I have exhausted a great many words and phrases regarding the manner in which Cryptic has employed the cloaking device in STO. It has been awhile but as season 13.5 approaches and I still haven’t collected up my 1000th Lohlunat Prize Voucher, the time to revisit this is now.
We all know that there are two cloaking devices, the near useless standard cloak and the usable but dangerous battle cloak.
The standard cloak really has very little practical use. Ships so equipped do have an opportunity for an ambush attack by decloaking and firing on an enemy. The ‘ambush’ gives a generous boost to firepower for 15 seconds after decloak. That however will be the only ambush a ship with a standard cloak will get until they leave combat and recloak. A ship with a built-in cloaking device is one thing, but to take up a console slot for the Starfleet cloak on the defiant, is kind of silly.
I have written time and again that all cloaking devices should work like battle cloaking devices. This passes muster with any and all checks against Star Trek canon. If standard cloaks acted like battle cloaks then what would battle cloaks act like? One word: “Better”.
Right now when one chooses to engage the battle cloak whilst under fire, they run a severe chance of getting dusted as the shields drop and enemies still have shots headed towards the ship. Many npc enemies and especially savvy badass players can keep a lock on a cloaking ship. This ability to easily defeat the cloak has further neutered its place as a ‘usable’ device in the game. The standard cloak could be changed to work like the current battle cloak and the battle cloak could be revised to work better. The battle cloak could have a faster transition into the cloak, quicker decloak with a faster transition of power between cloak and decloak and vice versa. It should also offer a faster recharge time and superior stealth bonuses that would be MUCH harder to detect. The battle cloak could even offer a passive +20 to auxiliary power while engaged and perhaps a -10 to auxiliary power while not engaged.
In Star Trek canon, the cloaking device is NOT easy to detect. Think about it, the ship cannot fire weapons and has no shields. It is extremely vulnerable and yet in STO it is so easy for so many players to spot. Of course Cryptic still hasn’t fixed the multiple glitches whereby a dialog box decloaks your ship. It has become a bit of a joke.
Torpedo spread should be able to fire within say 2 seconds after the target cloaks so as to be usable against a ship that is cloaking. The torpedoes would detonate at point the targeting computer calculates the ship should be when the torpedoes arrive. Of course a quality pilot would change direction right after engaging the cloak, but torpedo spread is an area of effect attack so the ship would still be quite vulnerable. This idea is also quite secure in Star Trek canon. Also a successful spread attack against a cloaked ship could have a 20 or 25% chance to decloak the ship. This would allow the boffins at Cryptic to make the cloak very hard to detect but still defeatable by some attacks. The special emission seeking torpedo attack that seeks a cloaked ship needs to be MUCH stronger as well since it takes forever for that little torpedo to actually find the ship!
I think only science ships should be able to ‘quickly’ detect a cloaked ship and only with super high aux power settings and all the appropriate science gear and skills. That written, it should still be kind of challenging even for the science ships. I think science ships should also be able to do some secondary deflector abilities while their standard or battle cloak is engaged. Others should have to make a serious effort to find and it should have a hard check roll. You know, like you have to roll a twenty! Many of the abilities that decloak ships should no longer do so. Eject plasma, charged particle burst should still reveal cloaked ships. Others need serious review and those that can defeat the cloak should have a strong check roll to disable.
Since every single Romulan ship including the epic Scimitar variants have a battle cloak, it would be wise to make the larger ships suffer a passive hit to stealth while under the effects of the cloak.
Some may argue that the cloak in STO is fine, but I have run numerous tests including an all Romulan crew on the T’Varo retrofit with auxillary running at 125%, three stealth consoles at Mk XIV purple and a full load of science skills and abilities in play; some NPC enemies can defeat the cloak and MANY PVP players can rather easily defeat it.
I’ll admit that I often play stealthy characters in D&D based games so I have a soft spot in my heart for this play style. It seems that the nerf patrol at Cryptic hates sneaky characters so stealth is near useless in STO; yet in nearly all successful RPG environments the stealth character is an important part of the game mechanics. Sneaky rogues unlocking doors and stealing needed items undetected. Not in STO, how cool would it be to be able to shut down those annoying gateways in the various PVE missions while under the cloak. As it is now, if your ship is some much as scratched while trying to close the portal it starts over. STUPID! Of course you cannot close a portal while cloaked either, shit you can’t even communicate while under cloak. Seriously CRYPTIC did not even one of you ever watch the freaking show? STO has so nerfed stealth that it is essentially not a playable style and is barely usable at all. This includes using stealth on the ground, but that is a whole ‘nuther post.