Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
In the few months I've been here, I've seen a lot of discussion about new ships, different tiers, and wanting to play smaller ships at higher levels. One of the biggest I've seen is the Akira class, which in this game is portrayed as a "heavy escort." On screen, it was more of a torpedo boat, possibly even a carrier-type (the creator mentions that the ship was designed to carry and deploy large numbers of shuttles/fighters, and the presence of fighters in multiple Dominion-war battles would support this idea). Thus far, Vice-Admirals have been getting a few "retrofit" ships with abilities that are "unique" to that ship.

However, I think I may have come up with an idea that will not only eliminate the need for "retrofit" ships, but eliminate the need for "ship crafting" as a future necessity.

Let's use the Defiant class as an example. As it currently stands, you can get the Defiant and variants at Captain, and again at Vice Admiral. The stats are similar, but with major differences in the form of consoles, Bridge Officer slots, weapon loadout, and the additional ability.

Let's look at the stats:

Quote:
Captain-level "Tactical Escort":

Weaponry: 4 forward, 2 aft

Bridge Officer Stations:
Tactical: Lieutenant (1), Commander (1)
Engineering: Lieutenant (1)
Science: Ensign (1), Lieutenant (1)
Total Available Powers: 10

Modification Slots:
Tactical: 3
Engineering: 2
Science: 2
Device Slots: 2

Crew Size: 50
Impulse Speed: 20
Hull Strength: 20,000
Turning Rate: 14
Quote:
Vice-Admiral "Tactical Escort Retrofit":
Weaponry: 4 forward, 3 aft

Bridge Officer Stations:
Tactical: Ensign (1), Lieutenant Commander (1), Commander (1)
Engineering: Lieutenant (1)
Science: Lieutenant (1)
Total Available Powers: 10

Modification Slots:
Tactical: 3
Engineering: 2
Science: 2

Device Slots: 2
Crew Size: 50
Impulse Speed: 20
Hull Strength: 30,000
Turning Rate: 17
Now, one might wonder why a "retrofit" would be needed to increase the hull strength, turning rate, and increase the rank of bridge officers.

See, we've already got weapons and shuttles that scale with your level. Why not do something similar? Continuing to use Escorts as an example, let's look at the current track:

Lieutenant Commander: Saber (aka "Escort")
Commander: Akira (aka "Heavy Escort")
Captain: Defiant (aka "Tactical Escort")
Admiral: Prometheus (aka "Advanced Escort") or Fleet Escort
Vice Admiral: Defiant Retrofit

now, obviously, you don't want to use Tiers 1-4 in a T5 environment at the moment, since they're lacking in weapon slots, console abilities, hull strength...etc. But take a look at the "canon" versions sometime. The Akira was noted for having "15 torpedo tubes", yet in-game it only has a total of 5 weapon slots. No, I'm not suggesting that we make every ship "canon", but I am suggesting the following:

Make ships scale to your level, but unlock in "tiers."

Consider the current style in Champions Online. Players can choose their skill set through an archtype ("Blade", "Grimoir", etc), or by freeform. Either way, their abilities are limited until they level up. They start with only a couple abilities, and slowly gain more as they level. Additionally, they have the ability to increase the power of those abilities as well.

I propose that a similar system be added to Star Trek Online.

Ensign/Lieutenant: Light Cruiser
Ltc Cmdr: Light Cruiser, Escort, Cruiser, Science Vessel
Cmrd: Light Cruiser, Escort, Heavy Escort, Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, Science Vessel, Research Vessel
Captain: Light Cruiser, Escort, Heavy Escort, Tactical Escort, Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, Exploration Cruiser, Science Vessel, Research Vessel, Long Range Vessel
Admiral: Light Cruiser, Escort, Heavy Escort, Tactical Escort, Advanced Escort, Fleet Escort, Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, Exploration Cruiser, Assault Cruiser, Star Cruiser, Science Vessel, Research Vessel, Long Range Vessel, Recon Vessel, Deep Space Vessel

At each level, I would be offered the choice of upgrading my ship, or transferring to a new ship. In addition, whatever ship I purchase would have a set number of "Upgrade points" (similar to my skill points, or Bridge Officer Skill points). Upgrade points could be spent on "Engine Performance, Weapon Performance/Capacity, Shield strength, hull strength, etc. Upgrade points are equal to the number of skill points spent. However, upgrade points would be limited at each tier (i.e. Tier 1 gets say, 5000 upgrade points, tier 2 gets 4000, tier 3 gets 3000, tier 4 gets 2000, and tier 5 gets 1000) to prevent tier 5 ships from being superships compared to other vice-admiral ships.

Lastly, at Vice Admiral, each ship would unlock a "special ability" unique to that ship. Players would, of course, be able to transfer ships at will, and upgrade their new ship to whatever level they currently have. The abilities I'll leave to the devs, but some examples would be the following:

Defiant: cloak
Intrepid: Ablative Armor Generators
Galaxy: Saucer Separation
Prometheus: Multi-Vector Assault Mode
Akira: Torpedo barrage (5-10 torpedos) or fighter spread (5-10 fighters for 20-30 seconds)
Nebula: Tachyon Detection Grid
Excelsior: Transwarp Drive
Nova: Shield Recharge (drops shields for 15 seconds, but returns them to full strength)
Sovereign: Phaser spread (fires phasers in a 360' arc around the ship, hitting up to 10 ships)

I'm not opposed to the idea of "crafting" upgrades to the ship, but I don't really like the idea of requiring it. I'm not really a crafter in STO, and I doubt I will be as long as the only method of crafting involves anomalies. My above suggestion would allow everyone to use whatever ship they want, within reason.

Note: C-store unlocked ships would not be affected by this change as far as the level at which they're unlocked. The NX / TOS cruiser will be unlocked immediately, while the Dreadnought will be unlocked at Rear Admiral. The only ship that might need change would be the Excelsior, since the higher-tier is currently only obtainable via C-store.


(Also, check out my ideas on an alternate Federation tutorial, and alternate Starfleet ranks.)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
02-11-2011, 09:40 PM
I like the idea of the lower tier ships being upgraded to the next tier upon your promotion. Sticking with a ship for a longer period of time appeals to me. It seems more 'Trek'.

While I would love to be able to spend upgrade points, I think that is less likely to get done. It would require a whole new system to be developed and balanced which means a great deal of developer time. I would think preset options could be provided though much more quickly. Maybe the specific tier upgraded to could have a couple of options at least.

There is some talk of special abilities for the original tier 5 ships in the form of a console. I don't see why this system couldn't be implemented on a larger scale to include other ships.

I suppose a c-store purchase of upgrade per rank for a ship would pay for the time developers had to put into it. I would rather not go the c-store route, but it would probably get it in the game faster.

Great idea! I hope it gets noticed.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-12-2011, 08:07 AM
In theory this is current being done with the shuttles. I would wager they might be 'testing' this idea to be used on all ship in a future update. It would allow for less 'refitting' to get better versions ingame. Not sure how they might implement the additional equipment/console/BOFF slots, but again I would assume they are or have looked into this also.

One reason they were using the Tier system was to limit what ships you could use. I will agree that if you took command of a Galaxy class at the start of the game you would be a bored puppy, or they would have to increase the difficulty greatly. An interesting alternative was that the game should start us out as cadets, and in the past so only older ships/tech is useable. As you gain your next rank time moves foward allowing access to 'newer' ships/tech. This would progress up to Captain, where we would all now be in 'present time' and have access to all the goodies. The odd part was that the galactic maps would be set up so only that time period see each other. It is based on the 'instanced' zone we currently have in place, and would keep the Galaxy-X high levels from seeing Miranda low levels. The down side was high levels would not be able to help low levels unless some 'time travel' feature allowed them to travel back. That would get out of hand, and might lead to a Temporal Cold War theme that few seem to like. Still the idea has merit, and would allow us to better use the "TOS, TNG, DS9, etc." themes as time progressed.

How the game was made is the big limiter. Recoding that much of the game would take alot of investment. Not saying it could not be done, but I do not blame Cyptic for 'using what they have'.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
02-12-2011, 08:24 AM
I'd lose all respect for Cryptic if they allow a connnie to tier up to the point of taking on my Nebula-R...sorry.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-12-2011, 08:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by D0L13N
In theory this is current being done with the shuttles. I would wager they might be 'testing' this idea to be used on all ship in a future update. It would allow for less 'refitting' to get better versions ingame. Not sure how they might implement the additional equipment/console/BOFF slots, but again I would assume they are or have looked into this also.
We already have tech in place that awards extra ship and inventory slots upon promotion/C-store purchase. We also already have "skill point" tech in place for both players and bridge officers. Both technologies could theoretically be adapted to ships. The biggest problem I see would that players would need to spend skill points on every new ship they acquire; however, that wouldn't bother me too much since it would place more emphasis on your ship. In Trek, captains usually stayed with the same ship for years at a time, not weeks or months.


Quote:
Originally Posted by D0L13N
One reason they were using the Tier system was to limit what ships you could use. I will agree that if you took command of a Galaxy class at the start of the game you would be a bored puppy, or they would have to increase the difficulty greatly.
My change wouldn't really change when ships are added. The changes would allow your lower-tier ships to be used along with higher-tier ships. Designs such as the Saber, Nova, and Akira were all seen on screen at the same time as the Defiant, Intrepid, Sovereign, Galaxy, etc. You'd still need to level up to gain access to the Galaxy and Sovereign, but if you wanted to keep using your Saber class, you could.


Quote:
Originally Posted by QuanManChu
I'd lose all respect for Cryptic if they allow a connnie to tier up to the point of taking on my Nebula-R...sorry.
That would easily be solved by limiting the number of upgrade points spendable on the Light Cruiser/Escort ships.

Canon-wise, ships have continuously been upgraded for years. Compare the TOS connie to the TMP connie, and you'll notice huge differences. Also compare the Excelsior and Miranda classes, which are from the same era, and were used in combat just as much as the Nebula in the Dominion War.


My whole goal here is to make the game seem more like "Trek", without completely ruining the game. I appreciate the constructive comments. Keep them coming.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-12-2011, 01:48 PM
Love the idea =)

Might as well do with adding some other Retrofit ships for VA, like an Akira Retrofit!

Also, it's less of a burden for devs, they already have the meshes/textures. They just need to add/modify some hardpoints and upgrade the specs in line with other VA ships.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
02-12-2011, 01:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuanManChu
I'd lose all respect for Cryptic if they allow a connnie to tier up to the point of taking on my Nebula-R...sorry.
I could see how that might destroy immersion but I really do prefer the movie era constitution to all other ships and would prefer to fly it, but I cant, so I am in favor and have been since beta for making universal ships.

my solution is to restrict access to the bigger guys until later on in the tier system, so they dont have to get rid of it entirely. That way you still have ship progression until the time you decide to switch ships.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
02-12-2011, 06:53 PM
I know i am probably the only one, but i did love my bubble science ship
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
02-12-2011, 08:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtorma View Post
I know i am probably the only one, but i did love my bubble science ship
I also love the science/medical ship.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
02-12-2011, 09:50 PM
As long as the upgrades don't allow the lower ships to overtake the unlocked upper-tier ships, I'm fine with it. People should be able to play their TOS Connie in Borg DSEs if they want and not be totally ineffective, but they shouldn't be able to destroy a higher tier player ship in 1-on-1 combat unless there is a serious skill gap between players.

I'd totally love to run a Cheyenne effectively at higher tiers, but I'm not so stupid as to want to be able to tackle a player in a Sovvie with it.
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