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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Skills and Story Points (07/08/19)

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Author Topic: The Problem of Energy Weapons  (Read 3702 times)

Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #195 on: September 11, 2019, 10:51:57 AM »

Sorry by "good" i mean better. Because if they do, according to you, do good armor and shield damage and hard flux, with great shot speed and accuracy and recoil... then what are you complaining about?

They use too much flux? Fit fewer of them! They aren't efficient enough? I thought you just said they did good armor and shield damage...
They do good damage, but when it comes to tough shields (or enemies with lots of 1.0 and under efficient kinetics), "good" is not good enough unless the weapon is efficient enough.  I have no problem with heavy energy weapons, but for smaller ones, bad range and efficiency (and high flux cost for some ships) brings them too far down.  This is a reason why high-tech warships that cannot use ballistics have either many Sabots and Expanded Missile Racks (Shrike, Aurora) to mitigate flux war disadvantage or many mounts empty to maximize flux stats via hullmods (Aurora, Odyssey, maybe Apogee) to hopefully get an edge in the flux war when I use them.  (Tempest, I use as a pursuit ship to kill wimps or cripples it can overpower.)  If I try anything else, they either lose the flux war or get in a stalemate.

For conventional warships, I generally use less high-tech than midline or low-tech in my fleet.  Early game, I favor mostly low-tech and midline, aside from starter Apogee.  By endgame, I do not use many warships.  Majority of my endgame fleet are carriers or phase ships (or civilians).  For warships late, I tend to favor midline, though I bring Paragon as my flagship of choice and Conquest as backup.
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Goumindong

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #196 on: September 11, 2019, 11:44:32 AM »

Maybe if you're not warship focused you might miss out on the advantages that high tech warships have to offer?

I almost never fly carrier heavy fleets by the end game. And while I do like mid-line for endgame fleets i do not find that high tech warship fleets are weak in the slightest even if they tend to be a bit better in the early game when fleets are small.
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Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #197 on: September 11, 2019, 01:33:21 PM »

You suggest I use an all (or mostly) warship fleet?  I do not think it is a good idea.

When I tried all warships against Ordos, it died or took too many casualties.  Too often, my warships could not shoot at the enemy because allies were in each others' line of fire.  Well, five Paragon fleet can win, but not before losing one or two.  (I take less or no casualties with a more balanced fleet.  Fewer frontline units supported by Dooms and fighters seem more effective, but not as much as Spark Drover cheese that chugs my computer.)

The phase ships seem like much, but they are mostly Afflictors to be chain-deployed and I pilot those (because four Reaper cheese twice per ship is so brutally unfair and effective) while my default flagship becomes yet another AI grunt.  If we still had synergy Harbinger, I would bring only one or two of those instead of about five Afflictors.  (I would bring even more Afflictors if not for fleet cap.)  Endgame, I can use Afflictors as suicide bombers (decloak in a crossfire or within target's blast range if it means the Reapers land).  I bring two or three Doom because they are generally great and AI uses them well.  Generally because they do not always play nice with burn drive ships.

Early game, I make do with what I find (which often means clunkers and lots of (D) mods).  Aside from starter ships, that usually means low-tech, aside from Shrike (P)s, which are good for being cheap and disposable.  Later, whatever I get from enemy expeditions.  Only late in the game do I get unlimited choice of what I want.

Of conventional high-tech ships...

Frigates... I skip nearly all of them (not just high-tech) very soon after game start.  Wolf may be of interest because it is a possible starter and the freebie fleet from the tutorial includes one.  For Wolf, I can do something with hard flux loadouts, but it is painful and one mistake means Wolf dies or takes too much damage.  AI gets an all-beam loadout, if possible, to harass things for a few fights before they get replaced by destroyer-sized clunkers.

Destroyers... Shrike is cheap and disposable, especially the common Shrike (P), so it is useful enough.  Medusa seems okay as a playership, but by the time I can get one, I already need a cruiser or bigger.  Medusa used to be very good, but it is not what it used to be.  I do not trust AI enough for Medusa, at least if I buy a pristine one instead of swiping a clunker from somewhere.

Cruisers...  Apogee does so much for below-average DP cost, and it is a possible starter.  Also, for early game, it can rely more on Locusts than energy weapons, if it gets Locusts early.  (It can fend off a small frigate mob that an Eagle would struggle with.)  Aurora... AI seems to do stupid things with it, which is good when I fight it (it is one of the first to die) or bad in my fleet.  If I want AI to use it, it must be Aggressive, which is annoying when everything else I use can use Steady AI.  I can make it worth its 30 DP if I pilot it, but it is so much effort and unforgiving of mistakes.  I can use a cheaper ship (not as good, but easier to use and keep alive) or a slightly more expensive ship that is much easier to use (no need for finesse when I can overpower them instead).

Capitals...  Odyssey seems to work best with an unbalanced loadout.  (Unbalanced in the sense of a diet.)  If I try a classic loadout that was good before 0.8a, it is sub-par and it dies.  But if I do something silly unbalanced like put two plasma cannons, crazy high dissipation, and very little else, it is more-or-less equal to Paragon, but only if I pilot it.  If I give it to AI, it acts dumb and dies.  If I want a loadout that the AI can use, Odyssey works much like an extra-large Shrike (heavy reliance on kinetic missiles) which while still roughly capital-grade, is nothing exceptional (whether I pilot it or AI).  Paragon is good.  Great in player hands, but AI does not do much better with it than with Onslaught or Conquest, not enough to make it worth 60 DP.
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Plantissue

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #198 on: September 11, 2019, 01:56:55 PM »

Perhaps if you don't use a mostly warships fleet and it dies vs Ordos, you aren't the best judge of warship weaponry?
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Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #199 on: September 11, 2019, 02:10:13 PM »

Perhaps if you don't use a mostly warships fleet and it dies vs Ordos, you aren't the best judge of warship weaponry?
Do not think that matters when ships do not fire weapons at all due to being too scared of hitting each other, or allied ship directly between attacker and enemy, but will die anyway if they do nothing.  And the ones (that I tried) that died most were Onslaughts, while trying to find and test loadouts for them that worked against Ordos.  That was the biggest problem with all warship fleets, or at least all-battleship fleets, against Ordos, unable to focus-fire against the enemy.  A more balanced fleet does not need to worry about allies in the line-of-fire much.

I should clarify the all warship fleets I tried against Ordos were all battleship fleets (like five Paragons).  The only other warships I had available at the time that were not capitals were two Eagles and two Apogees (and one Tempest reserved for pursuit).  I had plenty of carriers and phase ships, though.

One or two battleships at the front-line, plus fighters and phase ships that support them, can focus more firepower easily than five battleships that are too slow to move around allies in their line-of-fire.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 02:18:11 PM by Megas »
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Plantissue

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #200 on: September 11, 2019, 02:19:42 PM »

What's the point you are making? Your complaints have nothing to do with the weapons, but with that you are used to fighters and missiles being able to pass through and shoot each other without worry about collision.
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Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #201 on: September 11, 2019, 02:56:38 PM »

If your ships cannot fire weapons, then weapon balance is irrelevant because weapons that do not fire do nothing.  It is more like I had bad fleet composition.  I cannot judge weapons' performance against Ordos if they do not fire.  Five battleships got in each others' way, and could not support each other from getting mobbed.

You implied that because I used a bad fleet composition that cannot fire their weapons against the strongest recurring challenge, I cannot judge weapons that I used over a long time in simulations and general campaign play from start to end.
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Goumindong

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #202 on: September 11, 2019, 03:04:54 PM »

I should clarify the all warship fleets I tried against Ordos were all battleship fleets (like five Paragons).  The only other warships I had available at the time that were not capitals were two Eagles and two Apogees (and one Tempest reserved for pursuit).  I had plenty of carriers and phase ships, though.

Warships unsupported by frigates tend to lose; they get surrounded and are unable to support their own fire. They are also inefficient as you go up in size. Simply in terms of flux/dp. So if you're subtracting ships for bigger ones you not only reduce your ability to get a good concave on them (thus increasing your ability to focus fire) but you're also losing raw power. At the very least you're losing out on 5 officers! And i do recall you espousing the benefits of having 10 officers as one of, if not the best skill in the game.

If you had 3 paragons and 10 Medusa you would have done a LOT better. Or 2 paragaons, 10 Medusa, 2 Aurora. Or 2 Paragaon, 4 Apogee, 4 medusa, 4 Omen, and 5 Tempest. None of these fleets are really pushing out onto the fleet limits, the largest of which is 19. And one of the biggest advantages of high tech ships is that you can retain high mobility as you go up in DP because the ships are comparatively expensive. And because they're able to more efficiently use officers(essentially because higher DP per ship means more total power magnified by your officer corps)

Now its true that carriers scale better than warships in the lategame. The main reason is that carriers are able to focus fire better. But carriers also prevent you from easily leveraging your own player ability because warships require fewer allied skills. (and as a side benefit warships scale better with the earlier skills and have a higher individual power letting you achieve in the early game easier)

If you want to test it and see, maybe cheat in a fleet and a different set of skills and see how you do. Or just try a high tech warship focused game and see how you fare.

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Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #203 on: September 12, 2019, 06:16:19 AM »

@ Goumindong:  Did few quick fights against an Ordos, by theme.  All had two Dooms since high-tech dominates phase.  By quick fight, I reloaded a save (at the end of a month), built about 600k worth of ships to supplement my capital-heavy stock, and throw some fairly standard loadouts on them.

High Tech with two or three Paragons, Astral, a modified shotgun Odyssey (Squalls instead of MIRVs), two Aurora, two Apogee, two Medusa, two Shrike, two Tempests, and Omen.  Fought against Ordos with two Radiants.  Won but lost about half my fleet.  Turned out I had Full Assault was (on) for most of the fight.  Lost at least one Paragon, one Aurora, one Medusa, and all Shrikes and frigates.  Shotgun Odyssey held its own.  Aurora was quite effective under Aggressive AI (the one I lost was near the end of the fight, overwhelmed by multiple destroyers).  Overall, a pyrrhic victory.

Midline with four Conquests, three Eagles, two Heron, ten (Spark) Drover, two Hammerheads, four Sunder, and a Centurion.  Fought against Ordos with three Rediants.  Thanks to some piloting errors and general incompetence, it was a disaster!  Did not win the fight.

Low Tech with three Onslaughts, Legion, three or four (Spark) Mora, two Dominators, three Enforcers.  Fought against Ordos with three Radiants.  Turned out better than expected.  Lost only two Enforcers, but otherwise, Onslaughts, Spark Mora and Legion, and a single Doom totally destroyed the Ordos (at least as well as my usual Ordos hunter fleet).  Remnants seems more distracted than usual.  Onslaught may normally stink, but if it has support to keep enemies off its back and has a nice juicy enemy battleship in front of it, Onslaught will destroy it very fast.

It seems frigates are too fragile for Ordos, but destroyers may work in their place.

My character only has points in five personal skills (half in Technology) and only four officers.
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TaLaR

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #204 on: September 12, 2019, 06:55:53 AM »

My character only has points in five personal skills (half in Technology) and only four officers.

At which point 5 capitals IS the correct deployment. With maybe few optional distraction Omens.
Primary reason to go for more is to properly utilize all officers, which you don't have.

Though I don't understand why would you make such a crippled character, it's neither fleet nor personal focused.
And player piloting matters. Either in form of chain deployed Afflictors or a capital that performs as 2-3 AI controlled ones.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 06:58:16 AM by TaLaR »
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Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #205 on: September 12, 2019, 08:06:06 AM »

@ TaLaR:  I would not need more than four officers if I cannot deploy as many ships as I have officers on the map.  When I started the game, I used map size 300, and could only deploy three big ships at a time (or only two if one is a Paragon).  Only after I got fed up with multi-round duel endurance combat that I finally maxed the size for something resembling a fleet battle.  Now, I would want at least six officers.  Eight would probably be optimal.

I still have 15 or so unspent points.  I have not spent them due to decision paralysis.  Also, nine have been spent on Industry colony skills (and would have spent another three in Planetary Operations to match the faction leaders with 3/3/3).  (I wanted a big empire without using cores.)  Big mistake, but I am not restarting the game to build a more optimal character at this point.  Also, I did not get Navigation at first, but eventually got it after resuming the save after a two month hiatus.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 08:09:10 AM by Megas »
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Plantissue

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #206 on: September 12, 2019, 01:20:31 PM »

If your ships cannot fire weapons, then weapon balance is irrelevant because weapons that do not fire do nothing.  It is more like I had bad fleet composition.  I cannot judge weapons' performance against Ordos if they do not fire.  Five battleships got in each others' way, and could not support each other from getting mobbed.

You implied that because I used a bad fleet composition that cannot fire their weapons against the strongest recurring challenge, I cannot judge weapons that I used over a long time in simulations and general campaign play from start to end.
Good to know, weapon balance is irrelevant because you had a bad fleet composition. Lets just delete all your posts where you write with utter certainty on weapon balance.
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Megas

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #207 on: September 12, 2019, 02:12:43 PM »

@ Plantissue:  Do you honestly think a single fight against a recent enemy that I tried recently (with a fleet I normally do not use - five battleships and nothing else) and blew up in my face represents all of the combat I have done over the past recent releases?  Most weapons have not changed much since 0.8a aside from light needler and some heavy energy weapons (and maybe few others).  The only thing I did not do much until recently was fight Ordos with Radiants in them.  (Radiants were added in 0.9a, and I did not use cores back then.)  I had no reason to fight them until late in 0.9.1a.  In the meantime, I have played much against other opponents.  I had to try much (maybe not everything, but still a lot) before I settled with ships and weapons I like to use.

And, yes, I will continue to write with certainty about weapon balance.
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Limitless

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #208 on: September 12, 2019, 05:16:47 PM »

Okay, so a little earlier I went ahead and modded some energy weapons a little to see how the ships would handle. I made the pulse laser a little more efficient, at 100 flux per shot. I made the heavy blaster a little more efficient, at 670 flux per shot. I increased the range of the IR pulse blaster to 600, and I made Mjolnir an energy weapon instead of balistic. I also gave Phase lances the strike tag.

This resulted in the following changes: Ordos are a lot scarier and harder to flux out, aurora consistently beats the other cruisers in sims, which at 30dp, it should. Paragon remains a beast, with or without Mjolnir. Phase lance usage remains unchanged for the most part as far as I can tell. The Apogee also now has a little extra frontal firepower that it can actually use because of the increased range too.

In addition, standard shrike and medusa work better when loaded with IR pulses (instead of ballistics) thanks to all their weapons being in range at the same time, circumventing AI pilot issues.

All high tech frigates are a tad more deadly, but they're also just frigates. However, now they have a reliable small weapon, the medium mounts on Hyperion and Tempest probably be split into 3-4 small energy mounts without too great of an issue.

Further testing is required, of course, but the results I got from my brief tests seem to suggest I had the right idea when I made this thread




Preemptive Edit: Ordos should be terrifying and I don't regret giving them mjolnirs at all. It lets Radiants be a threat even after they jump away, and the EMP effect makes many ships sitting ducks, especially fleeing high tech ships. Storm needlers remain effective.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 05:22:30 PM by Limitless »
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Plantissue

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Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« Reply #209 on: September 14, 2019, 09:28:46 AM »

@ Plantissue:  Do you honestly think a single fight against a recent enemy that I tried recently (with a fleet I normally do not use - five battleships and nothing else) and blew up in my face represents all of the combat I have done over the past recent releases?  Most weapons have not changed much since 0.8a aside from light needler and some heavy energy weapons (and maybe few others).  The only thing I did not do much until recently was fight Ordos with Radiants in them.  (Radiants were added in 0.9a, and I did not use cores back then.)  I had no reason to fight them until late in 0.9.1a.  In the meantime, I have played much against other opponents.  I had to try much (maybe not everything, but still a lot) before I settled with ships and weapons I like to use.

And, yes, I will continue to write with certainty about weapon balance.
I don't really see the point you are making about your whole business that you prefer a fleet full of carriers instead of deploying 5 paragons. (With 500 battlesize, they should win with the deployment point advantage irregardless.) What has that got to do with energy weapons?
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