The Stage (of tech knowledge): A solution for the power creep [@DB: profit for you!]

Doctor 8472Doctor 8472 ✭✭
edited September 23 in Make It So!
=== Motivation

As pointed out eg in https://forum.disruptorbeam.com/stt/discussion/14612/evolution-power-creep, power creep devalues the beloved crew members that have been in game for some time. That means, DB loses much profit on the big investment that the creation of these crew members were.
So, instead of just deprecating them, this proposal gives the crew members new value so that players can revitalize their most beloved crew and this way, DB can continue to profit on them.

Also, this proposal follows the concept of low running efforts for high and steady profits.

=== In-story explanation

With time, the technology and general understanding of the universe improves. Thus, the overall performance of a crew member not only depends on his personal growth and experience (level; trainers), his equipment (items + credits) and the <whatever the explanation for fusing is in-story> (stars; crew + honor), but also on how well he/she/it utilizes the knowledge of cutting-edge knowledge.

The stage (of tech knowledge/techage) describes this ability to utilize these most advanced knowledges. Since the general understanding of technology in the universe is limited at any time, there is always a universal cap ("stageCap"), that no crew member can transcend. But, since knowledge is always growing, this stageCap itself rises from time to time.

=== Mechanics

==== Range, Impact

The stage is a (integer) number between 0 and the stageCap - the bigger the number, the better the crew member's ability.
With each stage, all skill values (base and proficiencies) of that crew member improve by 1 %.

The stageCap rises with the progression of the game (not automatically, but when DB announces it). Each new crew member directly starts with the current stageCap.

==== Upgrading

Crew members can improve their stage with tech courses (1 tech course for 1 stage). But with tech courses their stage can not rise above (stageCap - 1). That means that the newest crew members still have the heighest values, but all other crew can be improved to be directly behind them instead of becoming completely meaningless after some time. So, to be on top, a player still has to go for the new crew; but additionally, he now has a chance to see his favorite crew to stay relevant.

Tech courses can be obtained
- by buying for merits (100 merits per tech course) or
- by deconstructing ship schematics to improve high-technology understanding (500 fuel points per tech course) or
- by upgrading crew training to the newest researches (500 fuel points per tech course) or
- as rewards in events as rank reward (1 per rank tier; ie 1 for TOP 100,000, 2 for TOP 50,000, ..., 9 for TOP 2,000, ..., 20 for TOP 1) and as threshold reward (5 tech courses at 60,000 VP).

==== Reasoning for the costs/rewards:
- Equipping a crew member needs items and credits; fusing it needs honor; having not yet been used in crew member development (much), Merits seem to be the logical choice as resource for this proposal.
- You will need many, many tech courses to keep your crew at cutting-edge. The 25 from the event will only give you a small base, but you will need hundreds of them for each stageCap increase (because you have hundreds of old crew members).
- Also, most top-level-players receiving crew trainers and also ship schematics and they are of no use to them. So, to lessen their anger about constantly getting spammed with these useless things, this will give it a small use again. Improving their mood, thereby improving the chance that they spend for the game.
- The effect of 1 % improvement seems to be pefect. If it would have a bigger effect (eg 10 %), the cap could only be raised very rarely; reducing the benefit of the whole idea to help crew stay relevant; if the effect was smaller (eg 0.1 %), it would be annoying much of clicking. With 1 % effect, rising of the stageCap will probably happen roughly once a month.

=== Example

Let's say the current stageCap is 47.
So, the pretty new crew member Navaar has 47 as initial stage. Her stats (CMD 1281+(155-348), SCI 1042+(116-257), DIP 530+(53-140)) greatly outperform these of the old crew member Captain Spock (CMD 1058+(253-578), SCI 1025+(101-226), DIP 479+(103-211)).
Let's say, Captain Spock has an initial stage of 31 because has was published quite some time ago. Now, you can upgrade Captain Spock's stage with some tech courses. Using one tech course, Captain Spock's stage would rise to 32, and his stats would be CMD 1069+(256-584), SCI 1035+(102-228), DIP 484+(104-213).
Since the stageCap is 47, you are allowed to use up-to 15 tech courses, improving Captain Spock to stage 46 (remind yourself that old crew always have to stay one stage below the current cap) with stats CMD 1228+(294-671), SCI 1190+(117-262), DIP 556+(120-245).
Now, Captain Spock is relevant again, although Navaar still has a small edge over him since she is brand-new.

You find more examples in the form of BB-tables at the end of the post.

=== Transition

Each old crew member needs a starting stage assigned. One approach would be to assign each of them a stage manually, but that would mean some effort. So, here are three possibility to prevent this effort:
- A. Just compute the initial stage from the month of publishing (eg one stage per month) -> nearly no effort, but the resulting values will not be very good.
- B. Use a simple formula that takes their stats, computes the AND-shuttle performance and the voyage performance (eg just looking what "usage" this character is used for mainly), than give them a stage that aligns their stats with the current best-in-their-usage crew -> small effort, but you have to think about it.
- C. Just outsource the task to the community. The players would totally love to discuss this and come up with a perfectly reasonable (or at least: good enough and not game-breaking) list of initial stages for all crew members -> small effort and the players feel included, but it will take some time.

=== Additions/Modifications

- Instead, of assigning each new crew the current stageCap as initial stage, the initial stage could also be different each time: a higher value could be used if you want to publish a crew member that now has extraordinary stats (more than normal power creep), that should only normalize after some months; or a small value could be used if you want to publish a new crew that also initially needs some tech courses to be useful.
- The stageCap could rise automatically (eg once a month) instead of manually being raised by DB. Although, that would lower the effort even more (and would give the players a fixed schedule to plan on), it would remove a big part of controlling the ingame values from DB.

Live long and prosper,
8472

=== More examples
Some examples as BB-code-table:


Character
CMD
DIP
SCI
SEC
initialStage
stage


Captain Spock
1058+(253-578)
479+(103-211)
1025+(101-226)

31
31


Captain Spock
1228+(294-671)
556+(120-245)
1190+(117-262)

31
46


Navaar
1281+(155-348)
530+(53-140)
1042+(116-257)

47
47


Colonel Q
1058+(88-199)
526+(46-68)

1278+(179-367)
46
46


Kal-if-fee Kirk
458+(182-323)
765+(204-444)

981+(247-483)
22
22


Kal-if-fee Kirk
582+(231-410)
971+(259-564)

1246+(314-613)
22
46

Comments

  • I've seen many, many players - unless the new crew is the best - they're all; This crew isn't very good (meaning not the latest FO Burnham nor Cheesecake 7) easy weekend off for me. Which sort puts pressure on DB to constantly keep upping the ante / contributing greatly to power creep. The players keep demanding better and better / more powerful crew, that's how the old crew keep getting devalued.
  • Banjo1012Banjo1012 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I said this in another thread, I would like to see power creep affect the tertiary skill, like how Dark Ages McCoy has three skills all over 1,000 for voyages. I get a little bummed when that third skill only amounts to about 600 or even less
  • Dirk GundersonDirk Gunderson ✭✭✭✭✭
    1) I really like this idea. It is elegant in solving multiple issues and still provides DB with value. I can’t even think of anything I might change about it - it’s clear you put a lot of thought and effort into this.

    2) This is not the first time I have seen Captain Spock referred to as “old.” Why? He’s been out less than a year. Was he perceived as a little weak? That’s certainly what I remember, though it’s to be expected with any character that we’d back up the dilithium freighter for regardless of stats. Old? Nah.
  • How would you go about determining the initial stage for each card? Will this be purely based on their release date? In that case, some cards which have been out for several years now would be able to be upgraded quite a bit, and if these cards are still very much meta relevant, it would give older players an even bigger advantage over newer players than they already have.

    What I mean here is: older players generally have a deep roster, which they can use to perform well in many/every aspect of the game. Newer players really rely on getting the odd event or Tuesday pack 5* card in order to build up their roster, and more or less "immediately" be on a level where they can compete with the more established players, without just running after the facts all the time because they weren't playing since day 1.

    Coming back to my previous point, I'll give a little example: Locutus is a prime example of a card that's been out for many years, and would thus be able to receive several stage upgrades if the initial stage is based on release date. However, does a card who holds 3 top 10 gauntlet pairs (including 2 #1 pairs) need this much upgrading, only tipping the scales further in favour of people who already have him?

    I believe your idea is actually a great way to keep older cards relevant throughout power creep, but then I do think the bonuses should only apply to base skills, and not proficiencies, since DB actually only very rarely releases a new top gauntlet character anyway, thus keeping gauntlet performance much more stable over time compared to voyage performance, where some cards are indeed very much being power creeped out of relevance.
  • I missed the part where DB profits. Navaar with stats 1% better than Captain Spock is practically worthless. Navaar has almost no event potential, especially compared to Captain Spock. I imagine than many fewer players will be willing to spend $100 and $50 on the event deals to get the new crew if their old crew is only 1% worse.

    I'm not totally against the idea, but I just don't see DB going through all the work that you detail in the Transition section unless there is a VERY strong monetary element to recover the cost of implementation and profit in the future. As the idea stands, it will cost DB programming hours and lost revenue from event pack sales. If there were a heavy dilithium cost for tech stages or a micro transaction for each stage, then maybe it could work.

    There's a finite number of skill combinations. If this idea were implemented with stronger monetization, then my strategy would be to keep my mega event and campaign legendaries close to max. I would fill in voyage weaknesses with main cast cards with the weak skill combos. The money that I would spend on such a strategy would have to make up for money that I stopped spending on other endeavors.

    I've posted ideas on the forum. I know this level of negativity is brutal. I'm sorry for that. I do want to end on a positive note. You have some good mechanic bases. Things could be added and tweaked to make this work. I like how you address a way for players to burn otherwise useless resources. It could help with the inventory problem that is often mentioned on the forum. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone.

    I hope you'll take this in stride, change your screen name to your in-game captain name, and keep posting on the forum. 🖖
  • Doctor 8472Doctor 8472 ✭✭
    edited September 25
    Thanks for the feedback to all. Here are some additional thoughts from me, all feedback is still welcome.
    2) This is not the first time I have seen Captain Spock referred to as “old.” Why?
    For me, I took him for two reasons: Navaar is one of the newest crew and I wanted a crew member with the same stat combination (and order; CMD+SCI+DIP) which is not as new as Navaar. And second, I like Captain Spock. So, for me, he was a good choice as an example for a beloved crew that I would like to see more often in action.
    SpukkZ wrote: »
    How would you go about determining the initial stage for each card?
    That is actually a very important question. The way to go here depends on the priorities we want to follow here. I pointed out four possibilities in the section "Transition", with their respective (dis-)advantages. So, for me, balancing is a very important priority here. So, I totally agree with your point. Just assigning the initial stage value for old crew members solely by the release date, will not give good values and thus, this would not be my favorite way to do it.
    Also, I would think that for DB another important thing is not to have to revisit each old crew member individually (/manually), because that effort does not scale very well.

    So, the option I would recommend is that DB let the community discuss this and come up with values for the cards. I think, the players would love to basically become part of the development that way, and also the players have a strong feeling about balance. So, that they would come up with a pretty good list of initial stages for all of the old crew members that makes sure that there will be no disaster value. I would say, ideally this list would be backed up by some formulas, that eg would make sure, that no old crew would become to powerful in any of the "categories" (shuttle, voyage, gauntlet...).

    As you pointed out, also a modification (or different way) for the proficiency values could be possible. It could be excluded from the benefit or getting a smaller benefit, if we see that the power creep for proficiency is smaller than the one for base stats.
    I'm not totally against the idea, but I just don't see DB going through all the work that you detail in the Transition section unless there is a VERY strong monetary element to recover the cost of implementation and profit in the future.
    I also think that it depends much on the effort DB has to put into that. So, I think it is important that this proposal is scalable and that DB has basically no additional running effort. For the transition effort: I mean, they only have to do one of the proposals from the transition section, not all of them. So, it depends on how DB decides to handle it. If they are willing to utilize the community's intelligence and willingness to contribute (eg if the community creates the table with initial stages for all existing crew members), then the transition effort can be near to nothing. The programming effort in the beginning obviously cannot be avoided; a variable has to be added to the crew class and a "global" variable for the stageCap; and then we obviously need some kind of UI to use tech courses, that could look a lot like the ui for using crew training.
    I missed the part where DB profits.
    The initial post became a little bit long, so I needed to skip some of the analysis, so let's add it here.
    Basically, I thought about four user groups here:
    1. The completenist ("whale"). So, they basically have every card in the game and have a strong desire to have them maxed, but from what I hear and read, they get a little bit bored from time to time and think about leaving the game because there is "nothing left to do" for them. This proposal gives them a new possibility to improve their crew. They can make their former investments relevant again and especially get their most beloved crew members more into action. As much fun it is to have some one-time guest character from some episode to do the whole work, it is good to have Enterprise-E Picard showing up again on the secondary or tertiary shuttle. That strengthens the bond the player has to this game to ensure he stays and continues to play (and pay for) this game. Also, to max out all stages, he needs a lot of resources and in this game you only get some limited number of resources without paying. If you really want to max out all stages, you will have to pay for getting the resources to obtain the necessary tech courses.

    2. The regular spender. They look into each new crew: if it has good stats, they will pay for it, otherwise they will skip on it. So, for the regular spender, because of power creep only the newest maybe 30 crew members are interesting. So, if DB offers a pack with a legendary from some time ago, they just won't buy because of its bad stats. So, all the big investment DB did to create each of these crew, just discards into nothing after some time. With the proposal, all of the old crew will become interesting again and stay interesting; DB's investment in creating the new crew will be enduring. With the proposal, DB has 300 legendaries (and counting) instead of 30 to convince the player to buy one from.

    3. The character fan. They like a small number of characters or even character versions and will only pay money if they get one of these beloved ones and also can use them beneficially in action sometimes. In the last time, I often read something like "I like the character, but the stats are so bad, he would never be used for anything". With the proposal, the old crew gets (just) good enough that it will resurface in some secondary or tertiary shuttle or in some voyages; so enough that a player is happy to buy them to see them be of some use.

    4. The f2p player. They are completely free-to-play, so they will not pay in whatever situation. But still, they give a player base in which the paying players can thrive. The game would not be the same with much less players in the events, the chats, the fleets and/or the arena and so on. So, as they can participate in the new proposal and can also get their most beloved crew (if they already have them) to stay relevant longer, making playing the game more fun for them, too. As in every feature of this game, by spending time and endurance, they can utilize this feature to some kind; but as with every other feature, fully maxing-out its benefits, is only possible for the big spenders.

    I did not put any direct (additional) demand to pay into the proposal, because it is more about getting the players to continously use the already existing (numerous) possibilities to pay (like the special packs to reiterate crew and also to buy resources) by securing a long-time payout from the investment DB does with creating each new crew and by keeping the players interested and be confident about being in the right place to see their beloved characters still being actively useful.
    I hope you'll take this in stride, change your screen name to your in-game captain name, and keep posting on the forum.
    I like my forum name, see the PS. I hope that's ok for you.

    Live long and prosper,
    guest_8472

    PS: Off topic:
    (meaning not the latest FO Burnham nor Cheesecake 7)
    Cheesecake? Do you remember the episode where the doctor ate for Seven, too? If you read that sentence out loud, it ends with the number from my name. ;)

  • I saw "guest" and stopped reading. It's up to you of course, but I would change that part. The 8472 is definitely worth keeping.

    The completionist/whale part might be right. Seems a good educated guess. But there is a chance that they might not spend to chase stars for crew that are only 1% better than what they already have. They might stop at 1/5.

    I think I'm in the "regular spender" category. I've played long enough that resources are of little consequence right now. I don't have the time to run at the top 25 because RL is too busy. I can make top 1k whenever I want. With your proposal, my spending would go down. I could throw resources that I just won't use otherwise into maintaining a small core of legendaries. There would be very little incentive to spend money to upgrade any crew. I would absolutely not spend on new crew that are only 1% better than the core that I maintain. I think a monetary element would be necessary to maintain their current business model.

    The character fan is where your idea has the most potential. If there is a monetary element, then the character fans might just keep paying to make their favorite crew relevant as the game progresses.

    F2P is fairly straightforward, but with a wrinkle. No, they will not be part of the financial equation. But they are a great (and necessary) part of the community. If they could boost their core of mega event legendaries and whatever else they were lucky enough to fuse up to 5/5, then they would be 1% behind spenders most of the time. That's not a significant difference. Not one that spenders (like me) would be willing to pay for. It might just discourage spending.

    One compromise might be to make if free for StageCap -6, then add the pay element for StageCap -5 to -1. That might keep things competitive, but with a noticable advantage to paying players.

    Like I said... There's good ideas here. I thank you for sharing and not hating my guts for my first post. :)
  • Interesting thoughts. I especially like the way you have clearly pointed out the monetary downside to the older cards being devalued. Sometimes ppl get caught up in there own minds argument and forget how to explain (or not explain) in written form what they are really trying to say. Its not just about the players money spent. It is a business and DB is devaluing there own work and bottom line with outdated stats. Good explanation.
  • eXo | SilverRoseeXo | SilverRose ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think this is slightly flawed because it assumes that power creep is linear - i.e., the newer crew is always better. That's not the case at all. DB has definitely produced some recent stinkers. See Adam Scott, or Colonel Q.
    Proud Admiral of eXo. RIP red X in game.

    eXodus Fleet Wiki Page
  • IronagedaveIronagedave ✭✭✭✭✭
    also the
    01100010 01111001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01110011
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    Immortals Legendaries: 24
    Coastal Trekkers [Recruiting] https://stt.wiki/wiki/Fleet_Coastal_Trekkers

    DB Health Warning, prone to "Bicker"..... A LOT!
  • Doctor 8472Doctor 8472 ✭✭
    edited September 29
    DB has definitely produced some recent stinkers.
    I agree with you that DB sometimes adds some "stinkers". However, that is not a flaw of the proposal. Actually, the proposal can maybe even help there.
    If DB really intends these crew members to be permanent stinkers (like they have it now), they can just go with the simple "each new crew gets the current stageCap as initial stage" rule. If they intend these crew not to be stinkers for all time, they can go with the first of the ideas mentioned in "additions"; just giving them a lower initial stage, so that they only start as stinkers, but can be made less-stinky ;) by giving them a lot of tech courses.
    I saw "guest" and stopped reading. It's up to you of course, but I would change that part. The 8472 is definitely worth keeping.
    Ok, so I now got an (imaginary) "degree" and improved the "guest" to "Doctor". Looks better.

    I think, the exact "difference" on how much the old crew has to stay behind the current stageCap can be open for discussion. For the event packs, it is still not only this difference (eg 1 %), but additional the 3x-bonus. So, I think these crew members stay pretty much more attractive than the old ones.
    But your proposed difference value of 5 %, is probably also still something to think about.

    Again thanks to all for the feedback. Let me know if you have additional feedback - and let DB know, if you like the idea.

    Live long and prosper,
    Doctor 8472

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