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Author Topic: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters  (Read 5844 times)

Lucky33

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2019, 11:49:06 PM »

I've never liked the idea of putting simple number limiters on things like this. Not my jam.

One reason that fighters are so effective is that they are essentially mobile turrets for fully sized ship weapons. Which in the case of bombers is fine, as they are supposed to be combating full on ships. But for fighters it gets problematic as you have swarming drones fitted with ship scale point defence weapons (Wasps/Sparks) to be used against craft that have corvette levels of endurance (the idea being that a fighter is just the next size down from frigates, as in they are more like corvettes.)

My solution would be to make fighters more like real life aircraft and essentially make them very vulnerable to anything that can touch them reliably. Bullets, flak, proxy mines, you name it. But then make them far easier to replace, perhaps when the squadron is recalled entirely to the carrier, to make up for the rates of attrition they'll be facing. Possibly making certain scenarios where overwhelming flak might necessitate not deploying them at all. Like how missiles are not always a good idea to use due to overwhelming PD.

As it stands a fighter like the warthog or broadsword, or an interceptor like the spark, are far more comparable to a corvette that endlessly re spawns rather then a valuable reusable fighter craft like in a ww2 setting. You could make an argument that like missiles you should have only a small number of replaceable per battle, so must be used conservatively lest you waste them all, but that isn't for me.

I completely agree with the "in-game fighters are not boats/craft but ships in disguise" part. However I completely disagree with the reusability as a main trait of the real fighters (WWII). They were not as expandable, as you consider them. The most accurate representation of the WWII realities would be the limited number of a fighter squadron usage with the complete lack of staying power. Just as missiles. Honestly speaking, WWII planes were beyond-gun-range missiles for the fleets of that era.
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Igncom1

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2019, 01:41:57 AM »

I mean more as 'reusable' missiles, when compared to disposable normal missiles. As otherwise we essentially agree.
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Histidine

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2019, 01:45:38 AM »

I wonder if making fighters collide with each other would prevent them from swarming at the volume where fighter blob becomes an issue.

(I vaguely suspect the main side effect would be killing CPU when fighter AI has to take collision avoidance into account)
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SCC

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2019, 02:50:39 AM »

Considering that one of the good(/broken) things about fighters is their infinite force concentration (or, can we call it that, density?), taking that away should help with fighter spam. What I would have done is to make wing leaders or wings in general repel one another in some simple way. It could create a situation where some fighters prevent other fighters from engaging enemy ships, but I'm not sure if that's undesirable. It would help if there was some "general fighter behaviour" setting (for entire fleet or for individual ships — preferably the latter), where you could either pick force concentration or distributed presence.

Igncom1

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2019, 03:04:53 AM »

I suppose at the very least if they can't shoot while stacked, that should be close enough.
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Beep Boop

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2019, 06:22:14 AM »

Fighter swarms would probably be less effective if, say, there were more PD weapons with AOE effects that could hurt fighters particularly well, the same way a Doom can utterly gut fighter spam: All the fighters stack, the mine goes off, they all die.

Of course, ultimately, I know of no game where fighters are ever "balanced". In every game, ever, fighters come in two flavors: Useless, or, if they can be massed at levels which hit a critical mass, overpowering. All swarm units in every game, and most likely in real life, function like this: They're either useless and can be swatted down before they inflict real damage, or they hit critical mass and can no longer be brought down before they cause real pain, at which point it turns into a case of "AAAH, BEES!". And there is ultimately, no functional distinction between fighters and missiles. In any game where one is OP, the other will almost certainly be also. Ultimately, a fighter is just a missile with 4x the delta-V it really needs.
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Schwartz

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2019, 08:30:58 AM »

Don't need to fix weapons.

Fighters were quite a bit weaker before they were turned into fighters-as-weapons. What we have now is their strongest iteration yet, and nerfing them (a bit) is perfectly OK. I would start by reducing their speed.
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Megas

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2019, 10:18:28 AM »

Fighters were quite a bit weaker before they were turned into fighters-as-weapons. What we have now is their strongest iteration yet, and nerfing them (a bit) is perfectly OK. I would start by reducing their speed.
Back then, there were no carrier skills and no carrier hullmods.

Today, most carriers need to ultra-specialize into carrier duty (and/or get more Sparks) just to do their job well.  No more warship-lite carriers except maybe Legion.

If there needs to be a fighter nerf, I suggest removing all carrier hullmods so that carriers can only spend their OP to properly equip and use weapons of a warship one size lower like they used to, and not ultra-specialize into being superb carriers at the cost of being unarmed or nearly so.

Fighters do not need to be too slow.  Warthogs are useless because they are so slow that cruisers can outrun them.
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Eji1700

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2019, 02:55:23 PM »

I think some of this can be solved with just some better defined roles and being better about what qualifies those, and maybe making fighter range depend on the carrier (either partially or wholly).

This gives another metric to balance on (yeah drovers are mobile, but they need to use their mobility to stay on the front lines so their fighters can get somewhere because they can't support as far), and then with some tweaking of weaponry/OP i think you can get the rest of the way there (A ship carrying a burst PD weapon should really qualify more as a gun ship, and have similary stats to a bomber, not a fighter).


As always I also think higher costs and scarcity would also go a long ways towards solving the issue on two ends.  Who cares if a spark ball can hit critical mass if it's very hard to actually find enough sparks and ships that can mount them, likewise so what if Talons are somewhat lackluster if they're dirt cheap and easy to acquire.  A lot of this games balance issues revolve around how easy it is to mass stuff that really shouldn't be easy to mass (well i took three good trips to the outer systems and now I can spam drovers with sparks gg).

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Plantissue

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2019, 03:03:43 AM »

Fighters were quite a bit weaker before they were turned into fighters-as-weapons. What we have now is their strongest iteration yet, and nerfing them (a bit) is perfectly OK. I would start by reducing their speed.
Back then, there were no carrier skills and no carrier hullmods.

Today, most carriers need to ultra-specialize into carrier duty (and/or get more Sparks) just to do their job well. 
In the past there was a bug which applied the multiplied the lowered replacement rate twice.

________
Anyways, there are two ways to hit critical mass. One of bombers and one of fighters. Why is it that this thread is concentrating msotly on fighter type fighters?
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Megas

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2019, 06:04:54 AM »

In the past there was a bug which applied the multiplied the lowered replacement rate twice.
During 0.8.x, when characters got fighter skills and ships got carrier hullmods.  Also, some fighters were overpowered in earlier 0.8a.  Talons were free and better than 8 OP fighters, Warthogs were overpowered, and Sparks had two burst PD instead of one.

I was referring to 0.7.x and earlier, when there were only three trees and personal skills were very strong at 10, and fighters were ships instead of missiles.  During 0.6, player could outfit most carriers to be capable brawling ships while offering some fighter support, much like modern Legion.  While carriers were not quite as strong as skilled warships, skills were limit to fleet commanders during 0.6, and carriers were viable if not top-tier.  During 0.7, when skilled officers came along, carriers became a gimp option (because there were no fighter skills).

Today, carriers can be strong, but they need to build for being a carrier.  They need all of the carrier skills and hullmods, plus strong and expensive fighters, at the expense of nearly all OP, to be good.  (I tried classic warship-lite loadouts with Talons or Mining Pods, but they were sub-par compared to unarmed carriers with good fighters.)  My point was if fighters are too powerful, then remove the carrier hullmods and encourage classic warship-lite loadouts.  Classic warship-lite loadouts were fun.  Now, if I want to pilot a carrier, I eschew weapons and run, run, run away if I want to be optimal.
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Grievous69

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2019, 06:13:22 AM »

Fun little drinking game for the brave souls since it's the holiday season: Open random posts on the forum and every time you see Megas mention older versions of the game, take a shot.
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Schwartz

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2019, 08:40:49 AM »

He's got a point though. Having to use weak carriers just to use powerful fighters may be a valid balance mechanism, but it isn't fun and it isn't pretty to look at.

Would much prefer if hangars had their own separate ordnance points. A fixed amount per carrier model.
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Grievous69

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2019, 09:28:39 AM »

He's got a point though. Having to use weak carriers just to use powerful fighters may be a valid balance mechanism, but it isn't fun and it isn't pretty to look at.

Would much prefer if hangars had their own separate ordnance points. A fixed amount per carrier model.
But then you remove any sort of choice from the customization. You're always gonna have full ''flight deck OP'' or you're basically shooting yourself in the foot. Carriers will always have the same OP for weapons and hullmods. I think the current system is fine, it's just as you said, fighters are strong currently. So I keep suggesting the same thing, nerf all fighters/bombers and buff carriers (or just give them extra OP). When the fighter rework came, Alex said he would give extra OP to carriers for compensation but some are still super OP starved that you can barely fit any decent weapons.
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Megas

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Re: Balancing fighter swarms with out nerfing fighters
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2019, 09:46:54 AM »

Even with Loadout Design 3, many ships OP starved enough that mounts need to be left empty.  (They need to prioritize on flux stats to support the guns mounted.)  Most carriers are really OP starved, and most fighters cost too much OP.  To be their best, most carriers should not use weapons at all (or maybe a few PD guns).  The only "carrier" that can get away with having enough guns to fight like a warship while still having decent fighters is Legion.
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