tanithryudo: (Default)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
First of all, disclaimer: I'm really casual where it comes to STO, playing only a single character and not having paid much attention to the meta discussions on reddit, so I can't claim to be all that authoritative on it. With GW2 I think I can speak better toward it, since I've played all classes pretty far and I've read a lot on the high tiers of play (raids/high fractals) so I am familiar with what goes on there.


1. Character balance

GW2 has 9 straightforward professions with clearly (pffft!) delineated purpose. The devs have tried their best to make each class distinct from one another, with a distinct mechanic that's usually the driving force of why you want to pick that class to play. The race doesn't really play into things other than a few usually non-meta skills. While the profession also locks you into armor class and gear.

STO in comparison has 3 factions and 3 professions. The factions sorta lock you into what kind of ships you can use, but as far as I can tell, most of the ships of the same...tier/type are basically reskins/rewords of each other, with only a few things that are unique. Actual gear that gets slotted on the ship and your person are universal. The profession determines one's captain skills. Available traits are the same for all characters, however much you want to spec into each line.

Basically, the race/faction on both sides don't really factor into the actual gameplay all that much, and is much more for flavor/RP purpose. STO is less distinct about its professions due to universal trait setup and the fact that captain skills are only like 1/4 of your total skill options during gameplay. It's...probably easier to balance that way too, since there's no really unique mechanism in any of the classes that has the potential to to mess things up.

Personally, in terms of gameplay mechanics, I prefer the GW2 professions. They're more distinct and they each have an unique ability or mechanism (or two, with specializations).

With STO, it's more about the lore than the mechanics of the profession. There's less of an impact in the way you play (honestly your ship is a bigger determinate of your gameplay role) and it's more about if you wanna be Spock or Data or Sisko.


2. Gear

GW2 has basically one meta...well two: zerker and viper. Everything else is incredibly niche. You basically can find a place in meta with those two stats. And speaking of stats, the most complicated stat it has is probably condi duration and getting the 100% cap for it. All other stats are easy to understand and you can see the total values of your stats right there on the hero page. Then once you have your basic gear, you have the option to add more exotic and potentially conditional buffs with runes/sigils/food.

STO on the other hand is a million separate bits of stuff all mixed and mushed together. Each piece of gear has a mix of stats on it with no real logical pattern (from easy ones like +dmg/+crit to other stuff like +exotic dmg X or +skill type Y). There's a bunch of damage types (and hybrid damage types), and a bunch of weapon types of each damage type... Oh yes, and they love sets. And also unique set/gear that come from cash shop ships (which can then be mixed and matched onto other non-shop ships of the same type). Even with a wiki it's hard for me to keep up with it all, much less crunch the calcs for all the potential combos to determine what's the best. It's like... if every piece of exotic/ascended gear + trinkets in GW2 also came with an inseparable rune/sigil.

It also makes things a nightmare to balance, IMO, b/c somewhere in the mess of set bonuses and unique gear pieces and skills/traits, there's always going to be some interaction that's going to be more OP than intended. Or just broken as in not working.

Personally, I prefer the GW2 gear system, just because it's so much easier to understand. When I swap out one piece of gear for another there, I can pretty much predict how that might affect my performance. When I swap out a piece of gear in STO, I actually have no idea how that actually affects my performance, because I can't be bothered to calculate all the interactions with the 100 different other factors that interact with that gear.

2b. Complexity / Gameplay

Player skill aside, in GW2 the performance of your character depends on the following -- gear, skills/class skills, traits, bonuses (runes/sigils), consumables, masteries.

In STO you have -- ship (+ship specific bonus and skills), gear (+set bonuses), captain skills/traits/bonuses, boff NPC skills/traits, doff NPC permanent/temporary buffs, reputation buffs/skills, consumables. It much more of a headache.

GW2 has more gameplay options and modes... there's story missions, open world events/bosses for almost every map, meta events/bosses for every post-SW map, dungeons, fractals, raids, WvW, PvP, guild stuff.

STO has missions, PvE battlezones (just a handful of these, the equivalent of meta maps I guess), PvE queues (the equivalent of dungeons I guess), PvP...and micromanaging your NPCs as a valid non-combat gameplay (it's oddly addicting, and I get the majority of my money/XP doing this).

So...there's that.

2c. Power creep

There's some of this in both games; I don't think it's easily avoidable. GW2 is a bit better in that there's only been one introduction of power creep with the introduction of HoT and its specializations/4-attribute stats.

With STO you run the risk of this happening every time they turn out a new reputation track/mission gear set, fleet(guild) reputation track, or cash shop ship. That happens much more often.

3. PvP/WvW

I...don't really play PvP (seriously) in either game. So not touching this.

4. The casual experience

Honestly, for all of my bitching about either game, you don't really need to be meta or even close to meta to do the majority of casual PvE content.

In GW2 you can do everything outside of high fractals and raids in rares or random exotics (like full soldiers or whatever).

In STO, you can probably do all the PvE missions in random gear, and it's not like there's a death penalty.

Which is good since...

5. Price tag

GW2 has you pay up front for the game, and then the cash shop is mainly for cosmetics/conveniences.

STO doesn't charge you up front, but its cash shop actually has stuff that impacts gameplay - mainly, ships (and the associated unique gear/skill that come with them). Also, playable unlocks, and items that are required to get buffed up fleet versions of good ships. Sure, some of this stuff can also be sold through the auction house, but still...

I ended up buying the $200 lifetime subscription package for STO. Which is higher than what I paid for one account of GW2, but still lower than the total amount of cash spend on GW2, I think.

Outside of the cash shop, getting max level gear is...hm... I think it's actually better in GW2. Exotics are pretty much equivalent to Mk.IV purple gear, and those generally take about the same range of time to get. But the highest tier of gear - ascended vs gold/epic. Well, ascended can be crafted, eventually. Gold/epic gear in STO is purely dependent on RNG (because no one sells that stuff), so yeah. Still obtainable - I've seen these people on youtube, but mainly for the hardcore.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-22 02:04 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
1) Purity of purpose! Seriously, I'm starting to get really confused by GW2's concept of what "purity" is anymore. But actually responding to the point made... Sounds like STO's faction is more like the race flavor in GW2 - i.e. no real mechanic change. In fact, it sounds like STO uses a perfectly balanced system (everyone has access to the same thing - strategy determines what gets used) vs. GW2's perfectly imbalanced system (rock-paper-scissors - what you have accessible determines what strategies you can use). Both styles are valid for RPGs. It kinda reminds me of the class vs. classless MUDs of yore. On the one hand, classes lock you into a playstyle at the get go, but you very rarely go wrong and just max everything. Classless allows you to try every playstyle, but then you usually make a second character after learning more about the game to optimize character growth for end game.

And c'mon, why would anyone pick someone other than Data? We all want to be Data! :p

2) STO's system is actually pretty similar to pretty much all of the modern MMOs I've played, sans GW2. Gear sets seem to be a big thing and often the complexity adds in the fact that a lower rarity gear is more powerful if you get the full set vs. having higher rarity but not being able to collect a full set. Also the whole damage type vs. X locked onto gear, so you're forced to carry lots and lots of sets with you and swap things out. All the better to sell inventory space expanders.

I think I like the idea of easier to get sets being competitive to the harder to get sets if you are willing to collect it all. I wish that little tidbit of complexity gets added to GW2's gear sets, like - if you get a full set of exotic named armor, the over all stats get a 10% boost or matches ascended armor stats. That way, ascended is only really advantageous for those who want to mix stats (i.e. WvW tryhards), and the rest of the community can be fine with their much easier to access exotics.

2b) I honestly think microing NPCs is a valid gameplay mode and would like to see it added to GW2. We're a commander, shouldn't we be allowed to micro people?

2c) While GW2 did a better job at keeping the power creep down on the gear side of things, elite specializations completely obliterated the efforts on the gear. Elite specializations are heads and shoulders better than core professions (except engineer - augh!) so...yeah. The iteration might not be frequent, but it is much more game changing. In STO, it sounds like a matter of getting new gear, rather making a whole new character.

But really, both sucks and power creep needs to just stop.

4) But...death is already a penalty. Do we really need anther penalty on top of knowing we failed to accomplish what we set out to do? ;_;

5) STO sounds a little bit like pay to win if they're going to lock mechanics behind the cash shop...unless all cash shop items can be traded between players, a la KoL...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-23 05:52 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
1) Sure, you like Spock, but do you really want to be Spock? :p

2) Obviously, there's optimal vs. affordable. Sets can help make the affordable at least competitive with the optimal due to set bonus. But if you're squeezing out that last 0.01%, well... There's always those, right?

2c) Yeah, not saying that power creep on gear is better. Just sucks in different ways, I guess. On the other hand, given #5's point, keeping up with power creep sounds a lot less necessary for STO than for GW2 due to the lack of esports.

5) Most MMOs have fairly easy general PvE (hit things until death, move onto the next death thing), because the idea is building up for the end-game of raids. Skin chasing is a lot less of a thing in non-GW2 MMOs due to skins tied with the gear stats and stuff.

And having more challenging content doesn't really sell me on things, because I'm not really a fan of challenging content. That's not what I go into an MMO for and I think GW2 needs to realize that's not what most people go into an MMO for.

6) Okay, foundry sounds pretty awesome. I'm pretty sure the reason GW2 doesn't have something like that is because the writing/world building in GW2 is too shitty to support any real player-written missions. Because let's face it, the Trek franchise has a much, much richer story and world than GW can hope to achieve. Just...the difference is night day.

7) I do agree the entire wardrobe system is much loved. Being able to actually preview each piece and removing the link between looks and stats really helps to allow much more character customization. So sad they don't make better use of the system by releasing more good looking armor. *sadpanda* (I'm still bitter the Asura and Charr use the male version of most, if not all, of the armor skins. Why?!)

Stat-swapping is the reason I'm thinking of getting everyone to ascended and working on my tailoring. Currently Guardian is one shoulder away from full ascended stats. Engineer is already full ascended. Next on the list is Mesmer...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-23 06:43 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
1. I'm going to assume most STO players have moved beyond 6th grade. XD

6. Eh, I think it's a fair enough comparison. I mean, think about it: if they made GW stories into a TV show, would you actually bother watching it? Are you actually interested in the characters? Now Trek, if TOS hadn't been a well written show, with compelling characters and some really meaningful social commentary, there's no way all the rest of Trek could have happened. TOS set the standard for high quality story telling, then TNG elevated that even further. Even without all the movies/books/later series, TOS writing is still a better written piece of work than the entirety of GW can hope to be.

7. That is true. I'm starting to use GW2Efficiency a lot more now when deciding to craft or buy stuff and plan out how to get to the next goal post in game. But I think that also stems from the fact that GW2 is a larger game than STO with a bigger base, while STO was kind of a cash in game that just happens to do enough to keep people playing.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-29 11:10 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
6. No. MMOs have average budgets in the hundreds of MILLIONS. A TV show is lucky to get a couple hundred THOUSAND. MMOs have much, much higher budgets than your average TV show. And well, the games could put focus on story and hope that their story is engaging, but the current gaming culture has bred a sense of "no, must make mechanics", when in truth mechanics isn't even the reason most people are attracted to games anymore. (At least not in the RPG genre, of which MMOs are a sub-genre.) So, I think the point stands.

7. I don't have the exact numbers. The only thing I've read is an announcement of STO hitting over 1 million users in 2016, and GW2 announcing breaking 5 million users back in 2014/15(?). So, according to what gaming sites have reported, GW2 player base is much, much larger.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-30 01:27 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
7. Ah. Good to have numbers.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-29 10:52 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Hm...

Well, I do have to say that opening the BLC has been kind of a meh experience for me. I mostly get excited when I find hair style kits, and haven't really gotten anything any more exciting. So...yeah.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-30 01:26 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
What about ticket scraps? Those are at least worth 5 gold, usually...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-30 05:57 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Uh, no I just meant that you could trade 10 in for a skin that could be sold for at least 50g on the tp. Making each scrap worth 5g...
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