As inspired by others and their own ideas and suggestions in regards to changes to improve the STO starship tiers/system, many of which are well thought-out, presented, and generally well received, I tried my hand at it. It got to a point in which I wanted to share with the community. May I present: Just Another Starship Tier Revamp Ideas Post (JASTRIP)!
The Spreadsheet - Can't call it "The Sheet", that belongs to the DOffers.
For those who just want to go right into it, go nuts. Almost all the text below is also in the image.
- Focus on making the distinguishing feature of starships being its versatility.
- Versatility is beyond just more hull points or better shields, it's about playstyle, strategic setup (skills, powers, and equipment to a lesser extent), and player execution of said style and setup.
- Make the character's selection of profession, powers, and the player's skill and execution more of a determining factor to success in combat (PvE or PvP) than simply the ship's tier or character's rank.
- Your character is a hero, you should feel powerful and can empower your ship and crew as well to go above-and-beyond the standard practice in the line of duty... for a price.
- Versatility and Command/Heroic Awesomeness(TM) plays a larger role in higher character ranks.
- Allow for lower tier ships to have a viable role in late/end-game, but the "edge" to higher tier ships must still be evident when comparing players of equal skill.
Key Concepts of JASTRIP General Ship Mechanics
- Ships are still tiered (T0 = Ensign up to T5 = RA; VA is T5 "+1").
- Ship professions (tactical, cruiser, science) no longer exist (along the themes of versatility). Dual (heavy) cannons can be equipped on any ship; Built-in Sensor Analysis and System Subtargetting removed (maybe reuse as class bonuses via "+1+ consoles); bonus systems power is now based on character career. One's profession also gives a nominal bonus to console/power effectiveness of the same type (i.e. an Engineering Captain with Engineering Team will heal for a bit more than a Tactical Captain who uses it).
- Within each tier are ship "types" that generally correlate to base ships ("Standard") and "+1" ships ("Specialized", "Advanced","Flagship"). A special "Historic" type in T1 is for the TOS Connie and NX.
- Ship classes are based on the Intrepid as of "average" size. Ship size (only) affects base console slots, inertia/turn rate, and "crew" (under new mechanics); see below for details.
- Within the same tier/type, ship size no longer dictates base hull points ("technological advances in Inversive Quantum Hull Density enabling smaller vessels to be able to take higher combat hull stresses by hull area than larger vessels of similar capabilities"). Hull resists continue to work as-is (the denser hulls of smaller vessels is factored into the hull points rather than as resistance).
- Within the same tier/type, ships have the same base shields/EPS/weapons strength modifiers, weapon slots, and console slots.
- Only one costume variant of each class is listed; others are available as-is (most free, some are C-Store unlocks).
Ship Modifiers / Stats
- Hull, shields, EPS, and weapons base stats are set at a scale, where 1.0 = "normal" and is equated to what a Captain Standard starship would have. 1.10 = 10% more than the baseline; 0.90 = 10% less than baseline).
- Generally, an Ensign T0 ship has 20% less base stats than a Captain T4 ship. A VA T5 +1 ship has 15% more base stats than a Captain T4 ship.
- Inertia stats similar to current ones by ship; Turn Rate changed to be based on Inertia and Engine Power; higher inertia -> more engine power to turn as fast as an ""average"" size vessel. Intent is for the largest vessels (i.e. Odyssey) to be able to turn as quickly at 75 engine power as the smallest vessels (like a Nova) at 25 power and average size vessels (Intrepid) at 50 power. RCS console repurposed to affect impulse speed.
- Base impulse speed becomes entirely dependent on equipment (namely engines, consoles, deflector dishes, and special set pieces/bonuses). Intent is for vessels with the same equipment/bonuses to have the same speed, regardless of tier/type/size.
Consoles / Bridge Officer Stations / Other Ship Stats
- All console slots are universal.
- All Bridge Officer stations/slots are universal. Bridge Officer station slots that are equal or above the minimum rank for the vessel operate at 50% effectiveness (before Personal Authority bonus), i.e. the Rhode Island has a Lt. Cmdr BOff slot but since it's a T2 (Lt Cmdr) ship, the slot will only operate at 50% effectiveness (i.e. Torpedo Spread III will only do 50% its usual bonus damage).
Crew System -> Combat Effectiveness
- Mechanics change to be all %-based (i.e. a torpedo hit has 50% chance to reduce Combat Effectiveness by 5% before buffs/debuffs). Ship size determines base level (small = 100%, average = 120%, large = 140%). 100% means all power systems operating within normal parameters, every 10% less than 100% reduces all power systems by 5% (no bonus power for levels >=100%).
- Affected by equipment (to current level to a max cap, maybe 160% if needed for balance), current level reduced via debuffs (i.e. Boarding Party), increase current level during battle (to max 100%) via powers, resistance can be added via buffs/skill, and regenerates over time (50%/min in combat to max 100%, and 200%/min outside to regular max). Rebalancing of traits/powers/equipment/bonuses impacting the old Crew system would be required.
Vice Admiral (T5 +1) Ships - Super Versatile
- VA T5 +1 ships can have Bridge Officer Station configurations of any type, with 5 Stations and 12 Slots (see Personal Authority section)
- Due to "Starship systems complexities", penalties do apply apply for non-standard layouts:
- Cmdr slots >1 = 50% effectiveness for >1 slot(s)
- Lt. Cmdr slots >2 = 50% effectiveness for >2 slot(s)
- Lt. slots >4 = 50% effectiveness for >4 slot(s)
- See supplemental image of how Bridge Officer slots work for VA T5 +1 Ships for layout examples.
- So in theory, you could have 3 Cmdr BOffs stationed on your VA T5 +1 ship, but 2 of the 3 Cmdr BOff and 1 of the 3 Lt. Cmdr slots will only operate at 50% effectiveness.
- Exactly which slots are penalized above the standard should be selectable by the player.
Commanding Officer Personal Authority - Other systems may call this refitting or retrofitting.
- Allows player to permanently/temporarily upgrade a lower tier/type ship to better base stats (hull, shields, console/weapon slots, BOff stations, etc.), but not as good as a ship of their current character rank. Also makes BOff slots equal/higher than ship rank to have higher effectiveness than base (50%).
- "Standing Orders" for 300 CP to 450 CP gives permanent upgrade to one ship of one character; Gold Members get 20% discount. "Limited Orders" last for 30 days from activation ("issuance"), as ultra-rare drops, and tradable. "Direct Orders" last for 15 days from activation, earned from 6+ step (min. 12 days to complete) DOff chain, are bound (can be traded for 10k Dilithium).
Restraints/Assumptions - Things that I assumed cannot be changed or must change from its current status
- No new types of ship equipment (i.e. dilithium chambers or escapecraft) or changing of how equipment fundamentally works is possible; the effect of existing equipment can change though.
- C-Store ships must continue to be C-Store ships, but all ships must continue to be obtainable via current methods (whether free with promotion, Vet Award, or diltithium).
- C-Store ships must continue to be valuable and relatively better than ships of the same tier in regards to base stats and comparing of players of equal skill and execution.
- More C-Store ships need to be added to "fill out" the tiers/types. Any ships I have in red are simply guesses, they can be anything.
- PvP public queues set to not allow Historic starships for character rank-based queues greater than Lt.
- RA+ FA/STF/event public queues set to not allow vessels in Commander (T3) or lower tiers.
- Creation of new PvP daily events where only certain tiers and/or types of ships can be used (i.e. "T1 Historic Starship PvP Arena Event" or "Cmdr. Starship PvP Event".
- Fleet crafting for higher type ships will be instituted and it will be awesome.
System Transition Issues
- I did move some ships around in terms of tiers, and some of them have base stats that would be materially less capable than their current incarnations. I would want some sort of compensation provided to those who may be disadvantaged, not sure in what way (say a free Personal Authority Standing Order, a C-Store discount for a new ship, etc.)
- I have given a fair bit of consideration to balance in terms of PvE and PvP gameplay, and tried to keep things from being blatantly OP when comparing 1) within the ship tiers (i.e. T5 Standard vs. T5 Advanced), and 2) characters of the same rank (i.e. a VA in a T5 +1 ship vs. a VA in an upgraded T4 ship), but the math is definitely not playtested. I tried to have enough different "things" available to each ship in terms of stats or bonuses that balance can be achieved by tweaks of them.
- No thought yet on how the Duty Officer, First Officer or Department Head systems tie-in to all of this, but I would want the interactions to focus on characters being able to fine-tune their setup rather than drastically change their gameplay.
- I have tried to make things seem doable in regards to technology/manpower/skills, but I'm not a video game executive/producer/developer/programmer/anything, just a player with (too much) time on their hands.
- And even more obviously, C-Store or any other costing is simply my stab in the dark, and by no means are what would make any changes to the current system viable (financially-speaking).
This was more of a fun side thought experiment for me rather than a concrete proposal for any changes to the game, but I appreciate any feedback you may have. In the end, if any of the ideas/concepts that I or others have brought up are even considered by Cryptic as part of the game's short/long-term plans, it would be appreciated.