That's it. You can spend 300k SP the same way regardless of Career choice. You can pilot any ship regardless of Career choice. You can fill out your BOFF layout the same way regardless of Career choice (though you may have to find a friend/stranger to train certain abilities). That's fact. There's no getting around that - that's what it is. Simple and straightforward, right?
Now for some commentary, eh?
Roles. What? Roles. What about them? Well, first there's the common PvE Trinity: Tank, Heals, and DPS. Doesn't really apply to PvP, though - "Tank" is an artificial role in the sense that it relies on artificial mechanics for the "tank" to hold aggro. Thank the powers that be, that doesn't exist in PvP here. You can placate to drop aggro, but you can't force somebody to target you or somebody else.
There's often the discussion of the 4th Role - which is usually a discussion of multiple other roles. The 4th for some is CC (Crowd Control). The 4th for some is the combination of buffers and debuffers. In many games, buffing/debuffing/CC/etc has been lumped in with the other roles in various ways.
You're bored already, eh?
No? Okay, so how about a look at how those five innate abilities fit into various roles? I'm going to go with DPS, Heals, Buffer, Debuffer, Crowd Control, and even Tank. Yes, I know I said Tank's not a role in PvP - but people still tank. Whether it's through mitigation, avoidance, or even if one looks at healing as a form of offsetting incoming damage - it's something that everybody's doing. I'll go in alphabetical order, even though I didn't list them that way here...hrmm.
Science: Sensor Scan, Subnucleonic Beam, Photonic Fleet*
Tactical: Fire on My Mark
Engineer: EPS Power Transfer, Nadion Inversion, Engineering Fleet
Science: Subnucleonic Beam, Photonic Fleet*
Tactical: Attack Pattern Alpha, Fire on My Mark, Tactical Initiative, Go Down Fighting, Tactical Fleet
Wait, some of those don't make any sense. In some cases, it's about thinking beyond the direct effect. Take SNB - by stripping buffs, you can not only increase the damage the enemy's taking but you can also reduce the damage you're taking. Tada, DPS and Tank. Isn't that redundant though? Shouldn't it just be Debuffer? Like I said, it's about thinking beyond just direct effect...thinking about what you get out of it. Like Photonic Fleet being listed under Tank - if one of your holopets is eating damage that you're not eating, that's damage that you've avoided. Some things, simply fall into multiple categories.
*Photonic Fleet...well, roll the dice, see what you get.
Obviously, even though certain abilities may fall under the same role - they're not of equal value. What you get out of EPS Power Transfer is nowhere near what you get out of Attack Pattern Alpha.
So looking at that, I don't think that anybody would argue that Tactical highly favors DPS. Science brings a bag of tricks that's very helpful for the team. Engineer...Engineer...
...is said to be the Healer. Why? It's not because they're better healers. The typical answer is their "tank" allows them to last longer as a healer than a Tac or a Sci.
RSF...subnuke it. NI...subnuke it. EPSPT...subnuke it.
Players aren't NPCs. NPCs are pretty stupid. You can shine in certain instances in PvE as an Engineer, simply because NPCs aren't going to do things to screw it up like players can and will. A 2 min CD on both RSF and EPS - 3 min on NI...vs 2 min CD on SNB. What about Phaser Procs or Subsystem Targeting?
Well, there's MW too. Not quite a case of having to kill them twice, but it's an "oh crap" button all the same. Offering no additional shield nor hull resistance - so depending on where they stand with CDs on BOFF abilities...those shields and the hull are just going to disappear again.
But yeah, that's where even if they have something on CD/etc - somebody will slap a heal on them...
...what's that? Crosshealing? Wait, Tac and Sci can heal? Well, yeah - cause the heals come from BOFF abilities. Remember, it's only the five innate abilities that separate the three career choices.
So wait, I could drop a Tac in a healboat and he could toss the same heals as the Eng could? I could drop a Sci in a healboat and he could do that too?
Aux to Structure, Extend Shields, Transfer Shield Strength, Hazard Emitters, Engineering Team, Science Team, and even with the way Tactical Team works... they don't care if it's an Eng, Tac, or Sci?
So wait, I could run a Tac instead of an Eng as a healer and get an additional Fire on My Mark, Tactical Initiative, and Tactical Fleet. Heck, if there's a target near death - the Tac healer if they're not healing could even pop APA to help finish the target off better than the Eng healer could.
So wait, I could run a Sci instead of an Eng as a healer and get an additional Sensor Scan, Subnucleonic Beam, Scattering Field, Photonic Fleet, and Science Fleet.
I'd be giving up...er...EPS Power Transfer and Engineering Fleet - and a guy having the ability to run RSF, NI, and MW on himself. Course, I already pointed out the issues with these.
Hrmmmm...so how is the Engineer the best healer again?
Well, putting a Sci or a Tac in a healboat is wasting their potential.
Well, it kind of looks like bringing an Eng is wasting a spot.
With crosshealing and what either the Sci healer or even the Tac healer would bring...how does that even begin to balance in favor of bringing the Eng?
I tried to make the point in that conversation that the Eng could shine in certain instances in PvE because NPCs are not Player - they're not as smart nor do they have access to the abilities players do. A strong case was made that the same benefits the Sci or Tac would have in PvP would also carry over to PvE as well.
This isn't a "buff" or "fix" Engineers post. I've posted my comments on that subject matter in multiple threads. Like I said, there just appeared to be some confusion out there - where people were linking ships and BOFFs to Engineers...when it's just the five innate abilities that separate the careers. There's also that common claim that Engineers make the best healers...which, personally, I just don't see based on the five abilities they have - their CDs and how they can be countered. That's before you even take into account the various options for crosshealing, what the other careers bring to a team, etc, etc, etc. Just because they're not better than something else than another career doesn't mean that they're best for healing. You've got the friend that rolled an Eng - you want to play with him - well, he can't really do anything else as well as a Sci or Tac could...so he can heal. That kind of sums it up, imho...
You could arguably list EPS transfer as a heal, because when you send it to someone it usually has the effect of maxing their shield power, and possibly reactivating systems that have been hit by power drains. Also if the player is in a ship that doesn't typically cruise around at full aux, EPSPT improves their self heals for as long as it lasts.
But yeah, I definitely see your point.
I could make an argument for engineers being stronger healers because even though their heals are the same as any other class in the same ship, the engineer has a few 'selfish' heals they can use if they get int trouble while the others are on cooldown.
Honestly, engineers got screwed when the power drain from weapons was reworked -- before that, EPSPT and NI were major DPS buffs.
Very good post, for the most part. I love how you laid everything out clearly and neatly with the timers and roles. It should be helpful for new and experienced people alike; I know it's a nice reference for me. And, yeah, engis need some love.
Your lumping of debuffing in with dps and tanking is misleading, however. The point of pvp is to blow up the other guy and stay alive. Every power, tactic, and maneuver is designed to promote these two aspects.
The point of debuffing is to make it easier for dps to kill an enemy, or make it easier for healing to survive an enemy. That does not make it the same as dps.
If I throw Extend Shields 3 on an escort, against an enemy running a high-damage low-bleed-through setup, the escort can sit on somebody's tail and turret for the duration of Extends unless the opposing team has an Alpha ready, because he will no longer need high Defense to survive. This will dramatically increase the amount of damage he can do. Does that make Extend Shields 3 a dps power?
If I put somebody under soft-buffed fire with my escort, they will be forced to move to gain their maximum defense bonus and take less damage (unless they're drawing a big Extends). Does that make Cannon Rapid Fire II a Crowd Control / Debuff power?
If I alpha up and kill an enemy escort, the enemy team's damage will be greatly mitigated, which will increase the ease with which my team can heal, much more effectively than if I was on a sci and just subnuc'd them. Does this make Attack Pattern Alpha a heal?
In a way, the answer to all those questions is yes. Like you pointed out, damage mitigation can come as easily from offensive powers like subnuc as from defensive powers. Likewise, damage boosting can come from defensive powers that keep a shooter up and on target, and anything that forces an enemy to be somewhere he didn't want to be or do something he didn't want to do contribute's to the team's ability to control the battle and disrupt the enemy.
But if everything is everything, then there's no point in calling anything anything, because the description is meaningless. If every power is a heal, then calling a power a "heal" is the same as calling a power a "power". It's tautological and meaningless.
Instead, we should describe things properly, not according to what they accomplish, but how they accomplish it.
1: Tanking and Healing powers increase the team's ability to Survive, Do Damage, and Control the Battle by extending the amount of time you can be shot at by any particular enemy or enemies without blowing up
2: DPS powers increase the team's ability to Survive, Do Damage, and Control the Battle by applying direct damage to the enemy or increasing the rate at which you can do so.
3: Debuff powers increase the team's ability to Survive, Do Damage, and Control the Battle by decreasing the effectiveness or availability of the enemy team's powers, shields, weapons, or hull
4: Crowd Control powers increase the team's ability to Survive, Do Damage, and Control the Battle by directly controlling how the enemy team moves or does not move.
There was a time when MW could be cast on other players and it was like a 90% Hull Heal w/ resists(if I recall).
There was a time when an Engineer could tank in PvP but then shield resists took a hard nerf across the board, including RSF. It's still a very usefull ability but would go a much longer way if it were castable on friendly targets.
I was wondering how there could ever be any confusion. Honest. Then I read your post. And my quesion was answered.
Did you just want to use the word "tautalogical"? And what is it you thought he was doing? Being tautalogical or meaningless? It can't be both at the same time. Pick one. And stick with it.
As to your post, you suggest a certain course of action and then just plain don't do it. For example a Debuff. A debuff is applied to your target. By you. Cause you're a meanie ass. That debuff affects your target. Let's say it hold's the target in place. That effect is a crowd control effect.
Buffs and debuffs have definitions. Powers and abilities do as well. They're different and well....you don't have to make em for us. It's been done. It sorta flows like this.