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Messages - Ad Astra

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1
General Discussion / Re: Am i Being Followed?
« on: September 04, 2023, 06:31:05 PM »
You experienced what is called a "sensor ghost", it's basically a glitch in your fleet sensors, though in-game they actually have some interesting properties.

The following will be mild spoilers on that particular mechanic.

Some of those will interdict pulse your ship, cancelling your sustained burn, you must use your own interdict pulse on them so they disappear, some will come towards you and then fly slowly away, if you follow them they'll lead you to salvage or a fleet of enemies.
Lastly the coolest one, is a sort of cloud of signal that just sits there in hyperspace, if you interdict pulse on it, it'll start creating a slipstream in the opposite direction of your fleet, so you can create a passage by putting the sensor ghost between you and your destination.
Most are simply harmless, serve no function, and are there to freak you out a little bit.

2
Suggestions / Re: Better ways to get strong enemy fleets
« on: September 04, 2023, 10:30:08 AM »
After reading all of this, I definitely stand on the side of the "put some DP caps" crowd.
Right now, player level and skill choice isn't reflected on the amount of ships that can be part of a fleet. From the get go, the only limit to the player's capabilities is mostly money, as soon as you can afford a doomstack you can bring its might to bear. If we consider that the game's lategame will always involve a ridiculously rich player (every game is like this, its inevitable), logistic costs should only be contemplated as an early-midgame hurdle that allows the player to play around with campaign optimization and resource gathering options.
Lategame combat should be optimized around what's most fun and challenging, and what's most fun is entirely subjective, the closest thing to a good answer you can get is majority vote, and even getting that can be challenging.

So the best answer is versatility, if every fleet is huge, players who like short engagements will be frustrated, but if fleets are small, the enemy can still stack several fleets at the same time, meaning a player who likes 3 hour long fights can still get what they need.

In order to make small enemy fleets challenging, the player can't be allowed to bring a massive fleet of their own, the size of a fleet is relative to the size of all existing fleets. Players complained about fleet caps in the past because the enemy was bringing doomstacks everywhere, the problem was relative balance, not the cap itself.

I believe player level and skills should dictate their ability to lead greater fleets, even officers could potentially be given the possibility for support inclined or combat inclined builds (but that's a whole other story).

Smaller fleets in general means more ways for the game to provide challenge. Having in-game difficulty options to lock most war ships behind faction rep and contact rep could also provide a challenge for the more experienced players. But that might be worth a separate thread to discuss.

3
Suggestions / Fine tuning the colony threat mechanic
« on: September 04, 2023, 09:41:29 AM »
First of all, I quite like the new system, since it can develop into something very interesting, I also like the way you can bribe your way out of problems both short and long term, letting players basically avoid it if they don't like interacting with it.

However I think the "imma fite em" part of the system is quite out of tune. Each fleet destroyed lowers an insignificant amount of progress, and even if I go out of my way to try and find something to kill I end up empty handed, at least in my experience.

tl;dr: make threat gain literally disappear for a while each time you go boom boom on a station instead of just reducing it, or provide a way to engage bigger fleets for better threat reduction without having to wait until events while suffering the colony malus.

Disrupting Pather cells by blowing up their station also offers a paltry -20 per cell, my colonies generate that amount of heat per month, and I'm not given the chance to blow up a station per month. This makes it so that no matter how proactive I am about dealing with the issue, I'm neither given the chance for proper combat (since I only find a few tiny fleets), nor properly "rewarded" by this system for the combat I do (they barely reduce hostility), bribing is just too superior to the supposedly intended objective of this system according to Alex, which is to generate instances of combat.

I like where pirates are balance wise (they might even be too innocuous), but pathers need some adjustment. First I think that while stacking Patrol HQs or their upgrades shouldn't solve the issue outright, each patrol HQ should diminish the pather hostility per colony, since pather hostility IS gained per colony tech usage.
Maybe give them diminishing returns, or maybe give them a percentage based reduction, so the colony still generates hostility, but not as much.

The final consideration would be, how to give the player a better chance at fighting off the threat effectively, so that if they were so inclined they can keep even an empire at 0 threat by actively dealing with hostiles. Having disrupted pather cells generate 0 hostility might fix the current balance for example.

My suggestion would be to generate fleets proportional to the monthly gain of hostility, not just the amount accumulated, that means if you suddenly get a higher hostility gain, you also get a proportional opportunity to reduce it.
Another way would be to force an event to happen if the player frustrates attempts to raid and sabotage the system through hostile methods too many times, maybe some sort of "tolerance" meter, parallel to the threat gain, that way you'd still trigger hostile events without always eating up the accessibility and stability malus.

I write this mostly because, while I imagine that there might be a lot of interesting features planned for the future of this system, its important that whatever temporary current implementation fulfills its objective of causing interesting engagement and instances of fun, which in this case would be combat.
In the meantime I personally engage with it as a form of tax, I pay money to get hostiles off my back, simply forget about it and pay with the slightly reduced productivity of my colonies, or do the quests for either side, which I think are honestly so great that any other way of dealing with this system seems like an outright loss, and that's just talking game flavor wise, giving lobster to Kanta is the zenith of Starsector dialogue choices and that's not even up for discussion.
They are even better gameplay wise since they don't even have downsides at least yet.

The only reason to avoid doing the quests would be role-play, but the ability to roleplay a proper enemy to the pathers and pirates is very limited, since they are hardly a real threat most of the time, and you can't actually destroy them if you'd so choose.

4
Money, money is great, who doesn't just love the stuff. It lets you buy cool ships and guns, get fancy colonies, and pay off annoying space fundamentalists.  8)
That's why players will often undertake repetitive tasks that might not be so stimulating, so that they have the financial ability to undertake more entertaining tasks, like firing reapers at everything that moves.

For that reason its important to remember that every single decimal digit of supplies or fuel per day spent, means a considerably longer grind.

In order to avoid that, consider your fleet composition, do you really need to drag a cruiser all the way to the edge of the sector to scan a derelict ship? Probably not. The more you bring only the ships you really need, the more efficient the tasks undertaken.
A smaller fleet might be more vulnerable, but it will also be harder to spot. So remember that you can easily modify ships thinking in the task they will perform.

S-modding logistic ships should be a priority, since if you don't do anything particularly wrong, you will be using them for the whole game, and they'll never blow up. There's also the issue that you can normally only add 2 logistic hullmods per ship, but S-mods don't count, so you can have a colossus, phaeton and salvage gantry that have solar shielding, insulated engines, surveying equipment, and augmented drive or efficiency overhaul. The earlier you get these, the more money they make you throughout a playthrough, and you might use them until the very end of it.

You can have a fleet for exploration, where even the warships have logistic S-mods like Solar Shielding to make you life easier, or efficiency overhaul to diminish your expenses, while having separate ships with more optimized builds for harder combat.
Insulated Engines is very recommended for any exploration fleet as well, since you don't need to have firepower against enemies that can't see you.

When doing sneaky beaky things:
You can grab only a few shepherds and a valkyrie with insulated engines, and go around the entire core, doing raids, spysat deployments and smuggling with extreme ease, while leaving the rest of your fleet in a station somewhere. Later on in the game you can improve this setup by exchanging them for a Revenant and Phantom, making things even easier.
A neat thing to have in mind when raiding, is that patrols can be distracted by sensor bursting with you transponder off, causing them to come investigate, then you sneak around them with go dark, avoiding having to fight them, and in doing so, the need for bigger rep hits and having to bring along combat ships to.

Finally when optimizing combat:
You just need to read every post regarding ship loadouts in the forum since 2015, try and fail building a decent aurora 10 times in a row, cry in a corner after getting rushed by an LP eradicator, spend 300 hours in the combat simulation, and have a knife fight over the lategame viability of your favorite destroyer. Or maybe it isn't that hard. But it sure is harder than optimizing the campaign so you have the cash money moollah to simply throw fleets against a wall until you get good at combat.

So all in all, make your resource acquiring easier and more efficient, so you can enjoy the juicier part of the game without frustration. There will be time once you're good enough  to do all the challenge runs you want.  ;D

5
I was thinking that it might be cool to be able to decide what ships get the bonus from skills with limits for optimum gain like fighter uplink. Mostly because sometimes you might be dragging along ships like tempests and shepherds and its a little bothersome that they take away skill power from the actually important fighters.
In theory you'd choose what ships would be affected and see the percentage of improvement you'd get.

If it would take a lot of work to implement it might not be worth it, but if it happens to be relatively easy, it would be pure upsides I think.

6
Suggestions / Re: Name AI cores that Pilot Ships
« on: September 03, 2023, 08:04:27 PM »
I disagree, Bob is a terrible name for an AI core, Alphonso Cores on the other hand... 8)

7
Finally! Names worthy of a Space-Telenovela!

"Maribel Centauri Fernandez del Kazeron III, how could you drop a planet killer in Salamanca??!!" *Extremely exaggerated closeup to questionable acting*
*Slaps* "You wouldn't understand Juan Ganymede Betelgeuse Martinez! I did it for LOVE!!" *Storms out of the room stomping*

Commercial cut: "Next week in Persean Passions"

8
General Discussion / Re: Regarding Orbital Habitat Drops
« on: August 07, 2023, 09:14:41 AM »
I explored 100% of my sector (Yes, even systems with neutron stars) and haven't found any pristine nanoforges.  The only way to get one is to sack the Hegemony or League (I guess, if you play vanilla, your rep with the heg/league is forever screwed).

I made a thread about rare item drops explaining the drop tables and chances per salvage item. The chance of a station dropping a pristine nanoforge is 0.9%, further diminished by competing rolls, because if several colony items roll positive only 1 drops anyways.
If you have around 30 stations in your map, then that's less than a 30% chance of the pristine nanoforge to drop.

The historian can always be the back up plan, but I feel like it's a very unappealing option, just some dude rocking up and going like "oi bruv, wanna cheeky sparkly new nanoforge?".
Everyone and their dog would be searching for one, if there was any register of such an item being out there, someone would've found it already.
Getting it through the domain motherships makes more sense, since who in their right mind would voluntarily battle explorarium drones for what might just end up being survey data, only the player character, who for all we know, is a whack job on the level of brother Cotton. Assuming anyone even finds those motherships, they are always in the corners of the sector after all.

9
General Discussion / Re: Play with just one ship possible?
« on: August 06, 2023, 09:29:29 AM »
But whatever you choose, there are at least 4 points in the story of the game where you actually want and need to have more than 1 ship to get the actually coolest things.

Space broccoli, doritos, new big Sindrian pew pew, and what's the fourth? The red umbrella?

10
General Discussion / Re: N00b questions
« on: August 06, 2023, 09:25:05 AM »
Ok. Next!

Good stealth ships?

Phase ships have the lowest sensor profile, that's why there's both a cargo phase ship "Revenant" and a cargo troop transport "Phantom".
If you want to sneak in for raids or smuggle, those are the cream of the crop, you can support them with any other phase ships.
The full list of phase ships from smaller to bigger is: Gremlin, Shade, Afflictor, Habringer, Doom, Super Redacted.

The smaller the fleet and the ships in it, the smaller the sensor profile, but it caps at 5 ships, you could bring 40 frigates for the sensor profile of 5. You can further diminish the sensor profile through "insulated engines" hullmod and even further by S-modding it.

11
General Discussion / Re: Destroyers
« on: August 05, 2023, 08:24:53 PM »
Wolfpack tactics should only be available after seducing Kanta with a lobster dinner while watching someone get thrown into an orbital lamp. After that, she takes away your space-tactics innocence.

After all, how else is a well-behaved, Ludd-fearing, decisive-battle-doctrine-like-the-domain-fathers-intended, captain like yourself to know about that kind of dirty, nitty-gritty, rag-tag stuff only the pirates and similar space-rascals get up to.

12
Suggestions / Re: What should the Historian ramble about?
« on: August 05, 2023, 08:16:25 PM »
I have an idea, you can stumble upon either the sober historian or the drunk historian.

Sober historian, you get historical comments on matters, if possible, related to the places around where you found him.

Drunk historian, a rarer encounter, fourth wall breaks, more Ludd was actually an android talk, or at least him talking about the music your character and cotton hear. Because I wouldn't be surprised if that music is some sort of super communication system from beyond the gates, designed to try and bring the necessary individuals in contact with each other and lull them towards the process of reconnecting the gates.
After all the Luddics believe that Ludd will return through the gates, so to them, to the true believers like Cotton, that choir is salvation itself, singing from beyond.
Also the Xenorphica, while having the name of a musical instrument, surely an instrument with the word "xeno" in it is no coincidence, whatever tech they used, whatever the AI hates and fears, comes from outside. If Omega is a super AI that sabotaged the gate system in the sector, it wants to stay free from the influence of that other force, maybe a long distance AI suppressor, so advanced that it looks like creepy pasta black magic *** to us.

13
General Discussion / Re: N00b questions
« on: August 05, 2023, 07:47:45 PM »
Now my problem seems to be that I literally can't find enough fuel (and sometimes supplies) to do much. I can buy everything, but maybe I need to visit different systems and buy all their stuff? The bases are literally out of fuel and supplies. It's not that I can't afford it.

Remember to press F1 over each commodity (like fuel) you need to buy, if you are in the range of a comms relay like the core systems have, the thingies that let you know there's missions available, a list with all the best prices for buying and selling will appear. For fuel sindria and nachiketa tend to be the cheapest and have enormous amounts.

Also if your fleet runs out of fuel too fast, try to either rise the fuel capacity, get the "containment procedures" skill in the industry or yellow skill tree, or leave some of your bigger thirstier ships behind when going to the fringes of the sector. Always remember to press the fuel range option in the map so you know whether you can make it back or not.

A small efficient salvage fleet will make more money by cutting down in supply and fuel usage, also if you do survey missions, make sure to give your non-combat ships a hullmod called "surveying equipment" it makes surveying planets cheaper and require less crew I think.

Also, salvage rigs give you more loot from salvage but not more rare items, so you only get more commodities.
A cheaper alternative in the early game is getting "Shepherd" ships, they have a good amount of cargo space and built in salvage gantries, meaning that they improve the amount of supplies and fuel you get.

14
General Discussion / Re: Play with just one ship possible?
« on: August 05, 2023, 07:28:35 PM »
I'd imagine some overpowered ship mode might help you, otherwise you are very limited.
In vanilla, salvaging and carrying cargo needs several ships, setting up colonies require that you bring 1000 people with you plus the supplies and machinery.
You'd only be able to do scanning missions with a very efficient ship like an apogee and combat, but you'd be limited to very small enemy fleets or need to only engage when you have allies to back you up.

15
General Discussion / Re: Elite: 9 Medusa vs Double Ordo (video)
« on: August 05, 2023, 07:01:59 PM »
You can watch a private video of this attempt here when it's done uploading
https://youtu.be/Amw1tl4yXgY

While waiting for it to upload, related to the subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYZe5BpNFcA

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