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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: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking  (Read 930 times)

Sinosauropteryx

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2019, 10:25:24 AM »

Plug for my frigate ideas from another thread.
Spoiler
- Contests, like tournaments sanctioned by the major powers, or maybe pirate captains who lay down bets to challenge you to 2-on-2 frigate "street" duels. A structured environment in which to play with frigate builds for real stakes.
- Missions, like the ones already in the game's main menu, but in the campaign that can be tied to progress. Maybe you get hired freelance to command someone else's fleet for a decisive battle or ambush. Succeed, receive pay, perhaps scaling with your grade. Reputation reward too.
- Some kind of exploration object or hazard that requires, or greatly prefers, small ships to interact with. Imagine some small [redacted] outpost, just 1 or 2 ships like you usually see, but they have a magnetic field that only lets in 10 DP worth of ships to battle them. (And they're guarding hella treasure.) So you are rewarded for carrying small ships, even with your endgame fleet, to participate in events like that.
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Plantissue

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2019, 10:39:33 AM »

It's the 30 ship limit and weapon range increase of hullmods which deters frigates. In the end, even destroyers are to be avoided because you want to simply have as big a slice of the deployment points available as possible. Player ships like afflictor excepted.

The suggestions seem kind of strange and forced. What is this maine gunboat battle business? Why would a Mudskipper or Shepherd for instance be able to do any of these things, whilst a Harbinger or Shrike cannot? Why would 5v5 frigate wars matter? I could choose to deploy none at no detriment. Don't shift the problem to Destroyers being the unwanted ships. Why wouldn't larger ships be better at being a hospital or repairer?

More of a suggestion then a 100% pre determined thing my dude.
As are all suggestions... ...my dude.
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Morbo513

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2019, 08:50:42 PM »

I love this idea.
Frigates are obviously going to have a higher turnover in endgame battles simply due to the firepower they come up against, how little of it needs to be delivered for them to die, and that the player will often be outnumbered anyway. Given the limit on the player's fleet numbers, there's little reason to sacrifice any of those slots for frigates when you could have (and need) more sturdy destroyers and cruisers..The ability to restock their CR mid-battle is exactly the edge they need on the larger ships to make them worth keeping around in late-game. Perhaps this could be costlier than the CR recovery would be if it was performed outside battle.

Theoretically, the same ability could be extended to all ship classes, but with increasingly diminishing returns on both their CR recovered the and increasing cost to do so by size/OP/class. Phase ships should be somewhat prohibitively expensive in supply expenditure whatever their class.
The benefit it'd add to the game would be minimal when restricted by the current fleet cap, but I'd like to see it implemented regardless.
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TrashMan

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2019, 01:40:33 AM »

Remove fleet cap and instead use Fleet Points cap. 10 battleship or 100 frigates.
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Tartiflette

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2019, 07:47:34 AM »

Like it used to...

To make frigates more useful in the late game, personally I could see battle objectives become more impactful, and have frigates capture them twice as fast as other ship sizes. Then taking points early in the battle would become a priority. (or rather frigates would capture them at the current speed, but destroyer and above would take twice more time, and uncapturing an enemy point would be even slower too)

Also I think the game lack some good anti-fighter guns that would benefit from the PDAI hullmod. If there was some, specialized anti-fighter frigates could be quite useful.
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SonnaBanana

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2019, 07:56:28 AM »

Make Cruisers and Capitals enter battle with debuffs which only go away after a period of time.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2019, 08:09:40 AM »

Make Cruisers and Capitals enter battle with debuffs which only go away after a period of time.

Interesting idea. Lacking on the specifics, though.
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xenoargh

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2019, 08:35:17 AM »

I think that the problem with Frigates and Destroyers is that there are two varieties:

1.  Fleet spam that goes down in power over the course of a game.  Eventually, your fleet can demolish huge swarms of them without really breathing hard.

2.  Player-only ships and builds that are wickedly effective until the CR runs out.  Generally, not something the AI can use well; most need the player to spend a lot of time looking for the right opportunity.  Phase ships, in particular, are largely about opportunity kills and mobility right now.  Almost all of the ships that have been good for this role have had one thing in common; speed.  Whether we're talking about early versions of the game where the Tempest / Hyperion were capable of taking down entire fleets by themselves or what I've been doing to the Sunder lately, I think it's fair to say that a "player ship" mainly needs one thing; enough speed to pick its fights and leave situations where it'll die.

So... the former just starts feeling irrelevant at the high end.

The latter is rarely irrelevant but may require more-specialized situations to use.

So, from a game-design POV, there are a few solutions that are straightforward:

1.  The AI shouldn't deploy Frigates at the start of large battles.  It should wait until the player's fleet is weary and is starting the CR countdown, if it can.

2.  If all the AI has is trash Frigates / Destroyers, it needs to use Orders to concentrate them where they might actually do some good.  For example, flanking the player's fleet, then hitting them from behind to catch carriers.

3.  Have some late-game options, in terms of weapon loadouts, which give small ships an opportunity to engage effectively (if inefficiently).  This probably comes with a bunch of potential problems; Wolf LaserSpam fleets were just inches away from answering all problems well, for example.
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Plantissue

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2019, 10:00:43 AM »

The second problem is not a problem at all. The player is meant to have an outsized influence.

The reason why frigates are less viable has not much to do with CR decay at all, but that of ship limit and range differences.

It's not realistic in the first place that most frigates can survive long enough that CR becomes a problem. It's only generally the player frigate or phase or Safety Overide ships that gets CR problem and even then it wouldn't be much of a problem if it wasn't for the ship limit in the first place.

I have no idea how the fleet creation algorithm works, but the problem is mainly on the player side as the player has but one fleet.
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TaLaR

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2019, 10:59:41 AM »

It's not realistic in the first place that most frigates can survive long enough that CR becomes a problem. It's only generally the player frigate or phase or Safety Overide ships that gets CR problem and even then it wouldn't be much of a problem if it wasn't for the ship limit in the first place.

The better frigates (like Tempest or Omen) may not be able to defeat much, but they do have stats to safely stall against pretty much anything. Almost any of their deaths under AI control are preventable deaths-by-stupidity.
Even more so for Hyperion or phase frigates - they are almost invulnerable unless they commit major mistakes (or CR runs out).
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 11:02:06 AM by TaLaR »
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Plantissue

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2019, 12:08:26 PM »

That is true, which is why I normally make a distinction between what I call "normal" and "specialised" frigate, though not in this thread. I'll copy and paste what I wrote in another thread;
Spoiler
Just to aid clarity and discussion I will write down what I mean by non-specialised or normal frigates. These are frigates you can and would use in an engagement battle in the early game, whether you brought them or salvaged them. They are too slow or lack special abilities that you would want to keep using them in the end game. They include Brawler, Centurion, Cerberus, Hound, Kite, Lasher, Vigilance, Wayfarer, Wolf. Lasher/Wolf is the most popular and powerful of these non-specialised ships.

The Phase ships are specialized ships as is the Monitor and Omen due to their excellent ship systems in the player's hands. Tempest is also excluded because it is unusually fast and manoeuvrable as is the rare Scarab, and so is able to get out of danger easily. These ships coincidently will always be prefered for the role of pursuit instead of non-specialised frigates.
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But as it is, in particularily heated battles, even the Tempest and Omen will likely die before they reach their CR runs out. Even if they survive, if it wasn't for ship limit (or perhaps Command Point limit!), it would be ok to retreat them and send a replacement Tempest and Omen if the CR runs out. CR is a problem with frigates, but it isn't the main problem. It isn't CR that forces you to prefer Tempests and Omen, it is ship limit and their ability to survive whilst being useful. Tempest is fast and manoeuvrable with drones, and Omen is fast and manoeuvrable and useful in many ways without having to enter shooting range.
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TaLaR

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2019, 12:37:40 PM »

But as it is, in particularily heated battles, even the Tempest and Omen will likely die before they reach their CR runs out.

I just meant that slower and larger ships can be trapped to the point where no player piloting can save them. While almost anything is survivable for these, assuming they don't commit particularly big mistakes (but they do).
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xenoargh

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2019, 09:19:16 PM »

Yeah, what I'm saying here, to clarify, is:

1.  I have zero problem with the "player ships" being outsized in power, up to a point. 

Really, the most fun in this game's combat is almost always little ships, not hulking behemoths. 

I think the CR system, while imperfect, is largely doing what it needs to, in terms of limiting the player there.  I think it goes a bit overboard, honestly; in late-game, with huge fleets on the battlefield, there is no way a player's taking down the fleet solo in even the most-egregiously-OP ships without chain-battling (and even then, it only works at all because player ships can be consistently faster than Fighters).

2.  I think the issue with late-game fleets is largely as Plantissue points out:  when we're limited on ships in our fleets, it becomes irrelevant if, say, 50 Wolves with leveled Captains can destroy 5 Onslaughts (they totally can, btw), because we cannot field 50 Wolves, even if DP allowed, because we're simply not allowed to have that many ships in a fleet.  I was reeeeeeally glad to hear that we're going (back) to a soft-cap for this in the next major build, and frankly, I don't think it should even be done that way... but that's another topic.
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TaLaR

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2019, 10:12:16 PM »

I was reeeeeeally glad to hear that we're going (back) to a soft-cap for this in the next major build, and frankly, I don't think it should even be done that way... but that's another topic.

It's only soft cap in sense that going over 30 causes insane supply drain, same as going over cargo or fuel limits. Enough to recover ships you want without running into hard limits, but you'd still need to scuttle extras right after.

As long as there are officer and ship limits low enough to prevent filling deployment with officer-ed frigates, frigates swarms will never be viable.
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Megas

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Re: Make Frigates Viable in Mid- to Late Game via Combat Logistic Ships Docking
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2019, 06:26:04 AM »

As long as there are officer and ship limits low enough to prevent filling deployment with officer-ed frigates, frigates swarms will never be viable.
Remember that you can hire mercs and install cores to sort of cheat extra officers on a ship.

Really, the most fun in this game's combat is almost always little ships, not hulking behemoths. 
For me, I like to pilot the biggest, baddest monster.  Part of the reason why I got Starfarer was to pilot a bigger ship that can fire many guns at an enemy.  Every other space game or shump I played is a little space fighter (or capital ships that played no differently than a space fighter with more hit points)  that shoots a gun or two, often fixed forward.

I like hulking behemoths.  It is fun crushing an enemy.  I like lightning bruisers even more, but we do not get that for understandable reasons.  The closest we have to lightning bruiser is two plasma cannon Odyssey, which is unbalanced in a silly way (most mounts are empty, nearly all power focused on two guns pointing left, annoying to pilot well).
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 06:35:29 AM by Megas »
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