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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Skills and Story Points (07/08/19)

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Author Topic: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion  (Read 3271 times)

Wyvern

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In the current build, with level limits and a wide variety of useful/important fleet-wide skills, I'm finding myself running into a problem: it feels like the optimum way to play is to completely ignore piloted-ship-only skills, put officers on your best ships, and then let them do their thing.  I don't much like this, though, as it means that any time I personally pilot a ship, it feels like I shouldn't be - like I should be letting an actual combat-skilled officer do their thing.

So my suggestion is this: remove player access to all piloted-ship-only skills.  Instead, allow an officer to be assigned to the flagship (and allow the player to swap flagships in battle without displacing the officer on the destination ship), and have that officer's combat skills apply.

This would also help with other situations that are not fun - for example, for relatively "safe" fights, I'll often slightly over-deploy just to get combat XP on officers that aren't yet max level - which means that deploying my flagship would be a waste of supplies - which means I get to just unpause the game on the tactical screen and go afk for a bit.  If I could actually control an officered ship without costing that officer their share of the XP, these sorts of fights would be a lot more fun.
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Gothars

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 10:56:57 AM »

it feels like the optimum way to play is to completely ignore piloted-ship-only skills, put officers on your best ships, and then let them do their thing. 

I get where you are coming from, but this disregards the players piloting. I'm way more effective than my officers, even with less "skills". For new players you're probably right, but I don't think that can be helped.


control an officered ship without costing that officer their share of the XP

I always wondered what happens to an officer's XP when you take over his ship mid fight. Are you positive they are wiped?
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PCCL

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 11:08:11 AM »


I always wondered what happens to an officer's XP when you take over his ship mid fight. Are you positive they are wiped?

looks like the captain gets XP for their share of the fight (I'm assuming by time)

I once deployed an officer solo in a battle and decided that I wanted to pilot it myself right after battle start. After the battle he got like 20 XP and I got a few thousand
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Wyvern

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 11:25:27 AM »

I get where you are coming from, but this disregards the players piloting. I'm way more effective than my officers, even with less "skills". For new players you're probably right, but I don't think that can be helped.
While true to some extent - especially if you're piloting something glass-cannon-y like a phase ship or a Sunder - it still -feels- wrong to me.

I always wondered what happens to an officer's XP when you take over his ship mid fight. Are you positive they are wiped?
Yes - this was "fixed" by Alex somewhere in .6 or .7 - before that you could deploy a ship with an officer, immediately swap command to that ship, and the officer would get the full XP value for the battle.
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The Soldier

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2017, 12:06:24 PM »

I just leave the combat to my officers.  They can just handle combat so much better, especially if they're aggressive, and furthermore they can get all the combat skills while the player doesn't need to specialize in it.  There's currently, IMO, no reason whatsoever to get any combat skills as the player.
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2017, 12:19:44 PM »

Yeah this is probably the best solution to the problem of the game being built for fleet combat, making fleet-wide skills a much better investment. We've already got officers that can only take piloted-ship-only skills, and fleet-wide skills that are exclusive to the player. There's no reason for overlap - just make all the piloted-only skills exclusive to officers and allow an officer and the player to co-exist on the same ship.

Edit: I suppose another possibility would be to have two different skill point types - a personal ship skill track and a fleet-wide skill track.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 12:32:09 PM by DatonKallandor »
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Wyvern

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2017, 12:51:58 PM »

Edit: I suppose another possibility would be to have two different skill point types - a personal ship skill track and a fleet-wide skill track.
I'd considered that, but it has one major drawback relative to an executive officer: it doesn't let the player participate in battles where you're trying to get XP for your officers (and don't need to deploy anything beyond the ships those officers are on).

It also locks down the player's combat skills selection, requiring you to make an entirely new character to experiment with a different skill set.  This may or may not be considered a good thing, however.
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Schwartz

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2017, 01:16:49 PM »

The player can pile on many more ship-only buffs than an officers meager 7x3 skill levels. So you get a choice here. Fleet-wide buffs are very mild now and you could just as well do without those, still use officers and give yourself combat skills if you're after battle prowess.

I don't agree with piloting through the eyes of an NPC officer. The player has the advantage of being the player. A player ship is still going to be twice as good owed to pitch-perfect flux management and all the good stuff that comes with having a brain.

And if you don't invest in the combat tree, the difference between your guy and a hardcore combat skilled bounty in a great ship is not going to be nearly as pronounced as it was in 0.7.2. The playing field has been levelled and the need for combat skills to be competitive is no more.
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Wyvern

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2017, 01:33:06 PM »

Fleet-wide buffs are very mild now and you could just as well do without those.
The playing field has been levelled and the need for combat skills to be competitive is no more.
Um, you seem to be basically saying that skills don't matter at all?  I'm not quite sure what your point is...
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Schwartz

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2017, 02:13:16 PM »

I'm saying the effect of both ship and fleet-wide skills is tame compared to how it used to be in previous versions. There's no real 'wrong' skill choices anymore. You can pick a bunch of utility skills, bring your unskilled flagship into combat and not feel too heavily outclassed. And 3 out of 4 skill trees have buffs. You can't lose out!

But if there was only the fleet buff direction to go for the player - because he'd use an NPC officer to fly, anyway - that'd just be one less playstyle choice for the player to make.
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Megas

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2017, 02:34:46 PM »

If soloing fleets is not efficient enough anymore, and I am almost forced to use a fleet, then fleetwide skills make more sense.  Pilot-only skills on player make sense if that enables him to solo fleets.  If not, and player must use fleet, then fleetwide skills make more sense.
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2017, 02:42:47 PM »

It also locks down the player's combat skills selection, requiring you to make an entirely new character to experiment with a different skill set.  This may or may not be considered a good thing, however.

I don't understand how it would do that, at least to any greater extent than is already the case. If you're getting personal and command skill points then, compared to right now, characters are going to be able to do more not less. You'd still be able to build different characters of course, since the piloted only and fleet wide buffs have enough variety to make for different characters (tanky, defensive piloted builds, speedy missile builds, all-out offense direct-fire builds for the "captain" skill track and carrier doctrine, high tech tricked out high OP fleet or horde of D-grade clunkers for the "command" track for example). You'd just be able to make both a captain and a command choice, instead of the superior command or the inferior captain choice.

Although I really think this is unnecessary when we've already got officers that are locked into the captain side of the skills and it'd be a simple fix to just let the player double up with an officer and focus on making the command side of the skill tree even more interesting.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 02:45:19 PM by DatonKallandor »
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Wyvern

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2017, 04:50:45 PM »

Okay, went and spent some time playing the other way around so I could speak from experience instead of just speculation.

And going all-in on per-ship combat skills is just -pathetic- compared to focusing mostly on fleet-wide skills.  It gives you a flagship that's slightly more potent than what you could get by just putting one of your officers on that same ship... and comes at the cost of six other officered ships, fleet-wide range and speed boosts, fleet-wide damage dealt/taken bonuses from +15% CR, the entire Fighter Doctrine skill, and that's not mentioning any of the campaign-level conveniences.

So no, I don't agree that leaving that as an option is "opening up another playstyle", much as I'd like it to.  I was, personally, quite happy with the game when I could reasonably have a character that flew around with just a handful of ships - say, an Odyssey with an escorting Medusa and a couple of phase frigates for pursuits - but that's not the game we've got today.

And, as such, it'd be nice if the player's flagship could actually get the same sorts of bonuses any of your officers can, instead of having to focus on fleet-wide skills, and very carefully pick and choose which per-ship bonuses are simply too important to skip over.  (For me, these are Gunnery Implants 3, Helmsmanship 2, and Defensive Systems 2.)
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Megas

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2017, 05:26:52 PM »

@ Wyvern:  Your experiences are similar to mine as well.  I tried a character with all Combat skills and a few player-only skills from Technology (in the simulator).  Sure, I could kill a few more ships easily and efficiently, but it still has trouble punching much above its weight, and multiple enemy capitals will ruin its day.  Also, the AI kites and turtles much, much more.  If I use Unstable Injector, the enemy gets too much range advantage, and winning the flux war consistently becomes too hard.  If I do not use Unstable Injector, I spend too much time chasing ships, so even if I can crush an enemy ship, I lose much time off of peak performance simply trying to keep up with kiting ships.  (You cannot solo fleets if you cannot beat the clock.)  I tried truly soloing a battlestation with a Paragon (with no cheerleaders for ECM debuffs), but that will not work.  The station will focus-fire everything at you, and it outranges you.  Squalls and Gauss will eat shields, HILs will melt everything else, and Flash bombers will eat what is left of your flagship.  The closest I could get to soloing a battlestation was to deploy additional ships for ECM stacking, enough that my beam Paragon could outrange the battlestation, then have Paragon do all of the fighting.

And because AI kites so much, and some fighters are very powerful for their cost, I generally send fighters at the problem.  Nothing outruns fighters.

I recently noticed that people like to refer to so-called Megas-style combat.  While mildly amused, I do not play that way anymore in 0.8.  Even with skills, it is simply inefficient at best and ineffective at worst.  The current Megas-style combat in 0.8 is fleet action, with few elite ships controlled by me and a bunch of clunkers with relatively common weapons (so that I do not reload games the moment a clunker dies).  Also, at least half of my ships are carriers, and the majority of fighters are Talons, with few Khopesh and Claws (and later, Sparks) used by the elite ships.  (If I use Astral, I use one Dagger wing, and the rest are Longbows and Khopesh.)  So far, my fleet is completely unskilled, and it can wipe endgame bounty fleets with few casualties.  I doubt it can handle double endgame fleets in one battle, and I need to bring everything (or get character skills) against a hero battlestation.

So far, my favorite flagships are either Paragon for pure power or Legion for carrier-and-brawling combo action.

I would like to use nothing but elite ships, but either I would need to grind too long or cheat.  For now, I use mostly clunkers.
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tinsoldier

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Re: Flag Captain / Executive Officer: a skills-related suggestion
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2017, 07:19:33 PM »

It's interesting to see how many folks like to let the AI drive for them.  I got a friend to buy the game and he decided pretty quickly that the AI was a lot better at piloting then him so he just lets the AI pilot even his own ship (long story short, he's having lots of other issues with the learning curve).  I think there will probably always be a population of players that prefer to play that way.  I like to drive my own ships around and even though I'm Industry/tech/leader focused (no-combat skills at all until recently since I hacked max level) I'm generally more competent than the AI with the exception being the hero battlestations where the additional shield/flux/damage/range made my officer driven Paragon more effective than mine.

I kind of like the idea of not displacing officers when you take control of their ship.  I had a lot of the same complaints in the 0.8 feedback thread about that feeling of dissonance where you want to pilot the ships but you've invested in the non-combat skills so it feels like a penalty when you pilot in lieu of your officers.  Being able to piggy back off your officer's skills could help with that.  Although I think the counter-argument from others would be that having some sort of consequence or opportunity cost to skill choices contributes to replayability. 

Perhaps another option, maybe in addition to OPs, could be to have separate leveling/experience rewards for different types of skill types (i.e. combat, industry, etc).  In other words, an Elder Scrolls Oblivion/Skyrim style of "use it more to level it more".  If you constantly pilot your own ships then you receive lots of exp towards the combat skills, if you frequently employ and deploy officers then you get exp towards leadership, if you make lots of sweet trade deals then you get exp towards industry, and finally, if you explore lots of beacons and stations and what not then you get tech exp.
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