Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 CaptainGeko's Theory Has Flaws
12-20-2011, 02:02 PM
Quote:
We are looking at splitting Ground and Space skill points - around a 75:25 ratio between Ground and Space. This is being tried for several reasons - the main reason is to help prevent players from putting all their points into space, and then not being effective on the ground. It also helps make PvP more accessible to casual players by leveling the skill point playing field (players who split their skills because they play ground and space could not compete with a player who put all their points into space or ground alone). While this will reduce how many points you can put in space, there is a significant reduction in the amount of skills needed to purchase. This is further aided by the upcoming reduction in the cost of higher tier skills.
From CaptainGeko here.

The upcoming skill changes that require folks to respec into ground and space skills is going to significantly impact balance in PvP. CaptainGeko's theory is that by requiring players to have fewer skill points spent in space or ground combat skills, this will somehow impact PvP positively by reducing the number of high end uber template builds that allow for greater damage.

His suggestion is either ignorant or idiotic, potentially both.

Today's system where skill points can be centric on any skill tree space or ground has long insured balance to characters in PvP when specializing in either space or ground. Specialization in PvP comes about by applying limitations on the skill system, which appears to be what Cryptic believes needs to be done. There is nothing wrong with forcing specialization, indeed that is what PvPers have always done regardless of total skill point numbers.

The true effect will be that those who are willing to P2W and heavily use special items that heavily impact balance and gameplay but do not require skill points for that effect will have an even greater advantage than they already do now over those who do not have such items. Yes, it is absolutely true the reduced number of skill points available for space skills will require folks to be more specialized and individuals won't have uber balance templates, but the in-game side effect is the impact to individuals who are trying to defend against special abilities, and skill points that can be used for defending against those special skills today will be the skills lost in the new skill tree as everyone is forced to specialize their space PvP templates to remain competitive.

Cryptic is not balancing PvP with this 75:25 skill point requirement split, they are increasing the degree to which the lack of balance exists in PvP - potentially by more than they will be able to fix without a revamp of items sold at the c-store.

The new skill tree heavily tilts the advantage towards those capable of bringing the most useful capabilities in PvP that reside outside the skill tree. Groups of those players with capabilities useful in PvP that do not require skills will dominate groups without those capabilities, and those without those capabilities will have a much lower chance of success than in the past.

In effect, the three primary impacts to PvP will exasperate the issues already impacting PvP balance today, and will make it even more difficult for entry level players to PvP come F2P.

1) Consoles will be even more important, because they are the most powerful capabilities in PvP outside the skill tree.

2) Teamwork will be even more important, because individual excellence is lost with limitations applied to the skill tree.

3) Highest end items become even more critical, which is a real problem considering the limitations of the dilithium economy for example, making the entry level for being competitive in PvP even higher.

In many ways, from a template perspective this is a return to Season 1 PvP due to the skill point limitations, but it really won't matter because in PvP it will be the items that don't use character skills that have the most impact to combat between players.

The 75:25 split really isn't the issue though, even though CaptainGeko is dead wrong that the split will somehow help PvP - the net impact will be the opposite. The real issue is that the skill tree is not the primary factor influencing PvP balance and matchplay today - capabilities outside the skill tree is the primary influence on PvP in Season 5, and all reducing the skill points does is exasperate the balance inequity between those who spend large sums of money at the C-Store, and those who don't.

Free-to-play will be an enormous oxymoron in STO PvP come January 17th, 2012.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-20-2011, 03:28 PM
Unless cryptic makes uber consoles, the only issue with the console right now is the Bop that can fit almost all of them on the ship. Problem is consoles have cooldowns if you blow your load for console alphas you are dead while CD count. Anyone that loads all P2W consoles on their ships will do less, damage, less healing, and less sci things. Don't get me wrong there are consoles with some issues when used with others but lengthy CDs are the issue. The one system that I can see tilting PVP is the Doff System once everyone gets the full purple Doffs with various abilities that is where balance is going to go. You see it now with the BFI with TSS power from doffs, or the add buffs when using EP doff, shortend torp skill -doff, shorted recharge on BT skills.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-20-2011, 07:37 PM
I just wish they would focus more on the things that are broken and out of balance instead of things like this supposed 75:25 split system which will only alienate people like me that care very little for STOs ground combat.

Its ridiculous to make players spec into ground skills just to pacify people that want to be awesome at everything at once. In every other game that I know of, specialization is rewarded, not condemned.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-21-2011, 02:42 AM
Yup been playing with all the consoles on my BoP in Kerrat. The only consoles worth their weight on em are the plasma leech console, the theta vent, and bio neural warhead. The subspace jumper and forcefield consoles ive been playing with are just for trolling your enemies . But yeah you can pretty much throw any console on em. If I could only chose one console it would be the theta vent. You can spec into particle generators and it will increase its damage. Tac officers fully buffed with this console can do massive amount of damage with it. Other than that they are mostly offensive trickory
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
12-21-2011, 03:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksided View Post
From CaptainGeko here.

The upcoming skill changes that require folks to respec into ground and space skills is going to significantly impact balance in PvP. CaptainGeko's theory is that by requiring players to have fewer skill points spent in space or ground combat skills, this will somehow impact PvP positively by reducing the number of high end uber template builds that allow for greater damage.

His suggestion is either ignorant or idiotic, potentially both.

Today's system where skill points can be centric on any skill tree space or ground has long insured balance to characters in PvP when specializing in either space or ground. Specialization in PvP comes about by applying limitations on the skill system, which appears to be what Cryptic believes needs to be done. There is nothing wrong with forcing specialization, indeed that is what PvPers have always done regardless of total skill point numbers.

The true effect will be that those who are willing to P2W and heavily use special items that heavily impact balance and gameplay but do not require skill points for that effect will have an even greater advantage than they already do now over those who do not have such items. Yes, it is absolutely true the reduced number of skill points available for space skills will require folks to be more specialized and individuals won't have uber balance templates, but the in-game side effect is the impact to individuals who are trying to defend against special abilities, and skill points that can be used for defending against those special skills today will be the skills lost in the new skill tree as everyone is forced to specialize their space PvP templates to remain competitive.

Cryptic is not balancing PvP with this 75:25 skill point requirement split, they are increasing the degree to which the lack of balance exists in PvP - potentially by more than they will be able to fix without a revamp of items sold at the c-store.

The new skill tree heavily tilts the advantage towards those capable of bringing the most useful capabilities in PvP that reside outside the skill tree. Groups of those players with capabilities useful in PvP that do not require skills will dominate groups without those capabilities, and those without those capabilities will have a much lower chance of success than in the past.

In effect, the three primary impacts to PvP will exasperate the issues already impacting PvP balance today, and will make it even more difficult for entry level players to PvP come F2P.

1) Consoles will be even more important, because they are the most powerful capabilities in PvP outside the skill tree.
But several of the consoles _are_ affeted by skills. And those that are not may not be that relevant.

But even if it was true - that's just a good reason for Cryptic to do it, since they _want_ us to buy consoles.

Quote:
2) Teamwork will be even more important, because individual excellence is lost with limitations applied to the skill tree.
I don't follow you. It is not like the majority of a player's excellence lies in a particular clever build. It's more about mastering a proven build. (And his ability to work his skill into teamplay.)

Quote:
3) Highest end items become even more critical, which is a real problem considering the limitations of the dilithium economy for example, making the entry level for being competitive in PvP even higher.
I don't see how high end items suddenly become more critical. There stats don't change, their overall effect to gameplay remains the same. But also not the best argument for Cryptic, as they are interested in people grinding for gear.


Quote:
In many ways, from a template perspective this is a return to Season 1 PvP due to the skill point limitations, but it really won't matter because in PvP it will be the items that don't use character skills that have the most impact to combat between players.

The 75:25 split really isn't the issue though, even though CaptainGeko is dead wrong that the split will somehow help PvP - the net impact will be the opposite. The real issue is that the skill tree is not the primary factor influencing PvP balance and matchplay today - capabilities outside the skill tree is the primary influence on PvP in Season 5, and all reducing the skill points does is exasperate the balance inequity between those who spend large sums of money at the C-Store, and those who don't.

Free-to-play will be an enormous oxymoron in STO PvP come January 17th, 2012.
The fundamental problem of the skill tree split is that a Space PvP can invest all his skill points into Space skills. Someone that PvEs a lot is forced to do Ground and Space, and to have an enjoyable experience (sure, you can get everything done unskilled, but it takes longer and more frustrating) in both, he must split his skills between ground and space. So the hardcore elite has 20 to 25 % more skill points invested at their disposal. This doesn't necessarily mean a total 25 % advantage over the "average" player, but it sure doesn't make things easier.

Also, you're missing the fact that higher tier skills get cheaper than they are now. THat means you can buy the same with less skill points. It will certainly not compensate the entire "loss" of skill points for space, but a considerable margin.


The real remaining problem with the skill tree is that flying a Science Vessel is still inherently more expensive than anything else. The "Tactical" and "Engineering" skills are generally useful (if not a must) on all ships. The science skills are simply not.
That may not matter that much for PvP, since Science powers rock against player controlled vessels, but it makes Science even more sucktastic in PvE.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
12-21-2011, 05:39 AM
As I said the skill changes will not effect PvP at all.
Those that are more intensely involved will still be so and those that are more casual will still be so all the way down the non-existant ranking ladder, so to speak.
The only objective achieved is that now some players may now que-up for more ground PvP, but even there those that do primarily ground PvP will be at the supposed advantage because in theory they do not have to spend any "forced" points on space skills. (though it would be silly not too)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
12-21-2011, 05:45 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
I don't see how high end items suddenly become more critical. There stats don't change, their overall effect to gameplay remains the same. But also not the best argument for Cryptic, as they are interested in people grinding for gear.
Actually it is a win-win for Cryptic. They get to put out more "high end" stuff so people will spend hundreds of $$$ for trying to get it, but they also can force the players into further grind matches to obtain the item, thus making the players play the area of the game that Cryptic wants them to.

High end items will become more critical because they give that extra little punch to the pvper since parity will be enforced by Cryptic's skill point distribution. As a STFer, I know I try for the high end just to obtain that little oomph in my builds and weapons, so I doubt that same oomph will be overlooked by PvPers
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
12-21-2011, 07:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stromgold View Post
I just wish they would focus more on the things that are broken and out of balance instead of things like this supposed 75:25 split system which will only alienate people like me that care very little for STOs ground combat.

Its ridiculous to make players spec into ground skills just to pacify people that want to be awesome at everything at once. In every other game that I know of, specialization is rewarded, not condemned.
The leech with graviton pulse is fun. Because it seemed that no matter what my target ended up dead in the water. Because of this I now only use one P2W console on my raptor. The doff system is going to screw balance more than the consoles will. I almost had 100% up time on TSS with shield distro doff and borg.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
12-21-2011, 08:18 AM
ive been shotgun speccing since a friend of mine proved over and over to me that the skill tree is fairly meh...

i have 3-5 in lots of things. 6 in a couple. 0 on lots. doesnt matter. maybe the weapons / shielding and hull stat boxs are the most valuable. im 100% certain that putting anything into inertial dampeners or subsys repair and a few others is just downright worthless.

doesnt matter......

1. my cloak still works.
2. so does my tractor beam.
2. and my warp plasma
4. so when BO3 lands
5. it will hurt.

i will then run away and try it again. but this time with the theta rads, and i might try to get you in both clouds at once to watch you melt. same goes for the rest of my toons. they all do 1 thing fairly well, and its never anything ive needed to max out a skill to accomplish.

-horizon

also ground sucks. wake up cryptic.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
12-21-2011, 08:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
I don't follow you. It is not like the majority of a player's excellence lies in a particular clever build. It's more about mastering a proven build. (And his ability to work his skill into teamplay.)
PvP as gamestyle mechanic in STO does not encourage team play, indeed it is designed for PUGs or PvP centric fleets, certainly not the overwhelming majority of players. They have tried to improve PvP with mechanics like auto-party in PvP matches, but PUGs are still... PUGs, and private matches are only used by a very tiny portion of the STO population. The bottom line is there is no incentive for PvPing at the fleet level, so there is no incentive for teamwork to be recognize for how important it is to the results in STO PvP. The whines of a PUG has long carried more weight with Cryptic than even the helpful bug reports of a PvPer, much less gameplay suggestions.

Success in PvP is inherently tied to teamplay though, and will be more so as builds optimize with specialization due to reducing total skill point numbers. Random casual players aren't going to magically find it easier to compete in PvP regardless of skill tree changes, because the dynamics of victory in matches involving a minimum of 10 players are heavily dependent on the quality of a team vs team, and as you say the talent within a team really shines at that moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
The fundamental problem of the skill tree split is that a Space PvP can invest all his skill points into Space skills. Someone that PvEs a lot is forced to do Ground and Space, and to have an enjoyable experience (sure, you can get everything done unskilled, but it takes longer and more frustrating) in both, he must split his skills between ground and space. So the hardcore elite has 20 to 25 % more skill points invested at their disposal.
Why exactly is what you say a "fundamental problem?" Why does the "average" player case where PvPers spend their skill points, changing this isn't going to make "average" players any more competitive in PvP in any way. There is no evidence of an additional incentive that would encourage the average player to come get their ship blown up for no reason. You are basically agreeing with Geko's suggestion that in a perfect world the average STO player with a fully geared ship is a respec away from being competitive in PvP. That is a delusional suggestion absent any analysis in context of what PvP is like in STO today.

I'm not missing anything. The larger skills get cheaper isn't a big change, certainly not as big as the consolidation of skills was. Remember, they are also increasing the cost of the low end skills, and the low end skills have broader impacts to a larger number of skills. I'll give you an easy prediction - people will cry foul when it comes to being forced to spend skill points in the proposed ground tree, because Engineers won't be spending extra points on Explosives, for example, but how many Science can avoid spending points on healing? Given how many Tac's use kits with Grenades in PvP, can a casual Tactical player really afford not to skill that early, expensive skill? Just a bit of food to get you thinking clearly on what we are seeing unfold here...

You may not remember PvP prior to Season 2, because the net impact of the upcoming changes will simply reduce the total skill points available for space PvP into just about the total available skill points pool % that was available until Season 2 added the higher ranks and additional skill points, and that doesn't even count how in Season 1 players had to skill up ground skills anyway for space abilities (Engineer Team, Science Team, Etc). If you are suggesting that somehow an across the board reduction in skill points for everyone is going to somehow close the gap in balance or competition in PvP between casual players and PvPers, or somehow increase participation in STO PvP (which is what Geko suggests); I humbly suggest you will be proven terribly wrong.

What Cryptic has miscalculated about PvP incentives is that balance has never and will never exist on an individual level in STO, so balance has never been why casual players PvPed in STO at any point in the history of the game. Until Season 2, a player could earn the highest level items in the game via either PvE or PvP, but that has not been true at all since Season 2. Prior to Season 2, a player could PvP 24/7 in STO and be on par in every way to a PvE player - now that was incentive to PvP. Today? Not so much, not even close.

Indeed, since Season 2 was released, the rewards for PvP have been reduced relative to every additional PvE option. Competitive balance is not being addressed with the skill changes, and I strongly believe the changes will actually make it more difficult for casual players because PvPers will simply specialize to a greater extent while casual gamers will hold on to desires to remain flexible with their character (something that has been taken for granted by the STO community since Season 2). Casual players thrive on aspects of STO like flexibility, something the skill point changes will impact directly. Casual players are unlikely to give up their flexibility because they don't need to in order to remain competitive in PvE.

When the game mechanics make it more difficult to compete in PvP and there are no game incentive to PvP, I wouldn't expect the casual gamer to participate in PvP as a result of these changes. It's the old analogy, changing the tires on a car with no engine isn't going to help get you to your destination faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
The real remaining problem with the skill tree is that flying a Science Vessel is still inherently more expensive than anything else. The "Tactical" and "Engineering" skills are generally useful (if not a must) on all ships. The science skills are simply not.

That may not matter that much for PvP, since Science powers rock against player controlled vessels, but it makes Science even more sucktastic in PvE.
I generally agree. My first thought when I saw the 75:25 split was that the gimic science player is soon to make a return. Not sure if folks remember, but the Science powers were stronger back in Season 1 to some degree primarily to compensate for the challenge of Science being competitive when spending a majority of points in the Science tree. There was a very good discussion on this back in about March of 2010 in the main forums, and it was with Season 2 that Viral Matrix, Sensor Scan, and Subnucleanic Beam among others were changed and reduced in power considerably because more points would be available for the Science Captain to skill up the other skill trees. My guess is Cryptic has forgotten about that, and Science Captains are going to lose their skill points while not getting some teeth back in their skill powers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roach View Post
As I said the skill changes will not effect PvP at all.

The only objective achieved is that now some players may now que-up for more ground PvP, but even there those that do primarily ground PvP will be at the supposed advantage because in theory they do not have to spend any "forced" points on space skills. (though it would be silly not too)
Roach - you've been around awhile man, that's like saying Season 1 PvP was the same as every season since. It's going to have a significant impact to PvP, because big changes always do. Season 1 PvP was about specialization and being pigeon holed into a single style of play per character in PvP. Season 2 added flexibility with the skill point increase, so a character could be two or more things without a respec. In Season 2-5 an Engineer could be a healer or a hunter in a cruiser/battlecruiser or another ship, for example, switching on the fly without a respec, but in Season 1 an Engineer could be one or the other and was terrible when trying to be both.

The loss in flexibility is going to be a big deal and the source of many cries and whines by the casual player on the forums, because it will impact casual players a lot more than it will hard core set template PvPers. Maybe Cryptic will address this by adding new ships optimized for specific types of characters, but different enough to give different types of professions a change in style? Unclear if that would even work. I do remember Bridge Officers never mattered to most players until Season 2, because the skill point limitations prevented a player from being flexibile enough to adjust styles or change ships often enough to need a variety of BOs. From now on, respec might be a forced option for those who want to change style on any character, and for most casual players respec will be a requirement for them to transition from PvE to PvP. Maybe that is good for Cryptic's C-Store, but that isn't good for struggling communities like PvP.

Bottom line for me - skill point reductions will not help casual gamers in PvP at all, indeed PvP is going to get a lot harder for the casual gamer (and brutal given the grind entry level requirements for the new f2p guy) in PvP, not easier. It looks to me like this is basically a return to Season 1 style PvP, which was rigid meaning a character had a fixed ship and style, and gimmick meaning a lot of one trick pony templates. The suggestion that PvP in ground is going to get more active is highly laughable, and STFs barely help people PvP on the ground better. Ground PvP is a true art form in STO where teams dominate pugs in an unforgiving fashion, way more so than space PvP. A solid, experienced and organized group in ground PvP cannot be beaten by PUGs ever, and it's rarely if even close to competitive. Without serious incentive, new players aren't coming to that PvP meat grinder anytime soon.

Why has PvP been a ghost town since Season 1? Because there is no game incentive to PvP in STO and hasn't been since Season 1. Even with new incentives though, PvP is unlikely to have a larger active population in STO until there are fleet level objectives that drives casual players towards team play in PvP, because as it has always been - organized teamwork is the single greatest factor that players have control of with the most influence in the outcome of a PvP match. A team of PUGs that includes a few great players can lose to a team that is organized, even if the organized team is made up of average players.

I realize Cryptic doesn't actually care about PvP gameplay in STO though; they certainly have made that clear considering there are exactly the same number of available maps in STO PvP in Season 5 as there were at launch of the game (all that has happened was they traded the space mine Cap&Hold map for the ground assault Cap&Hold map). Skill point changes will not help STO PvP in balance or participation in a positive way. Geko's suggestion otherwise is silly - and folks buying into his suggestion will be disappointed.
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