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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2 (04/30/22)

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Messages - FooF

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General Discussion / Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« on: July 01, 2022, 12:10:35 PM »
From Hiruma Kai's analysis:

Perhaps what plagues the Eagle the most is lack of identity. You're right: it's clearly meant to be a mixture of beams and ballistics that is sort of mobile and sort of tanky. Many moons ago, your choices of attack Cruiser were: Venture, Falcon, Eagle, Apogee, Dominator, Aurora, and Doom. In that line-up, it is clearly the middle-of-the-road option. As more specialized cruisers have been added, the rather "vanilla" Eagle became less and less attractive to the point that we're having this discussion now.

Aurora, Doom, and Apogee have all been accused of being too powerful at various points in their life I can't recall any time where the Eagle was ever considered OP. It's always been the plumb line for "average" by which other ships are measured. The fact that the Eagle is now considered weak is a good indicator that power creep has set in, or if nothing else, ship design has evolved over the years. The more recently-added Cruisers (Eradicator, Fury, Champion, etc.) are all more specialized but they all clearly have a solid identity. "Equal mix of ballistics and energy" is all the Eagle has ever had and that's not enough to distinguish it from a pretty crowded Cruiser field now. Hence the idea of a fighter bay, but I don't deny it needs a speed increase, too.

So my Eagle patch notes would look something like:
- Added fighter bay
- Increased OP from 155 to 165
- Increased top speed from 50 to 60

But, I'd also be interested in swapping the positions of one (or all!) of the Medium Energies and Ballistics and seeing what that would do for the ship. If the Ballistics were in the turrets and Energies in the hardpoints, it would play very differently. The lion's share of the firepower could be directed other than forward and it would give the shorter-ranged Energies a bit more breathing room, especially assault energy weapon types. You could also actually mount Ballistic PD on the Eagle, which is a sneaky-large benefit.

General Discussion / Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« on: July 01, 2022, 09:02:12 AM »
If the fighter bay was added, yes, and additional 10 or so OP would probably be needed. If you wanted bomber support, you’d have to pay for it (though I’d just leave the two side-missiles empty and focus on a premium fighter option).

General Discussion / Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« on: June 30, 2022, 03:33:09 PM »
“Odd one out” in terms of being overlooked in favor of other Cruisers. Prior to the latest buffs, it was a ship that looked good on paper but was too slow, too flux starved and strangely, not tough enough to fulfill its role. The last patch not only buffed the Dominator but added skills that greatly increase its effectiveness in tanking and flux stats, not mention hull mods that help.

The Eagle did receive some tweaks but the meta game moved past it. I don’t think anyone would call it “bad” it’s just that it’s not as attractive as other Cruiser options. It’s not far off from being a strong competitor for the DP cost but it either needs a slight buff or a slight reduction in DP to be “worth it” relative to other hulls.

I still stand by the single fighter bay addition. That’s something no other line cruiser would have, adds to the generalist feel, and mitigates some of the speed/lack of missile issues we’re discussing.

General Discussion / Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« on: June 30, 2022, 12:35:08 PM »
I suppose a speed buff would work in the Eagle’s favor more than other options. I’ve said for awhile that the Eagle lost its perch (ha) to the Champion early on. And while the Dominator was also the odd one out for awhile, it’s now very competitive because of its improved hull/armor.

I’d say maybe a buff to Maneuvering Jets but that affects quite a few ships.

General Discussion / Re: Legion is too underwhelming?
« on: June 27, 2022, 09:02:24 AM »
More OP is about the only thing I’d consider. I haven’t played with base Legion in awhile because XIV is ridiculous but yes, compared to other capitals that have room for all sorts of hull mods, Legion seems anemic in the OP dept.

Weird thing about Legion is that you don’t really want Bombers on it. It gets too close to enemies for the sync to really line up so you end up putting a ton of fighters on it. The “carriers have low OP” design seems meant to discourage massing tons of bombers but in the Legion’s case, that’s not even what you want so it gets penalized for simply being a carrier. I dunno. It’s tricky to balance.

General Discussion / Re: How do you use battlecruisers properly?
« on: June 26, 2022, 12:23:54 PM »
Not much more to add that hasn't been said, but I'll reiterate that positioning is what keeps BCs alive. The Conquest suffers from this more because its base speed is much lower than the Odyssey and even with Maneuvering Thrusters, it can't exploit opportunities or get out as well.

I dare say that if the Conquest had 55-60 base speed, it would be about on par with the the Odyssey. It can technically output more damage and at greater range but it just doesn't have the freedom of maneuver a BC needs to flank larger ships. As it is, it's "fast" for a Capital but not fast universally. The Odyssey is more nimble than some Destroyers while the Conquest is "merely" as fast as some Cruisers. Oh, the other thing is that the Conquest has a garbage shield so it's doubly-penalized for being a little too slow (relative to the Odyssey). Not only can't it avoid fire but when it takes fire on shields, it takes extra damage.

General Discussion / Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« on: June 26, 2022, 12:02:20 PM »
I think the consensus is the Eagle is master of none without actually being a jack of all trades. Just not a good ship with no clear identity to it—it either loses the flux war or takes forever to actually kill anything.

Perhaps when the current in-dev patch comes out and we get ahold of those new IR Burst Laser weapons...

The Eagle is actually the "Standard of Average" in most respects and the fact that the metagame has pushed it into "weak" category tells us that, on average, ships have gotten stronger.

I'm of the opinion that the Eagle doesn't necessarily need stat buffs but more versatility. Turn a few Medium Ballistics into Hybrids or turn a few Medium Energies into Synergies (or maybe 2 of each!). The Eagle seriously lacks finishing power because Medium HE has an intentional "Missile Gap" to allow for Missiles to have a place but the Eagle doesn't really have Missiles!

Let's say the center Medium Ballistic was a Hybrid and the 2 lateral Medium Energies were Synergy, you could throw 3 Medium Missiles on there and have a pretty balanced Cruiser. It wouldn't do anything better than the other Cruisers but it would perhaps have the most flexibility (especially with all the new Missiles coming out). Heck, throw a single-flight deck on there and it really would be a jack-of-all-trades.

Suggestions / Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« on: June 26, 2022, 09:06:15 AM »
Hate to say it (for the quadrillionth time :P) but there's a reason there isn't a "middle option" for Medium HE Ballistics: Missiles. Alex went to great lengths to explain that some time back. Missiles exist in the gap of HE Ballistics (i.e. note that almost all Medium Missiles are 10 OP). A 10 OP, 800-range HE Ballistic that is also relatively accurate would be optimal almost every time. I mean, who uses the Arbalest unless they can't find a HAC?

The Mauler being a 3-shot burst was closer to what people were clamoring for in a Medium HE Ballistic, it's just that it costs 12 OP and doesn't have great overall DPS.

If it weren't for the slow shot speed, the Heavy Mortar would be the best pound-for-pound HE weapon in the game. I don't think it needs a buff. It's intended to have a drawback for being efficient, low OP, and hits at a decent damage/shot. As Grievous points out, extending its range isn't going to help because you'll just waste flux on inaccurate slots.

The only weapon that needs a buff among medium HE right now is the Assault Chaingun. With the proliferation of Low Tech bricks in the game, the low damage/shot on the ACG is woefully inadequate for the task it's supposed to perform. There was a time when it was 600 DPS and I think we could return to that now.

Alternatively, make the ACG the "middle" option. Extend it to 800 range and reduce the shots/minute to 300 (from 400). Increase damage/shot to 80 (exactly in between LAG and HAG). It drops the overall DPS (from 500 to 400) but it also makes it less flux-hungry (from 400 flux/sec to 300). After experimenting a little by adjusting the weapons.csv, I lowered the max spread from 20 to 15 because it gets ridiculously bad after a bit.

I'm not going to lie, it feels really satisfying on a Hammerhead. It's still extremely inaccurate but paired with a Heavy AC, it's like a mini version of a Mk. IX and HAG. I'd compare it to a Heavy Blaster: it's great if you can afford the flux cost but 300 flux/sec is a big ask on an Enforcer, for example.

Still, it feels maybe a bit too good to be true, especially at 10 OP, and we lost the old ACG of high damage/short range, so...we'd need another weapon.

Edit: I was experimenting when Thaago posted but how funny we came up with nearly identical solutions. :D

Suggestions / Re: Energy Weapon Mastery
« on: June 25, 2022, 08:47:09 AM »
Just a thought:

Invert the benefit. As ships raise their flux level, Energy Weapons require less flux to fire, up to 30% less at 100% flux. Elite effect is +10% damage. You could remove the range restriction entirely.

The range restriction of the skill right now is necessary to keep High Tech Frigates and Phase Ships in range of other ships to receive maximum benefit (a very good thing) but basically negates any benefit from Cruisers/Capitals with ITU (a very bad thing). You can't really work around it without compromising one or the other. So just rework the benefit so that it's more universal across the board.

Now, I can already hear the argument that this does nothing for a ship built to be flux-neutral. To some degree, yes, a ship that is flux neutral would want more damage, but I think where this would come into play is knowing that you can support that Heavy Blaster instead of a Pulse Laser or you could put less vents on a ship and add a hull-mod. Cruisers and Capitals that primarily rely on shields could sustain their fire longer with heavier weapons and win flux war battles because they're not punching themselves out.

Suggestions / Re: High scatter amplifier
« on: June 24, 2022, 05:49:50 AM »
What about an inverse-time effect? Does 100% hard flux, even at full range, but rapidly loses full effectiveness down to about 0% over about 3 seconds. Makes long range beams only do minuscule damage over time but burst beams are only slightly affected. You could make the effect have a recharge of like 3 seconds so you can’t “game” it by moving in and out of range. Or at least make it time prohibitive.

Actually, back on topic about shield shunt, it turns the Prometheus into a respectable fleet anchor at 2000 armor (AWM and heavy armor), 10000 hull, and it gets the capital-grade range bonus from itu. 10 dp is a pretty competitive rate for all that, although I doubt buffing shield shunt would suddenly turn this into a meta-defining ship when really it's just a fun thing to throw in your fleet. Making shield shunt free makes logical sense as you are removing stuff from your ship rather than adding stuff, and even then it would see very little use. But that's okay. Shields and flux management are core to the game's experience and it wouldn't make sense if it was common for people to make builds that just ignore that aspect of the game.

Atlas Mk.II might also benefit from this treatment since its shield is so terrible anyway. Granted, it has half the armor but it's not like the shield was doing much!

As for Shield Shunt being free, I think that makes sense. You're sacrificing the shield for it so any additional cost is eating into the benefit Shield Shunt gives you (i.e. the armor buff). What's a shield worth in OP cost? Obviously that's relative to the ship hull and a bunch of other factors but, sizzling hot take: it's worth more than 15% more armor.

Suggestions / Re: Buff HBL for the next release
« on: June 16, 2022, 01:33:42 PM »
I think the energy pd line could be:
pd laser: 3 OP
lrpd: 3 OP
burst pd: 5 OP
heavy burst pd: 7 OP

Perhaps that is a bit too cheap! But if I'm thinking about what a trio of vulcans can do for point defense vs a trio of pd lasers (wolf vs lasher for example), or what a flak vs a heavy burst pd does it seems reasonable.

Honestly, this is probably the best solution. PD lasers are mediocre under ideal conditions and should no way cost as much as Vulcans. I don’t even think burst PD is anywhere near Vulcans and yet they’re a almost twice as expensive. I know this has been brought up before but what’s the rationale for BPD/HBPD being so expensive? I get that high tech doesn’t need to have as good of PD relative to Low Tech but I can’t recall why OP prices are so high for mediocre PD.

Suggestions / Re: Buff HBL for the next release
« on: June 16, 2022, 08:23:50 AM »
I would not recommend Thumpers on Enforcers: they flux themselves out on it. I actually find the Thumper to be decent substitute for the Assault Chaingun. Yes, you need another way to get through armor but the ACG really isn’t even good at that and I just like the raw DPS for hull.

HBL, as it is, is too much of a trap: it takes a valuable Medium Energy, isn’t a great PD option for 11 OP, and doesn’t do appreciable damage to anything else. Maybe the best fix is reduce the cost of BPD and HBD to 5 and 8, respectively, so you don’t expect too much from them.

Suggestions / Re: Buff HBL for the next release
« on: June 09, 2022, 02:40:54 PM »
Basically 100% on-board with Grievous69 here.

Medium Energies are too valuable to mount with a good-not-great PD option. Even if HBL was an elite PD option, it's the same issue you have with the Paladin: great PD but it takes up a Large Energy that can do real damage.

Here's my thought: keep the whole beam/charges identity but it can track/shoot 3 independent targets at once. Beams can't converge on single targets but neither does it eat a charge. Charges are refilled in clip-fashion of 2 every 2 seconds. Max charges raised to 10. It can shoot at a ship and other missiles/fighters simultaneously, if it has charges. For the purpose of firing arcs, the ancillary beams can shoot up to 45 degrees off-center. (Re-name "Trident Burst Laser" :D) Against single targets, its sustained damage isn't stellar but it's twice that of current (146 DPS) and at max charges, it can actually do a fair bit of burst damage. Expanded Magazines really boosts burst and PD-potential.

Overall, it becomes more of a hybrid weapon: Elite PD that doubles as a good-not-great generalist weapon.

The question I have is how does this add value without adding unnecessary complexity? How is this any different than making fighter speed/damage/accuracy etc. tied to a skill? Same end result: fighters are better. The current fleet wide buffs to fighters are basically achieving the same thing without crew Tetris.

I get the desire for progression and keeping crew alive but unfortunately, it just complicates things without a lot of upside.

If I were to do something like this, it would be to have a pilot crew-type (no veterancy) that, when you have sufficient numbers to meet some flight deck requirement (based on hull type), you get a flat “Elite” fighter buff. For example, a Condor needs 20 pilots per deck. Thus, 40 pilots are added to some global number you need to have Elite fighters. You only have 39? No bonus. Meanwhile, a Drover only needs 10 pilots per deck, so the pilot burden is less. This gives each carrier a few more balance levers to pull. Extended Deck Crew increases replacement rate but requires more pilots/bay. “Automated Deck Crew” lowers the pilot requirement but is mutually exclusive with EDC. Skills modify the Elite bonus and lower the global pilot requirement value.

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