Apr 242017
 

Greetings everyone, this is Fleet Admiral Aaron Lawford reporting live from the tribble test server for the Equator Alliance news network (EANN). I have been discussing and posting tip bits of upcoming changes for Season 13, scheduled for launch on April 25th 2017. Or, as Picard (and most likely the majority of the playerbase would say….

What the....

One of the major points of this new season, has been the space re-balance for alot of consoles, captain abilities and BOFF abilities. These changes are numerous and would take me days to explain every single one in detail 🙂 As a result, in this report I am going to focus on some of the more major changes and exactly what they mean. These discussions will also include comparisons screenshots of holodeck to tribble.

So, without further ado, lets get to it say we….

TACTICAL CAPTAIN ABILITIES

Attack Pattern Alpha

Attack Pattern Alpha, is a tactical captain ability that boosts All Damage, Critical Chance, Critical Severity and Flight Turn rate for a period of time. This captain ability has a base 2 minute cooldown, and a 30 second uptime (usage) when selected.

Attack Pattern Alpha (henceforth, referrded as APA) as had a relatively small change for the upcoming season 13. The two things that has changed, is on tribble server, APA boost now only lasts 20 seconds, but has a 90 second cooldown.

Attack Pattern Alpha – Holodeck to Tribble Comparsion. Details taking using Lenra, my rommie klink aligned captain serving with the Imperial Ausmonauts

Relatively speaking, this is a pretty small change. The boost now only lasts 20 seconds, compared to 30 seconds that captains currently enjoy on holodeck prior to April 25th.However, another change is that APA’s cooldown is now 90 seconds, compared to the current 120 seconds on holodeck.

COMMUNITY’S REACTION

I personally haven’t really heard much about this change from the community, and myself actually forgot about this change for a short period. If there are community reactions, then either they are not too big, or, the reaction may have been drowned out compared to other higher profile change, such as our next topic – GO DOWN FIGHTING.

GO DOWN FIGHTING

Go Down Fighting, is a Tactical Captain ability. It only becomes available for use when your ships hull is at or below 50% to be able to be activated (A captain trait, Lats ditch effortt, can change this requirement). It provides a All damage boost and All damage resistance boost for a period of 60 seconds. GDF has a base cooldown of 2 minutes when used.

Never have I seen one of the most debated changes in Star Trek Online’s history. Go Down fighting has had an interesting history through STO game time of 7 years. Changing each way over the years, it has become a bit of a dividing sort of ability for us testers, especially considering its somewhat weird interactions.

OK, enough talking (or typing i guess) time to post the picture and describe the current changes that will hit holodeck for you folks.

Go Down Fighting Holodeck > Tribble Comparison. Taken from Captain Lenra, my Rommie Klink aligned toon serving with the Imperial Ausmonauts

Currently, Go Down fighting (henceforth, referred to as GDF) provides a large damage and damage resistance boost the lower your hull is. Also, this boost is “locked in”. If you use it at 10% hull, you get the % damage boost increase if you were at 10% hull, even if you heal yourself back up to 50 – 60% hull for example.

However, the patch coming into tribble, changes all of this. GDF’s time period has gown down from 60 seconds, to 15 seconds when activated. Also, the cooldown period for the ability has been lowered to 60 seconds.

Another change is that the boost you receive from GDF now dynamically scales. If you activate the boost at 10% hull, you get the damage boost of 10% hull. However, if you heal yourself to 40% hull, or 50% hull, GDF damage boost reduces to match your current hull level. This was originally how GDF did its damage boost when the game first started, and was changed back in the Legacy of Romulus expansion days.

However, I can provide more information for exact details. Please see below for a copy of a post that Spartan made describing exactly what this changes mean.

SPARTAN Post – https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/startrekonline/#/discussion/1230472/tribble-maintenance-and-release-notes-april-18-2017/p1
On the live servers, the damage buff is directly proportional to missing health; Go Down Fighting 3 activated at 50% health gives a buff of 66.4% Bonus All Damage, or 107.9% if activated at 0% health.

Prior to this patch, Go Down Fighting’s damage buff was proportional to missing health squared; Go Down Fighting 3 activated at 50% health gave a buff of 37.5% Bonus All Damage, and gave a buff of 150% if activated at 0%.

As of this patch, Go Down Fighting 3’s damage buff is once again linear – it gives you 50% Bonus All Damage while it is active and you are at 50% health or higher, and 100% Bonus All Damage if it is active and you are at 0% health. Because 50% is more than 37.5%, it is a higher buff than the previous state at 50% hull, and because 100% is less than 150%, the buff is lower at 0% hull. The live server patchnotes will only be relative to the live state, and will not have this extra state to compare against; 50% is less than 66.4%, and 100% is less than 107.9%; so the patchnotes will not have to do multi-point comparison.

COMMUNITY REACTION

The community reaction on this has been very loud. Originally, there had been changes to GDF so it couldn’t be used with the Temporal Specialisation Tier 4 passives – Continuity (http://sto.gamepedia.com/Captain_Specialization/Temporal_Operative_skills

A change a few weeks ago, reinstated the ability for GDF to be used with the temporal specialization. The reaction to that was massive, us tribble testers basically slammed Borticus for one of the most stupid decisions every made, enough so we were told to basically calm down.

The decision was so stupid, even I was calling for Borticus to resign (Alot of you know how big it is for me to have this kind of reaction). However, a patch about one week later (which is the current one I have described) has found a nice balance point between the two.

The testers opinions, are that GDF should be a last ditch effort, when you have a high probability of dying, and that you need a last minute boost to try and save your arse. However, currently on holodeck alot of tactical captains were using it, along with temporal specialization, to get massive damage boosts, with no downsides for using it.

BREAKDOWN

Yoda disapproves

Ok, OK Yoda, I will get to the point. GDF changes are going to be very interesting come live date in a few days. I am honesty expecting a big reaction from this from the greater community. One point of worry for one alliance captain, is indeed a valid concern.

“Thinking about it more, I’m actually really dreading the changes to GDF. Back when it used to be like that, I’d get yelled at for ruining someone’s GDF. If they yelled at me, I stopped healing them and then they yelled at me for not healing them. Sorry, but I don’t have time to sit there and watch your buffs”.

For alot of you who weren’t around, alot of us healers and tank flyers would get raged at if we tried to heal a tactical captain when they were aiming for GDF. Then, we would get yelled at for not healing them when they died. Bascially for healers and tank flyers, come 25th April, we might very well again be put into our own hell version of “No Win scenario” with tactical captains.

SCIENCE CAPTAIN/BOFF ABILITIES

One of the most interesting series of changes has been to Science captain and science BOFF abilities. These changes have been flowing back and forth for ages, with tweaks, removals, additions, re-addition and all sorts of changes.

Feedback Pulse

Feedback pulse is a science BOFF ability from Lt Commander upwards. It reflects energe damage fired at the caster back to the point of origin, usually with a boost coupled to it. Due to some issues, I was only able to get a screenshot of the tribble data for FBP (Feedback Pulse).

Tribble data on Feedback pulse. Screenshot taken using Captain Karli, my science captain in service to the Ausmonaut fleet

One of the major changes to feedback pulse, is the following,

Feedback Pulse:
The damage reflection can no longer critically hit
The percentage of reflected no longer scales with damage bonuses
The percentage reflected is now capped at 50%, 75%, or 100% based on rank
The default reflection amount is now significantly lower at each rank

Also, another change made to feedback pulse is it reflects that damage type back at the attacker. So, if an attacker invests or has invested some points in damage resistance, the feedback pulse damage will take the damage resistance into account before applying its final damage amount.

This can definitely be seen as a major reduction in feedback pulses ability. But, with some of the boosting that some elite PvE players were doing using this ability, tied with others (plasma consoles) FBP was getting some incredibly high numbers in damage parsers. This change can definitely been seen as really reducing FBP capabilities in PvE and PvP (which I am sure that will make some vapers happy).

COMMUNITY REACTION

The community has been very supportive of this move for PvE side of things. With many elites even agreeing that they were exploiting FBP with other consoles to get their high damage parse numbers. I am also sure, that vapers are going to be jumping for joy with these changes, as they were usually the most loud in whining about FBP.

However, hold your horses vapers. Yes, indeed, these changes make FBP a whole lot less useful in PvP, but lets remember one thing. FBP will still hit like a truck, as it is still using your own build against you. With a ship built to vape big cruisers with 100k hull and high resistances, is still going to fall pray to FBP.

It wont happen as often, but it will still happen. Just dont get too comforable, because science ships have some new tricks up their sleeve 🙂

TARGET X SUBSYSTEM

Target X Subsystems is a relatively little used ability for science vessels. The ability allows you to upgrade your next beam attack to have a chance to reduce a targets subsystem power, as well as have a chance to knock the subsystem offline. It was little used, as with immunities, having to slot a beam array on the ship, as well as player resistances had turned this ability into a “why even bother”.

However, salvation is on the way 🙂

Holodeck > Tribble comparsion. Screenshot taken using Captain Karli, my science captain with the ausmonauts using a T6 Vesta class starship

The new changes on tribble greatly increase “Target X Subsystems” ability to be useful. While its subsystem time has been reduced, the ability itself has been upgraded to be able to use ALL ENERGY WEAPONS. That’s right, cannons, turrets can now use target x subsystem. Also, the energy drain has a capability to slowly stack over time.

COMMUNITYS REACTION

Little has been said about this change. However, from the comments I have seen, it has been all positive. Alot of captains are agreeing this change does indeed seem squared at trying to improve this science ship ability. How useful it is actually going to be, I will say fairly minimum. However, it will be interesting to see if anyone can make a build around this ability. We shall soon see.

SUBNUCLEONIC BEAM

Subnuc, is a science captains ability. It has the capability to remove all BUFFs a target has on itself, as well as increase the recharge time of the targets captain and ship abilities. This ability for the longest time has been a cornerstone of a science captain, with the ability to really cripple a target. With the tribble changes, it has become a even more dangerous ability.

Holodeck to Tribble Comparison. Shot taken using Captain Karli, my science captain in service with the Ausmonaut Fleet.

As you can see, one of the major changes to subnuc beam has been an additional of a reduction in all damage to whoever gets hit with the beam. This damage reduction is quite large at 75%. This change in this ability will make it definitely more useful against NPCs, especially the “boss” versions in several elite queues.

In PvP, this change will definitely throw a curve ball for target captains. Now, not only do they need to deal with their buffs being stripped, they could also have to deal with their outgoing damage being reduced. How effective this will be is unknown, but it is definitely something else to think about in the heat of battle.

COMMUNITY REACTION

Community reaction has been mixed on this change. It has definitely being appreciated by science captains, looking for some more functionality over an ability they were increasing not using, or not being able to be used in PvE, PvP.

Tactical captains, have been just as mixed. Some are welcoming the change, while others are quite angry. The larger community reaction will be unknown, until some more queues and PvP matches are held after April 25th. After that stage, I am sure we will get more of a feel for this particular change.

SCATTERING FIELD

Scattering field, is a Science Captain’s ability. It provides a immunity to teleport, as well as a energe damage resistance boost for 30 seconds. It has a relatively long cooldown of 3 minutes. The changes on tribble, have definitely increased the abilities usefulness in PvE and PvP.

Holodeck to Tribble Comparison. Screenshot taken using Captain Karli, my science captain in service with the Ausmonauts.

As you can see, Scattering field received a boost to its damage resistance increase. However, another big change on that part, has been the change from “ENERGY DAMAGE RESISTANCE” to “All Damage resistance”. Scattering field will now provide a very decent boost for science captains in a pinch.

However, the biggest change has been the damage bonus increase. This change was rather unexpected, but has been well welcomed by the community. This damage boost can also affect your teammates if they are within a 3km radius during scattering fields use. From all accounts, this boost type is Category 2. Which would make it a significant boost to any tactical captain flying nearby :).

COMMUNITY REACTION

The communities reaction on this change has been positive. Alot of people are applauding the change in the damage resistance boost. Giving Science captains a bit more chance to survive, especially with how the game has developed over the past few years with damage source types (physical, electrical etc).

Naturally, the community is also applauding the damage boost (But honesty, when did a STOP player ever say its a bad idea to add a damage boost into the game :)).

Personally, I see nothing but good changes for science captains. It will be interesting to see how it affects PvE and PvP.

ENGINEERING CAPTAINS

Engineering Captains. Alot of Engineering captains, including myself, had been feeling left out in the cold compared to the other two captain types. Alot of what made engineering captains “us” had been either giving to the other two, placed into lock boxes, consoles that did the job better than our captain abilities.

Basically, a lot of us had been feeling like being not wanted, even being a burden on our team.

However, with several changes in game design, reductions in what tactical captains could get away with, along with several BUFFs, i believe engineer captains might just be finding their groove and place in the game again.

EPS POWER TRANSFER

EPS Power transfer is a engineering captain ability. It provides a boost to power level settings and power levels. Along with a increase in the power transfer rate. For a while when the game began, this made Engineering Captains the kings of power generation capabilities. However, with multiple additions and changes over the years, it had become some what deappreciated.

However, some changes coming, are definitely going to brighten alot of engineering captains day.

Holodeck to Tribble Comparison. Screenshot taken using Admiral Aaron, my engineering captain in command of the 101st fleet

While the power level increase has been more normalized, the biggest change has been the increase to maximum power levels. Come April 25th, engineer captains will be able to increase their ships maximum power levels from 125/130 up to 150/155.

There is a similar Intel BOFF ability that can do this as well, Override System safeties, which all captains with a ship that has a Lt Commander Intel seat can access. However, the biggest bonus of EPS Power transfer is that it can stack with OSS. A engineer captain, using OSS and EPS power transfer, can now boost their ships maximum power level upwards to 200.

This is a massive potential advantage for engineer captains. As it makes them the sole captain type to be able to reach these heights of power capability. Exactly what this means in terms of builds, is unknown. However, it does make engineer captains very valuable, as since EPS can be cast on other players, it makes them a dangerous opponent especially if left to their own devices.

COMMUNITIES REACTION

What can I say, us engineer captains are jumping for joy a these changes. With that addition to EPS, it has again made us kings of power generation, which what was originally intended to be what was one of the defining qualities of a engineer captain.

It will be interesting to see if there is any negative feedback to this change, and if there is, exactly what would be negative?

MIRACLE WORKER

Miracle worker is a engineer captain ability. It allows engineer captains to give their ships a large hull and shield regen heal. This ability occurs instantly, and has a base 4 minute cooldown.

Miracle worker, back in the day, was a very good captain ability. It allow engineer captains to have alot more survivability in any ship they flew, compared to Science and Tactical captains. However, overtime, what made Miracle worker unique was added to ship traits, consoles, and other abilities. What was worse, was that these consoles and abilities usually had similar healing potential, with alot smaller cooldowns.

Overtime, while miracle worker was still useful, it was simply outclassed by other abilities that science and tactical captains could use, or get them hands on. Basically, miracle worker had become obsolete. That, however has changed with the the space balance pass.

Holodeck to Tribble comparison. Screenshot taken using Admiral Aaron, my engineer captain in charge of the 101st fleet.

Miracle worker has been buffed by a large margin. It’s hull healing has been increased by many times over, as shown in the above picture. Another change has been an addition of a secondary shield boost when using miracle worker.

Secondly shield is exactly what it sounds like. It is a secondary shield that takes any hits meant for shields before your primary shields take damage. While only lasting for 15 seconds, it can be a very good boost when a engineer captain is under attack by many opponents or an especially dangerous one.

This change will definitely benefit Engineer captains. As since Delta Rising, ships hull hit points had increased dramatically and were still increasing, while miracle workers heal had been left in the stone age of prior to Delta Rising. Come April 25th, this long standing oversight will now be addressed.

COMMUNITY REACTION

Engineer captains have been jumping with joy, myself included. Miracle workers low hull heal compared to the current game state, had been a major pain for us for many years. The secondary shield addition is a very welcome one, especially considering the prevalence of more and more shield bypassing player abilities and weapons.

While secondary shields wont affect this capability much, having additional shields in a crisis situation against a enemy who may not have shield bypassing capabilities, is indeed well welcome.

CONSOLES

Some consoles (ship consoles) have also been changed or amended with the upcoming changes. Alot of these changes have really divided the community, and produced some of the biggest rage moments I have seen in the community so far.

“Note” I will not be addressing the plasma consoles from the embassy. While they are the biggest change, I had trouble getting accurate and confirmed information. Whenever this is a glitch in my settings on tribble, or something else is unknown. As a result, with me being unable to confirm results, I decided to not include something i couldn’t quantify.

REGENERATIVE INTEGRITY FIELD

The RIF console, is a console that comes with the Sasmar class shipo. This ship was a 4th anniversary reward ship many years ago. Also, it is a ship and console that can be picked up by the phoenix lockbox that sporadically shows up.

This console provides a passive % hull healing increase when slotted. It also is a clickable console that provides a instant hull hit points hull heal, then a 20 second addition hull heals based on the damage you do. The console has a 2 minute base cooldown. This console has been a big dividing point for the community, even more so with the changes coming April 25th.

Holodeck to Tribble comparison. Screenshot taken by my engineer Captain – Admiral Lawford, in command of the 101st fleet

As you can see, the consoles instance hull heal has been reduced by roughly 30%. Whats more, is that its secondary effect has been reduced in the amount of time and procs it can occur. Going to a 10 second timeframe and 5 procs per second max (compared to 20 seconds, and 10 procs on holodeck).

This is a big change. It still makes the RIF console a very good console, but no where near as effective as it is currently.

COMMUNITY’S REACTION

This change has divided the community. Alot of players, including myself, have welcomed the changed as we believed the console was far too overpowered for its own good. On the opposite side, there have been players who have been raging beyond belief at this change (Some, even to the point saying there tank ships is ruined, and you cannot tank without the console).

Let me expand on that last point. Alot of you know, I have a massive dislike of this console. While I had no problems with the instant heal, or the % boost, by biggest bugbear was its secondary effect. The console giving heals based on your outgoing damage, several times per second. Also, these heals weren’t small, over a 10 second period, a tactical captain or high DPSer could get upwoods of 100k hull points within 10 seconds.

Simply, the console was in my opinion, OP as fuck. However, whenever i tried to mention this in Reddit or in some chat channels, I would get downvoted to hell, or i would receive some very nasty PM messages.

So to say I am happy about this change, would be a understatement. I can see the massive firestorm of rage come April 25th, from alot of captains who relied on this console alone to keep themselves alive, and to get massive DPS numbers.

But, in order to by objective, I need to be honest with my audience. I honesty don’t mind if there is massive rage. This console has needed a serious re-balance for years, and to see it finally happening, brings me alot of joy, as well as some personal pride. Because in my opinion, if the devs are doing these changes, they agree with my assessment of the console.

After years of being targeted for my views on this console, it is nice to have a victory once in a while 🙂

PLASMONIC LEECH

Plasmonic leech is a console all players can get from a lockbox, or for the klingons from one of their C Store ships. This console currently drains power levels from a target, and gives the power to the player. This console can be boosted using the DrainX skill points, getting to a stage where players could get massive power boosts to all their systems at once.

However, the tribble changes will dramatically change how the leech works, and alot of players are unhappy about it.

Holodeck > Tribble comparison. Screenshot taken using Captain Nolla, my science captain under the 102nd fleet

As you can see, there have been massive changes to the leech. While you can still drain a target’s power levels, it no longer boosts your own power levels for the same amount. Also, there is a stack limit to the power drain, while before, it had no stack limit.

Additionally, the leech’s power boost to yourself is no longer affected by the drainX skill points. Basically, the maximum amount of power you can now receive in each subsystem is +7.5. This still makes the leech console one of the best power consoles in the game, as it boosts all subsystems, not just one.

The communities reaction, well……

COMMUNITY REACTION

The community reaction has been massive, as well as divided. You can tell easily how divided this change is by checking this thread on the official forums.

https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/startrekonline/#/discussion/1229474/holy-nerf-to-plasmonic-leech-batman/p1

Alot of players are applauding the change, as they believed the console gave far too much, in comparison to its cost. However, a very vocal section of the community has been screaming bloody murder over this change. Demanding they want their money/funds back for what they did to get the console.

Now this reaction has definitely super charged the community. Its going to be even more interesting when the larger player base “feels” this affect come April 25th. Myself, personally I am happy for the change, as the power boost he leech could give was far too much for relatively little effort.

Personally, the way Cryptic have changed the power boost, is a nice middle ground for this sort of console, which has been so ingrained into the “meta” for many years.

IMMUNITY CHANGES

One of the biggest changes, coming April 25th, is the change to player immunity’s. Immunity’s are basically a sort of buff or resistance to disable attacks. If you are hit with a disable attack, and manage to escape it, you can a time period where you are immune to that sort of attack again.

Alot of BOFF abilities also have immunity’s that could be used or case before being hit with disables or other type of debuffs. Originally, there were massive gaps when you were still vulnerable to attack. But over the years, the building up of player immunity’s, abilities and gear made it next to impossible to disable anyone, or even have any more of window to disable someone.

The changes coming in season 13, change all of that. This is a section of patch notes that deal with the changes.

All “Hot Restart” powers that automatically remove a subsystem offline no longer attempt to cleanse uncleansable effects, and have a 60 second lockout on a per-subsystem basis
All holds now give their target hold resistance for a short duration when they end.
All disables now give their target hold resistance for a short duration when they end.
All player damage immunities now place a 15 second lockout on you during which you cannot activate or otherwise be affected by any more damage immunities
All player damage immunities are now buffs that can be removed by buff removing abilities

(https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/startrekonline/#/discussion/1229463/tribble-maintenance-and-release-notes-march-15-2017/p1)

Lockout cooldown

As you can see here, this is a massive change. More so for PvP players who relied on stacking immunities. With a lockout in place for using immunities, as well as the immunity BUFFs being able to be removed, it is going to be a big game changer.

COMMUNITY REACTION

The community reaction has been mixed. Alot of players are furious about the immunity changes. However, alot of players are glad as it is fixing a long standing issue with PvP, and some real dick players who kept stacking immunities for no real downside. The fact that the BUFFs can also be removed, is definitely going to open up a new tactical and strategic play styles in PvP.

Exactly how the larger community is going to react, I am fairly certain alot of them are going to be extremely unhappy. As a general rule, alot of players dont like challenges, or not being able to simply blow through with no real hassle. These changes, has the potential to affect that status quo, and as you all know, alot of players dont like it when their status quo is reduced, or removal completely.

OVERALL

Overall, the changes I have described seem to have targeted alot, if not all the “meta” that player base at large used to breeze through STFs, and the game in general. I can only guess at the massive amount of rage that will occur when this goes live. But I haven’t been involved in a game rebalance where this hasn’t happened, so it is situation normal, all fucked up on that area 🙂

As for Captains, I believe that both Science and Engineer captains have received alot of boosts and changes to increase their worth in the game. With alot of ability and console changes, I feel Science Captains and Engineer captains will close some of the gap between themselves and tacs.

Tactical captains, well, what can I say but this. You got reduced/nerfed, and you got nerfed hard. I cannot believe I am seeing the day when tactical captain abilities, and tactical captains in general would get broad and sweeping reductions and changes. It has always seemed that Cryptic were afraid to change this group of players.

Well, that period seems to be over, and Cryptic have gone for the throat. While, strictly speaking this changes are minor to medium in scale, added on to all the other changes, Tactical captains are going to see massive performance decreases. How do I feel about this, considering I have two tactical captains myself?

Well, I am both glad and concerned. Glad that tactical captains seem to be finally be not so untouchable anymore. I am also concerned at how the tactical captain player base is going to react. Considering they have been on cloud nine for many a year. How does one predict how this group will react, when they get smacked in the face hard?

CONCLUSION

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of information and discussion regarding the upcoming space balance changes. As I have said before, there are countless more changes than I have mentioned, or could even write about. Such as temporal specialization change interactions, and other BOFF abilites.

My best advice to everyone, is to have a open mind come April 25th. There will be countless changes, additions, BUFFs, reductions and unknown interactions with your ship and crew.

This is reporter Foxman86, for the Equator Alliance News Network, signing off.

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