While, STO's balance has CONCIDERABLY Deteriorated, Maintaining balance is admitably difficult.
I just started working on building a video game (not even MMO)
Hardest part of the video game is Balance, You wouldn't think it either.
Balancing is hard, because your end is 980 damage (balanced On paper) but it becomes like 7399.8873 damage after skill mods. Balancing isn't just a few numbers. a Change from 100 to 99 can be a MASSIVE change ingame.
(I can say without doubt, hardest part of making my video game, is Storyline, and balancing)
So, fellow pvpers, stop being So hard on cryptic when ur yelling over balance. The numbers we give are incorrect for them, because they have to go through a bunch of hidden factors, before we even get a number. I have no idea what they are using to do balancing, so I don't really know, For all you know DEM doing 49 damage is actualy 3.77283123 in the dev tools.
So come on, be alittle easyer about balance. Now go back to being hard over content, C-Store, the AI... Adding an AI that uses Skills intelegently, IS NOT as hard as balance. Say on ground, give all NPCs Rechargable Hypos, Add line: When Health < 20% = Hypo. In Space, have NPCs Keep EPTS up, and a script to make then like, Hazzard emmiters to dispel debuffs, ONLY every 45s so they don't spam it. etc...
I dunno mate I play alot of games and yes it is true there are a ton of factors involved in pvp balance it is not that difficult. Otherwise so many other relatively balanced pvp games would not exist on the market today.
Where I draw the line and get really annoyed, balance wise, is two places. First off releasing obviously overpowered stuff. Like the fleet shields, reputation passives, and many other things that even on paper look insane.
Secondly is PvE balance. Yes PvP has a huge human element but PvE is much more controllable. However Cryptic has yet to even do the first step required for PvE balance and that is choose a philosophy.
Equal but Different, Holy Trinity, or Good at Different Content.
Equal but different: Check out Guild Wars 2 as the most recent example
Holy Trinity: Obvious
Good at Different Content: This is best represented in bad tabletop RPGs but an example in STO would be if Science Vessels got bonus anomalies scanned, Cruisers had the highest Warp speed, things like that. It is like when you have the really good social toon in the group that is horrid at combat but great outside of it.
Which one is STO intended to use? I have no clue. And if that much is not obvious then I will complain about it. I have done tabletop RPGs as DM for years and one of the big things I focus on is ensuring everyone at the table has fun and feels as if their character is contributing to the party/session in a meaningful way. When all 4 players think their character is the best you know you have done a good job. And really the philosophy chosen is just a matter of preference as they all can work out well depending on the style of game they just require a different form of encounter design and/or system design.
I've been trying really hard to come up with a response to this thread. I had a nice, long reply written, but couldn't bring myself to post it.
The fact is, that Cryptic has dropped the ball. There is no balance in any aspect of their game. PvE is just a DPS race. PvP is so full of universal consoles, rep-based gear, DOFF buffs and fleet/embassy gear, that almost anyone can perform any role they wish. There is no need for class balance anymore. Which has made the game horribly un-fun for anyone not flying a tacscort (the only role that still has meaningful synergy between captain skill and ship ablities).
The whole game needs a balance pass, and nothing should be left out. I don't care how much money people spent to get their stuff, if it isn't balanced, it needs to be tuned. There has to be a reason to bring a sci, a tac, and an engineer on teams (PvE or PvP). Right now, there really isn't, aside from the obligitory SNB (PvP only).
edit: In my opinion, this all boils down to the fact that PvE is too easy. The AI doesn't challenge players, and so many of them (players) are so horrible that Cryptic felt the need to make it even easier with a rapid Power-Creep that totally ignores class balance. Make PvE more challenging. Make the AI challenge players. Give us a reason to bring at least 1 of every class into every mission/instance.
No, i think anyone who hangs around a game long enough should appreciate how hard it is to have balance. I think we can all agree that its a massive task and only gets harder as more items, skills ships etc are implimented.
But other MMOs much older then STO have got balance, hell. Even some brand new ones are well known for it. And Cryptic is an MMO gamehouse, it's their "thing" so we should expect a lot more then what we have - whichis shoddy, illconceved and badly planned out.
How much would i squeal if a read a dev blog saying "We've hired these 10-15 people who are AWESOME at PVP and balance checks. We've given them a server to test in, a pot of lockbox money, a fridge full of RedBull and expect a x many PVP maps, y many gametypes, a rep system and a BALANCE PASS for 6 months time"
I'd squal until the neighbours came round and bopped me on the head.
Cryptic had a fairly well balanced game. Then they intentionally ruined balance by introducing the special consoles (I won't even start with the intentionally unbalanced lower tier c-store ships), doffs and having devs with no idea how the game works messing with the skill tree.
At this point, it is pretty much impossible to balance the game, because they introduced so many variables (including the incredibly bad idea of resist skills in the skill tree) that there is no reasonable way to balance around a mean value anymore. The variance between the effectiveness and/or frequency of abilities has been increased tremendously and the first step to balancing the game again would have to include cutting down on that variance. This in turn would require a change of the skill tree (at least of the math in the background), a change in hangar pet spawn mechanics and severe limitations on special consoles. In other words: it's never going to happen. They don't want to and even if they wanted to, the devs that they have are not smart and knowledgable enough to pull it off.
At this point, it's only a question of how much time we still have before cryptic introduces a gamebreaking ability/item with widespread adoption among the players that makes pvp unbearable and which they refuse to bring in line with our memories of S1.2-S3 balance.
Cryptic had a fairly well balanced game. Then they intentionally ruined balance by Universalizing the special consoles (I won't even start with the intentionally unbalanced lower tier c-store ships), doffs and having devs with no idea how the game works messing with the skill tree.
That statement looks better and more correct now.
You think that your beta test was bad?
Think about this: American Football has been in open beta for 144 years. ~Kotaku
Although we have to keep in mind that some consoles were only held in check by being tied to really bad ship classes (like the original raptor) and the problem would have become bigger with the introduction of better ships in the same class even without making them universal. And AMS was a major annoyance even before the consoles became truly universal.
But I agree, keeping the consoles closely tied to certain ships would have slowed down this muddling of ship classes that has happened because of consoles, doffs and universal boff slots.
It really depends on which aspect of imbalance you are referring too but yes, the uni console madness really does screw over PvP big time.
Science Boff abilities can never be balanced because of the previously mentioned skill variance. Balance it for 0 skill? Balance it for 250 skill? O wait rommie rep 350 skill....
Tactical abilities are showing the shortsightedness of how the underlying systems scale. Hmm lets let everything multiply what could go wrong? I dunno maybe there was a reason everything was additive before...
And engineering abilities are stuck somewhere in the middle of those two. Then you have ship classes which when everything revolves around boff abilities for offense, defense, and utility the ship class is pretty much unimportant beyond the boff layout and any details it has. Ten percent extra hull or shield or whatever really does mean much when getting resists to high heaven is the way to live, or not and die.
Then there are the weapons that are balanced around an energy drain system that doesn't really work well. Especially when you start introducing fifteen ways to mess with it.
It needs to pick a philosophy and fix things to revolve around it. But you need a direction first.
Balance is not only a PvP issue. As Brandon already pointed out, everything other then tac/scort in PvE is a waste. I happen to like my eng, i also happen to like my sci ships (the real ones, not the stupid +1 sci ship to rule em all vesta spammamma). If playing the roles and toons i like is becoming too much of a chore, and without anything on the horizon of PvP, sooner or later MWO it is then.
*cough* yo craptic: FM for PvP...coming soon? i take it....
engys are kinda dead now and sci/tac is king no sci no kills unless its just pugs no tac no kills. Balance is not to difficult when stuff is tested look at ultima online old as hell has like 500 abilities in it fairly balanced! some op crap gets through but it gets fixed in a timely manner.
I dont think it is to much all cryptics fault though i blame the player base to with crying about things that are not op because they dont know how to defend or crying about something that is going to get nerfed saying it is not op and it makes the game simple for them. simple game = fail yawn...
The game is one of the most stable ones i ever plaid its never crashed on me and only a few server disconnects so i give them props for that
Would love them to balance but they don't have a check and balance team...