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

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Messages - Hiruma Kai

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Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.96a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: June 01, 2023, 06:10:16 PM »
Medusa is fast and strongly benefits from player piloting, but it just doesn't hit hard enough to justify player piloting. You'll impact the fight much more with one of faster cruisers or capitals.

It's also rare. so you'll very likely find a Falcon(P) to pilot long before a Medusa. Since Medusa is 9 speed you have strong drawbacks from including one into early mostly frigate fleet, unlike Falcon(P).

I'll note Medusa seem a lot more common to me now, given they've been added to the Independents roster, in addition to Tri-tach's.  I think I've run across my first Medusa for sale fairly early on in a number of runs.  Just doing a check with 3 quickly started game and Stellar Networks, there's typically 4-7 Medusa for sale somewhere at the beginning of the game.  Falcon (P) seems to number between 8 and 12.  I'd say it's only about half as common as the Falcon (P).  So something like 1/3 chance you'll find a Medusa before a Falcon (P).

It is an example of an elite ship for it's size where it hits more like a cruiser than a frigate. I didn't pick an elite destroyer because there aren't any really, Harbinger used to kinda be one but it got nerfed and medusa is not quite there. A elite destroyer would probably need to hit like a battlecruiser to be a destroyer version of a Hyperion.

It would also need to be costed like a battlecruiser, given a Hyperion is costed like a Falcon or Venture.

Although, Medusa literally hits about as hard as a Hyperion, so cruiser tier by that metric, given it havs identical maximum flux stat lines, and similar 2 medium energy plus one medium universal vs 2 small universal and 3 forward small energies.  System Expertise NPC officers can make it move pretty well.

I do think the Extended Shields s-mod helps them a fair bit, along with the extra 5 OP.  360 shield Medusa are possible now, but perhaps not optimal due to phase skimmer dropping shields.  In AI hands, they seem to stand up to 0.96 late game Ordos better than most frigates (although perhaps not Hyperions).  I've been trying to make use of some aggressive SO Glimmers but they just drop really fast.  Scarabs which used to do OK end game seem to also pop rather quickly for me.  All those Brilliants switching to Plasma Burn (and losing the fighter wings), and the introduction of Novas, means Ordo hunting is harder for frigates, while making it easier for missile ships (since there are fewer PD fighters, no smart flares, and Novas are glass cannons).

General Discussion / Re: About Commerce industry
« on: May 31, 2023, 05:11:25 PM »
If you're avoiding Pather interest, and have your largest world with a High Command then your Hostile Activity tracker is going to sit at zero and there will be no bounties.  I haven't seen a bounty yet from it, but I assume it would be on the scale of other system wide bounties, except without the faction reputation benefit.

So if you are in a situation where Commerce wasn't worth it last release, it won't be worth it this release.

General Discussion / Re: Beam fleet loadout
« on: May 31, 2023, 06:30:17 AM »
Shouldn't forget the Executor just because it's new. 2x High Intensity Laser + Gravitons + Squalls + HVDs in the front mounts should be plenty strong and beamspammy.
Ehh but it only has 500 flux dissipation and maxing vents only brings it up to 1000. Better to bring two champions.

With skills it is not so bad:
500 base
500 vents
50 + 50 Flux regulation
200 OP on weapons -> 400 with Ordinance Expertise
150 Flux Distributor
Total 1650 flux dissipation/second
2x HIL + 4 Graviton + 3 HVD = 1625 flux/second
So you are slightly overfluxed by shields (200/second).  Technically Elite Energy Weapon Mastery and Stabilized Shields gets you to flux neutral.  Finish off with say 2 Squalls, 3 Flak, 2 Burst PD, 2 LR PD Laser, so 199 weapon OP.

Spend 20 on Flux Distributor, 55 Vents, 15 OP on Stabilized Shields, 10 on Advanced Turret Gyros, 25 on Advance Optics, 25 on ITU, Expanded Missile Racks s-modded, ECCM s-modded (immunity to ECM range reduction/buff Squalls), 1 capacitor.  If Best of the Best, s-mod Hardened shields.  Seems like a reasonable long range (1800 on the beams) fire support battleship.

You're down 1 HVD compared to a pair of Champions, but up 4 Graviton beams and have better point defense.  200 more range with ITU, but slower speed at 50.

General Discussion / Re: About Commerce industry
« on: May 30, 2023, 06:17:26 AM »
Keeping in mind I typically spend 2 story points on the spaceport for +20% access, if you have a Dealmaker Holosuite, I'd say it is definitely worth it, and probably throw the 4 story points on the Commerce as well, for a +100% credit buff without Alpha Core.  I'll note in the attached pictures, all worlds have a High Command, except the 1st one (New Sahara).  New Amazon has an no story point Commerce building and 2 industries, while New Arctic has 3 Industries.  This is with freeport on, at a distance of 18 light years to Askonia, and I made a deal with the Pathers.

If I had another dealmaker and spent 4 more story points, New Amazon would be at around 180k profit (thats 2 industries and a the upgraded Commerce).  Note, if I was using human administrators and the character as admins, stability on New Sahara would be 8, but all the others would be 10.  Since largest, most stable world is used, for pirate activity it counts as 10, and is easily handled by the -18 bonus.  Dealmaker + Mine is only Pather interest of 5.

So even without cores and only a dealmaker, a size 6 world is likely bringing in 250,000-300,000 at stability 8 (again, 6 story points spent, 2 on port, and 4 on commerce, removed the 5th industry).  A 2 industry + Military + Commerce would bring in 150,000-180,000 at stability 10.

Seed is MN-4326242480375400216, Aether system.

General Discussion / Re: Neural Link is S-tier
« on: May 29, 2023, 11:11:57 AM »
Glad to hear you are having fun with the skill.  It sounds like a very frenetic way to play the game. :)

Neural Linked Afflictor-Shade tag teams are insane. Why?

- 700 base flux dissipation, x2 if you run Phase Anchor - almost a Radiant of damage potential!

Given a Radiant can run 2 large missile racks and 4 medium missile racks along with its flux dissipation to run flux consuming weapons such as Plasma Cannons, I don't think comparing raw flux dissipation is going provide a full picture of damage potential.  Don't get me wrong, +50% damage on top of 4 AMB is a lot of damage, but the biggest multiplier of an Afflictor's damage output comes from the ability to bypass shields.  Which for me would mean Adaptive Phase Coils instead of Phase Anchor for more speed at moderate hard flux.

I'm also curious about the actual loadout.  Neural Link + Phase Anchor is 13 OP of hullmods you can't s-mod.  I can't seem to get a reasonable Afflictor build with 4 AMB and those hullmods.  Are you only running 3 AMB on the Afflictor?  I always thought the Afflictor was about burst damage, not DPS, since if you need to make 2 passes instead of 1, it is going to take twice as long given the nature of phase space, hard flux buildup, and slowing down.

I guess I'd want to know how much worse it really is with just an officered Shade ordered to escort your Afflictor instead of Neural link jumping between.  The other thing that strikes me as hard to deal with, if you de-phase, the other ship is potentially going to recharge it's AMB in about 1.7 seconds of subjective time (10 seconds/6=1.7) if it is running Phase Anchor, and then take some pot shots.  It really does sound like you're jumping between each ship every 5 seconds or even more often.

- Neural Link cooldown resets get you 100% uptime on Entropy Amplifier/EMP when needed.
I feel like when I was piloting an Afflictor, the Entropy Amplifier cooldown didn't feel like it was limiting my DPS that much, although I admittedly had System Expertise and Adaptive Phase Coils.  If you're using Phase Anchor, I can see this being useful, but on the other hand, I assume you are cutting into your overall damage potential by 25% by dropping an AMB.

The amount of map control two phase flagships exert is amazing. No gap goes unexploited.

Do you really find that it is much more than a single Afflictor, or an Afflictor with AI Shades/Afflictors along for the ride as Escorts or generally ordered?  I'm kind of finding it a bit hard to judge.  A single Afflictor flagship already exerts a lot of map control.

I haven't experimented enough with the endgame, but there's fascinating options (Harbinger tag teams! Doom & friend! Infinite* AAF Atlas or Eradicator cheese!) I haven't seen tested.

I find in the case of charged systems, the reset isn't nearly as valuable as on a long cooldown, non-charged system.  For short cooldown systems, you're not getting all that much more uptime.  So you'll get a lot more benefit to the Harbinger tag team than AAF ships, which already have 50% up time, or a Doom.  Systems Expertise is already a much larger multiplier on a Doom than Neural Link would be. 

And on the capital variants, like Atlas Mk II, it eats up 25 out 220 OP, more than 10% of it's fitting OP.  Plus an Atlas MK II really wants Missile Specialization for its two large missile slots, which Neural Link prevents the bonus missiles on one of them.  Same goes for something like an Astral (2 large missile), Legion (5 medium missile), Legion XIV (2 Large missile), Conquest (2 large + 2 medium missile), Executor (2 large missile), Pegasus (4 Large Missile), Invictus (2 Large missile), and Odyssey (1 Large + 3 medium missiles). Even Onslaughts will kind of be sad with their 4 medium missile racks.

Now that I think about it, the only capitals that wouldn't care significantly about the lack of +50% more missiles are the Paragon and Retribution.

I almost went to try out Neural Linked Nova, to see how good it can be in player's hands. Then I remembered, oh right, capital costed Neural hullmod, screw that.

On the Nova, you are trying to work with an a hullmod that is specifically designed to nerf the Radiant in player hands, and the Nova is no Radiant.

50 OP out of 280 OP on a 40 DP ship hurts even more than the 50 OP out of 320 OP on a 60 DP ship.

Neural link certainly enables a different playstyle, but I'm not convinced said play style is actually as strong as other capstones.

There are a lot of opportunity costs associated with the Neural link skill:
1) It uses a capstone skill slot.
2) It prevents combat endurance and/or missile specialization on one of the two ships (which makes it a poor choice for missile ships, and generally is a relative -5% damage, +5% damage taken, -5% speed compared to other ships).
3) It costs OP, and a significant amount on a capital (25).
4) It costs a huge amount of OP (50, 15.6% of a Radiant's budget, 17.8% of a Nova's budget) if you want to combo with Automated ships.  It would be like if Derelict Operations + Support Doctrine capital ships had to pay an extra 25 OP to use both skills.

So having paid that price, what do you get?
An extra officer (with said skill omissions) or alternatively viewed as an extra officer and an extra pseudo officer when you transfer out.  And on small ships, or far away ships, a significantly faster swap time.  However on a pair of close capitals, you are saving about 1-2 sec in transfer time.  And potentially a combo with Automated ships which let you fly ships you wouldn't be able to do otherwise, but at a significantly reduced capability.

Consider this potential comparison.  Onslaught + support Pegasus escorting it, with Neural Link in one case, and the +2 officer skill Leadership as the alternative skill pick.

Neural Link Case:
5 second swap time at escort distance or far away
85% CR and no extra missiles on one ship
-25 OP for each ship
FMR and Burn Drive extra Resets
Full player skills to both ships other than Combat Endurance and Missile Specialization

Officer Management Case:
Start the battle with the extra two officers in the Onslaught and Pegasus. 
Use X to transfer into one of them after battle start.
6 second swap at escort distance, about 25 seconds half a map away - however you can enforce escort distance by commands
Don't need to take Missile Specialization or Combat Endurance on the main character, still get 100% CR and extra missile for both ships.
Only benefit from player skills when fully in one ship, other ship gets base officer skills.

In the case where I'm doing close coordination between the two ships, i.e. escort distance, both ships are significantly stronger in the Officer Management case than in the Neural Link case, unless I'm running a very heavy combat skill build.

I realize the combat endurance and missile specialization issues are quirks of the system, and not ideal interactions, but the fact of the matter is they are there.  It seems not great from a design perspective that I can get better tag team performance in some, admittedly corner, cases explicitly without the Neural link skill than I can get with it.

The case described here, multiple phase ships, is probably a best case use of neural link, with utility falling off strongly in the capital cases, unless the capital has a long cooldown non-charged system - like say the Astral.

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. :)

Hound does not have enough fuel capacity to make a round trip to the edge of the sector if necessary, but I don't know if it would come into play in a small sector.

Depends on your first skill point.  Given we are assuming a speed run of the campaign, you can get tranverse jump from the story line itself very quickly, so Navigation doesn't need to be your first pick.

To demonstrate: Fresh start, Wolf + Kite.  Place 1 point in Bulk Transport.  Fly to Jangala, buy hound, sell everything else, slap on Auxiliary Fuel Tanks, Expanded Cargo Hold, Unstable Injector, Safety Overrides.  Buy up to 90 fuel and and 157 supplies.  Fuel range map attached.  Storm riding in a straight line to the corner and back from Corvus is no problem, and even easier if you start from a closer edge inhabited system.

If I'm being too literal for a moment and not to be taken seriously, the best build for the majority of the storyline of the game is no skills, a lone militarized Dram with Unstable Injector, SO, More Fuel Space, and built in Expanded Cargo and Insulated Engines.
If I ever bother optimising the any per cent speedrun and it turns out you can coast by just with story points you get from doing the missions, this might turn out actually true.

I personally think Hound > Dram for campaign, since all you need to do is enough Academy missions to progress, which I think are always just go to X location and then possibly go to Y location, with no combat necessary.  That means just enough fuel to get to the target system and back. I've done it with 0 story points spent on iron man. If you run a hound with Auxilliary Fuel Tanks, Augmented Drive Field, SO and Unstable Injector, and put your 1 skill point into Bulk Transport, you have 45 light years out and 45 light years back, and your base 255 speed means you simply pick disengage option and then leave for nearly all hostile encounters, so no need to waste story points.  Dram's base speed is 60 slower and will be forced to actually play out the retreat or spend the story point since it actually can be caught by Pather SO Hounds.

Suggestions / Re: Combat Skill Elite Effects
« on: May 22, 2023, 10:29:21 AM »
Ordnance Expertise: Not quite bottom of the barrel for elite effects, but close. May be higher priority if I'm specifically raising an officer to be installed in a frigate, though. (Or phase ship, I suppose, but I probably wouldn't be giving them ordnance expertise at all for a phase ship.)

On many capital ships, it's roughly the equivalent of base level Field Modulation.  Take Onslaught with base 17,000 flux capacity.  Slap 200 DP of weapons on (along with 50 vents, 30 caps and say 80 OP worth of hullmods).  27,000 flux capacity / 23,000 flux capacity (those 30 caps apply to both) = 1.17.

1/0.85 = 1.17.  Now taking less damage is better for shields, but more flux capacity is better for firing guns.  Of course, gets better the less capacitors you took and the more guns you put on.

That's not the point of my argument, the point is that the low amount of skillpoints forces you to either have many fun builds but being a weak pilot, or be a great pilot with boring builds. 

To me that looks like variety catering to different playstyles.  For me, a great pilot is a fun build, and I'm not sure what it means the rest of my ships have a "boring" build?  I mean, I can take 7 combat skills and still have a bunch of automated alpha core ships.  Or I can have 10 level 6 human officers with 3 s-mod ships.  Or I suppose even 3 s-mod alpha core ships. I can take 7 combat skills and have a Derelict Operations + Support Doctrine Fleet spamming missiles and fighters.  I can have pristine ships I don't care if they get blown up once in a while with 100% CR with BotB + Hull Restoration. 

Can you give a description of two fun fleets and two boring fleets, and how they differ qualitatively (not raw numbers but what they look and feel like to play)?  So like the rough list of ships in the fleet and skill selection highlights?  That might help clarify what we're talking about and what is possible within the current skill limits and what is needed to reach your desired capability.

I completely disagree with this statement. In my experience money is never an issue in Starsector, and you can always carry more supplies/fuel/crew, always free to add extra ships to carry goods or have a stacking survey discount, and colonize as may worlds as you desire.

What in game year do you usually take on end game battles, out of curiosity?  I mean, if you take it slow and do a high ratio of trade/money making activities to actual combat, I agree that can be quite true.  But colonizing as many worlds as you desire takes decades in game, not to mention Ordo farming for the alpha cores.

It is quite possible to speed run the game via mostly combat (or even only combat if you want).  From a Wolf starts, do some quick bounties, salvage some terrible ships, while working towards level 5.  Objective is to get a Falcon (P) either by purchase or salvage, point defense skill and missile specialization skill.  Beat Zigg with the Falcon, and then respec (either Hull restoration or keep pushing on combat with Phase Coil Tuning + Elite Field Modulation, although if you're level 8 you probably don't need to respec) and move into salvaging capitals.  Without a passive income base, you'll hopefully have high credit bounties available to feed your combat habit.  But at that point, credits and efficiency do matter, and if you mess up, you are forced to slow down and put the combat fleet away to do recover some credits.

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.96a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: May 20, 2023, 04:46:24 PM »
So doing a quick fresh run through the campaign in the latest release checking for bugs, and ran into a similar issue to:

Tri-Tachyon scan fleet will not block you from using [thing] in "At The Gates" mission finale stage

But instead of having run into the Tri-tach fleet in the Magec system earlier and just skipping it, I ran into the pirate fleet that pulses their drive, and skipped it and scanned 6 other gates.  Now at the final stage of the story, I'm directed to take the gate, but cannot, getting the pulsing drive bubble description.  And the prior pirate fleet from earlier in the storyline is not visible anywhere near.

Is this intended behavior, or was that supposed to have a similar fix like the Tri-tach fleet?

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.96a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: May 19, 2023, 01:21:56 PM »
Finally checked out the old space wizard and his companions at Asharu.  What a blatant Star Wars shout out, especially with the commander acting like a bit like Han Solo (when selecting the obvious choices).  And the (!) quest patrol near Volturn was totally expected.  Easily avoided him off with T-Jump (after luring the fleet away from the water world).

I feel like it's best to do that quest in a d-modded Hound fit with two small guns, Augmented Drive Field, Safety Overrides, and Unstable Injector, so you can lay claim to the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.  Also bonus points from a spacer start, so you've got a mysterious debt (to a potential crime boss to be revealed in StarSector 3.0). :)

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.96a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: May 19, 2023, 11:54:32 AM »
I'm honestly shocked how many people run Best of the best. So many comments, screenshots and video tend to have ships with 3 s-mods. Ever since the skill rework, I didn't touch Leadership much up until this run now, where I wanted to try out BotB and see how it goes. Guess it's even better now with the bonuses, but man do I miss having a bunch of combat skills.

I am now vaguely curious as to what your typical skill spread looks like since Leadership 5 still leaves the possibility for up to 10 combat skills, or up to 8 if you want combat skills from Technology and Industry.  Those numbers only sound low in comparison to the maximum of 13 combat skills (which I personally do when soloing with my flagship).  I'll note even just Coordinated Maneuvers and Crew Training are solid bonuses to nearly any flagship (okay not so much Coordinated Maneuvers and an Onslaught, but still).

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.96a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: May 13, 2023, 07:46:50 PM »
I think the biggest problem with Fast Missile Racks is it is 2.5 to 4 times stronger than AAF, and 5 to 8 times stronger than HEF, and 5 to 8 times stronger than Targeting Feed.  And with Systems Expertise, Fast Missile Racks can recover back to peak capability in ~27 seconds.

Fire, use charge and 1 second cooldown, Fire, use 2nd charge and 1 second cooldown, Fire, use 3rd charge and 1 second cooldown, Fire, use 4th charge and 1 second cooldown, Fire.

That's 5 salvos in 4 seconds.  If you're using 15 second refire time missiles, like say Hurricanes, you just dropped 5 salvos in 4 seconds, and 7 salvos in 15 seconds (recharge 2 more charges), compared to the usual 1 salvo in 4 seconds, or 2 salvos in 15 seconds.

So in terms of a 15 second window, you've done +250% damage (7/2 = 3.5).  In a 4 second window you've done +400% (5/1 =5).

In a 5 second window, AAF increases DPS by +100%.  In a 3-9 second window, HEF increases DPS and hit strength by +50%.

Given the objective is to get missiles on target, there's no real cost to using Fast Missile Racks under human control since you can predict how many missiles you'll actually need. What keeps Fast Missile Racks in check is its typically the secondary weapon system, not the primary. 

+400% effective burst damage strikes me as really hard to balance.  Even +250% over 15 seconds seems kind of hard to balance.  Either a missile battleship has enough missiles to kill several enemy battleships over the course of a battle, and Fast missile racks lets you dump them in bursts of +400%, or it doesn't at which point Fast Missile Racks is applying to the secondary weapons loadout and you run out after the first one or two.

I know it's boring, but if you changed to a system like Charged Missiles or something, that dealt an additional +50% damage (maybe deal half the missile's damage as a separate energy damage instance just to be different - except frag would also be frag) for the next set of missiles launched, it'd be much easier to balance, since it'd be in line with the other damage systems damage buffs.

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