Cosmpiercers: Problems and an Ambitious Proposal

BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭

Cosmpiercers were sold as the place for people to get large-scale PvP with great rewards for the winning factions. However, as anyone who has done them can probably tell, right now they're very far from the intended goal. There are some major issues with the core design of the cosmpiercers and I don't think we can make them engaging as a conflict mechanic without changing them at multiple levels. I'll try to present the problems as I see them as well as offer alternatives. My proposals will probably require a lot of coder resources, but hopefully we can have a good discussion about this and potentially see positive changes implemented.

The Problems:

PvP

- Even if they do find out, by the time they can organise a defending force and fly out to the cosmpiercer it has likely already been flipped.

- If the above scenario happens, no matter. They can flip it back to their control right away.

- In the off chance that the defenders get to a cosmpiercer before the attackers can liberate it. The fight now heavily favours the defenders. They can use the guard stacks to their advantage and unless the attackers can heavily outnumber the defenders, all the defenders have to do is find a chokepoint with some guards and sit on it. A large part of this is due to the guard mechanics. Alternatively, they can pull attackers into stacks of guards and let them handle it.

- However, it doesn't actually matter since there is no real win condition for the defenders. If the defenders are not quite possible to just win a full fight and wipe the attackers, there is nothing they can really do to make the attackers stop attacking until they get bored. Alternatively, even if the defenders can camp and stop the attackers from advancing, there is nothing stopping the attackers from just picking a new cosmpiercer to hit and we basically go back to square one.

- If either side doesn't have an engineer who can open wormholes then they are at a massive disadvantage due to the slow time to travel to the cosmpiercer.

- This is a problem with general large-scale PvP, but is particularly evident in cosmpiercers. Engineer's Heartstart ability is simply too strong. In its current state, all large-scale PvP will come down to engineers being focused first in an attempt to eliminate any possibility of mass heartstarting people. PvP becomes meaningless when you can spend 30 seconds killing someone just for an engineer to immediately resurrect them back to full health.

- There is absolutely no way to even know if people are taking cosmpiercers unless someone dies to it or someone is spamming COSMPIERCER LIST so often that they see one of their cosmpiercers got flipped.

PvE

- Because of power scaling, rank 1 guards hit for just under half as hard as rank 7 guards.

- Faction-controlled guards currently attack on entry, but this is likely bugged in that it will attack their target once for every person who walks into the room. Ishvana controlled guards don't have this mechanic. This means for faction-controlled cosmpiercers if you don't want anyone to die you pretty much have to solo guards. Because of the power scaling and guard stacking, this is probably not even possible with rank 2 cosmpiercers for level 75 people.

- I have not noticed this much in the lower rank guards, but rank 7 guards have a super attack like the vines in Jelle that will do over 50% of any level 75's health. This means that even two guards can literally one-shot any person in the game. Rank 7s have between four to six guards per room. This makes high rank cosmpiercers that are controlled by a faction nearly impossible to take without sacrificing a lot of bodies along the way.

Liberate mechanics

- Control points can spawn anywhere on the cosmpiercer. This includes the docks. This means you can actually claim rank 1 cosmpiercers without having to fight a single guard if you get lucky.

- That one specific scenario aside, the random placement of control points and number of guards in each room means 90% of finding control points is about trying to make a path through as many "easy" rooms as possible that expose a large number of rooms through glancing.

Ship combat (admittedly this is the part I know the least about)

- There is nothing stopping a ship from just running through a "blockade" and docking, so it seems almost pointless to even fight in space if you know you are outnumbered or outgunned.

Rewards

-Currently mark rewards for both individuals and factions are way too low. On the other hand, influence rewards are way too high for the amount of work required.


The Ambitious Proposal

NOTE: There are probably problems with some, most, or even all of the below. The numbers in particular are probably way out of whack. What I am presenting here is an idea for something that would make cosmpiercers more engaging and include more aspects of the game than the current mostly PvE experience.


General changes

-Add a 5 minute cooldown to Heartstart. Resurrection is impactful and should be treated as such. A cooldown of this size adds the need to pick who and when to use the skill to try to turn the fight.

-Do not allow ships to dock while they are in combat mode. This means that if there is a big bad ship that is trying to blockade a station you will either need to remove it or run decoy ships to land reinforcements with a main transport ship.

Cosmpiercer changes

-Place a forcefield around the dock so that only players in the faction who owns the cosmpiercers can move around them. If another faction wishes to try to capture it one of their players must fly to the dock and do a command. This officially begins the liberation attempt.Each faction can only have one liberation attempt active at a time. There will be a time limit to complete the liberation, after which the attempt will fail. When liberation begins there will be an announcement in the defending org's FT.

-Inside each faction place a special room where players may teleport to any cosmpiercer "in play". This will serve as the primary way for reinforcements to get to the cosmpiercer. This should place them in set rooms (so maybe the cosmpiercer layouts need to change) to allow people to set up on the cosmpiercer. There should either be a cooldown on how often this can be used, or there can be a global reinforcement tick where everyone spawns in at the same time. This gives both sides a steady stream of reinforcements to try to win the fight in.

-Add a new skill to captaincy to "channel" an interrupt on the reinforcements of the opposing organisation. The ship must remain within 10 tiles of the cosmpiercer to continue channeling it. This can slow down the cooldown or reinforcement rate, and if the ship leaves the 10 tile range then it cannot do it again for a certain period of time. This is intended to make ship combat relevant without being dominant in cosmpiercer battles.

-Extend the time needed to capture a cosmpiercer significantly. Make it a points based system where you earn points every 10 seconds for having people liberating control points. Let's say rank 1s require 1800 points of liberating and rank 7s require 5400 points. For each control point you get 10 points each tick. So if you are liberating 4 control points you get 40 points. With my numbers we're talking about 30 minutes for rank 1 and 90 minutes for rank 7.

-Place a terminal at each control point. These should scale so rank 1s are very easy to hack and rank 7s are much harder. Each terminal can only be hacked once. Success will instantly give you a 600 points. So you can shave 10 minutes from rank 1s and up to 40 minutes from rank 7s.

-Make guards non-aggro (and possibly adjust their strength/tankiness). Instead, after a certain amount of guards are killed, spawn a "boss" guard somewhere on the cosmpiercers. Killing the boss will instantly grant a number of points equal to 600 * number of control points, as if they had successfully hacked all of the terminals. With the hacking bonus, this can mean that you can capture the cosmpiercer slowly by just liberating, or quickly by completing the objectives.

-Whether the attempt is successful or not, lock the cosmpiercer down for 1 month. This means whoever wins will secure the reward for that month. Maybe we can even cap the number of cosmpiercers a faction can liberate a month so one org can't just steamroll through them during a particularly strong month.

Rewards

-After a liberation attempt anyone who entered the cosmpiercer or the space around it from either side should immediately get a small experience bonus and a small amount of marks, depending on the cosmpiercer rank and which side won. This is to encourage participation so players feel like they got something for it straight away, even if they lost.

-Increase monthly mark rewards. Maybe at least double what they give right now, with a bonus for holding onto cosmpiercers for a longer period of time. Maybe increasing by 10% each month up to 100%.

-Scale influence rewards based on cosmpiercer rank and number of participants. Maybe have a pool of influence that is split amongst participants. This one should only be given to the winning side.

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Comments

  • PollivarPollivar Posts: 115Member ✭✭✭
    I like most of these ideas, but it may be thematically problematic and...odd...if the guards are non-aggro. I also dislike the idea of capping flips - I even dislike the idea of locking them down, but I know otherwise it'll just Never Stop Ever, and 1 irl day seems fair, as long as they all become free at the same time.
  • JoscelinJoscelin Posts: 45Member
    I’m not the biggest fan of a cooldown on Heartstart. I’m also not the biggest fan of how it works.

    If it were up to me, I’d have Heartstart resurrect people, but at low health and force an uninterruptible Regenerate on them as it reboots their wetwiring. Mass resurrection in combat on a trigger would just lead to your side being slaughtered again as they stood around watching Clippy bring up their BIOS. Outside of immediate danger, though, it would function without much issue and without placing a premium on the sheer number of Engineers you have to play “Who has more long cooldowns?”
    RazzyMinionPerfect
  • RazzyRazzy Posts: 27Member
    edited January 9
    I wouldn't mind a 30 second or so cooldown with the conditions Joscelin mentioned, but so many Engi abilities are firmly in the "why would I ever use this" area a five minute cooldown even if it gave full health is just a hard no from me.

    Definitely would like an XP reward. While I'm not so concerned about earning marks from them even soloing one of the lower tier 'piercers doesn't give me 1% of my gauge filled, and as was stated the guards still do a lot more damage for their tier than they probably should.
    Feraluna has called for the honoring of Razzy for the following reason: somehow setting Reynolds on fire, killing someone, and then calling for her own besmirching.
  • MinionMinion Posts: 162Member ✭✭✭
    Not sure if it has been mentioned or not but a wind-up message and cooldown to flip should be instated. The wind up should be a declaration of attack and give time for both forces to show up.

    Cooldown should be long enough to get at least a day of benefit from it before it becomes available to flip.
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭
    Razzy said:
    I wouldn't mind a 30 second or so cooldown with the conditions Joscelin mentioned, but so many Engi abilities are firmly in the "why would I ever use this" area a five minute cooldown even if it gave full health is just a hard no from me.
    This is the worst excuse to keep a skill overpowered and a hindrance to a good PK experience. Every class has a lot of skills that are absolutely useless, with some only having one or two skills in an entire skillset even worth using. However, everything is subject to change and eventually this shouldn't be the case. 
  • FyrelFyrel Posts: 61Member ✭✭
    30 minutes sounds fine, but 90 minutes plus fighting time for guards plus time to fight defenders plus space shenanigans sounds like the highest rank piercers will take four hours to take. Then again I'm not a piercer expert so I could be way off.
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭
    Fyrel said:
    30 minutes sounds fine, but 90 minutes plus fighting time for guards plus time to fight defenders plus space shenanigans sounds like the highest rank piercers will take four hours to take. Then again I'm not a piercer expert so I could be way off.
    The idea is you are supposed to do the hacking and guard killing objectives to reduce the total time required. 
  • RazzyRazzy Posts: 27Member
    edited January 10
    Mate I specified "with the changes Joscelin suggested" so using it in combat would be sentencing someone to lose even more XP. As of last cosmpiercer our Guard Designated Meatshield™ still wound up losing a solid 30% of their gauge while being heartstarted.

    The other option was keeping it just as overpowered as it is now but putting it on a long cooldown so you just... Rotate your engineers for a bit?

    Like I'm not arguing against it being nerfed a bit, frankly I think it should be, I just don't like the plain "throw it on a long cooldown" method.
    Feraluna has called for the honoring of Razzy for the following reason: somehow setting Reynolds on fire, killing someone, and then calling for her own besmirching.
    Joscelin
  • AzlynAzlyn Posts: 22Member ✭✭
    I agree with the OP problems stated, and I like the general premise around a points-based system. I also really like better incorporating hacking and ship combat into the conflict mechanic. Small rewards for participants is also great. Some other thoughts on what was presented:

    - For Heartstart changes, I would recommend instead making this a channeled action and reviving at 1hp so it's not something that is spammed mid-combat without risk or counter.
    - If aggressors can score points, the defenders should, too, to be able to actively stop a claim instead of having to babysit the cosmpiercer until the time runs out.
    - Agree with some other comments that 90 minutes is too long. I'd suggest instead that the point value per tick increases if it is held for longer periods of time by the same party uninterrupted (e.g., 1pt/tick for first minute, 2pt/tick for second minute, etc... numbers and frequency should be tweaked to make sense in the scheme).  I'd suggest the minimum amount of time to take the cosmpiercer, uninterrupted, should be about 20 minutes, and maybe aim for a maximum of 90 minutes, contested.
    - Agree that, especially with the above, a cooldown on cosmpiercer attempts would be good, especially to prevent cries of overabundant opportunistic "off-peak" captures.
    - I haven't thought through this part yet, but the implications of three orgs vying for one cosmpiercer should be considered, too. Specifically, for things like the hacked terminal or boss spawns, need to consider if there are enough points for multiple aggressors to viably compete. This also contributes to why I think the defenders should be able to have some type of active counter in this system.
  • IndecisionIndecision Posts: 36Member
    I'll second that I like the idea of Heartstart reviving at really low HP.

    That would make more thematic sense. You could even set a flag on the Heartstart character, like "Recovering" that doesn't go away until the character recovers to max HP. As long as a player is still in Recovering, they can't be Heartstarted.

    I'm also seconding integrating Hacking into Cosmpiercers. I'm absolutely awful at combat, but great at Hacking.

    Also, something that hasn't been brought up is how little competition there is regarding Cosmpiercers. They are a "win more" mechanic. The team in the lead gets an even bigger lead. This causes the underdog teams to just give up, causing them to die off or defect. Do you remember how few Yellow gyms there were in Pokemon Go? And how Team Instinct was never able to catch up?

    This sort of mechanic is fine, but only if the ease of capture is scaled to relative team power. Here's an example:

    Team A has 5 players of equal ability and playtime.

    Team B has 15 players of equal ability and playtime.

    Team B is going to be unstoppable. Team A will only be able to make a dent. Team B has far more coverage. The players on Team A will get exhausted and give up or defect.

    In any competitive conflict, if Team A was given 3x power, or Team B was nerfed down to 1/3 defenses, then Team A would stand a chance and PvP would all come down to the skill of the players.
  • SqueakumsSqueakums Posts: 196Member ✭✭✭
    The only issue with that is if there are 5 newbies that want to join team A and learn PvP, it is actually detrimental to team A to bring them because 5 strong players with buffs/scaling is better than 5 strong and 5 weak. Some nice people would take the hit in order to encourage their newbies, but I think it's a significant enough issue that it should be brought up. Especially because we're not all nice people.
  • BalthazarBalthazar Posts: 11Member
    edited January 11
    Why should 5 people be able to take on 15 people of equal ability and playtime? I'm curious as to how you justify that in a roleplaying game. Something that goes beyond the intangible "you see your team outnumbered on the cosmpiercer and are filled with determination".
  • BalthazarBalthazar Posts: 11Member
    edited January 11
    It's a little reminiscent of the argument that occasionally goes around to address group combat damage metas (which I understand is a problem in many IRE games): damage reduction per person hitting you. If you have 10 Scoundrels shooting at you, I don't agree with the idea that some of the Scoundrels' bullets inexplicably start hurting you less. If you're targeted by 10 people, being 1 person, you should expect to die fairly quickly unless you have quick reflexes or a friend saves you by pushing you away or somesuch. The same should be true of a 15 person group of equal skill and playtime being able to shut out 5 people.
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 343Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 11
    Lithmeria (RIP) explained it simply: if you're just one person and five people are surrounding you, those five people will have to crowd around and maybe their hits aren't as strong because of this. Effectively, it translates to a damage reduction.

    In any case, game balance should trump any "realism" argument. Bandwagoning into the strongest faction is a real thing, and if left unchecked, it will be a net negative for Starmourn.

    edit: in the 5 v 1 scenario, the 1 person is still probably going to die, but it's much less of a "mash damage button to win".

    Normal:
    first 2 people = 100% effective per person = 200% total
    2+1 person = 100% effective = 300% total
    3+1 person = 100% effective = 400% total
    4+1 person = 100% effective = 500% total

    Adjusted:
    first 2 people = 100% effective per person = 200% total
    2+1 person = 95% effective = 285% total (-15% of normal)
    3+1 person = 90% effective = 360% total (-40% of normal)
    4+1 person = 85% effective = 425% total (-75% of normal)

    Adding more people will still help (especially if there's a cap on effectivity loss, as Lithmeria had), but it won't be as laughably powerful.

    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭
    Azlyn said:
    I agree with the OP problems stated, and I like the general premise around a points-based system. I also really like better incorporating hacking and ship combat into the conflict mechanic. Small rewards for participants is also great. Some other thoughts on what was presented:

    - For Heartstart changes, I would recommend instead making this a channeled action and reviving at 1hp so it's not something that is spammed mid-combat without risk or counter.
    This is an alright alternative, but I think this needs to be a long channel (e.g. at least 10 seconds). However, I still think a cooldown is better as it also prevents things like engineers taking the corpse and heartstarting from a safe room etc.

    - If aggressors can score points, the defenders should, too, to be able to actively stop a claim instead of having to babysit the cosmpiercer until the time runs out.
    I think we could have the defenders have to do a "fortify" that works like a counter liberate where it starts to reduce the amount of time remaining. I think this simulates the attack vs defence mechanic where both sides want control of the control points with the attacking side having a few more opportunities in the form of the hacking/PvE to earn points, while the defending side are using the control points to end the attack as soon as possible.

    - Agree with some other comments that 90 minutes is too long. I'd suggest instead that the point value per tick increases if it is held for longer periods of time by the same party uninterrupted (e.g., 1pt/tick for first minute, 2pt/tick for second minute, etc... numbers and frequency should be tweaked to make sense in the scheme).  I'd suggest the minimum amount of time to take the cosmpiercer, uninterrupted, should be about 20 minutes, and maybe aim for a maximum of 90 minutes, contested.
    The numbers I suggested are just that; suggestions. However, the 90 minutes I suggested was just the maximum for a rank 7 if all the attacking side did was use the control points and ignored the hacking/PvE elements altogether.

    - I haven't thought through this part yet, but the implications of three orgs vying for one cosmpiercer should be considered, too. Specifically, for things like the hacked terminal or boss spawns, need to consider if there are enough points for multiple aggressors to viably compete. This also contributes to why I think the defenders should be able to have some type of active counter in this system.
    To really facilitate a 3-way contest I think the entire premise to be changed to a timed system where all sides are trying to earn points and whoever gets the most wins. I don't really like this because it can extend the period of time required to "win" far beyond what would be fun for any side (think wild nodes in Lusternia). In the current proposal all three factions can be trying to claim cosmpiercers at the same time so I think that is where the biggest interaction between the three will be. For example, maybe both SH and CA decide to work together to liberate at the same time so SD will be forced to focus one on and give up the other, or try to defend both at the same time. 
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭
    I'm not really sure why a group of 15 people with more overall power (a general term I am using to include everything such as individual skill and experience or group tactics etc) should be on a fair footing with a group of 5 people with less overall power. Vice versa, if the sum power of the 5 people is greater than the 15 people, then I wouldn't expect the 15 people to be on an equal footing. It should be up to the side with less overall power to try to get more power and secure victories for themselves.


    This sort of mechanic is fine, but only if the ease of capture is scaled to relative team power. Here's an example:

    Team A has 5 players of equal ability and playtime.

    Team B has 15 players of equal ability and playtime.

    Team B is going to be unstoppable. Team A will only be able to make a dent. Team B has far more coverage. The players on Team A will get exhausted and give up or defect.

    In any competitive conflict, if Team A was given 3x power, or Team B was nerfed down to 1/3 defenses, then Team A would stand a chance and PvP would all come down to the skill of the players.
    The above example is also contradictory because the premise is already that Team A and Team B's players are of equal skill, but Team A has less people. By making it 3 times as easy for Team A, that is the exact opposite of PvP "coming down to skill". 
  • kamyrkamyr Posts: 54Member
    Example 'territories' structure:
    Cap amount: 180+ 120 * CP level.
    Ticks every 10s that give 10 * CapturedTerminals/TotalTerminals. 
    CP swaps to the first org to hit the cap.

    5m to 19m (21m?) minimum capture time once you get rid of gen and guards. Still fairly fast, but that's enough time to fly out for a defense if you've got an RRT ready.

    ----------------
    Hacking's 'lol muh body gone' has to go.
    -------------
    omg just blow up my ship if it gets stuck in an enemy CP

     
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 343Member ✭✭✭
    A couple of weeks out from the last changes to cosmpiercers, so adding in feedback to those:

    The idea of adding long-ish timers to cosmpiercers (or any PK objective, really) is a good idea. It means more people can participate.

    However, tying these timers to PVE is, I think, inherently a bad direction. It encourages zerging or whaling (artifact heavyweights), and ultimately it doesn't even lengthen the timer enough to get others to participate. Anecdote: when Scatterhome was taking the lower-level cosmpiercers, Song literally was unable to get to them in time to mount a defense, because SH had enough ships to take the generators out quickly.

    Completely PVE-based timers either work, or they don't.

    Maybe make it so that there's just one generator per cosmpiercer (so that it's still very helpful to have a big-enough ship). Taking out that generator starts a timer for the shield to completely disappear (and thus allow docking). 3 minutes for level 1 CPs, +1 minute for every level up.

    With that said, I love how ships + regular combat + hacking have been tied into cosmpiercers!
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • tysandrtysandr Posts: 90Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 16
    It isn't logical nor realistic, but the reality is dog-piling kills motivation. Why kill Players of Team B if they turn up with +100% 2 minutes later & win based on their numerical superiority? Why do this 5, 10, 20 times a week if new team members (your long-term plan against the zerg) who are learning their craft get fatigued by being numerically beaten week-in week-out?

    It happens across all most games I have played where the option exists, and there isn't really good recourse for this. A damage malus is unlikely to be the solution to a population imbalance. A reward bonus for playing in an outnumbered situation might, but that is a very big IF.
    vote ∘ Explore Nexus mods for Starmourn & Achaeandb for Nexus

    Zoot
  • ZootZoot Posts: 14Member
    edited February 16
    tysandr said:
    It isn't logical nor realistic, but the reality is dog-piling kills motivation. Why kill Players of Team B if they turn up with +100% 2 minutes later & win based on their numerical superiority? Why do this 5, 10, 20 times a week if new team members (your long-term plan against the zerg) who are learning their craft get fatigued by being numerically beaten week-in week-out?

    It happens across all most games I have played where the option exists, and there isn't really good recourse for this. A damage malus is unlikely to be the solution to a population imbalance. A reward bonus for playing in an outnumbered situation might, but that is a very big IF.
    One option which I can think of can limit the cosm takeover or defense to one crew per side and crews can buy NPC mercenaries based on the inverse of the crew's combined combat skill totals. A well-formed PC zerg will > small PC group plus NPCs but that implies coordination from the zerg. All the NPCs would need to do is damage and possibly some sort of generic snare, realistically. Each side would have a cap of perhaps 10 fighter equivalent total? It would be a compromise between benching/zerging.
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 343Member ✭✭✭
    There are two problems: zerging (bringing as many people as you can) and benching (discouraging people from participating because adding more people actively hurts your team).

    Zerging are fun for the faction that has the zerg. Benching is fun for the faction that has a low population.

    Right now, cosmpiercers are our sole faction-level combat system. It encourages zerging, which is not inherently bad (encouraging participation is nice, after all).

    What ultimately needs to happen is to introduce another (separate) faction-level combat system which then favours benching. Balance things out, and such.

    Of course, that'll probably happen not-soon (more urgent tweaks are needed elsewhere). But it's something to keep in mind.

    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • SqueakumsSqueakums Posts: 196Member ✭✭✭
    Some kind of system where a faction can nominate champions, and only X champions per faction are allowed to compete at a time? Gladiatorial duo battles? Some instanced equivalent in space? 
  • ZootZoot Posts: 14Member
    Squeakums said:
    Some kind of system where a faction can nominate champions, and only X champions per faction are allowed to compete at a time? Gladiatorial duo battles? Some instanced equivalent in space? 
      Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant!
    Nykara
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭
    Alright, I've had some time to think over my experiences both taking and defending cosmpiercers since the changes and want to update my thoughts. I'll cut to the chase and give you the conclusion first though. The changes completely missed the mark on creating an engaging experience.

    As the primary source of conflict in the game, I think it is fair to expect that this system promotes conflict in the form of inter-factional PvP. All three parts of the current system fail to achieve this. Instead, two of the three parts directly encourage zerging PvE content before any defenders can do anything to meaningfully react. The third part just acts as a small base time and player count requirement, the latter of which is already pretty much covered by the strategy of zerging. For those of you who don't know, there are essentially three phases to a cosmpiercer capture attempt now; generators, guards, hacking. 

    In the generator phase, factions need to take down a number of shield generators in space before anyone, including defenders, is able to dock at the cosmpiercer. These generators are very powerful with a lot of health and take multiple destroyers, or one or two larger ships, to even tank for even the lower level cosmpiercers.

    Once the generators are all dead, we basically enter the guard phase. I should note here that once this is done, there is almost no reason to engage in space combat whatsoever. Both sides are now free to dock, and this is when attackers will begin to work through the cosmpiercer's guards in an attempt to find the control points. Lower level guards are basically a piece of cake and outside of player error people aren't going to die. Higher level guards are more difficult, but it is again more of a (high level) player count check than anything. 

    Once a control point is found, one person needs to hack the terminal. Once all terminals have been hacked by one faction without another faction hacking one back the cosmpiercer is won. I believe there is a 5 minute cooldown for each person, so while one person can hack them all, it makes more sense to bring more people who can do the hacking.

    The key thing with both of the first two phases is that the bigger the zerg, the faster you do it. It doesn't matter if the defenders have five times your numbers if you can muster the critical mass required to take down all of the npc generators/guards needed to find the terminals, you win the cosmpiercer. Sure, higher level cosmpiercers will require a higher number of cannons/people before reaching that critical mass, but the principle is the same and this is a massive flaw with the current design. This is now entirely a PvE experience. The only PvP we've seen from any cosmpiercer attempts are from the earlier ones where people were still learning, or ones where a faction wanted to chain multiple captures, so defenders could predict ahead of time. 

    There are two factors that have led to this problem. Firstly, the basic design of "bash guards until you win" basically invites zerging. Secondly, cosmpiercers require travel time. Movement between areas in Starmourn in general is much slower than in other IRE games so gathering defenders is going to take some time to begin with. Even without any time to gather, there is a long travel time in space travel. Sure, there are voidgates to help with this, but these are cost-prohibitive, which I'll talk more about later, and even so, there are many cosmpiercers that aren't really that close to any voidgates. This is an even bigger issue if a fight does happen somehow. Without two engineers who can keep wormholes up, combatants who die have no way of getting back to the fight quickly. I don't mean within 1 or 2, or even 5 minutes quickly. I mean within 10-15+ minutes quickly. If somebody flew their ship there and died without a wormhole up? They are stuck without that ship until the cosmpiercer is captured and it gets auto-ejected from the dock, so that player will have to find another ship to travel to the cosmpiercer in.

    Alright, but at least you get marks for all the trouble of capturing and defending them, right? Technically, I guess. As far as I can tell, you get 50 + 50 * level of cosmpiercer marks for the faction each mark. Individuals who were there at the time of capture also get a share of the another pool of marks of the same size as the faction tithe. There is also a small adjacency bonus from holding multiple adjacent cosmpiercers, but in total when Song owned all of them it was just a bit over 10000 marks each month. This sounds like a lot until you think about the costs involved in taking just a single level 1 cosmpiercer.

    By my estimate, it takes around 15-20 batteries worth of damage to destroy a single level 1 generator. I don't know if higher level generators are tankier, but let's just look at this as an example. Let's say it's 15 batteries, which is on the low end of my estimates. A single battery costs 204 marks from the ship forge. This is 3060 marks to destroy a single level 1 generator. Level 1 cosmpiercers have 3 generators, so you're looking at over 9000 marks to take them all. So essentially, if you own every single cosmpiercer, each month you make about twice the amount it takes to even take down generators. We're not even taking into account the cost of voidgates, which cost 630 for corvettes, which is what most people will bring as the "basic" ship, to over 3000 for some of the larger ships. This is per voidgate. If you're going from Aleph to, say, Neutralspace to try to get to one of those cosmpiercers in the middle of nowhere faster, that's going to cost over 15000 marks. That's almost all of the 20000 or so a faction gets in total for owning every single one. 

    Many people will argue that I'm wrong for looking at it from a reward/cost point of view. I'm ready to concede that sometimes an engaging PvP experience is worth much more than some e-money, but I disagree with the overall sentiment because that e-money took time to get, and as a conflict mechanic in a game, there should be some extrinsic incentive for taking part. However, sadly we don't even get to make that argument because the experience itself is not engaging. I can't help but feel that the ideas I presented at the start of the thread would still make for a much better mechanic than what we have. I am in no way saying my ideas are perfect or are the only way to fix this, but fundamentally the design of those ideas lends itself to being much more engaging than what we have in the current iteration of cosmpiercers. Unfortunately, what we have right now will never be fixed by tweaks to numbers, and I ask the admins seriously look into how they can work towards making this aspect of the game worth playing for.
    CubeyQitorien
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 69Member ✭✭
    edited February 18
    Double post, but I forgot to mention a couple of other problems.

    Because of the PvE requirements there is basically a minimum player requirement. This leads to all of the action happening during peak hours, leaving off peak players with little opportunity to take part. I really like systems like foci in Aetolia and domoths in Lusternia where it is possible to complete the objectives even with just a couple of people. And if there is a fight, does it really matter if there are 10 on each side or just 2? I don't think it should as long as players can reasonably take part when it is convenient for them to play.

    The other big problem I see is even in the few PvP fights we have had, the prevailing strategy is still for defenders to just use force movement skills to knock attackers into the aggressive guards. Depending on the level and number of guards in the room, this is almost always a death sentence, and further incentivises rushing down the guards before defenders can do anything about it.
    CubeyQitorien
  • CubeyCubey Posts: 248Member ✭✭✭
    Couldn't have said it better. The way they're now, cosmpiercers aren't a pvp experience. They're a pve zerg experience with some pvp elements if you screw up. Dunno how domoths are set up since I stopped playing Lusternia before they were introduced but villages were good shit.
    And yeah, the thing with slow travel times? Looks fine on paper because it means dead peeps can't just pop back into the fight instantly. The thing is though, in practice it doesn't work. It's unfun, it's frustrating. It's also there to make sure cosmpiercers fights don't drag out forever but there are better ways to take care of that. Once again, look at village revolts for inspiration of how it's done, and how you can have a pvp scenario with pve elements that feels meaningful and not a huge drag.
  • NuzirNuzir Posts: 11Member
    The idea I had regarding both the long travel times and the paltry mark rewards: The Y’saari are the ones to set voidgate costs, so they could give gatewarp discounts to factions who control cosmpiercers. This would both incentivize cosmpiercer control and make it less expensive to send corvettes to defend a distant piercer.

    The devil is in the details, of course. Some examples:

    * Would the discount be a percentage or an absolute amount?

    * How would cosmpiercer level factor in? (One thought: have level ones only discount interceptor-class ships, level twos discount corvettes, etc.)

    * Would it be a sector-wide discount, or would it only pertain to those voidgates in some range of the controlled cosmpiercers?

    I don’t know what implementation of the above would be best, but the basic concept seems fruitful so I thought I’d throw it out here.
    QitorienSqueakums
  • TectonTecton Posts: 686Administrator Starmourn staff
    Great feedback! Can definitely see many of the ideas presented here being incorporated in upcoming updates!
    QitorienJoscelin
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