Awesome Ship Status updates

March 6, 2010

Just had my first chance to mess around in-game since last Thursday’s patch, and was extremely happy to notice the updates to your ship’s Status tab in the Character Status window. When scanning through the notes for last Thursday’s patch, it might have been easy to overlook this little gem:

  • Status Window: Improved the ship stats that are displayed on the status window.

But what it means is that a whole range of previously hidden stats are now visible in-game, and update according to your power levels and captain’s skills. Given the amount of time it’s been taking me to work some of these things out the hard way (with stopwatches, copious pages of scribbled notes and endless testing), this should make finishing the article I’ve been working on for a while much, much easier. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it done in the next few days, even with the potential changes in my current situation.

Speed and evasion

February 26, 2010

I’m currently working on the research for a new article covering several aspects of starships in STO, and how they’re affected by the ‘Captain’ skills. As it’s been fairly slow going so far, I thought I’d share some initial results on the relationship between speed and defence in space combat.

In the following tests I took a Tier 2 Science Wessel and circled constantly while two even-level (Lt Commander-1) Birds of Prey attacked. I logged 3-4 minutes at each speed, then used a log parser to compare the hit rate of their Disruptor Turrets (the only weapon that they fired enough times for a statistically significant result, although their other weapons tended to have around the same hit percentage).

Here are the results:

Speed (Impulse) Bird of Prey 1 Turret hit rate Bird of Prey 2 Turret hit rate
20 76.4% 74.0%
15 82.1% 81.7%
10 93.0% 96.1%
5 100% 100%
0 100% 100%

It seems fairly clear, then, that the speed you’re travelling in space combat can have a pretty significant impact on how often you’re going to get hit. I’m planning to do some more testing with different ship types and opponents, but I thought these were interesting enough results to post them in the meantime.

As an aside, the testing really brought home to me just how trivially easy PvE space combat is right now. In over 20 minutes of constant firing, two even-level Birds of Prey were completely unable to dent the shields of a Tier 2 Science Vessel with common Mk II gear running at 65 shield power. I didn’t even need to rebalance the shields, let alone use any abilities. It also highlighted that the AI seems to be completely incapable of lining up shots with Dual Disruptor Cannons, rarely getting off more than three or four shots with these weapons in each 3-4 minute test.

Power levels, drain and DPS efficiency

February 21, 2010

If you’re interested in some more details of how your skills affect your ship’s power levels or the impact of power drain on the DPS output of energy weapons, there are a couple of threads on the official forum right now that are worth taking a look at:

  • System Power Guide from Kiala takes a look at the various factors that influence your ship’s power levels, including several tables showing the actual power output of systems at different power levels with various combinations of skills
  • Comprehensive Weapon Energy & Build Testing from Nagorak, on the other hand, looks at how power drain from energy weapons appears to work and presents the results of testing the overall DPS of various different energy weapon load-outs when fired continuously

There’s some interesting and useful stuff in both of these threads, and I’d like to thank their respective authors for the work they’re doing on these aspects of the game system.

Comprehensive Weapon Energy & Build Testing

Ask Cryptic: Skills

February 20, 2010

The latest instalment of ‘Ask Cryptic’ was posted to the official STO website last night. Following the announcement of the skill point cap and the Al Rivera Talks Skills article three weeks ago, Ask Cryptic: Skills answers a few of the many player questions that had been posted to the sticky thread on the official boards.

As much as it was nice to see that one of my questions had been picked, I have to say that I’m not entirely convinced by the answer, and have some concerns over the changes mentioned in response to another of the questions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Resistances and ‘Diminishing Returns’

February 19, 2010

Something that seems to be coming up a lot on the boards at the moment is the way that resistance bonuses are calculated and the belief that this leads to diminishing returns.

This isn’t actually the case.

The misunderstanding stems from the fact that your final resistance is calculated with this formula:

Resistance = 1 – (1 / (1 + Total Resist Bonus)

For example, if you have a total +50% phaser resist bonus, your phaser resistance will be 33.3% (1 – (1 / 1.5)). If you have a total +100% phaser resist bonus, your phaser resistance will be 50% (1 – (1 / 2)).

Certainly seems like diminishing returns, right?

But percentage resistances aren’t linear, they’re exponential:

  • If you have 0% resist and you add 1%, you reduce incoming damage by 1%
  • If you have 90% resist and you add 1%, you reduce incoming damage by 10%
  • If you have 99% resist and you add 1%, you reduce incoming damage by 100%

So, if a ‘+X% resist’ bonus just increased your resistance by X%, you’d be getting exponential returns. The formula doesn’t give diminishing returns, it converts that exponential return into a linear one.

For example, with a 50% bonus, you get 33.3% resist, which means it’ll take 50% more damage to destroy your hull. With a 100% bonus, you get 50% resist, which means it’ll take 100% more damage to destroy your hull.

The thing to remember is that the resist bonuses listed on items like certain engineering consoles isn’t the percentage of resist the item will give you, it’s the percentage of additional damage the item will let you take.