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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Messages - FooF

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Suggestions / Re: Eagle and (base) Falcon remain anemic
« on: November 26, 2022, 05:40:55 PM »
An extra 100 dissipation is pretty decent. That’s a bit less direct than a speed or range buff but it would give the Eagle more opportunity to leverage those Medium Energies.

I will say the new support fighter would help a CH Eagle a lot. That’s a lot of free kinetic damage and PD and would allow the Eagle to focus a bit more on HE. Back to the old “Eagle should have a flight deck”, that support fighter only costing 12 OP would be huge but that’s probably not in the cards anymore.

Suggestions / Re: Eagle and (base) Falcon remain anemic
« on: November 21, 2022, 10:20:41 AM »
We’ve had some Eagle threads but I don’t recall if a built-in hullmod was ever considered. The Medium Energy mounts are counter-intuitive due to the range mismatch with the Ballistics but what if the Medium Energies got some sort of range boost?

“Aquila Targeting Core” - Increases Medium Energy Weapon range by 150, up to a maximum of 1000. Note that this is applied before other modifiers, such as Integrated Targeting Core.

Oddly specific, I admit, but it would offset the placement disadvantage of the Medium Energies for all assault Energy weapons while leaving Beams where they were. It also mean your Medium Energies would have the same range as 700 range ballistics. It wouldn’t do much for the pairing of Long-range ballistics but that really can’t be expected. But Phase Lances, Pulse Lasers and HBs all having 750 base range would help a lot, I think. It would at least mean that the Eagle isn’t leaving half its firepower off the table at normal engagement ranges.

General Discussion / Re: What is your prefered piloted ship type?
« on: November 15, 2022, 01:14:52 PM »
A fast Cruiser is about the sweet spot for me. Odyssey sneaks in that category because it’s as fast as most cruisers. Aurora and Fury are the obvious picks but SO Champion is surprisingly fast and can hit really hard. SO Eagle can also move and hit relatively hard with HBs.

Destroyers just don’t have the damage output or the flux stats to get in range late game. I like them a lot during level up but even a perfect Hammerhead just doesn’t have enough gun and it gets shredded on approach. It’s a great ship but it has a ceiling.

General Discussion / Re: Skills and the Major problem with them.
« on: November 03, 2022, 06:21:10 PM »

I'm currently piloting an extremely overpowered Onslaught (only level 9 right now) that can beat a single Ordo with 5 Enforcers and a Centurion. That's it. I don't have a single point Leadership right now and no fleetwide bonuses. Everything is going to into the flagship and I still have 6 more levels to make it more powerful. All this to say, my flagship is easily worth 4-5x its DP and it's taking on endgame fleets before endgame. A similarly spec'd Leadership/Tech build probably could do the same, but that's kind of the point: Combat competes pretty well from a metagame perspective. The ship I'm using isn't a Zigg, Doom, or even an Odyssey: it's a bog-standard Onslaught I found on the rim. But, I did build it pretty well...

I think "skill" might be the wrong term to use here, because it doesn't take a lot of "skill" to pilot a hulking behemoth Onslaught. It's not like it's a ship that requires good reflexes. What it does require is "understanding." Combat benefits most from knowing how those skills interact with your weapons, armor, and your enemy and exploiting those advantages to the fullest. Likewise, Combat will feel underwhelming if you don't tailor your ships to the bonuses. I think 75% of a battle's success or failure is determined in the loadout screen. Another 20% might be attributed to player skill, positioning, etc. (higher for smaller/faster ships). But every so often, you take a Reaper that came right as you were done venting or your own stray missile manages to destroy the lynchpin of an enemy formation. There's some luck to it, no doubt.

I guess what I'm saying is that Combat-focused builds aren't weak so much as they require a bit more understanding of the mechanics. I think fleet-wide skills are more forgiving, and allow less-refined ships to pull their weight more. All other "understanding" issues being equal, I think a strong fleet is stronger than a super-strong flagship but that doesn't mean a super-strong flagship focus is somehow lacking. The OP, and others in this thread, have asserted quite a lot that Combat skills are weak but I have yet to see the smoking gun to prove it. That's why I am submitting into evidence a very powerful Onslaught build that I'm having success with. I will concede that I have yet to see a super-strong flagship build using a Sunder (for example) at endgame. Your hull choices for keeping up with a strong fleet build are limited. You're talking Capitals or very specialized ships like the Hyperion, Afflictor, or Gryphon.

Suggestions / Re: Make Combat capstone skills tier 3 instead of tier 4
« on: October 25, 2022, 06:09:09 PM »
Sounds familiar.

Yep, I agree on almost all points. I think the first Combat capstone skill should come one point earlier, though the 2nd could stay where it is. While both Combat capstones are powerful, I don't see them as powerful as the other capstones overall. And yes, there are some hulls where System Expertise or Missile Spec really aren't worth a point at all (i.e. Missile Spec on an Eagle or Systems Expertise on a Paragon) so they're less universally useful as some other capstones.

General Discussion / Re: Skills and the Major problem with them.
« on: October 25, 2022, 02:44:33 PM »
I kind of get what Megas is saying. All the late-game enemies are Elite so in order to level the playing field, you feel compelled to dip into personal Combat skills. That said, all late-game enemies that could potentially dunk on you with their skills are entirely optional. I think that gets missed in some of this conversation. If you're fighting full Ordos with 4-5 Alpha Core ships in it, you brought this on yourself. Those Remnants didn't hunt you down. Same goes for Zigg or Doritos. All of these fights are meant to be challenges.

So if I'm going to fight a super-ship with an Omega core in it, how is that any different than a boss fight in another game where the boss clearly out-classes you? Isn't that the point of most boss fights: to use your superior skill to overcome a superior opponent? Now the real question is how "fun" is the challenge. Last patch's Ordos that had your EWM buried to -20% range was patently un-fun and got adjusted. I don't think fighting Ordos currently is "un-fun" despite the challenge. Fighting the Omegas are also "fun" because of how different they are and because they use non-standard weaponry. But I know they're a challenge.

But to come full circle: I hate being the weak-link in my fleet (on paper). Where all my officers have more skills and I'm flying around with 3-4 and everyone else has 5-7. I do kind of fell like the side-kick, whereas a lvl 7 officer is really the ace pilot. A "first officer" is interesting. Designating a single officer that can go to level 7/8 and that can either fly your flagship or just be a really powerful ally (at the expense of something else)? I'd have to give that more thought.

General Discussion / Re: Skills and the Major problem with them.
« on: October 24, 2022, 05:33:17 AM »
So I thought - shouldn't there be some skill or even core gameplay mechanic where your ships get stronger when you DON'T field a flagship? It even makes some sense in the game world, it's probably easier to command a fleet when you're not occupied commanding a ship as well. But I was always hesitant about suggesting this idea because it goes into the territory of "rewarding the player for putting in less effort" so to say.

That’s odd logic from my perspective. If we’re intended to pilot the flagship (as I advocate), Combat Skills and spending less DP to win battles incentivize that playstyle. Why would we create a mechanic that does the opposite of that? Even with all the incentives to personally pilot, a huge number of people don’t. Boosting the entire fleet, in lieu of the player ship, is already a documented viable option. I don’t think it needs any help. If anything, as these kinds of threads prove, Combat skills don’t feel worth it, not the other way around.

But again, I have a hard time getting in the headspace of “Admiral” styles. I don’t want to minimize the concerns of a lot of people, even if I disagree with them.

General Discussion / Re: Skills and the Major problem with them.
« on: October 23, 2022, 04:41:38 PM »
This argument really gets brought up every single day I feel. And every time someone quickly explains how that makes for a boring change. Sure let's remove all sacrifices, Power trip simulator 2022.

While I wholeheartedly agree with you, the fact that numerous players come up with the same idea independent of one another so frequently is an interesting phenomena in and of itself. There is a large swath of players (majority?) who do not pilot the flagship. While I find that playstyle extremely uninteresting, I could totally justify the argument from that perspective. That being said, while it is not discouraged, I just can't believe Autopilot it is the "intended" way to play. That's why I'm still against that kind of split because I believe its against the "spirit" of the game at some fundamental level. Maybe I'm some sort of purist/elitist in this regard, but I'm unashamedly so :P

General Discussion / Re: Why Alex doesn't want early access on Steam
« on: October 22, 2022, 05:05:29 PM »
Lol. Sounds like SimCity 2000 “YOU WILL REGRET THIS!”

I’ve been playing over 30 years too and that doesn’t give me insight into game development and marketing. Plus, it’s not like I’m assuming any risk by spouting my opinion on the internet, meanwhile the dev who spent 10 years of his life on a game might be a bit more measured in his approach. Chasing after numbers and player bases is precisely the problem with AAA development now. All flash and no substance. Who cares about a year from now, we just want day 1 sales. Not all are that way but enough are.

Multi-year long development cycles are a hard sell. We complain at times but imagine 10,000 people complaining. If the floodgates ever open, I hope it’s a positive experience because you can easily get deluged in a sea of criticism and negativity. No amount of success is worth losing your soul over (exhibit A: Notch of Minecraft fame).

General Discussion / Re: Cruiser-class ship with a built-in fighter bay
« on: October 18, 2022, 12:02:04 PM »
I’ve said the Eagle is a prime candidate but after trying out in a self-modded game, it doesn’t add a whole lot. Or should I say, it doesn’t solve the Eagle’s primary problems.

An Aurora with a fighter bay? That’s a little more interesting, considering it sort of underperforms in the hands of the AI for its DP cost. Xyphos or even Broadswords would be really strong on a nimble ship. Although a pair of Terminator Drones wouldn’t be bad either (no Termination Sequence!)

General Discussion / Re: Skills and the Major problem with them.
« on: October 15, 2022, 06:54:50 PM »
Weapon Drills is the only Leadership skill I actively avoid (I just don't raid enough and the +5% damage isn't that big of a deal to me). I generally pick Carrier Group over Fighter Uplink but maybe someone can convince be otherwise. I don't think Fighter Uplink is bad, just not as good as Carrier Group (and rarely choose both). I also forget that Point Defense bonuses apply to Fighters, which makes Interceptors a lot better.

Combat Drills is #1, though. Full stop.

General Discussion / Re: Skills and the Major problem with them.
« on: October 14, 2022, 08:40:31 PM »
To agree with what others have said: Combat Skills are dependent on player skill. Nothing more, nothing less. If I choose to take a bunch of them, it is tantamount to saying "My ship is going to do all the heavy lifting" and if you can exploit it well, you don't really need to boost Fleet strength. That being said, sometimes you want your fleet to take the lion's share, so you invest in Leadership and Tech, or you don't want to care about losses so you invest heavily in Industry. They're all viable.

The Combat Tree isn't "less than" though. On a pick-by-pick basis, grabbing a Combat skill probably feels less than at times. Why take Combat Endurance when Crew Training does basically the same thing for the whole fleet? Why take Helmsmanship when Coordinated Maneuvers can achieve the same thing for the whole fleet? etc. In short, the Elite parts of the Combat Skills really to start to snowball if you start stacking them. Elite Combat Endurance turns bricks like the Onslaught into regenerating bricks. Elite Helmsmanship allows you to press "X" and gain 50 speed. Then you get Systems Expertise and Missile Specialization that can transform entire playstyles.

I guess the real question being asked is "Does max Combat compete favorably against other skill builds?" and the answer is a disappointing "Yes and no." It can exceed other builds in many ways but if your piloting isn't up to the task, than no, a more fleet-based build would probably take you further.


Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 13, 2022, 08:29:49 AM »
One skill point in Industry gives your whole fleet 50% cargo/fuel capacity early on. It greatly reduces the need for more than one transport or fuel hauler. Logistic ships, as a whole, could be more interesting but they’re not broke. But that’s another topic entirely.

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 12, 2022, 06:54:04 PM »
A very unexpected, but very welcome/cool blog post! I'm glad you're trying the progress system on a low-risk mechanic that still has good QoL improvements without (hopefully) cheese tactics. This system feels very natural and you don't have to go out of your way to really earn it, though I do like that you can be intentional about it and earn it faster if you want.

There are some interesting bread crumbs in all of this, namely, incentivizing colonies in multiple systems. While I don't think having a wider knowledge of slipstream patterns will be a decisive factor for whether or not I colonize a different system, this is a step in the right direction. I like the idea of claiming multiple sensor arrays having an effect on all colonies within a radius. Other similar mechanics could encourage spreading out more. Going "tall" (using a 4x term) of stacking all your colonies in one system for defense is a viable strategy but going "wide" should also have its perks.

Regarding slipstreams themselves: I like them when they work for me but I really dislike them when they don't. When the slipstreams are going in the opposite direction, there sometimes isn't any other recourse except to cross them and its frustrating when you're pulled off track so much. I wouldn't mind another hyperspace skill unlock that would allow "fording" of a slipstream. Sort of like a warp bubble that prevents slipstream effects for like 3 seconds with a cooldown of 10 seconds. Maybe it has a cost (Volatiles?) but E-burning through slipstreams can be very costly in supplies if you don't have the Industry skill. Alternatively, if you enter a slipstream at a near-perpendicular angle, the slipstream current doesn't kick in immediately (1 second?) The delay would allow you to cross narrow/fast slipstreams almost entirely without getting pulled in the wrong direction for 10 LY. Perhaps this feature is mutually exclusive with Sustained Burn. 

(As a total aside, I will say it one more time: this progress bar system is going places, so I hope you're prepared to make another dozen iterations. :D People are going to clamor for it to be used for Combat ("Combat XP!" "Split off Combat Skills from the main skill system!" "The more you fight the more Combat Skills you get!" etc), for Trade, for dealing with Factions, for campaign events, endgame scenarios...the list goes on and on. I think it has the potential to do some really cool things in the game, assuming of course, you want to spend the time on it!)

General Discussion / Re: Why Alex doesn't want early access on Steam
« on: October 12, 2022, 05:58:24 AM »
Relicnews... that brings me back. Easily most of my forum time in middle / high school. What blows my mind is that it was the official forums for Relic--can you imagine a publisher letting a third-party fansite host a game's official forums these days? And not without reason, the Internet is so much more toxic than it was 20 years ago...

It is kind of crazy but the internet was different then and hosting was expensive. I’ve seen other RelicNews names here on SS but I can’t be sure it’s the same people. My gamer name is relatively unique so I’ve been able to keep it all these years. It’s funny how Starsector attracts the same kind of folks that early Relic did, before the dark times, before the sellouts… :D

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