Star Trek Online Balance Changes

Star Trek Online is in the process of undergoing some balance changes. A while back a number of tweaks to ground combat have been announced:

The goals boil down to these:
  • Increase the fun – Games are about having fun, and players should not be made to feel that their fun is “wrong.”
  • Player investment retains value – While things need to be adjusted, a setup that was optimized before should still be useful and effective afterwards.
  • Choices should be meaningful – Anywhere the game gives you a choice, there should be no choice that you always take nor one you never take.
One of the great strengths of Star Trek Online’s combat system is how expansive it is, and the freedom it gives players to choose the combinations of items and abilities that gives them the playstyle that they want. The vast number of choices already in-game means that as we re-visit the utility and strength of various options, players will have the opportunity to re-discover a lot of abilities and items they may have cast aside, and some things that you already use should become a lot more fun and enjoyable to use.

The immediate changes being made are to ground combat, with a bigger set of space changes coming to Tribble in the near future. As a preview, some of the changes coming to ground include:
  • A stealth module re-design to improve its general usefulness and unique feel. In its re-designed state, when you activate stealth module, you become cloaked; after a short duration, you can attack, gaining a damage buff while attacking from behind that lasts the duration the stealth buff would have, but ending the stealth early.
  • Your captain now uses a combadge to communicate - many of the Command kit modules that used to just affect an area near you now affect your entire team, no matter how far!
  • Tactical Initiative has also received a few changes - it now lasts longer, but cannot have its cooldown reduced, and only affects the caster’s kit modules. Those changes are intended to make it so that the Tactical Initiative remains valuable to use while active, but changes the amount of performance spike that non-tactical captains get due to tactical captains, and ensures that non-kit abilities designed around a long cooldown retain that balance point.
  • Security Escorts should now be more useful while in combat– they now move faster to keep up with you better, and hit harder while out, but in return players are limited to one pair at a time.

And now we get an even more detailed breakdown of the upcoming space balance changes:

Carrier Pets are getting some significant changes that should make them feel much more useful in space combat. All Carrier Pets:
  • Have received updated AI to be more responsive.
  • Are immune to one torpedo every 30 seconds.
  • Are unaffected by Warp Core Breaches.
  • Receive a health and damage increase. Carrier Pets that already have Scratch the Paint have received a few other buffs to account for this.
Weapons are undergoing a lot of changes targeted at making the various types and firing modes more relevant. Beam Overload no longer always critically hits, but has had its damage increased, and additionally gives your basic attacks with beam weapons a significant amount of bonus damage and critical severity for a short duration after being activated.

Fire at Will now has a slight penalty to the weapon’s damage instead of an increase at ranks II and III, and has an accuracy debuff as well.

The Target Subsystem powers have been re-designed; they now enable all of your energy weapons to place a stacking power drain debuff on the target, and have a chance to take the target’s relevant subsystem offline.

Kinetic weaponry has received some changes as well. Targetable torpedoes now fly faster, and both targetable torpedoes and mines are no longer affected by “Hazard” abilities such as Gravity Well or Tyken’s Rift. This should make them feel less sluggish and eliminate situations where they would detonate instantly on launch, while still allowing time for them to be actually shot down.

The different careers have received several changes, mostly focused on increasing the effectiveness of Engineering and Science captains. Here are a few highlights:
  • Subnucleonic Beam is now a Lieutenant Commander or higher Science Bridge Officer Power. In its place, Science Captains now gain Deflector Overcharge, which significantly increases outgoing healing, exotic damage, control abilities, and drain abilities for a short duration.
  • The combat effectiveness of allies summoned by Photonic Fleet has been significantly increased.
  • Miracle Worker’s healing is significantly increased, and now also gives a significant amount of Secondary Shielding for a short duration.
  • EPS Power Transfer now also gives the target an increase to all Maximum Subsystem Power Levels for the duration. This can be stacked with other increases to Maximum Subsystem Power Levels.
There are a few other very significant changes coming with this patch:
  • All abilities that reflect damage now deal the damage type they are reflecting.
  • Reflected damage can no longer critically hit or be buffed by damage increases.
  • All "Hot Restart" powers that automatically remove a subsystem offline can no longer apply more than once per 60 seconds.
  • All holds now give their target hold resistance for a short duration when they end.
  • All disables now give their target disable 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, and are all now “buffs” that can be removed.
  • The equation used to determine how weapons power influences your damage has been changed to a higher benefit at low power levels than before, and the same benefit as before at 100 weapons power, and slightly less while above.
The list of changes goes beyond what can be called out in this blog, and includes a large amount of changes to other abilities and items not mentioned here. The full list of initial changes will be in a Tribble patch in the near future, which we will be keeping a close eye on for feedback and issues.