There's been a lot of hubbub about the Tribble changes to the cooldown lockout between Tactical Team, Science Team, and Engineering Team, and I wanted to come give you a rundown of what the change accomplishes and why we chose to do it.
There were multiple reasons to remove this shared cooldown:
- Certain team powers were rarely getting use due to perceived or real mandatory nature of other team powers - Engineering Team suffered the most here, while Science Team was in-use but played a significant "second fiddle" to Tactical Team
- Dispel-type abilities are timing-sensitive in nature, but holding off using non-dispel powers so that a dispel would be available when a debuff is applied is unsatisfying gameplay if the debuff never comes or gets put on someone else
- Similarly, needing to use Tactical Team to survive meant Science or Engineering debuffs applied by Voth or Borg were extra frustrating due to feeling like the player made the best choice they could (surviving) but still being punished (not being able to use the dispel they have equipped and hadnt used)
- The shared lockout itself was based on an old paradigm of design within the game that has since been moved away from. It was entirely thematic in its nature the Teams were already busy and not mechanical the effects are too powerful together justification.
- The combination of parts 1 and 4 meant that Engineering powers (Emergency Power to Shields) were the most frequent Shield heals, and Science powers (Hazard Emitters) were the most frequent Hull heals. This is contrary to the desired niches of the abilities.
- Engineering Ensign and Science stations were far less desirable than intended due to Science Team and Engineering Team being on CD when Tactical Team was used. This was discussed back when the DDeridex was created and again now when we relaunched the Galaxy.
- Giving players the choice of burst effectiveness but longer gaps in effectiveness (All 3 team powers on 30 second CDs rather than rotating a Team every 15 seconds) is interesting gameplay - deciding whether to mete out my heals over time or blow them all at once determines how vulnerable I am/how many cards I still have in my hand over the next 15 seconds.
"This is disruptive to current meta-game is this intentional? Is this good?"
Its definitely intentional. We want players to be able to use Engineering Team and Science Team, but we recognize the importance of Tactical Team in the currently widespread gameplay pattern adopted by many players. We want to make Tactical Team less mandatory over time (and in fact think the power itself is quite overloaded in terms of what it does), but bringing Tac Teams effectiveness down substantially would be more disruptive than allowing players to use Sci and Eng Team in conjunction with Tac Team. Were also hopeful that players will now be more willing to use Science and Engineering Teams on allied players once this change is made, since they wont have to make as much of a choice between selfishness and selflessness as they did before.
The metagame in general is dominated by choices that are too good compared to the other choices available. This leaves players dissatisfied with false choice. For instance, Beam Fire at Will is ostensibly an AoE power, but deals more damage to a single-target than normal Beam Fire does. Conversely, Beam Overload is a single-target damage power, but actually lowers the users medium-term DPS despite providing burst due to its more-than-substantial power drain, and due to competing with Fire at Will for a power slot. Long term, the more real (nontrivial) choices we can present players with, the happier they will be with the game. This is exemplified in our Trait revamp and our upcoming Kit Revamp, and our ongoing efforts to make all of our ship classes competitive with each other but in different ways.
Jeff "Adjudicator Hawk" Hamilton
Systems Designer - Cryptic Studios