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Stat Creep: where do you want more and where do you want less?

Prime LorcaPrime Lorca ✭✭✭✭✭
In the recent episode of Timelines Talks, with @Automaton_2000 , @Captain Idol , and @WRG Ben , a question was asked about stat creep by @Cpt_insano_2k1 . It's also something that I've discussed with @Thurthorad in other threads. We brushed on it, but not as deeply as I think the topic deserves. I find stat creep to have a several aspects in this game. It pertains to gauntlet, voyages, shuttles, and arena mostly, imo.

Arena has had little to no movement at the top in any division. There have been some additions in captains division that keep pace with some top crew, but Undercover O'Brien and Ardra are still mainstays with a few other crew being in the rotation. Commanders division has been static for all three years that I've played the game: Smiley and Kang aboard a Bird of Prey. In admirals division, Killy is queen. There's some alternates, but they basically have the same ability. Frankly, with the current pace of battles in admiral division and epic level of skirmish, I'm not sure what can really be done to shake up admiral division.

Shuttles aren't a strong point in my knowledge of stat creep. Bases seem to climb somewhat steadily, but with little movement at the top. Pah Wraith Keiko and Professor Sato have sat at the top for a while. Bones probably should continue to sit at the top for a while since he's only got that one skill. Hopefully other players have something to add. :)

Voyages are something that I've watched a little more closely, but not so much as others. I've been told that Captain Braxton, Gary Seven, and First Officer Burnham have sat in the top 5 for two years, with Braxton remaining at the top since he was released. I also recall hearing that there has been significant turnover in the top 10 and top 100 in the past year. In a game where honor and citations come slowly, there is a desire for crew to hold their value after they are cited. There is also a desire to get that next great voyage crew who will top the previous #1 and improve your voyages. Certainly there is a balance to keep. Would you change the current stat creep trend? If so, how?
(Admittedly, voyage crew has value beyond total score. I've discussed with @Bylo Band and @Banjo1012 how traits and bases vs proficiencies factor into the equation. But in the hunt for 12 hours and beyond, stat creep will play a significant role in getting there sooner.)

Gauntlet is another where I pay relatively little attention. I know the gauntlet exclusive crew are good and generally stay relevant. I know there's a few like Defensive Phlox and Kahless the Unforgettable who also stay relevant. I also know that I hate gauntlet walls. This is an area where stat creep has to be maintained carefully. If crew are made widely available, then walls happen. If top crew show up in Tuesday packs, then spenders get an advantage. Basically, I couldn't begin to say how stat creep might be changed to improve gauntlet. Feel free to toss in your couple cents cuz I got nothin'. :)

I thought about mentioning stat creep among ships. I'd rather not here though. It gets into the topic of the half dozen or so recent additions that aren't widely obtained at a level which could be competitive in arena or skirmish. We won't know how those stats have crept until they become more widely used. We can save the conversation of schematics economy for another thread. :)

Did I leave out any areas where stat creep impacts the game? What other thoughts do you have on the topic of stat creep?
Farewell 🖖

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    The best solution would be letting players buff particular characters beyond their rated stats, with experience, duplicate copies, or resources. This would offset the problem of players who aren't part of fleets, and don't have fleet buffs. It would also allow players to keep their favorite characters relevant, and offset the problem of being forced to adopt crappy Discovery characters with overinflated stats.

    If this change were implemented for ships, it would add some much needed uncertainty and variety to ship battles, which have now become stale and predictable.
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    EnderWEnderW ✭✭✭✭✭
    Voyages: I just updated the voyage stats on my personal spreadsheet and was surprised to see how far some of my cards have fallen; many dropped 20-30 places (which, I know, depended greatly on how recently I got them and who had been introduced since I got certain cards. Still, some big changes.). And yet, I'm completely happy with how voyage strength in general has been creeped. It's provided enough sense of getting worth out of crew I invest in, while giving me a sense that I need to do more investing and seeking new crew. And the big tell for me this has been handled well is that there appears to be an even split in the community as to whether the issue has been handled well or not.

    Gauntlet: This is one area that very much needs more creep. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, and I wish they'd intro a Gauntlet-type event. That would give TP a reason to put out more Gauntlet useful crew every month. They don't have to be all blockbusters; just more cards that can break up the walls. And we DEFINITELY need more Eng Gauntlet crew; Red Angel was not enough.

    Shuttles: Similar to voyages, things seem fine here. But let's be honest, shuttles get whoever doesn't go on your voyages, so there's a close relation to both. If one is fine, so is the other.

    Arena: I think things are more diverse than people realize, whether we're talking ships or crew. I'm seeing a lot more Scimitars and Cap Proton Ships lately in the Admirals Division. As more people get other ships fully leveled, this will keep changing. And as for crew, things seem a good balance between newer crew and long term stalwarts; Ardra seeming to be the longest tenured for both Captain and Admiral. I've been seeing some good tinkering and innovation with crew use, so I'm confident to say creep is doing well here too. Except for Commander's Division; that's terrible and unlikely to change. They haven't intro'ed a new 3* ship since 2018 and are unlikely to add a new one any time soon.

    Overall, I think creep is being handled well in the game, though with some definite areas that need work. I recently gave up playing Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes because it seemed every new character was one you had to get and upgrade immediately; it made it so there was never a chance to catch your breath, never a plateau to reach. I want a game, not endless leveling and grinding.
    Playing Since: 2018-02-26 Level: 99 Fleet: ÷ Battleship Yamato, Squad Leader & Fleet Officer; 17hr, 20min Voyage /wo Refuel; 1508 Immortalized Crew; Highest Event Rank: 8 (God of Thunder)
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    Prime LorcaPrime Lorca ✭✭✭✭✭
    Stats inflation has been too slow imho. And that we still see new 4* crew with
    700 base or less is just a shame. Same goes for new 5* crew with like 2016/2017 stats.

    To play devil's advocate, this allows for players to take an event off or skip whatever method to get the crew. How important is this down time to the overall health of the game and the community?
    Uebermind wrote: »
    The best solution would be letting players buff particular characters beyond their rated stats, with experience, duplicate copies, or resources. This would offset the problem of players who aren't part of fleets, and don't have fleet buffs. It would also allow players to keep their favorite characters relevant, and offset the problem of being forced to adopt crappy Discovery characters with overinflated stats.

    If this change were implemented for ships, it would add some much needed uncertainty and variety to ship battles, which have now become stale and predictable.

    Again, to play devil's advocate, if you could continuously improve old crew, then what would be the motivation to chase new crew?

    I'm not trying to shoot down ideas. I'm sure a little tweaking might make them workable - some sort of limitation, maybe an upper or lower limit somewhere?
    Farewell 🖖
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    AviTrekAviTrek ✭✭✭✭✭
    Arena could use some work in general. What about adding 1s high evasion crew. Create crew that can counter the dkora burst. Then see how the rest of the battle plays out. Maybe the crew needs a weakness elsewhere to prevent the new crew from being used everywhere, or maybe just countering dkora is enough.

    Either way, arena should be designed so there are multiple strategies, counters for those strategies, and then counters if you use the initial counter. That way players have to choose between competing options and consider tradoffs.

    Gauntlet also could use a rethink. How about more crew with high skill pairs. There are 15 possible skill pairs. If WRG starts introducing crew with those pairs then players need to decide which of those 15 to include instead of using the same 5-8 crew with minimal changes.
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    Mirror CartmanMirror Cartman ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2021
    Shuttles Out of events there seems little point in stat inflation. Using 5* crew I get 80%-90% success rates. Because of the way success is calculated a small increase in stats will make hardly any difference to success rates.

    In faction events bonus crew is critical. Stat inflation will take ages to filter through to all events.
    Competition wise, we are all in the same boat, some players may have more crew, but increasing stats for one, and other players will also get the same.

    There is little argument for demand in higher stats here.

    Arena Most long term players have a couple of Killys or equivalent. Small increases might be nice, but nothing that off balances the arena.

    I don't think there are any 5* equivalents of Arda, and they might be nice, but introducing one in an event or Tuesday pack would put the arena out of balance. The only way would be mega event crew.

    Better ships might be nice, more armour and shields to counter single shotting opponents and make the battles last longer.

    In commander division I currently use EV suit Spock Tuvok his 200% damage seems useful.

    Voyages is where I would like improvement. However rather than simple stat creep, a few more crew of the rare stat combinations would be good, e.g. Security and Medicine.
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    ThurthoradThurthorad ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've been mulling over how to approach stat creep encouragement going forward. It's clear from Ben's reaction in the stream that he finds the idea that players want reasons to buy new crew laughable. So, I'll do a tactical retreat on this front.

    So what do we need if stat creep isn't on the table? Different ways to use crew. Maybe another stat or special traits that actually matter.

    The point is that when a new crew is created, there has to be a *game* reason to want to acquire them beyond increasing your Sec shuttles success chance by 0.001%. Once you have the basics covered, a solid 36 or so Voyagers covering most of the 2 skill combos and the key shuttlers and gauntleteers all other improvements are cosmetic right now, so we've no reason to buy anything.

    So if stat creep isn't on the table, we need a new set of stats.

    TO answer the question as posed though. Voyage score is what I look at most. It's the best part of the game, and it is often (though definitely not always) a decent proxy for the crews use in other areas. A top 10 Voyager is not only likely to make Voyages but is likely to crop up on shuttles or Gauntlet or both (I'm looking at you Gary Seven). A low Voyage score is going to indicate niche use or more often no use.

    The real problem is how the lack of power creep interacts with the need to cite crew to make them useful. If I buy a crew and I don't cite them they are -1 crew slot. So they need to be worth citing. Citations are still relatively rare so you are only going to spend them on your best crew, so for a crew to have anything beyond rare faction event impact it has to be worth citing on the day it is released or else it's just a pretty picture.

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    Automaton_2000Automaton_2000 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've been really disappointed with the voyage power of crew coming out recently (Rank 202, 208, 255???) and that's the one area of the game I care most about power creep, because A. It brings great rewards in the way of honor/purples/chronitons, B. There's a good amount of strategy and roster-building surrounding it because you have many combos to cover and C. It's not directly PVP so you can boost that area without crowding out new players in an oppressive way like getting stomped in the gauntlet over and over. (Although there's an argument that releasing gauntlet crew regularly will help new players get up to speed more quickly)

    So I went back and compared the last six months of 3-skill legendary crew to the six month period around when our current #1 voyage crew came out (25 months ago). Numbers are with current bonuses applied retroactively.

    From Dec 2018 to May 2019:

    Crew: 50
    Highest rank: 1
    Lowest rank: 185
    Average debut voyage rank: 39.2
    Average voyage score: 3946
    Top 50 (debut) voyagers: 36 (72%)


    From Aug 2020 to Present:

    Crew: 40
    Highest rank: 2
    Lowest rank: 255
    Average debut voyage rank: 84.5
    Average voyage score: 3997
    Top 50 (debut) voyagers: 14 (35%)

    Crew from the last six months are only 1% stronger on voyages than they were from that period two years ago with new collections doing most of the heavy lifting for the sense of power creep. Relative to existing crew, however, today's new voyagers are far worse and are also competing against crew you've had immortalized for years, mostly hand-picked names that were the best when they came out.

    For the reasons listed above, especially that it wouldn't directly hurt newer players trying to catch up, I'd really love to see voyage numbers boosted as a target of power creep. If only so that there's a clearer incentive to compete and pay for crew that can replace our existing immortals.
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    Prime LorcaPrime Lorca ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thurthorad wrote: »
    I've been mulling over how to approach stat creep encouragement going forward. It's clear from Ben's reaction in the stream that he finds the idea that players want reasons to buy new crew laughable. So, I'll do a tactical retreat on this front.

    So what do we need if stat creep isn't on the table? Different ways to use crew. Maybe another stat or special traits that actually matter.

    The point is that when a new crew is created, there has to be a *game* reason to want to acquire them beyond increasing your Sec shuttles success chance by 0.001%. Once you have the basics covered, a solid 36 or so Voyagers covering most of the 2 skill combos and the key shuttlers and gauntleteers all other improvements are cosmetic right now, so we've no reason to buy anything.

    So if stat creep isn't on the table, we need a new set of stats.

    TO answer the question as posed though. Voyage score is what I look at most. It's the best part of the game, and it is often (though definitely not always) a decent proxy for the crews use in other areas. A top 10 Voyager is not only likely to make Voyages but is likely to crop up on shuttles or Gauntlet or both (I'm looking at you Gary Seven). A low Voyage score is going to indicate niche use or more often no use.

    The real problem is how the lack of power creep interacts with the need to cite crew to make them useful. If I buy a crew and I don't cite them they are -1 crew slot. So they need to be worth citing. Citations are still relatively rare so you are only going to spend them on your best crew, so for a crew to have anything beyond rare faction event impact it has to be worth citing on the day it is released or else it's just a pretty picture.

    My take on Ben's laughter is that he remembers a time when players complained that there was too much stat creep. The irony that players are now asking for more is ironic. I remember the when FO Burnham, Gary Seven, and Captain Braxton were released. Players complained that they felt obligated to get these new top tier crew in such quick succession. At that point, stat creep was moving too quickly. The irony of asking for stat creep back could be funny if you have a long memory. For that reason, I do not assign any ill motivations to Ben. He's a guy who is new to PR who is making honest mistakes.

    That said... you hit a lot of other nails on the head. They went way to far in overcorrecting. We need some stat creep back and at the very top especially. If Braxton falls to the #3 voyager by the end of 2021, he's still a darn good voyager and worth the investment made two years ago (or three by the end of this year).

    Judging by your post and more above, the progression of bases is fine. That can continue as-is. As they develop voyage crew, they would do well to add a gauntleteer or three among the new top voyage crew. That's the consensus that I gather, anyway.

    Failing that, I find your solution of a new set of stats to be quite intriguing. :)
    Farewell 🖖
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    Gauntlet - I've won (more than) one, there is no reason to try to win more, you certainly don't get a gauenteed gold for winning! I've got most of the top gauntleteers ( not necessarily at L100/ FE) and like to mix it up, but then, I'm not trying to win!

    Voyages - for the most part I do 8 hours and recall regardless, occasionally I'll do a 16 hr including 2 revivals, but really, 8 and recall does the job and sets itself up for the next day to do it again. I can and have done 10 hours, just doesn't fit in with my daily schedule.

    Shuttles - 8 a day (okay only need 7), don't care if they succeed or fail, it's just a daily requirement. As for faction events, I don't get upset with the occasional 95+ plus failure as I get plenty of 50/60% successes when chucking tokens at it.

    Arena - lost count of the number of times I've held top spots in all 3 simultaneously, really don't care though, they're 10 of my ship battles every day, takes a couple of minutes, don't even look at the screen for the most part

    Add a new tier 1 card, of course I'll try to get it, but it won't change my daily game play.
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