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Author Topic: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath  (Read 3851 times)

Histidine

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Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« on: October 24, 2014, 06:33:15 AM »

(for past discussion, refer to this thread)

Now, we all know losing a ship in Starsector isn't fun. To replace it you have to go to a store, find a new ship, mount new weapons and everything for it, and give it a new name to boot. And then there's the sentimental value of your first ever frigate that just got blown up in some meaningless encounter with pirates in the back of nowhere. The Reconstruction perk helps with this, but ultimately you're still at the mercy of the RNG. This is why I try to avoid using frigates and often even destroyers if I can help it at all.

With 0.65a I got an idea: what if disabled friendly ships were always salvaged at the end of a won battle, but had one or more of the defect hullmods applied to represent significant damage that can't be field-repaired? And then a station with an autofactory could remove the hullmod for you (hypothetically it could also do the same with the reject shop (D) ships).
You'd still have your ship, but there'd be a penalty for getting it blown up - temporarily reduced combat power and the costs of the restoration work. This would also create a strategic decision if you lose a round of combat: do you cut your losses and retreat, or try to save your ships and risk a complete fleet wipe? Skill perks could give a chance to avoid the defect, or allow field repairs, or so forth.

Possible addition: an already-broken ship that gets disabled in battle can be irretrievably wrecked as a result.
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Dri

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2014, 07:30:02 AM »

Sounds reasonable to me unless Alex finally introduces gibs/chunks when a ship gets disabled... if you see a ship get blasted into 3 pieces in combat then I don't think it should be repairable!
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SafariJohn

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2014, 07:42:58 AM »

You can already completely destroy ships in battle. If a disabled hull takes too much damage it explodes and the ticker says, "[ship] destroyed." You lose most of the loot from the ship, though, so no one typically wants it to happen.
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Thaago

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 08:10:44 AM »

Interesting...

I like the idea of salvaged ships being degraded, but I don't like the idea of fixing them. This is primarily a gameplay consideration for me - if you always get your ships back and find some way to repair them, then it drastically reduces the tension of battles. I Want to care about losing ships. There are also "realism" concerns (why can't we salvage all the enemy ships? Its harder to repair a scrapped ship than to build a new one, etc.)
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Tartiflette

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2014, 08:17:33 AM »

How about having to use parts from another same class ship (without the same defects) to repair the first? Like your fleet took a bad hit and you lost 2 Hounds. You salvaged both but one got deteriorated engines end the second has a perforated hull and a destroyed weapon mount. If you manage to bring them to a station, you can "combine" them to get one working Hound... And of course removing the penalty without a second ship would be possible, but would cost more than buying a new one. A bad deal except if it's a rare ship like an Hyperion...
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Debido

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2014, 08:42:34 AM »

Maybe...or maybe in the not too distant future you will be able to take control of a planet with an autofac and build whatever ship you like.
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TJJ

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2014, 09:08:41 AM »

I do think the permanent loss of ships we have at the moment is somewhat of a fundamental design flaw.

The punishment for losing is so severe that it discourages risky engagements, and instead encourages you to engage in only the most lopsided cakewalks. This is detrimental to gameplay as the most fun is had in those pyrrhic battles where neither side escapes unharmed.
It also encourages the 'go large, or go home' strategy because the poor survivability of small ships makes them more costly to field.
CR was supposed to address this, but I don't think it's having the desired effect.

It's for these reasons I still find the campaign somewhat flawed, and why i find the standalone missions offer much more diverse and engaging gameplay.

M&B's campaign addressed this risk vs reward balance much better, though its theme & setting helped somewhat.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 09:15:34 AM by TJJ »
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SafariJohn

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2014, 10:40:11 AM »

Remember that Starsector's theme is essentially the End in slow motion. I'd say permanent loss of ships fits right in with that.

Who wouldn't prefer cake-walks? The game mirrors real life in that regard. There are some pretty good reasons real militaries seriously pursue 100% success rates. A military that wins 60% of its battles is a pretty crappy military.

I'm not saying you're wrong though, it might improve gameplay if ships didn't cost so much to lose. I would say, as others have, that the most important resource loss a player is concerned about is time. It takes a while to find a particular ship and outfit it the way you want, so losing it is a big risk.

Bigger fleets mitigate this, as the loss of a particular ship is a much smaller blow when it is 1 out of 30 rather than 1 out of 3. Bigger fleets also tend to scale up their incomes as well, reducing the relative premium cost of a single ship. 2,000 credits out of 30,000 is obviously not as big a deal as 2,000 out of 3,000.

I would probably write more but I have pressing things to do.
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Thaago

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2014, 12:48:27 PM »

I do think the permanent loss of ships we have at the moment is somewhat of a fundamental design flaw.

The punishment for losing is so severe that it discourages risky engagements, and instead encourages you to engage in only the most lopsided cakewalks. This is detrimental to gameplay as the most fun is had in those pyrrhic battles where neither side escapes unharmed.
It also encourages the 'go large, or go home' strategy because the poor survivability of small ships makes them more costly to field.
CR was supposed to address this, but I don't think it's having the desired effect.

It's for these reasons I still find the campaign somewhat flawed, and why i find the standalone missions offer much more diverse and engaging gameplay.

M&B's campaign addressed this risk vs reward balance much better, though its theme & setting helped somewhat.


I disagree - I hope that losing ships is always a very big deal. Otherwise combat is going to have no tension. The real thing the game is lacking is what the bigger deal is. For the current game, where you are basically a mercenary captain with no base of operations and no allies (to start), ships are your life blood. What could be worse than losing one? Related to this, if you can't lose them then whats the point of combat? We can already get back ships incredibly easily - just maybe not the ships you want.

Later on I hope that there is a bigger deal than losing ships - protecting your outposts, making sure a shipment of food gets to an allied planet that is hooked up to your trade network, striking at one part of a battle fleet before it joins up with others and strikes you as a whole... I can see a lot of scenarios where losing ships is a great trade off. But only once we move beyond the scale that the game is at. (The game might not do this of course. We'll have to see what happens, but mods could definitely do it.)
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PCCL

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2014, 01:59:53 PM »

I wonder if it's too easy to lose ships in the current state of the game. (compared to say real life or something)

In a real naval battle (let's say... Midway?), 6/19 ships were sunk on the japanese side, while 2/26 were sunk on the US (pulling numbers from wikipedia here, a less than 32 percent casualty rate on the losing side of a battle that's generally considered decisive victory.

Whereas in starsector, a battle would generally involve the destruction of 80+ percent of the losing side while the winning side generally loses nothing
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Aeson

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2014, 04:25:47 PM »

I wonder if it's too easy to lose ships in the current state of the game. (compared to say real life or something)

In a real naval battle (let's say... Midway?), 6/19 ships were sunk on the japanese side, while 2/26 were sunk on the US (pulling numbers from wikipedia here, a less than 32 percent casualty rate on the losing side of a battle that's generally considered decisive victory.

Whereas in starsector, a battle would generally involve the destruction of 80+ percent of the losing side while the winning side generally loses nothing
The thing that is most important about Midway isn't how many ships were sunk, it's that Japan failed, and it's what ships were lost. Japan lost its four most experienced aircraft carriers and many of its most experienced naval air crews, it failed in its attempt to take a position which could have made Hawaii untenable or at least made it much more difficult to use Hawaii as a safe haven and forward base for the US fleet, and it failed in its last major offensive in the Pacific.

Also, if you're going to report casualty rates, you might want to consider the type and size of the vessels sunk. Sure, it's 5 of 21 vessels (34 if you count combatants that were not engaged, or 69 if you also include support vessels) by Wikipedia's listing, but those 5 vessels are 4 of 4 fleet carriers and 1 of 2 heavy cruisers (1 of 6 if you count the present-but-not-involved forces). The carriers represent about 43% of the tonnage of the group of ships they were with, depending on how accurate the listed tonnage on Wikipedia is for that engagement and on how accurate the article on the order of battle is, and are 4 of Japan's 21 fleet carriers in service during WWII (according to Wikipedia's page on the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII). If it had been 4 destroyers that had been sunk out of the carrier group, that could have been as little as 4% of the group's tonnage, and yet it'd still be 20% of the fleet, by number of ships - but they're much less valuable ships. By contrast, the US lost 1 of 3 carriers present and 1 of 15 destroyers - much lighter losses, and also a loss that included a much less valuable and far more easily replaced ship than a heavy cruiser or carrier. When comparing (or considering) losses in a naval battle, it matters a great deal if those 10 ships you lost were all destroyers, or if they were a pair of battleships, three heavy cruisers, a fleet carrier, a light carrier, and three destroyers. Either way, you lost 10 ships - but losing 10 destroyers is usually a much less important loss than losing the 10 ships in the second listing (in particular, it's a much less important loss than losing the first 7 ships in the second listing). Destroyers are much more easily replaced than major warships are.
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PCCL

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2014, 04:54:38 PM »

well ok, let's say 43 percent of the fleet was lost by the japanese, that still doesn't hold a candle to the usual 80-100 percent loss that happens here...

point is, I feel battles are far more decisive than they should be, this makes the loss of ships too common for it to be a significant setback to the player and, if we make it an insignificant setback, doesn't match the gravitas it should carry in the context of the universe
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Aeson

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Re: Defect hullmods and ship non-permadeath
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2014, 06:34:39 PM »

well ok, let's say 43 percent of the fleet was lost by the japanese, that still doesn't hold a candle to the usual 80-100 percent loss that happens here...
Note that that was 43% of the total tonnage of the carrier group, not the full fleet, and it doesn't include the cruiser which was lost.

point is, I feel battles are far more decisive than they should be, this makes the loss of ships too common for it to be a significant setback to the player and, if we make it an insignificant setback, doesn't match the gravitas it should carry in the context of the universe
Well, you kind of have to ask yourself what feels right. Is the player going to be satisfied with battles where 9 out of 10 ships survive, regardless of whose side they're on? If nothing else, that'd have serious implications for the practicality of the bounty hunter playstyle, as you just cut off a significant fraction of their income, depending on what ships get away or have to be boarded or destroyed to prevent their escape. It's arguably more realistic, but is that a good thing? Increasing the frequency of recoverable hulks is another possibility, and one more in line with what was suggested originally, and doesn't impact the bounty hunter playstyle as heavily, but it also makes ships more available (if in worse condition), which might be as contrary to intentions as the current massive losses could be. If it's too easy to replace losses, or if D ships are too readily available and easily used as sacrificial tanks that you can replace with a brand new hulk after every battle, that is also detrimental to the game, and possibly more so than "oh god how am I ever going to replace that fleet I just lost" is. There's also a question of how 'realistic' the game is going to try to be.
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