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Starsector 0.96a is out! (05/05/23)

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Messages - intrinsic_parity

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I got more weapons with no salvaging bonus at all than I did with maximum salvaging bonus, so I am fairly confident that the bonus is not directly affecting the drop rate of of omega weapons. I am pretty sure it is just something to do with the RNG seeding using the salvage bonus somehow so that you get a different outcome each time, but the expected number of weapons seems to be the same, no matter the salvage bonus. Something like that anyway.

Weird. I've always seen a 100% drop rate on the large omega weapons; never had a case where there were two of the enemy ships but I only got one large weapon. (Lesser weapons are, indeed, somewhat annoyingly random.)
I did notice that both doritos had the same large weapon (it was the big red missile), so maybe that had something to do with it?

Suggestions / Re: Squall Nerf
« on: May 28, 2023, 12:16:14 AM »
Squalls were nerfed in this patch, but it has proven pretty ineffective, because the nerf did nothing to reduce the fundamental strong aspect of the squall

Yes, the nerf did not make it useless in its role. Why would it?
Who said anything about making it useless? The problem is that it is too good at its 'intended role' and the nerf did not change anything about that, so the nerf didn't really have any significant effect. The weapon is more or less just as good as it was last patch as long as you have some anti armor/hull follow up, which any good build will have, so it is still too strong, just like last patch. It could do 0 hull/armor damage and I think it would still be pretty much the same.

The slow power creep of missile hullmods and skill buffs over the last several patches (particularly the increases in ammo, and the additional damage and ROF from elite missile spec)

RoF bonus from Missile Spec was introduced well over two years ago, and this patch it was partially countered by Expanded Missile Racks getting a +25% RoF penalty when S-modded. You are REALLY stretching the facts here.
The game is effectively getting one major patch per year at this point, so 2 years ago is like 2-3 patches prior to this one. Relatively recent in the history of this 10+ year old game. This is only the second major patch since the most recent skill rework that added missile spec. Here are the squall-relevant changes in the two patches prior to this one:

0.95.1a: squall got ammo increased from 100->160, missile spec elite effect got +10% damage
0.95a: squall got improved target tracking, skill rework: adding missile spec which gave +100% ammo and +50% ROF to all missiles

The squall tracking buff was a very major change, it was nearly useless against a lot of ships before that. The minor nerfs this patch are very small compared to all the buffs it got over the prior two patches that led to it needing a nerf.

IMO, the s-mod penalty for EMR is not actually a ROF penalty, it's an OP tax to maintain the same ROF, since you can just choose to not s-mod it and s-mod something else instead. Gryphon gets built in EMR without the s-mod penalty anyway.

Suggestions / Squall Nerf
« on: May 27, 2023, 09:24:51 PM »
Squalls were nerfed in this patch, but it has proven pretty ineffective, because the nerf did nothing to reduce the fundamental strong aspect of the squall: long range, 0-flux, kinetic damage. The slow power creep of missile hullmods and skill buffs over the last several patches (particularly the increases in ammo, and the additional damage and ROF from elite missile spec) have also steadily increased the power of all missiles.

But the secret strength of the squall is its HP. It has enough that it can't really be shot down effectively, and it also saturates the PD meaning other missiles will get through, and the target is effectively wasting even more flux firing it's PD weapons for no benefit.

IMO, the best nerf would be to reduce the missile HP so that squalls can actually be shot effectively down by good PD. Even then it will still saturate PD, but at least it won't get its full effect while doing that.

So I was testing the weapon drops and definitely got different weapon drops depending on my salvage bonus, but not any significant difference in total numbers.

I only tested against one omega fleet (2 Doritos).

With the salvaging skill and 8 salvage rigs I got:
1 large, 7 medium, 6 small

With just 8 salvage rigs I got:
1 large, 6 medium, 6 small

With 7 salvage rigs (one mothballed) I got:
1 large 7 medium 5 small

With the skill and no salvage rigs (all mothballed) I got:
1 large, 6 medium, 7 small

With no skill or rigs I got:
1 large, 7 medium, 7 small (the most out of any of my tests)

So it seems the salvage bonus value does not directly affect the number of weapons (there is not an increase in weapons with higher salvage bonus), but having a different salvage bonus does re-roll the outcome. I think the weapons were always different if I changed my salvage bonus, but the same if I re-did the battle with the same bonus, I would get the same outcome.

So I guess the best thing to do is to bring as many salvage rigs as you can fit, and then re-play the fight, with one more salvage rig mothballed each time to essentially re-roll the loot once for each additional salvage rig, then pick your favorite outcome.

I never got 2 large weapons in any of my tests, not sure if that is hard-coded by the seed or something.

General Discussion / Re: Expectations for 1.0
« on: May 26, 2023, 08:19:21 PM »
One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is more varied/unique exploration content.

The new
system with AI XIV ships
is *chefs kiss* amazing. I want to see more stuff like that where there is unique, interesting and challenging stuff to find out in the void. Currently exploration content can feel a bit cookie cutter, but I suppose that's also partly because I know all the things that can be out there.

I dream of the day when I pop into a system and ominous music starts playing along with a large unidentified contact approaching on radar :) .

Suggestions / Re: Raise the level cap to 20
« on: May 23, 2023, 11:17:56 AM »
I frequently take industry skills early game while exploring just to trivialize the logistics aspect (and sometimes I grab hull restoration to get free d-mod removal while money is not unlimited), and then once I hit max level and have a good colony running, I respec out of industry, although sometimes I keep ordinance expertise. Honestly, I feel like industry is fine that way, since the skills are useful, even if not in the end-game as much.

Suggestions / Re: Raise the level cap to 20
« on: May 22, 2023, 08:30:09 PM »
I think the magic number is 16, actually. Lets you grab 3 keystones + 1 most important skill from the other tree; 4 capstones if they are from only 2 aptitudes; or grab a 6'th skill in a tree without giving up an entire keystone for it.
I like 17 because ordinance expertise requires two extra points if I am doing nothing else in industry, but I agree with this logic in general, one or two extra skill points helps smooth over a decent number of issues.

Suggestions / Re: Raise the level cap to 20
« on: May 22, 2023, 04:38:01 PM »
Or alternatively make the level cap an adjustable difficulty setting. Raising it does make the game considerably easier which is not necessarily what everyone wants.

Suggestions / Re: Officer training
« on: May 22, 2023, 03:03:50 PM »
Yeah I had a mod that improved officer management, and I was really missing it when doing a vanilla play through.

I prefer the mods that let you leave officers somewhere rather than having them in your fleet as 'demoted' though, because AFAIK those demoted officers still count for bonus XP calculations. Or at least they did for one mod I tried previously.

Suggestions / Officer training
« on: May 22, 2023, 12:31:19 PM »
This suggestion was motivated by my observation that officers from pods are frequently bad because of the randomized skills, and it feels bad to fire them all immediately. However, IMO, a handpicked level 5 officer is better 95% of the time than a random level 5, and hand picked 6 with two elite skills is better most of the time than a random level 7 with 5 random elite skills. That means that unless you explore super early before you find officers (which I don't like to do since I don't have the cargo to haul loot or the ability to survey lots of planets right away), you are very rarely taking pod officers.

I have also found that changing fleet compositions substantially mid campaign is a PITA if you have to fire and retrain officers for the new composition.

I had a couple ideas:

A simple idea for the pod officer issue is to make some (or all) pod officers not pre-trained, but still let them some of them level up beyond a standard officer (or have more elite skills or whatever). Honestly, I think the progression of leveling up an officer is way more fun than getting and random free officer.

A bigger idea is to have a way of changing/retraining officer skills. IIRC there are some mods that do this by letting you construct an academy where you can leave officers and also train them to have different skills. That might be a little too easy so maybe changing skills could cost story points, while simple aggression changes could just take time/money. You could also allow officers to gain experience over time at the academy. Certainly if it took an industry slot, I don't think that would be unbalanced, and it might even be fine as a structure. Or you could just have a few established faction academies that you could use if you are on good terms with the faction.

Being able to leave good officers that don't fit in your current fleet at an academy would generally be a huge QOL improvement.

I also think that having a way to retrain skills would make mentoring an officer feel way less mandatory, since you could just retrain if you get a real bad set of skills on a level up.

I've found two level 7s so far in my campaign, but I agree that they are frequently not worth using due to random skills. One of mine was very good and the other was kinda awkward (both energy and ballistic mastery, no gunnery implants), but it kinda works well for a champion officer rn. I might end up ditching it at some point.

It would also be nice to see the 10LY range of their effects on the map when searching for colony locations, but I think the planet search UI could maybe use an overhaul in general.

General Discussion / Re: Buying Story Points for Credits?
« on: May 22, 2023, 12:11:53 PM »
An alternative to buying story points, is to be able to buy some of the things you can use story points for.

For instance buying s-mods and colony improvements directly (with appropriate costs obviously) would massively reduce the pressure to grind story points in late game. If it was sufficiently expensive, and maybe required some colony structures or even items, I think it could be reasonably balanced.

As someone else also pointed out, fleet-wide skills still benefit the flagship, so individual combat skills need to be even better to be worth taking instead.
But part of the (fleet superiority) problem is officers having the same skills as the player, elite level too if given Officer Training and Cyber Aug.  Aside from no-officer Support Doctrine fleets, player will have eight to ten officers with almost the same skills his character can have.

Individual combat skills benefit the whole fleet if the fleet has enough officers, which is fleetwide focused builds with buffed officers and especially enemy Ordos that have alpha cores in over half their fleet (and the rest with beta and gamma cores).  Possibly human bounties too if they have a lot of officers.  (I recently fought a human bounty fleet with 14 level 6 officers.)
Yes I totally agree.

One big gameplay issue for me is if I don't invest in more or better officers and fleet wide skills (or in unofficered ships/the d-mod skill), then the rest of my fleet feels weak and outclassed against late game humans and remnant fleets, meaning even if my flagship is a beast, I have to spend the whole fight trying to keep my weak fleet alive (or solo) which can be frustrating. It feels like buffing your fleet is much more effective at avoiding losses than buffing your flagship, even if your flagship is strong enough for you to carry with good piloting.

Suggestions / Re: Combat Skill Elite Effects
« on: May 22, 2023, 11:59:37 AM »
I sometimes take elite helmsmanship purely for the small top speed increase on my flagship because it's just one story point for the player, but I think the zero flux speed bonus aspect is not a very good, and I think this elite skill is almost never worth the opportunity cost on an officer.

Personally, I almost never use elite damage control or combat endurance because I always pilot fast high tech ships where taking hull damage can and should be avoided, but I think it's fine as a more niche option for high hull/armor ships. I feel like there are usually better options for limited AI elite skills as well, unless I have gone for cybernetic augmentation, which I think is way too much of a story point sink to be worthwhile 90% of the time.

I think elite impact mitigation is in a great spot because it fits perfectly with the sorts of ships that want the skill, but isn't so strong as to be an auto-pick.

For elite field modulation, I feel like the hard flux aspect is pretty bad. AFAIK it only kicks in if you have no soft flux built up, but if you are even modestly overfluxed, that will not happen until you are out of combat, at which point you can just drop shields or vent (and you can often drop shields in combat if you have good armor). Same issues as elite helmsmanship IMO. Maybe it is ok with fortress shield, and slightly better for the AI that is not always optimal about dropping shields, but I have a hard time imagining how it is really worth the opportunity cost of elite skill on a non-phase officer. The phase aspect is good but fairly niche. I guess it being a niche phase elite skill is fine overall, but I wish the hard flux aspect was more meaningful (and also for the s-mod that gives that). If it gave a small amount of hard flux dissipation on top of base dissipation at all times (like 5% or something), that would be way better, maybe too good though.

I feel like the PD skill in general is in a weird place. I only really take it if I want the elite effect, but now that I need to s-mod IPDAI to get the combo, the skill feels very niche in general, although the elite aspect is pretty good.

Elite target analysis is fine for the player, although not usually my first pick for limited officer elite skills. Overall boring but not bad.

In terms of elite ballistic mastery, I actually found it VERY noticeable when playing against it in a fast high tech ship. It makes it much much harder to dodge shots and generally terrorizes small fast ships and fighters. Still not necessarily a top priority for me though, but something I would take for the player or on an AI core somewhat frequently.

Elite system expertise definitely feels random and not really a first choice for any ship IMO. I've only every picked it for a bit of extra PPT on frigates if I have nothing better to take.

Elite missile spec is very good, maybe too good given how prominent missiles spam is becoming.

I think elite gunnery implants is a bit underpowered for the player but not fundamentally bad, because the player tends to have to go for bigger ships due to limited officers. However, I have used it to decent effect before. If you are doing officered frigate stuff with wolfpack tactics, it can be good, and I think the best use case is if you spam cheap gamma AI frigates (I usually do this alongside a beta radiant). In that case you can pretty easily dominate EW from just elite gunnery implants, and in combo with the EW skill, you can compete with remnant fleets EW. Elite gunnery implants is also frequently where enemies are getting a lot of their EW from, so changing that would substantially alter EW balance in general, making it trickier to balance.

I think elite energy weapon mastery is very good, and I almost always take it if I have the skill. EWM in general is quite good on fast brawler high tech ships, but less so with large energy weapons. I wish the range restriction was relaxed a little, but that is another topic.

Elite ordinance expertise is solid IMO, although a bit boring. I think it's especially valuable for shield reliant ships that don't have the hull/armor to survive otherwise.

Elite polarized armor is one I value less, because I tend to pilot fast high tech ships that can easily and safely vent (and have high base dissipation), but I can see how it would be more valuable for other ships. 

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