How cool would it be if STO actually made a large distinction between the various energy and torpedo types? It would be really effing cool, that’s what. Right now the real difference between the various energy types lies primarily in the proc which is typically a 2.5% chance to do a special thing like random system failure, extra damage on crit, et al. The other notable but less significant difference lies in the opponents passive resistance to certain energy and or passive vulnerability.
But I would love to see in some future update more compelling differences. For example: what if transphasic torpedoes did a little less dps but had 100% shield penetration like they did in Star Trek canon. Some ships might have a console that negates some of that penetration. Ships with strong hull and good kinetic resistance would be fine but weak hull and soft resistance could make a transphasic torpedo attack a frightening prospect rather than the laughable joke they are now. Maybe plasma fires in addition to the DOT could create a loss of damage resistance to the hull on that shield facing where the fire started for the duration of the DOT. Maybe disruptors would have a bonus against exposed hull. Perhaps tetryon would also gain a bonus to shield resistances.
As it is now there really is not that much difference between the various energy types and I have already discussed the problem with torpedoes not named “photon” or “quantum”. Cryptic could really blow the game wide open by creating a greater difference between these various weapons forcing players to choose not only a strength to pursue but a weakness to defend. Science ships might have some passive abilities to boost global resistance so as to not end up on the bad end of someone’s torpedo sandwich all the time.
I am convinced there are some who use loopholes and cheats to make their ships disproportionately super strong but I also know that there are many others who are just awesome at building characters and ships for maximum efficiency in a particular play style. To those I do tip my cap. The way the game is now these guys have a juggernaut status but making the different weapon types severely different could eliminate their cold-blooded advantage. How you ask? They would not be able to have such a broad, almost universal superiority over players like me who are well above average builders but way out of our league when challenging the likes of them. I think PVP would become more universally accepted under these circumstances as even a weaker player might be able to get a few kills in because they happen to be loaded for bear with the weapons that expose a vulnerability in the juggernaut’s design. Actually having to equip our ships with setups for different enemies is not so bad either. We have the loadouts after all.
Another way to add a little drama to the different weapon type is to leave them be but change the consoles. Right now a Mk XII Dirburnium Hull Plating console in purple (very rare) offers up +40 resistance to Phaser and Disruptor damage. A Mk XII Neutronium Alloy console gives +20 to all energy damage. Now at first glance it seems like the decision to focus on resistance to two types rather than all is twice as good. Think again, in practical application the difference in phaser and disruptor damage soaking on an otherwise well equipped ship and captain will look something like this:
It is a bit complicated and depends on how much resistance your captain has in his engineering skills, how many stacked consoles you have and so on. I feel like a captain willing to give up resistance in 4 of 6 basic energy types in order to have super strong resistance to the other two, ought to actually get super strong resistance. I would think 20 for res all against 80 for res “two” and 40 for res “four”.
I know there are gamers out there that will swear by one energy type over another and that is fine. These guys are generally splitting hairs on DPS and I recognize that even a five percent improvement is critical for those chasing DPS leader boards. So fair enough, but why not have a broader range of possibilities and some dangerous consequences lurking about? I also think that science officers ought to do way more exotic damage to compensate for their general lack of firepower and often weaker hulled ships. That’s another post 😉
I have always felt like STO had such a wide and dynamic spread of character building tools. Having all the different energy types and torpedo types, ship styles, and captain skills has led to a seemingly infinite number of ways to configure a ship and her captain. But there needs to be more separation in the weapons and ships. I’ll continue harping on this until the boffins at Cryptic fix it.
Right now the difference in the various energy types and such are noticeable but equally aesthetic variance to actual practical difference.
In the mean time, I’ll be finishing up that new ship on Risa 🙂