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Author Topic: Bring frigates back to the late game.  (Read 2705 times)
Blaine
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« Reply #105 on: November 06, 2018, 09:33:02 PM »

If infinite kiting works best, I do not hesitate to use it.

Unless frigate kiting is just as fast as slugging it out with a proper fleet, one can hardly describe it as being the objectively best strategy.

It stands to reason that frigate kiting is slower, because 1.) the mechanic used to kill frigate kiting strategies is essentially a timer, and 2.) a proper fleet has far more damage output.

However, I haven't yet received a definitive answer. So, here is a definitive question: Is frigate kiting slower than using a proper fleet?
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intrinsic_parity
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« Reply #106 on: November 06, 2018, 09:43:08 PM »

Speed is not the issue. Frigate kiting costs very few supplies, and has almost zero risk, as opposed to a full fleet battle with substantial deployment cost and recovery cost, as well as the (substantial) risk of losing ships that are quite valuable. If you lose 2 frigates and a destroyer, thats probably 80-100k credits to replace with all weapons etc, plus the time searching to find suitable hulls and weapons. That is a very substantial portion of any bounty payment, so mitigating that risk is well worth some time investment from an 'optimum play' perspective. For endgame bounties, you can easily lose much more than that in a fleet battle, so the risk/reward equation is quite simple.
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Blaine
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« Reply #107 on: November 06, 2018, 10:51:21 PM »

Speed is not the issue. Frigate kiting costs very few supplies, and has almost zero risk, as opposed to a full fleet battle with substantial deployment cost and recovery cost, as well as the (substantial) risk of losing ships that are quite valuable. If you lose 2 frigates and a destroyer, thats probably 80-100k credits to replace with all weapons etc, plus the time searching to find suitable hulls and weapons. That is a very substantial portion of any bounty payment, so mitigating that risk is well worth some time investment from an 'optimum play' perspective. For endgame bounties, you can easily lose much more than that in a fleet battle, so the risk/reward equation is quite simple.

This makes very little sense to me, because as far as I can tell, only bad players lose proper endgame fleet battles. After all, I'm an inexperienced and probably very average player playing on Normal, and yet I obliterate all enemy fleets, including 3:2 REDACTED battles in which I'm badly outnumbered, as though they were made of tissue paper. When I transferred my save to Nexerelin on Normal (to explore its features and experiment with some of the ship and weapon mods I installed; soon, I'll start over with a new character), for some reason I began winning fleet battles even more handily than I had before, with the same fleet. I had to double-check my save info to make sure I hadn't accidentally enabled Easy mode.

I'm not saying that I never lose a ship, but it's rare, and winning battles 2-4x faster than I could with frigate kiting earns me far more profit (and reputation, and experience, etc.) than frigate kiting ever would.

Bad players resorting to kiting to win is the absolute opposite of a reason to try to eliminate kiting. Very few games should ever be balanced around the exploits that bad players might resort to, except possibly multiplayer online games.

I know this is a very brash and bold post, and that tone doesn't always convey well over the Internet, but a disclaimer: I'm very calm. I'm not trying to go in for an argument-based killshot here. However, if you were trying to convince me that frigate kiting is a huge problem that required sweeping changes to prevent, at the moment I'm only leaning even more toward believing that it isn't.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 10:53:13 PM by Blaine » Logged
Thaago
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« Reply #108 on: November 06, 2018, 11:47:02 PM »

The issue lies not in late game fleets (which you are correct are basically invulnerable) but in early game contests where a properly tuned, fast player ship can take on huge fleets of frigates and destroyers (and even cruisers).

The problem is the combination of:
a) kiting and grinding the enemy down lets you win fights you otherwise would have no hope of winning without a fast kiting ship. If you can dart in with a wolf and get a single shot in on armor/hull before retreating yourself, you will win without trouble. This is a strategy that lets the player win impossible fights early, catapulting them into the mid and late game. This could be done either purely solo, or with a couple of similar speed tuned flanking buddies.
b) it is an incredibly tedious and boring strategy, once you have the piloting skill. (Its pretty exciting the first time you pull it off, but not the third.)

Its not a bad player exploit, but the dominant early game good player strategy (that can get the player out of impossible jams). Trading boring real world time for the best strategy is imo poor gameplay.

Also, to re-emphasize cause its been a bit lost in the thread, but CR doesn't just stop kiting: it allows for drastically different ship types by trading time for power.
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Blaine
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« Reply #109 on: November 07, 2018, 01:55:35 AM »

The issue lies not in late game fleets (which you are correct are basically invulnerable) but in early game contests where a properly tuned, fast player ship can take on huge fleets of frigates and destroyers (and even cruisers).

The problem is the combination of:
a) kiting and grinding the enemy down lets you win fights you otherwise would have no hope of winning without a fast kiting ship. If you can dart in with a wolf and get a single shot in on armor/hull before retreating yourself, you will win without trouble. This is a strategy that lets the player win impossible fights early, catapulting them into the mid and late game. This could be done either purely solo, or with a couple of similar speed tuned flanking buddies.
b) it is an incredibly tedious and boring strategy, once you have the piloting skill. (Its pretty exciting the first time you pull it off, but not the third.)

Yeah, it sounds like it was incredibly tedious and took a long time. It also sounds as though playing the game normally would have required only a somewhat larger time investment—except that the time spent would have been a whole lot more enjoyable, and thus (in my mind) a much better investment overall.

From my point of view, deliberately choosing to spend ten hours being bored and frustrated instead of spending fifteen hours having fun to reach the very same point (the midgame of Starsector, in this case) is incomprehensible. That puts me at a disadvantage in this conversation, and I truly wish that I could understand. That's not meant to be some lame insult; I just don't get it. I'm aware some people are that way, but it's beyond my understanding.

I mean, Starsector is a great game, right? How many other games like Starsector exist out there in this day and age? Why would anyone be in such a hurry to rush through as quickly as possible? Surely you're better off taking your time and enjoying it. It seems to me that many of you equate "best" with "shortest amount of time." Is this game a chore to you? Even if you just want to get to the midgame quickly, there are mods that will get you there in 0 hours. Modding really isn't worse than deliberately exploiting the game, and is much faster.

Trading boring real world time for the best strategy is imo poor gameplay.

That's true, and it's why I wouldn't do it even if it were still possible, nor would I consider it to be the best strategy.

A game's developer need not plug every potential exploit in order for me to recognize which mechanics can be exploited and avoid exploiting them. I consider games a sort of partnership between myself and the developer: They're building me a world, and I'm agreeing to have fun in their world. I have no wish to identify all the ways the game can be broken, and then break it. That isn't a condemnation of people who do like to identify and exploit weaknesses; it's their game, they can and should play it however they enjoy doing so (although, I don't always like being affected by design decisions that cater to them).

One interesting thing to note about the article Alex linked is that the earlier Civilization games (plus Alpha Centauri), despite not physically preventing players from exploiting certain mechanics if they choose to, are still considered the pinnacle of the series by the great majority of longtime fans. Alpha Centauri in particular is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the entire 4X genre, and has never been surpassed. It's still installed on my computer, I play it single-player and PBEM (with a bunch of Brazilian guys, oddly enough) every year, and yes, it can easily be exploited by experts... but we don't.
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Megas
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« Reply #110 on: November 07, 2018, 04:47:26 AM »

Because there are players where winning is the only thing that matters, and if a choice must be made between fun and optimal, they choose optimal, even if it hurts.  They do not necessarily need to be min-max junkies to do it.

As for mods, I tend to prefer no mod play in Starsector.  I occasionally play with them, but if I do not play Starsector very much, I want Starsector to stand on its own two feet.  I have played few games before that needed mods to be good.
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Cyan Leader
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« Reply #111 on: November 07, 2018, 05:44:56 AM »

How about large stations (or absurdly very large boss carriers) that have frigates work as "fighters"? Could be a way to keep them around in the lategame.

Edit: I also strongly agree with Blaine. I understand that some are compelled to min-max but I really don't think most players give up on potential other ways to enjoy the game just because it isn't optimal. Take a game like Dark Souls for example. It's really easy to cheese a lot of the content if you summon people, which would give you the most damage and it's the easiest and safest way to go through the content, but a lot of people don't summon and even limit themselves to using poor weapons or not using shields because that adds new elements to the game that they enjoy. Others experiment starting with different areas and to the extreme of that you have people running SL1 NG+ runs. Point is that there are massive communities out there playing the game in ways they enjoy the most (people playing RTS games with no rush rulesets, roleplaying, speedrunning in general) and I don't think these options simply disappear from a game because it simply isn't "optimal", whatever the criteria you are running to define that.

In my opinion this is an issue for multiplayer games to tackle, in which most people will try to optimize and thus suffers heavily if the best way to play the game is dull. Starsector, on the other hand, just needs to have a good balance in which most options are at least enjoyable and desirable.

Edit2: It'd also like to add that I sometimes do runs without CR on (or when I chain deploy) and kiting never got old to me. I thoroughly enjoy taking down a large fleet while being severely outgunned, it's exciting and fun all the time due to the different ships I run and face. To each their own but to minimize that to "tedious and boring" is just odd to me.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 06:05:28 AM by Cyan Leader » Logged
Blaine
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« Reply #112 on: November 07, 2018, 10:14:25 PM »

Another example would be classic computer RPGs like Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate/II. In those games, you could order your party to rest at any time, restoring hit points and spell uses per day. There was nothing physically preventing people from resting as much as they pleased, so some players would go all-out in every combat encounter, blow all their spells, etc., and just rest after each battle. No doubt some would have considered that the "optimal" way to play. I never did that. I tried to go as long as I possibly could without resting, conserving my spells, and playing as cautiously and tactically as I could, until finally being forced to rest. I knew that resting could be abused, but didn't.

Since some players will apparently abuse any available exploit, J.E. Saywer, project lead of Pillars of Eternity at Obsidian Entertainment, deliberately designed their Baldur's Gate successor with "camping supplies" and other mechanics that limited resting when away from safe zones. I won't delve too deeply into the specifics, but I felt that this decision harmed the overall gameplay and created a new and undesirable meta-game aspect.

Anyway, I just hope that if Alex ever does decide frigates are lacking and in need of a more substantial role in Starsector's endgame, he'll find some good ideas in this thread or another one, regardless of what form those changes take.
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Linnis
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« Reply #113 on: November 11, 2018, 06:26:25 PM »

Sure Tempest or medusa vs whole fleet can be fun and arguably an alternative gameplay to what Alex seem to force on us with CR. But some restrictions also help alot with the immersion. The "camping mechanic" you mentioned is in alot of games nowadays too to create a sense of urgency. Only when implemented badly it can create boring abusive strategies.

Also, solo ship vs whole fleet can be fun for 50 or so hours. But it gets old fast. Lots of ships fighting in both sides is much more fun, while the player still has huge power to chain wipe fleets.

Frigates are fine in late game in the current release. I use them all the time as they provide for good distractions and is cheap to field and maintain with industry perks. Only down side is always having to refit them and they getting in the way of your big guns occasionally.



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Megas
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« Reply #114 on: November 11, 2018, 06:51:49 PM »

The only problem with soloing is the time it takes to resolve fights.  In 0.65, I start with a small fleet and soloing was optimal with small Logistics limit, until later when I get Leadership 10 and max Logistics, then can use forty frigate horde of doom.  0.7 killed that (with 25 ship fleet cap and super-skilled officers), and soloing was the best way (for resource conservation), but it took time to finish fights (about fifteen to twenty minutes, if enemy did not have Timid officers.  With Timid officers, over an hour).
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