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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
The volume and intensity of complaints from the dedicated PvP player-base, concerning the newly-released Cloaking Tractor Mines, is staggering. Aside from the complaints concerning the breakdown of the PvP Queues, the PvP Community has never been so heavily in favor of, or against, anything, since the release of the game.

There has been anger, vitriol, and contentiousness from many sides in the discussions of these issues, and while so many of us are passionately 'concerned' about the effect that several, new items are having on an already-strained PvP population, a forum is needed for constructive feedback, discussion, and, yes, even criticism. As MustrumRidcully pointed out in several threads throughout today, while arguing, flaming, lambasting, or complaining about some of these things might help to alleviate some of our frustration, it will be better, in the long run, for us to set aside our intensity for a short while, and come together, as a community, to constructively discuss and explain both our position on these new items, and the effects (both real and potential) that they are having on the PvP portion of the game.


Thus, to kick things off, some things to consider:
  • There have been several instances of items released (many of them tied to the Weekly Series) that were either blatantly over-powered (the AP Ghostbuster gun, comes to mind), or became so after creative implementation by the PvP community (the only one that I can think of, off-hand, would be the Subspace Field Modulator, though I am certain that there have been more). In all of these cases, Cryptic has gone back and made some changes to these items, to better balance them (in many cases, specifically at the behest of the PvP Community); however, in none of these cases ([i]of which I can recall, at least...) was an item outright removed from the game, thus, it is unlikely that, despite the PvP Community's concerns, that Cryptic will simply pull this item from the game.
  • While the PvP Community is a very vocal portion of the greater STO Community, there is a substantial base of PvE-only players that, as much as they do not always understand the PvP Community's position on certain items or powers, must be kept in consideration when discussing significant balance or gameplay changes, as the outcry from that portion of the Community (with a much larger source from which to draw) could, potentially, equal or exceed the complaints of the PvP Community. (We are already seeing this, to some extent, with the current discussions regarding the CTM's.)
  • With 1000's of PvP games played amongst us, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge from which we can draw. More importantly, there are dozens (if not, hundreds) of dedicated PvP players who are able to articulate and defend their positions, citing numerous examples from that wealth of experience and knowledge. By putting our heads together, we can, in detail, put forward convincing arguments for (or against) many of the situations that currently make PvP somewhat less awesome than it has the potential to be.
  • No matter how passionately we feel that something in the game 'should' be, we have the ability to rationally and (semi-? ) politely discuss even widely differing points of view on topics, particularly as relating to the PvP metagame. Arguing, fighting, or flaming serves little purpose, other than to alienate those other players that have a different viewpoint in regards to a topic; additionally, as has become apparent the past few days, the GM's are taking a very hardline stance on the degree to which they will permit discussions to devolve into the more 'passionate' variety, before they step in and issue infractions or outright bans (at least, amongst the PvP Community...). No matter how justified we (believe, or, in fact) are in making an argument, our voices go unheard when threads get locked or deleted, and any coherent discussions contained therein are lost to the mists of the Interwebs...

While that is hardly a comprehensive enumeration of the things that our Community can, if sufficiently motivated, accomplish, it does establish a good base from which we can take our cases to the Developers, concerning a myriad of topics.

For the topic at hand, most pressing because it is the most recent, we come to the source of the current outrage, and, hopefully, the catalyst for a new era of cooperation and communication between our PvP Community and the Developers... The Cloaking Tractor Mine...

Items of Concern, in regards to the CTM:
  • Provides even more spammable NPC objects for an environment already littered with spam. (Both Federation and Klingon factions are guilty of this to a degree, specific instances of greater or lesser guilt abound for both sides, but both are 'often' guilty.)
  • Non-Unique, leading to ever-increasing amounts of similar spam. (Argument could be made for all mine launchers that this is the case, but later points will reinforce why it is additionally problematic for these mines, in partidular.)
  • Tractor ability of Mines seems to be substantially more effective than the player version (in terms of Hold strength, duration, etc.). When multiplied by a factor of 4 (the number of mines launched per deployment) this is an enormously-effective (many would argue 'too' effective) increase in battlefield control, at a cost of a single weapon slot. (Which becomes multiplicatively more effective as the number of launchers is increased.)
  • Potentially makes certain abilities (like Polarize Hull or Attack Pattern Omega) mandatory to remain competitive in high-end PvP, thus lowering the diversity of available builds and increasing the 'cookie-cutter' factor. (While not all will choose the same adaptation, at least one of the available options for countering this particular problem will quickly become commonplace on nearly every build.)
  • Is useful in a number of PvE scenarios (KA has been mentioned numerous times as a great place to employ them), thus, the PvE Community is already pushing back against the possibility of changes, despite valid arguments for changes, put forward by the PvP Community. (Bringing back the possibility of PvE and PvP-specific items, as no one likes to have something 'cool' nerfed or taken away. It must, again, be acknowledged that the PvE Community can, when stirred to action, raise just as much a fuss over a topic as the PvP Community can, and with their larger base, can bend the Developers ears.)

There are certainly other concerns that have probably been missed, so the task falls to us, the Community, to not only present the problems that exist, in theory, but those that exist in practice, as well.
  • What are some other problems that the CTM's 'could' create in PvP?
  • What has been your experiences with CTM's in actual PvP Matches, thus far?
  • What are some possible solutions for the problems that exist with CTM's? (Keeping in mind that simple removal is highly unlikely, although, potentially an option, if PvP-specific.)
  • Aside from the simple glut of spam that currently is affecting PvP, how do the CTM's interact with other powers and abilities that may be exacerbating problems with those powers, as well? (e.g. Are they making things like the problem with self-clearing Scramble Sensors worse?)

Again, there are probably numerous other things that need to be addressed, but constructive discussion among the Community will help to bring many of these to light. Let us show the Developers that we can build a cohesive explanation for why we believe that there is a problem, and that it is not that we are simply being reactionary.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to sharing in this discussion with you,
-Big Red
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
03-07-2011, 02:41 AM
A simple "Play vs the Devs!" event where we can actually show them what's wrong would do TONS for player relations as well as improving the game.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
03-07-2011, 02:50 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvs5191 View Post
A simple "Play vs the Devs!" event where we can actually show them what's wrong would do TONS for player relations as well as improving the game.
This is true, although I do know that snix plays regularly on the weekends (at least, when there are new Featured Episodes ), and spends his time waiting to do them, and afterwards, PuGging it in PvP...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
03-07-2011, 03:00 AM
My two cents:

Regarding the issue of pure PvE players pushing back - while understandeable to a certain degree (yes, this item made KA much easier), one should not forget that a PvE event (unlike PvP) is doable even if you just levelled and stuffed random weapons on your random ship. It does not matter. What matters is you know what to do, what to expect and what the mobs will do. Given that, gear and mines make the event easier, but ultimately it's all the same - clueless players who have never bothered to read even basic KA walkthrough, will be hopeless even with fully purple ship and vice versa, as STF have (unlike other MMO's group events) no gear requirements. This is why, even though I fully appretiate the concern of PvE community about this matter, would put PvP elements up front, because - bluntly said, mines or no mines, PvE won't break. PvP might.

I have played against STO premades like 2x in my life, so I got only experience from pug matches. Honestly, it could have been worse. The mines are annoying to some extent, but it's nothing that would break the game completely. I was also afraid of all the implications the OP mentioned, but after about 2 dozens of matches played yesterday, it doesn't seem that bad. I haven't also seen the mathwork behind the mines, but they do seem a lot weaker than player tractor beam to me.

What I do find bad are two things: First - why wasn't this "reward" tested on Tribble? Separately from the fepisodes, but still - with such a gamebreaking item it's clear testing is needed by real players, not some internal devs, whose pvp skills might be.... influenced by the fact they wrote the whole damn thing.

Second, it's the sheer annoyance factor of the spam - what were they thinking? Can anyone please enlighten me about the logic of their actions? Community complains rightfully about the NPC spam, so they nerf the klingon Carriers. And then they add a spammy item to each ship (Scorpion fighters - they are useless, they just bog the screen) and when everyone complains, they add MORE spam, with a bloody tractor beam to boot!

I just got a feeling they are laughing their asses off right now at us.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
03-07-2011, 03:21 AM
Suggestions I've seen in other threads over the last few days that seemed reasonable:
  • Make the item unique, max of 1 per character
  • Have them time out like other mines do
  • Have them destroy themselves when constantly deployed on a FIFO basis like other mines (if they don't already)
  • Unaffected by dispersal patterns

Maybe all of those combined would be too much of a nerf? Some sort of combination of some would be fair?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
03-07-2011, 03:40 AM
One option would be a (long needed) rebalancing of Tractor Beams. Why is it that version 1 has the same hold effect as version 3? If they revamp the way how different versions of tractor beams work, they could find a place for the mines in there.

: I also nearly fell of my chair when I read that they're affected by Dispersal Patterns. Removing that would be nice.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
03-07-2011, 04:58 AM
One balance issue I see in general: Should we get powers from weapon slots? We already can get some powerss by sacrificing console slots (MVAM directly, indirectly be the retrofits with special abiltiies and a console less then other ships). And assuming we even want to consider this option - is the tractor beam mine meaningfully balanced?

I absolutely don't think so. It is 4 Tractor Beams with perma-duration for the price of one weapon slot.

And it can be multiplied by other BO powers (Mine Pattern). There is nothing comparable at all in the game.
If this is fair, why are Tri-Cobalt Mines and Torpedoes nota ffected by High Yields, Torpedo Spread or Mine Patterns?

We know why it isn't happening - because it would be broken. Why are Tractor Beam Mines different?

There is precedent for a "questionable" weapon slot power already, though.. The Transphasic Mine Cluster. The only reason that one is not broken is because Transphasics are underpowered. It if would launch Chroniton, Quantum or Photon Mines, it would be broken as well. But even then - The Transphasic Cluster Torpedo is not affected by BO skills.

I think one approach to "fairly" nerf it could be reducing the number of mines spawned per launch, add in a despawn timer and possibly add an upper limit of spawned mines per player.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
03-07-2011, 05:15 AM
It doesn't matter how polite we are while we are sitting here in our room talking to each other, Cryptic will not hear anything that is said in this forum.If it's not in the general discussion or episode/mission or general discussion forum, it WILL be ignored. Don't believe me?, check the Dev tracker. how many pages do you have to go through to find a dev post in the PVP forum that isn't a thread being closed, or moderated? there is a GM answering a question i asked about a clarification on infraction rules at page 4 1/2, the same GM warning about language in a thread at 5 1/2 Snix made a post about where people could meet to challenge each other to private PVP matches at page 9, and that is it out of the last 500 dev responses. 2 Gm warnings, numerous closed threads, (which dont show up on the Dev tracker ), & 1 count em, 1 dev response, & it wasn't about a gameplay mechanic, but a social one.When we try to raise our concerns in the forums that the Devs read, we get moved. Basically told to go back to our room & shut up. Quite frankly I've had it. The only thing that can be accomplished by complaining in the pvp section of the forum is to get an infraction. THAT IS HOW IMPORTANT OUR CONCERNS ARE TO THE DEVELOPERS OF THIS GAME, NOT ONE BIT. As long as we play nice, we will be ignored. as soon as we raise our voices, we are told in no uncertain terms to shut up, or to go talk somewhere else where they don't have to hear us. If I treated my children like the Devs treat the PVP community in this game, I would be charged with child abuse, & rightly so.( that may be a sleight exaggeration, but I'm pretty torqued off right now, so please bear with me) We do not matter. I feel that possibly what is needed is a Boycott of PVP. what say you that for a certain nuber of days, none of the regular pvp communtity Ques up for matches at all. maybe when the Devs see the numbers drop off dramatically they will realize that something is broken. ( I realize that this is kind of like an angry child holding his breath to get his way,) but short of leaving this game for good i don't know how to make the devs hear us. They see the Data, what players are doing in the game, maybe if the Data show a sudden drop in PVP they will wake up & realize that the kids have been WAAAAAY to quiet in their room, & that maybe they should check on us. The thought of no PVP for a couple of days makes me sad, but with the current state of PVP, It's not really that big of a deal, because PVP currently sucks.
What are your thoughts on a boycott my fellow PVPeeps?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
03-07-2011, 05:20 AM
Imo the problem is the high amount of spam in pvp in general. The tractor mines make it a bit worse cause of the hold.

I agree to the idea where some items should just be usable in non pvp enviroment. Or that they just affect npc and not ppl. We already got a example for that with the borg specific proc for weapons.

Other solution would be to give the items a different function in a pvp enviroment. The Tractor Mines coud get a "normal" Tractorbeam as long as u have it equipped in PvP. Sounds like a fair trade for me to get a Tractor beam for 1 weapon slot. Same with the chroniton mines, instead the mines u could get a sort of 4 shot faw stun beam with a 33% chance of reducing the turnrate, as long as u have equipped the chronitons. I have to admit that i dunno if the game engine can handle such things.

All mines could get a increased effectiveness from the dispersal patterns instad of a increase in numbers in pvp.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
03-07-2011, 05:23 AM
One underlying issue, which is continually brought forward with each new introduction of spammy lag inducing NPC items, is that of the woefully inadequate targeting system. One presumably simple fix is to add functionality similar to current Tab Targeting but that filters out all Non Player Characters and Items. This way way can see what is on the battle field but we don't have to cycle through 50 just to get a crack at the 5 optimal targets. Another would be to allow us to have a greater contrast (color, boldness, etc) between the enemy we are targeting and all of the other enemies and clutter in the field.

Obviously these suggestions don't speak to the main problem that is the ultimate point of this thread, but it is something else that could be adjusted to make some of these things a bit more bearable.
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