Author Topic: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE  (Read 23145 times)

Offline Serenum

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2013, 10:52:21 am »
I have to agree that if a redesign of the chem spray is not a viable solution then rolling back on this latest change on the fire extinguisher seems like the only viable option, imho. Buffing the chem spray would just screw the balance even more and potentially make fire useless again.
Closest thing to a solution would be the chem spray buff lasting longer but reducing the power of components as suggested above, but I really don't understand why we have this changes implemented in the first place.
What was wrong with the fire extinguisher?

Offline Asteria Bisset

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2013, 11:22:30 am »
I'm actually loving the fire Extinguisher changes since it actually made using the Extinguisher a little better. If you did have a fire and reacted to it, I loved not having everything go up in flames again immediately in the next instant while I'm trying to put out other things. I will agree though that the Chem Spray does need something to make it useable in combination with the Fire Extinguisher. Usually what would happen with the Chem Spray is even if someone had it on board and was using it to actively prevent fire, it didn't last through a fight. It's effect is too short if you weren't sitting on a component and rotating it in-between wrench and hammer whacks. (It does make for a pretty funky beatboxing beat. TING TING TING THUNK THUNK SPSSSHH)

Even if you used it in tandem with the Extinguisher, the fire stacks ate through the components faster than you can spray + extinguish them, which would be the ideal situation but it could never be done.

Offline awkm

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2013, 11:24:20 am »
The reason why the extinguisher received its immunity during cooldown was purely from a design standpoint.  The reason is as follows:

The extinguisher is meant to be a reactionary tool.  You see fire, you go over to extinguish it no matter how many charges there are.  If you don't respond, you are penalized by the DPS that fire does.  The problem was that if you respond successfully, during its cooldown (where you can't respond any more) you can accumulate more stacks.  Not being able to respond in this situation denies the player of their intended play style.

While there weren't many complaints regarding this, it's very poor design.  I'm confident enough to say that you also felt this wrong on a subconscious level but just dealt with a crap design.

Now, the ramifications of immunity during cooldown means that the component will be taking less DPS.  However, the situation is still similar in that if a component catches fire while cooling down (old extinguish) or an enemy is still flaming you and ignites a component after cooldown (current extinguisher) you are still required to respond.  Difference is that the system doesn't render you helpless (can't extinguish during cooldown).  You always had the ability to sit at a component and baby it with the extinguisher.

What comes out of this, again, is less damage on the component overall.  Because we don't deny your ability to extinguish now, you can theoretically respond perfectly to all fires on the ship and take no damage at all (impossible, of course).  Before, if you respond perfectly you'd still fail because stuff would still be on fire during cooldown.

While this is better than the gunner thread, please go into matches with flamers and take a closer look at what is going on.

It may be true that chem spray, the preventative tool, may be very difficult to pull off.  Again, it might be something that a higher level engineer would do.  Idea is that chem spray engineer never stops running around.  Probably, buff/chem engineer.

Now the question is, what changes can be made to make prevention feel more like prevention?  I think extinguisher is right now.

Offline The Djinn

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2013, 01:09:51 pm »
Now the question is, what changes can be made to make prevention feel more like prevention?  I think extinguisher is right now.

Here's a thought:

What if the Chem Spray had a much longer duration, but instead of providing blanket immunity or percentile reduction instead prevented the next X stacks of fire on the element in question? It allows an Engineer to prep multiple parts before combat and still do his job in combat (repairing where necessary instead of running around chem-spraying everything repeatedly), while making it so that large fire offensives require an Engineer with an Extinguisher to really deal with.

In a case like this I'd lower it's cooldown to 2-3 seconds (and maybe reduce it's power to only removing 2 stacks), but only apply the preventative buff when there are no fire stacks on the component already: that keeps it feeling good for preventative purposes, but bad for reactive use.

Of course, this would probably require a new graphic for Chem-Sprayed components, possibly with a number indicator (or color-shifting indicator) to show how close the Chem Spray is to being removed. This would allow attentive and quick-to-act Engineers to keep the part safe by refreshing the Chem Spray before it actually gains fire stacks. Once the fire has actually breached the protection, however, the Chem Spray is strictly worse than the Extinguisher.

So something like this...

Chem Spray
Extinguishing Power: 2
Cooldown: 2
Special: Applies a fire shield to non-ignited components for up to 2 minutes. The first 8 stacks of fire damage that component would take are negated. Once 8 stacks of fire damage have been negated, the buff is removed.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 01:17:30 pm by The Djinn »

Offline geggis

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2013, 01:14:50 pm »
I'd like to see some sort of blue fire-proof timer/gauge, similar to the buff tool's, showing how much time is left before the chem spray needs to be reapplied because as a budding buff/chemgineer myself, keeping stock of what's freshly sprayed and what needs another blast while I'm running around in and out of fights is very tricky. 20 seconds might not sound like much but if you're clearing enough space and the damage is coming in thick and fast you need to know whether it's worth repairing or spraying in those crucial split seconds. You may have a circuit of spraying to keep a mental clock going but all it takes is one broken or focused component and suddenly all those timers start getting staggered! I think some sort of indication of how much protection is left would go some way in making the chem spray more forgiving to use without altering any of its stats. I'm not saying its stats shouldn't be altered but I think this would be a big improvement in a future patch.

Offline Sammy B. T.

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2013, 01:44:11 pm »

The extinguisher is meant to be a reactionary tool.  You see fire, you go over to extinguish it no matter how many charges there are.  If you don't respond, you are penalized by the DPS that fire does.  The problem was that if you respond successfully, during its cooldown (where you can't respond any more) you can accumulate more stacks.  Not being able to respond in this situation denies the player of their intended play style.

If your ship is sitting in a flamer, a fire extinguisher shouldn't be cutting it anyway. The captain needs to get rid of the flames or move.

Also the same rationale for the immunity could be used for all repair tools. I respond perfectly to armor damage, I shouldn't be penalized by more damage while I wait for my mallet cooldown. I guess I don't see why fire damage is seen as such a threat that it makes sense to give its tools cooldown immunity.

The tools were fine before though chem was underpowered. The fire extinguisher was unworthy of a buff and I don't understand why there is a desire to rework a whole system that wasn't broke.

Offline Serenum

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2013, 02:03:06 pm »
Now the question is, what changes can be made to make prevention feel more like prevention?  I think extinguisher is right now.

Here's a thought:

What if the Chem Spray had a much longer duration, but instead of providing blanket immunity or percentile reduction instead prevented the next X stacks of fire on the element in question? It allows an Engineer to prep multiple parts before combat and still do his job in combat (repairing where necessary instead of running around chem-spraying everything repeatedly), while making it so that large fire offensives require an Engineer with an Extinguisher to really deal with.

In a case like this I'd lower it's cooldown to 2-3 seconds (and maybe reduce it's power to only removing 2 stacks), but only apply the preventative buff when there are no fire stacks on the component already: that keeps it feeling good for preventative purposes, but bad for reactive use.

Of course, this would probably require a new graphic for Chem-Sprayed components, possibly with a number indicator (or color-shifting indicator) to show how close the Chem Spray is to being removed. This would allow attentive and quick-to-act Engineers to keep the part safe by refreshing the Chem Spray before it actually gains fire stacks. Once the fire has actually breached the protection, however, the Chem Spray is strictly worse than the Extinguisher.

So something like this...

Chem Spray
Extinguishing Power: 2
Cooldown: 2
Special: Applies a fire shield to non-ignited components for up to 2 minutes. The first 8 stacks of fire damage that component would take are negated. Once 8 stacks of fire damage have been negated, the buff is removed.

I like the sound of that, if it was doable it would certanly give the Chem Spray its place.
I have to agree with Sammy B.T. though, protecting component from damage shouldn't be thought as the exclusive responsability of the engineer, if the ship is under fire then it's the pilot's responsability to move away, otherwise you keep on reciving more stacks of fire then you are putting off.
So just like with the mallet I don't see taking more damage while on cooldown as a flaw, it's just a consequence of not being able to move away.

Offline awkm

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2013, 02:08:03 pm »
I don't think Djinn's proposal is a good one.  It becomes a UI complexity.  How do we display how  many charges it absorbed?  The answer is simple, but the UI becomes cluttered.  It's not elegant.

While the same arguments can be made for repair tools, there is indeed some overlap, however the game you play is not prevention vs. reaction.  With repairs it's cooldown time management.  It's slightly different and therefore I feel it's okay for take damage while cooling down.  This is because most engineers will have two repair tools with them, you are able to choose how you respond.  You don't carry two extinguishers with you, that choice is made before the match starts so you are locked in to how you respond to fire for the rest of the match.

Offline Serenum

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2013, 02:35:16 pm »
Could be displayed by a number or indicator on each component when you look at them directly, just like the buff meter.

Offline The Djinn

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2013, 02:36:51 pm »
I don't think Djinn's proposal is a good one.  It becomes a UI complexity.  How do we display how  many charges it absorbed?  The answer is simple, but the UI becomes cluttered.  It's not elegant.

If the issue is UI complexity and you think the mechanic is sound, I can think of a few ways to resolve that. The first would be to make it only visible upon being close to the component: it would be a simple matter to add a small number indicator to the part itself, although this would require the Engineer to check up on his Chem Spray a little more often (which would be a good thing, overall, as it would reward awareness and proactive work). The UI clutter would be exceedingly minimal, as you'd only see the indicator when close enough to actually see the component's interface. That's a very minimal change in the UI.

Another option is to actually use the Buff Bar for Chem Spray indication: a blue column shows bars of protection remaining, with whichever bar (buff or spray) is lower taking forward priority on the display so both are visible simultaneously. Probably a worse option overall though.

A third option is to not display the number precisely, but have Chem Sprayed components show up as a different color when you get close to them, gradually fading back to their original color as the buff fades.

These are all off the top of my head, of course: I might be tempted to photoshop up a few mock-ups to see how little UI alteration I can make this require. I do, however, feel the first approach would be an exceedingly minimal UI complication in exchange for what I feel is a very solidly proactive fire-prevention mechanic. Did you approve of the mechanic itself? Or was the UI critique merely a part of a larger issue with the concept?

Offline awkm

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2013, 02:39:39 pm »
All these are feature requests.  A number is not a good solution either.

While the mechanic is interesting, we can't entertain them before all other possibilities are exhausted.  Possibilities that don't require features or more opaque UI.

Offline awkm

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #41 on: October 30, 2013, 02:40:04 pm »
And I am not approving any mechanic here.

Offline The Djinn

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #42 on: October 30, 2013, 02:50:24 pm »
While the mechanic is interesting, we can't entertain them before all other possibilities are exhausted.  Possibilities that don't require features or more opaque UI.

Alright. I guess my contributions will not help here then: I don't really like having to balance blanket immunity to fire with duration, as it seems to me that the all-or-nothing ratio of that either makes Chem Spray the be-all-end-all against fire (if it lasts to long) or merely a haphazard way of preventing damage to one or two components (if it doesn't last long enough). I'd be interested in seeing only partial resistance, but that turns Chem Spray into more of a "buying extra time" tool rather than a proactive prevention tool.

So I guess I'll ask: what was your concept for Chem Spray? Should it reward proactive work by having a better defense than the Extinguisher? Should it require constant upkeep at the possible expense of other engineering work? Should it collapse if the rest of the ship is threatened and engineers are needed elsewhere?

I'd love to toss out ideas that are more in line with what you're looking for, but I guess I'm not currently sure what you envision as the ideal "proactive" gameplay for fire protection. Obviously it's used before the damage hits...but how do you envision the ideal gameplay around that, and what that should (conceptually) accomplish?

Quote from: awkm
And I am not approving any mechanic here.

Of course. I suppose I worded it poorly: I wasn't looking for approval, so much as wondering if you didn't like the idea because you thought the implementation was poorly conceived, or merely because of the potential UI complexity.

Offline awkm

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #43 on: October 30, 2013, 03:03:11 pm »
If possible, feature requests should be avoided.  If features are needed, UI must be considered.  That Repair UI is really messy as it is.

If you can react perfectly, you can prevent all fire.  If you are perfectly proactive, you can prevent all fire.  that's the basis of the choice you're making.  You're right saying that if the chem spray just has partial immunity, it becomes a buying more time tool.  It breaks the previously established metaphor.

The risk of reactive is you can't be react fast enough and can't get to it in time.  The risk of proactive is similar in that you prevented it too late.  It seems that 5s cooldown for chem spray is too substantial.  You failed prevention and now you can't really extinguish the many stacks due to the long cooldown.  So decreasing chem spray cooldown may be a potential solution, you can't extinguish all the stacks at once (you're penalized for failing) but you can at least fix it better.

Another alternative may have fire stacks decay over time after extinguished.  It's similar to a lower cooldown except that you don't have to be at the component to keep extinguishing.  You have the choice of moving on and extinguishing it later or staying there trying to get those 20 stacks down.  Not sure if that one was mentioned or not.

While the latter is a little opaque, it's a little better than absorbing charges ebcause the effect is always a positive.  You don't really need to keep track of something that's positive.  Also, the Floating Repair UI tells you if you have 8 or more stacks so we have at least some global indication of how many stacks something has.

Offline The Djinn

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Re: 1.3.3 ENGINEER AND REPAIR TOOL BALANCE
« Reply #44 on: October 30, 2013, 03:11:58 pm »
*stuff*

Thanks. That was really helpful.  :D

So we want something that allows a skilled and aware Engineer to potentially prevent all fires by well-timed preventative measures. We also probably don't want this to come to to much of an expense to his standard repairing, or it becomes something he cannot do in combat.

I believe stack decay was mentioned, and I think it ran into the "feature request" problem, although I'm not positive.

It seems what you're suggesting could be fairly well accomplished by a cooldown reduction to be closer to the Extinguisher's cooldown (I'd probably say the same cooldown would be fine for both). I'd personally like to see this combined with either a decent duration increase (I feel it should be long enough that I could theoretically run a constant circuit of Chem Spraying while having just enough extra time to heal one or two parts in critical need), or a severely reduced cooldown (down to maybe 1 second) for parts that do not currently have fire stacks. Either would have a similar effect of having an ideal circuit on a nearly undamaged ship result in solid and reliable fire protection.

I think this would result in a very skilled Engineer being able to keep up an almost solid wall of Chem Spray on important ship elements...provided he doesn't need to stop to repair more than one or two components, and provided he doesn't need to rebuild any components. You could counter his proactive wall by destroying crucial parts and forcing him to break his Chem Spray cycle, which gives the strategy a fairly intuitive form of counter-play. It also forces an engineer put in that position to only really have Chem Spray on critical components, as, once his defenses have been overrun, he must really make some key choices on what to repair, what to proactively protect, and what he wants to ineffectively extinguish.

It would also really fit into a Chem Spray Engie + Extinguisher Engie, as with these greater defined roles you'd have an optimal situation of, say, the Chem Spray Engie running around constantly keeping his protection up and trouble-shooting repairs, while the Extinguisher Engie is on board as an emergency response engineer who reacts to components that have had their Chem Spray covering breached, or components that are broken and would pull the Chem Spray Engie off his rotation.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 03:15:14 pm by The Djinn »