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Lieutenant
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 54
Tonight as I was cruising Kerrat in my B'rel, launching my usual clouds of glittering torpedoes and making a general nuisance of myself for the federation and its allies, the conversation, like it often does in the war zone, turned to the usual complaints of 'this' power being OP, or 'THAT' power being cheap... I am sure many of you know what I mean, both players and devs. The usual complaints.

however as the conversation evolved into a more rational look at the nature of how powers interact, and the consequences and vulnerabilities that players have to take into account when making these 'op' builds, It set me to looking back and trying to identify the exact time when things really jumped into the troubled lands and slippery slopes that have placed the game, and the community in the game, so deeply into this rut of tenuous (at best) balancing issues and constant complaints and observations and whinings.

I didn't actually expect it to go anywhere, but it was a nice subtext to my appearing from nowhere and sending a cloud of a hundred or so torpedoes into a mob of enemies then vanishing again to feverishly patch the craters in my hull. but then I did indeed have an a-HA! moment. looking back, I surprised myself that I actually did find a point in the history of this game where it all started. And it is a surprisingly clear and defined line that stood out like a thousand-candle light in the depth of a black cave. tac team.

More precisely, when tac team was changed to provide an automated shield balancing (and then changed to shield transferring) effect. here is how, why, and what I feel is a good way to fix it and in turn bring a WIDE number of features more in line with each other than they have been in nearly two years by simple association. (This is a LONG sucker. but read it. it's long for a reason. I am including my reasoning and offering a proof of concept experiment.)

here is what changing tac team did.

4x shields
4x shield heals
10x effectiveness of hull heals relative to damage
Resists compounded four times in effect as well. (10-80% bonus damage nullification on shields, which translates to up to 5x longer endurance, x4 from the facings being linked = 20 times the endurance!!)

-for a little proportional math. a ship with 1000 shield per facing
with tac team is now a solid shield of 4000. In effect the four facings are compressed into one (the single facing taking damage)
-80% resist means for every 100 damage that comes in only 20 actually apply to the shield hp making a facing last five times as long
-this translates to one facing having in effect 5000 health.
-combine the two, and you get 20000 health. from ONLY ONE MEASLY THOUSAND!

Shields have well over ten thousand per facing on even a weaksauce build. do the math.

In effect 10x hull heal effectiveness as well when proportioned against weapons, as while shields are up 10% of damage only gets through, not including additional hull resists which still reduce it further.

more proportional math-
-assume that heals and damage are proportionally balanced so 1000 damage/sec is paired exactly with 500 heal/sec. (think cannon rapid fire versus hazard emitters)
-when shields are not up, every 1000 damage is only 50% mitigated- ship goes boom pretty fast.
-when shields are up, only 10% (or 100 damage) registers per second as ship damage. hazards beats the snot out of the damage potential.
-say those shields have 10000 health on a facing. in ten seconds the shield is down and the ship is on its way to dying.
-with tac team, it is 40000 health, or 40 seconds to the ship being in a state of danger. (a large increase, but reasonable and still has a realistic threshold)
-with only resists (assuming max like before of 80%) it makes shields the equivalent of 50000 health. 50 seconds to the danger zone.(also creating a reasonable if slightly larger threshold)
-once again combine the two, and you have 200,000 (TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND) health. Or a timeframe of 200 seconds.

That is a jump from ten seconds, to 40 or 50 seconds (less than a minute) To three minutes and twenty seconds. Just to put a ship into the danger zone. Compare those timeframes with other potential powers and their cool downs, and how while they may be balanced when scaled to the potential danger zone of one minute, once it is then extended, said additional powers could be used a whopping THREE TIMES before the ship became in danger. And if -even one- of those are a large-scale style heal (think miracle worker) that is meant to be an emergency power that should only be available once in an encounter, that 'emergency' power can now be used multiple times before the ship enters its danger zone. This allows it to become a multiple use 'emergency' button and in effect now extends the ship life indefinitely unless an outside factor intervenes (IE; an additional ship or a sub nuc, etc)

And that is STILL not even taking into account shield heal abilities being made four times stronger as well!

Gentlemen I think this is the crux of the matter. and if you still doubt it, do a simple test with some friends. have an in fleet or private pvp with full teams and allow every power available. All of them. pay 2 win included. Everything except tac team. Even allowing the shield balance macro. after all it uses the base shield tansfer which is slower, and what the tac team ability should be adjusted to in my opinion. The test is proof of concept, repeatable with any build, any team combination, through any styles of play. Do it and see for yourself.

And for those who, in their mind, while reading, immediately thought "Like hell i am doing that!" ... you already proved my point, and don't need to do the test any more. you already recognise how your vulnerabilities change and know it will impact your survivability.

Ask any PVP team or individual why they wait for the sub nuc. which specific buff they want to get around, and they will easily tell you it is the absolute primary purpose to sub nuc to clear tac team as that is what creates the crucial window of attack (and why it is unhelpful in pve- almost no npc's use tac team, so there is nothing of worth to clear.)


My proposal is not a removal, nor a nerf, of tac team or the resists as they are. but a tweak that will keep the spirit of their intended purpose while allowing, quite literally, -everything- else to be brought closer in line. Reduce the speed that tac team pulls energy from the other facings to the one receiving damage to be the same pace of transfer as a manual adjustment.

Or, even better, tie it with eps skill and give it a variance of speed. It is a power transfer process after all. Make it affected by power transfer skill. with minimal skill point investment, make it say... 10% slower than the manual method. and when maxed out (yes using the diminishing returns mechanic) let it become 10 or 15% faster than the manual method.

Right now when a shield facing is hit, it pulls back more damage value than it received, in effect making damage heal/restore a facing rather than -actually- damaging it. It should be geared to maintain instead, and disconnected entirely from the amount of damage being received to open the possibility of the shield being damaged faster than restored. Even under this condition, it would keep tac team as an effective counter to sudden spike damages/alpha strikes. The shield facing, while no longer being immortal, will be made to still last longer than under un-buffed conditions. An alpha only lasts a few seconds, remember.

But in that few seconds, instead of the facing being left still at max health (because of the super-transfer mechanic) and rendering the alpha totally useless, the shield, while still likely up, will be weakened and at a reduced hp level. Probably red lined. And therefore opening the possibility for follow up. In addition to this it would add much more value to the idea of withering fire (constant dps) which right now is a futile gesture unless your opponent is outnumbered by 3-1 or more.

it still further adds credibility to additional options for cruiser pilots as it brings hull back into the picture to an extent, and adds value to the eps console as it now has a use other than maintaining weapon power after a beam overload (which honestly is the console's only use right now) and ALSO assists in tanking. This aspect increases the relevance of armor consoles and eps consoles- adding more possibilities and variety to ship builds without having to add new features or special equipment to the game.

In addition to this, modify resists as well to include all shield resist factors into the diminishing returns calculations, including procs such as the fleet adaptive shield. And modify the soft cap to be slightly lower. I am talking a small change here. like if the soft cap is at 80%, reduce it to 75 or 74%. Honestly this nerfhammer cycle has to stop. An adjustment like this looks tiny, but means a lot. Consider an increase of say... 100 dps. that is PER SECOND. during the course of a match that lasts say ten minutes (even that is on the short side) that translates to 60,000 (Sixty thousand) more damage.

In short, I believe that even if such a change wouldn't eradicate the problem, it would definitely be a monumental step in the right direction because for being such a small change, it has broad effects that reach across the board into, literally, -everything- related to combat damage and healing which is the absolute core of game balance. (balance being by definition the relation of the two- the capacity to kill compared to the capacity to stay alive)

What tis will do is change the requirement from having to completely deplete a targets entire shield before doing significant damage, to allowing the opportunity to 'blast through' at least partially while enemy shields can remain in part. This mitigates the 'zombie' tank build, which expands the list of viable builds, while still protecting against the one-pop quick kills that brought on the implementation of the facing fusing to begin with (and, ironically, the current need for powers and abilities being sold now to provide one-pop capability to counter the massive tanking and make use of the extreme narrow windows of opportunity that exist). Bringing Hull maintenance back into play instead of "shields down I'm dead" as it is now, and broadening the nature of role warfare and team play in the PVP setting.
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Post script; for those who made it through all that, thank you for the time. I realise it's a long one. but I sincerely hope this gets a lot of attention and people follow up by testing what I mean like I suggested. I really do think this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that are at the core of the issue, and, however it gets fixed, I see it as being very, very important to the betterement of the game balance situation.
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We are many. We are legion. We are the proud, the bad, the infinitely expendable.
We! Are RED SHIRTS!
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528th fleet

Last edited by espiritas; 10-02-2013 at 04:29 AM.
Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,522
# 2
10-02-2013, 11:09 AM
get rid of both the TT distribute and DHCs
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Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 620
# 3
10-02-2013, 11:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontdrunkimshoot View Post
get rid of both the TT distribute and DHCs
and add more invisible ewp or tractor beam mines or Danube pets .I mean those are way less worse than tac team and the evil heavy cannons
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 677
# 4
10-02-2013, 12:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainedna View Post
and add more invisible ewp or tractor beam mines or Danube pets .I mean those are way less worse than tac team and the evil heavy cannons
Actually, they are less problematic.

You seem to be confusing 'what personally annoys me' with 'it is unbalanced'.

Tac team benefits everyone who uses it. It's not aggravating to face because everyone is used to it, but eliminating the shield transfering would go leagues towards changing the game balance back towards relying on skill rather than pure dps.

Those other things are aggravating, but they are much less commonly used and contribute significantly less to the general state of imbalance.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 54
# 5
10-02-2013, 02:54 PM
In reply to removing the tt distribute entirely, that will actually cause a lot of problems. the game originally didn't have that as a part of the tt buff, and it made one-pops actually insanely easy. When a person has only one shield facing available it can be brought down on a single hit with a beam overload, and human reaction time is more often than not too slow to manually rebalance before the combined weapon volley of cannons and torpedoes (which are already coming in at the same time as the beam overload) and so an entire alpha basically goes directly to hull.

Also, I can already hear the counter that a macro is available so we're basically balancing already... yadda yadda, but it is something that a person has to basically code in themselves. which means they have to learn it on their own or find someone to give them the macro. now if the shield balance function was inline to the game and automatically tied to the 'fire all beams' keybind, then I could see tt rebalance being indeed removed because everyone would then have equal acess to the function. And the transfer rate could still be affected passively through eps skilling like I mentioned.

it was the reason they implemented the auto rebalance to begin with. Removing it again will just bring back the old problems and a whole slew of new balance issues. It would just send the pendulum from the current extreme to a new extreme. That's why I tend to say -small- changes. they are easier to implement, less likely to cause wild swings, and allows for fine tuning rather than wild swinging.
---------------
We are many. We are legion. We are the proud, the bad, the infinitely expendable.
We! Are RED SHIRTS!
...Tremble in thy footwear.
528th fleet

Last edited by espiritas; 10-02-2013 at 02:57 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 620
# 6
10-02-2013, 02:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by illcadia View Post
Actually, they are less problematic.

You seem to be confusing 'what personally annoys me' with 'it is unbalanced'.

Tac team benefits everyone who uses it. It's not aggravating to face because everyone is used to it, but eliminating the shield transfering would go leagues towards changing the game balance back towards relying on skill rather than pure dps.

Those other things are aggravating, but they are much less commonly used and contribute significantly less to the general state of imbalance.
it takes a lot of "skill" to stop a ship from moving/turning.

Since it takes so much "skill" to stop a ship from turning/using other shield facing it needs something similar.

1 graviton pulse and your team gets no skill.I guess that's how your version of skill works.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 54
# 7
10-02-2013, 03:02 PM
As for the comments of it just being annoying... you are missing the point. the combination of resists and tac team is giving ships twenty times their longevity, and that additional time to get a kill is what breaks the system because it extends a ships life beyond the cooldowns of ship powers by an extravagant margin. It makes ability management almost a moot boint as even long cooldown abilities are able to fully cycle and so it created a sense of perpetual life in a ship. This is what causes so many pvp matches to either be five minutes or three hours. (depending on balancing of ships and especially professions. Sub nuc is still the kill switch after all)

What I am proposing will in effect reduce that massive multiplier and so normalise a ships endurance more closely with the ability cooldowns and so widening the possible roles within combat.
---------------
We are many. We are legion. We are the proud, the bad, the infinitely expendable.
We! Are RED SHIRTS!
...Tremble in thy footwear.
528th fleet
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
# 8
10-02-2013, 03:04 PM
As far as balance of the game goes, I've found it to suddenly become "unbalanced" when premade-premades adapt team makeups/builds for hyper effectiveness. That is not always the case, but it seems that's were most of the problems lie.
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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 217
# 9
10-10-2013, 08:42 PM
There are so many ways to get around tac team one timed cannon rapid fires simple enough go 1vs1 yoda he will show you how that works. Beams 1vs1 my beam ships i will show you how you do it with beams. Subnuke that gets around everything! when using torps well timed beam overload boom boom. Just bipss their shields all together aka bleedthrough builds!

How many of you ever fought someone that didn't use tac team they last a whole 5 seconds also go into a stf no tac team you die!
Captain
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 734
# 10
10-25-2013, 12:54 AM
I remember when I first got into the game, shortly after free to play. I went into kerrat with my "leet" tank cruiser with an engineer captain, nothing is supposed to tank better than that, right? I believe I had recently, proudly, created a hull tanking build with polarize hull and hazard emitters and engineering team 3 to combat those damned annoying cubes with their shield stripping.

I came across a lone gurumba that proceeded to blow me straight to hell without taking a scratch from me. Wash, rinse, and repeat this a few times, and I finally gave up on actually trying to stay alive -frantically- and simply watch what the gurumba's buffs were. It was on this day... I found it, the holy grail of staying alive... TAC TEAM! From that moment on, I actually stood a chance of staying alive. In fact, I got quite good at it... unfortunately, the mechanics of this game made it so that I could tank 5 escorts but couldn't dent a single one of them either.

On one hand, I agree that tac team distribution is incredibly problematic because, for the 10 seconds it is active out of 15, one must essentially chew through your entire shield grid, not just a facing, to get to the chewy center of your tootsie pop. However... remove tac team against those uber scorts with ridiculous DPS that comes in massive, incredibly frequent spikes, and everyone is going to be dying every two seconds. I know some people seem to like this "quick match" mechanic where everyone is popping left and right.. I don't.

I personally prefer the combat one finds in star trek games like bridge commander. The battles took a little bit, you turned to give your target a better shield facing while also trying to stay on their bad shield facing, there was strategy involved and timing... sto requires far too much micromanagement of a whole slew of abilities, and it is not terribly difficult to have such ridiculous damage from stacked attack pattern omega with cannon rapid fire with torp spread/high yield coupled with whatever captain abilities, not to mention potential force multipliers like fire on my mark and attack pattern beta, etc, etc, and essentially, without tac team, most everyone goes boom.

You can see that I just opened a thread asking about how to tank without tac team, and largely the responses have been... well, expected. Sure, they could tank elite stf's, but it's really not THAT hard, tac team can certainly make it easier, but one can get by without it... in pvp, however... lol. If I notice someone doesn't have tac team, they are going to be my primary target all match long, as soon as they come back, that's our target.

If we remove shield distribution from tac team or even nerf it down to manual levels or even slightly higher than manual levels, escorts will be blowing through everyone in two seconds flat... they have a tendency to do that even with tac team in the mix. The devs would have to nerf all of the weapons... or perhaps all of the skills to not be such massive buffs, and I really don't think they're willing to do all that work.

Of course, a cruiser might actually stand a chance of killing an escort once tac team's distribution was taken out of the mix.. but even then, my mind's eye just sees explosions everywhere in this brave new world you propose.
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