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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
-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.
-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.
-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.
-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.