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Author Topic: Improve game start?  (Read 5157 times)

Alex

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2017, 01:24:10 PM »

Hmm. A couple of comments:

A destroyer to start with is troublesome. If you pilot it yourself - and don't quite know what you're doing, and sometimes even if you do - some frigates will kite you and either wear you down or run out of CR. This is going to be frustrating and/or tedious. Destroyers are also more expensive to maintain etc, raising the bar of what you need to accomplish to make a profit, let alone break even.

In contrast, a Wolf has mobility, good-enough firepower, and a high skill ceiling. If you make mistakes, you may lose quickly, but that's better than a long, boring wear-down-the-enemy-CR win. The "try something, get feedback on your mistakes, try again" learning cycle is faster.

Perhaps most importantly, if you go for the most combat-capable ships, you start with a Wolf and a Kite with an officer. A single Wolf may struggle vs 2 undamaged Lashers etc, but paired with a Kite, the fight is fairly easy once you figure out how to work with your wingman. A destroyer wouldn't be able to work nearly as well with an ally, not when facing almost mostly frigates, as you are in the early game.

The Wolf/Kite combo is effective vs frigates that have no d-mods, which is a good step above what you're mostly facing in the early game. And Luddic Path raiders, well, there's a reason you can pay the tithe to avoid the fight - but they can also be defeated with the Wolf/Kite combo. Just gave it a quick try - Wolf/Kite vs a Pather Lasher + Brawler - and it's not too tough, even without any combat skills.


That said, yeah, piloting a ship well takes some figuring out. I just know how it can be made any easier - sticking a destroyer in the fleet will hurt more than help, the Wolf is already one of the best frigates, etc. There's always the mostly-non-combat to build up a bit, too.

Ah, on a related note: these settings in settings.json can be tweaked to adjust the difficulty of "easy":
"easyPlayerDamageDealtMult":1,
"easyPlayerDamageTakenMult":0.75,
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ChaseBears

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2017, 02:02:57 PM »

I am not a big fan of the Wolf start. The Wolf is high mobility and high potential but unforgiving of serious errors and overloads owing to its fragility.  I feel the Lasher would probably be the most forgiving starting frigate owing to its toughness, adequate point defense, and strategic advantages (such as low cr/deployment).

Nor am i a fan of the Wolf being a very common early game opponent.  The Wolf is perfectly suited to the AIs preference for kiting tactics, making it very frustrating to fight against if you arn't flying something extremely mobile (for instance, if you take the Wayfarer start).  Even when you do catch them out, many times they will be able to phase skimmer out.  The annihilator rocket spam and the ion cannon make it impossible to ignore as well- there's no concept of balancing your defenses, the ion cannon is devastating to frigates since it can shut down all their weapons in short order. And the rockets are as useful against frigates as they are against anything else. You HAVE to shield.

The old Cerberus start had particular trouble with the Wolf, although at least its burn drive and medium mount let it control the engagement better than the Wayfarer.


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If I were creating the world I wouldn’t mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o’clock, Day One!

Megas

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2017, 07:05:01 PM »

Before 0.8, starter Wolf with Unstable Injector was good.  Player could hit-and-run easily.  Now that Unstable Injector guts shot range of pulse lasers and the like to Safety Override range, that hullmod is not worth it anymore for small ships.  For the unskilled Wolf, it handles somewhat clumsy.  Maybe less clumsy than other frigates, but still clumsy.

If SO Lasher was available as a starter option, I might be tempted to take that instead of Wolf in the 0.8 environment.  In short-range fights, kinetics rule and win the flux war.
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TaLaR

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2017, 09:20:44 PM »

If SO Lasher was available as a starter option, I might be tempted to take that instead of Wolf in the 0.8 environment.  In short-range fights, kinetics rule and win the flux war.

It usually is available at Jangala. And you start with 32k $ (if skipped tutorial), which is more than enough to buy it.
SO Lasher is much better than Wolf until you find Heavy Blaster and is competitive even after.
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whoopWHAT

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2017, 12:49:09 AM »

Well how about this. How about we give the players a certain number of points when they start the game depending on the difficulty, and then let them pick whatever they want from the points available to them. Don't let them change weapon systems, but have every ship available to the player at the get go. Like on Easy you could have the player start with the equivalent fleet power of a cruiser, or a destroyer and a frigate, or a 2 utility ships and 2 frigates, or whatever.

The idea is to have a point system at the start of the game that lets players spend points to get a starting fleet they feel comfortable with. That way we don't have this one-size-fits-all thing that's been going on. It'd allow you more room to balance the start of the game instead of just picking what 4 possible combinations of ships they can have at the start, and it'd allow players more room to experiment on their own.





Hell, I could get into a whole 'nother rant about how the start of the game doesn't adequately teach players the combat skills they need to survive and thrive, but that's not really the point.
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AxleMC131

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2017, 02:13:45 AM »

Well how about this. How about we give the players a certain number of points when they start the game depending on the difficulty, and then let them pick whatever they want from the points available to them. Don't let them change weapon systems, but have every ship available to the player at the get go. Like on Easy you could have the player start with the equivalent fleet power of a cruiser, or a destroyer and a frigate, or a 2 utility ships and 2 frigates, or whatever.

The idea is to have a point system at the start of the game that lets players spend points to get a starting fleet they feel comfortable with. That way we don't have this one-size-fits-all thing that's been going on. It'd allow you more room to balance the start of the game instead of just picking what 4 possible combinations of ships they can have at the start, and it'd allow players more room to experiment on their own.

Actually, I wouldn't be against this, at least as an experimental method to see if it works. It almost certainly won't be appropriate for the game itself, but perhaps a mod could give players the opportunity? I might still limit the options (I don't think giving the player the option to start as a Hyperion is a good idea in any way...) but nowhere near as much as they presently are.

If I was doing it (theoretically), I'd have points be equal to the ship's [unmodified] Deployment Points (or "supplies to recover after combat") cost, and give the player, what, 10 points? That's enough to field, for example:
- Two Wolves
- A Hammerhead and a Kite
- Two Hounds and a Cerberus
- An Afflictor or a Shade as well as a small shuttle like the Kite or Mercury (probably a challenging option because phase ships have an insane logistics profile, and without a proper transport, you'd run out of supplies pretty fast)
- An Omen and a Vigilance
- Five Hermes shuttles
... Or whatever.

You could even expand on that by having "Easy" mode give the player a larger number of points - 12 or 14 perhaps - to give them more options to start with a slightly larger fleet.



On an unrelated note, I feel we do perhaps need more options for starting ships. Having just the two flagship and two secondary options is definitely a much simpler choice - and I have tried most combinations and found none to be particularly a bad idea - but it does feel somewhat limiting. Personally I feel that, even without adding a third flagship option, having specifically a Dram loaded with fuel as an alternative second ship would be a great addition to the lineup, and definitely one that I wouldn't be against having in the early game. With exploration such a huge thing, getting a Dram is now just another item on the early-game checklist, and doesn't make for an exciting gameplay adventure. Giving the player the option to start with a Dram would be a concise addition that could help focus playstyles and make early-game just that little bit more exciting.
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whoopWHAT

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2017, 02:58:56 AM »

I see your point, and I think it might be a good idea to limit the pool of ships available to players at the start(since yea, I didn't think about the Hyperion), but I feel a system like this would be perfect for the game. We don't exactly have character customization(for the most part) and the thing we interact with most(the fleet) we only have 4 options of at the start. Game design-wise, I say it should be one of two directions as far as the start goes:

1 - Make the starter ship 100% fixed.

This is a little counter-intuitive, so hear me out. With a single "fine-tuned" ship and loadout, you can craft much better scenarios and tutorials based around it at the start. This lets you LASER FOCUS on exactly how you want the start of the game to play out, and will allow you to go so far as designing the starter area around what the player has available to them, to show them how to learn the game and experience it without pop-up text boxes. Sorta like the starting area for Sid Meier's Pirates. It integrates seemlessly with the rest of the world, but it is a microcosm of all the things that you can do in the game, to the point were you can learn all the mechanics of the game without venturing out into the rest of the seas at all. Albeit, this is a lot harder to pull off game design-wise, it will work much better than my later suggestion if done correctly.


2 - Give the player as much freedom as possible in the bounds of game balance to customize how they start.

This is easier than the former by orders of magnitude, and it comes with numerous benefits, many of which I have previously stated. It allows players a lot more agency at the start, it gives brand new players a way to test the waters AND look at all the cool ship designs before they can access all of them together, and it doesn't have a lot of the issues the current system has. (IE, loads of people disagreeing on whether or not changing the starter ships is a good idea because it won't let them use THEIR favorite starter ship, none of the presets being fun or interesting to use for some people, causing them to quit when they can't do anything, ETC.)



Even if not the points system I'm advocating ~something~ should be done to improve the game start, I think that much is fair to say.
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Megas

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2017, 05:47:44 AM »

If SO Lasher was available as a starter option, I might be tempted to take that instead of Wolf in the 0.8 environment.  In short-range fights, kinetics rule and win the flux war.

It usually is available at Jangala. And you start with 32k $ (if skipped tutorial), which is more than enough to buy it.
SO Lasher is much better than Wolf until you find Heavy Blaster and is competitive even after.
In my game, Jangala had nothing but Vigilance for sale.  Not that it would matter.  If I already started with a Wolf, I do not need to buy Lasher.  I will grab a clunker from the pirates.  They use plenty of Lashers, and they are disposable.

Without powerful skills and no useful speed hullmods, Heavy Blaster is more of a sidegrade.  Wolf needs to constantly back out and vent because blasters are short-ranged and horribly flux inefficient.
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TaLaR

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2017, 06:34:09 AM »

Without powerful skills and no useful speed hullmods, Heavy Blaster is more of a sidegrade.  Wolf needs to constantly back out and vent because blasters are short-ranged and horribly flux inefficient.

With pulse laser, you have to stay within engagement range for too long. Effective kinetic weapons will always win such battles.
With Heavy Blaster I just pump all my flux bar into them in few seconds, back off, vent and repeat. AI is not aggressive enough with venting near a threat that close (and even if they were, their vent time is usually longer then my optimized Wolf's, so I'd still get an opening).

Heavy Blaster Wolf can also bypass shield (like Hyperion). It's a rarely usable tactic, but for example, allows to defeat otherwise superior simulator Medusa.

Aside from that, Wolf is only good as beam boat. But that's too slow at killing for player-ship.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 06:37:29 AM by TaLaR »
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Megas

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2017, 06:40:34 AM »

Without powerful skills and no useful speed hullmods, Heavy Blaster is more of a sidegrade.  Wolf needs to constantly back out and vent because blasters are short-ranged and horribly flux inefficient.

With pulse laser, you have to stay within engagement range for too long. Effective kinetic weapons will always win such battles.
With Heavy Blaster I just pump all my flux bar into them in few seconds, back off, vent and repeat. AI is not aggressive enough with venting near a threat that close (and even if they were, their vent time is usually longer then my optimized Wolf's, so I'd still get an opening).
I know.  Wolf loses the flux war either way.  And pumping flux bar high, then retreat and vent is risky.  They can launch missiles.  Few times, I get close to winning, then they sometimes launch.  I lost a few battles for being overeager to finish off the enemy quickly.
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TaLaR

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Re: Improve game start?
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2017, 06:50:55 AM »

I know.  Wolf loses the flux war either way.  And pumping flux bar high, then retreat and vent is risky.  They can launch missiles.  Few times, I get close to winning, then they sometimes launch.  I lost a few battles for being overeager to finish off the enemy quickly.

Yes, you have to measure distance/time to vent/missile approach time precisely. But that's what Wolf is about.
I am especially happy when I catch incoming Harpoon on shield/skim in last second.
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