Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 232
We're all used to it.
The classic MMO-Trinity of Tank, Healer and DPS.
The might warrior, deflecting blows with his shield; the noble cleric, invoking the power of the gods; and the lofty mages and sneaky rogues, slinging spells or backstabbing to kill the opposing forces.

While this works in a fantasy setting, it leaves quite a couple questionmarks when applied to a SciFi space battle.

"Wait, I'm sending over my crew to repair the other ship's hull ... in the mid of battle? Without a drydock? While that ship is getting shot at?"
"Wait, my green magic beam can weld close the breaches on that other ship ... while its shields are up ... and preventing the enemy's beams from making more holes?"
"Wait, I can remote-control my ally's shields, redirect their facing, and change their polarity?"
"All that while the enemy can't use the same to actually KILL them?"

It's also highly un-canon. Imagine the Battle of Worf 359 with healing abilities:
40 ships focusing their magic green and blue beams on the U.S.S. Saratoga, turning it into an indestructible fortress.
The Borg would have given up in frustration and went home.

It also does have quite tangible drawbacks in terms of gameplay and gamebalance, and since these are a lot more objective to argue than immersion, canon or suspension of disbelief, I'll use that line:

#1 Healers make forming groups harder
Most gamers see the healing role as un-fun.
This is easily visible in any game that offers PvE-queus based on roles - healers get instant pops, while dps often sit in the same queue for half an hour or more ... waiting for ... a healer!
And indeed, there's little more frustrating things in gaming than baby-sitting a bunch of strangers who seem hell-bend on getting themselves and everyone around them killed, rushing from battle to battle without regard for others. Even those people who actually enjoy healing will try hard to avoid random groups and instead stick with groups of friends and guildies that can offer coordinated runs.
And there aren't many people who enjoy it in the first place. Most gamers want to be the hero, charging ahead, doing battle - not be babysitting the heroes from the back. Healers are the one thing most guilds in any game are always looking for. They simply are rare.
Good ones even more.
Forming groups becomes less an issue of running with people you like, or with people that are available - than an issue of having a good healer.
Not that that'd make them more apreciated in general, though - they're still the guys and gals hanging back while the heroes go to battle.

#2 Healers make the balancing of content harder
With healers, you have basically two choices as a game-designer:
a) Make healers mandatory, and healing challenging. This leads to healers being the bottleneck for every group activity, and it makes any group activity without a good healer either impossible to do, or at least extremely tedious.
b) Make healers an extra, or healing easy. This leads to groups with a healer/good healer having the content turn into super-easy-mode, no matter how hard it was intended to be.
... well, in theory there's c) Make healers ineffective and tedious. But of course that's not really an option.

This is even more true for PvP!
The group with better healing will usually win, unless it's so overstacked with healers that it lacks the capacity to kill anything.
This turns most non-organized PvP into a frustrating experience, and more often than not a battle is already decided with the queue. More like rolling a die to see if you end up on the right side of a battle, than a test of skills.
In organized PvP, healers allow for a lot of strategic options, I'll not deny that - but it also makes for long, drawn-out engagement focused on healer-control and denial of healing, of burst-dps against isolated focus-targets between long streches of ineffective shoot-outs without casualities or effect.
Battles of attrition.

#3 Healers limit playstyle options and force people into roles
This is basic game-theory.
Having someone that can heal others leads to the need of having someone who can be healed efficiently. It leads to needing this person to take as much of the incoming damage as possible.
-> Leads to the role of tank.
With the tank in place, the need for survivability on all other group members is reduced, often to a point of uselessness. All that counts are maximised killing potential, or enough utility to offset some of this and instead aid the other group member's killing potential by more than is lost.
-> Leads to the roles of DPS, and - if the game allows - CC/Mezzer.

But since survivability is still an issue for solo-content as well as PvP, game-balance dictates that this trait has to come at a cost to either dps or utility. What could be a fun class to play solo as jack-of-all-traits-master-of-none suddenly becomes a useful-at-nothing-sucky-at-everything in group content.
Specialization and indeed over-specialization become forced necessities.


So, what's the alternative?
Easy: Self-sufficiency and different playstyles.
In fact, we already pretty much have this in STO:
- Cruisers can repair (*see below for a disctinction between repair and heal) themselves against incoming damage while defeating their opponents with sustained dps.
- Escorts can use burst-dps strikes to quickly take out key targets, and have just enough self-repair ability to run from retaliation.
- Birds-of-prey take this even a step further, striking from cloak and disapearing again completely.
- Sci-ships can disable the opponents, preventing damage to themselves and their allies and weaken them for easier kills, again with just enough self-repair ability to survive.
All ships also have some basic abilities to prevent or reduce damage to them.
Different playstyles, different strategies, self-sufficiency.

Doesn't that harm teamplay?
The answer is No.
It just sets up a different trinity, that of Burst-DPS, Tank and CC/Mezz - but this one has the advantage that hybrid roles are neither necessarily over- nor underpowered. Tank, Burst and CC can be traded inbetween without harming the overall group effectiveness.
But it still leaves a lot of room for actual teamplay: focusing targets, smart use of CC, smart use of CC-prevention, positioning. You'll still have to watch out for what you team is doing to maximize your effectivness. You'll still have to watch out for what the enemy is doing to prevent getting focused or disabled.
You actually DO have to watch out. You can't rely on someone else doing it for you, nor does any single player get forced to be responsible for everyone else. Gameplay gets more intense and immersive for everyone.

What do you mean by Repair vs. Heal?
Not every form of healing is necessarily bad.
Repairing damage to yourself in combat is as effective and desireable an ability than preventing that damage.
Out-of-combat repairs allow for shorter downtimes and a more fluid game experience.
Using "Repair" and "Heal" is simply easier than saying "unproblematic heals" and "potentially unbalancing or gamebreaking heals".

What would need to change?
Good question, and basically the key question. Any change that requires too much effort to implement ... won't be implemented.
Fortunately, this one is relatively easy to do.

1. Make all heals and heal-like abilities self-cast-only. HE, Aux2SIF, TSS, ET, ST, TT, RSP, you name it.
2. Revamp Extend Shields to a damage-prevention buff (which it basically already is, just with a slightly too strong heal compontent. Put it on a long'ish cooldown (~2min, but that's a guess, subject to actual balance testing) and make it make the user more vulnerable for the duration. This last part could be countered with Active Duty DOffs.
3. Add automatic shield rebalancing to Engineering and Science Teams, then rebalance the secondary components (damage increase for TT, hull repair for ET, shield repair for ST). This gives each type of ship the necessary self-reliance and actually opens up build paths for diversity.
4. Add an out-of-combat Repair-HoT as a general captain ability, cast-able of yourself while powering down, or on a powered-down ally (in game terms: target and caster need to be out-of-combat and withing a short range, while not moving at full-impulse or using other abilities). This would be necessary to keep the pace of gameplay interesting.
... Done!

Not much effort involved except for some weeks of testing on Tribble.

What are you tryinging to achive by doing this?
Even better question, that's why I'm closing with this one.

1. Allow PvE content to move away from one-shot-kill abilities by NPC. Currently, those one-shot-kills are the only real balancing factor in eSTF and Fleet content, all that's left from stopping a well-organized group from facerolling through content. With cross-healing eliminated, STO could get rid of this highly unfun and unfair mechanic and back to more sustained threats.

2. Make PvP more attractive.
Currently, a well-organized groups will simply roll over any PUG, no matter the individual skills. And even PUG vs. PUG is decided as soon as teams are set. This turns away many potential players, and even makes it a long-term chore to set up any new team to actively compete against the established ones - requiring an amount of dedication few players are willing or able to endure.
These changes would considerably level the playing field.

3. Allow for more individually challenging end-game content.
Content that would require dedicated team setups always limits the portion of the playerbase that can attempt such content. Half of the challenge, if not more, is to actually assemble a group of dedicated roles.
Getting rid of roles and replacing them by self-reliance with different styles gets rid of this pre-game hurdle, and allows people to simply team up with others based on individual abilities, not based on the role they are able to fill.
No "Sorry, we already have a Sci", no "Sorry, we can't use another Cruiser".
Instead a "Yes, sure, come along, we know you can play your ship".


Okay, wall of text is over.
Ideas? Comments?
Did I miss something important that would invalidate the whole idea?
I'll be keeping track of important arguments in the next post, for ease of following the thread and to prevent repetition (if it doesn't simply sink to the bottom, that is).
Thank you for reading.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 232
# 2
10-17-2012, 10:03 AM
<reserved>

Updates, Comments and Arguments will go here.

<reserved>
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,714
# 3
10-17-2012, 10:35 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by flekh View Post
Did I miss something important that would invalidate the whole idea?
Yeah, you forgot two major things, in order of importance:

1) This is an MMO. You're supposed to interact with each other every now and then. In fact, ships are currently so much self healers/tankers already (have a look at recent cruiser vs. escort threads), that nobody really needs external healing/tanking any more as it is (except maybe for the small niche that is PvP). This already 'breaks' the game where escorts don't really need to rely on cruisers for support any more, for one. Your suggestions only make it WORSE.

2) They already put the kaibash on spider-tanking with the recent "Emergency Power to Shields has been added to the cooldown category shared by Extend Shields and Reverse Shield Polarity" nerf.

/thread.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 232
# 4
10-17-2012, 10:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by meimeitoo View Post
Yeah, you forgot two major things, in order of importance:

1) This is an MMO. You're supposed to interact with each other every now and then. In fact, ships are currently so much self healers/tankers already (have a look at recent cruiser vs. escort threads), that nobody really needs external healing/tanking any more as it is (except maybe for the small niche that is PvP). This already 'breaks' the game where escorts don't really need to rely on cruisers for support any more, for one. Your suggestions only make it WORSE.

2) They already put the kaibash on spider-tanking with the recent "Emergency Power to Shields has been added to the cooldown category shared by Extend Shields and Reverse Shield Polarity" nerf.

/thread.
#1A: The reason that Escorts don't need Cruisers much as tanks is actually just what I'm proposing to eliminate: cross-healing.
Without cross-healing, Escorts go *boom*, they can't tank forever.

#1B: You'd still interacting with others, just as much as now. Interactions would use actual TALK though, coordinating responsibilities, assigning targets. Not simply clicking a health-bar and pressing a button.
Personally I actually find it a bit ... quaint ... that you even categorize this as "interaction".

#2: The nerf that will be undone in the next patch?
You mean that one?
The nerf that was very shortsighted and didn't really help the problem?
Really, that one?
I'll admit, this idea tries to combat the problem that actually spawned that nerf - is that a bad thing these days, to actually eliminate the root problem?
Please get rid of (cross-)Healing in space
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 437
# 5
10-17-2012, 11:23 AM
Um.

I do not agree at all.

That would be a bad mistake.

But I am not worried, as no one in Cryptic or PWE would find this to be a good idea. No matter how many walls of text you throw up.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,714
# 6
10-17-2012, 11:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by flekh View Post
#1A: The reason that Escorts don't need Cruisers much as tanks is actually just what I'm proposing to eliminate: cross-healing.
Without cross-healing, Escorts go *boom*, they can't tank forever.
No. Escorts are currently basically everything: DD + self-sufficient tank. An escort can basically tank so well, it doesn't really need anyone else. Heck, we got to wave 6 in No Win today, and I *still* didn't have a scratch on my Mobius escort! (With not even a single field gen or anything loaded; it was almost embarrassing). And apart from wicked shield-tank, escorts DPS-tank too, of course (= kill every foe so fast they can't even do real harm).

In EVE, for instance, big battleship can do more DPS, but are less accurate against smaller targets; and smaller frigates, in turn, do less DPS, but hit very precisely. Thus (amongst other reasons) teams become dependent on each other's ships to get the job done. STO, basically a dummied-down EVE variant, lets every ship use the same weapons, which all do equal DPS, and all with the same accuracy. Hence, escorts can pretty much do it all, and all by themselves.

If anything, we want to break this trent. Like make it so cruisers can fulfill their innate purpose of healer (and actually be needed in that role). Last thing we want is take away people's dependency on each other! We ere want to promote it.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,279
# 7
10-17-2012, 12:03 PM
I ran a full tactical Elite STF the other night.

No healing took place, every enemy died screaming and in fear.


The trinity system is nice but that's really all it is. no need to change it as it's not actually a requirement.
Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,757
# 8
10-17-2012, 12:07 PM
The Borg trinity has been nerfed, TT is next and the BFI DOffs most likely.

The days of the invincible Escort are numbered and then only the true P2W escorts will be king, all others will be back to being made of paper.

Why? becuase Escorts in and of themselves do not tank well by design since they have the least Engineering and Science slots but they can tank very well when using TT, Borg trinity equipment, DOffs and cycling certain Tac powers.
Once that cycle is changed then the tank leaves and the only way escorts have to survive in focus fire is the speed bonus and killing the target before it can kill back.
Roy Hatch (stryker) soldier, friend, and good man.
1945-2014
RIP
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 232
# 9
10-17-2012, 12:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by meimeitoo View Post
No. Escorts are currently basically everything: DD + self-sufficient tank. An escort can basically tank so well, it doesn't really need anyone else. Heck, we got to wave 6 in No Win today, and I *still* didn't have a scratch on my Mobius escort! (With not even a single field gen or anything loaded; it was almost embarrassing). And apart from wicked shield-tank, escorts DPS-tank too, of course (= kill every foe so fast they can't even do real harm).
Ummm ... how about you try eSTF for a change?
Go tank Donatra in an Escort without getting cross-healed.
Or try a Gateway.
Then come back.

Or maybe PvP?
Some foucs fire from three opponents?
A Cruiser can do that - an Escort without crosss-healing? *BOOM*!

Uhhh, and Mobius ... you DO know that "Destroyer" means Escort/Cruiser hybrid, do you? Shield and Hull like a Cruiser, and just the minimum of Tac BOff slots. If you couldn't tank a couple ships in NWS, then you'd need to L2P real hard. That's not saying anything.

C'mon, at least get your basics straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meimeitoo View Post
In EVE, for instance, big battleship can do more DPS, but are less accurate against smaller targets; and smaller frigates, in turn, do less DPS, but hit very precisely. Thus (amongst other reasons) teams become dependent on each other's ships to get the job done. STO, basically a dummied-down EVE variant, lets every ship use the same weapons, which all do equal DPS, and all with the same accuracy. Hence, escorts can pretty much do it all, and all by themselves.
This isn't EVE. Not at all.
EVE is balanced around PVP, around corporations, around ships that cost fortunes and are actually GONE(!) when destroyed, around a player-driven universe with little PvE content.

STO is PvE-centric, with stories, episodes and events.
And it's meant to attract the casual crowd, the weekend-Kirks, not the hardcore PvPers.

You're really trying to compare these two? Seriously?

Quote:
Originally Posted by meimeitoo View Post
If anything, we want to break this trent. Like make it so cruisers can fulfill their innate purpose of healer (and actually be needed in that role).
What????????
Where did you get that idea?
The innate purpose of Cruisers is TANK!

The reason they're filling the healer role in current PvP is that you can't tank players, and that whoever is healing gets gunned at and focused - Cruisers, due to being tanks, can survive that. Sci-ships, which would actually be just as well suited as healers, if not more, can't - that's the sole reason.

And guess what the proposed idea does, among other things: Right, give the purpose of TANK back to cruisers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meimeitoo View Post
Last thing we want is take away people's dependency on each other! We ere want to promote it.
... Right.
Because games that actually do that are prospering, and .... WAIT!
The era of specialization-depenency is over. Was nice while it lasted.
You know why it is gone?
Because it required highly specialized, dependable, dedicated and SKILLED(!) players. That meant though that more than 95% of the playerbase never got to see the content.
We're in the era of casual MMOs now.

I don't particularily like it either, I actually enjoyed my elitist raiding guilds, enjoyed racing for first-kills, enjoyed the competition, enjoyed my share of high-end PvP ... but it's gone for now. If not for good.
And the idea of turning STO into such a game is ... just hilarious.
The only way to get challenging content into this game is by finding ways to offer it to the casual crowd, too. To even the most unskilled. To everyone.
And then add optionals, higher difficulty settings and better rewards for the hardcore crowd.
At which point ... oh, right, you'll suddenly have to depend on each other again. Such a surprise. Dependencies and Interaction are in no way related to the need of having a healer. That one is just a very special case, not the only way. And it's not a good one at that, either.
Please get rid of (cross-)Healing in space

Last edited by flekh; 10-17-2012 at 12:21 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 232
# 10
10-17-2012, 12:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitemepwe View Post
The Borg trinity has been nerfed, TT is next and the BFI DOffs most likely.

The days of the invincible Escort are numbered and then only the true P2W escorts will be king, all others will be back to being made of paper.

Why? becuase Escorts in and of themselves do not tank well by design since they have the least Engineering and Science slots but they can tank very well when using TT, Borg trinity equipment, DOffs and cycling certain Tac powers.
Once that cycle is changed then the tank leaves and the only way escorts have to survive in focus fire is the speed bonus and killing the target before it can kill back.
This is actually a pretty good description of the current state, yes.
Of course the current course also means that non-P2W Sci and Cruisers also get shafted, hard. They're as much paper as the Escorts if we go down this road.
Which leaves nothing but P2W, for offense as well as for defense.

There's one thing with P2W-games though: they don't last. They cannibalize their playerbase and die.
And while STO has the advantage of a heavy-weight IP, that's not going to stop it, just slow it down.
But let's not turn this into a doom and gloom thing, we got enough of those - this thread is meant as a way to revitalize this game, make it more accessible, and more enjoyable for the majority of the playerbase ... you know, the people who actually bring in the money.
The people who won't even get 20% of the performace out of their P2W beasts, and will still be weaker than a tricked-out F2P ship ... and will end up even more shafted than anyone else - and you can't sell P2W if you take away the "W".
Please get rid of (cross-)Healing in space
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