I was driving home from work this afternoon(yeah a Sat...yuck) and it dawned on me, STO's combat model encourages spam because their is no deterence to attacking. Basically, attacking is generally a win-win for us, its all in our interests, with no draw backs...by its nature in STO, what do we have to lose by constantly spamming the next attack?
So I thought about it, what could or would be a deterence to blind attacks? It then dawned on me again...WE CANT BLOCK! It expanded from there.
We could slow the melee and rifle butt spam if there was a way to block melee attacks. But this wouldnt stop spam attacks, the attacker would continue to spam until his attack made it through as the defender lowers his block to attack back.
So I thought about cool downs. What if all melee attacks had a 1 sec global cool-down unless you actually make contact with a successful hit? Or successful blocks caused a global 1 sec cool down on the attacker. This would cause use to be a bit more thoughful in our attacks and would create a back in forth during melee combat. Players would look to make skillful use of defense to actually make offensive openings for their counter-attack....oooo tactics!
All kits and expose skills/attacks would have a 1 sec global cool down for all attacks. The idea, 1 sec means nothing if the target is exposed, but buts the use of expose out of the spam zone since its use also leaves you a bit open for counters and standard attacks(which retain their current skill/attack specific cool downs)
This is pretty simple, in fact it looks like the devs might be leaning this way a little with the coming patch. Make each energy attack count by increasing the EPS/Power level drop of the system more significant. Defenses are already intergral to the starships...but in my opinion, attacks/weapons outputs have been blown to far out of skew. I'll wait to place judgement on the current tweak, but ideally, lets makes each shot actually mean something resouorces wise, so we dont act like its something to spam. This will also increase the importance of torpedoes in game...currently beam boats can ignore torpedos because there was no real energy penalty for the enery weapons to justify the use of torpedoes.
The simple solution is death penalty. It makes players reconsider sacrificing survivability for damage output.
I agree that cooldowns and resource cost -- power drain in space -- is the other solution, which we have and is still being tweaked.
Regarding ground, I would only advocate a more complex cooldown system if we get a more complex swing/counterswing/block combo system, which seems like heavy development work. I would rather see caps, cooldowns, and possibly diminishing returns on buffs/debuffs (including holds) on target. This seems the simplest solution within the given framework.
Attack spam in space doesn't bother me that much, though if the power drain eventually reduces damage output when not putting full power to weapons, that would be fine. The thing is that in the series and movies, they fire weapons pretty much non-stop with the management of power to other systems (especially shields) being the thing which actually determines victory of defeat.
On the ground, the only spam that really bugs me is Rifle Butt/Palm Strike. The attack is instant, has a chance of causing either knockback or hold, and a chance of expose. Attacks with similar effects from ranged weapons and abilities have at least a 5 second cooldown, but Rifle butt is spamable. Why cycle through 2-3 different abilities to proc an expose when you can just spam your #3 key for 5 or 10 seconds instead?
And while the CCs are not guaranteed, since you can just spam the same attack you can pretty well lock someone down. On top of that, it takes langer to aim weapons than Palm Strike, so if your target tries to do anything to stop you then chances are you will interrupt them.
I think unarmed combat in general needs a little love, but the 3-spam is incredibly broken.
The easy fix would be to give Palm Strike a 5 or 6 second cooldown, remove the hold, and increase the effectiveness of the knockback. That would leave it as an effective way to gain distance, as well as one chance to proc an expose in a rotation that includes several different attacks, while making the one-button spam impossible.
I think it would also be great if getting a weapon malfunction would switch you to your primary and secondary unarmed attacks. Those are really not very powerful, and #3 spam is currently the only thing redeeming melee fighters. If fighting effectively in melee didn't mean you had to forgo the use of 2 weapons, I think that might help a bit.