Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 21
03-18-2010, 06:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
Look, 5km is half the effective range of weapons. It's a good distance. You don't have to be right up your buddy's tailpipe to use your support abilities on him. The ball maneuver refers to ships grouped up in an extremely tight clump, which ONLY happens before the shooting starts or after every enemy is dead or fled. I don't honestly understand why you're trying to come up with ways to make teamwork harder in a team game.
5km is not half the effective range of weapons. 5km is within optimal firing range of all weapons, most especially cannons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
It's not, and cloak doesn't work that way. Cloak is a positioning tool, nothing more. Its purpose is to grant the initiative to the Klingons, and the purpose of the ball is to voluntarily cede that initiative in order to maximize your team's ability to focus fire targets as soon as they decloak and to support one another.
[...]
Cloak means that we are guaranteed to get the first shot, barring some really terrible play. Feds have no choice but to acknowledge that combat happens when and where Klingons choose, and the only way to deal with that is to ensure as best you can that ALL of your allies will be able to fire on any ship that attacks any of them. That is literally the only way to even the playing field. Any other strategy means that the Klingons can, and will, pick off peripheral targets and run before you can respond.
Once again, if Klingons want to survive, just like Federation players, they fall back to their own ball. (Again, after recovery, which involves evasion.) With or without cloak. The ball is ubiquitous, it isn't created by cloak. It is created by the 5km range of support abilities.

This seems to be a case of different player experiences. In most of my experiences, we maintain the ball -- and often times, good enemy teams do the same while engaged with us -- throughout combat.

I can see why changing ranges of support abilities might make combat more complex for players, but it doesn't deter teamwork. If anything, it encourages teamwork based on formations, and gives combat a more naval feel. Furthermore, it gives protection to the peripheral targets so that long-range detection becomes more feasible.

===

Currently, with a 5km ball (or less, as you claim is the definition of a ball), you get a random pattern something like this:


0..0....................0........................0 ...0
..0........or........0.0.0........or........0..... .0
0..0....................0......................... .0


0 = any ship
This pattern is replicated with scales above 5v5.

As you can see, science vessels have no choice but to stay grouped, so they cannot act as long-range or even medium-range scouts.

===

With different ranges as I suggest, we would still get the above formations in 5v5 but spaced out much more. The real pay-off is when we have engagements larger than 5v5. We could get the following 10v10 formations (as just a few examples, of many permutations), which would be almost as protected as the above balls, yet much more dynamic:


...........S............S


.................C
E...........E.......E............E
.................C


...........S............S


or


S................................................. ..S

............E............................E


......................C......C


............E............................E

S................................................. ..S


or


..................C.C


S..........E...E...E...E..........S


..................C.C


S = science vessel, battle cruiser, bird-of-prey
C = cruiser, battle cruiser, carrier
E = escort, raptor, bird-of-prey
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 22
03-18-2010, 06:45 PM
Ok, fail attempt at ASCII. Give me a little while to illustrate the formations better.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 23
03-18-2010, 07:13 PM
Better ASCII. I'll probably improve upon it and add more possible formations over time.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 24
03-18-2010, 08:04 PM
I know what you're getting at, and I sort of agree that more interesting formations would be, well, more interesting. The problem is, I don't think the analogy to naval combat makes any sense because we're talking about a (relatively) 3 dimensional space.

The concept of pickets evolved in naval combat primarily due to the need to protect [tankers, merchant vessels, valuable capital ships like carriers] from submarines and aircraft which could easily pick and choose their target even in the midst of other enemy ships. The only reasonable way to protect a naval ship from an airstrike (aside from having air cover of your own) is to station well armed combat vessels dozens or hundreds of miles from the main battle group such that enemy combatants have to go past them before they are in striking range.

The analogy doesn't transfer over to space combat, or STO, for a bunch of different reasons:

1. This is (relatively) in 3 dimensions instead of two, in a tiny combat area by any real world measure. The difference between engaging a ship at 10km and engaging his friend 5km away is bare seconds only.

2. There is no way to physically block a ship from getting past you.

3. In real world warfare, the pickets are always vulnerable. In general, they aren't targets of opportunity because they're well armed, generally smallish vessels which aren't carrying supplies or major war assets/. Sinking a destroyer won't cripple a fleet, but it will pinpoint the location of your sub or exhaust the ordnance of your bombers, which still serves the picket's purpose of protecting the main part of the fleet.

Again, this doesn't translate over. No ship in PvP, with the possible exception of a Carrier, is worth protecting more than any other. There's no intrinsic pecking order of targets. Furthermore, since killing one ship (in an arena, say) is just as valuable as killing any other, there's no reason NOT to engage the pickets as soon as you have the opportunity.

I don't think formations in the classical sense have any value whatsoever in STO combat.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 25
03-18-2010, 08:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
1. This is (relatively) in 3 dimensions instead of two, in a tiny combat area by any real world measure. The difference between engaging a ship at 10km and engaging his friend 5km away is bare seconds only.

2. There is no way to physically block a ship from getting past you.
Tractor Beam, Tractor Repel, Photonic Shockwave, Eject Warp Plasma, Gravity Well. Tyken's Rift + subsystem warfare to disable engines.

As you can see, by opening up the formations it actually makes AOE -- particularly movement-impairing effects -- more useful (or at least more necessary).
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
3. In real world warfare, the pickets are always vulnerable. In general, they aren't targets of opportunity because they're well armed, generally smallish vessels which aren't carrying supplies or major war assets/. Sinking a destroyer won't cripple a fleet, but it will pinpoint the location of your sub or exhaust the ordnance of your bombers, which still serves the picket's purpose of protecting the main part of the fleet.
Science vessels, escorts, birds-of-prey. The difference is that, in STO, they -can- have protection due to the proposed changes in support ranges. Plus, faster ships from the middle line can easily zoom up and provide support to the picket.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
No ship in PvP, with the possible exception of a Carrier, is worth protecting more than any other. There's no intrinsic pecking order of targets. Furthermore, since killing one ship (in an arena, say) is just as valuable as killing any other, there's no reason NOT to engage the pickets as soon as you have the opportunity.
We are now seeing PVE content where there -is- a pecking order. And we will continue to see this as more content is added, especially with the coming difficulty slider.

In PVP, there is always a pecking order, but that order is far more dynamic and variable than in PVE. For example, the dedicated support ships (e.g., science vessels in my groups, sometimes cruisers) are most often our priority for protection. If we encounter a group that makes heavy use of Extend Shields (for example), our priority targets become the Extend Shields sources, which are often the shield-power + Photonic Officer boats (i.e., science vessels, carriers, cruisers).

Also consider that the picket lines provide excellent bait, since they can be supported more easily with increased support range. At the moment with 5km ranges, baiting is far riskier and less profitable.

===

Remember that this proposal is equally applicable to both PVE and PVP.

The key is to introduce variety, instead of unnecessarily constraining players. It is not about set formations, but about more possibilities than simply the ball. With the speed of ships, it means formations will be fluid and dynamic.

With this variety comes more thought. With greater ranges and more spread formations possible (due to higher ranges for some support abilities), comes more reaction time.

This is one step toward creating that 'tall ships' feel.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 26
03-18-2010, 09:09 PM
Quote:
The key is to introduce variety, instead of unnecessarily constraining players.
I would call implementing new restrictions on where and how support abilities can be used an unnecessary constraint.

If you want to give ships the ability to spread out, you have to do something about the fact that the primary contributor to victory in space combat is not the use of support abilities, but the precision of focused fire. Players are pretty good at clicking their buttons, even if they don't always necessarily choose the best moment or target to use them. What they're less good at, especially in pugs where coordination is poor, is concentrating their fire on specific single targets. Consider that, all else being equal, your opponents are also going to use their support abilities as best they can. The major determinant then becomes proximity to your allies, which is really about how many friendly ships can shoot at a single target at once.

Individual ships on the fringe of the fleet are definitely bait, but in practice you have to assume that the enemy is as coordinated as you are. If so, then bait or not they're the first targets and, since they're out of the most effective range of support abilities under your model, their teammates will not be in a good position to support them. A lone ship against a fleet lasts for less than 5 seconds.

The Klingons will ALWAYS focus one target with their entire fleet. That's what cloak lets them do, and that's why they tend to win more than the Feds. The only viable counter to this, short of being way better than the Klingons, is to be so close to whatever target they choose that YOUR whole fleet can properly focus fire as well. If you don't do this, then the opening engagement is always the same; their whole fleet alphas a single target, and something less than your whole fleet responds. The more spread out you are, the worse it gets. Even allowing for the fact that travel in STO is fast, going to full impulse removes your ship as a threat for about 5 seconds minimum, and closer to 10 in practice.

In some of your formations above, I can attack one side and the ship(s) on the opposite side of the formation are likely to be 12-15 km from myself and my allies. Even when your 'core' responds, I still have more ships working together than you do for at least 5-10 seconds, which is more than enough time to destroy at least one ship and build a decisive advantage.

Quote:
Tractor Beam, Tractor Repel, Photonic Shockwave, Eject Warp Plasma, Gravity Well. Tyken's Rift + subsystem warfare to disable engines.
None of these except for TS:Engines have a practical range of more than a couple of km and none of them do anything at all against cloak. When's the last time that anyone but a science captain used TS:Engines, anyway?

As for PvE, until they implement something where the enemies actually attack you and behave intelligently (as opposed to sitting around indefinitely in discrete groups waiting to be attacked) formations and battle tactics other than the appropriate use of abilities will be totally pointless.

Finally, and all else aside, I do agree with one point. Support abilities need a longer range. Not a minimum range, for I believe strongly that penalizing players for grouping up is a TERRIBLE design decision, but a greater maximum range such that spreading out becomes at least possible instead of simply suicidal, and so that ships entering the fight can support their allies more quickly as they approach.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 27
03-20-2010, 12:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
The Klingons will ALWAYS focus one target with their entire fleet. That's what cloak lets them do, and that's why they tend to win more than the Feds. The only viable counter to this, short of being way better than the Klingons, is to be so close to whatever target they choose that YOUR whole fleet can properly focus fire as well.
If there are both min and max ranges for different support abilities, then proximity is no longer a necessity for countering focus fire. In fact, it means that proximity is inherently bad for countering focus fire, which means gravity well is even more needed (especially if it gets buffed).

Furthermore, there are some formations that can be built around scouting (long-range detection) + offensive focus fire for cloak-incapable ships, which would not otherwise be possible with the current 5km ranges.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
In some of your formations above, I can attack one side and the ship(s) on the opposite side of the formation are likely to be 12-15 km from myself and my allies.
Some of those formations are designed for PVE. If you wish, I can post more formations. The fundamental principle here is that many different formations are -possible-, and some are certainly more feasible than the ball, but only if the ranges of support abilities are changed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
None of these except for TS:Engines have a practical range of more than a couple of km and none of them do anything at all against cloak. When's the last time that anyone but a science captain used TS:Engines, anyway?
Play on Tribble. You're about to see subsystem warfare vs. engines become a whole lot more popular, now that speed is directly related to Defense rating (which is directly related to crit chance and severity).

Regarding ranges, there is no doubt that ranges need to be reviewed across the board, especially for AOE.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
As for PvE, until they implement something where the enemies actually attack you and behave intelligently (as opposed to sitting around indefinitely in discrete groups waiting to be attacked) formations and battle tactics other than the appropriate use of abilities will be totally pointless.
STFs. Upcoming difficulty slider. New content.

I'm not saying I disagree with your assessment of 90%+ of current PVE content, but I am saying that I have seen PVE content where this type of gameplay is already possible and efficient, and I can see more content coming that will capitalise on this. Changing the ranges of support abilities helps facilitate this even more.

In other words, changing the ranges of support abilities will facilitate more interesting and challenging PVE.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
Finally, and all else aside, I do agree with one point. Support abilities need a longer range. Not a minimum range, for I believe strongly that penalizing players for grouping up is a TERRIBLE design decision, but a greater maximum range such that spreading out becomes at least possible instead of simply suicidal, and so that ships entering the fight can support their allies more quickly as they approach.
Well, that's a start.

If you believe that penalising players for bunching together is a terrible design decision, then you would not be arguing for more effective AOE. The reason for min ranges is to prevent the possibility of the ball. Extending max ranges merely lowers the probability of the ball.

I do agree that if we at least had greater max ranges, we would get more options than the ball. My entire intention revolves around more possibilities, not less. If the ball remains one of those possibilities, so be it, but we need more than what we currently have.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 28
03-20-2010, 07:43 AM
Quote:
If you believe that penalising players for bunching together is a terrible design decision, then you would not be arguing for more effective AOE
Well, it comes down to a question of nerfing vs buffing. I'd rather buff a weak counter (AoE) than nerf the reason for the behavior in the first place, because I think it lends itself to less discontent and frustration - but I take your point.

My preference is for combat to be more fluid and dynamic to begin with. I want to see more objective-based maps which really encourage not roaming around in one giant group. Capture and Hold is one solid paradigm, but right now the nodes are close enough together that the ball is still a workable strategy. Make them farther apart such that defending them was important, and I think we'd see more small groups of ships engaging other smaller groups instead of the 10v10 spamfests we have now.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 29
03-20-2010, 01:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
Well, it comes down to a question of nerfing vs buffing. I'd rather buff a weak counter (AoE) than nerf the reason for the behavior in the first place, because I think it lends itself to less discontent and frustration - but I take your point.
I don't see this as a nerf at all. This is merely a change to the dynamics. Furthermore, this does not preclude the merit of buffing AOE, which I also believe should happen anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfyre010 View Post
My preference is for combat to be more fluid and dynamic to begin with. I want to see more objective-based maps which really encourage not roaming around in one giant group. Capture and Hold is one solid paradigm, but right now the nodes are close enough together that the ball is still a workable strategy. Make them farther apart such that defending them was important, and I think we'd see more small groups of ships engaging other smaller groups instead of the 10v10 spamfests we have now.
Well, modifying existing content (i.e., maps) is beyond the scope of this thread. My proposal is a method for making combat more fluid and dynamic, regardless of content. New content can shape itself around these dynamics, but these dynamics need not be constrained by existing content. It is my hope, however, that these dynamics will encourage and facilitate more objective-based content as you describe.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 30
04-06-2010, 01:21 PM
No.

Matt, you generally have good ideas that I usually agree with on the whole, but No on everything.

It is difficult enough for a coordinated team to stay within 5km of one another as to use extend shields and hazard team. Now you wish to diminish the range of Teams to 3km? Last I heard, the first Transporter on the NX-01 could be used at ranges up to 20,000KM.

Having a min range of 6km for some skills and max range of 3km for other skills means that there is no possibility of hull heals between 3km and 6km, exclusively. Extend shields could still be used up to 5km, but between 5km and 6km, NO HEALS WOULD BE AVAILABLE AT ALL.

In PvP, if a player is 12 km ahead of his group, he is already dead. So a weak heal such as Hazard Emitters or Transfer Shields will not save him. That would mean that an attacker could be 22km away from the farthest ship.

This Idea makes no sense. It only serves to create more effective alpha strikes and does not promote formation flying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalnar
Ugh, i would actualy like to see the range of away team abilties (sci,eng,tac) lowered
You sir, as an escort, should not be saying such things. Should I ever group on the same side as you, on the rare occasions I PUG, I will ask you to come to within 2km of me for heals.

Sorry If I am sounding like a jerk here, but these proposed changes are game breaking.

Things are fine as they are. Proper formation is only useful for Alpha Strike Survivability, as the battle usually breaks that formation up. If you, however, like to fly in a straight line with and escort with a /follow on you, please, don't let me stop you.
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