Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,400
There are a lot of reasons why we see powers put onto items (itemized), such as profitability & ease of incorporation onto builds (which is part of profitability) - I'm not really interested in that, debating that or debating "pay to win" here. Feel free to create a thread on it.


I'm interested in balance, and usability.

Balance & Usability: rely on a number of factors such as opportunity cost, power output, stack-ability and cool-downs compared to other items in its class.



Some other terms:

Itemized Powers:
Powers that are put onto an item, for example a console or a 3 piece set.

Force Multiplier: A force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence "multiplies") the effectiveness of an item or group. (It's often used by militaries, it's applicable to games like this).


Examples of Force Multipliers

Fire on my Mark, Sensor Scan, Subnucleonic Beam, Attack Pattern Beta/Delta, All "Fleet" abilities, Scattering Field, Generally any effective control power (Tractor beam, Eject Warp Plasma, etc).

Things that are not Force Multipliers

Attack Pattern Alpha, Rotate Shield Frequency, Nadion Inversion, Go Down Fighting.





I think itemized powers can add an interesting dimension to PvP, when they are both usable and balanced.


Where this game, very consistently, runs into problematic implementation with regards to balance in PvP is almost always (there are exceptions) when the power in question is a force multiplier as opposed to a passive stat boost or a direct damage power.


Some examples of console based stat boosts that grant an edge but are generally decently balanced and also usable:

Borg Assimilated Module
Nukara Particle Converter
Tachyokinetic Converter
Zero Point Energy Conduit

Some examples of console (or device) powers that are self-only boosts (utility or defense), damage boosts or damaging attacks, that run anywhere from weak, to usable, to occasionally over performing:

Photon Torpedo Point Defense System
Enhanced Plasma Manifold
Ablative Generator
Impulse Capacitance Cell
Subspace Jumper
Point Defense System


Some examples of console powers (or set powers) that are force multipliers are widely regarded as problematic or "cheap" (as in cheap tactics, not cost) and are often banned from tournaments or private pre-made matches due to their ability to be stacked, and dominate tactics at a macro level.

Theta Radiation Vents
Graviton Pulse Generator
Anti-matter Spread
Aceton Assimilators
Subspace Integrated Circuitry (the original version)
Temporal Inversion Field (not a console)





TL;DR:

Cryptic seems to be decent at balancing simple passive stat boost items.

Cryptic seems to be decent at balancing self-focused boosts/damage use powers.

Crytpic sometimes really misses the mark with force multipliers (SEE: Subspace Integrated Circuitry's original implementation), and these are often the most problematic items implemented. This also includes DOFFs and Hangar pets that are force multipliers, which is a different type of itemization.


Lastly, I encourage open debate and I enjoy when people have intelligent arguments that disagree with mine.

I request everyone to try their best to remain civil towards myself, each other and the developers (yes, they are people too).


Last edited by ussultimatum; 09-04-2013 at 01:24 PM.
Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,671
# 2
09-04-2013, 01:17 PM
i agree. most things creep gradually and evenly, but when they release force multipliers is always a horrifying mess. just adding them into the current meta tends to turn everything on its head, people who dont pvp have no business stating force multipliers.
Captain
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 3,553
# 3
09-04-2013, 01:23 PM
This is probably one of the better thought out posts I have seen on balance recently. And I approve and agree with much of it. But I honestly think that a lot of those... um... I guess "cheese" and "gimmicks" are the current terms for them, are there for players who want an instant I-win button (IE the subspace integration circuit in release... good freakin lord Cryptic) and don't seem to be aimed to maintain "balance" persay.
It is said the best weapon is one that is never fired. I disagree. The best weapon is one you only have to fire... once.
Tired of Wasting EC and Time trying to get Superior Romulan Operative BOffs? Here's a cheap and easy way to get them, with an almost 100% chance of success.
Why the Devs can't make PvE content harder.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,145
# 4
09-04-2013, 01:42 PM
Maybe these consoles should have team cooldowns, not as long as the base cooldown though. Like how duplicate boff abilities have global cooldowns, just that some of these consoles global should be for the whole team. Also AMS should activate global cd on subspace integration circuit and vise versa, I see these chained back to back a lot by whole teams.
Tala -KDF Tac- House of Beautiful Orions
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,400
# 5
09-04-2013, 01:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by marc8219 View Post
Maybe these consoles should have team cooldowns, not as long as the base cooldown though. Like how duplicate boff abilities have global cooldowns, just that some of these consoles global should be for the whole team. Also AMS should activate global cd on subspace integration circuit and vise versa, I see these chained back to back a lot by whole teams.
For the force multipliers, this could be a good step towards maintaining their usability while simultaneously improving their balance (cost opportunity) to an extent.

I think some of them are still a bit too dramatic in effect, but this is definitely a good idea.

Captain
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,673
# 6
09-04-2013, 01:59 PM
They will never implement team cool downs... its 1) a ton of work... 2) a source of epic QQ.

I would love to throw out a cute simple to implement fix... but there isn't one.

Frankly Cryptic has already messed this one up beyond a point that can be fixed with traditional means.

The only option for them to fix it in an honest way at this point is to completely overhaul pvp.

PvP needs to be broken off into its own gear setup.

For anyone that has played Guild Wars they know what I mean... Ships need a PvP paper doll... a doll that can only equip PvP gear... set bonuses need to be remoeved in general (or PvP specific ones added to -p gear)... weapons need to loose there purple / Fleet status... and simply be "mk XII - p" Weapons with the same number of modifiers for everyone... and the idea of dual weapons removed from PvP.

Until Cryptic goes down that road this games PvP system will be forever flawed and nothing more then a diversion for true pvpers... while they are away from other more serious games.

That may seem harsh... it is however just the way it is.
When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits ... kill the messenger.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 757
# 7
09-04-2013, 02:41 PM
I think the issue really boils down to stacking. Diminishing returns would really help out here.

If you throw one Sensor Scan onto a target, yay! Throw 3 on, and the poor guy is going to die from a single BO.
The first we heard of getting new PvP maps "soon" was in August of 2010. We're consistently told something will be coming with the "next" update. Absolutely nothing has come to PvP since launch.

I think it's finally time Cryptic stopped stringing us along, don't you?
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 880
# 8
09-04-2013, 03:29 PM
I approve of this thread.
Behold, The Jorf Guide
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 620
# 9
09-04-2013, 03:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoniosalieri View Post
They will never implement team cool downs... its 1) a ton of work... 2) a source of epic QQ.
3.they dont do pvp updates
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,400
# 10
09-05-2013, 10:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoniosalieri View Post
They will never implement team cool downs... its 1) a ton of work... 2) a source of epic QQ.
Well, I said it was a good idea but I didn't say that it would actually happen.


On the other hand things they could do that wouldn't take a ton of work:


1) Take extra precautions when creating itemized force multipliers, especially with regards to the magnitude & duration of debuffs.

2) Make sure item is flagged to be resisted by appropriate skills.

3) Make sure AoE Force Multiplier effects are within reason, as these have the most problematic potential (team buffs are generally a safer bet than AoE debuffs).



Take a look at all of the single target damage clickies they have created, take a look at all of the AoE Effect Debuffs they have created.


They always pour a bit too much into the AoE Force Multipliers, and they often pour too little into the damage effects.


They are cautious of overdoing the damage effects, but they tend to underestimate the AoE Debuffs/Force Multipliers.


I think some of this is a bias due to their history as a company, they have developed primarily PvE games and also because damage is generally a lot easier to balance than a force multiplier.

A force multiplier is hard to quantify in terms of impact.

Subnucleonic beam is arguably the most powerful captain skill in the game in PvP.

In PvE it's borderline irrelevant.

Even in some PvP matches, typically uncoordinated PUG matches, the true power of SNB goes largely unrealized because if your Force/Team does not capitalize on the buff strip, then nothing gets multiplied/magnified.

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