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Author Topic: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes  (Read 935 times)

PreConceptor

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Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« on: February 28, 2020, 06:40:47 PM »

Suggestion: giving any fighter with a crew of 0 (i.e. drones) a lower combat effectiveness (damage dealt, damage taken, autofire accuracy, etc) the further away from their parent carrier they are (based on bands corresponding to their maximum engagement range) and possibly a very minor boost when close? I think this would help differentiate and balance drone wings against crewed ones, and would make thematic sense given control lag, while crewed fighters remain equally effective no matter the range.

Vessels with Automated Ship could be exempt, and a tag or hullmod (like 'Advanced Control Systems') could be used to exempt a drone wing from these penalties if necessary.

Electronic Warfare could also be made to negatively affect fighters directly, drones doubly so (no bonuses) with damage dealt and received penalties, and possibly have carrier hulls (hulls with a fighter bay) contribute significantly less (maybe half) to EW rating, or not contribute at all if we're thinking real harsh, maybe even be doubly affected by negative EW and half as much by positive EW, again with a tag or hullmod ('Secondary Carrier Capability' or something) to exempt a hull if it wasn't primarily a fighter platform. Perhaps Coordinated Maneuvers could also be made to not be boosted by carriers. This would mean carrier fleets would often need to deploy non-carriers to support them instead of more carriers. Nav Relay/ECM Package functions as normal, ECCM would restore normal weapon range penalties on carriers. Ops Center could restore hull-size contribution to EW/CM on carriers

Bullet Points -

> Drones worse at high range, slightly better close-in based on % range bands
> Tag for exemption purposes (i.e. built-in PD drone)
> Crewed fighters unchanged at range and close-in
> Alternative lite option: hullmod for fighter that gives them an effectiveness penalty at further engagement ranges (% based)

> Ship has no bays > Behaves as normal

> Ship has bays > Has exemption (i.e. not primarily carrier, or Automated) > Contributes to and affected by EW/CM as usual > Fighter effectiveness penalty when enemy wins EW, drones affected twice as much by penalty

> Ship has bays > No exemption (i.e. dedicated carrier) > Does not contribute to EW/CM > Fighter effectiveness penalty when enemy wins EW, drones affected twice as much by penalty > Gets 1/2 weapon range from winning EW > Weapon range penalty twice as much from losing EW > ECM/Nav adds normal contribution to EW/CM > ECCM restores normal weapon range penalties > Ops Center restores hull-size EW/CM contribution

> Tag to exempt wing or ship from EW penalties if necessary

Just some quick thoughts, what do you think?

*EW = electronic warfare
*CM = coordinated maneuvers
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 02:00:54 AM by PreConceptor »
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AxleMC131

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 09:27:02 PM »

All sounds a bit high-brow for me. I don't know how you'd explain this to the player in a concise and comprehensive way. I will say I like the idea of ECM reducing unmanned fighter range as well as weapon range, but it's a bit weird and might get noodly, again, when trying to explain that to the player.
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SCC

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 11:02:56 PM »

Is there any particular reason for unmanned fighters to have these penalties? Besides Sparks, none are overpowered or displacing other fighters in their niches, so it's not for balance reasons. If it's just so, I don't think it's necessary for all drone fighters to have. Some rare, strong ones could perhaps have a flaw unique to them, but giving all drone fighters such a disadvantage is mostly fluff for 5 fighters, out of two dozens.
The biggest issue with your idea per se is that this would semi-force players into taking Electronic Warfare 1, if fighting Remnants. I think EW isn't really common for other fighters, but Remnants do typically have it. On the other hand, all ships contributing to ECM rating, except carriers, and ECM affecting fighter performance could be an interesting anti-fighter spam balancing mechanic.

PreConceptor

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2020, 12:53:14 AM »

All sounds a bit high-brow for me. I don't know how you'd explain this to the player in a concise and comprehensive way. I will say I like the idea of ECM reducing unmanned fighter range as well as weapon range, but it's a bit weird and might get noodly, again, when trying to explain that to the player.

It could be explained in a tutorial, just like how everything else should be. It could also be explained in the descriptions for the EW/CM skills and the ECM Package/Nav Relay/Ops Center tooltips.
Also I think that without the other changes or a bump in the number of enemies that use EW, drone engagement range being the only penalty doesn't actually address carrier supremacy, only serving as a situational nerf to large Remnant fleets and player drone swarms.

Is there any particular reason for unmanned fighters to have these penalties? Besides Sparks, none are overpowered or displacing other fighters in their niches, so it's not for balance reasons. If it's just so, I don't think it's necessary for all drone fighters to have. Some rare, strong ones could perhaps have a flaw unique to them, but giving all drone fighters such a disadvantage is mostly fluff for 5 fighters, out of two dozens.

I'm not just thinking about vanilla drones. Drone EW range penalties is based on fluff, but it's fluff with a purpose. Unlike the 'crew per fighter' stat, which is fluff, since there's no real reason to care about it. Giving the drones a long range penalty and slight short range bonus would work together with an EW range penalty to differentiate them from crewed fighters. Again, tag or hullmod to exempt certain wings if needed.

The biggest issue with your idea per se is that this would semi-force players into taking Electronic Warfare 1, if fighting Remnants. I think EW isn't really common for other fighters, but Remnants do typically have it. On the other hand, all ships contributing to ECM rating, except carriers, and ECM affecting fighter performance could be an interesting anti-fighter spam balancing mechanic.

In order for EW affecting fighter performance to have an impact on fighter spam, more factions would need to employ it, and I think they should since max level EW against a no-EW fleet is so powerful, same deal for CM, 25% global speed boost is huge. Having enemy EW and friendly CM be a serious consideration for the effectiveness of carriers when fielding them, while making carriers themselves contribute less to EW/CM and benefit less from EW (especially in the weapon and only-a-penalty-to-fighters department) means that a carrier-only fleet would become a dangerous prospect against an EW/CM using opponent as an enemy fleet having higher weapon range and/or speed while your carriers don't and have less effective fighters would be a serious problem, thus requiring more deployment points to be spent on ships to protect and screen the carriers, or more ordnance points to be spent on Nav Relays/ECM Packages/Ops Centers, thus indirectly addressing the fighter spam. Also, a tag to exempt ships that aren't primarily fighter based. Basically I'm glad you like that part, I should have made that the meat of the OP.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 01:06:09 AM by PreConceptor »
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Plantissue

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2020, 06:29:14 AM »

The balance of spark has nothing to do with that they are drones. It only affects crew lost whihc is a logistical bonus, not a combat bonus. So sparks in itself can be balanced by other means.

If you want to differentiate thematically, by way of a combat malus, a simpler alternative would be to limit its range and/or change its ordnance points so a conscious decision is made to replace logistical bonus with a combat malus.

But that still wouldn't be that thematic as there are only a few drone ships in the game. Thematically, an interesting alternative would be to be able to label any fighters LPC as drone ships which will limit their range to support range in exchange for no crew loses. Kind of what the Tempest's/Shepherd's/Venture's built in drones act like. Perhaps it could be done as a 0 cost hullmod.
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Lucky33

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2020, 11:23:11 AM »

All sounds a bit high-brow for me. I don't know how you'd explain this to the player in a concise and comprehensive way. I will say I like the idea of ECM reducing unmanned fighter range as well as weapon range, but it's a bit weird and might get noodly, again, when trying to explain that to the player.

Oh, I can easily explain even the full removal of drone fighters from the game...

AI-cores only from Gamma and above are somehow human comparable. But they are not supposed to be mass produced in the widespread nanoforges. Because if they would the whole Sector will be drowning in the advanced ai cores. And without them there is no reason to build drone fighters since they will be too weak in a dogfights.

Doesnt really affect bombers since they are simply two-stage strike muinitions anyway.
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AxleMC131

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2020, 01:25:08 PM »

Oh, I can easily explain even the full removal of drone fighters from the game...

AI-cores only from Gamma and above are somehow human comparable. But they are not supposed to be mass produced in the widespread nanoforges. Because if they would the whole Sector will be drowning in the advanced ai cores. And without them there is no reason to build drone fighters since they will be too weak in a dogfights.

Doesnt really affect bombers since they are simply two-stage strike muinitions anyway.

Erm. Delta level though. Check yo lore. ;)
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Lucky33

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2020, 08:40:31 PM »

"A gamma-level AI core is capable of supporting most human endeavors, making up for a lack of creativity and problem-solving ability with prodigous computational prowess. Assigning a gamma to aid human overseers in administering a colony-wide industry brings significant benefits.
A rare and valuable independent AI core, the gamma-level is the lowest tier core considered to be truly intelligent under Domain-era AI protocols. A gamma core will employ remarkable judgment and reasoning when assigned to straightforward tasks while using its savant-like data processing abilities to far exceed any individual human's abilities. It is relatively uncreative in problem-solving however, preferring to fall back upon direct, unsophisticated means."

Delta's are used as an engine control subsystem in the Kite and Terminator's delta core is rumored (but unproven) to be above Delta level. And they are limited in operational range anyway.
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SCC

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2020, 11:30:14 PM »

I still fail to see why drone fighters in particular should be hit harder than other fighters. Mining Pods and Terminator Drones have 0 engagement range, so it's irrelevant to them. Wasps, Flashes and Luxes aren't any stronger than their designated OP and not having crew is only a minor, logistical advantage. Only outlier are Sparks. Sparks can be reigned in exclusively, without dragging unnecessary nerfs onto other fighters. If the reason is "just so", I still don't get what gameplay benefit comes there. Your proposed changes give incentives to invest in ECM whether you're using manned or unmanned fighters, with the latter kind being high risk, because they are affected more. High risk, but not really any more reward.

AxleMC131

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2020, 11:59:17 PM »

Yeah, have to say in hindsight I agree with SCC. While the concept sounds neat, why is it necessary? No matter which way you slice it it's a lot of complexity for little to no benefit in terms of game mechanics.
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Harmful Mechanic

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2020, 01:20:35 PM »

I think the logic is that since drone fighters don't lose crew when they get blown to bits, they should have some sort of countervailing penalty to make them more of a tradeoff and less of a straight upgrade from crewed fighters. Which isn't wrong, but I think this is too arcane a mechanism to address that with.

I'm coming around more and more to the idea that fighter leash ranges are just too long, and something like 3000 would be a better average. Also, some fighters, like interceptors, might benefit from having an even shorter leash range, 2000 or so.

(I can think of a couple of other changes to fighters, too, like fighter-only and bomber-only tags for individual fighter bays. That would make it possible to design carriers that have a larger-than-average number of decks, but control for massive bomber spam or massive fighter spam. Which could fix the Spark-Drover spam problem handily; just require the first bay to have a bomber in it.)
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Igncom1

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2020, 01:28:36 PM »

I would have though that interceptors would have the longer operational range. The trade off being that they aren't supposed to have anything more then PD or anti-fighter weapons and so can't be much of a threat to bigger stuff.

The spark being a pain because burst lasers are just as effective vs anything else as they are on missiles and fighters. Hell I remember talons being just awful (awful fun that is!) with their SRMs before they got nerfed. The heavy interceptor who's name escapes me even used to have harpoon missiles!

Darn spark makes a better fighter then the Lux, and that actually HAS a laser cannon.
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Thaago

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2020, 06:20:48 PM »

I'm of a similar opinion to Harmful Mechanic, that general fighter range being 3000 would make for better gameplay. Not sure if interceptors deserve being shorter, I need to think about it.

Sparks... burst PD is just an extremely good fighter weapon. Compared to other guns it has alpha, range, accuracy, and very high anti-armor performance.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2020, 06:39:58 PM »

I think sparks could use a hefty increase in OP cost, and then remnants ships could have their OP buffed to compensate. 8 OP is just too cheap for what they can do, but I still like the remnants to be strong.
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Lucky33

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Re: Drone range penalties and some other small(?) carrier changes
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2020, 09:51:22 PM »

Remnants can not into Spark spam.

Not only Scintilla's recall system is either useless for fighters or makes things even worse (in mixed groups). Brilliant with its single wing is an awfull carrier. And, more importantly, this single deck acts as an actual debuff due to effect on the officer skills (it is more likely to grab three carrier skills insteed of something really usefull).

You can say that Remannts were already balanced in a way that prevents Spark exploit. Its a thing only in a player fleet. Any changes to Sparks will be neglectable from the Remnants balance point of view.
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