Go Back   Star Trek Online > Feedback > PvP Gameplay
Login

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
The key problems with PvP have nothing to do with the win/loss ratio. They have to do with the VARIETY of encounter types available to players. In short, there isn't any. Not currently, at least. This owes to several key game design problems--PvE mechanics that did not transfer well into PvP.

The wrong solution to the problem can make it far worse, so instead let's turn our eyes to the RIGHT solutions.
_____________________________

Problem 1: PvP encounters, by and large, go the same way every time. It feels like a "rinse/repeat," when the fight starts the same way, you see the same combination of abilities every time, and the ending is usually within a certain ballpark.

Problem 2: Same skills, every time. Same combos, every time. On BOTH sides.

_____________________________

PROBLEM 1: Lack of Variety

WHY IT'S A PROBLEM: When combat starts the same way everytime, and uses all the same combos every time, it leads it to be very dull. But even more than that, it's a symptom of a system that only has one or two "right answers"--which is why they happen so often. They work, and they work better than anything else.

CAUSES: There are two.

1) Combat starts the same way every time--the same group initiates action, deciding the terms of engagement. Consider chess as an example:

Chess is a game of strategy, and it is favored by a lot of pretty bright folks. White moves first, black reacts, and the game continues until one side wins (or a draw). Statistically speaking, when players are evenly matched, white wins more often than black. This is because white decides the terms of engagement, forcing black to REACT. Those games that end differently are because black is able to (after a series of turns) take the initiative from white, and is no longer stuck REACTING.

Currently, this game allows cloaked players to "move first." This means they get to determine how and when combat begins. And, smartly, they will only do so when it is best for themselves--no one can blame them for that. Unfortunately, this leads to the "white wins more" problem from chess.

2) Combat ends too quickly to permit variety.

This is compounded by the fact that combat is over too quickly for other strategies (which SHOULD be possible, but were accidentally overshadowed by poor design) to take initiative unless the other team is disorganized. With skill equal, the initiator is going to win before the reactor can turn the tide.

SOLUTIONS:

a) Share "initiative." Don't give both sides cloak--that just reduces variety even more. But alter cloak and detection so that there are more situations in which EITHER side can initiate combat--this alone will lead to more outcomes. Perhaps give more trade-offs to cloak, so that it isn't used quite as often (every fight).

b) Lengthen combat a bit. Don't slow the PACE of combat. Don't just add more HP to everything. But find ways for combat to last just a bit longer. This will allow some of the slower-boiling strategies a chance to see the light of day, instead of constantly playing in the "All Burst, All the Time" channel.

______________________

PROBLEM 2: Same skills in every fight, on both sides.

WHY IT'S A PROBLEM: For one, it makes things stale. But beyond that, it's a sign that other combinations of skills are being shoved out the door because of clear outliers.

CAUSES: There are two.

1) Stacking of multiple copies of abilities in a system that was clearly not designed to balance that. It's exactly why I stack Reverse Shield Polarity. Now I'm either super powered, or YOU have to focus all your energy (and your skill set) on countering that. I just limited variety for BOTH of us.

When you know your opponent will be stacking (or chaining, as many call it), you have to plan a build that can defeat the chain. Once again, it's about initiative--even going back to your SKILLS, the opponent gets to decide the rules of engagement, since each chain-combo really only has one dependable counter. Everyone's skill choice is, at least indirectly, controlled by the overpowered stacks.

2) Universal slots allowing for combinations not originally intended by the design of the game. Why were science ships given less overall DPS than escorts? They were given the best crowd-control abilities, with the idea being they could make up for the missing DPS by controlling the fight better. But when you can combine the best science abilities with the DPS of an escort.... well, now we get into an "all of the strengths, none of the weaknesses" scenario that causes problems. Combinations that should only be possible in TEAMS can be accomplished by solo players.

An escort's weakness is supposed to be lower defense. The idea is that a savvy player can dish out enough damage to outrun their own death. When you add higher-tier Science skills to the mix, that escort can deal all that damage without having to take any in return. It has the strengths of Escorts AND Science vessels... but now it has the weaknesses of NEITHER, since it can entirely avoid damage.

These overpowered combos can unfortunately lead to the ABILITIES being nerfed, rather than the ability to COMBINE them being adjusted. This only serves to punish the players who CAN'T get those combos, but were using some of the abilities.

SOLUTIONS:

a) All instances of an ability share the same cooldown, regardless of tier. It would be pointless to have TWO copies of the SAME level.... however, it can still be useful to have a different levels of an ability if the cooldowns are different--uses the shorter cooldown skill first, and then the longer cooldown once that's up. This still gives you a strong combination, but it can happen a bit less often.

b) Universal slots need re-thinking. Not removal, just re-thinking. One idea is to add another BO station, but all stations are Lieutenant except for one. Still universal, but now you can't combine high-tier abilities from DIFFERENT professions at the same time. You can change from fight to fight, so it is still INCREDIBLY useful and versatile. Just doesn't allow the "impossible combos" anymore.


OVERALL EFFECT:


1) Cloak is still very useful, but no longer such a deciding factor on the terms of each engagement--initiative can be shared a bit more often.

2) Stacking different levels of the same ability still has a use, just not as powerful a use. There is no longer any reason to stack the same level of the same ability.

3) Universal slots are still useful, but brought back into balance with the original design of the BO Power set--without nerfing ANY abilities.

4) The pace of combat remains the same, but the length is increased. This means that more strategies can be used in combat, rather than burst damage always deciding the winner.

5) A wider range of ability combinations become viable, since the outlying combos no longer force everyone to have either the combo OR its counter to have a shot against an equally-skilled group.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
03-22-2010, 09:54 AM
edit for formatting.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
03-22-2010, 11:10 AM
I wonder what effect droping both weapon and shield energy to 0 when cloaking would have on the balance of cloaking devices.

This seems to make sence to me as the two restrictions on a cloaked ship were always "no shields" and "no weapons". Even the one bird of prey that could fire while cloaked used torpedos to do it.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
03-22-2010, 11:21 AM
how about addressing the fact that there are only two skills in the game that heal another persons hull? (engineering team and hazard emitters) If you want to heal you must take two copies of each to be effective.


also: I bring TSS because its the most effective at removing a layer of the opponents defence, the fact that it also drops RSP is gravy
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
03-22-2010, 01:30 PM
This is the kind of reasonable and intelligent post that has no place on these forums. You can expect the correct and necessary changes you've outlined to get the nerdrage and emo QQing they deserve.

Speaking of nerdrage and emo QQing, where are the Klingons?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
03-22-2010, 01:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSIRockin
This is the kind of reasonable and intelligent post that has no place on these forums. You can expect the correct and necessary changes you've outlined to get the nerdrage and emo QQing they deserve.

Speaking of nerdrage and emo QQing, where are the Klingons?
springbreak for the most part is over, people have returned to their everyday life, in addition its the early morning-midday portion when not many people are on.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
03-22-2010, 02:12 PM
If people weren't stacking offensive skills, there would be less call to double-stack defensive skills. We don't want a bajillion hull heals--that just makes combat LONGER without making it more INTERESTING.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
03-22-2010, 02:33 PM
I agree with the approach to addressing these issues, but I'd point out that you missed a real Occam's Razor cause of the "same skills, every time" situation: some skills literally trump all others. As in, prevent you from using your skills... nearly uncounterable CC skills like SNB and VM+trashdebuff.

Since SNB pre-emptively AND reactively beats EVERYTHING, there's really no reason for people NOT to abuse it early and often. The reason there isn't a richer interplay of skills right now is simply that it's impossible: SNB is the first and last word in the encounter. For any ship that can't get APO, VM+trashdebuff is equally game-ending.

I do agree that once this showstopping tier of ability issues is addressed, the focus will definitely shift to some of the issues you discussed in the OP.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
03-22-2010, 03:25 PM
But we all know they're going to lower the duration on SNB, and probably VM, too (even though THAT can be countered with Sci Team). I didn't feel there was any need to discuss that here. Fixing those two skills won't fix the underpinning issues that are plaguing PvP.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
03-22-2010, 05:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by xMentalxLintx

SOLUTIONS:

a) Share "initiative." Don't give both sides cloak--that just reduces variety even more. But alter cloak and detection so that there are more situations in which EITHER side can initiate combat--this alone will lead to more outcomes. Perhaps give more trade-offs to cloak, so that it isn't used quite as often (every fight).
I think Cloak is mostly okay as is, though you are correct that it compounds other issues.

I could see perhaps giving a 2-3 second delay between the cloak turning off and shields going up, but that's about it. Cloak is supposed to be powerful, and it's supposed to be hard to detect.

Quote:
b) Lengthen combat a bit. Don't slow the PACE of combat. Don't just add more HP to everything. But find ways for combat to last just a bit longer. This will allow some of the slower-boiling strategies a chance to see the light of day, instead of constantly playing in the "All Burst, All the Time" channel.
Greatly increasing hull strength could go a long way towards this. The issue is really that with a fully buffed attack out of cloak or with CC, no one can last more than 5-10 seconds. Once your shields are down you are in trouble, but just increasing hull strength could at least give you time to fight your way out.

As things are, once shields are down the fight is pretty much over.

Another thing that could help is lengthening CDs on some of the more ridiculous powers enough that they couldn't be used in every fight.

Quote:

a) All instances of an ability share the same cooldown, regardless of tier. It would be pointless to have TWO copies of the SAME level.... however, it can still be useful to have a different levels of an ability if the cooldowns are different--uses the shorter cooldown skill first, and then the longer cooldown once that's up. This still gives you a strong combination, but it can happen a bit less often.
Completely agree.

Also along the lines of allowing more diverse skills, all of the "Teams" should remove all types of debuffs. So Engineering or Tactical Teams could remove VM, instead of just Science Team (they share a CD anyway).

The practical reason for this is that it would allow greater flexibility on ships with limited Science slots but plenty of Engineering or Tactical slots. Engineering and Tactical Team currently pale in comparison to Science Team because there really aren't any Engineering or Tactical debuffs of comparable power to Science debuffs.

The Role-play explanation is simple. Take VM for example, while the Science team fights the virus directly, a Tactical Team dispatches crewmen throughout the ship to take manual control of various systems, while an Engineering Team bypasses infected systems and uses auxiliaries.

Quote:
b) Universal slots need re-thinking. Not removal, just re-thinking. One idea is to add another BO station, but all stations are Lieutenant except for one. Still universal, but now you can't combine high-tier abilities from DIFFERENT professions at the same time. You can change from fight to fight, so it is still INCREDIBLY useful and versatile. Just doesn't allow the "impossible combos" anymore.
Some of the other proposed changes might go a long way to mitigate the effectiveness of universal BO stations. If victims were better able to survive the alpha strike or CC, then it doesn't matter so much that certain officer types can be stacked.
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 09:05 PM.