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

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Topics - Megas

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With mining blaster getting redesigned as a HE weapon, Apogee and player's battlestations with only starter weapons are stuck with mining blaster for main gun(s).

Ballistic users have heavy mortar, arbalest, hellbore, and mark IX, which are basic but effective.  Sometimes, more useful than rarer weapons.

Energy users have mining blaster and... that's it, for both medium and heavy mounts!

Suggestions / Make Combat capstone skills tier 3 instead of tier 4
« on: October 25, 2022, 05:37:23 PM »
Officers can get one of the combat capstones at level 4, and the second one at level 5.  The player is the only one that needs to be level 5 to get the first, and level 8 to get the second.  Also, for some ships, the combat capstones are weaker or no better than low-tier combat skills.  Yes, there are exceptions where one or both capstones are game-changing (like Systems Expertise on Doom or Radiant, or Missile Spec. on Gryphon or other big missileship), but they are more the exception than the rule.

With upcoming Invictus having extreme personnel capacity, player being able to haul so many people if he uses Invictus for that purpose seems less far-fetched than it does now in a release without Invictus.  Of course, give the player an option to start a new colony at either size 3 or size 4 if he has the crew for either option.

Suggestions / Change Missile Autoforge
« on: July 11, 2022, 07:13:09 PM »
Instead of a single charge that refills Gryphon's missiles to max capacity, Missile Autoforge starts with two charges that refill standard amount of ammo used by the weapon.  For example, Harpoon rack has three missiles, and Gryphon starts with at least six (because of built-in Expanded Missile Racks).  With the proposed change, using the system once would add three missiles to the rack (or up to maximum), and the system can be used twice.

The net effect is doubling an unskilled Gryphon's missile capacity (or x4 normal capacity), but less than what Gryphon with either or both Tier 5 combat skills with the current method.  With this change, a Gryphon with Systems Expertise or Missile Specialization would have x5 capacity (instead of x6 capacity), and one with both would have x6 capacity (instead of x9 capacity).

Suggestions / Add more escort-only fighters
« on: June 11, 2022, 07:12:51 AM »
That is, fighters who always escort the carrier and cannot roam at all.

All we have is the cheap option, Mining Pods (0 OP), and the premium option, Xyphos (18 OP).  There is no midgrade option (8-10 OP).  Also, of the two options we have, the only option usable by automated ships is Mining Pods.

Escort fighters are nice for warships or battlecarriers who want auxiliary weapons that orbit or hover around the mothership.

The Regroup/Engage toggle is no good for AI ships because if the fighters can roam, AI will always use Engage to seek and destroy enemies, which blocks zero-flux speed boost, which is bad for warships that happen to have bay or two as a bonus like Odyssey, or anyone with Converted Hangar.  Carrier with escort-only fighters will briefly turn on Engage but then quickly toggle it back to Regroup, which will let the ship have zero-flux bonus at least some of the time.

General Discussion / About Shield Shunt... and more armor and guns.
« on: June 05, 2022, 09:28:54 AM »
Lately, I have been trying this plus armor bonuses on midline and high-tech ships.  Ships with less armor and more inefficient weapons.

What is fun about it is AI does not need to worry about shields, and flux neutrality is only a minor consideration (because they cannot overload when they have no shield).  The ship can more easily support more guns longer, and there is not much downside for reaching max flux.  Player is not so pressured to get maximum vents to make it easier for autofire or the AI to control its flux.

For example.  I put the hullmods Shield Shunt, Heavy Armor, Resistant Flux Conduits, and Armored Turret Mounts (and ITU) on Fury, mount two Heavy Blasters, Proximity Charge Launcher, one Ion Cannon, and every other mount filled with burst PD.  Remaining OP goes into vents, if any.  The Fury charges ahead, unloads blasters on a destroyer or Falcon, and kills them.  If I used a more conventional loadout with shields, and tried to one-on-one with Falcon, Fury would probably die because it would eventually cower and let the Falcon outrange and kill it.  Without shields, Fury did not run away and unloads double blasters on the Falcon and kills it.

With Aurora, I could get away with three heavy blasters and multiple Ion Cannons.  With my fleet commander with a bunch of elite skills on autopilot, it could (barely) beat three SIM Dominators.  Not as effective as Dominator or as cheaply as Rampart with alpha core, but at least it did the job.

I tried Paragon without shields, and I configure for all-out offense on the large and medium energy mounts.  Four plasma cannons and four heavy blasters (or two heavy blasters and two phase lances with Adv.Optics).  Universals are dual flak and smalls are burst pd.  (Got to have some PD when ship has no shields.)  Despite no fortress shield (because it has no shield), it is fun watching paragon pillbox and unload disgusting amounts of long-range gunfire without worrying about fortress shield getting in the way.  With traditional Paragon with shields, I would not dare four plasma cannons unless I had elite Energy Mastery, Flux Regulations, Ordnance Expert, and every other dissipation buff available.  With shield forsaken for extra armor and guns, four plasma plus blasters was feasible, and if somehow sustained long enough to max flux, no big deal, it felt like using a much stronger autopulse that ran out of charges.

Odyssey is another fun one, with plasma cannons or tachyon lances, IPDAI IR pulse lasers, lots of missiles, and Xyphos or Mining Pods.  AI charges in like a maniac and slugs it out like a battleship.

Shield Shunt does not help every ship - those that cannot get sufficient PD or enough additional firepower.  I tried it with Shrike, but I could not put significantly more firepower or PD on it, and the result was one dead ship.  Tried it on Falcon and Eagle.  They took some more hits and I could use three phase lances on Eagle without problems using them, but it was not enough.  They died in fights that other ships (Dominator, Aurora, Rampart) could win.

Wolf was kind of interesting.  AI Wolf could duel one-on-one against other frigates more easily.  It still died, but at least it did more damage because it kept trying to dodge while maintaining attack range and attack more instead of running away or overload and die anyway because the other frigate popped it with ballistics.

So far, I have only played around with unlikely Shield Shunt ships in the sim.  I do not know if it works well enough against human bounties, let alone Ordos.

Shield Shunt seems like an alternative Safety Override.  A way to add more guns and see how much damage it can do before it dies.

I kind of wish Shield Shunt did more than add 15% armor.  If no more combat buffs, at least something to mitigate death like Rugged Construction or various Industry skills do, even if only to a lesser extent.

General Discussion / Fighting against my own faction
« on: May 05, 2022, 12:12:52 PM »
Doing so by taking a difficult bounty in a bar encounter at my main colony, trying to find any military contact at my own colony (so I do not need to travel to core worlds to get contact bounties).

Ended up fighting Onslaught XIV, two Legion XIV, Paragon (with four lances), and various mix of ships like one Shrike-P and several phase frigates.

Things I should take note:
* Do not prioritize ships that are annoying to fight against.  (I am thinking about lowering phase doctrine to 1 because of this.)
* Maybe do not prioritize weapons that are not used by your battlestations.

I prioritized very few weapons (tachyon lance, railgun, and both burst pds), and the Paragon had four tachyon lances.

I try to prioritize ships by what I can recover from those that die from invaders, and weapons by what my battlestation uses.  But, I guess after I no longer need freebies, I ought to prioritize what would nerf my fleets in case they are used against my fleet, like doing military bounties for my own faction.

Fighting a deserter bounty that came from my own faction felt weird.  It was like fighting a final boss faction that combines all of the best stuff from every other enemy in the game.

Even though my faction doctrine was 1-3-3 (3 in quality and more ships), the enemy fleet had level 7 commander and (I think) ten level 6 officers.  Every ship in the enemy fleet was pristine.

Suggestions / Buff Shield Shunt
« on: April 29, 2022, 07:45:04 AM »
+15% armor alone is not enough unless player totally min-maxes armor in both hullmods (Heavy Armor and others) and skills (Impact Mitigation and Polarized Armor) and gets EMP resistance elsewhere (Resistant Flux Conduits and Polarized Armor).

Maybe give some of the bonuses of Rugged Construction, like a chance to avoid d-mods.  Also, maybe more EMP resistance... and/or more hull.

If all of the best missions or deals require high level contacts, then it seems like a good idea to discard those potentials with lesser importance immediately, including plot characters that become potential contact.

Exactly as the title says.  Quite convenient when keeping DP count low for whatever reason while the d-mods disappear from new ships.

I tried to take on double named bounties in the same system and discovered both will not attack my fleet at the same time (even though Ziggurat plus minor combat ship to level up an officer was capable of flattening both in two rounds in a single encounter due to PPT running out in round one).  Seeing that, I rushed to a red system and dove into an Ordos clump, and only one of the fleets out of several attacked my Ziggurat.  The rest were well capable of joining in but refused to do so.

All this time, I dodged Ordos clumps because I know two Ordos is probably too hard for lone Ziggurat (one is hard enough if Radiants get vicious weapon loadouts that easily punish minor mistakes from long range like quintuple tachyon lances), but if only one fleet attacks, then that makes farming with lone Ziggurat easier.

With that in mind, Hull Restoration is a liability for Ordos farming because I cannot recover most ships without inviting a double Ordos fight Ziggurat cannot win against if I want to stay a while and farm more soon, and Crew Training gives more max CR than Hull Restoration without Best of the Best.

General Discussion / Neural Link... again.
« on: March 26, 2022, 07:22:00 PM »
Aside from piloting Radiant, is Neural Link strong enough to be useful?

Lately, I have been trying it and linking with human ships for tag-team duo (like say, two Onslaughts).  The biggest problem is the neural hullmod tax.  I have no problem spending all OP on a ship without the Neural Interface hullmod tax.  Thus, despite adding what is effectively an alpha core to a clone, both ships feel mildly gimped because I need Neural Interface on two ships.

Neural Reset feels irrelevant much of the time.  Some ships do not have a system that can exploit it, or the system is minor enough that it does not matter much.

Instant Switching is sometimes a liability (not because of Instant Switching per se, but simply letting AI take control of your ship).  After I switch ships, the AI sees all the missiles I saved on my flagship and launches them freely.  I do not want to switch unless I need to force a vent or limited movement on my clone to fix dumb behavior.

If I answered the question, I would say Neural Link is not as useful to me as another skill mainly because I desperately want the OP that would be spent on a neural hullmod on at least two ships elsewhere.

If you could buff Neural Link, what would you do?  One thing I may like to see is to reduce the DP cost of the flagship (and maybe the current linked ship too) to sort of offset the OP lost to Neural Link hullmods.  Now there could be more fun things like linking with multiple ships and T toggles through all of them, but that would probably be too strong if every linked ship had the player's personal (elite) skills.

Few times, I noticed Harpoon Pods (all four of them on an Onslaught) were automatically fired at a shielded fighter that overloads like a normal ship.  Harpoons are too few and valuable to be used against fighters.

Some ships benefit so much from specific skills that it feels like I ought to respec often if I want to change flagships, but I do not like the idea of throwing story points away just because I want to change flagships frequently.  I like Ziggurat, but its weaknesses irritate me from time to time, and sometimes, I want to pilot something more ordinary like an Onslaught.

Lately, I have been reconsidering swapping my planned Combat skills from Field Modulation and System Expertise to Point Defense and Ballistic Mastery.  Why?  If I end up picking Onslaught as my primary flagship (because hangar queen Ziggurat eats too much CR and DP), then the range boosts from Ballistic Mastery and elite PD turn Heavy Machine Guns from mostly PD to a medium range assault weapon with high DPS and great efficiency, plus mass HMGs can and will shoot down missiles.  HMGs with all the range boosts feels like a poor-man's Storm Needler, but much more practical.  Onslaught becomes a blender, with TPCs and Gauss for long-range kills while Devastators and HMGs chew up everything else closer.

That is not all.  With Medusa or various midline ships ranging from Centurion to Eagle, I can have long-range burst PD as anti-armor to compliment otherwise all-kinetic loadouts plus double as reliable PD; or I can add elite PD and IPDAI and have some high-tech ships like Wolf or Aurora with IR Pulse Laser spam that has better range and efficiency than 600 range medium weapons.  Even with Sunder, elite PD + IPDAI is a cheaper alternative to Ballistic Rangefinder to boost Railgun range close to Tachyon Lance (or HIL) range.  Speaking of Railguns, Medusa with ePD+IPDAI Railguns and AO+ePD burst lasers have surprisingly long range that the AI can use very well.  While I build up flux with more traditional loadouts, Medusa with Railguns and burst lasers is very cool and defeats enemies that flux themselves out trying to kill Medusa.

But if I am not using one of several ships that benefit highly from Combat range extenders (that let ships replace normal kinetics with extremely efficient and damaging HMGs and/or make burst PDs long-range hitscan weapons), I am stuck with skills (Point Defense and Ballistic Mastery) I cannot use well, and I want to swap back to other combat skills that are more generally useful.

If skill system encourages different selections that vary by flagship, and the player wants to change flagships often, then it should be cheaper to respec.  Also, it hurts not being able to respec officers at all.  Now, I am tempted to try to squeeze elite PD on most of them (or more precisely, firing most of my officers and hire new ones) because long range HMGs are so good, and long-range burst lasers are fun.  Also will not say no to IR Pulse Lasers with more range than any medium hard-flux energy weapon, and longer-ranged railguns for ships with hybrid or universal mounts like Centurion and Medusa (that Ballistic Rangefinder does not work on).

Suggestions / Raise DP pool for Field Repairs
« on: February 17, 2022, 05:21:38 AM »
The other 240 DP skills include only military ships, but Field Repairs include everything.  There should be some allowance for stat stick civilian ships that support the 240 DP fighting force.  Maybe add 25% of map size, for 300 if map size is 240.

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