How many times have we had someone say on the shows/films, "Attack pattern Kirk Delta" or "Riker Theta"? What I'm asking for is for the ability to do planned macros (within limit, by number of 'objects').
What would be in these macros?
Look at the above links for examples. The macros would have very simple rules:
They could only execute in-game commands (weapon, helm, shield control, targetting).
They could do ship movements/turns (including throttle).
They could adjust power levels.
You can do timed events.
Once a player hits "Go" on one of these macros, it will run to completion and the player cannot interrupt it. It's the equivalent of the ship captain locking it into the computer, or giving his crew the order to commit to it. You essentially lose ship control for the duration of your 'run'.
First sample macro:
Target nearest hostile.
Full speed engines 100% for 10 seconds.
Fire all weapons.
In this example, your ship is stationary at the beginning. Once you activate it, this would happen, keeping in mind you can do these things manually by hand now at the same time, as fast as you can click:
If an enemy is nearby, you will target the nearest one.
Your engine will throttle up to maximum and then hold for 10 seconds at that
level and go straight ahead unless you intervene to steer manually.
If there is a locked target in range, you'll fire every available weapon once as if you hit the command to fire all weapons as soon as you have targeted, while still ramping up engines.
That's really it; that's the whole mechanic in a nutshell.
A more complex example:
Max power to weapons.
Wait 10 seconds (for your power to readjust).
Full speed for 12 seconds (12 timer starts once they ramp to 100%, which as normal in-game takes a couple seconds).
Active phaser Overload power.
Fire all weapons.
Bank left + up for 8 seconds.
Align so my right side dips down.
Reinforce right shields.
Activate Fire At Will.
Fire All Weapons.
In theory, if you're facing something straight up, visualize the movements you're ship will do here in this attack plan. You'll (possibly) reinforce your shields in response to inbound attacks, and be at the end banking around them for a full broadside attack. Once you've initiated this, you can't abort--the course is locked in. The advantage is, if you're crafted up a particularly clever little "Picard Maneuver" of you're own, and the situation is right, you can use to great effect--assuming your foe doesn't have their own matching trick.
Every single thing there you can do with 15 clicks, in about 15-16 seconds if you're fast. But-- you can interrupt and change tactics. I can draw up an ingenious 30, 40 second attack sequence that will shred a foe once I click "Go", but if I guessed wrong, or he's a clever player, or I screwed up and it's an NPC, I could:
A) Drift into a second group, drawing fatal aggro.
B) Look totally stupid and useless as nothing worthwhile happens.
But, this could open up a whole new level of strategy in the game long-term, similar to how there are famous chess, naval, aeronautical, and military strategies.
Thoughts? The big thing for game balance is once you commit and activate one, it's going the duration.
I like this idea myself as well. It would be great to control the ships the same way they are controlled in the shows/movies, rather than spamming the space bar and waiting for shields to drain. The attack patterns built into the game are good as abilities but aren't real patterns. Limitations are needed though, don't want escorts rooting, swining about behind and then tachyon + rapid firing the shields away for an instant win, but I think at least being able to bind a macro to pop a buff and fire a weapon would be great. Just nothing totally complex, Science Vessels would be fully automated then.
Limitations are needed though, don't want escorts rooting, swining about behind and then tachyon + rapid firing the shields away for an instant win, but I think at least being able to bind a macro to pop a buff and fire a weapon would be great. Just nothing totally complex, Science Vessels would be fully automated then.
It would require testing to be sure, to make sure it's hard to abuse, but anyone doing such a thing to be useful/exploitable would really require the inclusion of maneuvers as in moving your ship. Done at the wrong time = insta popped ship, since you're locked into the attack plan. It could be auto-balancing because of that fact.