I just played through the new fed and kdf tutorials - (very enjoyable btw - I'd love to see more of that quality of voice overs in future missions).
Something that really stood out to me was the space combat. Obviously it was very easy, but it was also very cool.
It was cool because my ships weren't spewing out so much light that I could no longer see the ship itself. Instead, when the weapons fired, it actually seemed to mean something and there were perceptible results from each hit. It was far more satisfying than what I'm used to at "tier 5," and in my opinion that is more like how Star Trek space combat should feel.
In STO, some of that feel gets lost at the higher levels because the ships have so many weapons and the weapons are literally all firing constantly. Pretty much everyone does this because the game mechanics tell us to: that's how the maximize dps. The weapon energy drain mechanics are too weak to really discourage that approach: all they really do is make it necessary to dump as much power as possible into weapons in order to keep firing (which is not a very interesting choice to make in terms of gameplay).
Energy weapon spam is uninteresting in terms of creating builds and is visually unappealing in combat. I'd even say that it takes some of t he the drama out of the fight, which sounds kind of nerdy but perhaps you know what I mean.
Personally, I'd like the game to provide a way to do competitive DPS - aka "viable" - with fewer (but more powerful) shots.
It could be done (in part) by changing how the weapon power level works, but I'll not get in to details. Right now I just wanted to put this out there.
however balancing energy weapons is something that'd really tick off people, especially those people who only seem to play to set the next big record for DPS.
that said, i can think of a few ways to deal with this. the first way that comes to mind is an advancement of what we already have, but actually forces people to use their power levels tactically in combat, as opposed to setting them once and forgetting.
for example, people could slot several cannons, but firing all of them would completely drain their weapons power and make the weapons fizzle out (anyone remember the hand phaser from elite force? if you hold the fire button for too long and exhaust the energy? yeah.)
now in classic star trek fashion, we can divert power to weapons, but where's that power coming from? take power from engines and you'll be going at a crawl. take power from shield and your shield system will go offline. take power from auxiliary (which might as well be called "everything else") and your crew might start dieing from the fact that you just took power from life support. oh, and forcefields are offline. as well as maybe inertial dampeners. sooo prepare to go flying next time you get hit.
with full power to weapons however, your cannons will be a blast! (literally) buuut, you're shields will be paper, your engines will be offline, and your crew is slowly suffocating. BUT WORTH IT!!!
this would also balance cruisers to escorts a bit more as well. cruisers would have amazing shields with full power, and using one or two beams wouldnt completely drain their weapons either. and they dont exactly need to go incredibly fast anyway.
before they do any change like this though, they'd need to redo the power tray. currently it wouldnt be very good for this. maybe a circle where you place the dot where you want power to focus between 5 points. but i doubt they'd do this, especially with how much it'd likely annoy alot of the players.
I remembered something from when I first thought of the idea (a few months ago):
The original "problem" I had in mind was that because of the way energy weapon damage scales with weapon power level, you are forced to keep weapon power at 100% even if you're only using a very small number of energy weapons. Otherwise, the the single weapon will do practically nothing.
In other words, if I wanted to run a tier 5 cruiser with 1 energy weapon, I should be able to run with an extremely low "weapon power level" and still get full strength out of that 1 energy weapon. Presently, that is not the case: that 1 weapon will be basically useless unless I allocate fully a quarter of my ship's huge reactor to power it, which is exactly the same amount of power it would take to power a full loadout of eight such energy weapons. Derp?
There are a lot of ways that the mechanics could be changed to eliminate this silliness. Here is a short description of one such option:
- Rather than weapon power level being directly used to calculate weapon damage, it instead represents the amount of power throughput that is devoted to charging all of your energy weapons. For the purpose of this explanation, let's say that a current power level of 100 means that 100 units of power are going toward charging your weapons per second.
- Each weapon is able to hold a certain amount of power. For example, let's say that a normal Beam Array holds 100 units of power. When a weapon fires, some or all of the power is expended (I assume it would be easiest to just take all of the power at the start of a volley, but it really depends on how the data/api is structured - you could go with a certain amount "per shot" if the structures allow it).
- Each second, the current weapon power is divided evenly among each weapon that is not fully charged. Thus, if you have a single beam weapon which is at zero charge, and you have a current weapon power level of 25, it will take exactly 4 seconds to fully charge that weapon. Weapons which already possess a full charge are ignored. Therefore, if you have a lot of weapons firing at once, you're gonna need a lot of power to keep them fully charged, but if you have only a few weapons, you don't need much power.
That is the basis of it. There are several additional details to work out. Such as:
- Are there still cooldowns?
- Can a weapon fire with partial power (at the cost of lower damage)?
- How does Autofire work? (relates to the previous two items)
I know what I would do for these, but I could see it going several ways. These decisions would have to be made in a way which supports creating mechanics for weapon powers such as "fire at will" and "overload." After thinking through it, I suspect these (hypothetical) mechanics would support more interesting versions of those abilities compared to their current counterparts.
Here are some examples of how those choices might go and how they would impact mechanics:
- Are there still cooldowns? -- I suggest yes, because this would limit the "OP-ness" of using a single rapid-charging weapon. It would also create an opportunity for "rapid fire" or "fire at will" mechanics to temporarily reduce the cooldown of a weapon, meaning that rapid fire can greatly increase your damage output IF you can funnel enough power to keep the weapon charged as fast as it is firing. Makes sense.
- Can a weapon fire with partial power (at the cost of lower damage)? -- I suggest yes: the damage of a shot/volley could scale with the charge level. Thus, an "overload" ability could temporarily allow the weapon to exceed its maximum charge. For example: if it fires with 150% power, it deals 150% damage. Also makes sense.
- How does Autofire work? (relates to the previous two items) -- If there is a cooldown and if a weapon is allowed to fire while not yet charged, Autofire can work the same as it does now (just fire when the cooldown is up: if it's not fully charged, it'll just do less damage). Optionally, there could be a way for the player to specify the minimum charge level at which to fire: in the case that you're running low weapon power you might want to keep firing weaker shots more quickly, or you might prefer to wait for the bigger hits. Again, that's optional.
Anyway that's way more than I intended to write about this. Suffice it to say that personally I think the current mechanics in this area are dumb - partly because they hamstring choice in builds (anything but full energy weapon spam = clearly sub-optimal, also almost obligatory 100% weapon power level). I feel that there is room for improvement in this area, and that such change would have a positive impact on the game.
Now for a raffle/poll: how many people at cryptic will read this? Put your answer in the hat - winner gets a high five.
I agree that the combat feels a lot better at lower levels than tier 5. I kind of wish we could choose to play PVEs at lower levels with tier and mk restrictions in place. Don't know how popular that'd be, but I'd take advantage of it and it'd give us a good reason to hold onto old ships and gear. At the very least, let us cap our level on new characters.
Originally Posted by burstorion
Faw, ect/different weapon type/different beam 'flavours' - the normal multi-beam mayhem we currently see
standard fire - visually a single beam - however behind the scenes/on the floating numbers the game calculates it as normal (argued as all the beam array emmiters are converging)
In effect its just a visual change with no game effect - so nothing to buff/nerf (heck, make it a toggle option on graphics)
I like this idea too. I suspect a lot of people probably like the current noisy/spammy visuals, though.
If the objection is to the graphics, they could be changed. The graphics do not seem to line up with the actual shots anyway.... so reduction of shots would be more trek-like and less star-wars like, graphically. The actual mechanics don't have to change, just dither the number of shots to 1/2 or 1/3 in the drawing engine.