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Topics - Hiruma Kai

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I think this may be a bug, but not positive.

Start with only a flagship and a neural linked ship.  Hit T to transfer control to neural linked ship.  Get the neural linked ship blown up, not the flagship.  Get a message to hit X to transfer command to selected ship.  Which I cannot, since the flagship is the Afflictor I believe.  However, I cannot transfer command back.  I'm left with a fight I can not control the last ship directly, which ironically is my flagship, which I didn't think is an intended game play state.

This was tested with a neural interface and phase anchor Afflictor and Shade.

I was using a Neural Linked Radiant, with Afflictor as the other neural linked ship.  Ordered a capture of far objective for the afflictor, hit T to switch to Radiant, then later after objective captured, ordered the Afflictor to escort my piloted Radiant.  Upon getting close, it decided to use its ship system on my flagship.

I appreciate trying to make it a fairer fight, but still, I don't think this is intended. :)

I've been playing around with Proximity Charge Launchers a fair bit lately and have noticed a behavior where when mounted on turreted missile slots, they sometimes fire off at nearly 90 degrees towards incoming missiles and end up hitting allies on the same firing line.  Given the relative speeds and directions of the incoming missiles, these have zero chance to actually intercept anything and tend to do damage to adjacent ships.  I feel like they are not properly checking their field of fire, unlike direct fire weapons like Flak, which don't seem to try to fire through allies (usually).  In the same situation, a Devastator wouldn't try to fire through a Legion to get at the MIRV missiles.

Given these are HE point defense, they hurt a lot when they hit allies.

Simple examples can be shown by placing PCLs on an Onslaught and using the sim to go up against a Conquest.  You can also deploy an allied capital, get them even, and then spawn the Conquest. Not sure if the check firing lanes logic can be improved, or maybe PCL should be designed to safely detonate before hitting allies, which would waste ammo but at least doesn't have a chance to flame out friendly adjacent capitals.

Suggestions / Hand designed high end faction bounty fleets
« on: February 21, 2023, 01:19:14 PM »
I wonder if in addition to the Omega + Remnant bounty, if there shouldn't be some high end, one of a kind bounty fleet for each faction.  With the bounty provided by military contacts of other factions (i.e. Tri-tach could give any high end bounty except the Tri-tach themed bounty fleet).  Imagine them as bounties being put on successful independent mercenaries that have been commissioned by a faction (or maybe just a part of the military that has plausible denability).  And once done, they don't repeat.

With said ships in these fleets not only getting s-mods, but also hand picked loadouts and officers for maximum synergy to produce something akin to an Ordo difficulty, at least for certain fleet types.  This is in contrast to most fleets which tend to have at least somewhat RNG loadouts and officers.  It would an interesting way to show off the variation one can get in the game in terms of player fleets. 

A Hegemony capital heavy fleet that is virtually immune to missiles and fighters through sheer density of Devastator Cannon, Flak and Proximity Charge Launchers.  A Persean Conquest, Gryphon, and Heron missile and fighter focused fleet that requires you to have decent PD or else drown in flux free damage boosted by officers.  A fast Tri-tach Safety Override fleet (with officers with Combat Endurance, Hardened Subsystems, and Wolf Pack tactics on top) that hit and run with the best of them.  A plausible deniability Sindarin Diktat Lion's Guard fleet with their experimental weapons on complementary Tri-tach hulls.  A Luddic path fleet with each ship having 5 hand picked d-mods, with a leader with derelict operation and support doctrine skills.

Being one offs and only available via contact would make them an optional challenge that could make for some interesting end game variety with already existing ships and fittings, so less need for development.

General Discussion / Best and Worst random sleeper pod officers
« on: October 22, 2022, 08:39:26 AM »
Anyone who does even a little bit of exploration has run across them, random level 5 officers in barely functioning sleeper pods, or if you are lucky, one of the at most two per campaign level 7 (with 5 elite skills) officers.

I'm really curious how many players end up keeping those officers?  I suppose if it's early game and I'm still filling out my officer corps, I'll often just keep them until I hit officer cap, then fire them when I find a level 1 with a skill I want.  Although there are XP arguments to be made that sub-optimal officers early game reduce the leveling speed of the main character.

Essentially, I typically find the random selection is much worse than a personally leveled and skill picked officer, which means the opportunity cost of keeping a randomly found officer is too high.

I personally have a number of "must have" skills on particular ship classes, since they provide outsized benefits, often more than 2 other less applicable skills:

Combat Endurance on frigates or SO ships (for being able to last an entire fight)
Ordinance Expertise on most low tech ships (high OP, low base flux makes for a large proportional increase, like 40% more flux dissipation on an Onslaught)
Field Modulation (Elite) for phase ships (33% more phase time and can significantly reduce damage taken when flickering in and out)
Missile Specialization (Elite) for missile ships (Gryphon, Legion XIV) (biggest DPS boost in the game with 50% multiplicative, and 10% additive)
System Expertise for Dooms and skimmer ships (triple dipping charge, recharge and range bonuses on strong abilities)

Honorable mentions:
Helmsmanship or Elite Impact Mitigation on capitals (typically combined with Auxiliary Thrusters, otherwise capitals just turn too slowly for my taste)
Target Analysis (+20% damage to the highest armor targets in the game)

So it's quite easy for me to have a built-up set of officers, find a random level 5 that has none of the key skills or perhaps has conflicting skills (Energy Weapon Mastery on a bunch of armor/hull tanking skills).

The level 7 officers always feel particularly weird.  They are rare (only 2 per game) which means in some campaigns I never see them.  I know in some runs I have found both, and fired both immediately upon discovery.  I think I've kept a grand total of one level 7 officer to end game across all my runs, when I was running officer management, as I think it was approximately worth a level 6 officer in the ship and I capped out at level 5s normally.

It's just weird finding one of the rarest things in the game and realizing it is kind a useless to you or worse, you have to rework your fleet to make use of them.  To take an example, my latest run is a Hegemony theme.  Grabbed the commission early, using mostly low tech, with a few midline ships like Hammerheads.  And then I find a steady level 7 officer with Elite Helmsmanship, Elite Impact Mitigation, Target Analysis, Elite Ballistic Mastery, Elite Systems Expertise, Elite Missile Specialization, and Energy Weapon Mastery.  So retraining for a story point can bump the Steady up to Aggressive if I want, along with reassigning some of the elite choices, but the skill spread is a bit eclectic.  Since I've got officer training, my end point comparison is a level 6 officers/2 elite skills, which is the opportunity cost he is being compared against.

Lack of Combat Endurance means frigates and SO ships are out.  Lack of Ordinance Expertise means low tech cruisers and capitals are out.  No Field Modulation means phase ships and dedicated shield tankers are out (so most of high tech).  He looks like it wants to be a fast armor tanker of some form, with a good ship system and all weapon types (if it doesn't use ballistics, missiles and energy weapons it might as well just be a level 6 officer).  I considered a Conquest, but that really wants Field Modulation (to help with it's terrible shield) and Gunnery Implants (to help capitalize on its range and speed).  So I think that just leaves a Champion (which is still a shield tanker but its base armor is higher than a Conquests), although even then I think I'd have preferred gunnery implants somewhere in the mix.  Longer range ballistics and wanting to be closer for the energy weapon mastery just don't mix well.

So some kind of Integrated Targeting Unit, Heavy Armor, Expanded Missile Racks, Unstable Injector, Heavy Autocannon or Needler + Plasma Cannon build with missile of choice?  Was originally aiming for 5 capitals (3 Onslaughts XIV, 2 Legions or Legion XIVs if I find them), 4 Enforcers XIVs, 2 unofficered SO+UI Kites.  Trying to wedge a Champion to take advantage of this officer means something like 2 Onslaught, 2 Legions, 2 Champions, 3 Enforcers I think, along with a kite I guess?  And means upping my exploration game to try to find two Legion XIVs to really start stacking large missiles in fleet.  And starting from scratch on a different officer to rank up another midline cruiser officer.

So what have people's luckiest rolled officers been?  And what's the best and worst level 7 officer you've seen?  Have you changed your fleet composition for a good level 7 officer, or end up just firing them?

Edit:  Just as I say I need to find Legion XIVs, literally next system over has a Legion XIV floating there.  I should complain more on the forums to improve my derelict finds. :)

Currently, the combat readiness mechanic (CR) has some non-intuitive effects.  Normally, having a low % CR reduction per deployment is a good thing, representing a rugged and reliable ship that is easy to maintain.  It means you can deploy more times consecutively.  However, this benefit gets turned into a disadvantage when a ship is destroyed.  By going directly to 0% CR, you essentially empty out the "supplies tank" of CR that you have stored.

If a ship loses 10% CR per deployment, and spend 4 supplies to restore that much, their CR tank effectively holds 40 supplies.  A ships that loses 20% CR per deployment and spend 4 supplies to restore that much has a CR tank that effectively hold 20 supplies.  Destruction hurts the 40 supply stored in CR ship more than the 20 supply stored in CR ship.  It also means that skills that increase maximum CR increase the amount of effective supplies stored in the CR tank, making it a disadvantage when destroyed.

A similar issue crops up with hull restoration.  If you have a high percent recovery rate of CR per day, such that it only take you 1.25 days to restore one deployment's worth of  CR, you'll be paying 80% of your deployment cost per day of hull repairs, even if your CR is at full.  If you have a low percent recovery rate of CR per day, such that it takes you 2 days to restore your CR, you'll be paying 50% of your deployment cost per day of hull repairs.  On a per deployment point basis, low tech ships are more expensive to repair than high tech ships - despite being expected to take more hull and armor damage even in successful fights.

A damaged Onslaught pays 10 supplies per day when restoring hull and armor.  An Odyssey pays 9 supplies per day to restore hull and armor, despite having a deployment cost 5 bigger.

So what if instead of having the penalty of having a hull transition from 1 to 0 be a dropping of CR to 0% no matter what it was, to be only dropping by one additional deployment's worth?  Mechanically, hull and CR are tracking two different things, otherwise being at 1% Hull and 90% Cr wouldn't make much sense.  This change makes the penalty proportional to deployment points directly, as opposed to also dependent on stats which are supposed to be beneficial, not harmful.

This eliminates the excessive penalty applied to ships are supposed to be rugged and easy to run, and puts them on the same playing field as other ships in their class, given the already flat time across class to restore hull from 0%.

One could also imagine having a repair cost per day separate from CR cost restoration per day, and using the higher value of either when both hull is damaged and CR is down.  So instead of paying 80% of the deployment cost per day when it takes 1.25 days to restore one deployment's worth of CR, it could be separated out to be, say, 50% of the deployment cost per day.  You spend 80% if you are doing both or just restoring CR, and 50% when just repairing.  Admittedly, this adds an additonal statistic, but it would be pretty straight forward to understand and does provide a meaningful mechanics difference.

The thing I like about this idea is it in fact makes it possible to have a ship be both easy to run and easy to repair, which is currently not possible due to how the various CR and restoration stats are linked.  Field repairs could change to have recovered ships restore their CR per deployment value, instead of the current minimum of 30-40%.

Suggestions / Super ping
« on: January 17, 2022, 12:40:46 PM »
Sometimes people have issues with finding mission or quest objects far out on the edge of a system, potentially spending far more real life time than is probably fun.  I'd like to propose an alternative usage mode for the neutrino detector skill.  Currently, we have a mode of operation where it costs a low amount of volatiles per day, and produces some ghost readings and very weak readings for very distant objects.

One could imagine instead of this low level passive operation, a high usage active mode that acts more like an extra strong sensor ping, briefly jumping sensor strength up to system wide, assuming it was activated at the center, with a much higher volatiles cost.  Say, something like 100 or 200 (equivalent to 25,000 to 50,000 credits, plus tax). 

If you want to severely limit it, you could instead (or in addition) make it cost a story point.

Essentially, provide a short cut, but at a significant in game cost.

If you want to still make some systems a mystery, you could require an interaction with a star (similar to how interacting with a star with an alpha core in the hold can generate a new stable point), making the star the source of the ping, which would allow systems without stars to still force players to do a manual search.  If tool tips indicated said detection skill had an interaction with a star, that might actually naturally lead players to realizing they have the ability to add a stable point as well.

I wanted to provide some feedback on the different campaigns I've done in 0.95.1a, each with a different skill focus.

Run number 1: Hyperions and the Personal Radiant Run (started prior to RC6, but continued through)
Combat 5: Combat Endurance, Impact Mitigation, Field Modulation, Target Analysis, Systems Expertise
Leadership 2: Wolfpack Tactics, Crew Training
Technology 8: Navigation, Gunnery Implants, Energy Weapon Mastery, Electronics Warfare, Flux Regulation, Cybernetic Augmentation, Neural Link, Automated Ships

End game fleet: Radiant (Flagship), Hyperion (Flagship), 2x Odyssey, 4x Hyperion, 3x Alpha Core Glimmer

Summary:  Doesn't really come together until level 13 (Systems Expertise + Neural Link + Automated Ships) but when it does, it feels totally worth it.  System Expertise Radiants are just that good.

"Long comments"
For 0.95.1a, for my first run, I decided on a general playthrough, going with the flow, but with the aim to try out at least one new mechanic.  Which I decided was going to be neural link plus Radiants.  Early on I found a Hyperion on sale, and shortly after, 2 more.  Eventually got a 300k ship building mission offer, and bought 3 more.  This was before the hotfix came through raising the prices, so they were 80k a pop at the double price.  The price increase definitely felt warranted.

So anyways, if the game hands you 6 super frigates, you go Wolfpack Tactics.  Started with a bit of exploring, a bit of Galatia missions, and bit of bounties.  Grabbed some Herons with Daggers to provide some extra HE oomph behind the 6 Hyperions.  Eventually took down a Paragon and salvaged it with 3 d-mods.  By this point was finishing up the Galatia story line, got the Zig and stashed it, and finally got the red planet mission.  Lucked out and salvaged the Radiant from that, and was off and running with a Neural Linked Radiant.  Which initially wasn't as awesome as I expected.  Colonized a cryosleeper system in the farthest corner of the sector (-28% isolation penalty, plus -13% for pirate/pather hostilities), and started to farm mid-tier bounties (200-300k).  Finally hit level 14 and System Expertise which started to make piloting the Radiant feel really good.  The extra speed and manueverability provided by more and faster charges makes it handle just about right to me.

Went through a number of fleet iterations, trying different combinations with the Radiant.  Paragon, Herons, Hyperions.  Swap in some Furies.  Swap in some Apogees.  Swap out Paragon and carriers for Odysseys.  Trade Hyperion for 3 alpha core Glimmers.  They were all Ordo capable, and values at least felt in the ballpark.  Things still might need some tweaking, but from a top level overview, overall DP valuations seem OK and not enough to prevent good performance in late game campaign fights.

By the way, Heavy Blaster SO Glimmers have a nasty damage output for their 5 DP (rivaling that of 15 DP Hyperions), but they do have a much higher rate of destruction than Hyperions, generally see one blown up each Ordo fight.  Did all the end game fights. While I took some losses against the Ordo + super redacted mission, I still felt comfortable in final margin of victory with the neural linked Radiant, 2 Odysseys, 5 Hyperions and 3 alpha Glimmers.  Basically the only order I gave during the fight was harass the super redacted ship.

Overall, despite the 50 OP neural integrator and two Tier 5 skill tax, the Radiant still felt worth it, and was typically dealing 40% of the fleet's damage, and more than triple an Odyssey's prorata DP contribution according to the Detailed Combat Results mod.

Run number 2: Iron man spacer start with Hull Restoration and Best of the Best (aka "Who needs Technology and Combat Endurance?")
Combat 5: Impact Mitigation, Field Modulation, Target Analysis, Ballistic Mastery, Missile Specialization
Leadership 5: Tactical Drills, Crew Training, Carrier Group, Officer Training, Best of the Best
Industry 5: Field Repairs, Ordiance Expertise, Polarized Armor, Containment Procedures, Hull Restoration

End game fleet: 2x Onlsaught (XIV), 2x Legion (XIV), Eagle (XIV), Fury, Afflictor, 2x Scarab, 2x Omen (no officers)

Summary: Officers feel like level 7 or 8, getting +15% CR on top of an extra hullmod.  Ordinance Expertise on all officers is probably better than Flux Regulation.
Also, ballistics with +5+10+10+20=+45% damage against capitals feels nice.

"Long comments"
Next run was to test out the iron man spacer option and see if the Industry tree was up to the task of keeping me going.  First mission I took in my trusty kite (S) was a spy satelite mission offered in Corvus.  2 minutes later success earned me a high importance military contact on Jangala.  Prioritized them and kept stopping by for cheap ships.  Eventually got offered Dominator (XIV), Onslaught, and eventually an Onslaught (XIV) through them.  Best contact ever.

Unfortunately, early spending on "relatively cheap" capitals and maybe a mistake or two in a combat caused significant cash flow issues, so I had to sign up with a Hegemony commission for a time to make ends meet.  While the Field repairs plus Hull Restoration combination at level 5 helped a lot, it still didn't solve the issue of getting half your fleet blown up and paying for supplies and crew to get back up to nominal CR.  Normal game probably wouldn't have been an issue, but a difference of a free 15,000 credits a month versus a 30,000 credit debt per month (at mid levels) can be significant early on.

The eventual combination of Best of the Best, Hull Restoration, and Level 6 officers felt like level 7 or 8 officers because I was able to take Ordinance Expertise instead of Combat Endurance, plus the extra hull mod being worth something like a skill (Hardened Shields is like Field Modulation, Auxilliary Thrusters is like Helmsmanship for capitals ships, etc).  And the fact I didn't really care too much if a ship blew up let me play much looser and risky.  It still hit the wallet, but 20,000 credits to restore CR on an Onslaught (XIV) is a lot cheaper than 1,000,000 credits to restore d-mods.

Containment Procedures made adding a buch of Ox tugs to increase burn speed relatively painless, allowing me to compensate partly for the lack of Navigation.  The fleet sensor profile is crazy large by default, but even so was still able to separate Remnant fleets with the base 10 burn speed.  Also spending a few story points let me grab insulated engine assembly and efficiency overhaul on the tugs, which makes it about as bad as just having Capitals in general. 

Top end of the fleet ended up being two Onslaught (XIV) and two Legion (XIV), although the later took a bit of exploring though.  Was using basic Legions prior to those finds.  That combination seems to work well for me, and typically each is doing 15-18% of the damage dealt in the fleet, along with 13-20% of the prorata DP.  The Onslaught personally piloted was around 40% damage dealt.  Frigates used mostly have been Scarabs and Omens, along with a token Afflictor.  Middle of the grouping has been switched a lot, trying a Dominator (XIV), Eagles (XIV), Falcon (XIV), Furies, and Eradicators. 

This testing was post flux bump on the Eagles and Falcons, but still haven't really found a nice punchy build I'm happy with on them.  They can stall and distract with long range beams + hypervelocity + heavy mauler, but I generally feel that's better done by frigates.  Eradicators feel solid through the middle game, I think start to lose some of their shine when up against late game foes, which perhaps makes sense for a "light" low tech cruiser.  SO Furies still feel the same, if a bit more expensive.

Overall, I liked this run, and felt the synergy was cool and powerful, and happily proved Technology isn't a must have.

Run number 3: Neural link test with  Afflictor and Onslaught
Combat 5: Combat Endurance, Impact Mitigation, Field Modulation, Target Analysis, Missile Specialization
Leadership 2: Wolfpack Tactics, Crew Training
Technology 5: Navigation, Gunnery Implants, Flux Regulation, Phase Coil Tuning, Neural Link
Industry 3: Field Repairs, Ordinance Expertise, Polarized Armor

Fleet: Afflictor (Flagship), Onslaught XIV (Flagship), Onslaught XIV, 2x Legion XIV, 2x Hyperion, 2x Medusa, 2x Scarab

Summary:  I wanted to like Neural link on it's own, but the skill is clearly a late addition to the game, and doesn't neatly fit into the overall game experience.  There are a host of minor but annoying interactions that keep it from being good, on top of what seems like penalities this skill has that no other skill does, presumably to keep it in check.  Overall, trying to use it in campaign actually feels like it makes the fleet weaker, as opposed to even simply doing no net harm and merely being a skill pick opportunity cost.

Side note: This was also my first run in 0.95.1a using Medusas, and realizing they may have been power crept by their nearest competitors.  I feel like 360 degree shield capable ships used to be speical back in the day, but now we've got Shrikes, Scarabs, Hyperions, Furies, Auroras, and Odysseys which are all fast with manueverability systems and can get 360 degree shields.  Omens, Apogees, Astrals, and Paragons naturally have 360 degree shields.  The only things in the high tech lineup that can't are Wolves, Tempests, and Medusa.  I wonder if the Tempests and Medusa might be due for a shield arc increase, especially now that AI controlled Tempests can throw away their PD.  Medusas do drop their shields when they skim, so I probably wouldn't go with a front shield on AI Medusas, but would it hurt to bump the Medusa's shield arc from 120 to 150 to match the rest of the line up these days?

"Long comments"
I went into this run wanting to try neural link by itself, and grabbed an afflictor early.  The problem was, I could really justify using neural link to switch to other frigates or destroyers early game.  And switching between two Afflictors didn't feel helpful because of the setup and positioning requirements.  Might as well just sit in one, and not bother spending the skill point and losing 600 flux capacity on two afflictors.

I will say I did use the new neural reset feature, but the times when a double burn drive on an Onslaught felt actually meaningful as opposed to simply amusing were few.  I mean, sure I could catch a fleeing frigate on occassion, but typically it's better simply to issue a Hyperion or Scarab an eliminate order, and focus the firepower of a capital on the front line.  You're still not winning any manueverability battles with an Onslaught.  As for the Afflictor, the anti-matter blasters and needing to vent in between each attack run set the cadence more so than the ability.  There were times when I'd switch in when the ability was already running, and need to vent to stop it (potentially while at high soft flux from the AI using the anti-matter blasters) and then switch out/in back again to do the reset in order to then use it on the target I wanted.  So I was able to use the reset in that case, but it wasn't quick.  When that happens, it kills any sense of responsive coordination.  Now this didn't happen every time, but it happened occasionally enough that it was a minor irritation.

Overall, it feels like the neural link skill and the nature of the game seem to be fighting:
1) I see no way to change the aggressiveness of the AI controlled neural linked ship.  Which I think means it defaults to steady, which makes it not a great choice for SO ships, for example, and tends to make it backoff where I'd want it to push forward.  Similarly, I typically prefer at least aggressive on my capital ships.  Despite being able to switch, I can't actually control both ships simultaneously.  If I try to switch rapidly to force both, I wind up with ships basically moving forwards (when I'm in control) and backwards when I'm trying to get the other ship into an too aggressive position for the AI.  It's even worse if my ships go over the 50 DP limit, at which point I can spend a variable number of seconds each transfer in control of neither ship.

Suggestion: Add an ability to set the player's autopilot aggressiveness on the officer screen, similar to how we choose officer aggressiveness.  Bonus if that same choose an aggressiveness screen also applies to alpha/beta/gamma core ships.

2) Different ship types want different skills, but it's hard to have enough points everywhere to pick optimal for distinctly different ships.  Afflictor and Onslaught are both armor tankers, and benefit from more flux, but I had to choose between Gunnery Implants (Onslaught) and Energy Weapon Mastery (Afflictor).  Similarly, Field Modulation is a must have for a phase ship, while I might have preferred Ballistic Mastery for the Onslaught (typically I'm maxing soft flux, not hard flux from the shield).  So peak capability for each ship is lowered compared to specializing in just one.

3) If the AI gets the other ship killed (generally the Afflictor) it feels *terrible*.  Now I'm stuck with an Onslaught which is down a hullmod, and no in battle benefit left.  And said loss of ability isn't even necessarily my fault (although it probably is).  I could pack additional ships with neural link, but then that means having excess over 240 DP in case a ship dies, diluting fleet skills, and it's a sub-optimal ship if I deploy it because some other ship got destroyed, since it's down a hull mod (or flux stats).

4) If I order the Afflictor to escort my Onslaught to keep it out of trouble, it does so, but when I take control of it, the AI will assign a different ship to escort, which is something I don't actually want.  And then when I switch back to the Onslaught from the Afflictor, the escorting ship (which likely didn't even reach me) will reverse direction and try to go back to what it was doing, which feels really inefficient.  And micromanaging the Afflictor/Onslaught combination with engage command points just feels unfun compared to my more hands off combat style.  It forces me to pause more and pay more attention to the command map, since if I don't, there's the posibility of the AI being way out of position when I want to use it.  It also eats command points rapidly.

5) Interaction with transfer command at the beginning of battle has anti-synergy, because now you've got ships with the inverse of best of the best (i.e. down a hull mod equivalent) applied but no compensating benefit.  Unlike any other skill in the game, this one doesn't transfer with you or apply to your whole fleet.  You have to pre-prepare at a dock (or else eat a bunch of CR hit, which is arguably just as big or even larger penalty right before combat).

6) If you are running iron man and actually lose a fight, and one of the neural linked ships goes down, you're out of luck on using your skill until you get back to dock, or take an even further CR hit to add the hullmod.  It's just extra penalty on top of the penalty of losing the ships in the first place.

7)I'm curious what the idea behind the switch delay for ship combinations over 50 DP is?  Encourage you to use small ships with the skill?  As it stands, if you're just using it for a spare officer, the jump delay doesn't really prevent that, and well, the steady AI typically prevents real close coordination for time sensitive combos.  It certainly kills any ability associated with the neural reset, as having zero player input for 10 seconds (from switch in and then out - or worse, the ability is in use so you have to switch two more times for like 20 seconds down time) feel like a way higher cost than reseting an ability on even a 60 second cooldown (like from a carrier).

I can solo some intel bounty fleets in an Odyssey for example, but I can't duo them with this skill.  The partner is just generally going to get killed, so I'm not seeing how this could have high end duo applications.  You're always going to need a fleet to help the AI of the ship you are not piloting at the moment, so it doesn't really push the boundries of what a "solo" player can do.  Chain deploying is going to be better.  Or maybe it requires a higher level of player skill than I can muster to get that benefit.

Overall, I don't see why the skill warrants say, losing 50 OP spread over two capitals and potentially negating the best part of the skill (neural reset) which isn't even that strong, when used with over 50 DP worth of ships.  With the improvements to mercenaries (1 story point every 2 years) and the fact that Automated ships is literally the other side of tier 5 technology selection which provides one or more elite level 8 officers on good to amazing ships, means the extra, potentially high level officer doesn't feel worth it assuming you don't bother switching.  Neither your neural linked ship, nor the cored ships help with officer DP determination at the start of combat, for example, so might as well go the automated ship route and grab an Alpha Radiant.

I'll also note you are incentivized to stick a Combat Endurance officer in the other neural linked ship, and pull them out every time you're about to enter combat because Combat Endurance from your character doesn't apply to that ship.
Perhaps others have had better results with it, but mostly it felt frustrating to try and leverage it to actually improve the strength of the fleet.  I like the concept, but I'm not sure how to make it actually work in such a way as to actually be a significant benefit.  I can't justify a 5-10% OP penalty on any ship you might even want to try to use it on, which is unlike any other skill in the game, since they don't actually cost power off of ships.  At worst, all other skills might take other resources (credits/story points) and raise the peak power of ships, but none of them actively require you to lower it.  The cost to even try to use it effectively a negative skill (5000 flux on an Onslaught is roughly the same as non-Elite field modulation in terms of damage absorption), which implies it needs to be at least twice as good as any personal skill - which it doesn't feel like to me.

Except maybe in the case of self piloting a Radiant, like my 1st play through.  But I feel a good skill should be able to stand on it's own merit.

See attached images, but estimated recovery costs for individual hounds in this case, do not match the overall estimate.  21+13+13+19=66 versus 88.  Overall estimate matches what the fleet screen shows, and is close to what I'd expect the actual cost to be.  I'd expect overall cost to be 87 (30+19+19+19),but there might be some rounding in there going on.  Character had Crew Training and Support Doctrine skills, for a max 100% CR on most ships.  The character had no industry skills.

Secondly, all three of the hounds with d-mods should have the same recovery cost, but that is not reflected on the recovery screen, which reports 13, 13, and 19.  On the fleet screen, all 3 d-modded ones (both the 2 and 3 d-mod ships) had Increased maintenance dropping max CR to 95%, and reported 19 supplies needed to fully repair and restore.  So the pristine hound should have reported 30 supplies, or 21 if it doesn't take into account player skills.  The d-mod hounds should have reported either 19 (if it takes into account skills and d-mods), 14 (if it doesn't take into account skills or d-mods), or 13 (if it just takes into account d-mods).

It is weird that it is reporting both 13 and 19 for two ships with the same cost to recover on the fleet screen.

Just noticed a really weird sequence of AI Hyperion behavior.

From what I understand, when Hyperions don't have a desired teleport location and the AI activates the ship system, they default to teleporting directly to the right at the maximum distance (what I assume is 0 degrees on the map).  You can currently see this a lot in combat when Hyperions are trying to get away.  The predominantly go to the right.

I was just cleaning up an Ordo, when I noticed two Hyperions in a weird loop trying to get close to the last packet of enemy ships and fighters.   There was some left over debris vaguely in the way, and the Hyperions were jumping at exactly 0 degrees, almost directly away from the nearest enemy, despite the AI wanting to actually get closer, given their normal movement towards.  But they did it twice in the debris field.

I was partly able to replicate this in the simulator by generating some debris, and parking a Hyperion very close manually.  Putting it under autopilot immediately made it teleport away at 0 degrees to maximum distance, facing at 0 degrees and putting it's shield up.  This potentially makes it hard for Hyperions to cross a debris field in combat from right to left, although great for going from left to right.

Further simulator testing of creating debris on the right side of the map from where you spawn enemy ships, placing the Hyperion even further to the right, spawning an enemy ship, and then letting the AI Hyperion approach the enemy with the debris in between, resulting in the same kind of teleporting away behavior, facing to the right and raising the shield, and then finally turning around to approach the enemy again.

So, if Hyperions are to the right, this can lead to weird, undesired repeating behavior where they make little forward progress.  I don't know how hard it would be to code up a better location picker, or perhaps reduce their desire to teleport in the presence of debris, but at the very least, a random choice of teleport direction would significantly reduce the change of getting stuck in a real loop, in say, a heavy triple pirate armada fight.  If the Hyperion really doesn't care where it winds up, a random angle should be just as acceptable as zero degrees.

Just realized opening comms with Pirates on the way to Thulian base, after having just gotten the Yaribay keys in a playthrough, allows me to avoid combat by indicating I'm working for Warlord Kanata to return their pet clone, which doesn't make sense since I haven't met Kanta yet or been told to return said Loke clone.  Is this generally set by simply getting the initial "At the Gates" quest?

General Discussion / Neural Link stories?
« on: December 17, 2021, 09:52:28 PM »
I'm curious about who's tried the Neural link skill so far in their play through?  It's probably the most unique addition to skills in awhile, given it is not just a number change.

The problem with gauging it's value, is a good portion of it is wrapped up in how people play with it.  So what's the coolest thing you have been able to pull off with it?

Sadly, I've personally mostly found the success with just using it in combination with Automated ships and simply transferring once at the start of combat into a Radiant and just staying there - which is probably leaving a lot of it's potential unused.

I find Radiants really benefit from Systems Expertise when I'm piloting.  To the point where I think almost feels mandatory.  I feel like an Odyssey with Systems Expertise in my hands is actually stronger than my Radiant piloting without it.  With it, Radiant is really, really good, but I still need to see if I can pull off the same soloing stuff I did with an Odyssey in 0.95a.  In a straight line while using ship systems, I think the Radiant is still slightly slower, although it has a lot more damage burst.  With my current experience, If I were to redo the run, I'd probably grab Systems Expertise before grabbing Neural link.

So I've been musing about skills, and wanted to suggest some crazy ideas to start a discussion, or perhaps just play devil's advocate. :)

How strong can we make skills before we start really breaking the game?

First off, I personally like the idea of the skill trees and having them be capped off with at tier 5 which are in some sense "run defining".  Fleets should look and feel different with different skill focuses.  Ideally, there should also be synergy down the tree, but I want a capstone that really cements the style, and lures you all the way down the tree.

At the moment, the technology tree tier 5 skills I think are the most impactful on their own.  There's a generic fleet boost which simply says, my ships are cooler than yours, admittedly at the cost of story points although by level 15 you'll have earned 56, so even if you spend half on ships that's 9 ships with 3 s-mods - enough for the full officer roster plus yourself.  Or there's the "I've got a cool ship with awesome officer" (Radiant + Alpha) or "pile on with frigate officers" (wolfpack tactics + glimmers with gamma cores) option.  The later skill certainly makes your fleet look different, while the former is a solid fleet wide power boost favoring smaller ships, but solid even for capitals.

Arguably, the combat tier 5 System expertise + Phase mastery can be run defining with a Doom or the story ship, although perhaps it shouldn't be. Or to play devil's advocate, perhaps taking both tier 5 combat skills should be that strong for many more ships?

Consider, if you've lapped the combat tree, and dumped a full 10 story points into it along with 10 levels of skills, should you be able to solo intel generated generic end game bounties in a variety of ships?  Take on end game threats with your ships and perhaps a couple support ships? You've dumped 2/3rds of your skill points and roughly 1/6th of your leveling story points into making your character the greatest captain ever.  You're telling the game, I want my personal ship to be really, really strong.  You've given up potentially a lot of fleet or economic power, some of which would have benefited your personal ship as well as other ships.  You could have had a triple S-moded Radiant instead, while "merely" having a flux boosted, range boosted, energy weapon buffed, and extra hull mod personal ship.

Continuing on with that thought, the only way you'd be able to have combat skills like that and be balanced with the rest of the game is to decouple what the player can do from what officers and AI cores can do.  When the elite story point skills were introduced, I thought they would essentially do that, but the current execution doesn't quite match up.  Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the base level of the skills be made weaker, but the elite tiers be made much stronger.  I want to really notice the difference between officers with identical skill picks, but different elite picks.  Right now, in actual play, I'm not sure I notice that much for many skills.  Sure, it's 5% more average durability here and there, or maybe a bit more effective offense, but nothing that seems out of line for the fleet skills.

So, suggestion number 1: If one were to go in this direction, namely weaker base combat skills and stronger elite benefits, I think AI cores would need to be reduced from having all skills being elite to perhaps having 1, 2, or 3 being elite depending on tier.  So an alpha core would have 7 pickable skills (8 integrated) and 3 elite skills, comparable to the greatest mercenary or officer you might rescue from a derelict.  This allows each tier of elite benefits to be increased, while maintaing the same current end game difficulty.  Thus it is the accumulation of 5 elite (or 10 elite) skills that results in the equivalence with the tier 5s of other trees.

Another way to go would be to make the tier 5 combat skills not usable by officers or AI cores at all, and only hand placed NPCs might have them.  Essentially, if the Automated ships gets you an AI Radiant with awesome officer, then the tier 5 combat skill with story point expenditure should give your fleet a similar bump in power.  If special modifications provides an entire 180 DP (or more - only limited by story points) fleet with a straight up 10% effectiveness boost (eyeballed by extra OP and vents/caps) then the combat tier 5 if riding around in a 40 DP capital needs take that fleet wide 10% and stick in only that ship - perhaps a 30 or 40% boost in overall power of said ship.  If the tier 5 combat skill is capstone, and powered by being made elite, it becomes a no brainer to make every officer elite the tier 5 if they can take it.

Imagine for a moment, a crazy tier 5 elite effect, instead of +30 seconds of peak time, it made you immune to enemy ship systems (no bonus damage from energy focus, half damage from AFF shots, doom mines fizzle out near you, afflictor 50% bonus doesn't apply, quantum disruptor fails).  The only way this might be even theoretically balanced is if it only ever applies to a single ship.  Also, probably too hard to code, but one can imagine at least, and think about what kind of one of kind effect one would put at the top of the combat tree.

The fundamental issue as I see is it preventing combat skills from having a clean ramp up in power like the other trees is that they're all shared with officers, and that AI cores get all skills at elite.  Until that connection is broken, I think you'll have trouble with the design space.  Either officers/AI cores will be too good, or combat skills will be too weak.  Instead of Helmsmanship, I should take Coordinated Manuevers (+20% speed), instead of Target Analysis I should take Weapon Drills and Crew Training (+10% global damage), instead of Impact mitigation I should throw on an extra s-mod Heavy armor (500 on a 1500 armor is 33% more, or like -25% armor damage), instead of Shield Modulation I should take Flux Regulation (assuming 0 extra capicitors, it's like -16% shield damage).  So I feel like we're halfway there, but it needs to lean into the separation even more.

So what would people like to see a character with 10 skills invested in Combat be able to do, along with say 5 in Leadership.  How does that line up with a character with 10 points in Technology and 5 points in Leadership instead?  And how strong should officers be with say, a single elite skill?

Next I want to talk about industry.  In the last version, I sometimes enjoyed playing what I called the "d-mod lifestyle", which was take industry skills and with some curating of d-mods, not really care about losses too much.  However, said game play still left your fleet weaker than a pristine fleet, and repeated d-mods going above 4 didn't really provide benefits.

So, what might a tier 5 "d-mod lifestyle" skill look like in 0.95a? I propose the following:

Suggestion number 2: Tier 5 Industry left pick, "Derelict Contingent".  Ships in your fleet ignore d-mod penalties.  Reduce crew losses due to hull damage and destruction by 80%.

No DP limits, just a straight up you don't care about d-mods anymore and crew losses are minimized.  Would this be too strong?  Would this be too weak when compared against giving your fleet extra OP and vents, adding a Radiant with Alpha core, or improving your officer corps?

It certainly would make your fleet look different, potentially junkers for anyone else, but entire fleets of 4 or more d-mods. Losses during combat have no long term repercussions (assuming you've got reinforced bulkheads, or officers with approriate skills).  Losing half your fleet just means your paying roughly standard deployment rates.  Destruction just becomes some supplies and loss of a bit of crew.  A pristine Onslaught costs 40 supplies to deploy.  A destroyed Onslaught that has 4 dmods (and thus a deployment cost at 20% of normal) costs 47 supplies to go from 0% to 70%, or 67 to go from 0 to 100%.

It could also have interesting synergy if one of the lower tier industry skills treated salvaged ships as having 20-40% CR, and thus improving salvage after combat, or recovered ships starting with more CR, reducing the supply cost even further from destroyed ships.  Similarly, skills which increased repair speed and partially restored hull and armor.  Perhaps all in one.

It certainly would be run defining in the sense it changes your perception of what victory in combat means.  Pyrrhic victory no longer exists for such a character.

Moving on to the colony skills, there are many people who don't ever consider them worth it, and others who like the roleplay or gameplay of having many, many strong colonies.  I know there's some consideration being given to perhaps removing colony skills (don't know what Alex's current thoughts are), but if the colony skills are being kept, would it be reasonable to lump them all into a single tier 5 skill in Industry?

Suggestion number 3: Tier 5 Industry Right pick, "Colony Management".
Able to personally govern 1 additional colony
Able to manage 1 additional administrator

All colonies
+50% maximum value of custom ship and weapon production per month

Governed Colony
All industries supply 1 more unit of all the commodities they produce
+30% accessibility
+25% fleet size
+100% effectiveness of ground defences
+2 stability

For a tier 5 skill, would this be too much?  It's not instantly handing effective piles of credits to player, as you still need to find, settle, and grow the colonies.  It might make the break even point in credits come a little earlier, but a number of the benefits really are not noticable after awhile.  Unless you're losing ships permanently, which with s-mods and story points you shouldn't be, the +50% custom production might get used for 6 months at most, and then forgotten for the rest of the game.  And if you do have a fleet wipe, grinding the story points back is going to take longer than any production runs.

Similarly, I don't think I've ever relied on my ground defenses.  Fleet size might matter, but I generally pick systems where I colonize at least two planets so as to overlap fleets, which is an effective 100% final multiplier instead of +25% additive.

If Alex's reasoning was to place all 4 skills out of the way, how strong could they actually be if most people were expected not to want them?  I bet there's a good number of players who still wouldn't take such a skill, but it certainly would make players who want to run a stellar empire happy if they only need 4 skill points "wasted" to get their best possible colonies.

The marine bonuses could be moved to a different skill, maybe Auxilliary Support (where Marines sounds like they might be an Auxilliary support to the fleet).

Lastly, while I'm throwing out crazy skill suggestions, I'll put another plug in for the idea of switching percentage speed bonuses to fixed speed bonuses.  I'll note that safety overrides and unstable injector provide fixed bonuses, while the skills do not.  Most importantly, the zero-flux boost is also a flat speed bonus.  Percentages favor already faster ships, making their relative closing and escape speed bigger, reducing their vulnerability window.  Flat bonuses for equally skilled fleets results in an unchanged engagement window as unskilled.

Lets take an Onslaught and say, a Tempest.  Compare them with no skill to with gunnery implants, helmsmanship, and a full 20% coordinated manuevers bonus for both ships.  1600 range TPCs or Hypervelocity drivers versus range 600 Pulse laser, is a 1000 distance gap. 25 speed versus 180 means 155 closing speed. 1000/155 = 6.4 seconds to close to firing range (or escape).  Now throw skills on. 1750 range TPCs versus 690 range Pulse lasers, and 32.5 versus 234 speed which means 201.5 closing speed. 1060/201.5 = 5.3 seconds to close or escape.  An 18% improvement in favor of the Tempest.

Let's make coordinated manuevers a flat +25 bonus (going from 0 to +25), and helmsmanship +20 for frigates, +10 for capitals.  Same gap, but closing speed is 60 versus 215, for 165 closing speed.  1060/165 = 6.4 seconds to close, which is pretty darn close to unskilled.

It also makes the investment for a capital heavy fleet reasonable, as opposed to being mostly a skill tax to get crew training and level 6 officers.  A maximum bonus at half the zero-flux bonus I think would be noticable.

Suggestion number 4:  "Coordinated Manuevers"
Ships with officers, including flagship.
+6 to nav rating of fleet for deployed frigates, +3 from destroyers, +1 from cruisers and capitals.
+50% to command point recovery from deployed frigates, +25% from destroyers
Nav rating increases top speed up to a max of +25 su/second

0-flux speed bonus applies as long as your ship is not generating flux
+20/15/10/10 top speed depending on ship class

Elite effect
+50% maneuverability

Combined you get the same speed bonus as with the current system for 150 speed frigates (like the wolf).  Larger ships now have a larger net bonus, but they'll still always be slower than smaller ships when equally skilled.  And yes, I'm intentionally switching things around to make people think about how strong (or not) the elite effect currently is compared to the base skill.

So feel free to tell me these suggestions are crazy, or I suppose potentially don't go far enough.  Would you still never these Industry tier 5 skills, for example?  Do people have any other crazy suggestions for skills in the current skill tree paradigm?

General Discussion / Low tech doctrine play through comments
« on: April 25, 2021, 01:19:19 PM »
So I've essentially gotten to the end game with a low tech style play through, and wanted to share some thoughts based on that experience.  Now, a lot of these comments have likely been said in different ways by others, but I wanted them all together in one place to explain the entire impact on a style.

First off, I probably should explain what I mean by low tech style.

I consider the low tech combat ships to be the Lasher, Condor, Enforcer, Dominator, Mora, Onslaught, Legion.  These tend to be high armor for their tier, 1.0 shield efficiency, many ballistic mounts (often oversized), plentiful missile mounts, excellent peak operating time, poor flux dissipation, low to average flux capacity, relatively slow and less manueverable than others in their class, and ship systems on the weaker end of the scale (i.e. burn drive).  The basic idea is low tech uses efficient long range ballistics, backed up by flux free missile pressure to compensate for it's poor flux stats, and uses armor to mitigate the fact they can't really retreat well when over fluxed.  If they're unable to kill a faster/shorter range ship as it keeps diving in and out, they eventually out last it's PPT.  Archetypal and simple to use line ships. 

Alternatively, they can go safety overrides and use short range high DPS ballistics on cruisers and smaller, taking advantage of their PPT and using it to mitigate their low base flux dissipation.  SO can help, but it is not a complete panacea.  The biggest issue with SO, is even with the 50 0-flux boost and the base speed boost, the cruisers and destroyers still often can't control their distance sufficiently against smaller ships, potentially making the reduced range a problem.  High tech ships also tend to get more out of SO in absolute terms, in terms of more absolute flux dissipation, and an even higher top speed.

I will note the Gremlin is technically low tech combat ship, but is also a phase ship, and so doesn't fit the standard low tech "style".  In addition an Afflictor, at 8 DP, is just straight up better version of the Gremlin at 6 DP.  My guess is it was mainly intended as a "pirate" phase ship - overall weaker than standard combat ships of the same class.

Ok, so those are the basic low tech style pros and cons.  What were the changes between 0.9.1a and 0.9.5a?

In 0.9.5a, the Onslaught and Enforcer received significant buffs, along with heavy armor.  A new tanking skill plus hull mod was also introduced. 

1) The Enforcer went from 750 to 900 armor (20% more), it's shield efficiency went from 1.2 to 1.0 (another 20% swing), and finally hull went from 5000 to 6000 (another 20% boost).  Essentially, the Enforcer became straight up 20% tougher.

2) The Onslaught gained some more subtle changes.  0.6 Flux efficiency on TPCs, heavy ballistics integration at the cost of no more overlapping field of fire for 5 large weapons mounts (2 to the sides or 3 to the front now).  Essentially, more OP to play with and better flux management.

3) The heavy armor hull mod was buffed in the amount it provides, an extra 50 armor for frigates, and an extra 100 for all other tiers.  (Enforcer with heavy armor went from 950 to 1200, 26% buff).

4) Derelict contingent and shield shunt.  As far as I can tell, this is the only way to realistically make the low tech style competitive with the strongest end game challenges and the strongest ships from other doctrines, like the Doom.  Get 5 d-mod ships and rely on 350-700 residual armor, and not quite quadruple hull points.  Of course, this skill has issues noted elsewhere and is going to get reworked, so knowing that, I purposely avoided it this play through (and had used it on a previous double Radiant run). Because of the expected nerfing, I'm going to ignore it's existence for the rest of this post.

Those were the changes which helped the low tech style.  What changes hurt it?

1) Many officer/player armor skills were removed or weakened, the only one being strengthened (Impact mitigation armor damage taken -20% to -25%) is only about a 10% buff, which doesn't make up for much larger other factors (85%->90%, +50% armor for calculations, +150 armor for calculations) being removed.  Shield tanking at a minimum was essentially left alone, or made better depending on how you view flux changes.  I will note, low tech style ships benefits from the shield improvements - but at a relatively lower rate.

Imagine your "tanking" budget is 80% shield, 20% armor for high tech, and 50% shield, 50% armor for low tech.  Now if armor is weakened by a factor of 2, then high tech is 80% shield, 10% armor (effectiveness) for 90% of what is was, and low tech is 50% shield, 25% armor (effectiveness) for 75% of what is was.

In any case, a well tanked low-tech ship in 0.9.1a took many more officer skills, but in turn received a  correspondingly significant improvement in longevity, especially against non-officered enemy ships.

2) Many more enemy officers indirectly means more damage per shot or better PD (and in the case of Remnants, both), which are bad for armor tanking (armor is weaker against larger individual shots) or heavy missile use respectively.  The expectation is now (for end game fleets) that more ships have officers than not, where as 2/3 of an end game fleet in 0.9.1a might not have officers.  While shields also see an uptick in damage, they have a linear scaling with DPS.  Armor has a faster than linear scaling and weakens faster as DPS goes up with shot size.

3) Buffs to energy based PD makes mid and high tech slightly harder to force back with missiles, as they've become more flux efficient, reducing the effectiveness of the medium missile pods many low tech ships rely on to buy themselves breathing space.  In many cases, you also have to launch from closer now if Paladin's are on the field, which directly negates the ranged advantage of ballistics that low tech is relying on.  This is mostly a subtle and small effect (except for Paladins), but it is there.

4) Low tech relies on a ballistic PD screen to help protect against HE missiles when the shields need to be down for flux reasons.  By design, that lowering of shields happens more for low tech than other doctrines.  Putting the PD skill across from the universal damage skill has a larger impact on low tech ships than high tech.  An optimized omni-shield tanking ship doesn't really need to think about shooting down high explosive or fragmentation damage missiles, as it is intended to take those on it's shield (and elite shield modulation makes that even easier).  The really only threatening missile to officers focusing on shields is the sabot, which for many smaller ships fires off it's second stage from beyond PD range anyways.

5) Low tech is relying on armor and hull to survive, and you used to be able to get 50% free repairs fleet wide, and up to 25% with damage control.  Now, the fleet wide repair skill is 50% at 60 DP, and 12.5% at 240 DP (a full 400 battle size deployment, which a low tech style needs to do against end game fleets), and Damage Control requires it to be elite to get that benefit.  High and mid-tech care less, because they simply tend to need less repairs.  Even fully destroyed, low tech seems to require more supplies and time to go from 0 to fully healed than their high tech equivalents.

Speaking of Damage Control, it is the only elite skill which doesn't directly help you in combat, only after combat.  Which means if you make it elite on an officer, you're sacrificing immediate combat strength for out of combat quality of life (i.e. not waiting 23 days for your Onslaught XIV to fully repair).  Making the ship weaker means it is more likely to take more damage in combat - directly working against the intended effect.  In my other runs, I can not recall stopping a trip out to several bounties unless I got my flagship or other signficant ship killed.  However, with low tech, I'll sometimes find my flagship or other capital with 20-25 day repair times in routine play, forcing me to return early or alternatively, get up from the game and walk around while I wait for the two minutes for the 25 days to pass and then proceed to engage the bounty.

Since repairs are a campaign layer issue, intended to be fixed by the campaign layer tree (i.e. Industry), it means if you are focusing on a low tech style (which has many poor campaign layer stats - higher fuel usage, higher crew requirements, more repairs needed), you are more incentivized to give up direct combat power to fix those campaign layer issues when compared to a shield focus and efficient doctrine like high tech.  Which in turn makes them weaker in direct combat.  The alternative solution is to simply bring more ships so you can swap to undamaged ones, but that directly reduces the power of DP scaling fleet skills.

Which is an interesting side effect of scaling skills based off total fleet DP, is that the worse off your ships are per DP, the more ships you need to bring, as they are more likely to need to retreat or be destroyed, and thus need more reinforcements.  Making scaling skills weaker, and thus making your ships even worth less effective DP because the bonuses are smaller.  It's a rather viscious circle for over costed (in DP) ships.  Similarly, under costed by DP ships means you need fewer ships, allowing you to benefit more from skills, making them stronger. 

This is not necessarily a problem in a single player game, and normal players have access to the full suite of ships in the game, but I feel it should be something that is taken into consideration and at the least acknowledged.

For example, my duo Radiant + pile of 11 high tech frigates was so low maintenance, it had two shepherds and a dram for logistics, and was beating 3 Radiant Ordos without much issue.  My two Onslaught, Legion, two Mora, four Enforcer, two Condor, four Lasher fleet required a Prometheus, two Phaetons, four shepherds and a Colossus as a logistics train, and was having more difficulty, despite also having 3 "capstone" skills.  Officer Training, Special Modifications, and Missile Specialization versus Officer Management, Automated Ships, and Derelict Contingent - although maybe that was Derelict Contingent's fault.  Still, I probably could have replaced a Radiant with a Paragon or Odyssey and had similar success without derelict contingent - I was just under 180 DP with that Radiant fleet anyways, as opposed to 232 DP with the low tech fleet.

7) Lastly, the low tech style had been dependent on fighters as well, to help catch faster ships or finish off fleeing ones.  It has destroyer tier, cruiser tier, and capital tier carriers, all of which are signficantly weaker now (and with good reason, fighter spam in 0.9.1a was rather strong) due to the loss of damage reduction fighter skills.  Although, low tech doctrine carriers might be more affected, as they have no fighter boosting skills, and thus is the most heavily affected by fighter bay based skill limitations.  Low tech simply brought more fighters, rather than making them deal more damage (Herons), put more on the field (Drovers), or made them more efficient in travel (Astral).

So the skill changes to officers have reduced the specialization low tech officers could do, either in protection or fighters.  In 0.9.1a, because low tech relies on more heavily on more mechanics than other doctrines, low tech officers could boost their defensive aspects more, generally at the cost of offense, but see greater returns.  Now, with the new choose 1 out of 2 style officer mechanics, that reliance on multiple mechanics comes at a cost that other officers don't have in the same way.  An Onslaught's defense is it's damage at range preventing diving ships, it's flak and vulcans (i.e. point defense), it's shield, and lastly it's armor - roughly in order of encounter.  A typical high tech doctrine ship's defense is it's speed and it's shield, in that order.

My thoughts on the individual ships:

Luddic Path Lashers with built in SO are decent for 4 DP (after restoration).  They're also dirt cheap to restore after receiving d-mods, something like 13-15,000 credits.  Their biggest problem is, while they are efficient for a 4 DP ship, they are still a 4 DP ship.  Unlike 8 DP Tempests or 15 DP Hyperions, you can't really build a fleet around them.  You also really can't afford to put many officers in them, making wolf pack tactics a poor match.  10 officers would only be 40 DP worth of frigates, leaving 120 to 200 DP without officers.  The other point is, if free SO Lashers are okay at 4 DP, what does that say about the standard Lasher?  Although the standard lasher does have decent PPT without an officer, and is still useful for grabbing capture points and dueling with other frigates to prevent flanking.  Overall, it's a frigate, and does frigate things for a cost that feels appropriate.  Late game it's also dirt cheap to restore, which means slapping on reinforced bulwark and not caring about them blowing up is quite reasonable.

The Enforcer feels like it's in a fairly good spot these days, with it's straight up 20% toughness boost, and the addition of s-mods to it's already large pool of 110 OP.  Expanded missile racks + missile specialization means it can be fielding 36 sabots or harpoons, which feels pretty good in the initial exchanges at least.  With an officer, it survives surprisingly long for a 9 DP destroyer, but damage output falls off severely once the missiles run out.  Until then though, it's a scary little bowling ball that has a place even in end game fleets.

Condors are cheap fighter deployment, and maybe a missile thrower depending on fighter choice.  In 0.9.1a, massing them and drowning your opponent in fighters was a reasonable strategy.  That's much less of an option in 0.9.5a, but  bombers still can help overwhelm a ship.  Early and mid-game, a few fighters can help hunt down frigates faster than the Enforcers in a destroyer pack.  Officers that fly these early game can then promote to Moras or Legions later, but late game these will tend to be officerless, if used at all. Overall, they're not as good as they once were, but still can be used toss some Longbows or Daggers an enemy's way.

The Dominator didn't receive any buffs like the Onslaught and Enforcer, and just feels like it is in a worse place in 0.9.5a than in 0.9.1a for all the above reasoning.  It still can be setup with a bunch of missiles, and it's long range large mounts make it effective at shooting in a firing line against enemy capital ships, but it just feels overall less efficient compared to the other cruiser options.  It's designed to punch up, not down, and with the improvements to frigates and other bonuses scaling with DP, that can be a problem.  For player piloting, it pales in comparison to an Aurora or Doom.  The new Champion feels like a better AI line holder these days (more speed, more flux, a little less missile burst, but HEF + Tachyon or Plasma is strong gun burst).  Eagles feel like they survive better on a line, with the ability to back off, better shields, and the ability to swing around to face a frigate quickly.

S-mods probably help a Mora be able to fully embrace missiles and fighters at the same time.  Expanded missiles + ECCM combined with a bomber selection is quite doable now.  Longbows backed up by harpoons for example, or sabots backed by Daggers.  Damper field + Heavy Armor + armor tanking skills do not feel quite brick like they once did with officers.  It still takes a beating, but not quite as much, and it's fighters are more likely to die, leaving it with less offense while using Damping field. Still, it's usable support, lasts a lot longer than a Condor if flanked, and can stand on the front line for a little bit.

Legion also did not receive any specific buffs, so weakened fighters tend to make it perform worse.  On the other hand, it benefits from s-mods and missile specialization the same as a Mora.  Given a Legion can mount 5 medium missle pods, that's a potential 180 sabots boosted by ECCM and 50% faster firing speed, combined with 4 bomber wings, and two ballistic mounts. Still other ships also benefit from s-mods and missile buffs (like the Odyssey and Aurora), so relatively speaking, it's a little bit worse for wear.

Onslaught did receive some buffs.  I think it feels better offensively, but is noticably weaker defensively.  In 0.9.1a a fully skilled Onslaught could survive some surprising situations. However in 0.9.5a I can't be as reckless piloting it, and I tend to have significantly more damage than I would have in 0.9.1a at the end of similar fights.  TPCs feel much better to fire though, and the extra OP from s-mods can be used on a whole host of useful hull mods (Expanded missile racks and ECCM come to mind).  Player piloting feels a lot like drive flux up, vent, drive flux up, vent, making resistant flux conduits mandatory for me, and makes me miss the old +25% vent speed skill.  For me, since I used to use them as line holders backed up by support ships, the reduced durability factors more into my weighting, and I think they're a touch worse than they were overall.

I find the doctrine seem to hold up fine against late game intel bounties of all stripes, Tri-tach, Persean, Hegemony, etc.  It is when you start pushing the more end game fleets like full sized Ordos or s-mod officered Dooms that fleet becomes stressed close to the breaking point, often ending with 30-60 DP worth of ships destroyed on my side.  I could win, but needed a colony or commission income backing it.  My Tri-tach theme run and my normal use whatever run didn't have nearly as much trouble with such full Ordos or high end contact bounties.  Also, I will note fat fingering F on an Onslaught at the wrong time in an iron man save can be... painful.  Most ships don't punish you so much when you hit the wrong button. :)

Now ships don't necessarily need to be perfectly balanced.  Pirate ships are intended as a stepping stone for player fleets to crush, for example.  And there's not a true symmetry between primarily shield tankers (like an Apogee or Aurora), and shield plus armor tankers like the Onslaught.  Also, old armor tanking could make ships take a long, long time to die if you didn't have the right tools.  However, the in campaign differential between some low tech doctrine ships and other doctrines (taking full advantage of officer and player skill selection as players normally do) may be a bit larger than intended at the moment, with the possible exception when using Derelict Contingent.

I just had a full health/armor AI controlled enforcer from my fleet burn drive into an allied low tech tier 2 station's arm and die instantly at the beginning of battle.  No orders had been issued by that point.  Enemies had not engaged the enforcer yet, which is presumably why it was willing to burn drive, but didn't seem to recognize the station's longest arm as a potential obstacle.

I wonder if the burn drive logic needs to consider a larger steer clear zone of stations?

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