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Starsector 0.96a is out! (05/05/23); Blog post: Colony Crises (11/24/23)

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Topics - Megas

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Suggestions / Show built-in d-mods as red instead of orange.
« on: November 04, 2023, 04:32:31 AM »
To tell them apart more easily than acquired d-mods commonly seen from loot or low-quality markets, and to let player know Hull Restoration does not work on removing them.
And make such built-in mods unable to be removed by any means, including the almighty Restore.

Hegemony has a gladiator mini-game.

The Ludds have artwork out of a fantasy game.  A reward for following the Ludd story as a Luddie would be to go all the way and have a short dungeon mini-game.  Could be turn-based like Rogue or a top-down run-and-gun like Berzerk.  Few levels, killing grunts, and a boss at the end.

Like a builtin hullmod (or skill or whatever) that adds more top speed when hard flux gets higher.  Sort of like what Energy Mastery does for damage, but for speed instead.

It would be for ships like Fury or even Retribution where it is easy to rush in but struggle to escape when the AI inevitably loses the flux war and gets stuck in a death trap of enemy keeping up and gunning down the outranged ship that cannot backpedal away fast enough.

General Discussion / What does COMBAT do for carriers?
« on: July 06, 2023, 07:56:53 AM »
Drover, Mora, and Legion have it.  Condor, Heron, and Astral do not.  (I do not know if Gemini counts as a carrier for this purpose.)  From what I can see from casual play, all that COMBAT does is make those that have it not lose PPT when attacking a smaller ship in a duel like a warship, while those that do not have it bleed PPT when chasing a small ship to kill (even if wings are not depleted).  Heron bleeds PPT when trying to brawl a frigate it can stomp on.  Astral might need a destroyer to threaten it to lose PPT.

COMBAT for various carriers seems arbitrary.

General Discussion / More random comments for 0.96a
« on: June 29, 2023, 07:17:01 AM »
It has been a while since I started game two on the latest release with the last hotfix.  Here goes...

For many prior releases over the years, I have selected the Hegemony space marine and named him "Doom Guy" because of the obvious similarities to the Doomguy from Doom.  However, I did not want to repeat it for this release so I selected another portrait, one that looks like a fighter pilot with stars on helmet like the default player faction flag.  For those bizarre adventures in space, I named him "Joe Star" for the "Star One" faction I will build up with space metal.

Blueprints, Raids, and Factions
Independents now use every human ship that is not a capital, phase cruiser (and Phantom), or faction skin, and they use all human weapons aside from IR Autolance, DEMs, and Lion Guard's secret tech.  They have all human fighters except Perdition, Cobra, and Trident.  Since New Maxios is still one of the easiest industry worlds to raid, it has almost become a one-stop shop to steal blueprints from.  However, they can only be raided so much at a time because of slow stability recovery after raids.  It is a good idea to raid some of tech shared by other factions elsewhere when possible to reduce the raids needed on New Maxios.  It is not very fun waiting six to nine months for an industry to recover stability lost by your raids before I can raid them again without destabilizing them further.  I do not want them dead, after all.

For stuff not used by Independents and not obtainable from blueprint packs relatively common somewhere in the fringe...

Raid Asher (Luddic Church) for the ships Invictus and Retribution, and for the fighter Perdition.

Raid Kapteyn Starworks (Pirates) for Atlas II, Falcon-P, and other pirate ships.

Raid Raesvelg or Chicomoztoc (Hegemony) for standard Onslaught and Legion, and all XIV ships (except Legion XIV).

Raid Culann (Tri-Tachyon) for the ships Brawler-TT, Phantom, Revenant, Doom, Astral, Odyssey, and Paragon; and for the fighters Cobra and Trident.

Raid Kazeron (Persean League) for the ships Conquest and Pegasus; and for the weapons IR Autolance and all seven DEMs.

Raid Sindria (Sindrian Diktat) for Executor.

Visit flashy pirate with a drink in the bar for Prometheus II and Manticore-LP.  Can offer rare blueprints not used by Independents.

Visit historian in the bar for Legion XIV.

Factions feel more distinct than before.  Even though League and Diktat share most of the ships, they are differentiated by the weapons they use.  Independents are differentiated by being the one Frankenstein faction (other than the player faction) that uses everything that is not too rare.  I wished Independents had access to the IR Autolance.

Colonies Take 2
Seed is MN-4.  Colonized the systems Brigador and Gamma Her, south on the map.  Notable features of the systems.  Both have gates.  Brigador is close to core up north and a cluster of red systems down south for Ordos farming.  Gamma Her has a cryosleeper.  Hazard rating and resources are not ideal but are enough to meet all demand in-faction, given enough Industrial Planning and some colony improvements.  This is the first game where I colonized a system with a cryosleeper for the most bonus I could get.

This time, I built Patrol HQ first to keep hostile activity under control.  Next, I built the first industry, Mining.  Orbital Station came later, when I needed more stability.  When the colony reached size 4, I upgraded to Military Base for higher "Defensive Measures".  Since then, Hostile Activity stayed at zero for nearly the entire game.  I did not even need to upgrade to High Command, though I eventually did so near the end after all of my planets made it to size 6 (and able to produce enough fuel and supplies to meet demand in-faction).  High Command is the fattest pig that demands the most commodities to feed.

Near the end of the game, I decided to try Commerce on one of my worlds because I did not have better options for one of the worlds.  Even with +25% income, it was more than I would get by adding yet another Light Industry on a world.  Although I did not find a Dealmaker, it would not have mattered because the planet was already using a Synchrotron, and I did not want a Pather cell on the planet.  (It is a fuel planet foremost, with Commerce being a late addition.)  After upgrading everything for more stability, I managed to obtain a maximum stability of 9, which is acceptable since it did not have critical buildings that relied on stability (i.e., High Command or Orbital Works).

While I found Synchrontron in salvage, I did not find any Pristine Nanoforges, so I stole the two in the Core Worlds and used them in the Orbital Works on two of my worlds.

Expeditions were infrequent and weak, even with Free Port on everything, although the last one started to build up by 221.  For the next game, I may consider one colony per system if sector generation favors it.

Lion's Guard and their Toys
I attacked some of their fleets for their weapons and ships.  After trying them out, I decided they are not worth mugging for the next game I play.  The ships offer nothing I really want, Gigacannon fires too slowly, and kinetic blaster has not outperformed pulse laser enough in fights.  Executor is good, but I can get more than enough of them beating up Diktat deserters (and system fleets when I am ready to raid Sindria anonymously for items).

The main reason not to s-mod expensive hullmods is not because of the penalties or lack of bonuses, but because of missing out on powerful bonuses not obtainable any other way.  That said, I often s-mod more expensive hullmods if I really need the OP.  The penalties on missile hullmods are often no big deal (have Missile Spec, want slower rate to temper NPCs, or using Omega missiles limited by regen rate).  However, I do not s-mod Heavy Armor anymore because the ships that benefit the most from Heavy Armor are hurt the most by the penalty.  (Well... I would s-mod Heavy Armor on small Derelicts if they were worth using in the first place.)

When outfitting ships for testing in the SIM, these are ones I have s-modded the most primarily for the special bonus.

Automated Repair Unit:  No need to get both Damage Control and Automated Repair Unit to get fast (enough) repairs.  Just s-mod this one and whatever gets knocked out does not stay down for long.

Armored Turret Mounts:  +10% to fire rate is not much, but for ships that have limited mounts, it is handy to boost the weaker but more efficient weapons.  Found it handy for some high-tech ships that try to brawl others of its size class with pulse lasers.

Expanded Magazines:  +50% to sustained DPS is a game changer.  Burst PDs normally have too low sustained DPS, but with +50% sustained DPS, they become decent assault weapons, like half a phase lance or rift lance but much more efficient.  Narrows the gap between Autopulse and Plasma Cannon, but Autopulse is much more efficient.  Nice for IR Autolance and Onslaught's TPCs.  This is probably the most common s-mod option for me.

Integrated Point Defense AI:  This is still great for adding +200 range to small weapons via elite Point Defense skill.  The s-mod requirement is a high opportunity cost, but it is worth it for the ships that will have an officer with elite Point Defense.

Stabilized Shields:  For shield tanks that buildup flux primarily from taking hits from the enemy, this is effectively a minor Hardened Shields.

I have also s-modded Converted Hangar (for Invictus), Extended Shields, High Scatter Amplifier, and Shield Conversion: Front for the bonuses, but not near as often as the others above.  If I had used shieldless shields, Shield Shunt would have been a top pick for more armor.

Various comments among unchanged, changed, and new weapons.

Mining Laser:  At 1 OP as a Hybrid weapon, I have been using mining lasers occasionally... on low-tech ships.  Some low-tech ships, especially Dominator and Legion, have a lot of small mounts, but it costs too much OP to fill all of them with Vulcans then get IPDAI for reliable tracking.  Instead, I fill the mounts with mining lasers and grab IPDAI for more damage vs. missiles, and several mining lasers will stop some stray missiles.  Aside from combat, Mining Lasers have replaced Light Mortar as weapon of choice on haulers that never see real combat (but some can be deployed in auto-resolve like Wayfarer and Colossus III).

LR PD Laser:  They are the same as before other than costing 1 OP less than last release.  I have used them as PD more not because they are good, but because it is the only PD with long enough range to make more aggressive ships (especially automated ships like Brilliant) stay further back from the enemy instead of getting in their face.

Pulse Laser:  With 0.8 efficiency, this has become the go-to medium-sized hard flux energy option.

Heavy Blaster:  Inefficient as ever, and with other improved weapons, and s-mod bonuses that increase DPS, I have found little reason to use Heavy Blaster late in the game.  Even on ships that can support it, the lack of efficiency means less shield DPS, and thus not good enough for winning the flux war with Heavy Blaster instead of a few Pulse Lasers boosted by s-modded Armored Turret Mounts.  It also means more flux wasted than just two or more IR Autolances against a vulnerable target.  With the buffs other old weapons got plus new weapons, Heavy Blaster has become too situational or niche to be useful.

Phase Lance:  It is getting squeezed out by other weapons, namely burst PD with s-mod Expanded Magazines and IR Autolance, both of which are much more efficient.

Burst PD Laser/Heavy Burst Laser:  The main buff to these is not the weapons themselves, although less OP cost and more DPS to Heavy Burst Laser is welcome, but the s-mod bonus from Expanded Magazines that boosts its sustained DPS by 50%.  With that s-mod and enough mounts, there is less need for Phase Lance because burst lasers in more mounts will provide similar DPS and acceptable anti-armor much more efficiently, and with more range if the ship has elite Point Defense.  With both s-mod Expanded Magazines and elite Point Defense, they are good enough to use in High Scatter Amplifier builds.

IR Autolance:  After trying this again, with more at a time, IR Autolance has proved to be very effective overall.  Cheap and efficient to use, this is replaced Graviton Beam as my default beam of choice.  IR Autolance is so light on flux use that I have used it (on Remnant ships) instead of missiles in medium synergy mounts.  Low flux and OP costs, hitscan, smart use by AI, decent against light armor, and high anti-hull DPS rivaling High Intensity Laser when it is time to fire.  It also makes enemies with IR Autolance very dangerous to ships that lost armor.

Graviton Beam:  While it has been improved, it has been eclipsed by the new IR Autolance.  While the bonus damage to shields from Graviton Beam is nice, IR Autolances are the beams that kill fighters and kill enemy ships faster than Graviton Beam(s) can.  For me, this is the stock medium beam to use earlier in the game until player obtains a reliable source of IR Autolances.  Once IR Autolance becomes available in sufficient quantity, I use Graviton Beam only in High Scatter Amplifier builds as the most efficient hard flux weapon to use when Pulse Laser is not efficient enough for some smaller ships.

Swarmer SRM:  I mentioned how bad they were previously, but this was with autofit that alternates missiles, which come out as a trickle when AI uses them, and that is bad because even weak PD has little problem stopping a small group of Swarmers.  Then, I remembered the Gazer which is only useful when several are shot out at once to melt shields fast and keep them down for several seconds.  Like DEMs, Swarmers seem to work better if linked and fired all at once from multiple mounts.  With enough missiles, some got through against smaller ships that lack enough PD to stop all of them.  Given enough mounts, they seem okay against smaller ships up to destroyers.  Bigger ships tend to have enough PD to stop all the Swarmers.

Hurricane MIRV:  After the latest changes, MIRVs out-of-the-box can hit immobilized frigates without ECCM.  Destroyers that try to dodge will often take hits from some of the submunitions.  I say MIRVs are accurate enough without ECCM that I do not feel the need to get that hullmod.

Omega weapons...
Shock Repeater:  With IPDAI requiring s-mod to turn Rift Lance into a PD weapon that can stack with ePD, Shock Repeater has become a more attractive budget option when I cannot afford an s-mod slot for IPDAI (for IR PL or Rift Lance) and/or Expanded Magazines (for burst PD).

Reality Disruptor:  If the ship can get enough firepower from other mounts, then it is great for locking down anything that gets in the way.  Definitely lets ships punch up.  Not good on Ziggurat because it loses too much firepower and it has motes to lock down enemies instead.

Not much here, this time.

Scarab:  With High Scatter Amplifier, s-modded Expanded Magazines, and five burst PDs; piloted by an officer with elite Point Defense, it has been fun watching the little bug zip around and fry enemy frigates and destroyers with efficient hard-flux, hitscan weapons.

Fury:  Getting a loadout without Safety Override and without Converted Hangar that lets Fury brawl other 20 DP peer in a duel and not die because it allowed flux get too high and could not escape quickly enough from an enemy that outranges it is a pain.  With new and modified weapons, I settled on two Pulse Lasers and two IR PLs for weapons, Hardened Shields, ITU, and Resistant Flux Conduits (for protection against Ion Beam), and max vents AND caps.  Short-ranged weapons and no easy way to back away from danger when flux gets high is a bad combination.  Fury has awkward mounts.  It looks like Fury was meant to use few high-powered weapons like heavy blasters, but they are too inefficient, as is not-enough anti-shield DPS against another cruiser even if Fury has the dissipation to support a blaster.  Missiles do not help much when intercepted or Fury turns chicken a second later to cut-and-run instead of following up.

Ziggurat:  Still overpowered as ever.  There is one nerf, is which not to Ziggurat itself, but to one of the useful hullmods:  Integrated Point Defense AI.  It needs to be s-modded to enable PD for all small guns... except Antimatter Blaster, which does not become a PD weapon and eligible for that sweet +200 range from elite Point Defense anymore.  But that is a minor setback.  I have replaced IR PLs and AMBs with burst PD, which costs 6 OP instead of 7, and gets +200 range from elite Point Defense.  Omega weapons are much the same as before, so Ziggurat with Omega weapons seems unchanged since last release, aside from requiring s-mod IPDAI for ePD Rift Lance or Minipulser.

Addendum:  Slipstreams and Hyperspace Topology
Slipstreams happened to be favorable for this seed, and they often intersected with my colony systems favorably.  Until I unlock gate travel, I was able to ride slipstreams often.  This is probably the second game where slipstreams were significantly more useful than not.  Most games I played; slipstreams just got in the way far too much.  My current game, they went along where I want to go frequently.

And being aware of hyperspace topology, I made efforts to build it up fast and early, then the bonuses were just there for the rest of the game, easy to take for granted.  +3 burn speed in hyperspace is great, and until the very end, I did not bring tugs because I was at burn 19 or 20 in hyperspace with my base burn 7 fleet.  I brought the tugs when I needed the speed inside a system, like in a red system trying to set up encounters with Ordos without dying horribly.

I know it was mentioned in other recent posts, but I just tried to use IPDAI on Antimatter Blasters to get +200 range on them from elite Point Defense, since it is a small non-missile weapon and worked in previous releases.  Does not work like last release, even though the description does not mention an exception for Antimatter Blaster despite being a non-missile weapon that would otherwise be eligible for IPDAI.

In previous releases, I remember expeditions being relatively frequent (multiple raids more than once a year with Free Port) and they sent three endgame-strength raiding fleets per raid at one of your colonies, which meant I want at least two worlds (preferably three or more) with Military Bases/High Command per system so that colonies can take care of themselves.

Today, expeditions from major factions are less frequent, almost like two back-to-back raids every other year (and my colonies have Free Port on), with one enemy fleet per raid, and the fleets are no stronger than a midgame fleet, about 150k-200k bounty strength.  With raids like this, not only a single world with a military base can take care of itself, but the frequency is low enough that it is not too burdensome for me to intercept and take out the fleet.

With major factions no longer sending huge death fleets on par with 300k+ bounties, it feels like I do not need to stack colonies in one or two systems.  I can have one colony per system if I want.  Although stacking colonies in a system means not every world needs a Military Base to generate enough fleets to defend itself.

In my current game, which has gone up to 220, I only have two Military Bases (one in both of my two gate systems, no High Command), and my systems have a good chance to block raiders in space without my help.

For the next game, I have considered one world systems for a more complete slipstream map and/or more places to get fuel and supplies when I gate hop from bounty to bounty.

Suggestions / Redesign mothership as a recurring Derelict capital
« on: June 04, 2023, 09:58:55 AM »
Invictus is nearly as big as the Derelict mothership.

While we still have the two dead-in-the-water versions acting as bosses, perhaps a more functional and slightly modified version can be encountered in Derelict bounties alongside or replacing the Guardian.  Maybe the mothership could be recovered (and changed in the background like with Ziggurat with and without purple motes).

The redesigned mothership could share similarities to Invictus with Ablative Armor and high health.  It loses the modules and whatever modules the ship had become a normal part of the ship like any other ship.

The mothership builds new drones in the field, so it ought to be a carrier.  The bays should be builtin.  As for the fighters, have slightly smaller copies of the smaller Derelict frigates like Pickets for fighters and Sentries for bombers, though perhaps with two mounts instead of three, and one drone per bay.

Mounts on the mothership could be more or less the same, maybe Targeting Supercomputer can be downgraded to Advanced Targeting Core for a recurring enemy and/or playable version.

Suggestions / Phase Anchor should speed up cloak cooldown times.
« on: June 03, 2023, 04:54:29 PM »
Phase cooldown without elite Field Modulation is long enough that weapons will have reloaded or nearly so by the time the ship can cloak again (after a decloak then pop-up and immediate attack).  Only few weapons have long reload time (like AMB) or ammo that recharges (in case of the likes of Omega missiles) to make Phase Anchor for ships with normal cooldown times worth it for weapon use.

Aside from Ziggurat, Phase Anchor is useful mainly for the Emergency Dive to avoid new d-mods resulting from death, but that applies only to the first phase ship that claims the dive.  Elite Field Modulation is a high cost just to make Phase Anchor work more easily with weapons.

Currently, I have Ziggurat with a Revenant and several Phantoms for raiding blueprints from core worlds.  Despite NPC fleets knowing who I am regardless of transponder status, markets do not when transponder is off, and I can dock, trade at black market without suspicion, and raid before leaving while only suffering minor rep penalty.

I removed an item (cryoarithmetic) from an industry so that the colony generated only +5 interest (instead of +9), and the cell dissolved soon after for falling under +7 interest.  However, when I checked Hostile Activity, it still added +5 to Hostile Activity.  It appears it uses the interest at the moment of dissolution instead of zeroing out the modifier.

General Discussion / About Commerce industry
« on: May 30, 2023, 04:52:52 AM »
Is Commerce still worth it aside from +25% income?  (My colonies at the moment cannot absorb a -3 stability penalty on top of another -3 from Free Port and need all the industry slots they can get for more important things.)

I read about the bounty feature, but does it require a minimum score in Hostile Activity?  Currently, my rate is in the negative and total score is zero (because military base is more than enough for all pirates and I have no Pather cells).  I would not mind an Indie bounty since my colony system is near where bounty fleets and bases that harass the core worlds (instead of my colony) spawn.

I thought Commerce was not worth it unless I abuse items (and get more whack-a-mole nags I rather not deal with) last release.  If it has not changed aside from bounties that I will never see because I always keep Hostile Activity at zero (I assume some Hostile Activity is required for bounties), then Commerce is no better than before.  Actually, worse because stability is more important now to keep Hostile Activity under control.  (Although stability was very important too to have pristine ships and bigger fleets to defend colonies from other raiders.)

Due to background events (like pirate base just spawned) and not a direct result of player actions.

A pirate base spawned unaware, and my normal rate in the green with a negative number (-2) became positive in the background.  Had I not checked Hostile Activity on a whim, it would have crept up while I was busy doing other things.

Even if my colonies do not know where the pirate base is, it ought to know there is something causing more Hostile Activity and should let the player know so he can deal with it.

[EDIT:  This should be in Suggestions.]

General Discussion / Remnant fighters less common in 0.96?
« on: May 19, 2023, 05:14:08 AM »
Remnants have doctrine of Warships 4 and Carriers 2.

In my brief encounters with smaller Ordos fleets (while trying to recover Apex and Nova to test drive), Scintillas are not present in every fleet, and there are no other ships that carry fighters that can be dropped and looted.

Last release, Brilliants were ubiquitous and they had fighters.  A good chunk of fighter drops came from them, and now Brilliants have been removed as a source of Remnant LPCs.

If there is only a single extra blueprint type within the ship and/or weapon groups, instead of wasting that final line showing "...and 1 more", show the last actual type in that group.

Of course, if there are two or more additional types, then show something like "...and 2 (or whatever) more".

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