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Author Topic: Carrier balance stuff  (Read 1666 times)

TaLaR

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Carrier balance stuff
« on: September 09, 2018, 01:53:31 AM »

1) Helmsmanship 3 is way too overpowered for carriers. Optimized  skill-less Astral (with UI) is already a tough enough opponent.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I can 1v1 (skill-less) it either with all-killing frigate trio (Hyperion, Afflictor, Shade) or other Capitals (only same Astral or Legion can do so reasonably fast, for non-carriers it's slow and dangerous process of cornering the Astral). And that's without Helmsmanship 3. With it, Astral is pretty much untouchable to all but super frigates and other capital carriers.

2) Flash bombers, or more specifically how other AI fighters fail to handle their mines. PD ones just suicide rush into the minefield,  non-pd fail to make sufficient course corrections to avoid the mines (when engaging/disengaging they just fly straight to target, even if that means going through minefield. When regrouping they also fail to make decent enough attempt to avoid the minefield).
Since you can't correct this suicidal behavior by manually leading your fighters by waypoints or forcing them to stay docked, the only possible counter (as a carrier) is to  attack with more Flash bombers yourself.

3) Bomber control: you'd think you could at least defend against enemy's Flash bombers with few ones of your own. But there is another problem - they can effectively attack only larger/slower ships.
If 2 carriers target each other, one with more Flashes wins, but as the smaller one, you can't defensively target incoming fighter wave (Flash bombers won't drop mines against maneuverable targets).
Would be nice if (any) bombers interpreted command to attack a fighter as 'don't try to precisely hit single fighter in question, just carpet bomb general area (require much less precision to release bombs)'.
Separate area bombardment command would be nice for defensive usage too (ignored by fighters except free-fall bombers) - like pick starting point and direction.
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Embolism

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2018, 06:10:20 AM »

For 2., fighters in general need to be a lot less keen to fly straight into incoming ordnance. Approaching fighters should try to weave away from incoming fire, not facetank them (especially if they don't have shields); and too often do I see Talons fly straight into Pilums rather than flying around then and shooting them down...
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Megas

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2018, 06:44:45 AM »

Quote
1) Helmsmanship 3 is way too overpowered for carriers. Optimized  skill-less Astral (with UI) is already a tough enough opponent.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I can 1v1 (skill-less) it either with all-killing frigate trio (Hyperion, Afflictor, Shade) or other Capitals (only same Astral or Legion can do so reasonably fast, for non-carriers it's slow and dangerous process of cornering the Astral). And that's without Helmsmanship 3. With it, Astral is pretty much untouchable to all but super frigates and other capital carriers.
Helmsmanship 3 is unbalanced.  Overpowered for carriers, useless for other warships that matter (even with 5%).  Arriving to the front-line faster with shields up before losing the speed bonus is not worth a skill point.

Combat 3 is required for this alone if you want to dabble with carriers or even warships with Converted Hangar.  With Technology and Leadership required for all optimized characters, this is another tax.  This is why empty aptitudes do not work.  All optimized characters will spend at least nine points into them.

That said, even with Helmsmanship 3, it is not enough for carriers to surpass Aurora and Paragon.  Optimized Paragon outperforms optimized Astral, although they require different skills.  Aurora might be able to outperform Heron and Mora, or at least kill as many ships in less time (because Aurora might need Safety Override or missiles to do it, which is undesirable when endurance is the goal).

As for enemy Astral duel, capitals might need to resort to a peak performance war if Astral cannot be cornered.  At least Astral is one of those with less time.  If the defender can destroy incoming fighters, it will wear down Astral, and wings that have been completely wiped out will tick down peak performance even if no enemies are present, until one fighter in the wing is rebuilt.

P.S.  Helmsmanship 3 is a reason why (unarmed) Drover is head-and-shoulders above other destroyers.  It has just enough speed to outrun everything, and it can maintain replacement rate with its system.  360 shields combined with endless kiting is all the defense it needs.  Heron is up there near Aurora with this too.

I remember one time when I was ready to upgrade my flagship to a cruiser around midgame, I had a choice between Eagle and Heron.  I almost picked Eagle by reflex, but thought... if I have trouble with cowardly AI with Wolf and Medusa flagship, how would I catch the enemy with an even slower ship?  Heron, on the other hand, has fighters that can chase down cowards.  My personal firepower may be weak, but the fighters should deal with that.  After picking Heron, it soon became apparent I made the right choice.  Heron was able to deal with a wide variety of enemies.

As for Talons, I do not mind them dying.  They need to die to unleash two Swarmers every time they attack.  (Talon launches two Swarmers, it dies, replacement arrives a moment later possibly without taxing replacement rate, dumps two more.)  Talons can replace so fast that them dying is a benefit.  For other fighters, dying hurts.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 06:57:16 AM by Megas »
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TaLaR

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 10:22:16 AM »

Helmsmanship 3 is unbalanced.  Overpowered for carriers, useless for other warships that matter (even with 5%).  Arriving to the front-line faster with shields up before losing the speed bonus is not worth a skill point.

Yeah, it's only useful for carriers and beam-boats with weapon flux below dissipation.

As for Talons, I do not mind them dying.  They need to die to unleash two Swarmers every time they attack.  (Talon launches two Swarmers, it dies, replacement arrives a moment later possibly without taxing replacement rate, dumps two more.)  Talons can replace so fast that them dying is a benefit.  For other fighters, dying hurts.

Even with Talons, it's a problem if almost all your fighters get deleted instantly and keep suiciding into mines as soon as rebuilt. Which is what Flash bombers cause.
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Megas

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 11:01:20 AM »

I forgot to mention that Unstable Injector compounds the Helmsmanship 3/speed problem.  The range penalty from Unstable Injector is usually not worth it for warships, but dedicated carriers that rely solely on fighters for damage do not care because their fighters are not affected.  Astral with both Helmsmanship 3 and Unstable Injector does not have much trouble kiting from other capitals.  (As for smaller ships attacking Astral, Recall Device and they die from fighter swarm in their face.)  Dedicated carriers that eschew conventional weapons and exploit both Helmsmanship 3 and Unstable Injector may be faster than their base speeds may imply.  This is how Drover can become fast enough to kite from everything that can threaten it.
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TaLaR

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 11:20:58 AM »

UI is free (aside from OP) for pure carriers, sure. And applying range penalty to fighters leash wouldn't matter much - 75% of it is still enough to not worry. How about UI reducing replenishment rate as well as weapon range?
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Alex

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 11:24:03 AM »

From the current (as yet unpublished) batch of patch notes:

Ordering fighters to engage builds flux up to slightly above 5%
Unstable Injector: now also increases fighter replacement time by 25%
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Megas

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 11:36:56 AM »

UI is free (aside from OP) for pure carriers, sure. And applying range penalty to fighters leash wouldn't matter much - 75% of it is still enough to not worry. How about UI reducing replenishment rate as well as weapon range?
True.  The only way a range penalty would work is if it was so much that it turned all fighters into support fighters like Xyphos, which defeats the point of interceptors and bombers.

UI might cost OP, but if the carrier does not need ITU due to no weapons, then it merely swaps one mod for another.

<looks at Alex's post above...>

Maybe Unstable Injector can speed up replacement rate drain when fighter wings are down too?  Part of what makes Expanded Deck Crew great is not only fighter replacement is faster, but also that replacement rate drain from lost wings is slower.  Expanded Deck Crew is very powerful on any carrier that can take it, not only on dedicated carriers but also battlestars (namely Legion) that fight primarily as warships.
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Alex

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2018, 11:42:26 AM »

Part of the reason for rate being so important right now is that it's... bugged. That is, it applies twice - a 50% replacement rate means .5 * .5 = an actual 25% replacement rate. So, anything that directly helps with it has an outsized influence.

I *think* it'll be less important with that fixed, since a carrier is much less crippled even when it's down to 30%. I mean, 30% is still bad, but it's not "completely useless as a carrier" as it is when it's actually 9%.
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Megas

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 11:51:46 AM »

That might make Expanded Deck Crew a bit less critical.  I might not have recognized that square penalty bug, but did notice the effects enough that I thought part of building effective carriers was never allowing replacement rate drop much below 80% in the first place.

I am not sure.  I suspect the new UI penalty may not be enough to carriers.  If using UI means the difference between kiting or getting caught and killed, especially since Helmsmanship 3 will not be an option anymore, then UI may still be must-have, but that may be okay since such carriers do not need ITU in the first place.

Helmsmanship 3 not working for carriers anymore will probably stop the worst of carriers' kiting while everything else dies from their fighters.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 12:03:18 PM by Megas »
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Alex

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 12:05:20 PM »

I think it might depend on what you want the carrier for. If you're trying to solo-kite things with it, then UI will be required almost no matter what, right? But if you're using it to support other ships, those points might be better spent elsewhere.
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Megas

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 12:15:59 PM »

Maybe, but given how AI loves to cower, UI may be useful anyway (provided the AI carrier does not lose its mind and try to melee ships with flak).  It is not like a dedicated carrier can stand up to a warship.  But given how OP hungry carriers are, I suppose UI can be dropped if carriers are not soloing things.

The worst problem I have with some carriers built to solo enemies, like Heron with only dual flak mounted and high-end fighters, before being handed off to the AI is it thinks it can approach the enemy as close as possible before blasting it with dual flak, despite having dual flak mounted only for missile defense.  I suppose I could put a Timid officer to stop that, which is not ideal.  Stuff like completely unarmed Drover is not a problem, they run and hang back as appropriate.
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Alex

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 12:23:01 PM »

Let me make a note about that; will see if that's an easy-ish fix.
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Megas

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 12:32:00 PM »

@ Alex: The problem with ship armed with only PD attempting to fight with PD weapons happened either without an officer or one with Steady personality, cannot remember which, but it should not matter since default personality should be Steady.

* * *

Without Helmsmanship 3 allowing zero-flux speed while fighters are engaged, Converted Hangar appears less useful.  By that, I mean instead of being a very powerful top pick (almost to the point of no-brainer) for any cruiser or capital, it can vary in usefulness depending what you need.  If you do not want to constantly toggle fighter status to squeeze out max speed (or cannot trust the AI to do it for their ships), warship may be better without it.  But, it is still useful for special uses like, say... Dominator getting EMP weaponry via Claw fighters.
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Schwartz

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Re: Carrier balance stuff
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 01:02:02 PM »

Hell, instead of adding a bunch of other strange maluses to UI, it could just be made that drive boosters can't be used on ships with hangars, including converted hangars. Something about high and unpredictable speeds crashing launching/docking fighters right into the bulkheads. Elegant solution to curb kiting with the ships that are clearly too good at it.

Replacement rate extremes being fixed should do some good, especially because the positive extreme turns PD into an arcade shooter against endless waves. Ridiculous as far as logistics are concerned, not to mention skilled pilots and loss of lives.

More granular controls for your fighters/bombers and giving the NPCs the same kind of control for their wings is #1. This is what's holding the new fighter mechanic back right now as a shadow of its former self. The comparison of fighters being endless missile supplies (but better) is apt, and this not a good place to be. The only way I can see this improved is to regress to something the old version had. Give fighters some of their AI and autonomy back within the new framework. Make them feel different again.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 01:04:22 PM by Schwartz »
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