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Why Trait: Hive Defenses is profoundly unbalancing

I'm a bit slow on the uptick, I hadn't caught the buzz about the new must-have trait for a while, not until a week or two ago when I saw one a ship in the arena that had "Trait: Hive Defenses" slotted. I gave the owner a terse "you realize that distress calls in the arena are generally considered bad form", and that's when I learned about the trait. I picked it up on the market that day and have been experimenting with it with my fleeties ever since.

For anyone who doesn't know what this is, Trait: Hive Defenses is a personal space trait (not starship trait or active rep trait) that gives you a 15% chance of summoning 3 swarmers per 5 seconds every time you take damage from any source, up to a limit of 9 swarmers. From what I can tell, the chance occurs every damage tick. So, every individual beam hit, every DoT tick, any feedback or reflected damage, anything. Simply being the target of 4-6 beam broadside maxes out your swarmer count almost instantly, and they replenish throughout - any time 3 of your 9 die, I have not been in any arena battle where the swarmer count was not maxed almost instantaneously and maintained throughout.

From what I've discussed with other people since I learned of it, there is some backlash against the trait. The proponents argue that the DPS is not high, so it's not unbalancing. The issue - the biggest issue, though, is not the overal DPS that it adds, but its cost.

More on that in a moment. First of all, though, let's talk about their DPS and their direct effect in combat. I've scored them at between 4000 and 8000 DPS with an average at a shade over 6k. That itself isn't terrible, not when big league ships start in the 100k realm. What makes them actively dangerous is that they are ever present, and they are double plus aggressive. Aggressive (and effective) like we all wish Cryptic made our hangar pets. They flock around the target, they nail heavy torpedoes, they hit your weak shield, they chase you, they hound you, and they attack not only the in-game ship, but the players C4I capability. By that I mean they interfere with the player's ability to maintain situational awareness and to manage their battlespace. It's well known that some abilities attack the player more than the ship the player is controlling. Jam Targeting Sensors and other placate abilities is a great example. They interfere with the player's ability to interact with their environment, force the player to retarget, and are generally annoying. The more you are personally annoyed in a combat, the more successfully the other player is likely interfering with your C4I.

So, they are a successful trait. What makes them unbalancing is the fact they have essentially zero cost. I'm not talking about their market value, I'm talking about their in-game cost. They occupy a personal (racial) space trait slot. These are the slots where things like Astrophysicist, Accurate, and Efficient Captain go. Warp Theorist, Impact Defense Specialist, and Elusive. See a pattern? They are personal traits that add a small amount of combat effectiveness to your captain, and they are ones you pick and choose so as to give yourself a personal flavour. When you pick any trait, it becomes a cost-benefit analysis. You look at what that trait gives you, versus the cost (meaning what you lose by not having another trait in that slot). Go over the list of personal space traits you have access to, and ask is there any one of them you would not be happy to lose in order to gain what I described above in the combat effectiveness paragraph? Just for strait DPS, let alone their harassment and C4I degradation effects, they are hands-down worth it. What does this mean? It means that one single trait is now a must-have in order for anyone to compete. This one trait takes a personal slot, which are populated with otherwise fairly innocuous traits that are easy to lose. If this trait took a valuable Active Space slot, or a Starship Trait slot, then it would likely still be in the top tier of all traits, though slightly more painful in that it would be knocking off something else of a lot higher value than "Accurate".

The fact that this trait has that kind of value for essentially zero cost makes it profoundly unbalancing. It needs to not be a trait at all, but a console (which is a better in-character frame of reference for what it does), and even then it needs nerfing.

This discussion is not complete without addressing why Cryptic put this in. Pay-to-win games like STO do things like this, but in the past they have been incremental and minor. A slow escalation of traits, weapons, consoles, etc, so keep people on the hook opening up lock boxes. Say what you want about this system, you have to grant that at the very least it's controversial. This kind of escalation, though, is almost unheard of. I can't think of any other lockbox trait, weapon, console, or ship that has been this shiny in the history of the game. It really is a must-have trait, in that without that one item you are clearly disadvantaged against anyone else who has it. It's almost a win tax, something that Cryptic has been reluctant to be so blatant about in the past. Whether or not they are trying to boost immediate cash flow I can't say. All I can say is it represents a fairly significant shift at Cryptic, and it's troubling.
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Comments

  • davefenestratordavefenestrator Member Posts: 6,642 Arc User
    So this is about PVP?

    If you want to PUG PVP then adapt and find the right counter-measure.

  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 47,465 Arc User
    Uh... what Pay-to-win? You can do just fine without all the shiny stuff too. Not only that... you can spend ECs to pick the trait up off the Exchange, therefor not everyone has to pay real money to get shiny items out of a lockbox.

    I ground out a lot of my lockbox stuff with ECs.

    There is no such thing as P2W in STO, or a "win tax". Its "pay to HAVE NOW". Literally the ONLY thing in game you MUST pay real money for... is a Lifer sub. Everything else can be earned through in game means. You want an Archon Intel Assault Cruiser? Work the DL Exchange and trade Dilithium for Zen. You want a Lockbox ship? Either work the DL Exchange for keys or sell stuff to other players to build up the ECs to buy it outright.

    P2W implies that there is absolutely NO other way to get anything other than shelling out real cash money for it. That is not the case here in STO. Yea someone still has to put money into the game... but the resulting Zen doesn't always go to the guy/girl who bought said zen. They may want Dilithium instead. Or they buy keys and sell them for ECs.

    Also PvP is unbalanced all to hell by people who can vaporize anyone just by looking at them. People rant and rave about PvP balance, but the fact is that STO is at its core a PvE game. PvP is not going to be a primary factor. The Devs have TRIED in the past to balance it out, but the results have always been... rather explosive.
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  • baddmoonrizinbaddmoonrizin Member Posts: 5,577 Community Moderator
    There is no "Pay-to-Win", because there is no "winning". :unamused: (Wishes the :rollseyes: emoji was still here)
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  • fluxcapacitor#9257 fluxcapacitor Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    If you want to PUG PVP then adapt and find the right counter-measure.
    That's the whole point. It's not that it's a singularly devastating ability in that it will by itself kill my opponent. It's that its power-to-weight ratio is so high, so to speak, that it forces people to either a) get it, or b) respond with much much costlier replies.

    If, at the cost of a single racial personal space trait I force you to have to adapt one or two or more BOFF abilities to counter it, then I've just dropped a pea in the water off the coast and caused a minor tsunami making everyone have to react. Sure, there are counter-measures, there always are, or you can just accept the damage and C4I degradation and fight through it. The point is, it's effect is highly disproportionate to its in-game cost, and thus significantly unbalancing.

    There is no "Pay-to-Win", because there is no "winning".
    The whole mechanic of having one's ship explode would seem to argue against your assertion. I haven't yet seen a "No sir, I haven't completed the mission, in fact the borg cube drove me off, but can I still get the reward please?" option in any dialog.

    If the lockbox contents don't actually do anything in the game, what exactly are we paying for? So, sure, maybe there's not absolute win, fair enough, I don't know many P2W games where there is a "Game Over, You Win". But can we agree that it's easier to say "pay to win" (and not against the spirit of what the phrase means in the wild) than it is to say "pay to make my ship/character stronger in relation to everyone else's who doesn't pay"
  • davefenestratordavefenestrator Member Posts: 6,642 Arc User
    Again, if you want balanced PVP you need to either not PUG or play some other game.

    STO PVP is not balanced, and Cryptic doesn't have the resources to work on it for the very few players who care. Most of us avoid PVP entirely, and those who do want balance do it in private groups not PUG.
  • ancientfighterancientfighter Member Posts: 105 Arc User
    It really is a must-have trait, in that without that one item you are clearly disadvantaged against anyone else who has it.

    Sry, but your universe is small.
  • bossheisenbergbossheisenberg Member Posts: 523 Arc User
    You didn't even know about this trait and then proceed to write pages on it, and act like you're the pvp arena authority:

    "I gave the owner a terse "you realize that distress calls in the arena are generally considered bad form", and that's when I learned about the trait"

    And got swiftly put in your place no doubt. To sum up that wall of text, Hive Defenses turn the distress call into a passive trait.

    I love this trait and swarm distress call - they finally made some npcs actually MOVE on the map and intercept enemies rather than just sit there or move at a snail's pace. The old distress calls are almost useless now, the ships move so slow if the battle moves 10km away they are never going to get back in the fight.
  • fluxcapacitor#9257 fluxcapacitor Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    STO PVP is not balanced, and Cryptic doesn't have the resources to work on it for the very few players who care. Most of us avoid PVP entirely, and those who do want balance do it in private groups not PUG.

    Nice argument. First of all, Cryptic has made major changes to address balance. Some of those changes made it through testing into announcement and then not into the game just because of the PvP effects. Secondly, I can drop "us" into the converstation too. Those of us who do like to PvP find that the game can be, for the most part, remarkably balanced and that even the DPS League crowd can be beaten in the little eggshells with hammers that they fly.

    I really don't care about most random lockbox drops. The vast majority of them aren't individually unbalancing. This one is. That's all I'm saying. This one is unbalancing in its current form. I just played through four different PvE missions where I didn't do a thing in any space combat. The swarmers did it all. I didn't release a single weapon.

    I am mostly a pick-up match arena player myself, but it shouldn't be up to us to have to make a complex set of pickup match rules because Cryptic wants to drop a lockbox-bomb to increase key sales. And it's ok to hold them accountable to making the game playable withing the framework that the game actually purports to support. That's ok to do, and a valid point to make. A very few changes to the trait will balance it nicely.

    Make it a starship trait to increase its deployment costs.
    Give it a global cooldown, after it summons all nine, if they are lost, give it a 2-5 minute cooldown before more can be summoned.

    I mean, there are dozens of things that can be done to balance its PvP effects while still making it shiny enough for the PvE crowd that they will desire it. The above is just a small example.
  • azrael605azrael605 Member Posts: 9,335 Arc User
    Pvp is not balanced, never has been, and almost all of the season 13 balance pass has been reverted to previous. Secondly, there is no must have traits, in point of fact I make it my standard operating proceedure to operate without ANY of the so-called "must haves" and I have for years and years now. It is more than possible to thrive and dominate without any of them. Example, any time I go to Kerrat someone spends all of their time trying and failing to kill me, and I don't even shoot back. It is hilarious watching them decloak and alpha then slink off and cloak when they fail to end me only to return a few minutes later to repeat the whole thing.
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  • thunderfoot006thunderfoot006 Member Posts: 4,063 Arc User
    Waitaminnit? There are 'must-have' Space Traits in STO? So how come I don't see every Tom Paris, Richard Cranium, and Harry Kim whipping this thing out at every opportunity? Well? Where is it? This is the first I've heard of it.
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  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 47,465 Arc User
    But can we agree that it's easier to say "pay to win" (and not against the spirit of what the phrase means in the wild) than it is to say "pay to make my ship/character stronger in relation to everyone else's who doesn't pay"

    Nope. Easier to just say "Pay to Have Now". Because that's what it is.

    I might consider that trait for a pet spam build, like on say a Jem'Hadar Vanguard Carrier with Elite Slaver Pets (using what my KDF has available as an example), but I'm not going to use it for everything. It is NOT a must have. Is it a nice little force multiplier? Maybe. But it certainly isn't required for any content.

    As pointed out, PvP is unbalanced. Not because of what's provided by Cryptic, but by the players themselves taking advantage of what's provided. If you don't have a similar build, you get vaped. Its one reason why I don't PvP. I'm a good PvE player, but I'm no DPS monster that can vape everything in PvP. Hell... I'm easy pickings in PvP. Although I have surprised a few with how resiliant I am. But that only gives me a few more seconds of life before I get vaped.

    Players have figured out how to game the system with builds to give them maximum damage output. Happens in any game that has stats affected by gear and abilities. Literally the only way to no have anything unbalanced is to strip away everything that makes this an RPG and basically turn it into a MOBA, where the only real difference is visual appearance and available abilities provided by Cryptic.
    66998372863950ee98cf7da9786e2ea9-db80k0m.png
    I can't take it anymore! Could everyone just chill out for two seconds before something CRAZY happens again?!
    The nut who actually ground out a Delta Pack, Temporal Pack, and Gamma Pack
    The resident forum voice of reason (I HAZ FORUM REP! YAY!)
  • coldnapalmcoldnapalm Member Posts: 7,152 Arc User
    STO PVP is not balanced, and Cryptic doesn't have the resources to work on it for the very few players who care. Most of us avoid PVP entirely, and those who do want balance do it in private groups not PUG.

    Nice argument. First of all, Cryptic has made major changes to address balance. Some of those changes made it through testing into announcement and then not into the game just because of the PvP effects. Secondly, I can drop "us" into the converstation too. Those of us who do like to PvP find that the game can be, for the most part, remarkably balanced and that even the DPS League crowd can be beaten in the little eggshells with hammers that they fly.

    I really don't care about most random lockbox drops. The vast majority of them aren't individually unbalancing. This one is. That's all I'm saying. This one is unbalancing in its current form. I just played through four different PvE missions where I didn't do a thing in any space combat. The swarmers did it all. I didn't release a single weapon.

    I am mostly a pick-up match arena player myself, but it shouldn't be up to us to have to make a complex set of pickup match rules because Cryptic wants to drop a lockbox-bomb to increase key sales. And it's ok to hold them accountable to making the game playable withing the framework that the game actually purports to support. That's ok to do, and a valid point to make. A very few changes to the trait will balance it nicely.

    Make it a starship trait to increase its deployment costs.
    Give it a global cooldown, after it summons all nine, if they are lost, give it a 2-5 minute cooldown before more can be summoned.

    I mean, there are dozens of things that can be done to balance its PvP effects while still making it shiny enough for the PvE crowd that they will desire it. The above is just a small example.

    You mean the major nerf to all our shinies so they can sell it back to us within a month? That was not about PvP...they may SAY it is...but that was just an excuse to break all our toys to sell us new ones...plain and simple. And even better, they can have those filthy PvPers take the blame. I was hopeful when they announced it...but a month later...it was still useless.

    Also where do you even find people as terrible as you play against where this trait is even a thing?!? I'm sorry...but DPS leaguers have always done poorly in PvP...because what they do isn't for PvP. Their mindset isn't for PvP. Their build isn't for it. Beating somebody who isn't ready to play your game in any shape or form is not all that impressive.

    As for your "balance" for PvP that won't make it TRIBBLE for PvE...yeah no. Both options you listed would instantly make this trait into garbage tier. And this is why they can get away with nerfing the PvE toys and blaming the PvP people. YOU ARE NOT HELPING. Let's get this perfectly clear...THE DEVS DO NOT CARE ABOUT PVP. THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO EVEN PLAY PVP. THEY MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO BALANCE PVP. All you are doing is giving them an option to nerf something to sell the next OP item without taking flak for it because the PvP crowd gets the blame. If you want to PvP...you are in the wrong game. Join a private ground that does PvP with limits you are okay with...or seriously just stop...because you are NOT HELPING.
  • kiralynkiralyn Member Posts: 1,111 Arc User
    ...people still pvp in this game? And think it matters (to the devs, let alone the playerbase)? Huh. Learn something new every day.
  • lianthelialianthelia Member Posts: 6,736 Arc User
    edited January 11
    You're talking about PvP...PvP is pretty much ALL about your build...don't try and pretend Hive Defense is the only "must have" trait in the game.

    PvP in STO is the most rigid part of the game...you need the perfect must have traits...perfect gear...perfect build...perfect everything just to survive against people who know what that perfect choices are, or else you'll get vaporized in seconds.
    #WithoutRespectWeReject
  • where2r1where2r1 Member Posts: 5,901 Arc User
    I had to look up Hive Defenses, myself...

    But a Googling came up with this thread in STO Reddit with Cryptic Spartan. It got fixed already. Twice. (I know the title says Beacon...but Spartan talks about the Hive Defenses, too.)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/sto/comments/9vjz3k/phasedwaveform_beacon_still_deals_ridiculous/e9dgsk9/

    So, what you have is the results.

    Which may or may not be right, my suggestion is to write a detailed bug report and attach a parse for proof Cryptic needs to take another look at this. Good luck.
    "Spend your life doing strange things with weird people." -- UNK

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  • coldnapalmcoldnapalm Member Posts: 7,152 Arc User
    where2r1 wrote: »
    I had to look up Hive Defenses, myself...

    But a Googling came up with this thread in STO Reddit with Cryptic Spartan. It got fixed already. Twice. (I know the title says Beacon...but Spartan talks about the Hive Defenses, too.)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/sto/comments/9vjz3k/phasedwaveform_beacon_still_deals_ridiculous/e9dgsk9/

    So, what you have is the results.

    Which may or may not be right, my suggestion is to write a detailed bug report and attach a parse for proof Cryptic needs to take another look at this. Good luck.

    [Genetic Resequencer - Space Trait: Hive Defenses]

    that is the item in question.
  • where2r1where2r1 Member Posts: 5,901 Arc User
    edited January 11
    coldnapalm wrote: »

    [Genetic Resequencer - Space Trait: Hive Defenses]

    that is the item in question.
    Yeah, Hive Defenses had a related problem as the Beacon item...and Cryptic Spartan was talking about both in that thread.

    "Spend your life doing strange things with weird people." -- UNK

    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • bubblegirl2015bubblegirl2015 Member Posts: 678 Arc User
    So this is about PVP?

    If you want to PUG PVP then adapt and find the right counter-measure.

    Well said. Also, if you PvP learn how to win but more importantly learn how to LOSE instead of asking for a NERF because of losing badly?

    There are many things broken with PVP as it is now...this trait is not even worth talking about it IMO.​​
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  • tvalavulcantvalavulcan Member Posts: 35 Arc User
    I have not noticed it being used at all by anyone else. I would think if it were op it would be more popular. Having played around with it myself, I found it very situational. They can and do attack stuff you might not want them to. I don't recommend it for ISA.
  • patrickngopatrickngo Member Posts: 9,812 Arc User
    I have not noticed it being used at all by anyone else. I would think if it were op it would be more popular. Having played around with it myself, I found it very situational. They can and do attack stuff you might not want them to. I don't recommend it for ISA.

    running in pugland, I see it pretty frequently, and the performance I've seen is...impressive. It could be that it being relatively recent, not a lot of people are slotting it (YET).

    as for PvP?

    PvP=Dead Issue.

    one note from the Reddit thread; their internal testing didn't reveal the problem, it's possible this is because they're running the testing internally, instead of having a 'generic user account' to run their testing on, they're using dev tools on a hothouse server, which combines with a general lack of creativity/experience on builds on the live server, so they don't get the results people are getting 'in the wild', because they don't USE the traits and gear it's interacting with or the type of build that's causing this.
    whatever.

  • bossheisenbergbossheisenberg Member Posts: 523 Arc User
    "profoundly unbalancing"
    "This kind of escalation, though, is almost unheard of"
    "I can't think of any other lockbox trait, weapon, console, or ship that has been this shiny in the history of the game"
    "It really is a must-have trait"
    "It's almost a win tax"
    "It means that one single trait is now a must-have in order for anyone to compete"

    More like the biggest bunch of hyperbole in the history of the game! This trait is not even as OP as feedback pulse used to be, and that truly was an instant "I win" mechanic.

    It's an amazing trait no doubt, but absolutely not a must-have in order to compete. Man, get ahold of yourself. >:)

  • protoneousprotoneous Member Posts: 1,001 Arc User
    There is no "Pay-to-Win", because there is no "winning".
    The whole mechanic of having one's ship explode would seem to argue against your assertion. I haven't yet seen a "No sir, I haven't completed the mission, in fact the borg cube drove me off, but can I still get the reward please?" option in any dialog.
    He's right you know, but I do admire the spirit of your response :smile: "Pay for convenience" is the way I describe it. If I want an item I can go purchase some zen using real life money and get it right now, or I could pool some in-game savings for a bit and get it soon.

    There's many people in this forum who've saved up for lockbox ships, full expansion packs... all sorts of things. It's really a pretty good F2P system the folks at Cryptic have set up.
  • darkbladejkdarkbladejk Member Posts: 1,595 Community Moderator
    This discussion is not complete without addressing why Cryptic put this in. Pay-to-win games like STO do things like this, but in the past they have been incremental and minor. A slow escalation of traits, weapons, consoles, etc, so keep people on the hook opening up lock boxes. Say what you want about this system, you have to grant that at the very least it's controversial. This kind of escalation, though, is almost unheard of. I can't think of any other lockbox trait, weapon, console, or ship that has been this shiny in the history of the game. It really is a must-have trait, in that without that one item you are clearly disadvantaged against anyone else who has it. It's almost a win tax, something that Cryptic has been reluctant to be so blatant about in the past. Whether or not they are trying to boost immediate cash flow I can't say. All I can say is it represents a fairly significant shift at Cryptic, and it's troubling.

    I pulled this section out for quoting because I intend to address it specifically in a moment. First I'm going to address your other issues.

    First, I have never used Hive Defenses, nor do I have a need for Hive Defenses. I've clocked very recently 123k as a tank and have no need for this trait. Most of the guys in my crew are 70k+ with our highest guy hitting 225k. None of us use that trait full time and have never had a need for it. What is considered "must have" is largely subjective in this game, which includes Hive Defenses. If you've found you perform better with it than without, then by all means use it. If you think it's good enough and you want to tell folks about it, then again by all means share that opinion. When it comes to balance, there are far far more overpowered abilities and combos that come to mind long before Hive Defenses is ever a thought in my brain. There are very few traits and abilities I haven't seen in this game and very few interactions I haven't seen. I say that not to toot my horn but simply to give you an idea of how much testing I have done since I pull double duty as a Bug Basher. With any game, be it STO, WoW, SWTOR, or any other game out there that has pvp, it's just like a chess match. You have to know what does what and what can counter what. An example being, if you get hit with a sub-nuc then hit a sci team to clear that debuff that increases your cooldowns. With Hive Defenses you can't simply roll in and FAW the other person to death if you're getting swarmed. If you're getting swarmed a good defense could be dropping a gravity well for some control, or drop an AoE attack to keep the swarmers contained. Just because something is a bit more difficult to play around doesn't automatically make it overpowered. If you're concerned about something being overpowered and don't want to run the risk of running into it, then run with friends and fleetmates or agree that folks won't use it before hand, otherwise anything goes.

    Now in regards to the "pay to win" comment. That statement cannot be any farther from the truth. to say that something is pay to win implies that the item gives a major advantage that can only be obtained by paying cash for it, and there is no free way to get the item in a reasonable time frame. An example of pay to win is how EA originally had the modern Battlefront II setup. In the case of STO pay to win would be if you couldn't get cstore items, lockbox, lobi, or R&D promo ships through any means other than direct cash payment. THAT would be pay to win. The reason STO is NOT pay to win is that you can acquire anything in game, save the few oddball lifetime items, all through converting dilithium to zen and/or EC grinding. Right now at the time of posting this, I own every single ship in the cstore. There are also very few lockbox and lobi ships I don't have. I also have quite a few of the R&D promo ships as well. Out of my 28 characters 27 of them have a full set of gold gear for ground and space, all 28 have tachyokinetic converter and bioneural infusion circuits consoles as well. The final toon I will finish golding out this weekend. Point being I've been around for awhile. Out of all of that I used cash for alot of it, and alot of it I used dilithium flipping for. With that said, everything I have now, someone who is strictly free to play can have as well, it's just going to take them longer to get it. In fact I know several people who are free to play and own most of the cstore or at similar gear levels as I am. At worst it's pay to skip the grind. For those like me who are able to pay cash and don't mind doing so, we can pay to skip some grind. For those that can't pay cash, or simply refuse to, they have a means to obtain the items as well.
    Nice argument. First of all, Cryptic has made major changes to address balance. Some of those changes made it through testing into announcement and then not into the game just because of the PvP effects. Secondly, I can drop "us" into the converstation too. Those of us who do like to PvP find that the game can be, for the most part, remarkably balanced and that even the DPS League crowd can be beaten in the little eggshells with hammers that they fly.

    The balance pass wasn't made purely for pvp reasons, even if pvp may have benefited from it. All MMOs do this from time to time. Before season 13 you had certain items like the plasmonic leech that were on virtually every ship. Certain items like the leech were so overpowered that they were THE answer in all cases. Another example being the plasma exploders from the embassy. Everyone had these certain items and everyone that could get them used them. Anytime certain abilities or items get to the point they're THE answer in all cases, it's time for that item/ability to get nerfed. When some people could go into a run and pull off 600k+, that's time for a nerf.

    There are also technical reasons why MMOs may nerf or scale the numbers down from time to time like WoW did. In theory on paper items should be able to scale up infinitely as time goes on. In reality however stats and items will always be limited by the ability of the server hardware to calculate the values for said items. When calculations for damage, items, etc start to approach those hardware limitations then you will start noticing lag and slowdowns as the server struggles to keep up with the calculations. I'm not sure how versed in computers you are, but when a set of calculations hit the actual hardware limits of the server/computer, then one of two things will start to happen. The computer will outright TRIBBLE out and crash from overload, or they start to assume. If it goes down route 2, then when computers receive a computation that would give a result beyond their ability to calculate they assume the maximum result they can calculate is the answer.

    If for example the server could only calculate results up to 200k DPS, yet the user on paper is doing 300k DPS, then the computer/server would assume in that instance the maximum result of 200k is what the user is doing. Thus in a case like that anything over our hypothetical 200k would be lost and you would never see or benefit from it anyways. When stuff like this starts to happen or could possibly happen any MMO is going to break out the nerf bat to bring things back down to earth for the sake of their players and their hardware. Stuff like this is why after around the Pandaria-Warlords of Draenor time WoW busted out a stat squish. Percentage wise the players were doing the same damage they were before, however numerically it was different. If before they were hitting 100k hp mob for 10k per hit, now they would be hitting a 1,000 hp mob for 100 hp per hit. overall they were still doing 10% of it's health per hit, only the numbers were smaller and much easier to calculate.

    Point being overall there are ways around that trait and the "nerfs" weren't done for as simple of reasons as one might think.
    "Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again." - Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek Generations

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  • leemwatsonleemwatson Member Posts: 3,086 Arc User
    If you want to PUG PVP then adapt and find the right counter-measure.
    That's the whole point. It's not that it's a singularly devastating ability in that it will by itself kill my opponent. It's that its power-to-weight ratio is so high, so to speak, that it forces people to either a) get it, or b) respond with much much costlier replies.

    If, at the cost of a single racial personal space trait I force you to have to adapt one or two or more BOFF abilities to counter it, then I've just dropped a pea in the water off the coast and caused a minor tsunami making everyone have to react. Sure, there are counter-measures, there always are, or you can just accept the damage and C4I degradation and fight through it. The point is, it's effect is highly disproportionate to its in-game cost, and thus significantly unbalancing.

    There is no "Pay-to-Win", because there is no "winning".
    The whole mechanic of having one's ship explode would seem to argue against your assertion. I haven't yet seen a "No sir, I haven't completed the mission, in fact the borg cube drove me off, but can I still get the reward please?" option in any dialog.

    If the lockbox contents don't actually do anything in the game, what exactly are we paying for? So, sure, maybe there's not absolute win, fair enough, I don't know many P2W games where there is a "Game Over, You Win". But can we agree that it's easier to say "pay to win" (and not against the spirit of what the phrase means in the wild) than it is to say "pay to make my ship/character stronger in relation to everyone else's who doesn't pay"

    This game is as far from P2W as you can get.

    1. You are not competing for resources.
    2. There is no perma-death of ships.
    3. You are not building bases to defend.
    4. Lockboxes are not the be-all, end-all with the vast majority of weapons and consoles having reasonable equivalents you can acquire freely. In other words, Lockboxes give different flavours, and the in-game economy allows anyone to acquire those items, providing someone is opening boxes and selling.
    5. The sheer amount of free ships you can easily get including T6 and now Fleet T6.
    6. You are not waiting around for days or even weeks for upgrades to complete.
    7. Players cannot raid you.
    8. Investment of time into multiple characters increases payoff vastly.
    9. Unlikely MOST P2W games, there are actually things to do in this game.
    10. There are standard tactics to help deal with anything in this game. Having one trait does not make you 'GOD'. Even an alt, with no Lockbox/Lobi items can be devastating.
    11. You can be PvE queue ready, I.E. Level 65 within 30 hours of game play, without spending 1 penny.
    12. Upgrading is dependant on how much you spend. It's with-in reasonable reach of ALL.

    The recently released Android "Star Trek Fleet Command", is an outrageously expensive P2W game, with nothing to do but go to point A and B, with lame animation, Forced PVP, Base Building, Resource Collecting, and waiting around twiddling thumbs for DAYS waiting for stuff to be built. If you don't spend, you get trashed. That is what P2W is. STO is not, and never has been P2W.

    As for the Hive Defenses Trait, to me it's a variation of 'Photonic Fleet' abilities for Sci. Yes, a bit better, but nothing that can't be countered. In terms of PvE, if you're hitting 20k+ DPS, then you have NOTHING to worry about. However, considering that the extreme majority of people don't PvP in STO, people are going to be happy with Hive Defenses. If you believe this trait is not working as intended, then report it in the correct Support forum.
    "You don't want to patrol!? You don't want to escort!? You don't want to defend the Federation's Starbases!? Then why are you flying my Starships!? If you were a Klingon you'd be killed on the spot, but lucky for you.....you WERE in Starfleet. Let's see how New Zealand Penal Colony suits you." Adm A. Necheyev.
  • ashstorm1ashstorm1 Member Posts: 617 Arc User
    At least that topic had the advantage of making me aware of a good space trait. *Grabs Hive Defenses from the Exchange to compliment my Vedcrid Hive dread...*
  • where2r1where2r1 Member Posts: 5,901 Arc User
    ashstorm1 wrote: »
    At least that topic had the advantage of making me aware of a good space trait. *Grabs Hive Defenses from the Exchange to compliment my Vedcrid Hive dread...*
    LOL! That thought crossed my mind, but mostly curiosity driven, because I can not figure out what is going on, so I want to see it.
    "Spend your life doing strange things with weird people." -- UNK

    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • warpangelwarpangel Member Posts: 8,332 Arc User
    I tried it myself just for laughs, but every time it triggered my game lagged to a crawl for a good 10 seconds so I removed it.
  • lianthelialianthelia Member Posts: 6,736 Arc User
    where2r1 wrote: »
    ashstorm1 wrote: »
    At least that topic had the advantage of making me aware of a good space trait. *Grabs Hive Defenses from the Exchange to compliment my Vedcrid Hive dread...*
    LOL! That thought crossed my mind, but mostly curiosity driven, because I can not figure out what is going on, so I want to see it.

    Nothing particularly special, just has a chance to spawn swarmers when you're attacked....just is kinda broken in certain circumstances.
    #WithoutRespectWeReject
  • patrickngopatrickngo Member Posts: 9,812 Arc User
    This discussion is not complete without addressing why Cryptic put this in. Pay-to-win games like STO do things like this, but in the past they have been incremental and minor. A slow escalation of traits, weapons, consoles, etc, so keep people on the hook opening up lock boxes. Say what you want about this system, you have to grant that at the very least it's controversial. This kind of escalation, though, is almost unheard of. I can't think of any other lockbox trait, weapon, console, or ship that has been this shiny in the history of the game. It really is a must-have trait, in that without that one item you are clearly disadvantaged against anyone else who has it. It's almost a win tax, something that Cryptic has been reluctant to be so blatant about in the past. Whether or not they are trying to boost immediate cash flow I can't say. All I can say is it represents a fairly significant shift at Cryptic, and it's troubling.

    I pulled this section out for quoting because I intend to address it specifically in a moment. First I'm going to address your other issues.

    First, I have never used Hive Defenses, nor do I have a need for Hive Defenses. I've clocked very recently 123k as a tank and have no need for this trait. Most of the guys in my crew are 70k+ with our highest guy hitting 225k. None of us use that trait full time and have never had a need for it. What is considered "must have" is largely subjective in this game, which includes Hive Defenses. If you've found you perform better with it than without, then by all means use it. If you think it's good enough and you want to tell folks about it, then again by all means share that opinion. When it comes to balance, there are far far more overpowered abilities and combos that come to mind long before Hive Defenses is ever a thought in my brain. There are very few traits and abilities I haven't seen in this game and very few interactions I haven't seen. I say that not to toot my horn but simply to give you an idea of how much testing I have done since I pull double duty as a Bug Basher. With any game, be it STO, WoW, SWTOR, or any other game out there that has pvp, it's just like a chess match. You have to know what does what and what can counter what. An example being, if you get hit with a sub-nuc then hit a sci team to clear that debuff that increases your cooldowns. With Hive Defenses you can't simply roll in and FAW the other person to death if you're getting swarmed. If you're getting swarmed a good defense could be dropping a gravity well for some control, or drop an AoE attack to keep the swarmers contained. Just because something is a bit more difficult to play around doesn't automatically make it overpowered. If you're concerned about something being overpowered and don't want to run the risk of running into it, then run with friends and fleetmates or agree that folks won't use it before hand, otherwise anything goes.

    Now in regards to the "pay to win" comment. That statement cannot be any farther from the truth. to say that something is pay to win implies that the item gives a major advantage that can only be obtained by paying cash for it, and there is no free way to get the item in a reasonable time frame. An example of pay to win is how EA originally had the modern Battlefront II setup. In the case of STO pay to win would be if you couldn't get cstore items, lockbox, lobi, or R&D promo ships through any means other than direct cash payment. THAT would be pay to win. The reason STO is NOT pay to win is that you can acquire anything in game, save the few oddball lifetime items, all through converting dilithium to zen and/or EC grinding. Right now at the time of posting this, I own every single ship in the cstore. There are also very few lockbox and lobi ships I don't have. I also have quite a few of the R&D promo ships as well. Out of my 28 characters 27 of them have a full set of gold gear for ground and space, all 28 have tachyokinetic converter and bioneural infusion circuits consoles as well. The final toon I will finish golding out this weekend. Point being I've been around for awhile. Out of all of that I used cash for alot of it, and alot of it I used dilithium flipping for. With that said, everything I have now, someone who is strictly free to play can have as well, it's just going to take them longer to get it. In fact I know several people who are free to play and own most of the cstore or at similar gear levels as I am. At worst it's pay to skip the grind. For those like me who are able to pay cash and don't mind doing so, we can pay to skip some grind. For those that can't pay cash, or simply refuse to, they have a means to obtain the items as well.
    Nice argument. First of all, Cryptic has made major changes to address balance. Some of those changes made it through testing into announcement and then not into the game just because of the PvP effects. Secondly, I can drop "us" into the converstation too. Those of us who do like to PvP find that the game can be, for the most part, remarkably balanced and that even the DPS League crowd can be beaten in the little eggshells with hammers that they fly.

    The balance pass wasn't made purely for pvp reasons, even if pvp may have benefited from it. All MMOs do this from time to time. Before season 13 you had certain items like the plasmonic leech that were on virtually every ship. Certain items like the leech were so overpowered that they were THE answer in all cases. Another example being the plasma exploders from the embassy. Everyone had these certain items and everyone that could get them used them. Anytime certain abilities or items get to the point they're THE answer in all cases, it's time for that item/ability to get nerfed. When some people could go into a run and pull off 600k+, that's time for a nerf.

    There are also technical reasons why MMOs may nerf or scale the numbers down from time to time like WoW did. In theory on paper items should be able to scale up infinitely as time goes on. In reality however stats and items will always be limited by the ability of the server hardware to calculate the values for said items. When calculations for damage, items, etc start to approach those hardware limitations then you will start noticing lag and slowdowns as the server struggles to keep up with the calculations. I'm not sure how versed in computers you are, but when a set of calculations hit the actual hardware limits of the server/computer, then one of two things will start to happen. The computer will outright TRIBBLE out and crash from overload, or they start to assume. If it goes down route 2, then when computers receive a computation that would give a result beyond their ability to calculate they assume the maximum result they can calculate is the answer.

    If for example the server could only calculate results up to 200k DPS, yet the user on paper is doing 300k DPS, then the computer/server would assume in that instance the maximum result of 200k is what the user is doing. Thus in a case like that anything over our hypothetical 200k would be lost and you would never see or benefit from it anyways. When stuff like this starts to happen or could possibly happen any MMO is going to break out the nerf bat to bring things back down to earth for the sake of their players and their hardware. Stuff like this is why after around the Pandaria-Warlords of Draenor time WoW busted out a stat squish. Percentage wise the players were doing the same damage they were before, however numerically it was different. If before they were hitting 100k hp mob for 10k per hit, now they would be hitting a 1,000 hp mob for 100 hp per hit. overall they were still doing 10% of it's health per hit, only the numbers were smaller and much easier to calculate.

    Point being overall there are ways around that trait and the "nerfs" weren't done for as simple of reasons as one might think.

    Point of order;

    we hit those server calculation limits about four years ago, and it took the team two years to figure it out and fix it.

    (considering how active these forums are, the actual thread pointing to this is buried some many great many pages deep, if it even survived the forum migration.)

    As for PvP...

    in arranged matches, with agreed upon rules and people you can count on to follow those rules, it's balanced...because teh players on both sides did all the balancing work already to do it.

    from a purely mechanical balance, no, Darkbladejk, you're wholly incorrect, stunningly incorrect, but I won't go so far as to say dishonest in your assertion, because that would likely be a lie.

    The Season 13 rebalance 'benefitted' PvP for about three weeks before Cryptic rolled back most of it, and undercut the rest (and didn't implement a huge portion of what was promised.) Within a month from roll out onward, they simply replaced what HAD been player build materials, with pay-for-it and grind-for-it equivalents, much the way that they removed the beam overload double-tap and replaced it with pay-for-it (at the time) Surgical Strikes (one click, that on release, did the same thing and required no timing at all, about two months later with Delta Rising) followed a bit later by a lockbox trait that did the same thing, after they nerfed Surgical Strikes back down.

    this is a consistent pattern, and it's a large portion of why so many people who say "it's fine!" either can't find anyone who can kill them, or don't PvP and never have (but howl like someone murdered their dog in front of them if the devs actually try to inject some real challenge into PvE, won't run anything that has a risk of failing, or takes longer than about two minutes of BFAW plus flavour of the month to complete.)

    It is dead, its a dead issue, it's dead, dead, dead-dead-dead-dead-dead. this is not to say there aren't trolls in Ker'rat, but people who are actually looking for a fight, instead of a one-sided slaughter just don't bother anymore, there are other games and most folks aren't that level of into self-harm and self-hatred.

    for PvE, it's balanced correctly for the purpose of PvE-which is to sell the power-fantasy, moreso since the more recent PvE's put out (with a few exceptions, like Tzenkethi Front or Korfez) are designed to favour the easiest builds possible, with time-gating and cutscenes incorporated to pad the clock out on the (correct) assumption that most players will behave as if this is a solo arcade game, where 'tactics' are basically what you do tweaking your stats and bridge seating and which keybind you use.

    (hence, the massive problem players have in the two Tzenkethi space queues, since those were obviously NOT designed by the same people who did Swarm, the new Mirror Incursion, ISA, or the Crystalline Entity standard queue.)

    whatever.

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