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Author Topic: Basic Balance Oversights  (Read 12736 times)

RyMarq

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Basic Balance Oversights
« on: December 18, 2015, 03:50:47 PM »

Something of a place for really basic balance/gameplay issues with the game. The type that could be overcome with simple tweaks.


1: Atropos torpedoes are simply lacking. For 6 OP, I get something generally worse than a Hammer (2 OP). There is just no reason for these torpedoes to be as bad as they are. It would be nice if they at least had more HP than normal torpedoes, granting them some use.

2: The Hound and to a lesser extent the Cerberus are just sorta pointlessly bad. Without shield generators, they need more armor or more something to really compare as viable ships. If these were particularly cheap to maintain or purchase they might even have meaning, or even if shielded cargo was important these days, but as it stands they are kinda flatly bad. Makes fighting (D) versions of them from pirates feel particularly like punching children.

3: Civilian ships in general - Shuttles/Liners/Troop Transports/The Atlas/Larger Tankers do not create interesting and meaningful trade-offs, they are just generally bad. Part of this is how the economy works, but in general the issue is that you can have a whole fleet of combat capable vessels that all can carry a meaningful amount of cargo, or you can have one giant cargo ship that slows you down tremendously, provides no combat utility, and isn't even cheap to maintain or purchase. The scales of advantages these ships provide need to be reworked such that they are interesting choices rather than really bad ones. Simply buffing their cargo/troop/fuel capacity might be sufficient. The disadvantages these ships often have are very large, it seems only reasonable that their advantages might be big enough that you would ever decide to use them.

4: (D) Hulls. Currently they are a minor price drop for a massive disadvantage. The easiest trade-off is what Starsector+ did, just reduce their maintenance/deploy costs as well. Make them feel like you have a budget version of the real ship.

5: Phase ships are mostly just annoying to face. Not exactly a balance issue mind you, but with instant re-engage and long duration cloaks it simply takes too long doing nothing to kill them. Even a half second of delay to cloak, or a flat flux drain when initiating it, would make them remarkably less annoying.


These are the ones that come to mind for me immediately. By all means add some if you want, there are like many more of these simple sorts of issues with very real solutions.
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Dabor

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 04:14:44 PM »

1. Completely agree. I've seen some talk of this before. Atropos seem as if they're supposed to be the "rich man's reaper" but they end up as a rip-off compared to Ludd's Hammer, which is meant to represent an ultra-cheap option.

2. They're meant to be bad. There was once a time when a hound with an unstable injector, forward shield generator and Hypervelocity Driver was a fantastic harassment tool. At some point in the game, Wolves and Tempests start dying as easily as Hounds did when you first met them. Not everything has to be top-tier competitive.

3. I dunno, I've been dragging an Atlas around in my most recent game. I can still keep at burn 8 (which is fine since I'm mostly fighting larger faction fleets anyway) and it lets me carry 3x the supplies as I could without it. Same in the early game: after getting 2 or 3 frigates, I usually buy a Tarsus or Buffalo. It's possible that you tend to play with high-cargo midline ships like the Venture and end up with good cargo space anyway, but if you focus on military ships that aren't able to carry enough to support themselves, having part of your fleet exist as logistics support is great.

4. There's been a lot of discussions about this recently which you might want to check out, but I rather agree with you.

5. This is just inherent to phase ships. Giving them either a higher cost for keeping it up for a long time, or a higher cost to rapidly swithcing it on and off would help, but ultimately, they'll still be relatively annoying. That's the point.

Most of these aren't really so much oversights as design decisions, and they're designs in a constant state of flux (teehee).
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Megas

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 04:40:19 PM »

One-shot Atropos is okay, maybe a bit underperforming compared to Reapers and maybe Hammers given how slow and clumsy it is even with Missile Specialization.  Not as great, but okay.  The 6 OP dual Atropos is overpriced.  If Atropos stay as they are, the dual mount should be 4 or 5 OP.  I like to see Atropos do a bit more damage, say 2500 or 3000.

Hound and Cerberus are great as frigate-sized freighters.  They have more burn than civilian options and can use Safety Override, and when combined with an engine hullmod, they can flee from anything.  Think of them as faster freighters.  If you have maxed +OP skills and have Front Shield Generator, they can be made into decent fighting ships.

Liners may be good if you want to trade lots of personnel as commodities.  Big freighters are necessary if you need to loot and/or haul lots of cargo.  Tankers are occasionally useful if you find fuel worth less than 10 credits and you want to buy and haul a lot of it.
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RyMarq

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 04:52:35 PM »

I understand civilian ships are balanced to be technically useful, but I find them quite.. undertuned for that purpose. Fair enough though.

With regards to phase ships, does anyone actually find fighting them fun? I think that is a pretty important question here. I don't even find fighting them frustrating, its just boring. They force you to wait until they have overheated, and if you stop waiting around and do something interesting they recover. I don't feel that is good gameplay there.

I don't think I agree with 'worse ships' being a design decision. With Hound, for example, its cargo capacity compares with a Lasher, but the Lasher is a vastly superior combat ship.

When you don't want to pick the other option, it becomes dull.
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Dabor

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2015, 04:57:05 PM »

With regards to phase ships, does anyone actually find fighting them fun?

Well, on the occasion I play as them, I find it pretty interesting. Any nerf that would make fighting against them more dynamic would also make them even less worth playing.

I do agree on that note though. Usually it's just "fly after them for 40 seconds while keeping them in weapon range."
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Cik

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 06:01:46 PM »

phase ships are fine, they provide a natural sort of counter to big line battleships and fit with TT's battle strategy. the counter that i used to use (stick several broadswords on them and wait) doesn't work anymore, but even just having a frigate or two chasing them around to kill them when they finally surface isn't really a big deal.

unless it's a doom in which case the same strategy works, just use cruisers.
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Megas

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2015, 06:03:52 PM »

For phase ships, they are a pain to fight... for both sides!  Phase ships are easier to kill for faster ships with high-powered and no windup weapons like mining/heavy blasters.
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ANGRYABOUTELVES

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2015, 06:04:27 PM »

1. Totally agree. Atropos torpedoes are currently a trap option and should never be used. They need some love.

2. Hounds and Cerberii are burn 10 and carry a half-decent amount of cargo, so they've got that going for them at least. I agree that they need a logistical buff, they should be cheap to buy and easy to maintain. In the hands of the AI, well, the Luddic Path does put them to good use. Those Safety Overrides Cerberii are really scary earlygame. I think this is an issue of the AI not getting good loadouts.

3. Other people have said most of what I was going to say, but civillian ships exist to provide logistical support to the player and to be raided by pirates. I personally run a fleet with 3 Buffalo and a Phaeton, so I can carry a ton of loot, supplies, and fuel and don't have to go back to station often. I don't mind the increased sensor profile because my fleet eats other fleets for breakfast.

4. I agree that (D) hulls need to be a lot cheaper and a lot easier to maintain. Halved armor and halved flux stats means they're at most only a quarter as functional as a real ship, so I'd say they should only cost a quarter as much to buy and maintain.

5. Phase ships just need their AI improved. They're absurdly deadly when equipped and piloted by the player, and a near worthless annoyance in AI hands.
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Aeson

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2015, 07:24:07 PM »

Regarding the point about the utility of combatant versus noncombatant ships, I'd point out that there comes a point where another warship just doesn't do that much for you, especially later in the game when you've already gotten your 10 high(ish) level officers and the ships you want them to use.

Also, regarding the Hound vs Lasher thing: the Hound can be essentially untouchable in combat if it doesn't want to fight, if it was built to be fast; about the only thing that can catch a Hound built for speed is a Hyperion making heavy use of the teleporter, and Hyperions are rare. This, along with its burn speed of 10, makes it a very safe ship to fly as a freighter. The Hound is also a significantly better freighter than the Lasher is, as even with very limited supply reserves to cover deployment costs and maintenance (e.g. 5 supplies per ship) the Hound has roughly double the available cargo capacity; a combat-oriented player who keeps larger supply reserves is going to see the Hound's available cargo space become even greater relative to the Lasher's available cargo space (e.g. if you keep 5 deployments' worth of supplies in reserve, a Hound will have 60 available cargo space to a Lasher's 20, and even several engagements or prolonged time without resupply can only do so much to close that gap, as 4 full-cost engagements or 4 months of deployment will only reduce the net difference in cargo capacity by 4).
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nomadic_leader

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2015, 09:30:31 PM »

Liners may be good if you want to trade lots of personnel as commodities.  Big freighters are necessary if you need to loot and/or haul lots of cargo.  Tankers are occasionally useful if you find fuel worth less than 10 credits and you want to buy and haul a lot of it.

Here I must say, for the record, that liners are absolutely useless because trade disturbances never effect the price of crew, so that trading them on the open market as normal commodities is almost impossible. There are just so few instances where a) the low vs high price ratio is more than or even equal to a 2:1 ratio needed to offset tariffs, and in those cases that it is, the base prices are too low to offset the overhead costs of the liner ships, their supply and fuel usage, etc.

The only thing you can do with personnel (as Megas would tell us) is A) buy them as greens and then train them up by the hundreds in large combat fleets then sell them and B) buy those scattered cheap marines in backwater black markets.

Again none of this activity is at the scale to make the liner ships useful.

Hope this will be fixed!
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Serenitis

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2015, 01:42:47 AM »

1. Totally agree. Atropos torpedoes are currently a trap option and should never be used. They need some love.

Atropos would be significantly more useful if it didn't snake about all over the place in some vain attempt to mimic a Harpoon, wasting a fair chunk of it's very limited flight time on needless course correction.
This "trait" is so apallingly bad that it can cause an Atropos to miss it's target by swerving around it and is the reason I never use these things unless I have literally no other choice.

Also: Dedicated Targeting Core vs. Integrated Targeting Unit.
The core is something I can honestly say I've never used.
Since it is limited to to cruisers and caps, maybe it would be more appealing if it gave a larger bonus. Or a different bonus.
Core: Large ships only, big range increase.
ITU: Any ship, modest range increase, better target leading.

 ???
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 02:08:03 AM by Serenitis »
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Megas

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2015, 05:44:34 AM »

Liners may be good if you want to trade lots of personnel as commodities.  Big freighters are necessary if you need to loot and/or haul lots of cargo.  Tankers are occasionally useful if you find fuel worth less than 10 credits and you want to buy and haul a lot of it.

Here I must say, for the record, that liners are absolutely useless because trade disturbances never effect the price of crew, so that trading them on the open market as normal commodities is almost impossible. There are just so few instances where a) the low vs high price ratio is more than or even equal to a 2:1 ratio needed to offset tariffs, and in those cases that it is, the base prices are too low to offset the overhead costs of the liner ships, their supply and fuel usage, etc.

The only thing you can do with personnel (as Megas would tell us) is A) buy them as greens and then train them up by the hundreds in large combat fleets then sell them and B) buy those scattered cheap marines in backwater black markets.

Again none of this activity is at the scale to make the liner ships useful.

Hope this will be fixed!
Do not trade at open market; trade at Black Markets.  The game encourages you to trade at Black Markets.  Most factions are either enemies or insignificant.  Thanks to commissions, you can only use military markets from one faction, making high reputation for the rest useless.

Liners are like tankers, you probably do not need them, but if you do stockpile personnel and want to trade lots of them at once (for example, go to Qaras, smuggle, send stability from a high 10 crashing down to 0, and then buy a whole lot back) they are an option.
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Weltall

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2015, 07:24:46 AM »

Definitely the insane 30% you pay is 100% encouragement to trade in black markets. If the starsystem did not have a Hegemony planet/station I considered these the best places to sell off cargo. I would buy from any, since for example buying supplies @30 each, makes the 30% make me pay 10 extra $pacebucks. Selling them though at 700 makes me lose 210 $pacebucks. Sadly at really enormous quantities you can't get away without a strong reputation hit, if you trade at your own faction's market or an enemy market that is in the same system as one of your faction's market.

With that said, the only use of the Starliner I see is "future" use. Be it to move around large amounts of people to help planets populate, provide more workforce for your factories or get large amount of marines to attack a planet and take it over.

Well.. I can imagine one would need a Starliner currently if his current fleet is mostly Talon fighters..
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Ignorance is bliss..

nomadic_leader

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2015, 11:27:23 AM »

Ok Megas but listen- not everyone wants to use the black market - it can be an RP thing, or it can be not wanting to *** people off. Or maybe they're still having nightmares about the stupid smuggling investigations that last like 3 game-years to complete. So your blackmarket thing is just a workaround. I'm posting in suggestions because I want fixes for the game not workarounds.

The point is that other commodities can be successfully traded on the open market and you can wrack up cash because they undergo relatively frequent disturbances that provide price fluctuations you can take advantage of. I wracked up like half a million with 2 hounds and a kite doing this.

Why aren't crew treated like the commodities? Why are they somehow outside the economy? Weltall mentions all these things like colonizations and wars and so forth that should already could be providing in game lore reasons for price fluctuations to occur with crew & personell. But they don't.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 11:29:16 AM by nomadic_leader »
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Cik

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Re: Basic Balance Oversights
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2015, 11:34:19 AM »

the ability to sell crew is a little weird.

in fact, really weird. sure you can buy them, in the form of contracts for whatever duration, but just offloading thousands of men on some backwater for credits? a backwater lawless warzone? why would they leave? why not just mutiny that instant?

basically it makes no sense but w/e
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