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News: New blog post: Raids, Bombardments, and Planetary Defenses (08/16/18); In-dev patch notes for Starsector 0.9a (06/01/18);Starsector 0.8.1a is out!
 
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Author Topic: what is wrong with trade?  (Read 955 times)
Network Pesci
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2018, 10:50:50 AM »

I have to mostly agree with Megas here in the post above this one.  Starsector is my favorite game of the last decade, but I primarily play it as an arcade-like shmup.  For me, the current version of Starsector just isn't as fun now that I can't play "Herosector" with stacked overpowered player skills giving me infinitely-regenerating hull and zero-flux boost even with shields up.  It's more balanced and more fair, but less fun with my personal play style.  Pity the poor Blackrock ships that are now curiosities rather than solo fleet smashers, RIP Imaginos Hyper Omega.

Also, I've harped on this issue before, but bounty scaling is too high.  I hope in the next version there is always a bounty or two that is lower than what level the game thinks I should be at, so there's always a bounty I have a reasonable chance to defeat.

(Ironically, it took me playing Rule The Waves and the associated historical research I did to teach me how to play Starsector the "correct" way.  Starsector doesn't really teach players things they may not know that I assume are a part of any "real" space captain's education such as, "what is a Cruiser and why", or "what is a Ship Of The Line and why".  A fella would think there'd be simulator missions to teach this sort of thing, or at least an Amazon link to buy copies of Castles of Steel and Dreadnought to teach us how real naval battles work.)
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xenoargh
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2018, 12:39:07 PM »

Trading should be fun, easily understandable, and lower profit-per-hour than fighting.  It should be there for newbies to build up capital via FedEx runs or low-profit hauling.  

For vets playing Iron Mode, it should be there as a way to escape from a fleet-wipe scenario where the player has lost too much capital to continue otherwise.  It shouldn't be a, "do this before actually playing", when the game's on Hard and the time before things start happening is short (provided there's ever an element like that).  It should be the slow way to win via conquest, if the game supports that as a sandbox experience and there aren't any timer pressures.

When this game's finally Beta, if trade still doesn't work like that, I will write a mod to make it so, if I'm still playing at that point.  I'm just not writing any publicly-available Mission code at all until I'm sure it won't get broken six ways from Sunday every release, like Vacuum did.
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intrinsic_parity
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2018, 01:08:26 PM »

Populated space is clustered in the middle, while explorable space is surrounding it and is at quite some distance. So you need pretty small fleet with tanker and freighter, otherwise you'd be suffering serious losses in terms of income if you run giant battle armada. But particular fleet built for exploration stands no chance in combat, especially if you got jumped by something big and scary, since you can't run away from everything, even on sustain burn, thus it means high risk venture. And definitely one you can't get into fresh from the start, while later it gets pointless.
This is absolutely not true. I can very easily turn a large profit with 5-6 cruisers and many supporting destroyers and frigates in my fleet. With the skills that give extra salvage/fuel, you can almost sustain indefinitely in the uncivilized area, but even without, you can easily stay out long enough to find juicy class IV and V planets that will pay out as well as bounties. Usually I come home because my cargo holds are full, not because I run out of fuel. Capital ships are too fuel hungry to be sustainable though, but the only thing you need a capital for is the remnant stations or large bounties, and you can specifically plan an expedition to deal with those things, you won't accidentally have to fight them. By super late game, I just lug capitals around anyway because I have enough money where I don't care.

Since the game presents no win condition, there is no true goal, only what you want. If your goal is only to have the most powerful flagship possible, then yeah, it doesn't make sense to take QOL skills that weaken you. However, My goal is to defeat my enemies, and have fun, so as long as I can build a fleet to defeat any enemy and my personal role in the fleet is fun, I've achieved my goals. I don't compare my ship to my allies, but rather to my enemies. As long as I have the potential to beat them, I'm happy. I'd rather have more powerful enemies than myself since it presents a challenge. Having an OP flagship that murders everything without difficulty is boring for me. (but I can understand that other people do enjoy that)

I've found that both exploration play throughs and combat play throughs can satisfy my goals. I personally enjoy exploration and finding exciting things in the unknown, but I can see how if you didn't enjoy that, the whole play style would seem unappealing. I think people who don't enjoy exploration by itself have probably never committed to it enough to see how reliable, safe and profitable it really is. It's fine if you don't want to play the game that way, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible or enjoyable for someone else.

Ultimately, it's up to Alex to decide what he wants to be possible in the game and what he wants the win conditions (if any) to be. Optimally, he would make all play styles viable, but I don't think that is realistic.
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Seth
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« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2018, 05:27:02 PM »

You're saying about specific fleets and skills needed, but how do you get these skills and particular ships you absolutely need to start exploration? That's right, you grind bounties. For bounties to start racking up creds you need any bucket that can fly and no skills whatsoever. A bit later it is wise to invest into combat more skills than in anything else, because this way you'll be able to survive and defeat enemies with weaker ships and smaller fleets. It would be very inefficient to start spending first skills on exploration, because as soon as you'll get into combat (and you will) with pretty tough enemy, you'll be smashed to pieces.

So by the point you get all requirements to start exploring safe, it just gets irrelevant. Sure, in my endgame, when my storage is full of rare ships and weapons, sometimes I pick small fleet of frigates, freigther with tanker, and not care would I could come across. So in reality you cannot get into exploration fresh off the start and earn even similar cash you earn by bounty runs. By the time you CAN make exploration payouts big, there's no sense in it, because you don't need it anymore, just as roleplaying activity.
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intrinsic_parity
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« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2018, 06:45:57 PM »

You can do the exploration missions to start off with. They pay enough in the early game to sustain you until you get surveying enough crew/heavy machinery to survey. You could also grab salvaging skills and a couple freighters and look for stations to loot. You can never fight a bounty if you don't want to. Fighting a few bounties at the very start certainly helps a little, but it's not necessary. Technically you don't even need surveying skills, you just need to get really lucky and find terran worlds. You can easily win early game combat without skills. A good player with a wolf can ruin most small pirate fleets single handedly and the drones you run into in exploration are trivial. The tutorial also gives you enough ships to be safe for a while.
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Goumindong
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2018, 01:23:28 AM »

A wolf and a dram and a Buffalo can do early exploration content super easy and you only need the Buffalo for loot. (You could run missions/planets without) which is easily within the starting allocation.
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TaLaR
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2018, 03:40:00 AM »

Dram + Lasher + (Cargo) is a good exploration fleet too. Melee (non-SO) Lasher can mow down a lot of remnant/pirate fleets sequentially at just 10% CR per deployment. Which is more stable as the only combatant than Wolf, which uses 20% per battle. Of course you need to know and avoid enemies that non-SO Lasher can't fight against (too fast frigates that are non-SO themselve(as you can wait out/crush SO ones in melee) /properly equipped DE(which is usually not the case for enemies) /carriers with more than 1 wing).
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Dudok22
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2018, 08:15:26 AM »

I would love to play as trader if it was profitable. I think it would be similar to the game "Port Royale" in which it was fun to build up your wealth by trade, building industry and defending it from other factions and pirates. You would finally have reason to use combat freighters and also build different kinds of fleets than "build the most powerful fleet to smash the biggest bounties to earn enough money to pay for the maintenance of your insanely powerful fleet". Going through space, getting attacked by enemy factions, pirates or pathers and trying to defend your cargo with ships that are not always the top military models of the sector would be fun.

One type of mission that could be added is the delivery mission where you pick up their cargo (so you don't have to source it yourself) and just deliver it to the destination for a fee.

Also what if we could sign contracts with factions similar to commissions for long term deliveries of goods for example: Ancyra needs 300 supplies per month and we can pay you 54000 credits each month you can satisfy their demand." This contract is for x months and is nullified with relations penalty if you cant satisfy the demand for 2 months or something like that.

 

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Seth
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2018, 02:01:54 PM »

Again, to start exploring you need at least one tanker, some cheap ships that can hold cargo, someone you who fight and lots of supplies + fuel to get you to far off systems, plus get lucky with actual good loot on your first venture, and there's no way you can afford all that just post tutorial. In far away system, while you traverse, you can come across absolutely anything, and if you can't outrun it, you'll just have to re-roll or reload save.

Bounties are usually in close by systems, you don't need lots of supplies or fuel to get there, you get markets almost everywhere around them, plus lots of friendly/neutrals who can be used as a distraction if you came across something nasty. Exploration might be a valid thing, but bounty hunting is SO MUCH easier and as much profitable, that's what I'm saying.
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Megas
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2018, 03:18:23 PM »

For missions where all you need to do is make contact with a derelict, a Dram tanker is all you really need, although few extra ships should not hurt.  After all, if you get caught, just reload.  If not, you get your easy money and do it again until you earn enough to outfit a proper war fleet.

As for bounties, system bounties seem like an exercise in futility today.  The stray pirates are either too rare or too hard to find.  Before the days of sensors, we could bring up system map, look for triangles, and murder them.  Now, it is like "Where's the pirates?!"  Finding one or two small fleets over a few weeks in-game are not very profitable.

As for named bounties, level scaling made it so that future bounties get bigger and stronger fleets faster than you can afford and you "can't catch up".  If that happens, player is forced to put his fleet in storage and do exploration missions with a Dram.  Once you get an endgame fleet of your own, level scaling is not a problem.  It is early-to-mid game that level scaling hurts.
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xenoargh
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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2018, 06:24:39 PM »

Quote
system bounties seem like an exercise in futility today
The payoff is far too low, agreed.  It should be 2-3X current to be worthwhile.
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intrinsic_parity
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2018, 06:54:27 PM »

I think we just need higher spawn rates of pirates in the area. It seems like the bounties happen randomly and there might not be any pirates there to kill. Maybe with the new mechanics coming to the game, system bounties will happen near pirate outposts that pop up, and there is a big bounty for clearing the outpost and a little one for killing fleets that spawn there.
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Thaago
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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2018, 07:12:14 PM »

As long as there are targets the current system bounties are plenty generous. Normal combat is mildly profitable without losses, so the system bounties are a nice icing on the cake.
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xenoargh
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« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2018, 09:13:16 AM »

Quote
current system bounties are plenty generous
For the same time investment, you can do a Probe and earn far more.

Quote
Normal combat is mildly profitable without losses
For vets, in small fights where you solo things, yes, technically.  But it still feels completely worthless vs. doing literally anything else and is kind of a newbie trap, imo, because hardly anybody else can get enough money out of it and newbies typically won't be soloing those fights; we see, "ran outta supplies, game too hard" posts pretty continuously, which is a strong sign they're playing it "wrong" by doing the things they expect will work, then are giving up in frustration. 

I never bother with the System Bounties when I'm playing the game un-modded, unless it's sheer luck (i.e., my OP fleet dropped in on the rare Pirate Armada worth killing); there are so many better ways to make money. 

Of course, all of these mechanics are probably going to change, now that worrying about Pirate Raids and Stations is a big part of the game.  Perhaps now it'll be profitable to take down Pirate Stations or a Raid will generate enough targets that a System Bounty is a reasonable way to pick up cash.  I'm definitely withholding judgement until we see this next build's features Smiley
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Askaron
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2018, 11:33:32 AM »

how to steadily avoid detection of contraband?

I have a ship with a shielded cargo compartment, if its capacity is 75, and the rest of the fleet is 100, how much can I take smuggling safely?
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