related just to space combat, and space based mission segments.
-1- Cut down on the number of mobs. I think one of my biggest irks with the game thus far is that it simply does not feel like the Trek universe to just roll from one mob to another, I think if we cut down on the mobs , but maybe made the remaining ones a bit stronger, would be a good start.
-2- Modify mob behaviors. I think that if perhaps it was made that so when you encountered an initial mob in a segment of space it would send a message to the other mobs that it has engaged the enemy it would lead to some interesting situations. Also give mobs a wider patrol area and greater sensor range, make them range all around the system, make use of the space of the map. Also, in term of a tactical element, give captains the ability to jam enemy communications, thus preventing calling out for help. This could have various implications. If a player decides not to jam comms other ships would begin moving towards the confrontation, but if the player destroys the ship and moves off this leaves previously patrolled space temporarily undefended. There are a host of tactical implications that could give space segments so much more depth if enemy mob AI became a factor.
-3- Navigation hazards and cover. Along with Mob AI behaviors making better use of the map might make things a lot more interesting. In the various TV series there was always an asteroid belt that could cover the ships sensor signature or a navigation hazard to lure the enemy into. use this. navigation hazards and cover/concealment could go both ways. have an powered down enemy ship waiting in a near by asteroid belt, or let captains get devious and draw an enemy into some kind of gravity well or slip though the enemy patrol net by flying inside or behind an asteroid belt (though asteroid belts could be a double edged sword, flying in them gives you cover, but collisions could cause damage) Asteroid fields and other navigation objects could also serve a tactical use in battle - fight in an asteroid field or through it? then your and the enemies accuracy is reduced as fields of fire are obscured or shots hit a stray asteroid. there are plenty of other effects I can think of for asteroid fields that would make them a far more interesting element to the game then they are currently. again there are all sorts of things that could be done navigational hazards and the like, all of which leads too...
-4- Don't force a confrontation with x or y number of enemy ships in every mission. I am not just talking about diplomatic solutions here. If the mission objective, as an example, is to get an away team to a planet surface give us multiple ways of doing it. don't like being a sneak? fine, escort captains can still cause mayhem to their hearts content, but perhaps a science captain will selectively engage the enemy, thus using the AI's behavior to draw other ships out of their patrol routes to make a hole that his/her ship can slip through. However this might balance out I think the objective of destroying "x" number of enemy ships should be dropped from the vast majority of missions. It would still make sense in some missions to have to thin out the enemies forces, but it should have a good story driven reason behind it.
-5- Class distinctions. I know one of the big topics of discussion lately has been about making greater distinctions between tac/eng/sci. revamping space segments could go a long way towards that. A tactical captain could take the head on approach, but would have to be mindful of his time since enemy ships would be closing in, and getting mixed up with multiple ships would be a death sentence, were as engineers could take on more than one ship at a time, but their fights will take a lot longer, let science captains jam communications or use sensor dampening so that their ships are not as easily detected by the enemy and so they can take a less battle oriented role if they wish.
-6- Difficulty scaling. my final piece of rambling for the night. change the method used to scale difficulty. making it so that having more players just scales the instance up to bigger and badder ships and more of them, has a tendency (in my opinion), to make things a tad TOO difficult sometimes. It also goes back to point number one, me and 4 friends taking down what seems to be an entire armada of enemy battle ships just does not feel like the Trek universe, I do think that their should be SOME difficulty scaling, but I think it can be achieved through other methods. making AI patrols respond to the players a bit faster, thus escalating the fight, or maybe summoning some re-enforcements that could warp in after a summoning timer if the player does not have someone who can jam comms or something to that effect, I am sure there are creative things that can be thought up.
anyways, I think thats enough for one night, now its everyone else's turn. thoughts? suggestions? bad jokes?
I've listed my thoughts, let the dev's have yours.
see you, out there...
[EDIT NOTE] Thread originally titled "A couple simple space combat suggestions", hence the two posts below
Oh no, forever shall I be shamed by my sleep deprived butchering of the English language. Please except my most sincere apologies. I shall go now and find a chalk board, upon which I shall write 10,000 times "a few is not a couple".