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Author Topic: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance  (Read 4067 times)

Grievous69

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #90 on: July 09, 2020, 10:35:10 AM »

Oh, well then I definitely agree with you, commissions are kinda bland right now not gonna lie. Hmm imagine if we could spend story points to buy our way into military markets regardless of commissions.

@Hirfuma Kai
Bruh if you're just gonna ignore everything that was said in the previous pages then I won't bother replying since this will go in circles.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #91 on: July 09, 2020, 11:06:45 AM »

@Hirfuma Kai
Bruh if you're just gonna ignore everything that was said in the previous pages then I won't bother replying since this will go in circles.

I didn't think I was ignoring anything, but I'm looking at it from my view point, so maybe I missed something.  It wouldn't be the first time.

I did appreciate the discussion though, as I've learned a couple things out of it.  Condors aren't as bad as I originally thought and proximity launchers massed do actually work for heavy anti-fighter cover.   Its also inspired me to try a vanilla spacer start and go for Condor carrier spam and see how smoothly (or not) that plays out.  I'd been meaning to do an Industry skill focused run anyways so salvaging Condors from pirates might be interesting.

Anyways, I can certainly drop the discussion.  My apologies if I ended up not contributing anything.
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Thaago

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #92 on: July 09, 2020, 11:23:45 AM »

Hiruma Kai did actual experiments, stating their conditions and assumptions, and present the results. When people challenged the validity of the conditions/assumptions, they did another experiment. If people are unwilling to engage with that, then they are unwilling to actually talk about balance.

Quote
I'm trying to answer your opening question with these fleet tests.  Why do people think that some ships that are good when you think they're trash.  I'm arguing under some situations, they perform better than other ships.  And trying to provide data and examples.  I've been picking destroyers I think most people consider good.  Drovers and  Hammerheads.  And letting the AI pick targets and handle it.

I think your experiments have shown that Condors are better than people give them credit for in fighter spam combat situations - the results are certainly very surprising to me. I think the next step would be to move away from pure carrier fleets and see how they perform in mixed situations. For example, would a fleet of combat ships + 3 drovers be better or worse than the same fleet of combat ships + 3 condors + a frigate?

My personal gripe against the Condor is its out of combat stats... why does it have such low cargo and fuel storage?

@Hirfuma Kai
Bruh if you're just gonna ignore everything that was said in the previous pages then I won't bother replying since this will go in circles.

I didn't think I was ignoring anything, but I'm looking at it from my view point, so maybe I missed something.  It wouldn't be the first time.

I did appreciate the discussion though, as I've learned a couple things out of it.  Condors aren't as bad as I originally thought and proximity launchers massed do actually work for heavy anti-fighter cover.   Its also inspired me to try a vanilla spacer start and go for Condor carrier spam and see how smoothly (or not) that plays out.  I'd been meaning to do an Industry skill focused run anyways so salvaging Condors from pirates might be interesting.

Anyways, I can certainly drop the discussion.  My apologies if I ended up not contributing anything.

Its not you. You are giving a good faith effort in engaging and I have found your tests to be extremely enlightening.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 01:01:48 PM by Thaago »
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Grievous69

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #93 on: July 09, 2020, 11:40:11 AM »

Well ok here's one example if you want actual proof:

Quote
You look at the speed and see its lower, and then make the statement that it is both unbalanced and trash.
Other than me, multiple people have stated why the ship is bad, and everyone agreed it's more than one reason. Yet you said I claimed it was bad simply because of its speed. No, I said its speed could use a buff, to make it less bad. I appreciate you willing to drop it since we could go on like this forever. And you certainly have contributed, I wanted to hear as many opinions as I could. It's just that I'm not a fan of stats in vacuum and weird experiments that don't factor in what's actually important.

@Thaago
What was there to engage with tho? I immediately said the experiment is flawed since it ignores the way the actual campaign is played. Wasn't just me who saw it that way. I'm more than happy when actual thought and effort are put into discussions, but sometimes only one of those things is present. It's just like dueling Onslaught in sim with a Lasher and then saying Lasher is OP. There's nothing to engage with unrealistic scenarios.

EDIT: Should've quoted this instead, my bad.
Quote
But you've yet to provide any other argument other than their speed is too low.  Slow doesn't necessarily mean trash.  Paragons are slow, yet other factors make them one of the best ships in the game.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 11:41:54 AM by Grievous69 »
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pairedeciseaux

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #94 on: July 09, 2020, 12:35:07 PM »

Agreed with Thaago's comment. Sadly this kind of discussion where basically everyone is right often leads to a similar conclusion.

Having a scientific approach, trying to get repeatable and objective results, certainly brings value to the discussion and the Starsector community overall. So big up to Hiruma Kai for running those tests!

Having said that, I agree with others about the test scenario itself, it was too specific. If we use a single scenario to evaluate a ship's usefulness, then that one scenario needs to be fairly representative of one real campaign situation you expect the ship to be in, for many players.

Which lead us to:

So is there a test you'd like me to do to demonstrate that Condors are trash?

Big up for making the offer! But let us avoid making too much assumptions about the ship being good or bad.  ;)

I would probably try next weekend those things myself, if I figure out how to setup the test. In the meantime, if you still have motivation and patience I would suggest:
Spoiler
Core player fleet:
  • 1 Hammerhead
  • 2 Wolf
  • 1 Shepherd

Player fleet variants:
  • A: just the core player fleet
  • B: core player fleet + 1 Condor with basic fighters
  • C: core player fleet + 1 Drover with the same basic fighters

Precisions about the fighter wings, let's keep it simple, pick one composition among the following:
  • 2 Talon wings
  • 1 Broadword wing + 1 Piranha wing
  • 2 Broadword wings

Enemy fleet:
  • 1 Buffalo Mk.II
  • 1 Lasher
  • 1 Cerberus
  • 1 Hound
  • 1 Shepherd

Run:
  • A vs E
  • B vs E
  • C vs E

(ideally it should be run several times, but... I'm already asking too much)

Output for each battle:
  • who won
  • battle duration
  • player fleet casualties?

Yes, we are only evaluating carrier on the player side here. If we were to evaluate on the enemy side, those would be separate tests.
[close]

Thinking about this, I remembered reading some time ago a forum post about running semi-automatic fleet battle tests. After a bit of search I found it:

https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=15758

I would appreciate if anyone would share more on this one or other similar tests and analysis performed.
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Morrokain

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #95 on: July 09, 2020, 01:24:56 PM »

I'll just say that tests are always better than speculation and theory-crafting. They give a foundation for the discussion. Even if there is something about the test that can draw criticism, it is a more concrete point of contention rather than abstract feeling.

You've misunderstood what I was saying, I do not want there to be any RNG involved with this sort of mission. If you win the fight then your reward is given to you by the person who offered you the mission (presumably when you go back to report your success). In the paragon example, maybe a TT admiral has allowed a rogue AI to take over a TT facility, and they offer you some rare blueprints if you can liberate it quietly without the TT leadership finding out about it. The idea is that there is no loot or recovery involved. (just spitballing here)

Personally I would prefer that the military market have a much better selection of ships but also require a lot more effort to get access to (and maybe some more tiers of access even after you get access to the market). I agree with you that the RNG involved in getting rare ships now is frustrating and this is how I would fix it. I think it would be more satisfying if you could get reliable access to any ship you wanted via series of difficult missions, and IMO, that also makes low chances for loot drops more justifiable. On a hegemony play through, I should have very good access to hegemony ships and blueprints but very limited access to enemy tech via salvage. That just seems natural.

I think the existing commission system is clearly a place holder and nowhere near what the final game mechanic should be. I think your starting rep at the beginning of the game is good enough that you can just click a button and you will be given monthly income and full access to military tech with no strings attached for the entire game. That just doesn't make sense to me. In some sense this is a fleshing out of commission mechanics.

This is also how I've been thinking about commission mechanics. One thing that has always bothered me is how fast you can get a commission. Favored seems too early to get a monthly stipend and I feel it was designed that way more as a way to give players monthly income to lightly counter-act the monthly drain of crew/supply rather than to make a believable commission mechanic.

I could see bounties paid for destroying enemy ships at that level, but throwing credits at the player every month? Those factions must be very rich! lol

I also really like your idea from a while ago about localized commissions that relied on a base commander's personal reputation with you. That could be used to make larger and better stocked markets slightly more difficult to access rather than giving carte blanche access to military markets. It could also allow implementation of missions for the NPC that could give rewards in the military market otherwise inaccessible by faction rep alone. (Looking at you Hyperion - you just need a reduction in DP first! XD )

Not saying that overall reputation wouldn't also be a factor, but it would be nice to see NPC rep used for something.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #96 on: July 09, 2020, 02:06:22 PM »

I'm certainly down for more testing when I have time available.  Setting up different mission configurations with AI Battles or Fleet Tester is pretty trivial.  It also lets you change the default "officer" behavior from timid to reckless on a per ship basis.

I like both pairedeciseaux's and Thaago's suggestions.  My gut feeling is its a question of when do you hit sufficient fighter concentration that other considerations fall by the wayside.  Alternatively, do your carriers sit safely in the back, or is your front line in sufficient to keep pressure off?  So starting slow, small fleet with 1 condor/drover/etc then ramping up to a larger set of carriers seems like a good way to approach it. I also think in addition to Core fleet, there should be a Core fleet + 10  DP non-carrier destroyer as well, like a Hammerhead.  For the Core fleet + Drover/Condor to compare against as well.  I.e. is adding fighters better than simply more gunships at this size.

There's a whole host of variant questions for the fleet pairedeciseaux suggested, but I can go ahead and just pick some standard or attack loadouts from the variants files if people don't want to make further specific suggestions.  The Drover and Condor I'll hand build.

Unfortunately, I don't know what mods Dark.Revenant used for the fast simulations and fleet generation, or if its even released anywhere.  And that is a bit beyond my limited personal modding experience.  You could try PMing or maybe the discord?  I tend to just edit the player files from the mods (adding variant files as needed), load the game, start, and then go do something else while the fight plays out.  Also, I'm not sure how much of an effect the faster play has.  I know Megas has some experience with running the game at higher rates, but I think at some point of running faster you start running into weird behavior like shots missing that should have hit.  Might affect how long fighters live for example.

Is it worth starting a new thread dedicated to general simulation questions and results, if only for a more logical place to look for this kind of more systematic balance investigation?  I feel a bit guilty about derailing this one.

I mean its true there has been discussion of OP, survivability, and ship systems in the thread that I glossed over and kind of rolled into speed statement, and I perhaps shouldn't have been talking solely about speed in my posts.  However, I personally need to see the ship in action before making a definitive statement about what I think about it.  The game is sufficiently complicated that how effective things are not always obvious.  And I've already been surprised by the Condor, so it might surprise me yet again.
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Grievous69

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #97 on: July 09, 2020, 02:11:18 PM »

Is it worth starting a new thread dedicated to general simulation questions and results, if only for a more logical place to look for this kind of more systematic balance investigation?  I feel a bit guilty about derailing this one.
Honestly it's not a huge deal about derailing, more the fact that it will be shown after 7 or so pages of this abomination of a subject. I'd also guess that more people will see the results if a thread has a precise title, rather than digging through here and accidentaly stumbling upon it.
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pairedeciseaux

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #98 on: July 09, 2020, 02:47:49 PM »

Yeah, I was thinking : one generic "fleet battle testing protocol" thread where people discuss and share testing knowledge, methodology and tools; and then one thread dedicated to a single testing report, where people can share analysis.
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Kpop

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #99 on: July 09, 2020, 05:11:43 PM »

Haven't followed this thread closely so bear with me. Just jumping in after a cursory look and reading the OP and he mentioned shrikes.

Shrikes are bad. Shrike(p) is slightly less bad. End of story.
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RustyCabbage

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #100 on: July 09, 2020, 06:43:29 PM »

The results of those Condor vs Drover tests are really interesting to see and definitely not what I expected. I was skeptical at first, but I ended up reproducing the results.

I thought it was just a case of Sparks being too strong, but Condors still won with Thunder vs Thunder (albeit very slightly). Instead it a combination of the PCLs proving exemplary in mass fighter engagements (tests without them are heavily Drover favored as expected) and the minor fighter superiority provided by the additional fighter bays (they still don't win in a 10v10, and CR stalemate in an 11v10).

But in any case, I'm not convinced that this result necessarily implies that Condors are in a good spot. Taking the example of even-DP matchups to an extreme, 12 Condor's don't stand a chance against 30 CH Buffalo2s or even 30 CH Valkyries, PCL or not. It does, however, show how just a small interceptor superiority is enough to snowball into massive advantages, which is an issue far beyond any individual ship. It's a bit unfortunate that strapping CH Talons/Wasps/Thunders/Sparks on virtually any destroyer will outperform a non-CH variant.



On topic, I generally agree with the original post. The balance of vanilla ships is extremely spiky and it's hard for even fairly viable ships (e.g. the Apogee) to match up to the strongest ones in vanilla. Personally, this makes it hard for me to be harsh about most ships outside of the most extreme outliers (i.e. Enforcers and Thumpers). Like yeah, a Shrike doesn't match up to a Medusa or Hammerhead or whatever, but what does? At least they have a medium missile mount and Frigate burn speed. At least the Condor has fighter bays. And so on.

BigBeans

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #101 on: July 09, 2020, 07:07:18 PM »

Condors and Ventures and other cheap craft would be much more useful if better military grade ships weren't so easy to acquire. Like if Drovers and proper military ships either cost alot more or required commissions too get there would be more reason too use converted civilian craft like them past the early-mid game.

Condor is good at staying in the backline and slinging support missiles like Pilums or Salamanders. However I personally think it should cost less DP and be slightly faster in combat.

Venture can be turned into a literal missile spewing brick. But the lack of modular fighter bay, only three proper weapon mounts and poor burn speed means it loses a spot in my fleet quite quickly. Maybe a Venture (A) with a modular bay+small mounts for PD would be an improvement? Or a Pirate Venture with a Converted Hangar?

Vigilance is meh, it needs more flux to properly use it's medium energy in anything other than a support role. Decent support frigate for larger ships but never seems to be able to handle frigate attacks. Suffers from the same issue all frigates have where they just become not worth a fleet slot in the end game.

Shrike seems bad because it has a bad ship system. It's actually decently armed and shielded. The problem is that it has a suicide drive which the AI can't handle and gets itself into trouble.
If it didn't have the plasma burn I bet it would play alot better in AI hands.

I'm not fussed about the Shrike (P) being slightly better. God knows the pirates could use one or two half-decent ships in vanilla. Most of the Shrikes killing power comes from it's missiles and Blaster anyways.
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Serenitis

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #102 on: July 10, 2020, 05:03:21 AM »

My personal gripe against the Condor is its out of combat stats... why does it have such low cargo and fuel storage?
Lore. (Specifically implied lore.)
Condor is a converted Tarsus and the original conversion process is described as "involved and complex", with the implication that the ship in question has sacrificed almost all of its previous abilities in order to do something it was not originally intended to do.
The implication itself comes from the statement that the conversion process was originally created by scavangers and pirates looking for a way to field fighters. And neither group would have the means to perform such a conversion without some manner of significant compromise.
The process itself is no longer "complex" because of access to nanoforges, but there's nothing to say the process was improved in any way from the original.

This is also a partial explaination for the low speed.
Tarsus has a speed of 45. And Condor, which is basically a gutted Tarsus, has a speed of 40.

Personally, I don't see a problem with this. It's all fluff, but its consistent fluff.
Condor is "good enough" (for me) to use for a while, but its not something I'd want to use past a certain point if I had any other alternatives.
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Locklave

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #103 on: July 10, 2020, 05:35:44 PM »

Commonly cited "bad" stuff:

For the Venture: increase its burn speed by 1 and it's in my fleet tomorrow. I think it's a cheap damage sponge but it's too dang slow.
For the Condor: it does need to be faster but I'm still ok with its existence as the lowest-bar carrier option
For the Shrike: I don't think it's terrible but the (P) version is better, which shouldn't be the case.

Those specific ships need exactly that and I'd support it loudly. I don't believe any of them are intended to be junk ships, like fodder fleets, but those small buffs would make them feel less like they are dragging your fleet down. They are just low end ships that should be a bit better.

We are on the same page on the Venture and Condor. I'd have qualified those buffs the same way.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 05:40:24 PM by Locklave »
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Aereto

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Re: A weird mindset I've been seeing lately about game balance
« Reply #104 on: July 11, 2020, 12:36:59 PM »

My personal gripe against the Condor is its out of combat stats... why does it have such low cargo and fuel storage?
Lore. (Specifically implied lore.)
Condor is a converted Tarsus and the original conversion process is described as "involved and complex", with the implication that the ship in question has sacrificed almost all of its previous abilities in order to do something it was not originally intended to do.
The implication itself comes from the statement that the conversion process was originally created by scavangers and pirates looking for a way to field fighters. And neither group would have the means to perform such a conversion without some manner of significant compromise.
The process itself is no longer "complex" because of access to nanoforges, but there's nothing to say the process was improved in any way from the original.

This is also a partial explaination for the low speed.
Tarsus has a speed of 45. And Condor, which is basically a gutted Tarsus, has a speed of 40.

Personally, I don't see a problem with this. It's all fluff, but its consistent fluff.
Condor is "good enough" (for me) to use for a while, but its not something I'd want to use past a certain point if I had any other alternatives.
Yep, the Condor's conversion is a steep price, but if I want carriers for cheap, eh, not going to complain about that so long as I use the right LPCs as a force projector. I have considered the Tarsus for destroyer/cruiser speed fleets, but I use Pirate/Hegemony Buffalos because I don't expect to run from a battle. Pirate for shielded cargo holds, Hegemony for built in militarized subsystems and able to keep up to even frigate fleets with augmented drive field.
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