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

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Messages - Megas

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So somehow 300 DP means "big war fleet", but decreasing it by 20% to 240 DP means "small party of dungeon-crawling fools". Uh huh.
Not 240, 160 (or 200 with BotB).  Going from ship-based 300 DP to officer-based 160 DP is a huge cut.  I have to capture and hold the points.  That means I need fast ships to capture them, which probably means frigates.  I cannot do this in fights that I cannot totally dominate.  I can reliably hold one point for +20 or +40 DP, in case of diamond pattern.  Maybe two for at least +40 if the map gives two points on my side instead of one.

In older releases, that did not matter, and I did not need fast ships just for capturing.  Since frigates had low PPT, I did not use them past early game in earlier post-0.8 releases.

Yes you keep saying this in multiple threads. Apparently:

1. The game is fun and you get to do what you want how you want to do it until you get to Ordos.
2. All fleets capable of defeating (double) Ordos are categorically deemed "unfun". There's never any discussion of just what your preferred playstyle is or why it doesn't work against Ordos fleets, or why you don't like any of the many different ways to defeat Ordos fleets, but any possible player fleets are automatically considered "unfun" if they can beat Ordos fleets.
3. Non-Ordos fleets don't give enough XP to fuel your desire to put improvements on all colony structures despite the 2^n cost, whose purpose is intentionally to dissuade players from trying to put improvements on all colony structures.
4. Therefore, Alex should make it so that regular fleets give millions of XP or you'll quit the game. Oh, and the skill cap should be increased because you want to be a fighter who can also cast spells like a mage, heal like a cleric, and sneak around like a thief.
They are not fun because I need to carefully construct the right combination of ships, skills, officers, and s-mods, and lock them in.  If I want to change the fleet, I need to get new officers, ships, and s-mods.  Maybe a single change may not cost that much but changing several times (which I will want to do eventually) will bleed story points.  Raising several new officers takes days to do (I do not have the luxury of playing as long as I used to), and I need to bring extra ships for officers to set in.  I did not need to do this much careful planning or dedication in prior releases.

I feel pushed to use overpowered ships (those that punch higher than their DP value) to win.  Being balanced is not good enough if I have a quality and quantity disadvantage.  Weaker stuff like Eagle (which used to be good but not overpowered in older releases) gets pushed to the wayside.  That hurts when such ships were legitimately good in previous releases.

I need to devote all of my skills points to the power direct combat skills (that are not prereqs for tier 2 Tech/Industry), so any fun skills that do not directly add to combat power must be passed over.  So no Automated Ships if it is not Alpha Radiant or Alpha frigates, no Neural Link that is not Radiant (with Systems Exp.), no Industry skills beyond tier 2 (unless I attempt Derelict Ops strategy), or no additional low-tier Tech/Industry (like no Sensors if I already have Navigation and/or no Bulk Transport if I have Field Repairs).

Against non-Ordos fleets, once I get Ziggurat (and the weapons it needs), it is the only thing I use because I get close to +400% xp from an endgame human bounty.  Until then, I use a more conventional fleet that gives around +50% xp against human bounties.  If I want a proper fleet, I need to hit double Ordos for the full +500%.

Even if I do not want to buff colonies, earning story points without +500% xp is a real slog at max level.  Before my fleet was powerful enough to kill Ordos, it took several in-game years of grinding human bounties with no more than +50% (because I built my fleet like in previous releases) to earn little more than ten million xp to turn the green bar blue.  With progress slow like that, story points are effectively finite, and I am opposed to spending story points for anything like respecs or making officers (that will be fired eventually) elite.  Only when I can kill endgame fleets with high +xp% multiplier (fleet vs. double Ordos or lone Ziggurat vs. any endgame fleet) that I consider burning skill points without refund for the fleet (instead of banking them for the colonies I covet) maybe worth it.

I quit because I do not like the gameplay.  Slow story point gain, fun but weak options (and giving them up for required power options).  Gameplay seems to be all about Ordos at the end.

I preferred some of the gameplay features from previous releases that were more fun than today.

As for 4.  It is more like pilot/combat, leader/fleet, or meta/non-combat for the player.  Enemies late have high combat, and they have some fleet power.  Non-combat is irrelevant for them.  Player can already get plenty of combat stuff provided he dumps all of the non-combat or weak combat stuff.  The enemy has full combat by the end, so players who do not use autopilot will want high combat to not be a weak-link.  That leaves fleet or non-combat.

If you're complaining about how long it takes to level up new officers, then you should be absolutely loving the current system compared to the previous one. Let's compare:
I did not need to fire officers for a new fleet back in older releases, except maybe for general-purpose warship vs. carrier (and only if I wanted to go from balanced fleet to pure carrier spam or vice-versa).

Releases before 0.7 did not have officers.

In 0.7, officers were bench warmers to keep CR up since I soloed everything with a single ship.  I did not use a fleet in battle back then (which required Leadership to use a single capital without CR penalties).  The one exception I considered would be ten Timid officers for Pilum Vigilance spam (when it was still effective), which I did not do because I did not have the patience to level them up only to fire and replace them after the novelty wore off.  Not when max skilled Dominator could solo a single endgame fleet, and Onslaught could solo more than a hundred ships faster than Paragon can.

In 0.8, I did not need officers to kill fleets.  Back then, the strongest enemy was red system Remnant Nexus.  (Ordos did not have Radiant back then.)  Sparks were overpowered (armed with two full-strength burst PDs), and Astral with Sparks was probably the strongest ship that release.

In early 0.9, I had no incentive to kill Ordos, since they had nothing I want (aside from Sparks for carriers) and Pathers and Pirates were the primary recurring threat.  (I favored anti-armor builds that could chew through pirates fast.)  In the release infamous for Drover spam, I used large ships only (I did not take carrier skills for Drover spam).  In 0.95, which I did not play until late, I barely made it to endgame (i.e., able to kill my first human bounty with a capital) when 0.95.1 was released.

Before 0.95, officers did not need to be specialized beyond warship (no carrier skills) or carrier (has carrier skills).  Now, I need officers with specific skills for specific ships.  Also, there were no elite skills before, so I did not need to agonize whether to burn a story point without refund for officers.

I mean "not intended" as in "not something the game is balanced around", not "something that should be forbidden". For example, a player could choose to colonize all ~600 planets if they wanted to, but that's not something that the game is balanced around, and in fact there are multiple mechanisms in place (stability penalty, diminishing returns with market share while upkeep increases linearly with number of industries, etc.) to discourage overdoing it.
It should be discouraging, but it is about on par with (or perhaps less than) the grinding required to get many of the best and rare stuff in Diablo II, at least for those who do not cheat.  (Yes, there were plenty of cheaters then.)  I have spent many days grinding for items and levels beyond 90 in Diablo II.

Greed trumps reason
And that's the problem right there. People should be doing a cost-benefit analysis of whether or not different goals in a game are worth achieving, instead of just doing stuff "because it looks cool" or whatever.
It is unrealistic to expect flawed human beings to do the right thing every time.  We would have much less crime and sin in the world if people could be relied on doing the right thing instead of falling into temptation or following their desires over reason.

P.S.  Until the current release, I was only compelled to grind Ordos if I wanted lots of alpha cores for the mad quest to colonize the entire sector.  Now, I feel the need to grind Ordos for max +xp% gain if I want to play with a classic style fleet.

Bringing a big war fleet is also unnecessary.
But I like using big war fleets that Starsector used to encourage or at least make possible in some of the earlier releases.  Now, Starsector feels more like a console jRPG.  Bring a small party of dungeon-crawling fools and kill the horde, and if the player wants a big fleet anyway, he will be punished for it if he can even use it.

And if that really is your intent, then you should be most concerned about trying to maximize your XP gain per minute, rather than using fleets that are not geared for that and then complaining about your SP gain being too slow.
Which means being forced into a fleet and/or skill set I may not want to use.

If I want to use a classic fleet that can smash double Ordos, I should get max Leadership, which means I need to give up some Technology and/or Industry.  It means trading fun for power.  I do not want to do that.

I fought a double Ordos fleet with a fleet and play experience was miserable (had to carefully construct a fleet, tailor all officers for a fleet, and the right skills).  I had a better (more fun) time killing double Ordos with solo Ziggurat, but I do not want to be stuck between solo Ziggurat and switching to another fleet that takes days to construct (because of the time needed to level up at least eight new officers.)  Ultimately, I have stopped playing Starsector because I do not want to waste days leveling up new officers to replace the eight that became obsolete and were fired whenever I want to change the fleet.

Multiple posters have pointed out to you that there's little point to getting more than the first few colony improvements (there's little benefit to it), and that the exponential nature of their cost is pretty directly saying that it's not intended for players to go past the first few either, other than when they got nothing else left to do with their SP. Treating it as an excuse to not spend SP on more worthwhile endeavors just means a bad ordering of priorities. I mean, if you want to, sure, but don't expect the game to cater to that.
If it is not intended, then there should be a hard cap to improvements, not dangle the carrot like Diablo II (and likely other games) did for rare loot and high levels.  Doing so is cruel to the player (that does not use cheats), and Starsector does not have online play that wants players hooked on playing as long as possible.  Make improvements work like s-mods, but for colonies instead of ships.

I like having lots of improvements for the same reason why people love perfect items in Diablo II.  Greed trumps reason, and do not underestimate the lengths people went through to get what they coveted.  I have seen a lot of that behavior when I used to play Diablo II:LoD during its heyday.

I have seen what improvements do to colonies, and I want them all (although I probably settle from six to eight per colony if I had the time to grind for them like I once had grinding for items in Diablo II)!  If it means grinding for them like grinding for items in Diablo II, I may not like lt, but I will grind for them, or just quit the game in disgust.

I do not use cores in my colonies because I do not want to play whack-a-mole Pathers.  Whack-a-mole pirates is already enough annoyance, and I do not want to add Pathers too for more pain.  (Hegemony, I would wipe their worlds off the map to eliminate inspections permanently.)  Because I do not use cores and use minimal items to dodge Pather cells, I am left with Industrial Planning and colony improvements to bring colonies up to snuff, or at least to meet demand of my buildings.  (If I take an Industry capstone, I take Industrial Planning along the way too, instead of Containment Procedures.)

Um isn't the point of good fleet design to ensure that the fight will be "trivial" i.e. that your fleet will win? That's what you should be aiming for, not treating it like an afterthought.
That means the game is too easy, at least for those who used the top-tier builds of the game.

I expect hard fights to be a real meatgrinder no matter what the player uses, not be a joke for the top few builds while being hard for those who took trap or non-combat options (especially if they were more fun than the power options).  Especially if the top options take a long time to assemble (which it does thanks to officers).

P.S.  If officer experience stays like it is, I like to see more limited superhero ships like Ziggurat, just to have more variety of one-man army options.

No, it starts at 160 DP or 200 DP, but your fleet should be running at 240 DP for the majority of the battle. It just means that the beginning of the battle now has an extra step of grabbing the objectives, then after that it's a 240 DP vs 240 DP fight.
Only if my fleet can hold the points.  If my fleet can do that, then the fight was trivial, and victory is assured.

There's no need to hold them unless your ships die. If your ships are dying, that's the problem to solve first, not whether or not you can hold objectives for the whole fight. If your ships are running out of PPT, then that's an issue with trying to fight a fleet that's too large for your fleet (too many ships to churn through), or killing them too slowly. (Exception is if you're using SO in which case, well, you take the CR penalty as part of the deal if the fleet is too big.)
In other words, get Leadership because it has Wolfpack to give small ships the PPT and damage buffs it needs to last in double fights, which is where the bar is at (+500% xp for a proper fleet against double Ordos).  I do not like how the game forces Leadership if I want a conventional fleet.

Using fast bigger ships (like Furies and Auroras) to cap points is not a solution since they cost too much DP and divide fleet power too much.

This makes no sense. Because of upkeep, skills DP cap, XP bonus, along with other factors, the player is now incentivized to bring along only what's necessary and to deploy it all (except logistics ships), whereas in the past the player was incentivized to bring along a bunch of deadweight just to bulk up the fleet for that 300-to-200 deployment ratio. And you're complaining that the current system is the one that encourages having ships sit on the sidelines?
At least bulking up the fleet lets the player deploy more ships back then.  It was also an incentive to bring extra ships to switch into from worn-out ships for later fights (so player can chain-battle several encounters back-to-back like a battle-manic).  Now, with officers determining nearly all the DP, plus +xp% multiplier reliant on small fleet, bringing a big war fleet is a trap, and I like it less than the old way.

In those older releases, those without gate travel, I effectively brought two fleets, primary one for fighting, and backups for later fights when some ships got too damaged to fight later battles.  That was enough for 60% DP for me.  There was no need for me to stack extra capitals solely for more DP.  Also, I brought mostly big ships because they had more PPT, which was an option to win the PPT stall war in case the enemy tried to play that game.

Of course, extra ships mean reinforcements to deploy to replace lost ships, but the goal is flawless victory, so any ships beyond what the player can deploy are worthless.  Bringing extra ships now to rotate out for more fights is a bad idea because of xp% multiplier and DP limits from skills.

but the loss of SP for new officers is minor. 8 officers each with an elite skill means 8 SP which you get back after around 2-3 Ordos fleets.
It is only minor if I do not hoard SP for colonies.  Because I am crazy enough to consider feeding 2^n costs to have my shining empire with lots of green buildings (about 6+ improvements for each colony), wasting SP for any reason is like stealing SP meant for colonies.  So far, I have not done this yet because I do not want to waste that much time for every release, but I do intend to try it on the final release if current mechanics stay more-or-less the same then.

Well, getting the two points that spawn on "your side" is all but guaranteed even without frigates.
Not always.  Sometimes, there is the diamond pattern where one is at your side, one at the enemy side, and two vertically in the middle and near the left and right sides of the map.

I'm kind of actually worried when the Remnants get an update in the next release to have much, much faster cruisers and a new battlecruiser.  But we'll see.
If anything, I think Remnants overall might become easier to kill, if it means fewer Radiants (because some get replaced by the new battlecruiser) and more ships with forward-only mobility systems that force them to overcommit and get picked off by your ships before they can run away.

Suggestions / Re: Eagle and (base) Falcon remain anemic
« on: November 21, 2022, 03:01:16 PM »
Falcon is fast enough to be useful.  It is practically a midline Medusa.

Eagle is weak for its speed and cost.  Anything it can do, another cruiser can do the job either better or cheaper (or both).

The main things I remember Eagle will get are lowered DP cost from 22 to 20, and the addition of the beam Thumper (IR Autolance or something).  I am not convinced they will be enough to buff Eagle enough if nothing else changes.

General Discussion / Re: Why do fighters in the setting still use pilots?
« on: November 21, 2022, 06:19:04 AM »
For the game to have the fantasy of Starbuck and Apollo shooting down Cylon Raiders.

Easy, you just make sure that you grab a couple objectives early on, deploy the rest of your fleet, and then you can forget about the DP unless you lose ships.
Grabbing them at first is the easy part.  Holding (more than one of) them is the hard part, especially when fast ships (frigates) run out of PPT and are forced to retreat (if they do not die first).  If some of my ships die or run out of PPT and need to retreat, and the enemy takes a point, I cannot reinforce, and the fight is likely decided for the enemy.

No, player went from 300 DP vs 200 DP by spamming capitals fleet, to 240 DP vs 240 DP by good fleet design and battle strategy fleet. And getting to 240 DP is just a small speed bump at the beginning on the way to the full fleet vs fleet action. In the past, the player was rewarded for lugging lots of capitals around, to fight endgame fights at a 3-to-2 advantage. That clearly was a fleet design philosophy that Alex didn't want to reward. Now, the player is rewarded for having good ship builds and proper strategy and fleet (to capture objectives) at the beginning of each battle.
It would only be 200 DP if the map size stayed at 500 (or player took BotB).  But since it did not and max size went to 400 instead, it went down to 160 DP for non-BotB builds.

240 vs. 240 would be okay, but it is not.  It is 240 vs. 160 for non-BotB.  Player can be relied on taking +20 DP from holding one point for up to 180 DP.

Even if Alex wanted to reward officer stacking instead of ship stacking, 160 DP is not enough to deploy enough (large) ships unless player wants a bunch of small ships.  I dislike small ships if I do not take Leadership because they lack PPT and skill support.  I dislike the game pushing player to Leadership if he takes a conventional fleet.

I would have preferred old ship stacking because at least bringing a big fleet had a point even if I could not deploy all the ships.  Now, bringing a big war fleet is pointless and very unsatisfying (if I did not build for solo Ziggurat) because the player has the shonen elite doing all the fighting while his cheerleading ships sit on the sidelines.

Personally, I have being forced to play for points. It reduces the amount of viable strategies in the late game, and, unlike some, I don't enjoy abusing the few broken fleets over and over and over.

Enemy fleets blatantly breaking officer limits (of yeah, the player totally can have 12 level 6 officers with the right skills and mercs! you don't? your fault for playing the game wrong, lmao!), they don't need more DP as well.
So much this.

Ordos used to not break officer limits, but now they do.  The toughest recurring ones have cores for all ships, with more than half of them having alpha cores.

And the biggest problem of relying on the same overpowered fleet over and over again is if player wants to change his fleet, he needs to fire his officers and waste a lot of time training new ones to fit his new ships and lose a bunch of story points that were spent to elite skills on officers without refund.  (This is one reason I go for solo Ziggurat because I do not need to waste a lot of time and story points with officers, plus no need for Leadership.)

Suggestions / Re: Militarized sub system needs a rework.
« on: November 20, 2022, 04:04:38 PM »
Do people not take bulk transport early? That solves all the civilian burn problems without any hullmods and also significantly reduces the number of civilian ships required in the first place. For me, that's a super easy early game skill pick and I always want ordinance expertise so I have to take a tier 1 industry skill late game anyway. None of the other tier 1 industry skills seem much better.
If I take Industry, I get Field Repairs because I lose ships and frequently recover enemy ships early, and for partial repairs in fights that take more than one round to finish (like solo Ziggurat against some endgame fights).  If I get Hull Restoration, my primary source of pristine ships becomes whatever I loot from the enemy (instead of buying them from markets) and having some armor and CR right off the bat is convenient.  Also, late in the game, Field Repairs is handy for regenerating armor in fights that take more than one round to finish.

Bulk Transport is nice (and I have used it in early 0.9 releases when we had that funky mutually exclusive choice system), but I cannot afford more than one tier 1 Industry skill, and I consider Field Repairs the most valuable of the three tier 1 Industry options.

Suggestions / Re: New Player Experience SUCKS
« on: November 20, 2022, 03:53:12 PM »
Later bounties at the 150k+ level get harder, but at the same time the player has detailed knowledge of the enemy fleets before going to do the mission: its reasonable to not do ones that look too hard or to refit the fleet to counter the expected enemy. These missions aren't quite as profitable as they were in past versions because it takes more skill investment to recover pristine/near pristine ships, but for a player that wants to go the industry route these bounties have "bonuses" on the order of 200k to 1 million credits depending on what ships they recover.

For bar missions, you can run/hide/dodge away from 'revenge' fleets. Its not even particularly unusual to dodge fleets that are too big for the player - isn't that the standard gameplay in any hostile system or when doing any transponder off mission/trading?
The 150k fleet is the first big spike, and when it happens, every bounty is like that except for the one 50k bounty that is forced occasionally once every few months.  There is practically no choice for anyone interested in fighting intel bounties if the player does not have a fleet that can trivially defeat them.  Going from destroyers and frigates to several cruisers plus all of the destroyers and frigates before in the 80k-100k weight range for only about 50k more is a massive spike.  It does not matter if the player has advanced knowledge when all bounty options are more or less the same in difficulty.  If every bounty becomes too hard (because enemy progresses too fast), then the player hits a brick wall.  Yes, player can get money and ships another way (with black market trade abuse), but it does not feel good to stop all of the sudden because bounties power level much faster than the player can.

Like I wrote about revenge fleets, player can run from them, but the revenge fleet is persistent and will catch up eventually.  It is annoyance if my fleet is too weak to kill them, and most core fleets are either not enemies or too small to munch on the revenge fleet.  (Relying on NPCs to kill them easier said than done, and when it happens, it is a lucky break.)  If my fleet is strong enough to fight them, I do not need to waste time on those kind of bar missions.  The one time I tried one of those missions, I had a colony with a battlestation, and I lead that revenge fleet to its well-deserved death at my colony.  After that, I never took another similar schmuck bait mission.

(It's worth noting that when the game went from 500 to 400 DP maximum, it also became possible for each side to deploy 60% of the maximum, meaning the combined total DP is 480. Functionally there's not much of a reduction, just the raw visible number changed *to largely maintain the same maximum as before*.)
That does not feel like that when player starts with 40% DP at endgame fights (barring BotB), and unless the player can capture and keep all points, he probably will stay at where he started or get about +20 DP (or 40 if he is lucky to get a comm point instead of sensor/nav).  In a non-BotB build, I expect no more than 180 DP in worst case scenario.  If I can easily keep more than one point captured, my fleet was probably stronger than the enemy to begin with and victory was decided before the fighting began.  Only question is if the victory is flawless, or I lose a ship or three from AI stupidity.  If the fight is genuinely difficult, it is unlikely my fleet will hold more than one objective for long, especially if I do not have fast ships (or had them but lost or retreated them).

When the max went from 500 to 400, it also changed DP balance from ship power to officer power, and Ordos has officer advantage locked in (with 15+ alpha cores and the rest lower grade cores).  So, player went from 300 DP to 160 DP (or 200 DP with BotB).  It is probably no coincidence that most of the strongest builds I see on YouTube have BotB for 200 guaranteed DP and third s-mods.

Suggestions / Re: Militarized sub system needs a rework.
« on: November 20, 2022, 01:56:47 PM »
Revenant is handy for the 100 DP max fleet led by Ziggurat.

My guesses?  To prevent player from getting 60% max DP by bringing high DP ships (Paragon stack) to artificially bump up DP balance as done as some earlier releases.  Also, to make 250k+ bounty fleets harder without having twelve capitals and the rest bulky heavy cruisers (Dominators or Ventures) plus the token Dram (when they obey the thirty ship limit).  In case of Remnants, keep them strong after Radiant DP cost went up from 40 to 60.

This is one of the reasons why I would like to see in-game maximum map size settings reverted back to 500, if not more.  160 DP is not enough for a satisfying fleet fight (if I do not build for solo Ziggurat or double Neural Linked Onslaughts).  I do not care if the enemy gets more ships on the field, I want to deploy my fleet, not deploy few ships to reenact a shonen hero vs. arc villain fight like Goku doing most of the fighting while the rest of the fleet sits on the sidelines sucking on their thumbs while mouthing off exposition.

The game was more fun when I could deploy close to 300 DP worth of ships.

Suggestions / Re: New Player Experience SUCKS
« on: November 20, 2022, 07:04:04 AM »
In recent releases, cost of ships bigger than frigates went up, but the bounty payoffs stayed the same.  It is stupid to even think about fighting a bounty for cash only unless the player is either overpowered enough to crush it flawlessly or has an Industry capstone to true resurrect lost ships or exploit d-mods.

Bar missions that pay less then 100k for completing it then send a revenge fleet that is about as powerful as 200k bounty and persistently hunts your fleet across the sector are even worse.  You can run, but you cannot hide.  In effect, the mission is actually fighting a 200k bounty (which already underpays the moment a casualty is taken) for 80k (after completing the little side quest).  Makes those missions schmuck bait.

Contact bounties are more reasonable, provided they do not send your fleet at the edge of the sector for massive supply and fuel drain.  They pay about double of a classic intel bounty, which should be the minimum any bounty should pay, not just contact bounties.

General Discussion / Re: Penelope's Star, ye olde faithful
« on: November 20, 2022, 06:29:22 AM »
Kumari Kandam has patrols from all three of the factions in it.
They have small fleets, but not the type that beelines and pulls your fleet (no matter how big it is) over for a scan for having the transponder off, which costs rep and guarantees a fight if you do not agree to a scan (or bluff your way out with a story point).

Hostiles may go after your fleet if it is small and look like easy pickings, but that is a stock enemy encounter, not a shakedown from a faction's police force.

I have traveled with transponder off in Kandam with impunity unmolested, although I had a big enough fleet to chase away enemies.  Magec and Mayasura are other systems where player can travel dark with impunity (and shop at black markets for ships and weapons).

Suggestions / Re: Militarized sub system needs a rework.
« on: November 19, 2022, 10:57:38 AM »
Military Subsystems is weird.  I use it mainly either as +1 burn speed or put logistics hullmods on a hauler without the maintenance penalty.  Otherwise, as long as the ship does not need skill buffs from the likes of Crew Training, Civilian-Grade seems more like a buff by not eating into the DP pool of skills that count combat ships.

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