Star Trek Online’s nerf to Advanced Beam Arrays causes a community uproar

    
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All right, so this one is going to take some explanation. The latest update to Star Trek Online has arrived along with the patch notes, which is to be expected. What was not, however, was one particular line where the weapon proc from Advanced Beam Arrays now grants a scaling buff to Advanced Beam Critical Severity, instead of Bonus Damage. Why is this a big deal? Because this particular weapon was part of the loadout in the Discovery-era Enterprise — the very same one that caused a furor among players for being stuffed inside of a lockbox.

Not only is the nerfing to the weapon upsetting to players, but so is the timing: The nerf appears to have arrived just after this particular lockbox sale wrapped up, leaving some among the community to assume that this is a bait and switch and Perfect World’s plan all along.

According to a post from a Cryptic developer in a different thread, it was less about waiting until all the money was raked in and more about making sure the weapons array worked for those who have less DPS-focused ships:

“The change made was targeted at making the relative effectiveness of these beams not scale so wildly with where you are on the scale from a new character to a fully optimized Borg killer […] The intent isn’t to decrease their effectiveness at the high end, where we don’t believe there was a significant problem. The intent of this change is to address the fact that they had unhealthy amounts of effectiveness on less dps focused builds, while ensuring they stay useful to higher-end characters.”

sources: official forums (1, 2, 3), official site, thanks to Panagiotis for the tip!

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Matt Redding

Am I understanding that they changed a weapon that came out of a lockbox? I was informed that in Japan they actually have laws that prevent a “mechancical change” to an item that comes out of a lockbox. It’s why the various gacha games can’t completely rework any character that drops from a lockbox only make limited balancing adjustment. Changing something from +damage to +crit would probably be illegal if the game were in service in Japan. Perhaps we should get this kind of law in the US as well to protect consumers from being lured in to buy a powerful item and then have it changed to crap right after.

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Darkthunder

After the recent agreement between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, that forces publishers to disclose the chance % on lockboxes, I look forward to the backlash hit against Cryptic and Perfect World, since they rely so heavily on the “con job” that is lockboxes in Star Trek Online.

On topic, Weapons Skills and abilities need to be reworked from the ground up, starting with making “Beam Fire-At-Will” and “Cannon Spread” a single toggle on/off ability for everyone to use as needed, with the ability causing your weapons to fire in an Area of Effect (AoE) at increased weapons power drain.

Beam Overload and the corresponding Cannon Rapid Fire skill, should likewise be high-damage abilities, and not on a shared cooldown with either the new BFaW or CS toggle, or with each other. Ships should be allowed to use Cannons and Beams simultaneously without nerfing their damage potential.

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Daniel Reasor

I really like your idea about Fire at Will and Scatter Volley. As orders for your bridge crew to carry out, they’re much simpler in concept than something like an Attack Pattern and could be very easy to justify as a core Captain ability, similar to Brace for Impact.

Putting Beam Overload and Cannon Rapid Fire on one button would be a tremendous gain for both abilities. In a game whose user interface has grown ever more crowded over the years with new ship specialization gimmicks and reputation trait abilities, it’s hard to justify putting an energy weapon button on the bar that not all of one’s energy weapons respond to. A lot of builds seem to abandon Overload and Rapid Fire entirely in favor of Fire At Will and Scatter Volley, to leave bridge officer seat spots available for other skills.

There’s already precedent for abilities that do trigger Overload and Rapid Fire with one keypress, in the form of a common Romulan Singularity Core ability and the unique bridge officer abilities on the ships you temporarily command in the Solanae Dyson Sphere episodes.

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Darkthunder

And obviously, this suggestion removes the “Scatter Volley” name, as the ability would be used to trigger your weapons into AoE-mode while toggled on, regardless of being Beams or Cannons. Fire-at-Will would suffice as a name for both uses.

Beam Overload and Cannon Rapid Fire, could if combined be renamed as Overload Weapons, which does different effects depending on weapon type (increased damage on beams, increased rate-of-fire on cannons) for it’s duration.

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Natalyia

Gear in MMOs is always going to be nerfed, tweaked, balanced, rebalanced, and buffed. Then the cycle will repeat again.

Spending money in an attempt to chase the most game-breaking stats of the moment is going to end in tears in any MMO ever. The highest tree in the “meta forest” always gets chopped down. Always.

Falling down the lockbox rabbit-hole chasing something as ephemeral as a stat-advantage in an MMO? Sorry, but no sympathy here – you’re outraged that autumn follows summer.

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Daniel Reasor

There are logs of Reddit discussions going at least as far back as June about how overpowered these weapons were, and whether the developers (who seem to genuinely care about balance) simply got overruled by the corporate beam counters this time.

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

beam counters

I see what you did there. 👍

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Daniel Reasor

A typo, but one that I have no regrets about.

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Kickstarter Donor
Richard de Leon III

Not surprised, but im not too upset, i got it for the looks not the stats. Just means ill try to build a crit set on it instead of bonus damage. Thankfully the pheonix box is back and i get stock up on upgrades.

ejester
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ejester

Perfect World Inc is the SCUMMIEST fucking company on the planet, with the exception of EA.

If you are spending money on ANY PW game. You deserve to get ripped off. They’ve proven time & time again over YEARS that they can’t be trusted. Only fooling yourselves.

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Hikari Kenzaki

I get it… but flip it around. They knew the weapons were overpowered. They supposedly bought the weapons because they were overpowered. We all know brand new weapons in any MMO that are determined to be overpowered always get balanced/nerfed. We know specifically that FOTM phasers in STO almost always get rebalanced.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 20 times… um…

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Utakata

Makes me wish that this game adopt a model more intuned with the original author of this IP’s aspirations, as opposed to be ran by bunch of faceless Ferengi’s. Just saying.

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Armsman

Um if you honestlky know anything about the real Gene Rodddenberry — (unfortunately) — THEY HAVE!

[And I say that as a huge Star Trek fan, but GR in RL was a pretty typical Hollywood producer of the 1960ies, and in the end tried to squeeze every cent he could out of Star Trek from the time he conceived it to the time he passed.

GR’s ‘Vision’™ for ‘Star Trek’ was two-fold:
$$
and
(.)(.) on a casting couch]

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Utakata

His vision for the Star Trek universe as we know it however was not $$ and (.)(.) on a casting couch. (Nor is the current game about (.)(.) on a casting couch for that matter.) But nice tu quoque…I mean try though. o.O

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Hikari Kenzaki

To be fair, anyone spending cash money on trying to have a 0.1% advantage over someone in PvP or any other game mode has long since abandoned any principles of Star Trek.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

Yeah this was a tough one.

On one hand, they really were too powerful. I had a few TFO runs where I wasn’t able to do much of anything because people in their Connies were demolishing the whole map on their own. In a handful of extreme cases they blew the whole map away so quickly it was triggering the AFK mechanism for other players on the team as the game thought we were AFK since we did no damage. They were so overpowered that other people couldn’t have any fun when someone was running them.

On the other hand, people paid out big bucks to get these ships and many specifically to get those overpowered weapons. I can absolutely understand people being mad about this. Basically they just had the thing they paid for pulled out from under their feet. I’d be pissed too tbh, so I can’t put any blame on them.

Cryptic screwed up everything regarding this Connie. It’s all squarely on them.

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Armsman

I have to say though the DESIGNER coming on a Cryptic livestream with a chart that shows internal testing of these Phasers being WAY ABOVE everything else and then claiming “Well, yes, they were better but not unbalancing to the point we thought they shouldn’t be released in this form…” really disingenuous.

I’ve been playing STO since its closed beta and as others have said it’s Cryptic’s SOP to release something really unbalanced/OP tied to a lock box ship – sell the hell out of it for 2/3 months; then nerf said item (or mechanic) to oblivion.

Star Trek: Discovery must have brought a lot of new players to STO who were 100% blindsided/unaware of this paradigm that Cryptic has done in STO since they first started with all the Lockbox ship stuff.

It was never a question of ‘if’ they’d nerf these it was just a question of ‘when’. But again, I just have to laugh when a supposed ‘experienced’ Cryptic game developer’ comes on and publicly tries to claim that they had no clue they would be as overpowered as they were:
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/464026956
(Said Dev starts refering to the chart at 1 hour 33 minutes and 10 seconds – yes, it’s at the end of the stream)

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trekfangrrrl

Not that it really matters, but you used the wrong connie picture. The connie that came with the weapons in question is the discovery connie (not the kelvin connie in the pic you posted).