Cosmpiercers: Problems and an Ambitious Proposal

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  • AzlynAzlyn Posts: 11Member
    I realize that we're still at a developmental stage in Starmourn and that future content may better supplement the current cosmpiercer system, but I just wanted to highlight some challenges with it and consider some changes. There's a mixture of low-hanging fruit and more ambitious propositions here, but it's worthwhile to start some dialogue anyway.

    Hot take: Changing the guard and control mechanics was a step in the right direction to encourage PVP, but there are still some fundamental shortcomings as related to cosmpiercer accessibility and incentives to participate. 


    Travel and Accessibility
    By intrinsic design, your faction-mates should be scattered across the Sector at any given time, making unanticipated "grouping up" to defend a cosmpiercer a non-trivial affair. As such, aggressors will always have the advantage by initiating conflict. The shield generator phase affords some delay, but as compared to the time it takes to muster a defense and to travel, this is insufficient. Moreover, a prepared aggressor who can use Engineer Wormholes has an even bigger advantage. Having at least two online engineers is effectively becoming an entry requirement to remote PVP, and this places too much bias and need on this class for a game with fluctuating population and with no classflex option. Presently, it's far better to just attack another cosmpiercer instead of defending your own, which is also a pretty undesirable tactic.

    This is just my take on some possible solutions and mitigations.
    1. Consider a portal mechanic on cosmpiercers, for ships or for players (latter probably preferable). I'd propose a teleportation station that links to and can only be used by the controlling faction that deposits in or outside the cosmpiercer, depending on the player or ship version. This would give much-needed help to defenders, and would also help dissuade factions from just responding to attacks by attacking somewhere else. This may need some limitations, like a cooldown on use. If you want to get fancy, allow the teleporter to be hacked by aggressors to disable it for a 5-min reboot. 
    2. Enable installing cloning facilities on ships to allow for local redeploy. If implemented with the above, this would be a comparable counter to a defender portal. May also need some limitations - longer cloning time, number of uses, etc.
    3. Create an item that may be deployed in a room and targeted for an Engineer's wormhole, destroyed after 30 mins or some duration - removes requirement for two Engineers, and enables the wormhole target to be other classes.
    4. Introduce some ship-to-ship (or basically space-to-space) wormhole mechanic - allows one pilot to reach the destination and to facilitate grouping/coordinated engagement from a common point back home. (This could be a cool consumable reward from the Y'saari, maybe - like a portable voidgate tech thingo, hey)
    5. Add classflex - better enables accessibility to Engineer/Wormhole.
    6. Add a teleportation mechanic to return players to their faction's station from anywhere. Alternatively but preferably additionally, create a command to voluntarily kill your current clone.


    Cost vs Rewards
    In the current system, given the investment into ships, ship supplies, ship insurance, and cloning fees, the marks trickle from capturing cosmpiercers is not even remotely worthwhile. Cosmpiercer surveying is also not an apparently useful benefit.
    1. If not increasing the marks for economy reasons, consider adding other rewards: discounted voidgates, extended ship beacon in controlled zones, faction xp boost, TBD cool shiz???
    2. Faction influence: This currently only applies to Song and Scatterhome, but I imagine this is rarely utilized in either case. Consider some active benefit to influence; e.g., allow spending influence to earn a faction favor. I'd also be a proponent for decaying faction influence for other reasons, but won't get into that here.
    3. Enable COSMPIERCER SURVEY [FULL] to be used remotely to locate mining resources, and/or create a command to ping all controlled CPs to search for a particular resource.
    4. I have to believe that there is some future vision for cosmpiercers that further incentivizes the "sensor station" element of it - something like having rare/fleeting resources that are reported to the controlling faction if it appears within CP sensor range. But, it'd be nice to give meaning to controlling or monitoring the CP space that ties into future conflict events or other content.
    ReelocRhindaraDeltrion
  • ZhulkarnZhulkarn Posts: 117Member ✭✭✭
    Recent change was definitely not a right step in the direction for PvP. And rather then adding band-aids to its shortcomings, it is better to get back to guard system with tweaks upon it. Such as the proposed guard immunity to be moved.

    Mobility was not much of an issue for the defenders before and it would be detrimental to the any potential Ship PvP. Because in current version, you no longer are required that much to watch for incoming ships because people cannot use guards against you. And now with portals and teleporters it would become simply a group PvP arena. I mean we could have some siege mods like that but they do not have to be cosmpiercers. There could be siege points elsewhere to sate that kind of appetite.

    The removal of guards destroyed a layer of the cosmpiercer mechanic and portals would destroy another layer. Defenders' main problem is lacking force-multipliers in the current version. It was already hard enough in the previous version for defenders without the guard arrangement tactic against numbers. But even without guard arrangement tactic it was possible to make the capture somewhat costly if the attackers are careless. Right now numbers advantage became a more glaring issue.

    On rewards I disagree that cosmpiercer surveying is useless because they can be used defensively and for scouting on top of obviously checking for minerals. Cosmpiercer marks is a long term investment and only mean something after a sizeable amount of participation. Y'saari pay both to the person and to the faction. After all battles do not happen everyday and in the peacetime you get back what you invested. On top of the survey ability it is a decent enough bonus. Though some other minor bonuses can be added like voidgate bonuses (i.e you gain the majority of cosmpiercers in a quadrant and you get discount from all voidgates in that quadrant) without tipping the scale too much.
  • IlyosIlyos Posts: 63Administrator, Moderator Starmourn staff
    edited May 6
    Feedback here and on discord is a bit split up, there are those of you who wish to have fast travel mechanics and those of you who want the PvE elements back. We're probably going to try a couple of versions for each kind of approach and see what works/feels best, so expect iterations to happen for CP combat.
  • CubeyCubey Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    COSMPIERCER SURVEY FULL usable remotely - good idea.
    Bring back guards but make them immune to movement - also good idea. Make faction guard immune to movement while you're at it. Only comment here is, have a lose condition other than "no attackers on the piercer for 10 minutes" to prevent stalemates.
    Portals for defenders to the cosmpiercer area - yes, but for ships. Not folks on foot. Keeping a guard out to prevent defender reinforcements is a viable attacker tactic. Portaling straight to the piercer just bypasses it.
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 337Member ✭✭✭
    I like that cosmpiercers are now PVP rather than PVE. 
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • ZhulkarnZhulkarn Posts: 117Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 6
    It is more a one-sided hackathon rather then PvP. 

    On a more serious note though, I am generally worried about the cosmpiercer conquest rate and whether a particular incarnation would be susceptible to one side sweeping through large swathes of them.

    Guards were a decent road bump in my opinion aside being the occasional force-multiplier.
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 337Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 6
    The recent cosmpiercer takeovers have had a fair bit of ship PVP. They have their own issues (like how battleships can decimate any number of anything except other battleships), but it's markedly less boring than the guards meta.

    edit / I'd like to salute Ren for being cool in the face of my Blood For The Blood God! personality. They blew up my ship during a cosm, rescued me, and then I tried killing them in their own ship  B)

    Alas, the sith are weak to the jedi in this sector.
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
    ReelocJeromVega
  • JeromJerom Posts: 127Member ✭✭✭
    Note to self : Don't try to rescue Mereas.
    ReelocVega
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 337Member ✭✭✭
     :o :(  >:)        
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
    Vega
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 337Member ✭✭✭
    In other news, we took a cosmpiercer in around 10 minutes. The overall timers (30 total minutes, plus the amount at which control points contribute to the score) might need retuning to make a takeover longer.
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
    Vega
  • GrekGrek Posts: 51Member ✭✭✭
    Tried out COSMPIERCER WARP for the first time today, found out that it's only available for the last third of the cosmpiercer progress bar. For low level cosmpiercers, this basically means you have 2 minutes to reverse hack everything - not really doable. But I think if cosmpiercers in general had twice as large point pools, we'd be in a decent place in terms of 'could the defenders plausibly show up and defend if there were defenders around'.
    MatlkaelMogarcheRhindaraVega
  • RhindaraRhindara Posts: 29Member ✭✭
    edited May 7
    I absolutely agree that the progress bar ticks way too fast. There needs to be some adjustments made in the scaling, and maybe the number of terminals to be hacked for higher ranked cosmpiercers, since having to unhack 8 level 16s as the defending party on top of fighting people is a pretty tough ask. That said, COSMPIERCER WARP is available as soon as the 'dominance' of the cosmpiercer turns from 'N/A' to the raiding party. Because it ticks so damn fast, depending on who's been able to hack what, by the time the defenders can land, it can absolutely be nearly over, but isn't always the case.
    Vega
  • CubeyCubey Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    What's the point in warping after generators are already down? This change is pointless.
  • RhindaraRhindara Posts: 29Member ✭✭
    You warp into the cosmpiercer zone so that you can potentially dock and fight/hack on the ground, where before you'd usually have a very long travel time to go to defend wherever the attackers chose. It alleviates a lot of 'oh no are we gathering where are we going/what are we doing panic' that plagued defense before. There just need to be more tweaks made on the capture mechanic to make this change matter even more.
    ReelocVega
  • VegaVega Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    Great job finding and turning in so many bugs so far everyone. :D All of us have been putting in a ton of work.
    Character: Vega
    Faction: Song Dominion
    Class: Engineer 

    note: I am always up for RP, antagonistic or friendly. If she's being a bitch, it's because you're from Scatterhome or she's trying to meet a deadline and has nothing to do with whether I want to RP with you or not. Thanks in advance for the RP!


    Reeloc
  • GrekGrek Posts: 51Member ✭✭✭
    Rhindara said:
    That said, COSMPIERCER WARP is available as soon as the 'dominance' of the cosmpiercer turns from 'N/A' to the raiding party. Because it ticks so damn fast, depending on who's been able to hack what, by the time the defenders can land, it can absolutely be nearly over, but isn't always the case.
    That's what I mean - because the tick rate speeds up with every terminal hacked, the majority of the cosmpiercer battle is spend with the defender in 'control' and unable to use COSMPIERCER WARP. By the time WARP availability switches sides, the battle is mostly over and there probably isn't enough time to turn things around. But decreasing the tick rate/increasing the number of points needed would shift things more toward a 50/50 split on WARP availability as well as simply giving the defense more time to muster and counter-hack.
    MogarcheRhindaraReeloc
  • ZhulkarnZhulkarn Posts: 117Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 7
    This is still pretty much a numbers game and hackathon. Nothing improved over the system and nothing so far addressed the main problem.

    Now defenders will just sit back until they have their fighters and hackers. Why bother appearing at all when you know you can do nothing at all?

    In previous version at least guards could be used in order to have some bite back.
  • RhindaraRhindara Posts: 29Member ✭✭
    edited May 7
    First impressions of the new changes with a longer progress bar on a rank 4 cosmpiercer: The ticks are still way too fast. We're able to hack almost all of the terminals simultaneously before the defenders can even warp. Each terminal adds +3 per second, and if we get all 5, it's doubled. So we wind up at +30 per second, with a maximum of 3600. Assuming you're able to get terminals hacked at around the same time, that means it can take only 2 minutes to capture the cosmpiercer, which is more than enough time considering how long it takes for people to warp in, dock, fight whoever, and then try to go hack. Even if they did wipe our party, they'd have to hack each terminal one at a time, which just slows our progress afaik as opposed to stops it until every single one is under their control. I may be wrong since we haven't gotten to that point yet, but it still looks pretty rough for defenders right now. 
  • IlyosIlyos Posts: 63Administrator, Moderator Starmourn staff
    I've slowed down point accrual to about 33%
    RhindaraGrekMogarche
  • CubeyCubey Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    Zhulkarn said:
    This is still pretty much a numbers game and hackathon. Nothing improved over the system and nothing so far addressed the main problem.
    This. The system is still broken. It's still zerg-promoting "more people = win".
    These changes do nothing except increase the number of hackers attackers need to take over. In other words, further promotion of zerging.
  • KitranaKitrana Posts: 62Member
    Rhindara said:
    You warp into the cosmpiercer zone so that you can potentially dock and fight/hack on the ground, where before you'd usually have a very long travel time to go to defend wherever the attackers chose. It alleviates a lot of 'oh no are we gathering where are we going/what are we doing panic' that plagued defense before. There just need to be more tweaks made on the capture mechanic to make this change matter even more.
    docking and fighting on the ground is a sucker's game when you are consistently facing larger numbers.
  • AzlynAzlyn Posts: 11Member
    As some quick feedback, I think it is problematic that higher level cosmpiercers have many terminals. This was originally based on a win condition to capture them all, but in the current system, it's effectively giving the aggressors an insurmountable advantage in being able to quickly secure and ramp the points rate by securing multiple terminals before opposition can feasibly initiate. At that point the win condition is inevitable, and the defenders are hard-pressed to recover. I'd recommend standardizing the number of terminals across the cosmpiercers (3?), with the distinction in CP level remaining proportional to the terminal level. Alternatively, to appease to PVE-clamoring people, maybe consider a mechanic for guards to spawn on terminals, so you can't just disperse your whole team to quickly capture them all without protecting hackers. 
    Rhindara
  • AzlynAzlyn Posts: 11Member
    ... by mobs spawning on terminals, I mean on a tick while someone is hacking.
  • KitranaKitrana Posts: 62Member
    that doesn't stop the zerg problem
  • AzlynAzlyn Posts: 11Member
    Not sure how faction activity is related to the conversation.

    To give some data on the new numbers, we just tried a Level 5 cosmpiercer. With no opposition, we hacked all 6 terminals, and when I bailed with ~1 minute remaining we only had 61.20% capture progress. I assume the points tick around 3.2 seconds, so we actually would have needed 6 terminals (12 pts/3.2 secs) for over 22 minutes to have won. If you factor in the time to land and hack, that's a real slim margin against the 30-min cap.

    I still think that the number of terminals needs to be limited to make the mechanic more reasonable, and standardizing would make balancing the numbers a bit easier. But anyway, appreciate the tweaks and attention this is getting!
    RhindaraMogarche
  • KitranaKitrana Posts: 62Member
    standardizing to a lower number just makes defending all that much harder. i kind of agree we were all kind of surprised when you guys didn't get the cosmpiercer. but outside of that faction activity matters because otherwise it is a simple greater numbers attack when the other faction is busy or not online game. 
  • ZhulkarnZhulkarn Posts: 117Member ✭✭✭
    First of all guards are not desired merely by PvE-clamoring people. They can be very well part of PvP tactics and positioning. And mostly they are far better speed bumps then hacking terminals stuff. Right now the cosmpiercers revolve around more predominantly hacking at the existence of time limits. 

    Secondly faction activity is related to the conversation because right now it is counting the combatants to appear or not for defenders. Before despite knowing that one could lose, appearing with lesser numbers was possible due to being able to dish some punishment back to the attackers at the existence of force multipliers.

    Thirdly in the previous version more classes had utility towards cosmpiercers but the whole changes made Engineers shine far more due to their resurrecting and logistical abilities. Warp was a band-aid and nothing more. It took away from the whole tactical level of preparing a staging point and other logistical considerations while mounting offense and defense. 

    Some people back in the thread (mainly Dominion players) were criticizing that previous version was more PvE then PvP. But in fact it was a combination of Ship PvP, PvE, PvP and hacking. Right now it is hacker zerg-rush with time limits and such. The side with numbers do not even bother to set up a watcher for Ship PvP. This does not mean Ship PvP will not happen but just it is no longer that important because there will be a death squad camping at the docks after the initial hack rather then people trying to make inroads through guards.

    I do appreciate the efforts put on cosmpiercer mechanics and updates but each step which appears as Quality of Life or in the name of promoting PvP will in the long run just harm the objectives they try to promote. Might as well remove hacking too, reduce control points to three, teleport everyone instantly and make points gained the old fashioned standing over control points method. There you go, a dumbed down group PvP arena. If your opponents appear of course.

    Regardless, planning is fun for people who play a military role and my enjoyment from cosmpiercers dwindled a lot lately at the absence of certain elements. It is now waiting for warp and hoping we have enough people or the opponent did not hack enough already. 

    Another case is that previously taking a rank 4-6 range would feel like an accomplishment against a faction. Right now it feels somehow empty. That is my personal thought as someone who appreciates harder settings which requires existence of more variables to consider.
  • MatlkaelMatlkael Posts: 337Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 8
    There's not much strategy to KITH OUTBURST x5 and locking down the dock with a battalion of guards...

    Also, I disagree that guards provided PVP as well as PVE opportunities. The moment a guard stack was placed on the dock, the cosmpiercer effectively became a "who can tank the best" objective, which is the core feature of a PVE system. In fact, the existence of guards meant that the whole cosmpiercer system revolved around them: how to kill them fast enough, how to ensure your guards survive long enough, or how to kite them together to stop an attack. There was very little (if any at all) player to player combat happening. It was all guards, guards, guards.
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • ZhulkarnZhulkarn Posts: 117Member ✭✭✭
    Matlkael said:
    There's not much strategy to KITH OUTBURST x5 and locking down the dock with a battalion of guards...
    You realize pretty much everyone in this thread spoke against that guard tactic right? So there is no reason to bring it back to the spotlight.

    We should go back to old version of cosmpiercers and give guards immunity to be moved around. Lower rank cosmpiercer guards can be dealt with easily already and it is not hard to put someone as watcher outside for the incoming enemies. If you get kith outbursted into guards, you potentially made a mistake in your battle plan. The IED tactic can be tweaked as well. 

    Furthermore not all classes can move guards, let me tell you the basic difference. For example; against higher numbers as a nanoseer I would still show up, but in current version I would not. Why? Because there is absolutely nowhere for low numbers to make a stand and sometimes not enough time. 
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