The Boffins are on the move again

I mentioned last week that Cryptic and Perfect World have announced that some significant revisions to the space combat system are coming. The theory being that they want people to utilize more of the different types of weapons, and systems rather than everyone following the leader like a mindless lemming.

Here is a quote from the ARC Games site regarding the new “Balance” changes to gameplay.

“The goals boil down to these:

  • Increase the fun – Games are about having fun, and players should not be made to feel that their fun is “wrong.”
  • Player investment retains value – While things need to be adjusted, a setup that was optimized before should still be useful and effective afterwards.
  • Choices should be meaningful – Anywhere the game gives you a choice, there should be no choice that you always take nor one you never take.”

Yes… like a lemming. So many players rush to Reddit to see how the divine masters of DPS death and wanton destruction do it so effortlessly. Beams this, Tactical that, and so forth. I wrote a piece about beams versus cannons a while back that talked a bit about this and some of the myths and truths behind that debate. I also lamented the relatively weak damage of dual cannons in ‘Dual Cannon Conundrum’

They are talking about a variety of tweaks, but I still want to see a major review of the space based weapons and have a much bigger divide between cannons and beams so each would be a much different experience. Neither be better but rather each being VERY different. The blog post about the “balance” suggests significant changes are coming.

One change they have announced is that Carrier Pets are getting a new AI rewrite and many of my complaints about pets may be eliminated if they get it right. Wow another of my “Top Ten Total BS Peeves” could evaporate. They partially fixed the problem where an unsolicited dialog box breaks cloak last year, now Carrier Pets are getting better.

Here is the quote on pets:

“Carrier Pets are getting some significant changes that should make them feel much more useful in space combat. All Carrier Pets:

  • Have received updated AI to be more responsive.
  • Are immune to one torpedo every 30 seconds.
  • Are unaffected by Warp Core Breaches.
  • Receive a health and damage increase. Carrier Pets that already have Scratch the Paint have received a few other buffs to account for this.”

This looks very promising indeed. They also had this to say about weapon power levels and the effects on weapon damage:

“The equation used to determine how weapons power influences your damage has been changed to a higher benefit at low power levels than before, and the same benefit as before at 100 weapons power, and slightly less while above.”

I am not sure I am on board with this one. They are nerfing the weapon battery attack here in favor of a more communistic approach to puff up low power levels. Although it might make flying a science ship more effective in combat, so I’ll let the jury decide after the changes launch.

OK, so now I am going to just hypothesize some ideas here. Really I am in dreamland. I have NO IDEA what exactly is coming, just the basic overview that everyone else has seen on the official releases.

Here is what I would really like to see on weapons:

The beam weapons have little to no falloff all the way out to the 10 km max range. Maybe just a 10% total drop in output at that 10 km distance. Dual beams would get a 40% boost to damage but draw more weapon power than they do now same soft 10% or so drop over 10 km. Then as a counter dual cannon weapons would still have a range of 10 km but they would hit 100% harder than they do now up to 2 km with a larger drop in power per kilometer beyond 2 km. Falling all the way to around 25% at 10 km. They would also draw more weapon power than they do now. This would make dual cannon weapons monstrously powerful in closer than 5 km and nearly useless beyond 8 km. Single cannon weapons could be similar to duals but with 50% more base power than current and a smaller drop per kilometer starting at 2 km. They could also have an accuracy buff for cannons under 5 km and an accuracy debuff to beams under 5 km. We could have two VERY different styles of play to consider as each weapon type would be vastly different in practical use and single cannons would sort of bridge over the gap between the two extremes. I would also make turrets a little better at range than other cannons. I am sure the boffins can figure out the best variance, but I think I am on to something here.

Of course this blog is incomplete without the obligatory chart, right? I threw this together using information I have on the current system of weapon damage and then added my proposal for a change in weapon damage output. The ‘current’ values are based on the numbers from the STO Wiki page on space weapons. I am not certain where the ‘base’ value came from but it is correct in its relative difference between the types when modifiers are stripped away. So it is accurate.  I used both the DPV (Damage per Volley) and DPS (Damage per Second).  After all these changes are implemented we may have to completely revise how we look at space combat and that is exactly what STO is trying to accomplish based on the goal statement quoted above.

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2 thoughts on “The Boffins are on the move again

  1. I think your ideas have some merit, but i don’t see this happen for duals: even with that huge drop off they are stronger at 10km than they are now. No way they buff that dmg so heavily. maybe you should add the numbers when you have “long range targetting sensors” skilled.
    Reading the skill description and comparing to your numbers for “current” I am not sure if they are correct. you got 80% for beams which would be the dropoff icluding long range sensors. and 35% for DHCs which would be much lower than written in the skilltext.
    also skill mentions no dropoff for all energy weapons under 2km but your beams current have dropoff above 1km

    1. You are correct they are stronger on my proposed but remember they would still be the weakest at 10km of ALL weps except 360 degree turrets and they only have a 45 degree spread. And long range sensors work for ALL weapons so that doesn’t make up for the cannon disadvantage. As for the “current” numbers I have a disclaimer in the article and I cited a source, so yes, could be wrong. The bottom line is that dual cannons are SEVERELY nerfed and this is why all the DPS oriented people tend to talk up beams. I think cannons should devastate up close and suck far away and beams should be solid at any distance. I also think that tractor beams should only get a lock at 5km rather than 10km.

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