Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Rethinking Mines & Torpedoes
02-27-2011, 04:46 AM
A lot of people have noticed that the balance of torpedoes and mines is weak.
Here are my thoughts on reworking Mines and Torpedoes to hopefully create some better balance.

Current Imbalances
There are several torpedoes that just do not really work well. It also seems the entire interaction with the power system is unbalanced - transphasics gaining a lower damage buff then quantum torpedoes and photon torpedoes, and higher level versions of these powers being weaker.
Current Imbalances:
The torpedo that benefits the most of using High yield Torpedo is the Quantum Torpedo. The Quantum Torpedo gains the same damage buff as the Photon Torpedo, but the individual torpedoes damage is higher then that of the Photon Torpedo - that's why he has a lower firing rate. That makes the Quantum clearly the best choice at the thing torpedoes are usually best at in the first place -burst damage, e.g. inflicting a lot of damage in a short amout of time at the expense of continual damage.
Transphasics simply get a lower damage bonus per shot then either of the two torpedo types - that's also not very balanced. In addition, transphasics bonus bleedthrough does not really help much - you still don't rely on killing people with bleedthrough from torps usually, and if you did, the high DPS of Photon Torpedoes loses little overall damage against shields, and gains signficiantly damage when not used against shields.
Chroniton Torpedoes snare effect is very nice, but it seems few if any are using the Chronitons for damage - which means that there is no need to spend skill points into them.

Here would be my approach to balance things:

Transphasic Torpedoes vs Photon Torpedoes
The bleedhtrough DPS of a Mark X Photon Torpedo is about 42, while that of a transphasic is 59. That is a 22 % improvement over the Photon Torpedo.
The DPS against unshielded enemies is 416 vs 186. That means the transphasic loses about 45 % compared to the Photon. That doesn't seem like a fair trade.
There are two ways to adress this - either raise the bleedthrough value further, or raise the transphasics damage. Raising the bleedhtrough bonus to +30 % gives us about 74 points of damage, and a relative damage improvement over the photon torpedo of 76 %. Alternatively, raising the DPS at Mark X to 208 would make it a 50 % normal DPS loss and an 48 % DPS gain against shields.
Increasing the damage has also the advantage of increasing the transphasic burst damage.

Transphasic Torpedoes & High Yield Torpedo
Since the Transphasic torpedoes are not really great at bursts normally, it might be interesting to turn the weapon more impressive by making Transphasic Heavy Torpedoes into heavy torpedoes (similar to plasma torps). Currently, a regular Photon or Quantum Torpedo inflicts more than twice his overall damage with HYT. Since Transphasic "basic" burst isn't good, one approach here could be that the HYT 1 raises the bleedhtrough bonus to +90 % (meaning Transphasics ignore most shields fully), and higher ranks provide a further damage buff.
Making it a single, strong-hitting projectile also would make the torpedo act closer to cannon - not a one-shot-kill weapon, but a one-shot-very-impressive-damage weapon.

Chroniton Torpedoes
Chroniton Torpedoes proc is strong, but their is little reason to really skill in them since the damage gains are not that relevant. To compensate this, the Chroniton proc chance should be skill dependent. I would suggest a formula that gives us the "old" proc chance at a skill rating of approximately 100 (allowing full skilling and additional consoles/bonuses to raise it above the old chance). Proc Change = 20 + Skill Rating / 10. (With 4 consoles, you could raise this to a 40 % proc chance).

Photon Torpedoes vs Quantum Torpedoes
Photon Torpedoes are for DPS, Quantums for burst damage. That is okay. But there are no real "DPS" powers for Torpedoes, High Yield Torpedoes seems to be focused on burst damage. If both torpedoes gain the same relative boot, HYT is always worse for Photon Torpedoes.
A possible goal could be to raise the Photon Torpedo damage when bursting further.

Heavy Torpedoes
All heavy torpedoes (Plasma, Tri-Cobalt and potentially Transphasics) should explode "violently", e.g. provide a splash damage effect, even if they are destroyed by weapon fire.

Torpedo Spread
Torpedo Spread never really worked well. It was recently buffed, increasing projectile speed, but the overall effect is still less then impressive. The biggest problem with it is probably that it tries to be an AOE power with a weapon type that works the worst as AOE power. Torpedoes are usually best used against unshielded oppponents but it's not likely you hit many targets unshielded. A common suggestion is making the spread inflict damage to all shields, but I suspect this might be very difficult to implement for the Devs (while keeping it balanced - what happens if all shields are down of the target? 4 times damage?). Instead, I suggest just raising the bleedthrough itself - and maybe apply a small "stun" or "knockback" effect if the target's shields facing was down when the torpedo hit..

Mines
Mines primary purpose at this point seems to be snaring the enemy (with Chroniton Mines), stunning them (Tri-Cobalt Mines), or just providing targeting spam. For some players, the possible "spam" can lead to low frame rates, rendering the game unplayable, or forcing them to considerably dial down graphic settings. (And all that might be consequences some players bet on when causing "mine spam").
My suggestion for mines would be to change how they work overall. Instead of dropping a mine cluster, a ship drops only a single mine. This mine inflicts twice the damage of a regular torpedo of that type (Exception: Tri-Cobalt Mine) - and is cloaked. The mines stealth rating should be just high enough to be detected if it is within 3 km. Training in a specific Mine should improve the stealth rating, and stealth detection abiltiies should also help against mines, of course.
Mine Patterns still increase the number of mines dropped, but not to the same extend they do now. The patterns would have to also modify the individual mines damage output to overall lead to reasonable damage gain.
Like heavy torpedes, Mines should also provide a splash damage effect when destroyed, even when destroyed by weapon fire.
Mines should be immune to such splash damage, though...
Mines should last loner now (2-4 minutes) before automatically destroying themselves.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
03-01-2011, 05:42 AM
Hmmm... A lot of good ideas here... I need to go get some sleep after a LONG night at work... But, I'll definitely be back to put some thoughts down.

(This way, I can find it when I search for threads I've posted into. )

-Big Red
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
03-03-2011, 01:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedJedi
Hmmm... A lot of good ideas here... I need to go get some sleep after a LONG night at work... But, I'll definitely be back to put some thoughts down.

(This way, I can find it when I search for threads I've posted into. )

-Big Red
All empty promises...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
03-03-2011, 02:18 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
A lot of people have noticed that the balance of torpedoes and mines is weak.
Here are my thoughts on reworking Mines and Torpedoes to hopefully create some better balance.

Current Imbalances
There are several torpedoes that just do not really work well. It also seems the entire interaction with the power system is unbalanced - transphasics gaining a lower damage buff then quantum torpedoes and photon torpedoes, and higher level versions of these powers being weaker.
Current Imbalances:
The torpedo that benefits the most of using High yield Torpedo is the Quantum Torpedo. The Quantum Torpedo gains the same damage buff as the Photon Torpedo, but the individual torpedoes damage is higher then that of the Photon Torpedo - that's why he has a lower firing rate. That makes the Quantum clearly the best choice at the thing torpedoes are usually best at in the first place -burst damage, e.g. inflicting a lot of damage in a short amout of time at the expense of continual damage.
Transphasics simply get a lower damage bonus per shot then either of the two torpedo types - that's also not very balanced. In addition, transphasics bonus bleedthrough does not really help much - you still don't rely on killing people with bleedthrough from torps usually, and if you did, the high DPS of Photon Torpedoes loses little overall damage against shields, and gains signficiantly damage when not used against shields.
Chroniton Torpedoes snare effect is very nice, but it seems few if any are using the Chronitons for damage - which means that there is no need to spend skill points into them.

Here would be my approach to balance things:

Transphasic Torpedoes vs Photon Torpedoes
The bleedhtrough DPS of a Mark X Photon Torpedo is about 42, while that of a transphasic is 59. That is a 22 % improvement over the Photon Torpedo.
The DPS against unshielded enemies is 416 vs 186. That means the transphasic loses about 45 % compared to the Photon. That doesn't seem like a fair trade.
There are two ways to adress this - either raise the bleedthrough value further, or raise the transphasics damage. Raising the bleedhtrough bonus to +30 % gives us about 74 points of damage, and a relative damage improvement over the photon torpedo of 76 %. Alternatively, raising the DPS at Mark X to 208 would make it a 50 % normal DPS loss and an 48 % DPS gain against shields.
Increasing the damage has also the advantage of increasing the transphasic burst damage.

Transphasic Torpedoes & High Yield Torpedo
Since the Transphasic torpedoes are not really great at bursts normally, it might be interesting to turn the weapon more impressive by making Transphasic Heavy Torpedoes into heavy torpedoes (similar to plasma torps). Currently, a regular Photon or Quantum Torpedo inflicts more than twice his overall damage with HYT. Since Transphasic "basic" burst isn't good, one approach here could be that the HYT 1 raises the bleedhtrough bonus to +90 % (meaning Transphasics ignore most shields fully), and higher ranks provide a further damage buff.
Making it a single, strong-hitting projectile also would make the torpedo act closer to cannon - not a one-shot-kill weapon, but a one-shot-very-impressive-damage weapon.

Chroniton Torpedoes
Chroniton Torpedoes proc is strong, but their is little reason to really skill in them since the damage gains are not that relevant. To compensate this, the Chroniton proc chance should be skill dependent. I would suggest a formula that gives us the "old" proc chance at a skill rating of approximately 100 (allowing full skilling and additional consoles/bonuses to raise it above the old chance). Proc Change = 20 + Skill Rating / 10. (With 4 consoles, you could raise this to a 40 % proc chance).

Photon Torpedoes vs Quantum Torpedoes
Photon Torpedoes are for DPS, Quantums for burst damage. That is okay. But there are no real "DPS" powers for Torpedoes, High Yield Torpedoes seems to be focused on burst damage. If both torpedoes gain the same relative boot, HYT is always worse for Photon Torpedoes.
A possible goal could be to raise the Photon Torpedo damage when bursting further.

Heavy Torpedoes
All heavy torpedoes (Plasma, Tri-Cobalt and potentially Transphasics) should explode "violently", e.g. provide a splash damage effect, even if they are destroyed by weapon fire.

Torpedo Spread
Torpedo Spread never really worked well. It was recently buffed, increasing projectile speed, but the overall effect is still less then impressive. The biggest problem with it is probably that it tries to be an AOE power with a weapon type that works the worst as AOE power. Torpedoes are usually best used against unshielded oppponents but it's not likely you hit many targets unshielded. A common suggestion is making the spread inflict damage to all shields, but I suspect this might be very difficult to implement for the Devs (while keeping it balanced - what happens if all shields are down of the target? 4 times damage?). Instead, I suggest just raising the bleedthrough itself - and maybe apply a small "stun" or "knockback" effect if the target's shields facing was down when the torpedo hit..

Mines
Mines primary purpose at this point seems to be snaring the enemy (with Chroniton Mines), stunning them (Tri-Cobalt Mines), or just providing targeting spam. For some players, the possible "spam" can lead to low frame rates, rendering the game unplayable, or forcing them to considerably dial down graphic settings. (And all that might be consequences some players bet on when causing "mine spam").
My suggestion for mines would be to change how they work overall. Instead of dropping a mine cluster, a ship drops only a single mine. This mine inflicts twice the damage of a regular torpedo of that type (Exception: Tri-Cobalt Mine) - and is cloaked. The mines stealth rating should be just high enough to be detected if it is within 3 km. Training in a specific Mine should improve the stealth rating, and stealth detection abiltiies should also help against mines, of course.
Mine Patterns still increase the number of mines dropped, but not to the same extend they do now. The patterns would have to also modify the individual mines damage output to overall lead to reasonable damage gain.
Like heavy torpedes, Mines should also provide a splash damage effect when destroyed, even when destroyed by weapon fire.
Mines should be immune to such splash damage, though...
Mines should last loner now (2-4 minutes) before automatically destroying themselves.
I like these ideas; particularly the mine suggestions.

Just two comments really. First, Chroniton torps are not used for damage simply because their damage sucks; if they recieved an upgrade, I would happily use them (they look cool if nothing else ). I would suggest that they should have either a low base damage or a long cool down to compensate for the advantage given by the proc; but not both low damage and a long cool down like they do now.

Second, I believe that mines are deployed in clusters to increase the chances to running into one (space being big and all that); if they were to be deployed individually, they would need to be given a much larger attack range to compensate, which should, of course, be smaller than the stealth detection range or you would never see one until it was speeding towards you. So perhaps 3km is a bit too close.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
03-03-2011, 06:00 AM
i do agree that mines are incredibly weak... i think it would be a nice change for them to make them place-able objects, one by one, give them variable yields and uses, then give them variable damage values.
this would be especially helpful in ground and can be applied to space

high yield mines to take out several groups

sonic wave detonators to drive off or disorient

em mines to disable weapons and other nearby mines

neural wave/sensor disruption mine that confuses the sensors and/or perception of any enemies in range (thinking his friendlies and enemies are of the opposite faction)

precision bio/warp signatures mine, attaches to enemy (ship or body), altering their signature to appear as the enemy, allowing them to be fired upon by their friendlies

precision remote mine, attaches to the body, hull, or small object to be remotely detonated (can be used to take out a friendly fleet if timed right)

cloaked mine

gravitic mine, if set off on a wall, it drags indiscriminate objects toward it for a time. the body of any npc is dragged toward and against the wall. any incoming items are also dragged in, acting as blunt projectiles.

standard issue remote mine, to be attached to wall, floor, or ceiling (or placed anywhere in space, including -but not limited to- solid objects) and set off

seeker mine

proximity detonator mine, 5 second time to move away before armed. once armed, it will be set off by any movement within its path. no need for a remote detonator

distortion mine, slows movement speed of nearby moving object in range

turret mine, fires phaser bursts in several directions within its line of sight at different/random intervals


it should be noted that mines can set each other off at times, and a good tactician can target and destroy mines in several ways. some can include shooting the mine and throwing objects in the path of proximity mines
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
03-03-2011, 10:09 AM
I like all these ideas.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
03-04-2011, 12:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustrumRidcully View Post
All empty promises...
Awww, now you've made me feel bad... Can't control for Real-Life interfering with my usual Forum browsing time!

I like the comparison of the Transphasics to Photons for a decent baseline, but to really see the weakness of Transphasics, you need to look at the comparison between Transphasic bleedthrough and Quantum bleedthrough. (I have combat log tests that show the comparisons, but I'm not at home at the moment to have access to them.) The disparity is evident, even more than with Photons, particularly when High Yield is included in the evaluation. As you point out, using torpedoes as part of your damage mechanism via bleedthrough is still more effectively implemented by using a different type of torpedo, because the other torpedoes do substantially more damage against shields AND hull, once those shields come down. Giving Transphasics a significant increase in the bleedthrough percentage would allow them to become viable for builds that focus on causing damage to a target in spite of the target's shields, while still being less effective for pure 'burst' damage builds, thus, providing a much better balance than which they currently provide.

High Yield should be granting an equivalent % increase across the board, regardless of torpedo-type (aside from the distinction between torpedoes that are modified into Heavy torpedoes, and those that launch salvoes of torpedoes). It is possible that the formulaic calculation that determines the change in DPS for each version of High Yield does give equivalent increases, but this would simply illustrate how vastly imbalanced the current torpedoes are in comparison to each other. The idea to convert Transphasic to a Heavy Torpedo is a good one, that makes some sense within the context of existing mechanics, as it would then give us 3 Heavy Torpedo-types (Plasma, Transphasic, Tricobalt - despite not needing High Yield to produce its Heavy projectile, it is still a Heavy Torpedo-type), and 3 Salvo Torpedo-types (Photon, Quantum, and Chroniton); perhaps the Heavy projectile would deal full bleedthrough, if a shield facing is still up, it would be reduced to 25% of its maximum damage, then that full 25% would bleedthrough... Just a thought...

Chronitons have a tremendous proc, but you are correct, skilling in them is largely irrelevant, as you gain the benefit of the proc, regardless of skillpoint investment... In many cases, it is support ships that carry a Chroniton launcher, to augment their team's abilities. Tying the proc % to skillpoint investment, however, might be devilishly tricky to program; thus, I propose an alternative: Much like how stun durations for things like PSW and Tricobalt weapons are impacted by skillpoint investment, have the duration of the Chroniton proc effect be tied to skillpoint investment. Doing this would slightly reduce the effectiveness of their use on non-skilled ships (but still would remain viable, though, probably not as common); while simultaneously encouraging specialization into a unique build-set. Caveat: I think that such an adjustment would strongly suit moving Chronitons down into the Tier 4 skillpoint range.

High Yield for Photons vs. Quantums falls into the gray area with no (currently) clear solution... One possibility would be for High Yield with Photons to dramatically increase the Photon's speed when used with High Yield... It might not be 'more' burst damage, but it might be more 'effective' burst damage, as you would be more likely to catch a downed shield facing... This would prevent it from stepping on Quantum's burst damage domain... Again, it is a difficult balancing act...

100% agree that Heavy Torpedoes should explode 'violently' with a splash effect, in fact, the mechanics for this are already in-game (though, not currently implemented, as such). When a Heavy Torpedo makes an attack roll on a target at the point of impact, the weapon explodes, dealing its damage in the burst radius of the specific Heavy Torpedo, it then makes the attack roll against the target and all targets within the radius... When this happens, the original target of the torpedo can be 'Missed' (my Tricobalts do this with depressing frequency), while all the other targets within the splash radius can still suffer damage... It would not surprise me if it was rather simple to implement this type of effect whenever a Heavy Torpedo was shot down... This would add further incentive for staying aware in combat, while still allowing those LONG-cooldown attacks to have the 'potential' to still be useful in combat.

Torpedo Spread is one of those powers that looks a lot cooler than it is useful in combat. Theoretically, it is optimal for clearing out the tons of NPC spam that currently litter many PvP and PvE zones, but, in practice, even with the recent speed buff to the Spread's projectiles, it simply is not very effective against multiple targets (save for highly-specialized scenarios, like being caught by a Science Vessel's Gravity Well, etc.). I like the idea of making it a splash power, with the potential to damage multiple shield facings, however, I think that it might run the risk of becoming severely overpowered when run in a team environment... Not sure about other solutions, but I will think on them...

Honestly, I'm not a fan of in-combat minelaying abilities, as I think it is a largely unrealistic combat tactic... The prevalence of hyper-spamming of mines (often, in combination with things like Gravity Well or Scramble Sensors) only fuels the community's distaste for their use... A lot of things need to be addressed with Mines, but I'm not sure where to even start... (Alas, duty calls, I shall return with more thoughts soon...)

You're never forgotten, my friend.
-Big Red
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
03-05-2011, 04:13 AM
Have been thinking about mines while at work this past evening...

What if they were removed as weapons? Converting, instead, to Ship Devices (craftable, for certain...) which any ship could slot into its Device slots...

Pros:
  • Become an actual, consumable resource, more accurately reflecting a logical employment of such items. Although a similar argument could be made for torpedo launchers, the 'theoretically' larger payloads of a mine would make carrying large quantities of the devices, impractical... Of course, practicality is not often present in the Star Trek universe, so take that with a grain of salt...
  • Definite money sink, if appropriately expensive to Craft, a desperately-needed mechanic within the current economy.
  • Frees up valuable skillpoints, removing the need to spec for mines (naturally, this would need to be accompanied by a streamlining of the Skill tree, another desperately needed change within the game).
  • Would allow for much greater variety of mines, if deployed as devices, as balancing them as consumables would likely be easier than trying to do so as weapons.

Cons:
  • Does not solve the current 'spam' problem. (However, a simple fix to Scramble Sensors would likely alleviate a great deal of the complaints about it... Aside from the lag complaints; that, however, is a topic for elsewhere...)
  • Nearly every ship can run a Mine Launcher right now, without handicapping itself 'too' badly... Making them into Devices would severely limit the likelihood of smaller ships being able to employ them, without making significant sacrifices elsewhere. (Maybe this is not such a bad thing, however...)
  • Finding a proper 'Cost' for Mines as Devices could be contentious and tricky to implement.

Just a few thoughts,
-Big Red
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
03-05-2011, 05:56 AM
I think a Mine-Launcher Device that creates a larger minefield would make sense, but it doesn't work with the existing Bridge Officer abilities, does it?

Maybe Mines could use a different targeting handling - maybe a mine field is just a single targetable item.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
03-05-2011, 10:26 AM
Love your suggestions and observations. hopefully, someone with the access will read your thread and find merit.
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 02:10 PM.