Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 21
06-08-2012, 02:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptic_Gozer
lol.. how would you know if we were playing or not? I play all the time, but I don't do it on a Dev account. Every employee at Crytpic has a personal account. Very few even have Dev rights on Holodeck, and even those are tied to specific dev accounts that are separate from our personal accounts.

I personally have 4 Level Capped captains on my personal account.
The PvP community simply started to assume the worst, since that seemed to reflect a lot of changes that happened to PvP.

This may sound familiar or like a broken record:
Of course we also see positive stuff that happened - but nothing really decisive since Season 1.2, really. That was when snix overhauled the powers and cooldown system to create a much more balanced PvP. It still wasn't perfect, but much better what we had before. But it seems that, despite some attempts to the contrary, later additions often made things worse.

And the only other great PvP improvement - Private Challenges and an improved Queue in Season 2- came with the loss of an enitre PvP game mode (Space Assault) and also broke the QUeues for a long time - and also introduced a new set of ships with questionable powers (Ablative Armor, Science Fleet come to mind) and a new level cap where the PvP balance implications weren't really understood yet.

I tend to think that new game features are at the moment more important than further balance tweaks, but I may be wrong, if the new features don't work well with better balance.

Just a few things balance-wise and fun-wise. Not all issues the PvP community has are really strictly speaking an issue of balance - some are simply about whether abilities are "fun". Of course all powers have an unfun component i nthat they hurt the enemy in some way (usually), but there are degrees of "unfun" that are acceptable and some that are not. Abilities that can become very unfun are especially those that take away control of players - stuns, holds, even instant-kills. They are okay in small doses, but too much, and the play is no longer enjoyable.
  • Science Resists: They are too effective and ultimately nerfed many science powers. 2 Solutions I see:
    • Make all affected Science Powers stronger than they were before, so that you need, say, 3 skill ranks and 1-2 resists gained from items (consoles, deflectors) to get the results before the introduction, and 6-9 ranks and 2-4 items at about 75 % before.
    • Science Resists only apply after a power has been applied and affected the target fully. Similiar to stun effects basically, people get a temporary resists to follow-up uses for ~15 seconds. I think I'd prefer this approach. This makes chaining or stacking science powers less effective, but the individual power still strong.
  • Carriers: The UI does not work well with so many targets. Even then the balance of Carriers is somewhat questionable, since the only thing they sacrifice really is turn rate for more firepower than a SV. And not just firepower - also more effective BO powers. Runabout Pets are more powerful than slotting a regular Tractor Beam since the up-time is much, much better. Procs from Chronitons and Phasers are very strong when they can be amassed like that as well.
    • Pet Groups should act as a single targetable entity, no longer be multiple ships. Procs can be weakened in this process.
    • Special abilities like Tractor Beam get turned into a power-like ability that the Carrier Captain finds on his tray and can activate manually. They have cooldowns similar to other BO powers. This gives all players more control. The Carrier because he can say when the pets are to use a power and on which target, and the targets because they are more rarely affected by these powers.
  • Console Powers are highly questionable in terms of game balance. The biggest problem is that the Season 1.2 powers and cooldowns were based on several implicit factors:
    • How do you get a power?
      Either from your Class, or from Bridge Officers, or from Devices. That limits how many powers you can use overall.
      Consoles suddenly add a way to gain a power that does not cost you another power. The opportunity cost for powers are gone. Sure, there is a new opportunity cost since you lose console bonuses -but the value of a power and the value of a console buff were never designed to be similar - and even if they were once, it cannot be argued they still are as they were before - engineering consoles suddenly deliver only half the power they used to. And trust me - 3.5 points weapon power when you already get to 125 weapon power without them is not worth as much as a Theta Vent console or an Anti-Matter Spread.
    • How many powers are there for a specific purpose?
      This is a very important aspect. Powers like Engineering Team, Auxillary to Structural Integrity Field and Hazard Emitters were basically build with cooldowns and heal rates in mind considering that these are the 3 hull heal sources that exist, for example. If a 4th power were to be suddenly added (say, a Tactical Hull Heal), it could be possible that a ship has way more healing available than was ever intended. Hull Heals are an illustrative example, I think,but of course the area this happened most in regards to consoles were control powers like the Theta Vent, Anti-Matter Spread, Photonic Shockwave Torpedo and the like.
    • Shared Cooldowns.
      Powers share cooldowns so it's not that easy to use multiple ones of them on the same time. Gravity Well and Tyken's Rift cannot be used together, avoiding that you could basically automatically catch a group of enemies with a Gravity Well and follow up with a Tyken's Rift to neuter them completely. Again, consoles can break this assumption by not sharing cooldowns with abilities they synergize well. Some consoles share cooldowns with other powers, but it is overall spotty - and sometimes one has to argue they would need to share global cooldowns, not system cooldowns.
    • Bridge Officer Seatings and Power
      The available Bridge Officer slottings limited what kind of powers you could use. This can be a further limiter on balance. Sometimes, classes have either overlaps in abilities (say, crowd control or healing), or maybe abilities that synergize particularly well (say a strong kinetic damage power and a strong hull resist debuff). But the potential of these overlaps and synergies are limited by the fact that you cannot just combine any type of BO power usually. Before consoles and before the "non-standard" BO seatings introduced with the Excelsior (post season 1.2), you couldn't, say, combine a Tractor Beam Repulsor III with an Attack Pattern Beta II or Hazard Emitters III, Engineering Team III and Aux2SIF3. While the non-standard BO seatings introduced the problems, the C-Store consoles make it even worse - the Odysee can combine the aforementioned healing powers, but it can't add a 2nd Engineering Team II. Consoles give up even the last limitation of this kind.
  • DOFF Powers
    The DOFF powers implications are somewhat known in the community, but I think not well enough understood so far. But they also have similar consequences for balance as consoles.
    • Some of the new DOFFs reduce cooldowns. This can also break previous assumptions on power balance - for example, witht he right DOFF; it's now entirely feasible to run only one Engineering Team 3 and have the same uptime as with 2 ETs. All this has ripple effects that are hard to understand yet - and it doesn't seem the PvP community currently keeps good track of this currently.
    • Some of the DOFFs simply add new abilities that are problematic. Strong heals (Hazard Emitter DOFF) or a "mini-Subnucleonic Beam"
Addressing all this would almost need its own task force. If you still have a snix clone in your refrigerator, it would be a good idea to defrost it.

---

Oh, and Fleet Starbase PvP sounds great and a logical idea. I've heard some talk about the idea of a "wager" system - I am somewhat questionable on it - I think wagers really only make sense if the chance of winning is around 50:50. I would add at least some bonus rewards onto it so that even if you know you will likely lose, at the end you'll have more than before. Otherwise no one will risk fighting, say Sad Pandas or TSI or whoever is the PvP fleet of the day then. And that would be boring. (Maybe more interesting would be the ability to stage "unfair" odds - say two fleets challenge a 3rd. But even then, the wager may not be the best idea)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 22
06-08-2012, 03:08 PM
It is nice to know that someone is paying attention.

My favorite part of PvP is open PvP zones, like Ker'rat.

I would love to see PvP missions become more than, "get to 15 kills", maybe something more on par with the length of an STF, or better open areas where we can collect resources while dealing with the enemy faction (like a new, more polished and complicated version of Ker'rat), where we can maybe beam down to planets for ground PvP, perhaps after having to run an enemy blockade. There could be multiple missions like "destroy enemy ships", "enforce blockade", "capture enemy encampment,", "kill enemy away team" et cetera in a large, open zone.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 23
06-08-2012, 03:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.S.S.Bloodmage
I'd like to see a weekly update. But quite honestly Gozer I'm already sick of hearing you talk about pvp maps and scoreboards. A lot of us want to know what you are working on to fix tactical team, make auxiliary to battery useful for engineering captains; how you're going to change Starship Subsystem Repair to make it relevant in pvp IF IT HAS ANY RELEVANCE AT ALL TO PVP. We want to know how you are going to make the other 5 weapons types procs more attractive so 90% of the pvp population isn't just running phasers and things like this. While you're waiting on software we could be discussing these issues on a weekly basis and using this time wisely. Just my two cents.

-Captain Glitch-
I'm talking about the relevant topics at the moment, what you want information about isn't really relevant at the moment. None of the things you mention are important at this particular stage of the process.

Balance is a issue... yes.. It will be addressed, are we addressing it now? No.

Perhaps none of the powers you think have issues will even be usable in PvP, perhaps all of them will and we will have to take a look at them at some point. It's too early to make that call so I won't be talking about them.

No changes to powers or balance will matter if the framework of the system isn't fun to begin with. That's where we are right now.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 24
06-08-2012, 03:22 PM
The frame work was fun. It wasn't perfect by any means but neglect let it fall apart. Now balance is going to continue to be ignored while the system is rebuilt from the ground up (or whatever you guys have planned). Obviously it doesn't make sense to spend time addressing existing issues if the frame work is going to be so drastically different. It's just too bad it was allowed to get so run down.

I'm glad to hear that you guys do play on your personal accounts. I hope some of their up time is spent doing PvP. It might not hurt to see your Cryptic accounts involved but I suppose I can understand not wanting to be so exposed.

Weekly or monthly, I'm indifferent. Substance would be nice whatever the frequency.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 25
06-08-2012, 03:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptic_Gozer

No changes to powers or balance will matter if the framework of the system isn't fun to begin with. That's where we are right now.
A loooooooot of people would say the opposite.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 26
06-08-2012, 03:50 PM
I could go for a goal setting and reaffirmation post on Monday morning with Friday being a review of that weeks progress Whatever that information is put it out there. If people want to read it once a month fantastic it will be there for them. Daily updates would be superfluous but not unheard of in situations of this nature. But I think we can let you squeak past with the twice weekly posts.

Looking forward to that Monday goal setting post!!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 27
06-08-2012, 04:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldo-Raine
A loooooooot of people would say the opposite.
If they're really rebuilding the combat system from the ground up then it's really not worth the effort to fix what's currently here, so I think that people will agree it's the right call to make.

We'll have to see what the new system looks like before we jump to conclusions about it as well, and if I'm understanding correctly, it's still in the planning stages at this point.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 28
06-08-2012, 04:43 PM
I genuinly look forward to the weekly updates, and while i can see the potential of monthly ones, it would give the impression mothing was happening to those new to the forums. Besides, its nice to look forward to a little bundle of potential information each week.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 29
06-08-2012, 05:12 PM
Quote:
I havenít made much PvP progress this week because Iím at a point right now in the process where Iím waiting on a little bit of software support. I have a couple of maps ready to test some of the new back end engine features, but the new ďScoreboardsĒ are not fully ready yet. The scoreboards tell the players lots of information about the match that is in progress. Some of the information is vital to the gameplay, and without it, testing the maps are somewhat pointless. They are not ready yet because the old scoreboards are all looking at a specific place for the relevant data, however the relevant data is coming from a new location now. There is also much more relevant data to track, but it just hasnít been hooked up yet.
There's a lot to test when it comes to new maps. While we can't test the new software related things, surely we could get onto the maps on the test servers and see if they're balanced if they're not mirrors of each other.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 30
06-08-2012, 05:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptic_Gozer
I'm talking about the relevant topics at the moment, what you want information about isn't really relevant at the moment. None of the things you mention are important at this particular stage of the process.

Balance is a issue... yes.. It will be addressed, are we addressing it now? No.

Perhaps none of the powers you think have issues will even be usable in PvP, perhaps all of them will and we will have to take a look at them at some point. It's too early to make that call so I won't be talking about them.

No changes to powers or balance will matter if the framework of the system isn't fun to begin with. That's where we are right now.

Fair enough. I appreciate your response. YOU REALLY DO CARE! Imma get you a Christmas Card. No lump of coal for one VERY SPECIAL GAME DESIGNER at Cryptic THIS YEAR!!
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