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Author Topic: Confirmed again: Too easy RNG balance ruins the experience for many new players.  (Read 596 times)

sqrt(-1)

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Here a quote I found in a forum somewhere of someone who just started to try out the game: "Getting rich is far too easy with bar missions and smuggling. Exploration and quests are hardly worth the effort".

This is what I regularly encounter with playthroughs of others and not just myself.

Additionally, the average RNG is catapulting a thoughtful player into the late game with near invincible fleets waaay to quickly. This is worsened a lot with the availability of the fast start option of course, which was a clear mistake of 0.9 in my opinion.

Find an Alpha core by accident - boom, you won the game.
Find a capital ship blueprint by accident - boom, you won the game.
... etc...

Obtaining those things should generally require a serious challenge for the player and not just average RNG.

As many have already agreed with here over the years - the early game struggle, where the skill of piloting your flagship and tactics matter against superior forces, is what makes Starsector fun - not the dull management of ginormous fleets.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 07:31:18 AM by sqrt(-1) »
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Mordodrukow

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Mentioned options are good, because without them the game will not become harder, it will just become longer. There is no fundamental difference between starting on the frigate and starting having, say... Apogee. You will try to find missions you can handle anyway.
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Grievous69

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First thing, what agreement are you talking about? Some people prefer larger battles, some prefer small early game ones. You don't decide what should be fun for others.

Second, the items you mentioned aren't even the problem. Alpha core, sure you get some money and rep, nice bonus for exploring. Ship blueprint, like what the hell are you going to do with it in early game? You require a decent planet, letting it grow and build everything to defend itself and then building the Heavy Industry. AND THEN ordering the specified ship. All of this takes a ton of time and money.

Unless you meant selling blueprints, then I'd have to agree with you. Same goes for Pristine nanoforges and Synchrotron cores. But all of these things aren't ''easy RNG'' as you say, you can explore half of the map and not find a single Pristine nanoforge. I don't get how would you make this a challenge when it's just pure luck. Some people find them soon and get crazy rich, while some can remain stuck in early game for who knows how many hours. It's the same as finding a super rare item in any other RPG.

What I'm trying to say is I don't see what you're suggesting here. You just don't like RNG it seems to me, so what do you propose that would help solve these issues? Outright remove RNG from them and tie them to quests? Make only end game enemies drop them? Drop some ideas mate.

EDIT: Good example for this being a bit silly is getting DOUBLE the amount of credits for finding a random item compared to fighting an end game bounty which has at least 5-6 capitals. Even with RNG the risk vs reward isn't really balanced I'd say.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 07:52:40 AM by Grievous69 »
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Eji1700

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I don't get how would you make this a challenge when it's just pure luck
That's the point.  I don't agree with everything in the OP (especially that fast start is bad), but the issue is that it probably shouldn't be just pure luck.  There really should be some other gate depending on your playstyle.  Maybe combat heavy fleets can raid a heavily defended world or salvage heavy fleets can get a high enough salvage skill with support ships to find one and get it online, but the "roll dice with a modifier" kinda lends itself to just blowing out the game.

It's ok as is, and i'm not sure it's bad enough to be a dev concern now (or maybe ever), but it's absolutely something that could be more interesting.   In general it'd be a lot more fun if finding a legion/core/forge/whatever in the early game marked it on the map, but required some sort of skill/ship/hull/combat/whatever investment, so you're likely going to have to remember that spot (which the game already does for you) and come back later better equipped.

At the very least you're now turning a "oops got lucky, guess it's over" scenario into "oops got lucky, i've now got a short term goal"...which may still functionally end the game depending on other factors (as always econ could use a lot of smoothing out imo), but at least there's more gameplay to it other than die roll.
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sqrt(-1)

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Mentioned options are good, because without them the game will not become harder, it will just become longer. There is no fundamental difference between starting on the frigate and starting having, say... Apogee. You will try to find missions you can handle anyway.
I clearly disagree with you: there is a huge difference between taking out early game fleets piloting just a frigate or an Apogee! It clearly takes away a part of the game that for many (if not most) is the most entertaining, particularly for new players.

The little side note in parentheses doesn't clarify this to a new player.

The mercenary fast start option (IIRC) provides a fully equipped Hammerhead, Drover, Centurian, Lasher & Dram plus 50k credits. This allows you to defeat virtually all early game pirate fleets without the need of mastering piloting. A fundamental gameplay mastering challenge of the game is thus being rendered insignificant or even irrelevant right from the start.

First thing, what agreement are you talking about? Some people prefer larger battles, some prefer small early game ones. You don't decide what should be fun for others.

Second, the items you mentioned aren't even the problem. Alpha core, sure you get some money and rep, nice bonus for exploring. Ship blueprint, like what the hell are you going to do with it in early game? You require a decent planet, letting it grow and build everything to defend itself and then building the Heavy Industry. AND THEN ordering the specified ship. All of this takes a ton of time and money.

Unless you meant selling blueprints, then I'd have to agree with you. Same goes for Pristine nanoforges and Synchrotron cores. But all of these things aren't ''easy RNG'' as you say, you can explore half of the map and not find a single Pristine nanoforge. I don't get how would you make this a challenge when it's just pure luck. Some people find them soon and get crazy rich, while some can remain stuck in early game for who knows how many hours. It's the same as finding a super rare item in any other RPG.

What I'm trying to say is I don't see what you're suggesting here. You just don't like RNG it seems to me, so what do you propose that would help solve these issues? Outright remove RNG from them and tie them to quests? Make only end game enemies drop them? Drop some ideas mate.

EDIT: Good example for this being a bit silly is getting DOUBLE the amount of credits for finding a random item compared to fighting an end game bounty which has at least 5-6 capitals. Even with RNG the risk vs reward isn't really balanced I'd say.
I never denied that there are some people who think that the heights of the game is to win virtually every battle by simply stuffing the best equipment into the max deployment points and watching almost idle the inevitable victory in a battle that has been decided before it even started.

I am providing an example of another new player, not just my opinion. The same thing can be observed with countless blind playthroughs on Youtube or Twitch. And I think many people here (IMO the majority) agree that the early game is the most fun part of the game.

It not a matter of taste/opinion that many gameplay elements like piloting skills become less relevant the larger resources/fleets become, without adding anything new.

Loot worth hundreds of thousands of credits can be found within 2 hours of playtime consistently, without the need to engage a genuine challenge.
Even if you believe that this isn't typically the case, that it can happen is ruining the experience of many!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 08:23:08 AM by sqrt(-1) »
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SCC

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Bar missions and trading in general are certainly not risky enough. I wish trading, instead of being rather boring, instead caused pirates, and eventually enemies of factions you're trading with, took interest in you, making fights come to you.
Smuggling is straight up broken at the moment, though.
Exploration I'd rate way higher than either, as you can't acquire AI cores or blueprints through trading or smuggling. That said, finding either early doesn't really boost you much, unless you want to sacrifice long-term benefits for short-term ones, which is fine by me. You have a choice most of the time, except for ships you don't want anyway (less likely early on) or gamma cores, which are garbage.

I don't know why fast starts are available right at the start. Tutorial gives you some ships anyway, enough that players who don't like fighting in a frigate can skip it.
It not a matter of taste/opinion that many gameplay elements like piloting skills become less relevant the larger resources/fleets become, without adding anything new.
I cannot agree with this statement, though. Personal piloting can be just as effective later on, but it also requires more skills and more knowledge about the game (especially picking the right ship to fly).

Mondaymonkey

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Loot worth hundreds of thousands of credits can be found within 2 hours of playtime consistently

Get higher bid, dude.

It is absolutely possible to find rare items worth of millions in less than a hour of playing time (if you know how to find potentially most-valuable systems). It is 146% possible to find a Paragon derelict with no D-mods and full weapons equipped in 8(!) minutes from the start (It happens once).

I do not want to make RNG less RNG, tho'. It would be like: "I will no went exploring, cos' it gives me garbage only". Or even worse: "I will no went exploring till lvl50, cos' low levels gives me worst loot from a same derelict".

I would suggest make those items much harder to sell, than currently, and/or decrease their selling price. Currently it is like: "Hi there, I am a random guy from space, now give me $$$ for my mostly illegal rare loot, regardless your faction is vengeful to me".
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sqrt(-1)

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Bar missions and trading in general are certainly not risky enough. I wish trading, instead of being rather boring, instead caused pirates, and eventually enemies of factions you're trading with, took interest in you, making fights come to you.
Smuggling is straight up broken at the moment, though.
Exploration I'd rate way higher than either, as you can't acquire AI cores or blueprints through trading or smuggling. That said, finding either early doesn't really boost you much, unless you want to sacrifice long-term benefits for short-term ones, which is fine by me. You have a choice most of the time, except for ships you don't want anyway (less likely early on) or gamma cores, which are garbage.

I don't know why fast starts are available right at the start. Tutorial gives you some ships anyway, enough that players who don't like fighting in a frigate can skip it.
Right, that the player receives a Hammerhead cruiser in the tutorial mission is taking away from the maneuvering skill requirement too quickly as well IMO.

I cannot agree with this statement, though. Personal piloting can be just as effective later on, but it also requires more skills and more knowledge about the game (especially picking the right ship to fly).
I never observed a new player who found a Paragon, or one of the many derelict Legion's, early on ever to bother again with kiting or even just maneuvering tactics in a blind playthrough.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 09:00:44 AM by sqrt(-1) »
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SafariJohn

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I think the game would benefit from pulling certain super-rare items out of the RNG-loot pool and putting them into quests. For example, maybe you get 2-3 "Nanoforge Rumor" exploration quests and only 1 of them is certain to have a (corrupted) nanoforge. Getting a (single) pristine nanoforge from the quests would only happen on some playthroughs, though you could always (try to) steal nanoforges from factions.
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Ced Riggs

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Agreeing with John there, putting these six-digit items into quests or dedicated rumor missions that require deep space exploration would be cool, finding them in Penelope's Star isn't. Reduced RNG, and a higher sense of accomplishment while also putting that carrot more visibly in front of a player sounds like a good idea.

That being said, I would appreciate it if we could argue from personal opinion, rather than trying to blanket dissent with claims of "most players want this". Personally, I would want to skip some of the starting bits and rather go into the wild of the deep reaches of space relatively soon, so the frigate slog doesn't do much for me. Later on, I also prefer the strategizing and fleet management, while letting the officers handle the fighting. Anecdote for anecdote, I know of people who see it the same way; that line of argumentation is a bit fruitless.

Now, if I recall correctly, there are different start options and a difficulty toggle, too. Retooling the game to cater more to single ship frigate bouts would take away from the aspect of fleet and supply management, which seems vital to me. Colonies fund fleets, fleets defend colonies. Fundamentally, Starsector presents itself as a rags to riches story of a plucky captain making their way against the big factions and [REDACTED], with all the grandiose frontier expansion that entails. It never really struck me as a game that wants you to stay in the frigate forever; it's but a stepping stone. At that point, I could make the argument that the game isn't wrong, Imaginary just seems to want something from the game that it doesn't focus on.
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Megas

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Early-game is my least favorite part of the game by far (I often call it early-game hell), and endgame is my most favorite part.  The sooner I make to endgame, the better.  I almost always take the Apogee start because it may be the fastest way out of early-game hell for me (not just combat, but also exploration when looking for good planets or seeds to play).

I like the huge variance of items that can be found.  It is fun finding the likes of pristine nanoforge, an ideal planet to colonize, or similar out-of-depth find kind of early.  Tight and low variance on what can be found depending on your character level or progress (for the altar of balance) can be predictable, stale, and boring.  It is fun finding the rare, lucky, out-of-depth loot at unexpected times.  Of course, the flip side is you may not find that valuable item until well after you have won the game several times over.  (I am one of the players who could not find a pristine nanoforge after exploring half the sector and had to steal them from Kazeron and Chicomoztoc in one game.)
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Thaago

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Another consideration: in iron mode these kind of windfalls are balanced by gank losses, something not present in typical play. Iron mode used to be described as the way the game is 'meant' to be played, but I don't know if thats still accurate.
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Serenitis

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Something to consider might be an extra game mode/level which is identical to "normal", except the drop tables are really stingy. So all your blueprints, forges, etc. are really genuinely rare.
This would allow the rng masochists to indulge themselves without also forcing the change on those who would rather not endure that.

Personally, I find it really odd that in a decayed sector on the edge of ruin, i can find enough forges & syncrotrons to equip more planets than I can control just by digging up ruins & breaking derelict stations.
But I also appreciate that not everyone likes exploring as much as I do, and might not care that there's 10+ forges out there so long as they have 1.

An extra "difficulty" setting would be the easiest way to accomodate this. (If it's decided its worth addressing at all.)
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SCC

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I never observed a new player who found a Paragon, or one of the many derelict Legion's, early on ever to bother again with kiting or even just maneuvering tactics in a blind playthrough.
Ah, you meant the sudden jump in progression, my mistake.

One way to temper short-term abnormal profits would be to create short-term abnormal problems to go with them. Blueprints, AI cores, nanoforges and synchrotrons could be hard to sell, only in bars, and some cases would be traps, by the local government or by outlaws, or after you sold the thing you'd attract some attention. Or maybe dealing with one factions angers all the others. Similar solution could be applied to trading in general.

It is absolutely possible to find rare items worth of millions in less than a hour of playing time (if you know how to find potentially most-valuable systems). It is 146% possible to find a Paragon derelict with no D-mods and full weapons equipped in 8(!) minutes from the start (It happens once).
In my experience, it's really rare to find a derelict capital ship that's recoverable... Except for Legions XIV, that is.

That being said, I would appreciate it if we could argue from personal opinion, rather than trying to blanket dissent with claims of "most players want this". Personally, I would want to skip some of the starting bits and rather go into the wild of the deep reaches of space relatively soon, so the frigate slog doesn't do much for me. Later on, I also prefer the strategizing and fleet management, while letting the officers handle the fighting. Anecdote for anecdote, I know of people who see it the same way; that line of argumentation is a bit fruitless.
I'm one of these people who consider endgame at least a bit harder than early game, since there's no Tempest equivalent in the endgame, with which you can solve all your non-logistical problems. I can also say, with a degree of confidence, that it's rare for any random player to share this view, as it requires much more time wasted on Starsector than it's socially acceptable.

Megas

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Players who build for raiding can steal some nice blueprints from the lightly defended core worlds (or undefended in case of New Maxios).

If I luck out and find a rare item (or steal a capital blueprint from one of the low defense worlds) worth few hundred K or so early, I do not sell it (unless I can steal it back with a raid).  I hoard it until I can use it after I build a colony much later!
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