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Author Topic: [0.9.1a] TC: Archean Order: Rebalanced Combat/Lore RPG - Update preview 6/24/20  (Read 298724 times)

Hexadood

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Hey again! Thanks for welcoming me onto the forums! I'm happy to be here!  :)
I do have another question, it's about the station and terraforming mod! Does it work with Archean Order? Or does it cause any bugs that might detract from the experience?
Thank you again for being so warmly welcoming!
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Albreo

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We started with a problem whereby one group of factions cannot kill Tyrants, so battles of equal fleets would reproducibly run to unreasonable lengths of time.

Now we are addressing a problem that Tyrants are too easy to kill, so we need to give the AC an even more defensive focus.  The trouble is this is also reproducible.

It seems clear to me that this is a double-sided problem.  Phase ships are hard countered by L Ballistic Anti-Armor weapons--in particular the Devastator Cannon.  (This goes double for giant phase ships with a giant hit box.)

Some factions use them routinely.  Others never.  Trying to balance the Tyrant will prove to be a Sisyphean task.

It's also going to be perilous to attempt because it's quite obvious many players are using the Tyrant and invested in its fate.

The better option might be to let it be the Hyperion of Battleships.  Leave it for the player, and have the AI rarely field it in practice.

The Consortium's problem isn't only the Tyrant, in any event.  The Carriers are similar.  Cobra wings are deadly to smaller ships, but not particular effective at big game hunting given the AC's overall composition.  Currently, the AC lacks either a reliable means to overload large enemies or the shield-piercing EMP needed to render capitals vulnerable to cobra strikes.  The only other viable strategy is to simply flood the zone.

Why don't they use Hivemind Orb Launchers?  It's their Legendary weapon.  Carriers are ideal platforms.  A preponderance of orbs and things like hurricane missiles would go a long way.  These would provide reliable, sustained damage plus open the door to big strikes from cobras and the phase ships.

The Consortium probably does need a new capital ship to replace the Tyrant.  It could be defensive in nature; however, it could alternatively be a glass cannon focused on long-ranged, indirect fire with things like the HMOL.  Maybe the Consortium eschews traditional ships of the line in favor of a philosophy of overwhelm or be overwhelmed.  Battles that are short and brutal.

I don't think Tyrant is weak against ballistic at all. The few trouble I find against are fighter>>>homming torp/Tachlance. The rest can be easily evaded by AI. I release four of my test ships above and it can wipe two full-size Hegemony invasion fleets in a single 500DP battle, full autopilot, with minimal damage taken. No amount of ballistic can stop it.

For cobra, it's already OP enough. I even think about asking for some damage nerfed. It, alone, already has ample shield suppressive power when deploying in large numbers. Zero flux weapons can do the deed of piercing a shield. So, it's just a matter of loadout. AD has the best ship line up in the game, albeit lack in variety.

Hivemind orb is bugged at the moment FYI.
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basileus

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I don't think Tyrant is weak against ballistic at all. The few trouble I find against are fighter>>>homming torp/Tachlance. The rest can be easily evaded by AI. I release four of my test ships above and it can wipe two full-size Hegemony invasion fleets in a single 500DP battle, full autopilot, with minimal damage taken. No amount of ballistic can stop it.

For cobra, it's already OP enough. I even think about asking for some damage nerfed. It, alone, already has ample shield suppressive power when deploying in large numbers. Zero flux weapons can do the deed of piercing a shield. So, it's just a matter of loadout. AD has the best ship line up in the game, albeit lack in variety.

Hivemind orb is bugged at the moment FYI.

I think we agree on most points, but we're talking about different things.

You're discussing balance with regards to player designed ships.  I'm discussing balance between AI factions--sticking with the hulls and weapons they have available and the fleets they actually field.

I also agree with you that the Consortium probably has the best hulls.  I view that as compensation for the fact that their fleet doesn't gel.

The Cobra is probably a good case and point of where our perspective diverge. 

The AC only field them on the Malevolent and the Nightreaver.  They field these ships in comparatively small numbers, and they're not particular DP efficient platforms for strike craft in the first place.  In the view of the cohesion and competency of the Consortium's Order of Battle, the torpedo bombers are undeniably underwhelming.  It's part of why the Consortium takes all of those amazing hulls and delivers such pedestrian results.  (If anything, it should be factions like the Traders Guild or SciCorps, which don't have elite capitals, in need of our love.)

Compare that with something like the Epiphany, which is a fantastic platform for bombers.  It only cost 11 DP.  It has four wings and a recall device.  If Tri Tachyon started loading all their epiphanies full of Cobras, it would be a very different story.  Much better economy of force.

As a player, can I exploit the cobra to make it OP?  Of course.  Does the Consortium use it well?  No.  Only their stations do, and that's because their stations can do what their fleet cannot: they can deal and receive flux in a sustained and efficient way.

Factions have identities and that's part of the balance equation.  There's no real point in trying to stop the player from putting on spandex and a cape.

If we let the Consortium do whatever they want and act like the player, then we can surely create a superpower.

But whatever, as long as there aren't hour long stalemates.  Tyrants are easy enough for a player to deal with.
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Morrokain

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Oh wow lots of posts to catch up on today!

Tough shields, mines and close range assault/pd (600 or so) weapon loadout would fit AC theme and fill the gap. It should be less maneuverable than the tyrant but gets a non rechargeable speed boost skill like burn drive or sth so it can get to the thick of the fight quicker than tyrants, but cannot easily get out. Maybe more pds on medium/large turrents instead of stuff like atronach beams to differentiate its role. Just my 2 cents I'm sure I'll love whatever you ended up adding!

Some more tactical variations of the Tyrant itself are planned that are designed around anti-fighter/missile. The non-recharging speed boost for the light battlecruiser is an interesting idea.

I think I will try that out and see how the AI handles itself with it. Unlike burn drive, I think I'll allow an active shield while it's engaged to support the defensive nature of the ship.

Quote
Can confirm skilled up is compatible, as well as a dozen mods:
Trailer moments, adjusted sector, combat analytics, combat chatter, common radar, disassemble reassemble, nexerelin, starship legends, supply forging, unknown skies, audio plus, and the usual libs.

Oh nice I'll have to add those later on if they aren't there already. I'm pretty sure some of them are.

I made an account just to post the fact I love this mod to death. I saw the discussion around the Tyrant and I wanted to give my two cents on it since it's my flagship, by far my favorite ship in the game out of any mod.

If kitted out with weapons that fire in bursts and/or Strike weapons, the Tyrant is almost a war crime that eats anything at or below the level of a Cruiser for breakfast. During my last session I went up against a carrier fleet composed mostly of Cruisers. Teleported right through the frontline fighting and wiped out their entire fighter support before they could react.
After seeing an Adamantium Consortium fleet get their Tyrants blown to pieces by a Hegemony Detachment I decided these things probably need support to function properly in an engagement against other Capital Ships.

After my time with it I recognized three things that make the Tyrant much more effective in combat:

1. There are very high armor/shield ships in my fleet providing supporting fire and more importantly distracting the enemy.
2. I am running the Tyrant with a build that increases armor and flux capacity with low flux cost weapons.
3. I intentionally avoid engaging other Capital Ships directly.

I agree with the suggested changes to AI along with a tanky frontline battleship for the AC, they'd go a long way to increasing their overall effectiveness.

First off, welcome to the forums and thank you for the comment!  :)

Thanks for giving your experience with the Tyrant both from a player experience and when under AI control. I have at least 3 additional weapons I want to make and try out with it. These will likely also be used in conjunction with the new ship too.

One of them will be a low flux cost assault weapon - likely with a burst fire element to make it hybrid strike/assault with limited range to offset the low flux cost.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Re Tyrant balance discussion"

@basileus
I agree that the Devastator in particular is very nasty (Legendary weapon after all) against the armor-reliant Tyrant if it gets hit from a couple of salvos that break the armor along a whole swath of its hull. In general though, at least imo, the problem with the Tyrant drawing out battles has more to do with its system mobility preventing any reasonable tactical punishing compared to other ships - rather than its actual combat efficacy. Or I guess, in that sense what I'm saying is it isn't the defensiveness of the Tyrant or the AC that causes this annoying drawback but a combination of AI timidness and massive mobility compared to other capitals that could contest the Tyrant. I think that is part of the reason why fighters are more effective against it. The mobility factor is removed in that instance and so therefore it has to rely on its armor and pd weaponry to have a chance at surviving - which is a good thing. What I would like to see is more situations where that comes into play with enemy AI ships such as in npc faction vs npc faction battles.

What I'm hoping is that by reducing the distance that the Tyrant can flee when surrounded or cornered I can allow it to be punished more easily - both by the player and the admiral AI. Since that change might make the Tyrant more vulnerable under AI control due to its current place in the fleet synergy of the AC (as the line heavy hitter alongside the Eagle (Ad)), the additional fleet composition element will hopefully handle that potential issue without requiring any further additional changes to the Tyrant.

Especially since, as you pointed out, a lot of people like to personally fly the Tyrant, I want the changes to mostly be along the lines of more AI friendly compositions/changes rather than changes to the ship itself, if that makes sense. Reducing the jump range is pretty minimal to the player's overall ability to fly the ship as they can still use the ships strengths to great effect considering they can make better judgement calls on when to attack compared to the AI.

Still, until the next Starsector update I think you are correct that it will be a herculean task to accomplish. I'm hoping its not a futile one, but we will see. I'd prefer to not remove it from the general AC lineup since it is an iconic ship of that faction alongside the Nightreaver and Malevolent. That being said, the battlecruiser will take up a capital slot and have a greater chance to spawn, so that will certainly dilute the appearance of other capitals somewhat.

I'm actually currently debating upon whether to make the new ship a tanky heavy cruiser with moderately high DP instead a light battlecruiser so this does not happen, but the cruiser space is already filled by the Nightreaver, Eagle(Ad) and Doom(Ad) so it's a bit of a tight fit there as well.

As far as the Hivemind, it and the Apocalypse Cannon line are also used by the Archean Order faction. The AC also uses the Tachyon Lance alongside the Tri-Tachyon corporation. I think the Malevolent has a variant that uses both already, but it wouldn't hurt the have the Tyrant sniper variant use them as well that is definitely true. I'll do some experimenting along those suggestions. :)

Just saw your second post:

Interesting comments on the AC carriers/Cobra bomber. I think we are on the same page as far as fleet synergy considerations and maintaining each faction's theme when making adjustments. Albreo's builds provide a good foundation of what roles new weapons should take and how to build the Tyrant for AI

If you don't mind, any suggestions to increase fleet synergy? I know the new ship will be a start and hopefully the new weapons will fill in some gaps as well, but I'm curious as to your thoughts there. I want all factions to have fleet synergy on some level - with hopefully a varying amount of tactics the AI deploys based upon specific variants available in any given battle.

I would also agree that Sci-Corps/Trader Guilds definitely needs more iconic ships and a legendary line of ships and weapons to bring them more on par with other factions. Sci-Corps have had a few changes in the last update and some better autoresolve calculation is hopefully coming in this update.

@Albreo
Thanks for sharing the loadouts! Something similar to those will certainly make it into the stock variants. And as I stated earlier I have a few ideas on new weapons to better take advantage of the Tyrants strengths in respect to the AI. Those will probably replace some of those weapons (especially ones like the Gatling Laser that are more of a Hegemony weapon) but overall I see the general theme of what you are going for and I've got some notes in my head.

One of the new weapons will be a large version of the Smokescreen so that will definitely give mass fighters some pause if you are familiar with that weapon at all. The primary limiting factor of the smaller versions is ammo/regen and the large version won't have that downside as much.

The variety issue will be address eventually. The Archean Order also suffers from this a bit. This is mainly just because the lore of these factions requires mostly unique ships rather than either using stock vanilla ships or reskins of vanilla ships.

(I *think* I've addressed the Hivemind issue, btw, but I'll need to do more testing to be sure.)
-----------------------------------------------------

Hey again! Thanks for welcoming me onto the forums! I'm happy to be here!  :)
I do have another question, it's about the station and terraforming mod! Does it work with Archean Order? Or does it cause any bugs that might detract from the experience?
Thank you again for being so warmly welcoming!

No problem at all I'm happy to do so. :)

I looked at Terraforming and Station Construction and everything seems fine from what I can see. The only caveat is that the source code is not available so I'm not sure about the quests. On the surface though, I tested out starting a new game and interacting with a market and no crashes and things seem normal for the market in the dev version. I don't think anything has changed between the current release and the dev version that would effect the mod, so it should be good.

If anyone has been using that for a deeper campaign playthrough and/or completed the quests the mod gives, feel free to chime in!
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Albreo

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I don't think Tyrant is weak against ballistic at all. The few trouble I find against are fighter>>>homming torp/Tachlance. The rest can be easily evaded by AI. I release four of my test ships above and it can wipe two full-size Hegemony invasion fleets in a single 500DP battle, full autopilot, with minimal damage taken. No amount of ballistic can stop it.

For cobra, it's already OP enough. I even think about asking for some damage nerfed. It, alone, already has ample shield suppressive power when deploying in large numbers. Zero flux weapons can do the deed of piercing a shield. So, it's just a matter of loadout. AD has the best ship line up in the game, albeit lack in variety.

Hivemind orb is bugged at the moment FYI.

I think we agree on most points, but we're talking about different things.

You're discussing balance with regards to player designed ships.  I'm discussing balance between AI factions--sticking with the hulls and weapons they have available and the fleets they actually field.

I also agree with you that the Consortium probably has the best hulls.  I view that as compensation for the fact that their fleet doesn't gel.

The Cobra is probably a good case and point of where our perspective diverge. 

The AC only field them on the Malevolent and the Nightreaver.  They field these ships in comparatively small numbers, and they're not particular DP efficient platforms for strike craft in the first place.  In the view of the cohesion and competency of the Consortium's Order of Battle, the torpedo bombers are undeniably underwhelming.  It's part of why the Consortium takes all of those amazing hulls and delivers such pedestrian results.  (If anything, it should be factions like the Traders Guild or SciCorps, which don't have elite capitals, in need of our love.)

Compare that with something like the Epiphany, which is a fantastic platform for bombers.  It only cost 11 DP.  It has four wings and a recall device.  If Tri Tachyon started loading all their epiphanies full of Cobras, it would be a very different story.  Much better economy of force.

As a player, can I exploit the cobra to make it OP?  Of course.  Does the Consortium use it well?  No.  Only their stations do, and that's because their stations can do what their fleet cannot: they can deal and receive flux in a sustained and efficient way.

Factions have identities and that's part of the balance equation.  There's no real point in trying to stop the player from putting on spandex and a cape.

If we let the Consortium do whatever they want and act like the player, then we can surely create a superpower.

But whatever, as long as there aren't hour long stalemates.  Tyrants are easy enough for a player to deal with.

I see what you are talking about. AI fleet loadout is the issue here, to keep up with the lore, and the fleet roster is lacking in many spots. Spewing out new ships is not that easy and we only have one modder doing it, so, he can only do so many things at once. Lol, but I do think new content should be prioritized over minor balancing.

I think we can buff up some small phase ships for Andamantine to be a bit threatening. Those ships firepower are very lacking anyway. I saw other mods have neat abilities, especially in Prv. Maybe, ability to deal EMP damage directly through the shield. Direct system disruption is a bit to OP. And Shattercell should be changed into fragmentation damage, now that I have thought about it. Fragmentation weapons from a few mods are not shabby at all, it can be pushed into some faction main weapon.

Hour-long stalemate is inevitable against a fast ship. Usually, capitals don't have this much speed and any other ship will try to retreat once all capital is wiped out. This happens too to other faction mods. What you can do is use Speed Up and set up an additional button to trigger extreme speed, for me, I have x2 and x4. When trigger both I will have x8, a bit flunky but did the job at cleaning up the battlefield. Or use fighter, you know, all phase ships hate fighter.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2020, 09:30:46 PM by Albreo »
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DatonKallandor

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Frag main weapons are a huge balance issue. There's a reason vanilla doesn't have that. There's no counterplay. It breaks the entire combat loop in half.

I think trying to mess with any phase ship right now is pointless, because we know a big AI change is coming and that almost certainly is going to require yet another balance pass over all phase ships anyway.
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Morrokain

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I see what you are talking about. AI fleet loadout is the issue here, to keep up with the lore, and the fleet roster is lacking in many spots. Spewing out new ships is not that easy and we only have one modder doing it, so, he can only do so many things at once. Lol, but I do think new content should be prioritized over minor balancing.

I think we can buff up some small phase ships for Andamantine to be a bit threatening. Those ships firepower are very lacking anyway. I saw other mods have neat abilities, especially in Prv. Maybe, ability to deal EMP damage directly through the shield. Direct system disruption is a bit to OP. And Shattercell should be changed into fragmentation damage, now that I have thought about it. Fragmentation weapons from a few mods are not shabby at all, it can be pushed into some faction main weapon.

Frag main weapons are a huge balance issue. There's a reason vanilla doesn't have that. There's no counterplay. It breaks the entire combat loop in half.

I think trying to mess with any phase ship right now is pointless, because we know a big AI change is coming and that almost certainly is going to require yet another balance pass over all phase ships anyway.

The Shattercell Cannon is better at missile interdiction and pressuring shields then it is in an anti-fighter role. This is partly due to the lack of a dedicated kinetic assault weapon for the AC. Making it fragmentation would increase its effectiveness against fighters at the expense of its ability to act as a shield pressure weapon. With the combination of sprinkling in more Burst PD into loadouts and the large Smokescreen I think the anti-fighter role will be amply covered and so I can preserve the Shattercell's hybrid functionality. If I did make a fragmentation energy pd weapon, it would have to have a bit shorter range. High dps frag weapons make hull seem like it doesn't exist. :P

As far as content development vs balancing and phase ships go, I certainly understand where you both are coming from. I kind of feel bad that the coming update has less actual content than most generally do. Unfortunately, technical debt is a very real thing and I've had a lot of it to catch up on. All I can say is that it will make things a lot easier going forward from the perspective of coding. Not only did I get some invaluable experience with the API while doing it, but it will give me other useful things like a database of vanilla ids and, eventually, all the mod ids will be easily accessible to do things like check the player for X faction's weapons or ships, etc.

For instance, now if I need to remove or add a station to a market literally anywhere in the sector all I need to do is add the system and entity ids to a spreadsheet along with any changes to the market. Before, I would have had to write a new class to make the changes, call it in the plugin, compile a new jar, etc. It is sort of like what Alex is talking about in regards to the quest framework being developed for the next update. A bunch of stuff has been streamlined and made more accessible to a non-technical player who wants to customize their campaign run.

The other consideration, as always, is making the mod more light touch as far as other faction mods go. As a TC this might seem a bit silly to focus on, but for players (and there seems to be many of them) who want to mix in faction mods it ensures that those factions have access to all the vanilla ships/weapons/hullmods/etc that they would expect to. The only category of vanilla that is explicitly overridden now (as in changed and locked from other mods editing) is the vanilla variants. That is the last piece of the puzzle that I will wait until I get a sizable content update out before I address. So all of this work lays the foundation for some cool things that I have planned later. I appreciate all the patience until those things are actualized.

As far as phase ships, the only change I'm making for now is the jump range reduction. If I do other things like new weapons or ships in this update (as opposed to waiting for the next one to do that), that is more intended at content expansion that serves the dual purpose of increasing tactical synergy within both the AC and other factions more than a specific fix for phase ships. That it may help phase ships' performance in some situations is just a nice bonus. I have confidence that the new phase AI will solve a lot of problems and I can address any remaining ones afterwards. The jump range reduction is mostly just to try and prevent AI stalemates as much as possible.

One not-at-all-minor balance change that is being worked on right now is revamping almost all ships OP because I am attempting to address the issue of weaponless mounts - especially on carriers. Essentially, carriers will get a range of free to still pretty cheap weapons for all mount types. Assault ships that have bays on the other hand, will have free interceptors at the expense that those interceptors replace 50% slower and have 50% less effective range. Bombers and gunships will still be fairly expensive and have the same drawbacks as interceptors so assault ships will likely need to downgrade weapons or hullmods to use them. Carriers will now naturally prioritize their OP for gunships and bombers without the need to remove weapons to do so. Replacing a bomber/gunship wing with lower OP cost interceptors lets the carrier upgrade its weapons or add more utility-focused or niche hullmods. This will give dedicated carriers a more specific role and strength compared to assault ships with bays - something I've been trying to better flesh out recently after feedback from about a month or two ago.

*EDIT*

Actually, I have some considerations when thinking about and balancing that feature that I'd love to get some feedback and opinions on:

1) I don't want OP reductions to render build-making choices complete no-brainers. So for instance, if a Burst PD is free for an energy mount, why wouldn't you always install one? That kind of thing. So my thinking is that it should only make a weaker version of each weapon category free and require OP investment to upgrade weapon quality.

2) Tech considerations. My initial thought was to make each tech type have different OP reductions. In that way, a Pulse Laser is free on a high tech ship and a Micro Blaster would be free on a midline ship - but! - a Pulse Laser would require OP investment. My first concern there is that approach would be too complex and cause a lot of player confusion since each ship would seem to have different build rules. Separating out designations already would naturally cause a bit of that when comparing to vanilla. To combat this, I plan on making the hullmods causing the effects hidden and using a dummy hullmod that gives the specific details of the designation all in one hullmod (it should tidy up the hullmod list too). The second concern stems from the first consideration - would that make building high tech builds boring?

So the main theory here is to prioritize OP focus on bays for carriers and prioritize OP focus on weapons for combat ships with a shared investment into hullmods/vents, etc.

Any thoughts or reservations/concerns?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 04:22:04 PM by Morrokain »
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Albreo

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For your weaponless mounts and PD cost issue. What I do feel during my loadout considerations are:

1) A very expensive PD, I wouldn't consider it at all if a PD will cost more than 15-20 points. Even a 10-15 one, I'm skeptical to put it on, unless absolutely necessary, when normal solution can't keep up with. More PD all around, most of the time, better than a single large slow firing PD.

2) Mount less. When the mounting angle is absolutely awkward, like the one on Tyrant, I concluded that it should be skipped as Tyrant can rotate fast enough to always face first. If there is a cheap PD I might consider putting it there. In other mods, they have some weapons with minor homing ability.

3) Too much dependent on hull mods. Like I do. Probably more of a player playstyle.

4) A lot of times, more weapons are useless since you don't have enough flux to fire anyway. I'm still skeptical with zero flux weapons in this mod as it really makes some weapon the first choice. Maybe, it should only be reserve for PD weapons only.

Possible changes:

1. An actually build in hull mod that increases the effectiveness of PD range and accuracy for certain ships, carriers, etc.

2. Reduce the cost of most PD or what you suggested more cheap PD options. So, the player is tempted to put whatever on the remaining spots. But more PD also means, another time, rebalancing fighter.

3. I have played a few mods with OP reduction and I don't think it that useful, like the one in Rim World Alliance that reduces some energy weapon OP/increase beam weapon OP. It might influence PD choice a bit but by that time I will already have a favorite weapon set up that I don't care how much it cost unless it's a huge discount like -10.

Edit:

4. Now that I woke up. I think, a problem with not enough OP on carrier can be fix a bit with a dedicated hull mod that reduce OP. Someting in line with a "Heavy Hangar" on capital carrier that reduce the cost of Fighter and Bomber by a lot. "Medium Hangar" for all destroyer & up carriers that reduce cost of Fighter and Bomber moderately. Lastly "Light Hangar" for frigate carrier that reduce cost of fighter slightly. All non carrier will make do with only intercepter or face steep OP price. Might also lower intercepter cost a bit as well.


Again, I don't think you should focus on all these minor balance. More weapon variety might fix it. More capital ships might balance it. I'm still lacking in bomber choice, and armor piercing for energy weapon mount, wink wink.

Fragmentation weapon can still make do, just don't make it crazy like everyone else that is cheap to fire and still has DPS in thousand. It's a good shield suppression option to pepper ships with thin armor and force them to hold the shield up.

There is a minor adjustment required for Phantom bomber. The projectile time out too early in some circumstance, espescially on big target like Onslaught, where it has to circle quite a radius. If the ship is not actually facing the bomber direction, on one side, the bombs have to circle further but time out before it reach the target's engine. You may let it be like that, I don't mind much.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2020, 05:02:16 AM by Albreo »
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basileus

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@Albreo

Thanks for the tip about SpeedUp.  I think that's exactly what I'm looking for.

@Morrokain

I do think lessening the jump range addresses my issues, and agree that it probably won't impact player experience with the ship much at all.  In fact, when I started a new game and rolled AC, I had a) forgotten I had adjusted it and b) didn't go and change it back after this thread reminded me that I had.  I'm not so sure that it doesn't make the ship stronger on balance.

The changes you describe to the OP and ship roles sound like they make sense to me.  FWIW, the only time I ever really felt like I didn't have enough OP was when I was trying to field Flash Bombers.  Having done some faction only gear runs though, it's definitely the case that some of them would benefit from some cheaper strike craft.

My vote for the legendary ship for the SciCorps is the Hyperion.  It synergizes perfectly with their fleet.

I guess for now I'd wait for the phase ship update before making big changes with the AC.  Maybe the AC needs a fighter-bomber.  3 per wing; moderate damage; good durability; and, nearly as fast as the Sentinels screening for it.  Make up for the fact that the AC is going to be deploying comparatively few wings on a DP basis compared to other carrier focused factions, and that the Nightreaver, specifically, just can't field enough Cobras to land torpedoes against big game.  That and slightly more optimized loadouts on the Tyrant might make the difference.
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Morrokain

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Constructing a big reply to explain the new carrier system as I *think* I have it mostly fleshed out and I like it, but I wanted to post this just to double check:

I'm a little confused because I just went to make the range reduction on the Phase Teleporter system (and did) and realized that the Tyrant actually has the Phase Jumper not the Phase Teleporter like the Radiant. So the Tyrant shares the system with the Wolf, for instance.

So, was the issue that the Phase Jumper (range of 800 not 3500) needs to be reduced or otherwise changed to be less abusable to causing AI stalemates? Or is this maybe an older version of the mod at play here? No worries either way I just want to get clarification about if I need to make further changes and make sure I'm understanding what needs to be addressed.
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davissonlam

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Just wanna chime in and say that I really love the balance between 0 cost lower dps assault weapons vs high cost *** tons of up front damage strike weapons/ long range siege weapons. Allows you to build your ship around a few big guns like the atronach beam and TL, and the ship won't be comepletely useless when flux is somewhat high or big guns on cooldown. Really gives that epic space battle feel when you get to larger ships, and makes combat different (better) compared to vanilla. 
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Morrokain

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For your weaponless mounts and PD cost issue. What I do feel during my loadout considerations are:
Thanks for sharing!

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1) A very expensive PD, I wouldn't consider it at all if a PD will cost more than 15-20 points. Even a 10-15 one, I'm skeptical to put it on, unless absolutely necessary, when normal solution can't keep up with. More PD all around, most of the time, better than a single large slow firing PD.
Generally this is ok with me. As long as the situation where its "absolutely necessary" does, indeed, occur. Considering the changes I'm throwing around, that will probably occur more often in the next update because I think gunships are getting a buff. Not 100% sure yet. (No they certainly did - though with a caveat ;) )

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2) Mount less. When the mounting angle is absolutely awkward, like the one on Tyrant, I concluded that it should be skipped as Tyrant can rotate fast enough to always face first. If there is a cheap PD I might consider putting it there. In other mods, they have some weapons with minor homing ability.
I noticed that in the builds you linked and I think that is fine. For one, I think the Tyrant is a bit of an outlier there because it can turn so fast compared to other capitals. Those others might need more active mounts at that angle to fend off frigate surrounds and large numbers of fighters trying to suppress their weapon systems. Combat ships as a whole I'm less worried about, in general, because their considerations typically include a closer engagement range than carriers. Carriers, on the other hand, can realistically afford to shirk all weapons to get better bombers. As long as the player's interceptor screen is good enough, strike craft shouldn't be a huge threat. So therefore players are theoretically encouraged to min/max most carriers into bomber builds once the interceptor/anti-strike fighter screen is considered sufficient.

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3) Too much dependent on hull mods. Like I do. Probably more of a player playstyle.
That is one of the reasons I made Expanded Deck Crew a combat-ship-only hullmod. It was too much of a "no-brainer" (imo) and sacked a bunch of carrier OP right off the bat. At least Converted Hangar Bays has a trade off.

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4) A lot of times, more weapons are useless since you don't have enough flux to fire anyway. I'm still skeptical with zero flux weapons in this mod as it really makes some weapon the first choice. Maybe, it should only be reserve for PD weapons only.
Hmm, I kind of disagree here. Which assault weapons would you always consider a first choice? Maybe it's playstyle related, but I tend to load up enough strike weapons to get what I can get away with until I can't be flux efficient anymore.

Explanation:
Spoiler
The burst damage tends to make a pretty big difference, imo. You artificially win the flux war through faster damage per second on a ship-to-ship basis. So the overall efficiency of pure assault builds won't have time to take effect in the long run because the time vs damage ratio favors the strike ship unless the strike ships are outnumbered or outgunned to a large degree. In a fleet scenario, however, the strike ship often has opportunities to hide behind allies and therefore can recoup a lot of lost efficiency. Put those two concepts together and strike weapons are definitely an attractive choice to focus a build around for some melee combatants. Fire support weapons, on the other hand, offer a long range support role at the expense of an additional "efficiency tax" in their higher flux cost. Put all three build categories together and now you have a diverse tactical space navy capable of utilizing the tanky roles to provide distraction while dedicated strike and fire support roles deal the true killing damage. That is the intended concept, at least.
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Conversely in regards to flux free assault weapons, when I'm building a long range strike ship I like having a couple of assault weapons to ward off pursuers. To me, that is invaluable- assuming I can afford to spare the vents to do so! There are some builds where I eschew Expanded Missile Racks, for instance, since I don't have the flux to make a good enough use of it and the assault weapons are more useful overall. It's pretty situational to me.

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Possible changes:

1. An actually build in hull mod that increases the effectiveness of PD range and accuracy for certain ships, carriers, etc.

2. Reduce the cost of most PD or what you suggested more cheap PD options. So, the player is tempted to put whatever on the remaining spots. But more PD also means, another time, rebalancing fighter.

3. I have played a few mods with OP reduction and I don't think it that useful, like the one in Rim World Alliance that reduces some energy weapon OP/increase beam weapon OP. It might influence PD choice a bit but by that time I will already have a favorite weapon set up that I don't care how much it cost unless it's a huge discount like -10.

Edit:

4. Now that I woke up. I think, a problem with not enough OP on carrier can be fix a bit with a dedicated hull mod that reduce OP. Someting in line with a "Heavy Hangar" on capital carrier that reduce the cost of Fighter and Bomber by a lot. "Medium Hangar" for all destroyer & up carriers that reduce cost of Fighter and Bomber moderately. Lastly "Light Hangar" for frigate carrier that reduce cost of fighter slightly. All non carrier will make do with only intercepter or face steep OP price. Might also lower intercepter cost a bit as well.


Again, I don't think you should focus on all these minor balance. More weapon variety might fix it. More capital ships might balance it. I'm still lacking in bomber choice, and armor piercing for energy weapon mount, wink wink.

Fragmentation weapon can still make do, just don't make it crazy like everyone else that is cheap to fire and still has DPS in thousand. It's a good shield suppression option to pepper ships with thin armor and force them to hold the shield up.
I get that this might seem silly to do now and in my head I'm hopefully bringing something special to the table by these changes - but I'm willing to admit I could be wrong. Just to be clear, though, I'm certainly not done adding ships/weapons to fill out roles or provide more options within each role based upon flavor. The strike craft overhaul alone has resulted in a couple of role changes and wing strength modifications (more legendary and ultra rare wings, for instance) as the intended design of carrier vs battlecarrier vs combat ship balance has been given (hopefully) a bit more meaningful depth through the new system. On the surface, it may seem as though it is guiding the player towards shoe-horned builds based upon tech. In reality, I think it will provide more meaningful builds and better in-combat campaign balance in regards to DP efficiency to provide a framework for build-making based upon designation and tech level/rarity. In short, it will try and partially limit the player's ability to abuse both the AI and the random fleet generator. I'll explain further below after I give my response to other recent posts.

The changes you describe to the OP and ship roles sound like they make sense to me.  FWIW, the only time I ever really felt like I didn't have enough OP was when I was trying to field Flash Bombers.  Having done some faction only gear runs though, it's definitely the case that some of them would benefit from some cheaper strike craft.
Thanks! The cheaper strike craft suggestion will sort of be addressed with the update - though in a different way than adding additional low OP craft for several reasons. See details in the system explanation below.

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My vote for the legendary ship for the SciCorps is the Hyperion.  It synergizes perfectly with their fleet.
I *think* the Sci-Corps already knows that ship, but it has been made one of their Legendary ships in the update either way. I am also considering changing its system to Temporal Shell because I feel like both the player and the AI could do more with that than with Phase Teleporter.

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I guess for now I'd wait for the phase ship update before making big changes with the AC.  Maybe the AC needs a fighter-bomber.  3 per wing; moderate damage; good durability; and, nearly as fast as the Sentinels screening for it.  Make up for the fact that the AC is going to be deploying comparatively few wings on a DP basis compared to other carrier focused factions, and that the Nightreaver, specifically, just can't field enough Cobras to land torpedoes against big game.  That and slightly more optimized loadouts on the Tyrant might make the difference.
I'll definitely keep this in mind. The Sentinel, in particular, has been buffed in this update to be more of a fighter-bomber. Since Broadsword (A) wings provide the shield breaking support and both that wing and the Banshee are kind of dual purpose with that role and interceptor duty, it might be ideal to introduce a pure anti-strike interceptor such as the Imp - which has been built in to the Acolyte (A) frigate already. Similarly, I may make the Hellbeast gunship drop and be equip-able. Both of those are kind of up in the air as I nail down the final changes of the fighter system.

Just wanna chime in and say that I really love the balance between 0 cost lower dps assault weapons vs high cost *** tons of up front damage strike weapons/ long range siege weapons. Allows you to build your ship around a few big guns like the atronach beam and TL, and the ship won't be comepletely useless when flux is somewhat high or big guns on cooldown. Really gives that epic space battle feel when you get to larger ships, and makes combat different (better) compared to vanilla. 
Thank you!  :)

That is a primary design goal and I am glad others are having fun with it like I do.


---See post below for new system details---

(I'm keeping this post separate from the reply post solely due to the reply post length diluting the overall information of a massive balance change for other players. These should be posted within seconds of one another - with the second one being edited to display changes or new information. This information is given so that the intent is clear that this is not an attempt to bump the mod thread but rather meant as a way to provide informational clarity and also to get responses to recent posts out faster.)
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Morrokain

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Ok, so this is already a very long post, but let me try and explain why I think this new system is conceptually important and why I think it will change the way the mod is played in an overall good way. As far as Albreo's suggestions go, it's an inversion of the 4th point that drives the new system. The 1st point is on the consideration table in some regards. (Specifically, I think this would be destroyer-only hullmod- but other hullmods are planned in order to provide some additional build diversity.)

Here is the system as I have it now: (Spoiler because its a huge post :P )

Spoiler
I'll lay out what's been implemented in the test case.

The current plan based upon initial theory-crafting and the testing so far (subject to change):

1 - Standardize OP cost of strike craft around tech rather than role. (So interceptors cost more OP to be closer to fighters/bombers/gunships)
     - OP Ranges: 4-20 Interceptor -- 6-22 Fighter -- 9-32 Bomber -- 5-30 Gunship

2 - Reduce the range of all non-built-in strike craft by half or more. This makes them more defensive/stick to their combat ships. Carriers have a built-in hullmod which increases strike craft range by 100%.

3 - Carriers have a built-in hullmod which gives OP reductions to weapon mounts based upon hull tech (DP) and mount type. This gives 0 OP options for at least one if not a couple of weapons. Upgrades are only OP differences, so they are generally cheaper in the overall build cost compared to increasing wing quality. Details:
     - Lowtech: Small All: -2 Medium All: -4 Large All: -6
     - Midline: Small Ballistic: -3 Small Rest: -2 Medium All: -4 Large All: -6
     - Hightech: Small Energy: -3 Small Rest: -2 Medium All: -4 Large All: -6

4 - Combat ships replace strike craft 50% slower than carriers since they lack the dedicated carrier bays hullmod, but they have an OP cost reduction which varies by hull type such that:
     - The lowest interceptor for the hull tech type is free to install. (Pirate cruisers get free pirate talons, for example.) Fighters are significantly cheaper as well. Higher OP Bombers and Gunships, on the other hand, will require a significant OP sacrifice to field - but can be further supported with hullmods in order to provide access to effective long range strike craft builds for cruisers, etc, which support/artillery variants will take advantage of.

5 - Bomber and Gunship damage or reliability has been increased in many cases. (This is less likely to affect high end bombers and sometimes OP is leveraged instead of a buff for existing imbalances between wings.) Though often these roles require a carrier to field, they now pack a noticeable punch to their target over what a cruiser can typically field. OP per wing now scales off of tech level and carriers' potential OP to spend scales off of the same metric.

6 - Gunships that do not have dedicated anti-missile/anti-strike roles have had their weapon AI changed to no longer target nearby craft other than their designated target in most cases. This was done both to promote the use of interceptors/specialized anti-strike craft or PD to handle other strike craft threats and also in order to help further prevent situations where an attack wave failed to do critical damage to its intended target because the majority of the tanks' turreted weapons were directed elsewhere during the time of strike.

7 - TODO: Adjust default carrier loadouts to be more specialized into force projection in the case of assault, strike or fire support roles. Support roles should be more focused upon interceptor support for smaller ships like destroyers or frigates or can additionally provide further anti-strike support to localized fleet defenses in the case of mass-wave attacks from coordinated strike craft from concentrated enemy carriers. Alternatively, attack roles can be more combat oriented - though this is likely to be more of a player option than an AI one unless I can work some magic with the AI hints using hullmod code.

Ok, so now that the intended changes are more transparent, why is this important?

I'm going to try and do this Alex-Blog-Style and compare the current system and the proposed new system in detail to flesh out what I feel the problems are with the current one and what I think the new one does to solve them while also bringing new elements of tactics and build strategy into play.

---------Coming soon---------- (I will edit this in as I continue documenting it and providing screenshots)
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basileus

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Constructing a big reply to explain the new carrier system as I *think* I have it mostly fleshed out and I like it, but I wanted to post this just to double check:

I'm a little confused because I just went to make the range reduction on the Phase Teleporter system (and did) and realized that the Tyrant actually has the Phase Jumper not the Phase Teleporter like the Radiant. So the Tyrant shares the system with the Wolf, for instance.

So, was the issue that the Phase Jumper (range of 800 not 3500) needs to be reduced or otherwise changed to be less abusable to causing AI stalemates? Or is this maybe an older version of the mod at play here? No worries either way I just want to get clarification about if I need to make further changes and make sure I'm understanding what needs to be addressed.

I wiped the mods and save folder.  They were all clean installs.

I think I put the Phase Teleporter on the Tyrant by mistake after I started experimenting with ways to balance it after the encounter.

I went with another clean install of the mod and added the Console Commands and SpeedUp mods so I could test out balance.

So some observations...

My initial experience between TriTach and the AC was something of a fluke.  I did replicate it again once with the Perseans.  It happens if the other side fields an overwhelming number of carriers.

The strike craft will push the phase ships back and keep them out of range, while the enemy fleet will be unable to catch the Tyrants.  This can cause the fight to stall out and become a war of CR attrition.  The Perseans were able to force a round 2 one time for this reason.  I also watched 3 full wings from Executors pound on a Tyrant for what must have been 2 minutes without getting through the armor.  There had been 3 Nightreavers, but they all reached 0 CR and started their slow retreat from near the Persean spawn point.  The Executors ignored them and flailed harmlessly at the Tyrant, which ended up outliving 2 of them despite being 1 on 3 for a hot minute.  Is this working as intended?

After watching this, I switched the Tyrant's active system to plasma jets.  There seem to be a lot less lulls in the action this way.  Without the phase jumper, Tyrants would generally obliterate hapless Paragons in short order.  (The fabled dual tach lance paragons would shoot once thereby effectively committing seppuku.  They would immediately be fluxed out and blown up by Reaper torpedoes sometimes literally within about 5 seconds of getting on the map.)

The AC utterly wrecks the high tech and midline factions.  They completely curb stomped even the AO.  The AO had lost 7 Revenants before they killed their first capital (Nightreaver).  In the end, the AO losing 12 Revenants and 3 Megaliths in exchange for killing 1 Nightreaver and 1 Malevolent and forcing 1 Tyrant to retreat.  They usually end up camping TT, SC, AO, and PL at their spawn point.  Sometimes most of their losses were the result of 0 CR.

ThisShadeOfGreen's observations about Hegemony were correct.  Hegemony beat the AC in a fair fight.  It's a nearer thing, though.  While Onslaughts murder Tyrants like their name was Brutus, the Hegemony is poorly equipped to deal with Malevolents.  The fight ends up being mostly around the middle of the map.  I presume the results for LC and SD would be similar.

The Redacted are the exception to the above.  Their strike craft pose a threat to the Tyrants, and Radiants with Tach Lances are superior 1 on 1.  Although, I ended up watching 6 Brilliants spawn camp the AC like they were the AO.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2020, 08:29:44 PM by basileus »
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basileus

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I like the sound of the carrier changes quite a lot.

I guess it makes most of my research pointless.  Oh well.  ;D
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