Time and again our beleaguered staff has tried to hammer into our thick skulls the fact that physical statistics are not the most important factor in combat. Nonetheless, to me it looks as if a lot of combat-related complaints are, in fact, stat-related complaints. I think this is the reason.
As it stands now, players can obtain, and have obtained, astronomically high stats. This is especially true for cashers willing to pay Real World(tm) money for lots of extra rations, VIP, etc. to maximize training binges (which can be problematic in a game that really doesn't want to be Pay-to-Win). When players are walking around with hundreds and thousands of stat points, that does tend to outweigh other considerations. This, I think, is what is creating the impression that stats are the most important factor.
Trying to rejigger the entire combat system to handle these outliers is likely to be rather complicated. And, ultimately, I suspect it would prove unproductive--because sufficiently dedicated players can always eventually grind their stats high enough to outweigh everything else. Even if it were to take, say, over 10000 in each physical stat to guarantee a victory over any opponent of any Tier using any equipment at any skill level, then some player would be bound to train that much.
This brings me indirectly to one of my personal game-design annoyances: realism, or the lack thereof.
There have been some mild grumbles elsewhere about things that break reality, such as being able to head back to your Hotel Room in the middle of a mission to rest up for several segments before you return to catch the poor soul who's been suspended in mid-air falling off a collapsing staircase the whole time. This is another one that's been bugging me:
Why does training stats take no time at all?
This first occurred to me in the context of wondering why training 80% of a stat doesn't take any longer than training 5% of the stat. For that to happen, obviously, training 5% of a stat must take more than 0 units. Repairing items takes time. Space travel takes time. Even combat has a time limit. Why wouldn't training take time as well?
In addition to adding a touch more realism, having training take a bit of time--even just a few units--would, conveniently enough, also address what I believe to be the core issue underlying the combat-related complaints: the comparative ease with which a player can grind absurdly high stats. Players could still do it; it would just take longer. And for a lot of training, it would take a lot longer.
Right now, players can blow through 100 rations and train a stat 8000% in only a segment or so. That seems manifestly unreasonable. Doing that much of any activity, be it working out or reading or whatever, should take a reasonable amount of time. Not too long, but not nothing.
Example: If training 1% of a stat were to take just one unit, then a full (80%) workout for one stat would still require just one click, and take a little more than an old-Earth minute. Doing it 100 times, however, would take a half-dozen segments at least--and that's assuming a player were to sit at the screen, ready to swallow a ration and start a new training session as soon as the previous one ended. Training many hundreds or even thousands of times would take correspondingly even longer. A sort of natural gating mechanism.
What do you think, sirs?