The age old fights in MMOs, pitting the skill of one player vs. another’s, challenging people in ways computers wouldn’t normally anticipate and allowing those players to claim glory to the Empire or to defend the values of the Federation.
Except overall you’re not really.
While the whole Federation vs. Federation fights can be explained as war games and the Klingon vs. Klingon fighting as inter-House fighting, the conflict between the Federation and Klingon Defense Force never really amounts to anything in the end. Sure, there is nothing lost when PvPing in STO but there is also nothing truly gained in the end either, such as territories that can either be lost or acquired for either faction, PvP specific gear (either vanity or actual gear) that players can acquire through the PvP system, or a ranking system for the dedicated PvP players out there who want to prove that they are the best of the best.
So what is the big picture?
Well it’s certainly not a motion picture, PvP development has been left on its own for all these years feeling cut off from the development of the rest of the game, not so much moving as twitching slightly here and there, and it’s unfortunate.
Putting the majority of balancing issues aside, it’ll take me several years to sort out that mess let alone write up about it in specific details; PvP can be fun if you’re playing with friends, or if you just want to test your new set up with a buddy who’s willing to let you take a few dozen pot-shots at his hull, but in the end is there anything to strive for in the current PvP system?
Sure, there are a few PvP missions which are labelled as ‘daily’, but unless you’ve reached max level you’ll have a hard time trying to find enough people at your level who are also running them. The queues from Lt. to Commander are sparse, although Commander to Rear Admiral picks up a little more, but this is only due to the inclusion of the KDF. Unfortunately, with all these additions there are still not enough players participating to be able to do 3 ‘quick’ matches to earn the mission rewards. PvP needs more incentives to encourage players to participate more in PvP based activities.
Time for a change
So where can we start? Well if we’re going to war we need to arm ourselves to the teeth!
Now we don’t want to have a crazy revamp of all the gear currently in game, but we could start with gear on par with the current PvE gear, Marks 10 to 12. This gear will have increased resistances and bonuses that allow the player to break out of any effect but would have a similar cool down to Gravimetric Anchor and Heavy Graviton Beam from the Omega and Maco PvE sets.
Although season 7 brings a revamp to the PvE system and how the rewards are distributed, the old set up would still fit for a PvP system. Once a match is over the player can be assigned a mark which can then, once enough are gathered, be redeemed on DS9 for one part of the PvP set.
Currently, it seems the retro STF Borg set is the current choice for PvPers to use due to the set bonuses allowing them to regenerate hull as well as shields. This would be interesting to have on the PvP gear as it means players who just want to PvP would no longer be forced to run PvE content to get the EDC that was once required for the Borg set.
While wars go on for quite some time not everyone can sit at their PC and play the day away. Instead the system could be much like the PvE double rewards Wednesday vents that are already in game, and this event could alternate between ground and space maps each week.
While the event is active players would gain increased rewards such as PvP gear marks, Dilithium as well as skill points.
We could also utilise some of the NPCs on the first City and Earth Space Dock to promote these even. Similar to the way World of Warcraft’s NPCs would show up in the major towns depending on what battleground weekend was on, we could use the Federation officers standing near the fountain outside Quinn’s office to promote which type of event was running, stating whether it is ground or space combat, as well as on Qonos in the courtyard outside where Chancellor J’mpok resides. A banner could be placed nearby as well showing off what event is on this week.
Advances over territories is a main attribute for war, yet in STO the Eta Eridani hasn’t seen much in the way of shifting territories. Kerret is an ok system but at best it’s a PvPvE map, Player verses player verses Environment. What we need is a neutral planet in which we can fight in capture and hold ground maps, and for space, there is ample space in the sector so let’s use it.
The resulting planet starts off as neutral, then while under the reign of the Empire or protected by the Federation, depending on who won, for about 4 hours until it becomes contestable, again much like Wintersgrasp in WoW. While the planet is under a factions control the map beams down vendors and NPCs, which can be utilised to sell the PvP gear as mentioned a few paragraphs above as well as Doff missions which can be used to gain additional rewards or strengthen the defences of the capture points:
A capture point on the map requires you to send off 3 doffs and some resources, similar to the starbase missions, and once the goal is met (with the help of other players) it can then beam down an large turret or a force field generator which would need to be taken out before the opposing faction could cap the point.
This feature could also be integrated into a PvP reputation system to encourage player participation if this is what the STO Devs are planning.
Now let’s take a page from Cryptic other MMO, Champions Online, in where they have an interesting zombie PvP map. Now I know Star Trek doesn’t have zombies, aside from the Vidians from Voyager, but the concept can be adapted to the Borg:
A Player starts on a ground map either on the Hero side or the Zombie side, the hero’s have to defend a hut with civilians inside while the Zombies goal is to defeat the hero’s and turn them into zombies with the help of NPC zombies, this all during the course of 20 or so minute.
This could easily be about Borg and assimilation and would add nice variant to the few ground PvP game play types:
The Borg have attacked a colony and it’s up to you and the other players to defend the settlement from the oncoming Borg drones, however the last player is out to assimilate them. Once defeated the player would then respawn as a Borg drone in the part of the settlement that has already been assimilated, to avoid assimilation the player would have to be revived by a fellow Federation or Klingon character. The player who starts as a drone would look like their current character just with additional Borg tech around them, like when a player is assimilated in a ground STF, and will be backed up by waves of Borg NPCs.
The rewards would be the same for either side to make it fair, however if the defending team manage to survive all 10 waves they could be rewarded with an accolade or if the Borg team manage to assimilate the colony they could get an accolade too.
These are merely suggestions; I will revisit this once the PvP revamp STO Devs have planned goes live.
This is the Ranting Redshirt signing off.
Copyright © 2013 Priority One Podcast.
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