Though another, recent thread on the subject was closed, when the discussion wandered away from the topic, Scramble Sensors is a power that is a hot topic for discussion amongst the PvP Community, so, rather than a discussion on whether it should or should not be included in competitive play (at least, in its current iterations), let this be a place to discuss the mechanics of the power, and possible alterations or tweaks that would make the power more balanced/enjoyable.
In the absence of a dedicated PvP Dev (and, I understand that the team will be expanding in the near future, and I welcome the opportunity to introduce more of the team to the PvP side of the game), we, the PvP Community, need to work together to provide clear, concise, and well-reasoned feedback on any of the game's mechanics that, potentially, need to be tweaked to improve the gameplay experience for everyone. Suggestions, feedback, and commentary are welcomed, and I encourage anyone to contribute.
Significant difference in effectiveness of versions 1, 2, and 3.
Target-switching is vastly more frequent on skilled versions of SS2, or any version of SS3.
Anecdotally, causes self-only powers to fail (or be triggered on other targets?). Volume of anecdotal evidence leads to conclusion that this is, in fact, occurring.
Fully-skilled, can almost be cycled indefinitely (with minimal downtime between copies, even on the same ship).
Good counter to powerful Healing, as it slows down a Healer's ability to Heal effectively, particularly due to the target-switching.
Moderate counter to enemy Escorts, especially with the target-switching aspect, can quickly disrupt an alpha-strike, if an Escort Captain is not careful.
Powerful in PvE against multiple targets, who do not carry the appropriate counter (Science Team).
Target-switching leads to frequent inability to effectively clear the 'scramble' effect.
As mentioned above, target-switching can cause 'self-only' powers (e.g. Evasive Maneuvers) to fail-to-activate (or, perhaps, be thrown elsewhere).
Counter-intuitive change to UI, in that all targets become 'friendly' in appearance, yet you can attack and/or heal any of those ships.
Possible Modifications to Improve/Balance:
Add a short resistance timer, upon expiration of a copy of Scramble Sensors, preventing the re-application (or shortening the duration) of future copies for the duration of the timer. (Probably the simplest and most 'elegant' solution, with a minimal impact on PvE play, while dramatically improving the effects of usage in PvP.)
Change Scramble's effect so that all targets present as 'hostile' rather than friendly. (This would retain the ability to fire upon any target in range, and remain perfectly viable in PvE, while preventing heals, specifically, the counter: Science Team, from being randomly thrown to targets on-screen... However, this might carry the problem of 'forcing' ships that are dedicated to healing to carry a Science Team...)
Remove the target-switching effect completely, replace it with a simple target-break at the application of the power, while retaining all other, current aspects of the power. Alternatively, replace the 'target-switching' with the aforementioned 'target-break' and then disable tab-targeting for the duration of the power. (I am unsure if the UI could handle disabling 'tab-targeting' for the power's duration, but this seems like it might be an interesting mechanic, forcing a player to manually 'click-target' friends and foes, for the power's duration. The initial 'target-break' seems like it should be incorporated, in any case.)
The biggest complaint, the target-switching (and its effect on either 'self-only' power activation or reliably clearing the debuff), seems to be something that should either be done away with completely, or modified to prevent an inability to clear (which, invariably, is problematic for any power, in any game) and certainly to prevent interference with 'self-only' powers.
Perhaps the power needs a re-work from the ground up for PvP, staying largely the same for its effects in PvE, but behaving entirely separately in PvP? In any case, I put this to the rest of the Community, for your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions.
Id say change its effect. Make it more like a mask energy signature, except it masks everyones name from both sides. Now, if a FvK you will still know which ship is which but a FvF (which pops more often) will cause a few seconds of confusion as you don't know who to heal or shoot. Conversely, you could make all targets an enemy making yourself a one man team for the duration too. I'd be for either one. The issues with the jumping lock and abilites not firing needs to be kinked out.
1) Duration needs to be about half for all levels.
2) SS immunity on expiry... SS is one of the few sci skills that you can chain for infinity all by yourself. Its not like you can keep someone in a gravity well 100% of the time with one ship.
3) It needs to be fragile just like jam sensors. If you are shooting at scrambled targets it breaks the scramble. That change right there ends the perma scramble teams, that are destroying fun in this game. The SS effect should break on any dmg as well (not just the casters dmg(... so teams don't run 2 sci torp SS boats. lol
There is a couple things about SS that I would like to add to this discussion.
First off, I agree with BigRedJedi that after being scrambled, a immunity to it should proc on you. This would greatly deter the amount of SS that are being thrown about in PvP. It helped alot with the chaining of PSW when one was put in place for that power, I can only expect the same result for SS.
Secondly, while playing as a Klingon and I get a SS tossed on me, the change in the colors of the players around me isn't as dramatic as it is on a Fed toon. When playing Fed and you get scrambled, enemies turn from red to blue (2 very different colors) but when playing on Klingons, it goes from red to orange (2 not so very different colors). So if your not paying attention you might never notice that you have been scrambled.
Thirdly, the thing that ****es me of the most is, when I get scrambled I usually clear my target and stop firing. I then hit my SciTeam in an effort to clear it (and any other sci-related debuffs that have been put on me) and it still goes to someone else. I would really like it if they could make where if you have cleared your target and stopped firing that any power you activate goes to you.......it would make life a hell of a lot easier.
And just an idea (and I can't claim this one as my own as I read/heard it somewhere else) is that they should switch Jam and Scramble Sensors. What I mean by this is that maybe make Jam Sensors and AOE ability and make Scramble a single target ability.
Oh yay!! ther good skill, let's nerf it... Soon thanks to people calling for changes or nerfs we wont have any skills and will just duke it out with phasers...
There is a perfectly good counter to this, Sci Team, if you don't carry that, too bad...
Actually, I carry 2 copies (on my Sci ships), and when hit by a skilled SS2 or SS3, if there is anything else on-screen, 75% of the time, the Sci Team is thrown elsewhere even when I self-target.
If, and only if, the counter worked, 100% of the time, assuming that your ship was carrying the appropriate counter, there would not be a problem (save for maybe the duration) with Scramble Sensors, since that is not the case, adjustment is needed.