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1
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.3.0
« on: January 04, 2021, 06:56:22 AM »
The Carnifex seems like the reliable, heavy hitting bomber the imperials needs. Although they'll probably need some heavy interceptor cover to do their job, or an Onager MIRV to clean up the battlefield. And that gigantic range... Those seems tailor-made for the newly buffed Matriarch.

As for the Sectator, it seems like CH bait. I can see a targeting package Decurion fleet spamming those out the wazoo.

2
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles
« on: December 05, 2020, 12:35:41 PM »
6 Years since my last ICE playthrough, how quickly time passes... I always have a soft spot for ICE, and i'm very glad you decided to update and release this mod once again ! I thought this was a good occasion to start a campaign with them. I'll write a bit about how things went, what i liked, what i disliked, some suggestion for the future too.

I still have some memories left of the how the faction worked, so i didn't went in completely blind, which did help me quite a bit during early game. I knew the Citadel ships were glass cannons, with decent armor but terrible hull, leaving them extremely vulnerable to high HE damage. Fortunately, being phase ships, they could dance around the battlefield without being caught, but when they get caught, there rarely is a second chance for them.


---


I began this campaign with a Nexerelin as part of the Idoneus garrison with a "small combat fleet" start, at the command of a Flashghast, a Seraph and a Shiekwraith. The Flashgast looked like a promising flagship to start with, so it's with this one that i did lead in battle.

The Flashghast is an extremely mobile missile boat. Arguably a better, more agressive, phase version of the Vigilance. Its heavy missile loadout makes it pretty deadly during early game, although the limited ammo limits its usefulness during prolonged engagements. Or at least, that's the theory when you look at the Flashghast just by itself. In practice, i was accompanied in battle by a Seraph tug, and that changed everything.


The Seraph is a fairly expensive, harmless little frigate with no defense system whatsoever. It's also the most important part of any Idoneus fleet thanks to its maintenance drone system. The drones have long (unlimited?) range, can phase, will repair armor, will reload ammo (missiles included) and prevent peak performance/CR degradation.

And they stacks.

But even with just one Seraph on the battlefield, the maintenance drones turned my Flashghast, a pretty good frigate by itself, into an unstoppable war demon. When a fast, missile boat, severely limited by its low peak performance suddenly no longer have to worry about ammo and CR, things get a bit ridiculous. Loaded with Sabots and Harpoons, it could kill fast, and the resupplying drones ensured it kept killing. Yes, the missile regeneration took time, but eh, no CR degradation, i had all eternity to defeat my enemies. With my Seraph chilling in the safety of the battlefield's corner, my lone Flashghast could take on a theoretically infinite amount of opponents. It wasn't rare for me to take on overwhelmingly larger fleets with just those two ships.

Later on, i experimented a bit further with stacking several Seraphs on the battlefield, vastly increasing the missile regeneration. At this point i could keep them on autofire and they would dump missiles all the time. The maintenance drone effect is lessened on non Idoneus ships, but still good enough to be overpowered.

So yeah, if there's one nerf that need to be taken on the whole faction, it's on the maintenance drones. Repairing armor is fine, especially for Idoneus ships that really needs it during mid/late game. Ammo regeneration however, is way too strong, and preventing CR degradation even more so. Moreover, i noticed later that with missile boats like the Eidolon and Apocrypha would monopolise the drones to regen their ammo, depriving the frontline ships from the much needed armor repair bonus. Removing the ammo regen effect would at least negate this issue.

Another thing i would like to see is a nerfed range for the drones, as to prevent cheesing tactics like stacking Seraphs on the bottom of the map. With less range, they would need to be closer to the frontline and put themselves in danger. Yes, they're extremely vulnerable, but such massive buff like armor regeneration deserves a high risk that goes with it.

Also, i think something needs to be done to prevent drone stacking. While Idoneus ships are by nature quite fragile, drones stacking can still make some ships like the Abraxas obnoxiously hard to take down, and it's probably possible to cheese it even further with a non Idoneus ship. Maybe this would require a rework of the drone system itself to work though.


Beyond the broken Flashghaste/Seraph combo, i also had a Shiekwraith in my fleet. I won't tip toe around it, i found the Shiekwraith wanting. I really tried to make it work in one way or another but never could get anything worthwhile out of it. It's definitely supposed to be a support destroyer, unfortunately it's FoF Inverter ECM isn't the most reliable missile defense system, it doesn't work for very long and needs quite a while to recharge. Its falx beam array have too little range to be safely used, and when it used, it's with debatable usefulness in most fights. It felt out of place during most early/mid game battles, too fragile, not enough impact on the fight. Later on i used those as PD platforms with converted hangar to escort my larger ships, but even then i wasn't very convinced.

During my campaign, i had quite a few scuffle with the Idoneus Citadel Exiles, and the Shiekwraith was a common sight in their fleets. While relatively harmless, this ship is however very tedious to fight. Its Shallow Phase is more or less the same as the old Starsector phase cloak that could be turned on and off without cooldown. While Starsector evolved with time and got rid of its frustrating old cloak system, the Shiekwraith version is still present, and still as obnoxious as ever. It's not just for the Shiekwraith by the way, the Kelpie, Eidolon, Palantir and Apocrypha shares the same phase system. I really wish Shallow phase would either be reworked in something similar to the current Starsector phase cloak (something with a cooldown between phasing) or replaced with the infinitely more satisfying Phase warp that cloak in short bursts.

I hope the Shiek will get some love in some future update, to make it more useful to use, both during early and late game, and less frustrating as an opponent.


The Specter was among the few first ships i bought. An unassuming, but competent mainstay frigate that i used throughout the game. It's pretty mobile, decently armed, and cheap. They are easy to catch in between two phase warp, and their fragility rarely gave them a second chance in battle. Still, when i needed something to capture an objective or support a ship, the Specter wasn't a bad choice, at least for early/mid game, later on they just wouldn't survive. Not incredible, but it works.
I also noted some kind of bug with variants. When you choose a variant, say Assault variant with the heavy machine gun in the hidden medium hardpoint, then switch to a strike variant with the Flamebolt cannon, it will change all weapons except the hidden one. The player have to manually remove the hidden gun first. This bug seems to happens with the Soulbane as well. Maybe it's linked to hidden weapons?


The Palantir sensor ship don't have much going for it. It's not even armed! But it is as cheap as it's possible to get, and fast. Perfect for capturing objectives at the start of battle. The enhanced sensor system is a nice gimmick that allows the player to know where the enemy is going a bit earlier than usual.

The Pentagram(S) is more of a joke than a proper combat ship, but at least it's a funny joke. It will die a lot, and sadly doesn't kill all that much. Even as cheap as it is, i didn't found it worth keeping it in my fleet. Despite this, everyone should at least try once the space shuriken.

The standard variant of the Pentagram however... It's not quite as fun. Unfortunately, it's not very good as well. Its strange weapon layout indicate a point defense ship, however its ability to cloak itself, as well as the Enthropic Inversion Matrix interrupting its weapons makes the Pentagram pretty bad at its job. On top of that, the narrow weapon arcs on the energy turrets and ability to turn very fast means the PD weapons will struggle to keep track of their targets. I somehow managed to make it decent with a burst PD build, but then, it was merely decent compared to something cheaper and reliable like the Centurion. For some reason, it's also incredibly fast, 200 top speed, faster than a Hound !

The Athame drill frigate is almost in the same category as the Pentagram(S). It's a joke ship, but an extremely deadly one. Its fission drill allows it fly through the target, dealing horrific damage. Unfortunately the Athame will also damage itself in the process. In between the enemy's ordnance and the self-damage, Athames rarely survive their first assault. Even at 2 DP to deploy, they felt far too unreliable for my taste. Extremely terrifying when the AI is fielding them though.

I feel it's the kind of ship that would work better as a fighter instead of a frigate. With adjusted stats and sprite size, it could be an interesting, and actually usable, alternative take for a bomber.


I got the Nightseer quite late during my campaign. The Citadel super frigate proved a bit tricky to use at first, but overall quite useful, if very fragile. The large hybrid hardpoint allows for incredible firepower for a frigate, and the mobility offered by the light phase jaunt ensure it can bring that firepower right where it's needed. One powerful trick i learned while flying this ship is the ability to fire while "jaunting" despite being intangible. This allows the ship to jaunt over the target and unload right when it's on top of it. It requires a bit of practice, but it works wonderfully when combined with high burst weapons.

But even without that fancy piloting trick, the Nightseer can still be useful. The Ether Warp cloak creates a mini black-hole when used, swallowing and removing nearby ordnance, in a somewhat similar way to the Blackrock Imaginos. The main drawback of the Ether Warp is that it eats all projectiles, including yours and your allies, so it requires some trigger discipline with the cloak not to screw up.


The Soulbane is how i remember it. Reliable, powerful, surprisingly resilient, always useful. From the beginning to the end of the campaign, it made the backbone of my fleet. It's a curious mix of a Sunder and a Medusa, all blended together with a phase cloak. It's mobile enough to catch most targets, its large energy hardpoint can drill through most opponents, and the good armor coupled with the Phase Warp makes it a tricky ship to pin down.


Early to mid-game with just a pack of Soulbanes is doable, but i eventually reached a point where i needed fighter support. I was very reticent about buying an Eidolon carrier. Not that it is a bad ship, but it got maintenance drones as its system, and i wanted to avoid using those as much as i could, as not to be tempted to cheese my way through this campaign. Resisting the urge to turn it into a sabot/harpoon monstrosity, i did outfit my Eidolon as a long range fire-support. I was very lucky to get my hand on the Gandiva large missile launcher, which is basically a reaper LRM. For some reason, i struggled to find Idoneusian (is that the word?) weapons during my game. Most of the time, i was forced to salvage them from the wreckage of the Exiles fleets i preyed upon.

To get back on the Eidolon, it makes for a decent carrier and also a very good missile boat. Sadly, it can't do both at the same time, or at least not very well. It's OP starved, and while it can mount both missiles and fighters, it doesn't leaves much place for hullmods, and the Eidolon really wants hullmods. Building that ships require compromise. Do i really want those expensive bombers? Or should i get ECCM package instead? I ended up favoring fighters over missiles on my Eidolons. One reason is because ICE do have some pretty good fighters, the other reason is as said earlier in this post, as a missile boat, the Eidolon tends to hoard all the fleet maintenance drones to resupply its missiles, something i wanted to avoid. Just like the Shiekwraith, it got shallow phase, making it impossible for the enemy to quickly burst it down. Unfortunately, it also applies when it's on the enemy's side which can be a headache. Unlike the Shiekwraith however, you can't really ignore an Eidolon loaded with missiles.


I also got myself a pair of Kelpie cruisers. A normal version, and the (S) version. The Kelpie(S), just like the Pentagram(S), is a "blade" ship that fight in melee. Unlike the Pentagram however, this cruiser is extremely powerful in the hands of the player. The tractor beam can easily disrupt enemy formations, bringing the hapless target to the Kelpie's maw, letting the fission blades grinding it to dust. Those blades bites hard, hard enough that even the biggest capital ships learn to fear the Kelpie(S). Thanks to its Enthropic Inversion Matrix, the damage it receives from a struggling prey turns into armor regeneration. That system is also what prevent the Kelpie from being disabled by the target's death explosion.

The AI is extremely bad at using it, but as flagship it's arguably overpowered. Even more so when you consider that it only cost 15 DP to deploy. Nerfing the beast combat abilities would be a shame, that's what makes it fun to use. On the other hand, a more severe logistic cost could be a good first step to bring the ship to a more balanced level.

Compared to the (S) variant, the bladeless Kelpie is much less impressive, yet noticeably more expensive to field. Its fission blades have been replaced with 12 small energy hardpoints, and the tractor beam by a medium universal turret. It's... Very awkward to use. Vanilla and ICE lacks the small energy weapons to turns the Kelpie into something worth fielding. Maybe some other mods do, and with some safety override build it could work. Probably not, at least not for the AI. Because of its shallow phase (again) and the EIM system, the Kelpie is extremely AI unfriendly. I did try something easy like a tactical laser boat, but alas, without much success. The only way i managed to make it work was as a flagship, with a very unsubtle loadout.

Spoiler

0.7.2 Aurora flashback
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It's as stupid as it looks, but 14.000 energy alpha strike plus 4000 HE will still get results in battle. However, it's not because it works with some weird cheesy build means it's a good overall ship. There's just too many issues. I feel the Kelpie needs an entire rework to justify its existence.


Much more reliable than those two, the Voidreaver is the elite Idoneus cruiser. At 35 DP, it's in the same weight category as the other "super" cruisers like the Doom. It's equipped with a unique Ether Warp cloak that spawn weak EMP arcs when phased. Not strong enough to shake off frigates but good enough to deal with missiles and unshielded fighters. On top of it, the Graviton Deflector hullmod can deflect incoming projectiles, making it extremely potent in a slugging match as long as it stays at low flux.

On top of that, the Voidreaver is quite overgunned. It's hard to miss the huge and powerful built-in Hypermass driver, although i used it less and less as i played the campaign. Extremely high-flux cost, forced overload on firing, and knockback effect on the target, usually accidentally saving it from a follow up. I wasn't very fan of the Hypermass driver. It works, but feels very clunky to use.
Just like the Eidolon, the Void feels constantly starved for OPs. It wants many guns, many hullmods and many vents points but lacks the OPs for everything. It's the kind of ship that works extremely well when all goes according to plan, but rapidly fall apart when caught in a tricky situation. Fortunately for me, i eventually found a foolproof safety net for my Voidreavers, or any other ships in my fleet for that matter.


The Apocrypha command ship is that safety net. Stat wise, it's a very unimpressive ship. Slow, fragile, limited armament, only 3 flight decks, as expensive as a Paragon... Its one big advantage over other ships (beyond the overpowered maintenance drones that is) is its Recall Teleporter hullmod. This hullmod will teleport any allied ship to its destination at the condition that it brings the targeted ship closer to the Apocrypha. Demonstration :

Spoiler
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Ship being stranded on the edge of the map, surrounding by enemies? Recall teleport. Reinforcements can't cross the map fast enough to reach the front line? Recall teleport. Apocrypha being harassed by enemy frigates? Recall teleport a combat ship to deal with those. There are quite a few tricks possible with this system. It also works with the player flagship, although you must engage auto-pilot to "allow" the teleportation to happen. That's why the Apocrypha is extremely powerful, it can reliably save allies wherever they are in an instant. This is also the main reason an opposing Apocrypha is a priority target in battle, as it will deny any coup de grĂ¢ce you were about to deal to an enemy target.

But that's not all! Built-in in the ship is the Tactical Ansible hullmod, the predecessor to Operation Center. Unlike its vanilla counterpart, the tactical ansible doesn't require the player to directly helm the ship for it to work. The regenerating command points make sure you can exploit the Recall Teleporter whenever you need it.

Speaking of the tactical ansible, i feel it's too strong. As a built-in hullmod in the Apocrypha, it's absolutely fine. Unfortunately, it's modular, and can easily be strapped on a Dram chilling on the bottom of the map with the Seraphs and still bring the command point regen bonus. I think it shouldn't be a modulable hullmod, only the Apocrypha should have it.


And finally, we got the faction's big boy, the Abraxas battlecruiser. Just like the Apocrypha, it doesn't look very impressive at first glance. Not very fast, low armor, even lower hull, and it's the only non-phase Idoneus ships with the Seraph. On the other hand, it does have pretty good firepower with its converging turrets, and very good flux stats to back those guns. But beyond that, the Abraxas got two main strengths that makes the difference.
First : its ship system, heavy flash jaunt. Yes, like the Nightseer's, although with a cooldown between uses. It can do the same "fire while jaunting" trick as its smaller cousin, but it's harder to pull of due to its limited mobility. Not like it needs it though, the Abraxas can jaunt to the target flank and unload its firepower in all impunity, with enough firepower to rip through shield and armor. When retribution is coming from the enemy or flux is too high, it can reset the jaunt to its original position. In practical terms, it can reach a target much farther than what should normally be possible. No ship is safe from an Abraxas even when it appears out of range. The jaunt is also an extremely good tool to juke dangerous projectiles like torpedoes.

On top of its incredible mobility, the second Abraxas strength is its Nova reactor. It's a hullmod with the ability to auto-repair the ship's armor, except for the core. Combined with the appropriate combat skills, hullmods and maintenance drones support, an Abraxas can be one of the hardest thing to destroy in the entire sector. It still fears very high HE damage like reapers, but will shrug off anything else like it's nothing. Both of those advantages allows for the battlecruiser to jaunt into the most dangerous situation and get out relatively unscathed. And in the eventually it get surrounded, i still got an Apocrypha to save its butt.

By the way, extending shield is incompatible with the Abraxas. There's no hullmod conflict message, it just refuse to install itself. It's fair that this hullmod is incompatible on this ship, but it should be signaled in one way or another.


Lastly, by the end of this campaign, i managed the capture the Exiles colony ship, the Shalom. I admit i half-expected capturing that ship would give me a mobile colony at disposition just like the Exiles. But eh, i guess it would require some advanced scripting wizardry to pull off. That would still be a cool feature, as the current Shalom doesn't do a whole lot.


Beyond the ships, i have a few observations to make regarding the ICE hullmods. For exemple : Munition AutoFac works... Very randomly? I can't get it to work reliably in the simulator, sometimes it does reload things, sometimes it does partially, sometimes it doesn't. Either i'm missing something about this hullmod or it's bugged.

Reverberation Dampener is a no brainer. It's a cheap way to reduce HE damage, the biggest threat to Idoneus ships. As a built-in hullmod on blade ships it makes sense, but as a modular hullmod it's just too good.

Shunt coating is very niche. Given Citadel ships never have enough OPs for everything they want, i'm not sure i would ever spend 12 OPs on something so unreliable. Perhaps this one could get a buff.

Tactical Ansible, as i already said it, don't think should be modular. Mounting it on some cheap frigate, letting it sleep on the edge of the map and still getting the bonus is just too easy.

Phase bypass. Decent hullmod for forcing a missile boat to stay out of phase so it can keep firing all the time. It's currently good thanks to maintenance drones resupplying missiles. With nerfed drones however... I'm not sure.


---


Finally, the end of this post ! So, my opinion on this mod... Well, a originally made by Sundog is bound to be memorable. It's fun, it's pretty, it's original, it just works, i like it. However there are a few things that i think really needs adjustments. Some ships, some hullmods and the maintenance drones, especially the maintenance drones.

While i did enjoy this campaign, i'm not sure i would keep the mod activated for future playthrough. It's good, but needs polishing in my opinion. Quality-wise, it's not quite up there with the other "big faction mods". At least, not yet. I really hope this mod will keep being updated and improved in the future. It's just too unique and cool to be left abandoned. For those that are curious but skeptical, i think it definitely deserves a try.

Oh, and one last thing. Shouldn't this thread moved to the mods section of the forum? It's largely functional enough to deserve a place there.

3
General Discussion / Re: 11th Starsector Fleet Building Tournament
« on: November 27, 2020, 03:00:18 AM »
Provided without context :

Spoiler
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Modding / Re: giving art to modders
« on: November 27, 2020, 02:58:23 AM »
That's some nice stuff. If you want, you can post them in the Spiral Arms thread, this is the place people dump their art for everyone else to use. Alternatively, the Starsector Unoffical Discord have the spriter_club where modders create and share their art, and it's more active than the forum.


Spiral arms :

https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1131.0


Discord thread :

https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=11488.0

5
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] ArmaA Robotics 1.1.4
« on: November 18, 2020, 06:04:48 AM »
I can't answer for Kannon, but from my experience it's extremely easy to get wrecked by an unexpected missile or hellbore round. Keeping tracks of everything during small skirmishes is easy enough, but in a bigger battle when there's more missiles than usual, the slightest mistake usually mean an instant death. It doesn't help that i can't get my carrier to reliably repair me when i need it, sometimes the repair drone doesn't want to appears, even if the carrier is relatively far away from an enemy.


Anyway, i played a short campaign with the ArmaA Nexerelin start. The Einhander is pretty nice to fly, although i have to say it feels much more like a toy than an actual combat ship. While it's fairly mobile and not that fragile, it really lacks firepower. It works more like a heavy fighter than a frigate, very good against other fighters and other frigates, and occasional lightly armored destroyers. But that's it, it's relatively helpless against something with a modicum of armor. Yes, the Glaive is a thing specifically made for that, but the slow rate of fire and limited ammo merely makes it an "okay" weapon. An extremely good weapon for a fighter, but not really for a frigate, and in a campaign, i rapidly needed something that could deal some real damage.

This is where my biggest "issue" lies, and why i consider the Einhander a toy. It's nice to fly, it can fight, but it'll become obsolete the moment you have access to a halfway decent frigate. Mind you, i'm not asking for a buff, the Einhander being just a playable fighter is fine. But given its is the poster boy and "main" content of the mod, it allows for only very little replayability. Of course, it's a fairly young mod, with limited content yet, but in it's current stat, i wouldn't keep it in my folder now that the novelty factor is fading.

Of course, there's more to the Einhander. In my campaign, i got a few carriers loaded with Cataphracts to deal with the bigger targets. The Kouto, while tanky, wasn't very helpful when it came to do the actual killing. I much preferred the bomber equivalent for a cataphract, the Ilorin, which is also fairly tanky in its own right. As for the Valken, i suspect they would combo wonderfully with EMP fighters, alas i couldn't find any in my campaign, so they were pretty much cannon fodder. I couldn't get my hands on a Bihander, but i still tested it in the mission and, well, one or two of those would have made my early game much easier.

As for the Einhander playstyle, i have personally been using it in melee combat. Yes, actual melee. Being a fighter, it can stand over a target, where there's usually no shield coverage, i used the Glaive at point blank range to disable engines, and finished my target with the overcharged Juno. Very good to deal with high-tech frigates like Remnants that usually lacks armor but compensate with a strong shield. Of course, hovering over a target also comes with risks, like a point blank AM blaster shot to the face. Which is why is outfitted the Pila drone with a ion cannon to declaw my targets before i can directly engage.


I won't lie that the whole playable fighter thing left a bit perplexed. You went through many hoops to make it work, and it does, it's quite impressive. My main question is : Why? Why is it a fighter and not a normal ship? Am i missing something important? I personally can't find an issue with the way things are currently working. Well, maybe the whole carrier reloading/repairing thing being a tad clunky. Also some potential conflict with other mods scripts, nobody enjoy playing with the spectre of a sudden crash hanging above them.

But overall, it works. I would be interested in seeing more content from this mod. A Tri-tachyon equivalent to the Einhander, some hacked together Luddic Cataphract... There's many possibilities for expanding the mod.

However.

The whole playable fighter shitck might make the whole ordeal trickier than for a standard mod. Yes, i would eventually love to fly a pilotable mech with a custom loadout. A chaingun in your right hand? Sure. A phase lance (phase blade?) in your left? Awesome. Hammers in the shoulder pods? Of course i'd like that (just throwing exemples here). The problem is : it wouldn't work really well for a playable fighter. Because hovering over a target with custom guns, or even powerful built-ins is bound to be a balance headache. The player could mercilessly exploit it, like i did, or worse, being on the receiving end of it. That issue can be countered by only allowing relatively weak weapons on a playable cataphract, similar to the Einhander, but then it would be also be cursed with the "toy syndrome", limiting its usefulness.


I don't know what's your roadmap for the future of the mod, so maybe all my rambling is irrelevant. Still, if you're planning to add new content, i'd be curious to see you attempt something more "normal" like a non fighter mech, a bit like the Tahlan Regalias. From there, you can see whether or not it works, and if it's worth expanding upon. So yeah, i'll keep an eye open on your future updates.

6
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« on: November 15, 2020, 08:38:57 AM »
Confinement being a thing these days, i do have plenty of time for playing Starsector. I thought it was the right moment to invest some time in trying the "new" version of Interstellar Imperium.

It's a pretty daunting mod now, there's a lot of content to try, even more so when considering the hullmods packages that pretty much turn the imperial fleet into three, or even four factions instead of one. It's easy to feel overwhelmed facing all the possibilities the mod offers. Feeling a bit rusty with my Starsector knowledge, i decided to stick to something i knew about II : good old death ball. Although instead of going with the classic "Great Wall of Dictators" fleet, i was in the mood for some carrier action. Let's see how it went.



I choose the Maximus as my starter ship. I never really gave it a proper chance before the great rework, so it was the occasion to try something a bit different. After fiddling for a bit, trying to understand how the damn thing worked, i settled for this build :

Spoiler
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I would be outnumbered by a bunch of rustbuckets for the duration of early game, being able to fight alone was the most important criteria. The armor package allowed me to get close to the target, face tank whatever it could threw at me while i charged the Celerity Drive, then slip around its shield to deliver damage. With some early game combat skills like Impact Mitigation and Advanced Countermeasures, the Maximus can be really difficult to take down. I ignored kinetic weapons since i found the Patella Breaker to be a good enough shield breaker against low-tech omni-shields.

It worked very well for the first few skirmishes. As my fleet grew, and my opponents also grew better armed. I switched for a targeting build with light phases lances in a typical glass cannon fashion. No need to tank hits when you have teammates to do it for you.

(By the way, i had no access to elite package for quite a while during this campaign, which explain why i won't write about it much in this post.)

As for the rest of my fleet, the RNG didn't blessed me with much variety for this early game period. I did found a Decurion and an Invictus, only one of each, both performed reasonably well against low-level pirates. Nothing groundbreaking with the builds either, a reasonable mix of low-flux kinetic and HE with the armor package. I was more concerned about keeping them alive than killing the enemy the standard way. Because every time i visited Byzantium, Minerva insisted that i would kill my enemies with missiles, and missiles only.

Spoiler
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Those plump little fellas were the only things on sale for an unexpectedly long amount of time, and they weren't exactly what i was looking for. But as they said, lemon, lemonade, etc. I had to make do with a bunch of Basileus. During skirmishes, keeping them alive proved tricky, so as shown in the picture above, i went for the "You can't kill me if i kill you first" doctrine. With a little fiddling with the weapons groups to ensure they have as little trigger discipline as possible, i managed to turn those chubby, harmless-looking guys into proper killing machines. Few things are as terrifying during early game as something that only cost 5 FP turn an Enforcer into scrap metal in less than 5 seconds.

So yeah, i was pretty satisfied with the Basileus.


I rapidly transitioned to destroyers, the first addition to my fleet was the Princeps battlecarrier. I wanted to play a carrier fleet after all! I was... Not very impressed. I mean, it's a much better combattant than the Condor, Gemini or Drover, but it's also noticeably more expensive to field. Very early on, it's not a bad idea to outfit the Princeps as a high impact missile boat like i did with the Basileus. But i rapidly got to a point where i wasn't too keen on seeing my precious and vulnerable carrier get too close to the front line. I did lost many of those during this campaign.

Throughout the game, all my Princeps were eventually fitted with LRMs and long range interceptors. Even then, i deemed their performance only acceptable but wouldn't go out of my way to salvage them if they got disabled in battle. I feel early game is the best moment for the Princeps to shine, it's sufficiently well armed to brawl with low-tier frigates, and perform as a decent fighter platform. Later on though, they felt dangerously vulnerable, and i eventually found something better to replace them with.

After a time, i changed my aging Maximus for something a bit bigger. I got myself an Interrex, bypassing the imperial packages, i outfitted it with a safety override build.

Spoiler
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While not an exceptional SO ship, this did a very acceptable job at intercepting key targets, breaking their shields, shutting down their engines, and killing them. I tried to experiment a bit with Pulsar weaponry on it, but remained unconvinced. When i later upgraded to a bigger ship, my Interrex got refitted with less flamboyant loadout as to survive better. It never disappointed, although it didn't really impressed me either.


From that point, i felt i fooled around enough for early game and decided to pick proper carriers. The Imperials don't have many dedicated carriers, the Ardea i bought isn't as good as the Heron when it comes to fielding fighters. It is however a pretty awesome battlecarrier that can hold its own on the frontline. My Ardea flagship was outfitted with a quad HVD, with a pair of Vicarius to do the actual killing. The AI versions that would follow me into battle had a more reasonable mix of HVD/Mauler/Ballista, also with Vicarius.

Speaking of the Vicarius, i wasn't really convinced at first by the heavy fighter. Low engagement range, extremely expensive, it was ill-fitting on my support Princeps. On the front-line Ardea however, it's low range was much less of an issue, and i could fit both wings without scarifying too much firepower from the actual ship. The Vic is over-gunned, and can overpower even cruisers with support from my carriers. Capital ships however, were something i struggled against, i needed some serious armor cracker if i wanted to keep doing my bounty hunting gig.

I traded my Ardea flagship for an Adamas, because of course i would try the Imperial's shiniest toy for this campaign, carrier fleet or not. It's a really fun ship, hit like a truck too, just what i needed.

Nothing outlandish when it comes to the builds. I fiddled a bit with Elite package, but found it too risky given my fleet doctrine. Targeting package fitted neatly though, i could blast apart my targets from a safe distance, either with the Light Spear or HVDs. Still, being a phase ship that requires to regularly face a target without blinking, i took quite a few hits, even at long range. I often finished my battles with a completely mangled flagship. A good enough outcome when i fought a few cruisers and maybe one or two battleships, but the hostile fleets i encountered fielded more and more ships. It was clear this was going to devolve into an endurance battle very soon, a kind of battle the Adamas is uncomfortable with.


Which is why i decided to pick the king of endurance battles, or rather, the queen. The Matriarch is a strange ship to build and to play. Huge, lumbering, with a weird weapon layout, it doesn't like direct action, yet can (and should) be on the frontline. Unlike the Astral that constantly require input from the player, the Matriarch is content just being around on autopilot, with occasional orders being given. And that's how i used it.

But before fielding the beast, i needed a proper loadout to take on capital ships.

Spoiler
[close]

Weapon-wise, it's a fairly mindless build, the kind of guns you keep on autofire and forget about it. As for the bombers, i went for Piranhas, which might raise some eyebrows given how unreliable Piranhas are. Thanks to the Command Center system that can buff fighter mobility, this does help my bombers to reach their target more rapidly. With a little help from Broadswords to distract point defense, and from Thunders to make sure those engines are flamed-out, this does greatly improve the reliability of my Piranhas. And when they hit, they hit hard, occasionaly disabling an enemy capital ship in a single bombing run.

I did try a loadout with Imperial Inferna bombers too. While it technically worked, i judged the damage output insufficient when it comes to capital ship killing. The Inferna is a weird one. As its description suggest, it works better in larger number. Unfortunately the Imperials are pretty limited in fighter bays until they can field a Matriarch, so they didn't felt very impactful during early and mid game. Later on, the Inferna's efficiency against relatively unarmored ships was no longer relevant against the bigger targets i faced. I mean, they do work, but in comparison to the Piranha, it couldn't compete.

My comparison is probably a bit unfair though. The Piranha is an overspecialized bomber that requires an inordinate amount of baby sitting to get the job done, and only against specific, low mobility targets, while the Inferna is less demanding and a bit more reliable against most opponents, while still being cheap.

To get back on the Matriarch, this loadout worked really well. Railguns could soften the target's shield, Ion beams would shut down weapons and engines, and the bombing run would begin. Come back to rearm, repeat the process against another target. My whole fleet survivability was also directly improved, thanks to the built-in operation center. My Ardeas, while pretty good front-liners, cannot hope to contain the advance of an Onslaught or something equivalent, and sometimes got overwhelmed in an attempt to hold the line. Thanks to OP center, i have unlimited order points that can be liberally used to shape the positioning of my fleet, forcing them to disengage, or take on a specific threat.

Not a flawless tactic mind you, interceptor heavy fleets, or anything with powerful AOE weapons (devastator, mine strike) could completely shut down my offensive capabilities. One reason i avoided ScalarTech fleets and those mine-layer cruisers like the plague. Moreover, my Matriarch was good at killing, but pretty terrible when it came to defend itself. A failed bombing run left me extremely vulnerable to a frontal assault. I also took many torpedoes to the flank because of a daring frigate i couldn't shake off. My Ardeas were too busy fighting the enemy to come to my aid, so i had to get myself a dedicated escort.


The Libritor Siege destroyer isn't what one would immediately think of when it comes to escorting duty. Probably for a good reason. Still, i was determined to get a pair of those to accompany me in battle, for better or worse. In my mind, two Libritors with the ability to push back a target, thanks to the targeting package upgrade, would protect me from an unexpected enemy charge. A pair of Flamen interceptors would serve for point defense duty against fighters. It worked in the sense that two destroyers to protect me is better than no destroyers, but this was not the right ship for the job. On top of that, their Magna Fulmen didn't fired as much as i would have liked, and when they did, they weren't the sharpshooters i hoped for. I rapidly took the decision to mothball those two.

My newest addition for an escort ship was probably not the most judicious one either. I think i got sidetracked with my objective of "protecting the flagship" at this point.

Spoiler
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You bet those missiles are all linked with that tactical laser. This Ixon proved to be a pretty terrible escort that would require my protection rather than the other way around. Still, i now had an incredible fire-support ship at my side, and while it didn't fixed my vulnerability issues, my offense had been further improved.
Combining the HE Apocalypse and Ballistas missiles with the KE versions from its Magnum Salvo system, the Ixon can hit hard and far, and because of my fiddling with weapon groups, fired pretty much non-stop. A brutal glass cannon that i deeply regret not trying sooner. So long as the enemy didn't, or couldn't focus on it, it would unleash a ceaseless barrage of missiles at anything around it.


It did nothing to alleviate the growing collection of scars my Matriarch was accumulating in battle though. I had to stop fooling around and actually try to find a solution to my problems. The escort problem wasn't the only one i had, my Ardeas were getting less and less capable of holding the line against the increasingly bigger ships i encountered. I needed a battleship.

The imperials don't have much choice in that role besides the Caesar battleship, fortunately for me it's a good choice. I wouldn't pilot it, so the AI required a simple yet efficient loadout, i went for a mix of HVD, Sledges and Ballistas. The Caesar would act as the anchor for the rest of the fleet but also as a sort of "concert master". Whatever it focus, everyone else was ordered to follows suit. Sledges and Hypervelocity drivers do not destroy targets as quickly as bombers, but they're reliable, more so than Piranhas at least.  This allowed my fleet to quickly burst down bothersome targets. Thanks to this new development, i decided to change my strategy a little bit.

I bought a second Matriarch with a slightly different loadout, something that would hopefully turn my fleet into an impregnable fortress.

Spoiler
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This Matriarch have a very different function from my flagship. Instead of bursting down targets, it will assist and protect allies. A purely support ship, and probably one of the most powerful i managed to build in all of my Starsector playtime. The mobility buff provided by the Command Center is percentage based, making it extremely powerful on an already fast fighter like the Thunder. Coupled with its massive engagement range, my Thunder squadron could intervene pretty much anywhere on the battlefield in a blink of an eye.

With a few "fighter strike" order, i could intercept and disable any target almost instantly with their ion cannons. Onslaught charging in? No more guns and engines for you. Frigate harassing my flank? Now it's molten slag. Freighter trying to run away? Not any more. Heavy point defense on your ship? Good luck getting a hit on something flying that fast. This build provided the ultimate crowd control for my fleet. Sure, it didn't dealt as much damage as my bomber variant, but every clashes between ships happened on my terms and that's worth more than all the bombers in the sector. If any ship could get the MVP aware for this campaign, it would be this Matriarch.

This did come with an inconvenient though. Two Matriarch, a Caesar, and (ideally) four Ardeas on the field was more deployment points that i could afford. I decided to mothball my older Matriarch, given its obsolescence. I could take control of the new one, but it worked well enough on its own with a few fighter strike orders. So, what flagship should i fly then? The Caesar? I didn't had the proper combat skills to use it to its full potential, and my flagship would require OPcenter so i could remote-control the Matriarch. A lone OPcenter Hound parked on the bottom of the map is what i used for a while, but eventually i reached the end game, and faced an opponent that happened to be tougher than i expected.

Spoiler
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Was this boss that hard in the past? Or is it just me getting rusty? Regardless, Gabriel Mosolov proved to be an unexpected and impassable roadblock for my fleet. Stopping a capital ship, even an extremely strong one, i can do that. Stopping the Zeus, Ares and Nike at the same time is much trickier since the three of them reach my fleet at the same time. The overwhelming alpha strike of the Zeus, the nearly indestructible Ares and the sudden missile barrage of the Nike were too much to handle for my Caesar. Once it is gone, my fleet formation shatter and it's game over. My Matriarch can immobilise one, maybe two by regularly switching target, but there's not much i can do about the third flagship. If only i had a way to prevent them from charging straight in my fleet, maybe i could force this into an endurance battle. That i could win, it's a shame the old Jupiter isn't a thing anym- Oh wait.
 

 My two Libritors were still sleeping in storage somewhere. Now is the occasion to shine gentlemen ! My new flagship role would be simple and very similar to the Matriarch in some way : control the enemy's positioning in battle. Thanks to the Magna Fulmen knockback effect, i could push away an overly daring opponent from my fleet. I did experiment with this tactic on random bounties, which worked pretty well. Let's try that against Mosolov.

Spoiler

Oh.
[close]

It turns out that the Zeus have Advanced Targeting Core, which outrange me. Welp, time to find another solution.

I did try a similar tactic with the Lynx, which can use the shock buster while phased, hopefully protecting me from harm while doing so. Alas, the knockback effect proved insufficient to stop a capital ship, so i had to find another way to win this fight.

While the Lynx isn't an ideal candidate for that kind of scenario, i did find it pretty fun to fly nonetheless. I think it would a very interesting ship during mid-game battles, where the shock buster can break apart an enemy deathball. If i had to play another Imperial campaign, i'd get one of those much earlier. Also, it can do fun stuff like this :

Spoiler
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I wasn't really sure how to tackle on the final IBB bounty. Fighting through conventional ways wasn't working, so i had to think differently, although i was unwilling to change my overall fleet doctrine. I guess i could have assembled a squad of Dictator cruisers, outfitted them with Armor Package and Safety Override, sending them on a suicide mission to burst down the enemy's flagships, leaving the rest of the fleet vulnerable to my carriers. It would have worked, although i felt that method lacked tact and subtlety, so instead i tried something else.

Spoiler

Tact and Subtlety
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You never know what expect in life, so it's never a bad idea to have a few planetkillers within arm's reach. I did try to use the Olympus a few time beforehand , with pretty terrible results. The Titan is maddeningly unreliable, exploding too early, or too late. Even with a heavy interceptor escort, it rarely reached a target, and when it did, it usually was the wrong one. Nailing a titan shot, no matter satisfying as it can be, tends to be a waste of effort, a battleship would have done the same, although not as quickly.

Except against this target. Trying to burst down the three flagships from afar was a doomed endeavor, even four Titans fired simultaneously would get intercepted before detonating. So i had to play dirty. I deployed a few "dummy" ships at the start of battle, hastily built ships without officers, a bait to attract the enemy's flagship closer to my deployment zone.  Of course, there would be causalities, but that was a sacrifice i was willing to make. Once the target reached the "bottom" of the battlefield, i would order a general retreat, freeing precious deployment points to unleash my Olympus.

At such close range, protected by the debris of the ships that couldn't retreat in time, the enemy had no hope of stopping the Titan. First explosion, the Nike explode. Second Olympus deployed, second Titan fired, both the Zeus and Ares manage to weather the storm, but not without damage. Third Olympus deployed, third Titan, direct hit on the Zeus that disable it. Fourth Olympus deploys and fire its Titan, the badly damaged Ares don't stand a chance against it. With the three flagships down, i deploy the rest of my ships. The enemy still have many capital ships in store, but nothing like the three monsters i took down. Still a brutal grind, i'm even forced to deploy my Barrus freighters in battle to fight the last few capital ships. Slowly but surely, i whittle down the enemy's fleet to a few retreating crafts.  Victory !


And with that, i concluded this Imperial campaign. I haven't had the chance to try every ships, and certainly not all the build possibilities with the Imperial packages. The Interstellar Imperium mod is a huge mod, i would need to replay it at least thrice to get a good feel of the faction in its entirety. From what i got with only one campaign, it's a really good mod (was anyone expecting something else?), the ships are fun to fly, it looks flashy without being gaudy. It just works.

As for balance, it's really hard to tell, there's so many possible combinations of ships, weapons and hullmods to tell for sure. I don't feel some of the stuff i played felt over the top. Sure, the Matriarch when properly built is incredible, although it's probably more of an issue with Thunder than the ship itself. There's also the weird outlier like the Olympus that is pretty much impossible to perfectly balance due to its weird nature. Overall, it felt balanced, but it would require an inordinate amount of testing to say for sure, so... Good enough i suppose. Would play again.

Also, i tried a little bit the Royco. Not much to say about this one, i guess it's okay.

7
Blog Posts / Re: GIF Roundup
« on: April 11, 2020, 01:56:56 PM »
I really like the black smoke effect on those missiles and that... Lightning smoke launcher thing. It feels like the kind of weapon that shouldn't be possible, and somehow here it is. Encountering it for the first time is gonna be a quite freaky experience.

I also concur with Thaago about those weapons. Yes, they'll technically be difficult to obtain, but once the player get a few of those and a Paragon, they're set for the rest of the game and there's no reason to change. The Seeker solution isn't a bad idea to prevent this, i guess it'll depend on how powerful and practical those weird guns are.

As a Warhammer 40,000 fan i can only say one thing after seeing those gifs
DEMONIC INCURSION DETECTED, CALL THE INQUISITION!!!

Hmm. Perhaps not entirely unwarranted.

Courtesy of emwattnot :

Spoiler

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8
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Hazard Mining Incorporated (Tweaks Ed., 0.2.2g)
« on: April 06, 2020, 02:29:42 AM »
I also forgot to mention something important considering the Junkers. The Rapid Repair system is i think their weakest point gameplay wise. It tends to completely invalidate EMP, flameouts and hullmods that are supposed to protect/repair against malfunctions. It's like a whole part of the game mechanics doesn't apply to them, which is a shame. I think they could become much more interesting with other systems, even simple ones like burn drive (which would help against kiting too). And it's not like they can't afford to add Automated Repair Unit to compensate for the loss of RR either.

The whole Junker fleet concept is fun, but the piloting is very similar from one ship to another because of RR (with a few exceptions), and it can become a bit boring after a while. I personally wish to see something more interesting in that regard.



9
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Hazard Mining Incorporated (Tweaks Ed., 0.2.2g)
« on: April 05, 2020, 02:24:40 PM »
I decided to play a HMI campaign with the beta version from the discord. I wanted to go with an Industry/Leadership focused playthrough, more focused on commanding a fleet than piloting. Because of the vast amount of content added by the mod, i preferred to focus exclusively on the Junker ships. I also disabled the sub-faction like Fang and Brighton because my PC is a also a junker. Anyway, here's how it went.

As i knew beforehand of the dubious quality of Junker ships, i started my campaign with the Nexerelin "small combat fleet" (Cockroach destroyer, Greasy and Shotglass frigates) start instead of going with just lone frigate. A few experiments in the simulator indeed confirmed my original thoughts about my new ships : they are junk. Slow, unshielded, unarmoured, with shoddy flux stats. The absence of proper shield or any defence system made the Junkers unable to fight for prolonged duration, and their lack of mobility left them extremely vulnerable to kiting. Even with their incredible amount of hull point, there was no way my ships would handle a long battle. All of those flaws ensured they would never survive in a fair fight.

Fortunately, Junkers neither need to fight fairly, nor to survive said fight.

There was a wise guy that once said that the best defence is a good offence. Another wise (?) guy also that said that quantity have a quality all its own. With this in mind, i went to build my warfleet. Every single ships were based on the idea of lobbing as many harpoons and sabots as possible, all in the purpose of maximising their alpha strike potential. The enemy can't shoot you if the enemy is dead. That's one way to resolve the survivability issue with Junkers.



Among the first few ships i got was the Shotglass. A frigate barely deserving of being crewed both for safety reasons and actual fighting ability. It's a piece of scrap, but it's a dirt cheap piece of scrap with a missile mount. If somehow you can't find a Kite laying around, the Shotglass will do. There's no magic trick that makes the Shotglass good, but it doesn't need to be "good", it just need to shoot at things sufficiently until they die. A few eliminate order, every weapons set to linked on the same weapon group... This is a good way to ensure your stuff will fire everything they've got before exploding. And when there's a few Shotglasses in the fleet just doing that, things start to die surprisingly fast, both on your side and the enemy's.

Thanks to their affordable price, i could buy a few more frigates before leaving for bounty hunting. The Snail was one of those frigate, and it is probably the most dangerous tool in the HMI roster. Even cheaper to deploy than a Vigilance, and with more missiles, it flies the same way the Shotglass does, recklessly and violently. With its ridiculous armament, it can burst through any frigates and even destroyers that get in range. It still needs to survive long enough to unleash its entire payload, but that was rarely an issue since my faster Shotglasses usually reach the frontline first to distract the enemy.

I also got myself a Streak. It's not as good as a Snail, but the medium missile hardpoint still makes the Streak an interesting addition in a fleet, and its numerous ballistic mounts gives it a very nasty bite if it can get close without exploding. It's also the best Safety Override frigate the Junkers have access to. With its numerous front facing mounts, it can pump out an absurdly high amount of DPS, enough to threaten even the biggest destroyers.

The Greasy works just like the Streak, although it trades firepower for resilience. There's not much to say here, the Greasy isn't as spectacular as the Snail or Streak at killing things, but it does a good enough job. It's not like i had a reason not to deploy as many ships as possible anyway, so every ship i could get my hands on were sent to the frontline.

The Cockroach destroyer was my first flagship. Like all Junker ships, the Cockroach tank hits with its hull, and it got a lot of hull, even more so with Reinforced Bulkhead and Blast Door, which are absolutely mandatory hullmods for Junkers by the way. It also got a very decent amount of missile mounts, and more than enough weapons to turn it into a Safety Override brute. Although at this point SO felt almost superfluous, since my fleet could end fights with missile saturation alone. There was no need to get close to actually fire my guns during early game, just sit at a reasonable distance and fire the missiles when appropriate.


This is with this merry band of clunkers that i went hunting pirates, derelicts and the occasional remnants. Battles were finished very quickly, and casualties, mainly due to hugging exploding ships, could be salvaged safely after the encounter thanks to Reinforced Bulkhead. I went with the obvious route of Industry and Leaderships skills for this campaign, with a few Technology ones. Very rapidly, i amassed a large armada of D mods ridden junks, but it's okay, Junker ships love D mods! Each D mod (up to 4 i think?) does increase the OPs and reduce the repair costs. Combined with the Industry skills, those ships becomes very cheap to maintain and repair. Although each D mods also reduce the quality of the fighters, that's a trade off to keep in mind.

I rarely went back to the core worlds, only to resupply in fuel and crew. Yes, Junkers ships run on meat instead of supplies. Well, not literally, but even with the proper skills and Blast Doors, i kept losing large amounts of crewmen during battle. Hull tanking will do that to you. Supplies however are relatively plentiful in the outer rim, and you barely spend any on repair anyway.


As the campaign went on, i got my hands on more Junker ships. The Creep destroyer is probably the one i salvaged and used the most. It is the logical evolution of the Streak frigate, a fragile glass cannon with a hefty amount of missile mounts. Just like the Streak, the Creep can be built in one of the meanest SO destroyer. Which is exactly what i did. Junkers do struggle to catch faster ships. Using a lot of missiles and Safety Override tends to mitigate that weakness.

Also got a few Convict carriers. Unexpectedly expensive to deploy (as much as a Drover!), very fragile and slow. Because of D mods degrading the efficiency of fighters, it makes for a relatively poor carrier. It compensate by being an extremely heavily armed missile boat. if noticeably starved in OPs. My main issue was getting them to the frontline before the battle ended. To resolve that, i start the battle with an escort order on my carriers, forcing my fleet to deathball around them. Once the main bulk of the enemy's fleet is engaged, i can cancel the escort order and press the red button.

Spoiler

The red button. When you absolutely, positively got to kill everyone in the room, accept no substitutes.
[close]

Junkers love the red button, it's the signal that the leash is off and they can ignore trivial matters such as self preservation. Not a good idea to use from the get go, because you don't want your ships chasing that Hound on the edge of the map. That's also a good reason to start with the escort order to keep a close formation before the big brawl. Of course, after a time during big battles, your ships will inevitably disperse to chase something, but you can still force them to regroup for a moment, then repeat the process.

I also got my hands on the cruisers, the Roach King and Slugworth. Both are very similar, big bricks of armour plates welded together, with more weapons than good sense. The Roach King is the brawler, the one that is on the frontline, hugging that capital ship while choking on its guns flux. The Slugworth is the support, the one that is on the frontline, hugging that capital ship while choking on its guns flux. Except it also got fighters. Both got a lot of missiles, both were loaded in a way they could kill things as fast as possible with a blatant disregard for their own safety. And it worked! Backed by the rest of the fleet, my cruisers could dive deep in the enemy's formation, and kept going until they reached the other end of the battlefield, ignoring torpedoes and bombers trying to deplete their huge, fat sack of hullpoints. My crewmen didn't liked this tactic one bit, but hey, it "works".

A bit later, i acquired a Junk, the HMI combat superfreighter. As its title implies, the Junk is not really a combat ship, but just like a butcher knife isn't a weapon, it will still wreck anything that would think it little more than an armoured Atlas. The Pummerer cannon reach far, is accurate, have a high rate of fire, and hit surprisingly hard. Sadly i couldn't make good use of it as my battles always devolved into messy close combat brawls with constantly blocked line of sight. Regardless, the Junk is still a worthy acquisition, even if only for its gargantuan cargo hold, and you'll haul a lot of crap when playing HMI. Yes, it's slow as sin, but at this point in the campaign, i was daring everyone to try to engage for a fight, so i didn't cared much for its slowness. Oh i almost forgot, the Junk is also armed with an inexplicable build-in swarmer near its bridge., for some reason.


Early, mid and even some late game battle were handled fast enough that the lack of armour and shield weren't too much of an issue. Very late game however, proved to be more complicated. Drowning the enemy under an avalanche of missiles works only if you have the number advantage. This is why i eventually disabled the 30 ships limit in the player fleet, so i could see how far i could push it. Battles often devolved into a bloody meatgrinder, with extreme causalities on both sides, but i just need to win, if i win i can salvage back all i lost and keep going as if nothing happened. Moreover, if you play with Starship legends, Junkers are under-evaluated in term of power level, every fight will be counted as an uphill battle. The bonuses for winning such fight, even with 90% causalities, will often be positives. So yeah, 90% causality rate makes for an acceptable win for Junkers.


I did take a look at the fighters too. I was pretty underwhelmed by the Trapdoors bombers. Dirt cheap and fast but also extremely fragile and barely armed. I don't think they're worth it. Maybe if there were six of those per wing, maybe as a cheap alternative...

The Shell drones are similar, although not as bad. Cheap, and heavily armoured, but also barely armed and frustratingly slow. In theory they could be really annoying when massed, blobbing around a ship. However with their lack of mobility they would spend most of their time trying to chase a target, and anything slower than Shells usually have the firepower to rapidly burst through their heavy armour.

The Bombardment drone is a much more interesting one. It is simply a flying annihilator launcher. Unlike the Kopesh that fires all their missiles in one burst, the Bombardment function like the small annihilator launcher does. Yes that includes its hefty ammo capacity. That makes the Bombardment a very decent support bomber that rarely needs to reload, one that is best to keep at the ship's side as it keep firing volleys after volleys of rockets. It's also extremely cheap to mount, what's not to love? Arguably overpowered when used on a proper battlecarrier, a constant and unlimited stream of Annihilators for such a cheap price feels really damn strong. One thing of note, unlike conventional bombers running out of ammo, the Bombardment drone does not go back to resupply to the carrier when set in engage mode, it needs to be done manually by regrouping them. The Scale fighter also suffers from this issue.

Speaking of which, the Scale function in a nearly identical way as the Bombardment, although its is much more expensive, and its Mbecke rocket launcher is much weaker. But it also have much longer range. That long range makes the Scale a pretty incredibly fire support alternative to the Xyphos. Not really adapted to the fleet i used during this campaign, but something to keep in mind when playing another faction.



After a surprisingly long campaign, i finally met my end during a reckless incursion in Mansa. Overconfident, i charged headlong against three local fleets. I didn't expected those feeder drones to be a hard counter to my missile spam, and those high-tech ships are also pretty good at kiting. Oh well, that was a fun ride at least. I'm very sad that i never found a Fishkill carrier. The Junker Astral was all i could have wished for during this campaign, lot of missiles, lot of bombers, a truckload of hullpoints...  Still, i managed to go pretty far with just a swarm of scrapships. As for the overall balance of the ships, it's... Hardto tell. Junkers does not really function like vanilla, or any other mod faction really, as such the comparison is difficult to make. The brutal missile spam deleting things obscenely fast could make them appear overpowered, but that's also something that vanilla ships can do, although to a lesser extent.

On top of bounty hunting, i also did some exploration, and i have to say i did quite enjoy the content added by HMI, the writing too. Vanilla is pretty barebone in that regard, so it's always a plus. The Domain Resurgent, the Horrors and the Mess also respectively bring some welcome mid, late and very late game challenge.

In the end, i did quite enjoy this campaign. The Junkers do have the chance of offering a playstyle completely different from other mods that i know of. It's also the closest thing we currently have to Warhammer 40.000 Orks in Starsector. HMI feels like a worthy addition to the modlist, although from my perspective it did feels more demanding on performances than other mods, which makes sense given all the stuff it brings in the sector. I personally won't use all the time, but for people that like exploration and plethora of content in the sector, HMI  is a very good bet.


10
In my recent campaign, i decided to include the SOTF mod. While i already knew of the bits and interesting parts the mod adds, it really require a full campaign to properly appreciate it. So, in this post i'll take about the tactical expansion provided by the new objectives types.

Long story short, i now consider Secrets of the Frontier to be part of my must have mods. The ones with a permanently checked box in the mod manager window.

Now, to understand why i think so, we have to look into vanilla first. The current objectives types in Starsector are the sensor jammer, the nav buoy and the comm relay. Sadly, both sensor jammer and nav buoy can be completely ignored if you have the proper skills and one or two ships with ECM package and Nav Relay. They tend to have no, or almost no impact whatsoever on the battle. Comm relay is more useful, as it increase the command point generation. Alas, asides of some Operation Center shenanigans, CPs aren't that useful either. Basically, a whole part of the base game doesn't even really work, and as a result, it's no fun.

The two new objectives added by the mod are much more interesting, and there are good reasons to interact with those. The defence emplacement adds either a turret, a launch bay or a mine layer that can be captured to fight by your side. Turrets do have targeting supercomputer, so they can assist from pretty far away. Getting a Gauss turret with increased range to back you up can be pretty useful up to mid-game if you can order your fleet around it. Same for the launch bay and mine layer. They unfortunately do not scale very well into late game though. Once i had capital ships, i usually ignored the points and steamrolled over those the enemy captured.

Fun fact, the defensive emplacements are not static like space stations, they can be bumped and moved around! So far i haven't tried tugging around a turret for anything else than fun, but it's possible. Unfortunately, it's also possible to "lose" it by accidentally pushing it too far from its original point.

The second combat objective, and the most useful, is the Hyperwave Transmitter. Once captured, it will call in reinforcement from either derelicts or remnants. Capturing several Hyperwave Transmitter will increase the number of ships coming to your aid.

In my campaign, i played a lot with those, but not too much that it became a "must capture at all cost". In my post in the Legacy of Arkgneisis thread , i wrote about how i took on a pirate fleet much bigger than mine, and managed to sink their flagship by capturing the appropriate objectives.

This didn't happened in just one battle. More often than not, Ludd forgive me, my battles were fought side by side with derelicts and remnants. The Hyperwave Transmitter isn't guarded? Capture it! The enemy fleet is sitting on it? Let's ignore it for now. An allied AI craft is engaging the enemy's flagship, do i help it? Or do i sacrifice it to give me time to kill that isolated carrier over there? That derelict is trying to engage an Onslaught upfront, do i get behind it and advance while using its hull as a cover?

On the other hand, there were some occasions where my fleet was on the receiving end of a constant stream of flying toasters, charging me without regard for their safety, while i'm busy trying to handle the rest of the fleet.

Paradoxically, by "improving" the other combat objectives, the vanilla Comm Relay that increase CP generation became more attractive as well. Gotta need those CPs to capture and re-capture those objectives!

To summarise, it was fun, i enjoyed myself. I think SOTF is very important to Starsector in the same way that Combat Chatter, Nexerelin or Console command adds to the game. Those mods fills a hole in the base game, they bring something that Starsector should, but do not (yet?) have. In this case, interactive and interesting combat objectives. Still, SOTF is a pre-release, work in progress and all that, and it shows. I feel it could be much more. I have said earlier than Defensive emplacements tends to fall off later in the game, Hyperwave Transmitter too, although to a lesser extent. So it might all require some tweaking to make it work from the beginning to the end.

Here's some of the things i would like to see eventually :

- Reworked vanilla objectives. Maybe Alex will do it in the next release, maybe not. In the meantime, they don't really work all that well, and SOTF could change that.
- Skills affecting the new objectives. After all, why not? Plus it could be a way to make them scale better during late game too.
- Objectives that scale depending on the overall fleet point from both fleet? That way, the effects of the objectives can be directly tweaked depending on the number of ships, as to stay relevant for late game, but not too strong for early game.
- More objectives obviously! A large shield generator to cover a wide area, an automated supply depot to slow down the peak performance/CR degradation, pilum spawn from the nearby's planet defensive platforms... There are many possibilities to spice things up.

Yeah, i'm really liking this mod, i'm looking forward for what's next.


11
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Legacy of Arkgneisis 1.7.0 [2/27/20]
« on: March 20, 2020, 09:21:46 AM »
I was curious what those cool blue ships could do, so i went for an ARS campaign and see for myself. My first attempt went pretty bad, the large fleet size start with Nexerelin put me in charge of a King cruiser and a few escort frigates. The king isn't a very good starter ship, and from my experience with this campaign, not a very good ship at all. I didn't knew what to expect from ARS ships, but i got unceremoniously trounced right off the bat.

Let's start again, from the beginning this time.

Nexerelin start with a single ship, a Reid this time. Now things went muuuuch better. The Reid is a fast skirmisher very similar to the Lasher. Its system "Electromagnetic Overload" give a speed boost as well as spawning some nearby EMP electric arcs, targeting missiles, fighters and other ships. A very powerful system coupled with a strong frigate make the Reid an ideal starter for this campaign.

And just like the Lasher, Safety Override turn it into a little devil of death and destruction. It doesn't quite have the damage potential of the Lasher, but EO (Electromagnetic Overload) adds much needed EMP and mobility to compensate for that. For a very long while, i kept the Reid as my flagship, it was perfect to hunt down other frigates and even some destroyers. One thing i liked to do with the Reid : ramming opponents. Not much for damage, but to isolate them from the rest of the fleet. Jump in, machines guns blazing to force the target to lower its shield, Electro Overload disabling its engine, it can then be pushed away from its allies to be safely finished.

It's strong, very strong, but at the same time, with nearly the same cost a Tempest, i expect something pretty damn good. For a good part of early game, my fleet was mainly build around a pack of Reid, roaming around the battlefield, hunting for anything left alone.

To that pack of predator was added a few Welsh class frigates. Their medium hybrid and built-in siege cannons made them a good choice for long-range fire support. It's not like they could do anything else, the Walsh (and pretty much any other ARS ship for that matter) is made of paper. Weak hull, weak armor, weak shield, weak flux stats, an ARS ship caught with its pants down is a dead ARS ship. And at 130 speed, it isn't even that fast either. The Walsh's system Omni Loader drastically increase its firepower, but also build hard-flux over time, and with its tiny flux capacity... Yeah, the Walsh is as safe to fly as a Talon, and my Walshes died in drove despite their long range loadouts.

My early game fleet also included a few Foxes frigates. Tiny, cheap, harmless, fragile (more so than a Kite!), the Fox was not very... Useful? With EO, it could increase its speed sufficiently to run away from nearly anything, but that's all. A slight frown of an enemy ship could instantly destroy it, and its reduced weapon package limited its use. For a wingman, the kite is cheaper and more useful thanks to its pair of missile mounts. Still, i managed to somewhat find a use for the Fox a bit later on in my campaign. I'm also playing the  Secrets of the Frontier mod that add new combat objectives to capture during battle (it's also a pretty good mod, you should try it), this is where the Fox can shine. At only 3 DP, the Fox is an ideal candidate to quickly capture those new useful strategic points, i would then order then to sit on the edges of the map, ready to re-capture the objective if needed.

With my Reid pack doing a good job for early bounty hunting, i earned enough money to afford a few destroyers. My first one was a Thatcher, it didn't last long. The Thatcher is a light-destroyer, cheap, exceedingly fragile. On its own, even frigates will rip it apart, so don't even think about sending it against a Hammerhead. In theory, its Omni Loader give it decent firepower, in practice, it will overload itself in no time because of its inadequate flux stats. Okay, alright, i need something else.

My next destroyer addition was the Victoria. More expensive to field, but better in nearly every aspects compared to the Thatcher. Sadly, it share the same fragility common to most ARS ship, that made the Victoria a recurring causality during engagements. At least, it doesn't choke on its own flux so i got that going for me. The Victoria feels like an upsized Walsh, and as such feels more at home being a long range fire-support. Its weapon package is not very impressive, but its Structural Analyzer, identical to the Afflictor Entropy Amplifier, allow the rest of the fleet to deal 50% more damage, cementing further its status of support ship. Still, the Structural Analyser require the Victoria to get dangerously close to its target, and an ARS ship that gets into weapon range of the enemy rarely live long enough to tell the tale.

This is when i decided to get myself a bunch of Sherman frigates to keep my destroyers in one piece. Long story short, the Sherman is a blue Centurion and perform identically. It tanks hits with Damper Field and annoy the enemy by refusing to die. There's not much more to say about it, its doing its job.

At this point, i was entering mid-game and the pirates i was encountering started to field big guys. My Reids were still doing the heavy lifting, but their small mounts started to struggle against armoured destroyers and cruisers. Proper amount of dakka was required, and the Burke class destroyer eyed me with its large turret mount. I expected an ARS Sunder, i got a Mudskipper MK.III.

Spoiler
[close]

Alright, i'm exaggerating a bit, but only a little bit. Granted, the Burke is a cheaper weapon platform than the Sunder, and its built-in Gravimetric Targeting Mast increase range by 40% compared to 20% for destroyers with ITU, and it got actually pretty good armor for an ARS ship. But it is slow, and its pitiful flux stats ensure it will overload at the slightest nudge on its shield. My Shermans were trying really hard to protect it, but slow as it is, it couldn't keep up with the rest of my fleet. ARS being a kitting faction, not being able to keep up with the rest of the pack is a death sentence. Still, i sorta managed to make the Burke work, armed with a Gauss cannon and a Converted Hangar, the Burke could sit sufficiently far from the frontline and do its work. Still, many Burkes were harmed in the making of this campaign.

One thing i did to help increase the survival rate of my Burke and the rest of the fleet was the addition of an Edith AWACS frigate. The sole purpose of the Edith is to boost the range of the fleet with its AWACS system, any ships in range can now shoot farther, and an ARS ship with a range advantage is one that survive. My Edith was outfitted with reinforced bulkhead, heavy armor, blastdoors... Anything to make it survive the engagement. Weapons? Nah, here's your AWACS thing, that's the only gun i'll allow you to have, and stay away from the frontline. There's no reason not to have at least one Edith, a fleet without one of those will fight on the same terms as the enemy, and the ARS can't do that. The built-in ECM Package and Nav Relay? Cool bonus too. It is a very expensive frigate to field though, 10 DP, as much as a Hammerhead, but the power multiplier is vastly greater than just one more destroyer in my opinion. I don't know by how much the AWACS does boost range though, is it a flat range bonus? Or a percentage?

One thing i was lacking so far was a proper carrier. The illusive Caswell was still out of stock, so i went for a Hawke drone carrier, a cruiser. I wasn't overly impressed by the Hawke, it did lack the firepower i desperately needed and its built-in drones weren't all that impressive either, although i haven't tested it for very long, so perhaps i missed something. Still, for 15 DP, i can't complain much, the Hawke is dirt cheap, surprisingly mobile, and its stats, while still inferiors to vanilla ships had to offer, weren't that inferiors. I mean, that thing, as unremarkable as it is, somehow managed to survive the entire campaign without exploding and i'm not sure why. Maybe it got an experimental stealth field that hide from both its enemies and its commander? Go figure. Still, the quest for more dakka continue.

Not much later, i finally got my hands on a Caswell carrier. I already had an idea of what it could do, and i was pretty happy to find one. The Caswell by itself is a fairly unremarkable destroyer sized carrier. What makes it interesting? Its mine launcher. Just like the Doom can spawn mines, the Caswell can deploy Flak mines on the battlefield. The flak mines aren't as powerful, but their large radius still make them a threat to anything with stripped armour. With my Reid, i loved to ram my enemy and push them into mines. A very good support addition to my fleet, one that i carefully guarded with Shermans as it appeared to be quite a rare ship in this campaign. I had hoped to find some much needed bombers to got with it, alas, there's no such a thing in the ARS roster. The Earl strike fighter somewhat fits the bill, but it wasn't even close to what i needed to breach heavy armour.

At this point i pushed my luck a bit too far, and committed the risky endeavour of engaging a pirate bounty with a capital ship. The enemy flagship was a Renegade battlecruiser from SWP. Not that much of a threat by itself, but given my cruel lack of firepower, engaging that thing was a reckless move. After a long and gruesome battle, i managed to bring the beast down and retreat the rest of my CR starved fleet. Assassinating the enemy's flagship then retreating became a recurring thing in my mid-game campaign, since i had no way of taking on several heavily armoured vessels. In the case of the Renegade, i was lucky to have a few Hyperwave Transmitter objectives on the battlefield thanks to Secrets of the Frontier. Hyperwave Transmitter, when captured, can call in allied derelicts or remnant ships to help. A derelict craft isn't much, but when everything is suffering from low CR malfunctions, a triple chaingun Berseker suddenly become much more terrifying. That battlecruiser, EMP'd by my Reids, didn't saw it coming.

After this long and exhausting battle, i Hyperwarp jumped straight into an Hegemony invasion fleet. Oops.

Alright, back to (almost) scratch.

Fortunately for me, the RNG blessed me with plenty good ships. One of the those is the Osmond. An expensive, but powerful heavy destroyer, one with a large turret, i needed that. The Osmond is not only a pretty decent frontliner, it's also a formidable support ship. What really distinguish the Osmond is that it's also a minelayer, it can deploy EMP mines to spread chaos. Because the RNG was very generous this time around, i got several Osmonds available, meaning a lot of mines, meaning a lot of chaos.

Spoiler

No engine is safe.
[close]

Sadly, it also mean a lot of friendly fire, especially for my Reids that were operating behind the enemy. Still, with the Osmond, my campaign strategy for ARS started to form. I'm going to make a deathball. A compact formation of destroyers shielding my carriers and my Edith, shelling the enemy from afar, and punishing any aggression with a barrage of mines. In some aspect, ARS is very similar to old school Interstellar Imperium, but without the armour. Stay in formation, punish anything that comes too close, and slowly grind the enemy to pulp. I was also playing with the commissioned crew mod. It does adds bonus depending on the faction the player is affiliated to, in this case, Society Riggers for ARS ships, which reduce the amount of low CR malfunction, and repair them faster. Given the endurance, defensive playstyle i'm planning to do, CR is going to be an issue, and this will thankfully reduce the effect.

With those new ships, i also got myself a King cruiser. I saw the large turret and thought "yeah, that's gonna be useful". Unfortunately for me, it also got Omni Loader, which is very good to increase the firepower, but very bad for survival. Every time i looked at it in battle, the King was perpetually overflowing with flux, unable to do anything. I though that maybe the weapons i gave it were too flux intensive for it? Nope, Hellbore, autocannons, point defenses... And just like every ships cursed with Omni Loader, it died, a lot. Perhaps with further testing i could have made it work, but at this point i didn't bothered, and did set my sights on something new and shinier.

No long after forming my new fleet, i had the chance to get myself a Macnamara heavy cruiser. My quest for dakka is finally being rewarded! Take a Reid, give it enough sun, water it regularly, and one day, it will grow into a Macnamara, the highlight of the ARS fleet. Its little cousin, the Reid, eat frigates for breakfast. The Mac prefer instead a cruiser and destroyer based diet, and sometimes an occasional capital ship with some proper flanking manoeuvres. Its large array of medium turrets allows it many potential builds, but really, the Macnamara shines when its build as a Skirmisher just like the Reid. Chainguns and Safety Override turns it into a fast brute that can rampage through the enemy's rear line, or frontline, or anywhere really. Well, maybe not in front of that Onslaught then. Also, be careful of those Salamanders, as the Mac's engines are extremely vulnerable to flameout. Every times i got caught, it was because of a sudden flameout.

I haven't tested the Lyon a lot. Its unimpressive weapon package and Magnetized Plating (damper field) didn't quite fit in my new combat doctrine. Still, i got one of those out of curiosity. It is certainly pretty difficult to take down, but at this point, if the enemy was on me, it meant i was doing something very wrong. Perhaps i'm judging wrongly the Lyon, and probably should see it primarily as a carrier than can somewhat fight rather than a proper combat cruiser. Unfortunately, it eventually died, and i didn't bothered to replace it and test it further.

Finally, as i was now well into late game, i got my hands on the big boy, the Alastair battlecruiser. The Alastair isn't a bruiser like the Onslaught, nor an artillery powerhouse like the Conquest, neither an oversized skirmisher like the Odyssey, it's not quite like the Legion as well. Let's call it a souped up Osmond, a decent frontliner and a very good support ship. Like the Osmond, it can spawn EMP mines, disrupting the enemy's fleet. Its weapon package is also notably upgraded, and it got some fighters too. All in all, the Alastaire would become the ideal anchor for my deathball. By the way, did i mentioned i fell in love the Heavy Plasma Driver? It fits so well on the Alastair, on the Osmond too. Its armor penetration isn't all that great, but the long range, hitscan rapid ROF with pinpoint accuracy make it perfect for taking potshots at anything that lower its shield. A single Plasma driver won't do much, but a whole fleet with those? The punishment for getting in range is immediate and merciless. Perfect for a deathball.

Spoiler

Pew pew
[close]

Plasma drivers won't go through some of the heavily protected brutes i was encountering though. But for those, i had an answer too. Those two flight decks on the Alastair i didn't knew how to use? Let's put some Cobras in those, and unleash them when the enemy is helplessly paralysed by the EMP mine spam. I could get surprisingly far into the game with this tactic. Only the super long range monsters (Siegfrieds, Paragons...) were giving me trouble, the deathball does not work when the enemy can shoot farther than me!

In the end, that was a pretty fun campaign. Early game is extremely rough without a Reid, and from my experience, it's better to stick with a bunch of fast frigates (Only Reids, really) for early game with the ARS. Unlike vanilla or other mod factions, upgrading to destroyers as quickly as possible is a mistake here, as the bigger ships only begin to show their qualities when part of a large fleet. It's pretty contre-intuitive, and further add to the difficulty of playing the faction. Yeah, it's a difficult faction to play with, a bit like ORA or SCY, where early game is extremely unforgiving. Perhaps the thread's OP should have written in big red letters "Glass cannons, handle with care".

There's just a few outliers like the Thatcher and Burke that feels off, i couldn't make them work properly. Also Omni Loader that felt like a death trap in battle. Haven't looked in depth into the fighters. The Jack drones were what i used the most, since they were plentiful and i liked their ability to spam rockets. The Duke gunboats too were pretty good as long range fire support. Others like the Monodrone however, could have been deprived of weapons and they would still be as useful as they currently are. I guess they do cost 0 OPs to mount though.

Oh also, i "accidentally" scrapped the Champion. I feel i shouldn't have done that.

12
Suggestions / Re: Bring Plasma Cannon Back
« on: May 08, 2019, 03:09:51 AM »
I also miss the old plasma cannon. Although the new one is arguably better, more efficient, more reliable, safer. But firing what is basically a heavy pulse laser doesn't quite have the panache of the space BFG of old.

One of my most vivid Starsector memory was the first time i encountered a quad Plasma cannon Paragon. It was with Dynasector since variant randomisation wasn't a thing yet. I was used to bully standard Paragons variants with an Onslaught. And that day, i faced it, with its four big guns, slowly turning to face me.

"I think i should be able to take it, i'll go close to it and... Yeah, yeah, nope, no, definitely not! Change of tactics! Oh @$%& this isn't going as planned!"

It's not often when getting fired upon by a gun was a cathartic as firing it. Despite my nostalgia for the old BFG, i'm pretty okay if the new one stay. Moreover, if i'm really craving for something big, expensive, unwieldy that shoot death, some mods added their own plasma cannon variants that also scratch that same itch.

13
Mods / Re: Starship Legends - Personality for Your Ships and Crew
« on: May 03, 2019, 12:12:20 PM »
One on hand, this seems like a refined version of the Extra Systems mod, and i really want to try that.

On the other hand, i should probably wait for the inevitable others gameplay-change mods you'll release after this one before playing. I mean, this is your fourth one, you won't stop there right?

Joke aside, i'm not super sure with the way negative traits are gained depending on hull damage either. Yes, i do fly my ships like a Pather, and no, i won't compromise my reckless piloting for something as trivial as self-preservation.

But the bonuses! I want them! Although i admit i'm not sure what would be the solution either... I am against the solution of "repetition until mastered" like Trei suggested. I spent too much time in Skyrim afk-hitting a mammoth with a stick to increase my one-handed skill already.

Maybe the gained traits can depends on a battle end-result? Coming out of a fight half-alive at the top of a mountain of your foe's skulls would probably net you better traits than coming out half-alive without firing a single shot.

The combat analytics mod by Nick allow for some pretty impressive stat recording during battle. Perhaps something similar could be exploited to determine the traits one ship can gain depending on its performance? That way i could still behave like a glory hound while spacing half of my crew.

14
I don't think the nebula effect was removed because the AI couldn't exploit it, but rather because it wasn't fun.

In theory, using the battlefield to your advantage to beat an opponent is a good thing, it's fun, even if it means another handicap to the AI. In practice, it's too random and complicated to pull it off in the campaign.  The only time i managed to exploit and get a noticeable advantage from the environnement was during missions, thanks to their handcrafted environnement that suits the battle. But i never managed to do it with noticeable effect in the campaign.

The first thing that would come to mind would be "buff the environnement!" to compensate for the lackluster impact of nebulas. But buff it too much, and you end up getting a feature the player can abuse like those that Megas listed above. It would force the player to exploit it over and over to get that big impact, which would inevitably reduce the potential amount of "fun". Moreover, trying to find the proper balance for something randomly generated in the campaign would take a lot of trial and error testing.

Hence, the reason i suppose Alex dropped it. Not worth the effort to keep, nor the effort to balance it this late in the development.

I wouldn't mind seeing a modder take a shot at it though...

15
Suggestions / Re: General Feedback / Thoughts
« on: April 25, 2019, 12:32:26 PM »
I would really like for the ability to target friendly ships through the battle command UI.

That little guy here :



Why? Because i noticed that it's possible to send fighters to escort a targeted ally. Fighter range usually reach beyond the limit of the screen, especially for long range fighters like Thunders. Hence the wish for targeting allies from the command UI.

Technically, it's possible to do that using the "show video feed" option then manually targeting the ship, but the clunky-ness of doing it that way start to show after the twentieth time or so.


Another request would be to leave unchecked by default the "Upgrade weapons using extra OPs" option in the autofit menu. I'm fairly sure i'm not the only one being caught by surprise that way.


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