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Author Topic: The Wasp sucks  (Read 2472 times)
HELMUT
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« on: September 16, 2018, 01:43:32 AM »

The Wasp fighter is the second best interceptor in the game just behind the Spark. It is fast, its PD laser don't miss, and its proximity mine will create a death zone against any other fighters and missiles. With 6 fighters by wings, they also tend to outnumber any other crafts. All in all, without a doubt an ideal interceptor.

Or at least in theory.

For some context, in some of my recent campaigns, i have been experimenting eschewing Point Defenses on my ships. To compensate for that, i assign an interceptor filled carrier as an escort to whatever needs it the most. With the escort order, the carrier will send its fighters to protect its designated target when in danger. And it worked! I was now flying a PD free fleet, delegating the anti-fighter and anti-missile duty to a bunch of escort Mora filled with Interceptors.

Initially, the Wasp seemed like a perfect fit for that role, unfortunately i quickly noted how... Absent my interceptors have been in all of my battles. They properly showed up for the first clash between fleets, and then started to disappear, leaving my PD-less ships vulnerable to missiles and bombers. Surprisingly, that issue was much less noticeable with say, Talons, or some other mod interceptors, which were steadily covering my butt for the entire fight.

After a digging a bit deeper, i found the issue with my Wasps, and it wasn't the interceptors themselves, but the carriers. The replacement rate would quickly reach the 30% mark, only trickling down a few lone fighters once in a while to the frontline. With other fighters, it would rarely go below 50%. There's one reasons for that : Wasps are fragile, half as tough as a Talon, so they tend to die a lot. And because there's 6 of those per wing, that makes for a lot of dead fighters, which degrade the replacement rate very, very quickly. Once the carrier reaches 30% RT, the interceptors can no longer fullfill their role, and getting back up to an acceptable RT level becomes nearly impossible, especially during hectic battles.

Two solutions to fix this. Either makes the Wasp tougher to prevent it from dying in droves. Armoring it doesn't seems appropriate for a high-tech drone, as for a shielded Wasp like back when Starsector was Starfarer, that would make it too much like the Spark in my opinion.

The other solution, much simpler and appropriate in my opinion, would be lowering the replacement time. It will still die by the bucketload, but i would matter less. I tested it with a modified base replacement time of 2, then 3 instead of 5 (like the Talon). BRT of 2 allows for a constant screening around 90/100% replacement rate in small skirmishes, and would go down around 40/50% in intense battles. BRT of 3 doesn't makes the replacement rate go below 80% in small battles, but will eventually reach 30% during larger encounters.
 
For reference, i did most of my testing on the missions Hornet's Nest and Nothing Personal with autopilot, with a Wasp loaded Heron as the escort in both scenarios.

Also, kinda off-topic, but not completely. I would like the ability to target a friendly ship on the tactical screen. It's possible to do so for enemies, but not allies, and would be useful when you want to send your fighters to cover one of your ships that is too far to be "targeted" normally.

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Cyan Leader
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 04:03:27 AM »

Seems fair, I like the second solution more too.
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mehgamer
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 04:09:22 AM »

See, I've found similar results, but I maintain very enthusiastically that wasps are still the best single-wing interceptors in the game.  I just also believe that it's bad form at best, and tactically suicidal at worst, to exclusively mount light interceptors on a multi-wing carrier.  And on single wing ones, I rarely give them anything but more multi-purpose craft.  This offsets the fragile-ness of wasps and similar craft, in addition to granting them a thicker screen to hide behind.  The longer you keep your wasps in the area, the more proxy mines they disgorge.  You can also, technically, say the same for the more wasps you deploy, except wasps alone are - as you've found - incredibly fragile and incapable of self defense.  Having thicker, more durable fighters that last longer in a fight limits how many ships the carrier has to be constantly replacing, a strategy I also used in one of the AI Tournaments.

While sending 18 wasps per mora into the fray may make the first burn as large as possible, you'd notice quite quickly that the number of proxy mines dropped immediately won't be 18 - some of your flying dots got shot down already!  And since proxy mines have no delay fuse and negligible friendly fire potential (the only fighters at risk are the ones without functioning engines), you may find that they're actually better when deployed during a dogfight rather than while approaching - it's like a sudden burst of explosive damage centered roughly around the wasp, detonating directly in the center of a group of enemy fighters.  Harder to shoot down on approach, and far more likely to hit multiple targets.

In a game as varied in content as this, I also think that using exclusively one item such as a ship, weapon, or fighter in this case is not representative of the game at large.  Things are intended to have various tradeoffs both straightforward and contextual, and refusing this design in favor of simply brute forcing a standardization means you'll inevitably exaggerate the weaknesses of your chosen subject.

Also, Carthago delenda est Talons are overpowered.
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Inventor Raccoon
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 04:16:30 AM »

Perhaps a test to see if Wasps fare better if some wings are substituted with Gladius or other fighters designed for bulking up squishier fighter groups is in order.
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Megas
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 05:57:22 AM »

HELMUT explained why I do not use Wasps.  They drag replacement rate down, which is the king of stats for carriers (except maybe top speed to kite-and-snipe with said fighters).  It also does not help that their PD lasers stink at killing big ships.

One solution, lower their OP cost to 0.  Talons are too strong at 0 OP, but Wasps are too weak at 5 OP.  Yes, Wasps kill replacement, but you get what you pay for, except you do not with Wasps at 5 OP.  Of course, quickening replacement as HELMUT suggesting maybe be more fun than that.

When I did my fighter tests over a year ago, Wasps performed the worst out of all of the fighters at killing ships.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 05:59:00 AM by Megas » Logged
cardgame
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 06:35:53 AM »

Well, that's literally the last thing Wasps were ever designed to do.
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Gothars
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 06:48:37 AM »

I think this might be important for the conversation:

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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TaLaR
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2018, 06:58:45 AM »

Wasps perform well in the first wave (against other fighters), but then they can't hold advantage due to extreme replacement drain and can't exploit the small windows they gained due to very low dps.

Also, why bother with Wasps, when Flash bombers are about as good at killing fighters (when fighter waves collide head on), and suffer way less attrition (their bombs are the best saturation distraction). While also being a real threat to larger ships.

Fixing replacement rate applied twice bug shouldn't help Wasps much - at least not in context of comparison against other fighters (which would get same benefit).
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Megas
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2018, 08:18:17 AM »

I would like fighters being useful beyond killing fighters, because fighters are merely missiles that use a different mount.  If all Wasps are good for is anti-fighter, then all I have done it put detachable PD lasers on my ship.

Quote
Also, why bother with Wasps, when Flash bombers are about as good at killing fighters (when fighter waves collide head on), and suffer way less attrition (their bombs are the best saturation distraction). While also being a real threat to larger ships.
For that matter, why bother with Wasps when Talons can do the job for free and be a threat to more than fighters only?
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AxleMC131
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2018, 11:15:15 PM »

I would like fighters being useful beyond killing fighters, because fighters are merely missiles that use a different mount.  If all Wasps are good for is anti-fighter, then all I have done it put detachable PD lasers on my ship.

Anti-ship fighters exist: They're called bombers. Wasps are designed to be extremely good at killing other fighters, and utterly terrible at anything else - why is that a problem?  Huh Why is it a problem to have specialized content with particular roles?

You're basically talking about using a lorry in a Nascar race, and then complaining that it isn't fast enough. Well no s***, but you won't exactly see a race car hauling a hundred tonnes of cargo between cities either. Not everything has to be good at everything.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2018, 11:26:19 PM »

Interceptors kill missiles. Fighters kill interceptors/bombers/fighters. Bombers kill frigates+

There are a few fighter types (broadsword/warthog) that are good at killing frigates+ And a few interceptors ok at killing fighters. (The heavy one with 8k range, and the xyphos)

The wasp is really good at killing missiles. Probably the most effective of the interceptors. If you have proper fighter cover so they don’t get shot down then they will kill a lot of missiles.
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TaLaR
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 12:13:27 AM »

Interceptors kill missiles. Fighters kill interceptors/bombers/fighters. Bombers kill frigates+

There are a few fighter types (broadsword/warthog) that are good at killing frigates+ And a few interceptors ok at killing fighters. (The heavy one with 8k range, and the xyphos)

The wasp is really good at killing missiles. Probably the most effective of the interceptors. If you have proper fighter cover so they don’t get shot down then they will kill a lot of missiles.

I'd say no interceptors are really good against proper missile attack. Squalls/Annihilators/Locusts/Flash mines/Piranha bombs all easily overwhelm Wasps, killing a lot of them in process (PD fighters do not try to avoid collision with interception target). Then you just mix in some Longbows/Daggers to exploit opening created by saturation attacks.

Back to topic of improving Wasp - I think mostly behavioral changes could work too. Since most of Wasp usefulness comes from Stinger mine, they should immediately resupply on using them up, like bombers. To make better use of PD beam in process, it should have 360 rotation.
Also make them use said mines against larger targets, possibly only when executing engage order to avoid compromising defensive functions. Considering how fast wasps are as a delivery platform, hitting even faster frigates with mines would not be a problem. This would also help with survival - dropping mine and going back is much more survivable than trying to stick.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 05:15:59 AM by TaLaR » Logged
Megas
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2018, 05:06:50 AM »

Anti-ship fighters exist: They're called bombers.
Actually, that is all of the fighters, except Wasps, and the so-called support fighters Mining Pods and Xyphos.  If you min-max carrier stuff, you can deploy enough of any wing, except the aforementioned three, and they will kill anything.  Some take longer to kill than others, but they will get the job done.  This is very handy when you have a big slow carrier (like Legion), and the enemy is a bunch of fast, cowardly ships (anything sub-capital) that refuse to engage.

At least with Mining Pod, they are free (but why take them when Talons are superior - and common as dirt!)  Xyphos is outperformed by the much cheaper Claw, and their beam range is not as long as the motherships' weapons for those ships that want to kite from maximum range.

There is a reason why I call fighters better missiles than missiles.

Why is it a problem to have specialized content with particular roles?
Not a problem per se, but when Wasps are only good for one thing, while nearly every other fighter is good and/or better for multiple things, including the thing Wasps may be good at, not to mention Talons are free and Open Market common, why use Wasps?  The main problem with Wasps is they are too fragile and will drag replacement rate down.  Mix Wasps for your carrier, and the rate will fall because they die so easily.  It does not help that Wasps are not good at damaging most things either.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 05:17:01 AM by Megas » Logged
Goumindong
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2018, 07:59:09 AM »

Interceptors kill missiles. Fighters kill interceptors/bombers/fighters. Bombers kill frigates+

There are a few fighter types (broadsword/warthog) that are good at killing frigates+ And a few interceptors ok at killing fighters. (The heavy one with 8k range, and the xyphos)

The wasp is really good at killing missiles. Probably the most effective of the interceptors. If you have proper fighter cover so they don’t get shot down then they will kill a lot of missiles.

I'd say no interceptors are really good against proper missile attack. Squalls/Annihilators/Locusts/Flash mines/Piranha bombs all easily overwhelm Wasps, killing a lot of them in process (PD fighters do not try to avoid collision with interception target). Then you just mix in some Longbows/Daggers to exploit opening created by saturation attacks.

Back to topic of improving Wasp - I think mostly behavioral changes could work too. Since most of Wasp usefulness comes from Stinger mine, they should immediately resupply on using them up, like bombers. To make better use of PD beam in process, it should have 360 rotation.
Also make them use said mines against larger targets, possibly only when executing engage order to avoid compromising defensive functions. Considering how fast wasps are as a delivery platform, hitting even faster frigates with mines would not be a problem. This would also help with survival - dropping mine and going back is much more survivable than trying to stick.

Most interceptors are really good against proper missile attacks and wasps are by far the best. Its true that some weapons overwhelm them, but not usually the particularly dangerous ones, and not usually in quantities that would be reasonable.

A Wasp is 5 OP and will easily stop a wave of bombers missiles/bombs (10+ OP) or the rockets from a medium sized launcher(non squall) (10 OP). They aren't perfect, but they don't have to be in order to be effective. They bring 24 OP worth of PD laser at likely an extended range to your own PD lasers. Its actually cheaper to fix a makeshift hangar and a squadron of wasps than it is to fit 6 PD weapons on your own ship*... And sure a fleet of like 6 wasps is going to be weak against a fleet of 2 broadswords, 2  longbows, and 2 tridents but they should be. The broadswords are anti-wasp devices and the total OP cost of the second is 60 higher!

Wasps rearming after dropping their bomb is OK but they should only do this if they're in recall mode. They're interceptors and not bombers and the proximity mine is there to dissuade fighters/take out additional missiles. 360 deg firing won't make much of a difference.

*At all levels of ship with the exception of capital. If you assume the 10 flux/1 OP cost associated with firing the weapon must also be accounted for then you're positive on all ship sizes.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 08:11:23 AM by Goumindong » Logged
TaLaR
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2018, 02:09:00 PM »

Most interceptors are really good against proper missile attacks and wasps are by far the best. Its true that some weapons overwhelm them, but not usually the particularly dangerous ones, and not usually in quantities that would be reasonable.

A Wasp is 5 OP and will easily stop a wave of bombers missiles/bombs (10+ OP) or the rockets from a medium sized launcher(non squall) (10 OP). They aren't perfect, but they don't have to be in order to be effective. They bring 24 OP worth of PD laser at likely an extended range to your own PD lasers. Its actually cheaper to fix a makeshift hangar and a squadron of wasps than it is to fit 6 PD weapons on your own ship*... And sure a fleet of like 6 wasps is going to be weak against a fleet of 2 broadswords, 2  longbows, and 2 tridents but they should be. The broadswords are anti-wasp devices and the total OP cost of the second is 60 higher!

Wasps rearming after dropping their bomb is OK but they should only do this if they're in recall mode. They're interceptors and not bombers and the proximity mine is there to dissuade fighters/take out additional missiles. 360 deg firing won't make much of a difference.

*At all levels of ship with the exception of capital. If you assume the 10 flux/1 OP cost associated with firing the weapon must also be accounted for then you're positive on all ship sizes.

There is not much point in minor PD, at least for player ship. Either you go all in with flaks or need to be able to shield tank missiles (because no other PD can be relied on).
While AI may not design carries/missile ships like that, 'proper' missile attack means using heavy hitters combined with saturation/flares to counter PD. Like Broadsword x1 + Flash x2 + Longbow x2 + Dagger x1, while showering enemy with Squalls for Astral.

They are very much theoretically 6xPD laser, in practice they die against anything with turreted guns too fast if they try to engage. While ships weak enough to be kill-able by Wasps die way faster to cheaper Talons (both in OP and replenishment-drain).

Currently they do not rearm even on regroup. As for engage drop mine -> return behavior, it would greatly increase their survival rate (both due to much shorter contact and mine being PD distraction). And at 325 speed rearming won't take long. 360 turret would help in that case, since they wouldn't be able to face enemy so much while running away to rearm.
Proximity mine is clearly their main armament (looking at practical impact), not using it against target ship makes their current engage behavior quite useless - they die too quickly to try and keep mine for later.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 02:21:35 PM by TaLaR » Logged
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