Go Back   Star Trek Online > Feedback > Builds, Powers, and Game Mechanics
Login

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Introduction:

We have all seen that chaining bridge officer abilities within system cooldowns not only causes problems in space PVP, but it also enforces cookie-cutter builds that stack certain abilities.

Why is infinite chaining a problem? The problem is not with duration overlaps, since there will always be some downtime between ability activations while waiting for system cooldowns. The problem is with chaining to the point that, by the time you reach the end of the chain, the long ability cooldown at the beginning of the chain is ready to repeat the chain.

Furthermore, certain infinite chains become more necessary than others, and also necessitate specific counters. Anything not related to those two gameplay mechanics become useless or otherwise trivialised.

This proposal cuts the chain after a certain point.


Here is an example of the existing problem with ability chaining.

T5 cruiser with RSP III, RSP II x2, RSP I x2

1) Pop RSP III. 15 sec up, 5 sec down until system is ready.
2) Pop RSP II. 10 sec up, 10 sec down until system is ready.
3) Pop RSP II. 10 sec up, 10 down until system is ready.
4) Pop RSP I. 5 sec up, 15 sec down until system is ready.
5) Pop RSP I. 5 sec up, 15 sec down until system is ready.

(The order of RSP rank activation doesn't matter for this example.) By the time the 5th is popped, 100 sec total have passed. This is almost enough for the first RSP to be off cooldown (2 min ability cooldown), and certainly enough for it to be off cooldown with Photonic Officer.

You can see how this will be especially problematic for abilities with shorter cooldowns. Emergency Power to Shields, for example, can already be chained infinitely with only 2 copies of it. Specifically, such infinite chaining trivialises subsystem warfare in this example.

An offensive example is Torpedo: High Yield, and infinite chaining of two copies provides indefinite DPS buff. Similarly, Beam Target copies provide indefinite subsystem warfare.


My solution is diminishing returns on ability chaining. The -effectiveness- of chaining should be reduced via diminishing returns (for all powers of the same name, regardless of rank).

('Effectiveness' can mean magnitude, or duration. Feedback appreciated on which is preferred.)

What this mechanism means is, each time you try to use the ability again within a certain timeframe, its effectiveness is reduced beyond the previous reduction, with a hard cap on ineffectiveness until the DR timer ends.

Perhaps the DR timer can be equal to the amount of time left on the latest ability cooldown, and perhaps each new diminishing return will increment a visible DR count, such that once the count reaches a certain number, further use of the ability will be completely ineffective until the DR ends.

The formula I propose is meant to be simple and easy to understand, and completely visible to the player. The basic concept is that each time you use an ability of the same name (regardless of rank), its effectiveness gets cut in half until you are no longer allowed to use it for a set period of time.

===

Example:

Assume I have Emergency Power to Shields III on 3 different officers and am able to use them all. (Not that I would want to, but it's the easiest example.)
  1. Current DR Count: 0
    I activate Emergency Power to Shields III. This places my battery system on 20 sec global cooldown (currently what happens in STO). However, this should also implement, say, a 25 sec diminishing returns timer (the time left on EPtS III). A visible diminishing returns count (on the name 'Emergency Power to Shields') will be incremented to 1.

  2. Current DR Count: 1
    After 20 sec (system GCD finished), I activate EPtS III on another officer. This new usage should only be, say, 50% as effective as the first usage. This will also refresh the DR timer to 25 sec, and increment the DR count to 2.

  3. Current DR Count: 2***
    After 20 sec (system GCD finished), I activate EPtS III. This new usage will be only 50% as effective as the previous usage (i.e., 25% as effective as the first usage overall). This will also refresh the DR timer to 25 sec, and increment the DR count to 3.

  4. Current DR Count: 3
    At this point, no further usage of EPtS will have any effect until the DR count has been allowed to decrement or return to 0. (We have set a game cap on DR counts to 3.)

===

The Problem:

This raises 2 questions:
  • How do we decrement or wipe the DR count?
  • What happens in #3 (DR Count: 2) if we waited 25 sec before hitting EPtS for the third time?

===

Solution:
  • DR Count
    Each time an ability is used, it increments a visible count associated to the -name- of that ability (regardless of ability rank). First usage of the ability sets DR count to 1.

    The game should have a hard cap on DR count of 3, so no further increments (and therefore no further usage of that ability name) will be possible until the count is decremented.


  • DR Timer
    The timer on diminishing returns is the amount of uninterrupted cooldown time needed before the DR count is decremented. DR timer is calculated by

    [ICD - GCD] (i.e., ability internal cooldown - system global cooldown).


  • Decrementing DR Count
    Decrementing a DR count by 1 requires no use of that ability regardless of rank (e.g., Emergency Power to Shields I, II, or III) for the duration of

    [DR timer]


  • Wiping DR Count
    Wiping a DR count (returning it to 0) requires no use of that ability regardless of rank (e.g., Emergency Power to Shields I, II, or III) for the duration of

    [count * DR timer]

    Disengaging from combat altogether will also wipe the DR count. (by Haughtydonkey)


  • Current Ability Effectiveness
    Effectiveness of current ability usage is

    [1 / (count + 1)]

    We can define effectiveness as either magnitude (strength of the ability), or duration (how long the ability lasts while activated). I am open to suggestions of which would be more balanced.


So with a DR count of 3, current effectiveness is 25% of normal, and we will need to wait 75 sec (and not use EPtS at all during that time) before we can use EPtS with a full 100% effectiveness. Otherwise, we can wait 25 or 50 sec and use it again with diminished effectiveness. Or, we disengage from combat to wipe all DR counts.

In Star Trek terms, we can consider DR count increments as overloading the system.

All timers and counts should be visible so the player sees what is going on.

===

A Clearer Example (Reverse Shield Polarity):

1) Pop RSP the first time, works as usual.
2) Wait 20 sec (system cooldown), pop RSP a second time. This one is only 50% effectiveness.
3) Wait 20 sec (system cooldown), pop RSP a third time. This one is only 25% effectiveness.
4) Game locks you out of popping RSP again until either:

a. Wait 1min 40 sec (that's RSP cooldown minus system cooldown), to be able to pop RSP at 25% effectiveness.
OR
b. Wait 3min 20 sec (that's RSP cooldown minus system cooldown), to be able to pop RSP at 50% effectiveness.
OR
c. Wait 5min (that's the above multiplied by 3, the number of times it was chained) to be able to pop RSP at full effectiveness.
OR
d. Disengage from combat.

The question to you is, should 'effectiveness' mean magnitude (strength of the ability), or duration (how long the ability lasts)?

===

Summary:

The proposed formula above lets the player chain an ability of the same name (regardless of rank) up to 3 times before being unable to use it at all (for a set period of time). Furthermore, each time it is chained, its effectiveness is cut in half.

I don't want to see any global cooldowns beyond system cooldowns, because I think the option to chain should still be present. But stacking diminishing returns (on abilities of the same name, regardless of rank) will encourage players to think more strategically about what abilities they slot and when to use certain abilities.

===

Disclaimer:

It is true that infinite chaining becomes a cookie-cutter problem only if certain abilities lend themselves to cookie-cutter gameplay. Suffice it to say, I was under the impression that cookie-cutter was actively being discouraged and avoided in STO. If this is the intention, then discouraging infinite chaining is one method, but of course not the only method.

The reason why I would attack infinite chaining rather than the specific abilities is because I prefer a more heuristic, global approach to balance and gameplay mechanics. This minimises the amount of tweaking that would be needed on a low level with specific abilities, which in itself requires much data collection and testing in order to accomplish, far more than if a global approach were undertaken.

===

Feedback appreciated.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
02-21-2010, 03:15 PM
Thanks for posting this continuation of the discussion Matt.

:-)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-22-2010, 02:08 AM
Cleaned up the formatting and added some non-mathematical elaboration to make it clearer.

Any and all feedback is appreciated. Please do post if you agree (or disagree) that chaining/stacking abilities should incur diminishing returns.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
02-22-2010, 03:48 AM
no offense but most likely if the devs listen theyll just make them share the same timer, which would be too bad, cause that will make everyone's option that much more cookie cutter....
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-24-2010, 01:06 PM
Edited to make it clear that all timers and counts should be visible to the player, for convenience.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-25-2010, 08:32 AM
Edited to define effectiveness to mean either magnitude or duration. The system can work with either definition, but requires feedback from players on which is a better balance.

In other words, should there be diminished returns on the strength of an ability, or how long it lasts?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
02-25-2010, 09:04 AM
I'd rather see a limit on one rank of skill per bridge officer and even ship. It would force me to come up with a way to get the best of both worlds plus it would help drive the market if they allowed us to train rank 3 skills to bo's then sell them or trade them.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
02-25-2010, 10:31 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baconnaise
I'd rather see a limit on one rank of skill per bridge officer and even ship. It would force me to come up with a way to get the best of both worlds plus it would help drive the market if they allowed us to train rank 3 skills to bo's then sell them or trade them.
The problem is that this still does not address infinite chaining of abilities with short cooldowns. EPtS is merely one example, as it does not take into account, for example, HYT or RFC. Nor does a global cooldown prevent chaining issues with BoPs, for example. And this does not even take into account abilities that have not yet been implemented, should we be getting any more in the future.

Thanks for the feedback though, disagreements are fruitful.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
02-25-2010, 12:07 PM
Having a DR count that's pushed up to 3 and requiring over 5 minutes to fully eliminate seems rather severe for downtime in between fights. I'd suggest that upon getting out of combat, DR timer be immediately reduced to X seconds if greater, and that any decrement of DR count will set it to zero regardless of how high DR count is.

Also, while I'm not one to be talking about PvP in STO, as a general rule, if side A manages to repel an attack from side B that requires significant expenditure of side B's resources, then most games would dictate that momentum will swing over to side A's favor.

With DRs in place as outlined in the OP, however, I fear that should both sides run a DR count to 2 or 3, the concept of "momentum" may become so bogged down that the match would amount to a boxing match where both fighters are so exhausted that each is nearly just waiting for the other to fall over.

I'm not against the possibility of slower, more methodical matches. If the outcome of just whose DR's will clear up first could be brought into doubt (The captain on each ship is screaming at their engineer to "get those warp field transducers back online") then there could be some excitement in this type of match... but if not then being forced to play it out with no option for the inevitable loser to resign would be a chore.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
02-25-2010, 12:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haughtydonkey
Having a DR count that's pushed up to 3 and requiring over 5 minutes to fully eliminate seems rather severe for downtime in between fights. I'd suggest that upon getting out of combat, DR timer be immediately reduced to X seconds if greater, and that any decrement of DR count will set it to zero regardless of how high DR count is.
Well, the amount of time to clear depends on the cooldown anyway. But I do like your idea of disengaging from combat to clear the DR count.

I have included it in the post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haughtydonkey
I'm not against the possibility of slower, more methodical matches. If the outcome of just whose DR's will clear up first could be brought into doubt (The captain on each ship is screaming at their engineer to "get those warp field transducers back online") then there could be some excitement in this type of match... but if not then being forced to play it out with no option for the inevitable loser to resign would be a chore.
The problem at the moment is that PVP ends up too long -- the opposite effect of what you suggest -- when some builds exploit the stacking/chaining as currently allowed by the game. Conversely, matches end as quickly as they start when one build that does not stack/chain comes against a build that does stack/chain. Invariably, the non-stacker gets destroyed within 5 seconds of alpha strike.

It is my hope that this solution normalises the stackers with the non-stackers. So it doesn't eliminate stacking, but it does make it more difficult.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:33 AM.