Cosmpiercers: Problems and an Ambitious Proposal

BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 53Member

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.

KaxPollivarAzlynShinonomeMinionKelveSqueakumssnailbee

Comments

  • PollivarPollivar Posts: 112Member ✭✭✭
    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: 26Member
    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: 22Member
    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: 129Member ✭✭✭
    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.
  • WuffWuff Posts: 170Member ✭✭✭
    It's a bit more than 1 attack per entourage per guard from what logs have said so far.
    https://wiki.starmourn.com/

    I'm helping with the wiki, if you spot any errors or notice discrepancies, you can message me.
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 53Member
    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: 34Member
    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: 53Member
    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: 22Member
    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: 4Member
    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: 14Member
    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: 161Member ✭✭✭
    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: 4Member
    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: 4Member
    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: 116Member ✭✭✭
    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.

    itsa Mereas!
  • BeepBoopBeepBoop Posts: 53Member
    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: 53Member
    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". 
  • WuffWuff Posts: 170Member ✭✭✭
    Can Nanoseers remove the cooldowns on their skills please too? thanks
    https://wiki.starmourn.com/

    I'm helping with the wiki, if you spot any errors or notice discrepancies, you can message me.
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