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Author Topic: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod (Update with part 2!)  (Read 8893 times)

HELMUT

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Operation Center, the strongest hullmod (Update with part 2!)
« on: August 13, 2017, 09:46:58 AM »

Now with part 2! With bigger and badder enemies!


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Today, i'm going to talk about a pretty cool hullmod that i recently started to use, Operations Center. I recently tried an "admiral" campaign, exploiting the advantage of regenerating command points the hullmod offer, and pushing it as far as possible.

The campaign went well, even though the strategy was unfortunately showing its limits during end-game battles. Very large fights tends to be a race against the CR clock, killing enemies to gain the number advantage as soon as possible. With the number on your side, AI controlled ships behave more aggressively, and victory quickly follow. Having a strong flagship is a good way of killing enemies fast, unfortunately i wasn't directly flying my flagship in this situation, and even if i was, the expensive OPcenter would have severely limited the efficiency of my ship. On top of that, most of my skills were support based, making my admiral a poor combatant.

I needed to find a way to decrease the "Time To Kill" of my fleet. More than that, i wanted to find a solution that is better than a skill-boosted flagship of doom. And i found it.

Spoiler

"You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like."
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10 Officers, 10 Capital ships. Combat endurance, Helmsmanship are the most important skills for my officers. Ordnance expertise, Gunnery Implants, Target Analysis, Evasive Action were mostly what i picked for the Odyssey. The Astrals, obviously have carrier skills. Here's what i tested them against :

Spoiler

The tenth son of the Dickerson dynasty, from the underworld mod. The closest thing there is to a final boss.
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There's a few things the Dickersons have for them. The first one is CR attrition, i needed to take down all those ships down before running out of CR. The second was dealing with encirclement tactics, the enemy can field many more ships than i can and they'll try to surround me. Thirdly, i need a way to stop 22 capital ships from rushing me. Here's the tools i used.

Spoiler

"All the world will be your enemy, O Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And if they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you."

First of all, five Odyssey battlecruisers. Why the Odyssey? No amount of flux, shield efficiency, firepower or armor matters against such an absurd amount of opponents. Speed however, will ensure that the Odyssey won't be caught. Those five big guys have one purpose, pest control, their jobs is to rush in and destroy as many frigates/destroyers as possible during the first part of the battle. For this, DPS burst is favoured instead of armor penetration, which explain the Autopulse lasers. For the missiles, Sabots and Typhoons proved pretty good to crack open hardheaded destroyers and even cruisers. Claws are here to catch and immobilise a target, leaving them vulnerable, also not bad to buy some time for a caught Odyssey to run away. Also some dirt cheap mining lasers for PD duty, just in case. Once they're done with killing the small fries, they retreat to leave the place for the next ships.


"There is no "overkill". There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload.""

Now that those pesky fast ships that threatened to surround me are gone, it's time to deal with the big ones. A bomber loaded Astral hurt like a truck and doesn't care about running out of ammunition. With 4 Tridents and 2 Longbows, the Astral can quickly and reliably bring heavy burst damage at a very long range, enough to scare even the biggest capital ships.

Now put those 5 Astral in a single control group, and order a Fighter strike order on whatever you want to die. That's 20 Sabots and 80 Atropos fired all at once, which can be reloaded. Definitely improved my fleet's TTK i guess.

The Tempest you can see below are just here to escort the Astrals, in case the Odysseys fails their jobs and couldn't destroyer enough ships. Nothing noteworthy about them, i was more interested in the Terminator drones than the frigates themselves. They were deployed but didn't actually fought.



"The greatest victory is that which requires no battle."

What a frightening beast, isn't it? Disregard the ECCM package, for some reason i expected it to work on the whole fleet. The flagship had two jobs, capturing unguarded strategic points, and otherwise sleep on a corner of the map. Its sole purpose is to regenerate my command points. I could get OPcenter in an actual combat ship, but that would imply bringing it to the frontline, leaving it vulnerable to CR degradation, also taking precious deployment points that my combat officers could use better than me.
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Now that i got everything i need, here's to the main battle ! I have enough points to deploy 4 Odysseys and the Hound. The Hound try to snatch one or two strategic points before retreating to the edge of the map, the Odyssey, all crewed by Aggressive and Reckless officers, tore through the Dickerson's vanguard.

Spoiler
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The screenshot doesn't do it justice, the Odysseys are complete savage when it comes to destroy smaller ships. Even the big ones doesn't hold very long, especially when i order them to focus fire on a specific target. I avoided doing that though, not only i didn't needed to destroy the big ships but i preferred to hoard my CPs in case some of my Odyssey found themselves in tricky situations, which regularly happen given their reckless manoeuvres.

Spoiler


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A single Odyssey can rip apart even 4 or 5 ships together, but more than that is asking for trouble. In those screenshot, i'm trying to spread my ships to prevent the enemies from surrounding me and herd the pirate armada into smaller, more vulnerable groups. Unfortunately, some mistakes were made.

Spoiler
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I sadly lost of 3 of them like that. Fortunately for me, they still performed very admirably, destroying the majority of destroyers, and even some cruisers and capital ships. Time for them to retreat, and bring the rest of the fleet for the second phase. Five fully operation Astrals ready to rumble, without the risk of being surrounded (why i can deploy those five now, despite costing the same to deploy, but not five Odyssey at the beginning? Seems like i gained some additional deployment points during battle, but i don't know how).

I place the first fighter strike order on a Renegade battleship, and watched the firework.

Spoiler
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I still have to place some waypoints here and there for my carriers, but overall the threat is minimal, and eventually the Dickerson's armada run out of capital ships.

Spoiler

[close]

Victory !

To conclude, let's say that OPcenter is a fun hullmod, and pretty strong too. Combining regenerating orders with the flexibility of carriers seems like the winning move of 0.8.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 01:57:26 PM by HELMUT »
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 09:59:19 AM »

I've found most carriers massively underperform unless you give them orders, so I can see how Operations Center is good for a carrier fleet. And well-ordered carriers are the best bang-for-buck you can get at the moment.
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Megas

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 10:05:45 AM »

Carriers falter at Remnant hero battlestation fights.  Full-powered battlestation tears fighters to shreds.  They are very good at destroying conventional fleets, though.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 10:35:12 AM »

I notice no one ever tries to retreat before their peak time runs out so they can reengage at a lower CR level but with full peak time again.

I know at least part of it is that retreating is very dangerous, but I don't think I've seen anyone even consider it.

Edit: I mean retreating from combat, not the retreat scenario.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 11:08:25 AM by SafariJohn »
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Dostya

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 12:20:32 PM »

I notice no one ever tries to retreat before their peak time runs out so they can reengage at a lower CR level but with full peak time again.

I know at least part of it is that retreating is very dangerous, but I don't think I've seen anyone even consider it.

Edit: I mean retreating from combat, not the retreat scenario.
Doing that means forfeiting the battle salvage from all but the last engagement. It's something I do when I really want to win (like when conquering Chicomoztoc in Nexerelin, or in other strategic objective type combat situations) but during for-profit fighting it almost guarantees a net worth loss. It's a worthwhile cheese prevention mechanic, even if it's slightly annoying.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 12:25:51 PM by Dostya »
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Megas

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 01:14:13 PM »

You may get all of the XP from all ships killed regardless of outcome, but as Dostya says, if you retreat from a round, you forfeit that round's salvage.  That hurts when fighting for loot or money.

P.S.  It would be nice if earnings was consistent.  Either all XP and loot is given, or only XP and loot from rounds won are earned.  XP always earned but loot only earned from rounds won is inconsistent.  After all, if the enemy took the loot from a round lost, then player comes back for the next round and kills them all in a final battle, the enemy should cough up the loot they scarfed up just like they do for XP.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 01:23:36 PM by Megas »
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Alex

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2017, 01:31:14 PM »

P.S.  It would be nice if earnings was consistent.  Either all XP and loot is given, or only XP and loot from rounds won are earned.  XP always earned but loot only earned from rounds won is inconsistent.  After all, if the enemy took the loot from a round lost, then player comes back for the next round and kills them all in a final battle, the enemy should cough up the loot they scarfed up just like they do for XP.

The player not getting salvage from "retreated" rounds is actually a bug; already fixed in the dev build.
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FreedomFighter

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 02:07:41 PM »

P.S.  It would be nice if earnings was consistent.  Either all XP and loot is given, or only XP and loot from rounds won are earned.  XP always earned but loot only earned from rounds won is inconsistent.  After all, if the enemy took the loot from a round lost, then player comes back for the next round and kills them all in a final battle, the enemy should cough up the loot they scarfed up just like they do for XP.

The player not getting salvage from "retreated" rounds is actually a bug; already fixed in the dev build.

Oh. . .but it make sense if player not going to get salvage because he retreated from the battle. Maybe leave a debris field on it?
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Megas

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2017, 03:59:01 PM »

@ FreedomFighter:  This is within the same encounter, not multiple encounters.  For example, player retreats ships.  Round one ends.  Player has the option to re-engage or flee.  If chosen to re-engage, both fleets go for round two (or more) within the same encounter.  Currently, if player wins the encounter, he gets all of the XP from ships killed in all rounds, but only the loot from the rounds won.  Think of re-engaging within the same encounter as returning to the field of battle for a rematch and reclaim what was left behind.

Even the enemy occasionally does this.  I wipe their first wave of ships quickly, and they retreat and end the battle with ships in reserve.  I anticipate an easy pursuit, auto-resolve, and collection of loot, but no, they want to fight some more and I need to fight hard against their reserves in another round to keep what I should earn.
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StarSchulz

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2017, 07:00:55 PM »

The ability to retreat ships when your PPT runs out, and just redeploying them after a whole re-engage saves a ton of CR and lets you fight way longer. I should try operations center on something like a flagship legion, and see how it goes.

Megas

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 05:08:01 AM »

When I tried the carrier mastermind / Operations Center build, just to make AI carriers kill things instead of hoard their fighters, I was annoyed by all of the screen toggling and CP drainage.  But, the carriers devastated fleets more efficiently than conventional fleets.  I would have been dismayed if that build was much more effective than conventional fleet, due to the excessive micromanagement/screen flipping/CP usage.  (Not unlike building a auto-resolve character in 0.54 to power-level and extend the soft cap ten levels more.)  Plus, I like to personally maul things.  (Which should mean max Combat skills, but that does not work well if the ship cannot force fights.  Best solo ships are probably carriers.)  The final test was the shielded Remnant battlestation... which they failed miserably.  Too much (Guardian) PD and other protection, and the carriers cannot be told to fighter strike (and focus-fire) Remnant sections without the carriers foolishly entering HIL range and dying fast.

Currently, you want beefy capitals and cruisers, supported by some fighters, when attacking a battlestation.

Perhaps in 0.8, Astral with Sparks could solo the battlestation, but Sparks are not that strong anymore.
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HELMUT

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 05:42:56 AM »

That's curious, i always found the Remnant station to be quite vulnerable to carriers since Guardians can't deal with ordnance saturation (Kopesh/Piranha spam, although Kopesh is probably superior since the other one was nerfed quite hard). Add on top of that a bunch of Sabots and anti-fighter missiles, and the battle station falls fast.

I did had that issue with some carriers going dangerously close though, and they're very reluctant to back off despite being ordered to do so. Not sure why.

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Gothars

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2017, 06:37:00 AM »

The campaign went well, even though the strategy was unfortunately showing its limits during end-game battles.

So, you'd say it was not as strong as piloting a maxed out flagship (plus assisting fleet) yourself. Then, if the sole purpose of the Operation Center is to enable this weaker playstile, you can't really call it "the strongest hullmod", can you?

It's interesting that the main problem was running out of time/CR. Maybe it would be good to give the hullmod the additional effect of increasing all your ships' peak readiness time. To push the play stile's limit and make competitive.
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Megas

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2017, 07:38:40 AM »

That's curious, i always found the Remnant station to be quite vulnerable to carriers since Guardians can't deal with ordnance saturation (Kopesh/Piranha spam, although Kopesh is probably superior since the other one was nerfed quite hard). Add on top of that a bunch of Sabots and anti-fighter missiles, and the battle station falls fast.
I did not use Kopesh or Piranhas.  I can see that working.
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xenoargh

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Re: Operation Center, the strongest hullmod
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2017, 09:19:33 AM »

Kopesh is still strong.  Not sure why Piranhas were nerfed, frankly; they were finally worthwhile in their role.  Now I'd rather use Kopesh vs. anything that's vulnerable to HE or where I want a bomber that screens itself on the way in.
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