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Topics - Eji1700

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Suggestions / Salvage Game Loop/Economy
« on: November 06, 2019, 04:19:44 PM »
Actually salvaging:
In 90% of cases, if I don't salvage something it's because it would be too tedious to do/not worth my time.  From there there's about 9% where I don't have room to do it right (orbital station usually), and then finally there's the 1% of times where I can't because of enemies.

Further the actual process is "click through the menus, grab everything, control click on fuel/metals if i go over the limit".

In short, there's next to no thought put into it, it's just me mashing through menus.

Economy:
The other issue I find with salvaging is that you just hoard all of it.  Yeah you could sell weapons/ships, but it's not worth it (in part because of how frequently/easily you can salvage them), so you wind up with an apocalyptic supply of weapons sitting in Corvus or one of your planets inventories.


So looking at this, the 3 main payoffs to a salvage that actually get my attention are:

1. Blueprints
2. Recover a hard to acquire ship
3. Ship systems (fast missile racks, ITU, whatever).

and then misc (usually a nanoforge/core or a relevant amount of trade goods, which is just money).  notice that i've NEVER not salvaged because I was worried about losing machinery or crew.

1 and 3 matter less and less the longer the game goes on.  Usually by the time i'm ready to start up some colonies i've already got 70-90% of the blueprints in the game.  I'm the ultimate hodgepodge empire before I've even started, or can theme however I want.  There's no "hunt" for blueprints, or any real strategy to it.  Just play the game, you'll get them.  Ditto on ship systems (add check out the markets for this one, it takes a very short amount of time to get most of them).

So what was once an interesting moment of salvaging a ruin or battlefield quickly becomes done for the sole purpose of "i need supplies/fuel" or the rare case when you see a legion floating in space.

Some possible solutions:

1. Make salvaging take time/more costs:

Maybe not EVERY salvage (post battle shouldn't for example) but when i come across ruins/orbital relays/shipwrecks maybe it should be done the same was as a comm sniffer install used to.  This would lead to many more situations where you can't salvage because of enemy threats, and allows skills/systems to modify it.

2. Change ship/weapon drop rates:

I think ships should be much more likely to not be salvageable at all.  The "Default" method to acquire a ship ought to be through the marketplace (and i have another topic i might do on the black market), not salvaging post battle.   This would allow an economy tweak to where selling a salvaged ship is now worth your time and yet another way to have salvage skills matter more.   This should be similar with weapons (maybe by complexity level) so you don't leave on a bounty hunt and come back 7 tech levels ahead of when you left from combat and incidental exploration. 

As a side effect this could lead to cheaper restoring.  Right now it's hyper expensive because it's pretty easy to wind up with a hanger full of d-modded hammerheads, so price is the only thing stopping you.  If that situation was actually rare you don't need restorations to always cost so much because there's other factors stopping the player.

3. Give it real costs:

Even if you don't add time to a salvage, losing a few crew and some machinery is a joke.  Machinery should NOT be so common from a salvage as it just feeds the infinite "oh look salvage is free" loop, but exploring that research station at the edge of a black hole while in emergency burn ought to come with threats to your CR at the very least (outside of the eburn).

4. Give resources more of a meaning-

This is a large one so i left it for last as it might be out of scope, but right now the only difference between metals and organs is the market price.  At the very least going into mid/end game it might be more interesting if constructing your own ships actually required resources, so I can look at an incidental amount of plutonics as maybe helping me build my own fresh Medusa rather than spare change that I have to click on more.  There's some precedent in building nav relays/machinery for salvage/using the neutrino detector, but I think giving all the various trade goods more of a gameplay use would help the salvage system matter more.  Maybe i'll think more about if i want to dump my metal for food if it can be turned into more heavy machinery that I need for X or Y reason.

Alternatively to all this, if salvage isn't meant to get much deeper, maybe it should take fewer clicks?  A "store/take all weapons" button would be nice at the very least.

2
General Discussion / Trade/Piracy/Supply and Demand
« on: September 28, 2019, 02:38:24 PM »
Was tooling around with my super scavenger character (basically maxed industry) and saw that the pirate base I was by was just about to launch a trade fleet stocked with heavy weapons/drugs/etc.

Having never actually tried piracy in all the time i've been playing, i hung around and wiped the floor with it.  Somewhat surprisingly to me I only got the usual expected haul (supplies, weapons, fuel, heavy machinery) and no cool illicit goods to hock on the market.

Am I missing something or is this intended functionality, because if so it seems like it's missing a big sell to what can make these games interesting.  I've heard that random combat isn't supposed to be the point of the game, but there really should be some way to turn a profit on trade convoy attacks outside of using the resulting manipulated market.

It'd also give more of a reason to have some frigates in a fleet for the post battle hunt down of all the convoy ships, which as of right now doesn't really ever seem to be worth the time/effort (despite being a nice twist on ship design goals and playstyle sometimes).

Further in some relation to this it's really unclear to me WHY some items are needed by planets. I get it all functions on industries (which is pretty hidden from the player) and I've gotten some understanding of that from colonies, but what exactly is triggering all this demand for harvested organs?  Why isn't food more important?  What exactly are transplantation being used for?  Do high tech planets have different demands from low tech ones?

Arguably the player never needs to know any of this, but it is something that's fun to mess with in the ways we currently can, so I'm hoping that there's more (either that i'm missing or that's in the pipeline).

3
Suggestions / Ship System- ignore minimum armor
« on: August 27, 2019, 01:25:02 AM »
Name- Heavy slugs/High capacity beams?  I dunno.

Effect- Ballistic/Energy weapons ignore minimum armor  (maybe one for both, maybe just ballistics. I do like the idea of letting mining drones/laser ignore it).

Possible downsides- Worse tracking (worse at the anti missile role) or X% chance (only works well with rapid fire weaponry, but not as well as it used to)

Cost- Probably not dedicated targeting core expensive, but might need to be up there, maybe even restricted?

Reason-

For those that didn't play before the minimum armor patch, it could be really fun to get up close with something like an onslaught kitted out with vulcans and HMG's that served as both your anti missile, and, eventually, your dps as you literally ground enemy ships into dust through a hail of endless dakka.  This wasn't super efficient at removing armor, but once you got through you'd rip into their internals in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately it was a little too good and was understandably nerfed with the addition of minimum armor.  I think it's still an interesting way to build ships though, and I miss my front line mora's designed to tank disable and grind. So hopefully there's a middle ground where a ship system can be introduced that brings back the playstyle

4
General Discussion / Star Fortress Balance
« on: November 28, 2018, 08:56:30 PM »
I've finally built all 3 star fortresses and messed with them in combat (generally by waiting for an invasion and seeing how they do without support).  My brief notes:

Generic- they all get drones (little orbiters) at level 3 and a minefield.  The mines seem to be functionally identical but visually different.  The drones will often smash into enemy and allied ships.

Hightech- legit.  Not much to say other than hightech stuff is good especially on a station that cares a lot less about flux.

Midline- Surprisingly good.  I thought it was going to suck due to its shape (maybe the lower stages do) but the level 3 is a monster.  4 mirv missiles on the sides (2 on each) with the "doom side" sporting gravaton beams, auto cannons, Hephaestus, and Mjolnir will rip through anything and everything.  The back side only being the hanger and some heavy mortars isn't bad at all at cleaning up stuff.  The higher spin rate isn't bad either since if you can wall off the sides it lets it vent flux each go round.

Lowtech- feels off.  First of all, it's got flack for DAYS.  Flack cannons + vulcans + devastators.  The issue i feel with the low tech though is that it has 2 hellbores, 2 reapers and I think 2 heavy motars on one of the arms...and thats IT for non flack/shield damage.  The whole thing basically doesn't deal HE damage 90% of the time, and instead grinds through everything with an absurd amount of vulcans.  I really feel the fort could use some light motars/assault guns because it's silly to watch a kite throw up its shield point blank and just tank the entire thing.

I'm also a little surprised that the lowtech doesn't get teh hephaestus cannons and is stuck with just mark IX's/devastators.  Having some of the worst options for bombers as well (yay..piranha) leaves the station in a really weird spot.

5
General Discussion / Thoughts on Cargo/Support Hulls
« on: September 25, 2018, 10:59:33 AM »
Something that was brought up with the recent blog post was that currently a lot of the cargo/support ship hulls are sort of wasted assets.  They look really cool in the store and then are never seen again as they're essentially passive boosts and serve no real tactical or strategic purpose.  Alex mentioned he had something in the works for this, but I've got some downtime so here we are:

First off, flavor- The idea of a trade armada is something we've already seen in mods and it's not really viable right now. Neither is the smugglers ship.  Something that would normally be innocuous at first glance but has been heavily modified to murder anything that bothers it (millennium falcon being the popular example).  Hell in the Escape Velocity series some of my most fun runs were taking "Cargo" ships and modifying them with as much heavy weaponry as possible (IDE frigate was the easiest to show this off with, but with how that game worked you could do it with almost anything).

Second redundancy- Even as just passive stat boosters, there's little reason other than scarcity to get anything other than the biggest support ship that fits your needs.  Speed could technically be an issue, but it's rarely a factor in practice (and honestly the whole navigation aspect of the game is ripe for more gameplay.)

Third, Risk- It's worth mentioning the inherent issue with using combat support/cargo ships, and that's if you DO lose one, you can wind up winning the battle but having to pitch half your cargo.  I think this is actually an interesting decision compared to the current all or nothing system of only sending in your military fleet and basically being screwed if you lose, but either way it's something that has to be considered when looking at hulls.

Hulls-

Quick thoughts on each.  There's a few that are "ok" but none that I feel you'd ever ideally take to battle.  Of note fuel ships not included since you can summarize them with "nope, just passive upgrades"

Frigates:

Hermes- No combat ability to my knowledge.  Have rarely touched it though.

Kite- I've been told these can actually be used to great effect, but then whenever I play I forget to test it.

Mercury- A slightly better hermes that's still useless.

Mudskipper- straight up target practice.  I don't hate that though as such ships SHOULD exist, but I also like that there's a (very silly) combat variant

Ox- literally just a passive.  No point to ever deploy/touch/interact with it again after you've bought it except to lower its sensor profile (another passive do it once and forget interaction).

Shepherd- The game actually starts you with one of these depending on your choices.  I love that it gives salvage bonuses (a reason to have it in your fleet), but combat wise there's not much you can do with it.  I would like if you could get a modspec or something that would allow you to upgrade the drones (not a full fighter bay but if you wanted to beef this thing up).  Either way it's mostly useless in practice with no option to change that.

Wayfarer- hey this one isn't awful.  It's hardly great, but it's got enough slots to actually be a threat and it's stats aren't terrible.  I feel like this is a good baseline for what's actually worth bringing into combat.  As the game's economy is now you still never would outside of the early game, but at least you don't feel punished for it.


Destroyers:

Buffalo- obviously not intended to fight like the mudskipper, and like the mudskipper has a combat variant at least (which is fun if dumb).  Also does have a P variant with shielded cargo holds, so there's some interesting choices there.

Gemini- I've actually used this in fleets as a quick and dirty carrier and certainly haven't hated that decision, especially in multiples when I find some good fighters early on but haven't gotten a condor or something else to hold them yet (or are avoiding them just to test). It's still very fragile though which can be a problem.

Mule- Literally designed as a combat freighter in game, in practice it's not awful, but I use it mostly to distract/support.  I've rarely had one kitted out to kill anything.  The pirate version is flat out worse in almost every way except having shielded cargo and a medium universal instead of medium energy.  I suspect they could do ok in mass.

Nebula- like the buffalo not really designed to ever be useful in combat, which really just makes it the occasional eye candy before it explodes.

Salvage rig- Obviously not meant for combat, but only mentioning because I'd again like something that lowers refit times/costs if included in the fleet (a staging base).  I understand there's minmax concerns with that, but I think it makes logistical sense that these large fleets might have something to help them swap out weaponry.   I'd expect it to come with restrictions though (lowered fleet speed while refitting and different sized/multiple rigs required to swap out larger equipment).

Tarsus- Another pure cargo ship that gets a nod just because it has a combat variant (condor).

Valkyrie- Of note because of the upcoming changes meaning carrying crew will matter again.  That said as it stands now it's maybe barely deployable as a support ship.

Cruisers:

Colossus- another "has combat variants" which again makes sense given the hull.  Only issue I have is the pirate variant is laughably bad.

Starliner- I don't think i've ever bought/fought this and i'm not sure what it's purpose is.  There was a starliner in Escape Velocity Nova which wasn't a terrible ship, in part because it could get special missions that paid well, but I have no idea what the purpose of this is in Star Sector.  It certainly looks like glorified target practice.

Venture- I see a lot of people knock this but I think it's a pretty good example of how these ships could work.  First off, yes it's a crusier that, power wise, is more on line with a destroyer, but that said it's a pretty serious one.  Sabots + Hyperions + expanded missile racks give it serious killing power and it's not going to evaporate under fire if you don't babysit it.  It's hardly on par with any other ship its size, but I don't mind bringing them to combat to serve as fire support.

Capitals:

There's only the Atlas and the Prometheus and neither does anyting other than hold some passive mods after you buy it and forget about it.  I really think either of these should have a pirate/condor type variant.

Special mention:

Lore wise the mora is a military ship, turned support, turned military again and happens to be my favorite hull in the game.  Only pointing it out because it makes sense within lore that larger hulls can be repurposed for combat when heavy military hulls aren't available.

Anyways that's basically my breakdown.  I mention all this mostly because playing a trade fleet in vanilla is super unrewarding.  Not only do the base mechanics prohibit it even if you bend them to their max (manipulate the market and smuggle), but it doesn't help that the "lore" appropriate fleet would just be terrible compared to a full on military fleet with an atlas.  I think this is a huge area where the game already has the framework in place, it just needs some tweaking.

One possible option is to allow players more freedom in refitting their ships.  Not full on customization, but a big part of why anything works in EV is because you could convert cargo space to hull space, so the equivalent here might be sacrificing cargo/fuel capacity for more OP.  This doesn't solve the terrible weapon selection for most of these ships, but some converted hangers + heavy armor could go a long way towards giving your merchant fleet some bite. 



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