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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 11
03-16-2010, 11:49 AM
How much would changing rank III abilities to be the same tier as their rank II help?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
03-16-2010, 02:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaffis View Post
How much would changing rank III abilities to be the same tier as their rank II help?
I'm not sure I follow. Can you please elaborate, perhaps with an example?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 13
03-18-2010, 12:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_Dravis
I'm not sure I follow. Can you please elaborate, perhaps with an example?
Okay. I'll use RSP since it seems to be a big offender when it comes to breaking balance when overly chained.

Right now, you can have two engineering officers with RSP if you're a cruiser. At T5, that's one officer with ensign through commander slots available at his station, and one officer with ensign through lieutenant commander at his station.

RSP I is a lieutenant ability. RSP II is a lieutenant commander ability. RSP III, if you can train it or find an officer with it, is a commander ability.

Thus, you can have two officers with RSP I, two officers with RSP II, and one officer with RSP III, for a total of 5 independently cooling down RSP's, with only the shield-system cooldown forcing a 20 second spacing between activations. You can have RSP up for a minute and forty seconds, with only 5-second windows where your shields are vulnerable.

If, on the other hand, when you found or trained RSP III, it was the same rank ability as RSP II (lieutenant commander), you couldn't have 5, but could only have 4, because RSP II and RSP III couldn't co-exist on the same officer.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 14
03-18-2010, 12:47 PM
Not add insult to injury but

Photonic Officer to lower the cool down of your RSP Chain-o-Rama and you have almost a loop.

Though the OP pretty much covered all this.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 15
03-18-2010, 01:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaffis View Post
Okay. I'll use RSP since it seems to be a big offender when it comes to breaking balance when overly chained.

Right now, you can have two engineering officers with RSP if you're a cruiser. At T5, that's one officer with ensign through commander slots available at his station, and one officer with ensign through lieutenant commander at his station.

RSP I is a lieutenant ability. RSP II is a lieutenant commander ability. RSP III, if you can train it or find an officer with it, is a commander ability.

Thus, you can have two officers with RSP I, two officers with RSP II, and one officer with RSP III, for a total of 5 independently cooling down RSP's, with only the shield-system cooldown forcing a 20 second spacing between activations. You can have RSP up for a minute and forty seconds, with only 5-second windows where your shields are vulnerable.

If, on the other hand, when you found or trained RSP III, it was the same rank ability as RSP II (lieutenant commander), you couldn't have 5, but could only have 4, because RSP II and RSP III couldn't co-exist on the same officer.
As the post above explained, you could still infinitely chain this (or any combination of 3x an ability) with Photonic Officer.

Furthermore, there is nothing stopping anyone at present from infinitely chaining 2x short-cooldown abilities (e.g., EPtS, ET, etc.).

My proposed solution for diminishing returns not only cuts effectiveness (magnitude or duration) with each new addition to the chain, but it also imposes a hard cap (or end) on the chain.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
03-27-2010, 03:18 PM
You mentioned in a related discussion that you thought this system should apply to buffs/debuffs as well as ability activated by the player. I thought about that for a bit, and in my mind, there are some serious complications that emerge.

One that applies to both abilities and buffs/debuffs is the good old offense vs. defense issue, in two flavors. Most of the examples listed above concern abilities that are defensive in nature, and have easily visible paths of "diminuation". What happens, however, when somebody stacks multiple ranks of HYT or RF?

First of all, the concept of what half of HYT is is somewhat fuzzy in the first place. Do you now have... one and a half torpedoes? Awkward half-torps aside, there's another issue: this system heavily favors front-loading everything. If you DO bring mutliple ranks of an ability - which is a possibility, since Ensign BOFF slots tend to be overabundant, and higher-rank ones scarce - you'll always use the highest-ranked one first. This is so that IF you are in fact forced to use the second copy under DR, the crappy version will suffer the DR, and not the good one.

One consequence of this, however, is that both offensive and defensive power curves are going to follow a distinct spike-then-decline pattern over the course of a fight. This actually makes combat significantly LESS even and MORE spiky than a flat-effect model. Consider the simple example of a 2v2 ship engagement. If one person on Blue team pops all their offensive cooldowns early, they'll be in an excellent position to force defensive CDs on a Red target - if they throw enough damage at somebody to force an RSP, for instance, they immediately switch to the next Red target, and force defensive CDs there as well.

The net result is that both Red ships have blown their first-tier defensive abilities, and only one of the two Blue ships has used its offensive CDs. The second Blue ship can now use his offensive cooldowns, and both Red targets will be stuck having to try to cope using not just second-rate skills, but HALF-POWERED second-rate skills.

The source of the problem is a simple truism in offense vs. defense situations: good defense is always wasteful - a smart attacker will immediately switch targets. You can compensate for this normally by bringing more defensive skills... but a DR system would inherently inhibit the ability to do so.

This later-use-suffers phenomenon is even more pronounced when you try to apply the system to buffs and debuffs, which you have MUCH less control over. Lockout/DR on abilities is simpler because there's a definite order of application. Lockout/DR on buffs and debuffs is a crap shoot.

What happens if somebody on your team hits a guy with Beam Target Shields I from his sci ship, and then you land BTS III? Your much better ability is going to suffer a really bad DR, potentially resulting in a situation where you would have been better off if your teammate hadn't used the I version at all! Similarly, people throwing around Eng Team I heals are going to severely **** off their Eng III teammates, so should they just not heal?

So, a quick summary of points that would need to be addressed by a DR-based anti-chaining system:
  • How do you avoid shifting the balance of power toward offensive abilities by nature of diminshing returns on more-frequently-used defensive abilities?
  • When applying the system to buffs/debuffs, how do you keep non-supermaxed versions from being liabilities to the team?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
03-27-2010, 03:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgecase View Post
What happens, however, when somebody stacks multiple ranks of HYT or RF?
Well, I would suggest 'effectiveness' be defined as magnitude, at least in these cases. Duration can still be used, but that would really only affect ships that are slower to bear on target.

Regarding High Yield...

If you look closely at what High Yield does, it lowers the base damage tooltip of the weapon launcher but increases the DPS tooltip, to reflect the increased volley quantity. In real game terms (as evidenced by CombatLog), it doesn't actually increase the number of projectiles, since that is merely a graphical effect. It simply increases the overall damage output of the projectile hit.

If diminishing returns were to be applied to the magnitude of High Yield, there wouldn't necessarily need to be any change to the graphical effects, but that could be a possibility.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgecase View Post
If you DO bring mutliple ranks of an ability - which is a possibility, since Ensign BOFF slots tend to be overabundant, and higher-rank ones scarce - you'll always use the highest-ranked one first. This is so that IF you are in fact forced to use the second copy under DR, the crappy version will suffer the DR, and not the good one.
That really depends on the situation. Against tough (high EHP, high regen) opponents that require sustained DPS above burst DPS -- think PVE more than PVP at the moment -- diminishing the higher rank to match the full-strength lower rank might yield better DPS overall than full-strength higher rank with diminished lower ranks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgecase View Post
One consequence of this, however, is that both offensive and defensive power curves are going to follow a distinct spike-then-decline pattern over the course of a fight. This actually makes combat significantly LESS even and MORE spiky than a flat-effect model.
[...]
So, a quick summary of points that would need to be addressed by a DR-based anti-chaining system:
  • How do you avoid shifting the balance of power toward offensive abilities by nature of diminshing returns on more-frequently-used defensive abilities?
  • When applying the system to buffs/debuffs, how do you keep non-supermaxed versions from being liabilities to the team?
Regarding offensive vs. defensive...

Spike-then-decline gameplay is a symptom of the current system. If this proposed system is implemented, we will see more careful conservation of abilities.

It should also be noted that this system does not solve the DPS:EHP scaling issues that the game currently suffers. It is not intended to solve that issue, but it is intended to facilitate scaling since it enforces greater reliance upon non-ability mechanics (i.e., equipment, positioning, stats). Or, more accurately, it lowers dependency upon abilities.

Regarding buffs/debuffs...

Do you mean buffs/debuffs stacked on target? I did not specifically mention that in this thread yet. If you mean how this will affect buff/debuff abilities, again, that will be up to the players to formulate more conservative strategies and tactics, and rely more on coordinated buffs/debuffs between team members.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 18
03-27-2010, 04:28 PM
So if I choose to use extend shields I, II and III, it's called ability chaining?
If I have 3 slots "wasted" for one ability type, isn't that my problem? I can't use anything else.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 19
03-27-2010, 04:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6_of_10 View Post
So if I choose to use extend shields I, II and III, it's called ability chaining?
If I have 3 slots "wasted" for one ability type, isn't that my problem? I can't use anything else.
It's called ability chaining if you can use a single ability (regardless of rank) exclusively and infinitely.

The problem is exacerbated with abilities that have shorter cooldowns, because infinite chaining in those cases can be accomplished with fewer copies. In other words, it means you -can- use other things while also chaining these.

The problem is that this creates cookie-cutter gameplay, as described briefly in the original post. Certain infinite chains become more important than others, which trivialises everything that does not either facilitate or counter them.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 20
03-27-2010, 04:45 PM
If I could log on to the game I'd double check the duration and cd on extend shields. I think it's about 30 seconds duration and cd.
It's not an op ability. I can't think of any ability that cannot be countered by another ability or even weapon.
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