Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Design of Enemy NPCs
12-08-2011, 04:38 AM
This came up in another thread about the role of escorts in STFs. Well, we have had debates about needing a more challenging PvE experience, smarter AI etc. I m starting this to gather some feedback on the following idea about space PvE.

Every ship class should have a nemesis in game. I mean that enemy mobs should not necessarily become more difficult by increasing their abilities and HP, that kind of linear progression might still happen on top of that. Instead, enemy mobs should all have a wave of anti-cuiser, anti-escorts, anti-sci npcs. So that in rock, paper, scissor tradition no matter what ship you pilot, you'll always meet a ship that is designed to exploit the weaknesses of that ship, but is most easily countered by the strength of another ship class.

I want to keep it somewhat general, in terms of which powers can achieve the desired effects, so that we keep the flexibility to have eg Romulan NPCs still be different from Klingon NPCs but here are some ideas. I m curious for everybodies input, to see what we can come up with.

I m aware that it is a major change, but from my point of view, it is more achievable then AI improvements (which would probably require a second look at NPC abilities as well) or other great suggestions out there, which might become reality somewhere in Season 18.

The Anti-escort
Group: Single Ship
Layout: Mainly Beams attacks.
Primary BO is Burst Damage on a long CD,
Healing: some innate HoT that is stronger when not taking damage,
secondary BO additional repel/slow abilities.

A ship that exploits the low hull of an escort, and through its healing makes burst damage subpar to sustained DPS. Holds and repels hurt escorts the most, because of how DHC are most effective from close range when the enemy "just stays" within their firing arc.

Cruiser are best suited to take these NPCs down.
Sci should fair ok.

The Anti-Cruiser
Group: Larger Group of Small Ships with pets or mines
Layout: Escort style cannons and good maneuverability
Primary BO: Buff, to increase burst damage.
Healing: Medium Burst healing, but mainly resists
secondary BO: Either Dmg suppression though adaptive shields, or healing suppression

This enemy exploits the cruisers poor movement, and is designed to make cruiser AoEs less effective. It is designed to withstand sustained attacks, and to interfere with cruiser healing abilities.

Sci can perform CC abilities to take them down, and is best suited to overcome resists.
Escort single target burst damage should fair OK

Group: small group of medium ships
Layout: Splash damage, and torpedoes (bypass them shields resists) DoTs?
Primary BO: Something against innate Sci-Ship Sensor related skills
Healing: Strong Burst healing
Secondary: Resists against drain/movement/hold/stun

Escorts should fair great against these as they don't rely on many different sci skills to do damage. And because of their increased maneuverability should be quick to take these down.
Cruiser should fair ok, for similar reasons.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-08-2011, 07:22 PM
Well, i can tell you right away that your anti-cruiser setup would be hosed against my cruiser. Lots of small targets are just cannon fodder for it.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-09-2011, 01:53 AM
It also seems to me that small ships are ideal for Science Vessels. A lot of area effect powers (Scramble Sensors, Photonic Shockwave, Charged Particle Burst, Tractor Beam Repulsors).

I think you should make a single ship designed "against" each target.

A very maneuverable ship with a selection of abilities from this list:
  • Emergency Power to Shields
  • Tactical Team
  • Evasive Maneuvers
  • Emergency Power to Engines
  • Tractor Beam Repulsors
  • Charged Particle Burst
  • Beam Target Subsystem Weapons and Engines
  • Beam Fire At Will
  • Auxillary to Structural Integrity Field
  • Feedback Pulse
Energy Weapon: Beams
Kinetic Weapon: Photon Torpedoes (Continual Damage can eventually overcome the limited healing abilities of an Escort)
Shields: Low
Hull: High
An Anti-Escort ship has to deal with a lot of alpha strikes, so it needs powers and the hull to catch such spikes. The offensive abilites ensure that the ship doesn't have to care where the Escort is, and powers like CPB hit Escorts hard, as they are the ships with some of the lowest shields.

A maneuverable ship with abiltiies like:
  • Emergency Power to Shields
  • Polarize Hull
  • Transfer Shield Strength
  • Science Team
  • Beam Overload
  • Beam Target Subsystem Auxillary and Weapons
  • Cannon Rapid Fire
  • High Yield Torpedo
  • Photonic Shockwave
  • Subnucleonic Beam
  • Scramble Sensors
Energy Weapons: DHCs and Dual Beam Banks
Kinetic Weapon: Quantum Torpedoes (fast-moving, hits hard)
Shields: High
Hull: Low
This ship can continually restore its shields. It's low hull is no big issue against Cruisers, as they don't do good spike damage. It's offensive power are designed to neutralize or hinder the Cruiser healing advantages and inflict sipke damage.

A ship with abiltiies like:
  • Emergency Power to Shields
  • Science Team
  • Engineering Team
  • Beam Target Subsystem Auxillary and Shields
  • Beam Fire-At Will
  • Gravity Well
  • Tyken's Rift
  • Tractor Beam
Energy Weapons: Beams
Kinetic Weapons: Tri-Cobalts (bring in from close range, hits very hard)
Shields: High
Hull: Low
Science ships benefit best from ships that rely heavily on continual buffs that keep them alive. This ship instead has several instant-heals. Science Ships don't have good DPS nor spike damage. High shields neutralizes advantages from shield drains. With Tractor Beam and Tyken's Rift or Gravity Well, the ship can hit the weak spots of the science vessel - energy management, hull strength. Tri-Cobalts can be particularly deadly for a science ship when its shields have been destroyed.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-09-2011, 02:02 AM
Originally Posted by Idali
Well, i can tell you right away that your anti-cruiser setup would be hosed against my cruiser. Lots of small targets are just cannon fodder for it.
I agree that this is the case with current NPCs but given a slightly different design, spam and multiple targets can help to counter the 8beam F@Wx2 cruiser setup that unfortunately does really well in pve. And is one of the main strenght of cruisers (moaaaar weapon slots)

Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
I think you should make a single ship designed "against" each target.
I think there is a lot of overlap in our suggestions, and i really like your ideas.

As for the single ship, this could be another factor for different NPC factions. Maybe you encounter eg. Romulan NPCs primarily as single ships (just screw the escort/cruiser/sci hull/shileds ratios of player ships) while others appear in groups. I wanted to bring in groups so that SCi can bring the CC abilities to bear in PvE a little more effectively.

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