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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

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Author Topic: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?  (Read 10078 times)

Weltall

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2015, 04:12:11 PM »

That's the sort of thing that makes me "feel like a hero", as it were.

Adding bonus OP on easy, perhaps instead of the current 50% damage reduction to flagship, though... that has some merit.

Players vary from "I wanna play using a trainer, making the game absolutely and utterly pointless!" to "If the game is not 10 times as hard as Dwarf Fortress, it is not worth bragging about for beating." (Apologies to anyone that does not know if Dwarf Fortress).

To each his own for sure. Some people feel like a hero when they play a game and by holding down W and see things down, they feel like Rambo and others want to skydive and the only way to open their parachute is to pass while falling a thread through the eye of a needle.

I am sure if difficulty options would appear, it would have many buffs changed, but like I said I am not sure how much such a thing would fit the game.
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2015, 04:24:05 PM »

Personally, I've always found it to be kinda cheatery that I can put together ship variants that the AI can't; part of my reasoning for this suggestion is to make it easier for Alex to close that gap without needing to resort to completely randomized variants.
WHY don't you want random variants? They prevent cheezing from building against the know variants and can turn a usually borning fight into an interesting one!
Enemy AI have huge advantage in deployment points unless you haul 5+ heavy cruisers in fleet roster just so you get bigger fleet and deployment point advantage yourself. This is enemy advantage - player forced to play in 1 overpowered ship and chain deploy them vs enemy or herding "smart" AI officers who cant kill anyone without help 99% of the time as they cant fight against superior numbers at all.
Let's not forget that the AI E burns ALL the time and the resource hits from it are literally nothing to it, including ship loss(es)! And adding in the XIV like variants is just gonna give the AI even MORE power over the player!
How about instead of trying to rebalance something that isn't even fully complete yet (IE industry and outposts) why don't we just WAIT until Alex decides to do the revamp. The last thing I want is ANOTHER CR ****storm...
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xenoargh

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2015, 04:45:40 PM »

I don't care for the XIV route very much; that takes us down the road to pigeon-holed best ships in a class, whereas I'd much rather see Variants where they have some significant buff / nerf that makes them a little more situational.  

I just plain don't like the (D) / Civilian Hull concept, because it just clutters up bases with ships I don't ever want to buy.  

For example, I'd rather see a Mudskipper variant that was optimized for light combat duties at a cost in carrying capacity vs. the stealth-hold model built for speed and defense tank-and-dodge, where I'd feel like I had genuine choices based on play-style, rather than a bunch of ships I just ignore the existence of entirely.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd like to see ships that were more genuinely balanced for their in-universe roles; it irks me that the game's cluttered with a lot of designs that are so obviously un-optimal that they don't make sense in the ultra-violent Star Sector universe at all.  

To put it into perspective; the equivalent of a Taurus in good ol' Car Wars would have been a semi; a semi in that game was a genuinely dangerous adversary if you didn't kite it to death and that made "kill the convoy" (the rough equivalent of Pursue) an interesting challenge, rather than a fairly dull waiting game where the combat outcome is always the same because the contest is such a foregone conclusion.

There are lots of ways to spice things up; for example, why don't freighters carry mine-droppers so that pursuit is much more complicated?  What about Q-ships, or one-use aircraft launchers (did that one in Vacuum and it was fun)?

Too many ships in SS feel like they're just there to be extras, rather than potential stars.  While they can't all be "equal", they can all be "interesting", in the sense that they have a potential use and aren't just paper targets on the battlefield.  

OPs are a big part of that problem, along with some base stat issues; a lot of ships are so gimped on OPs that they cannot make up for their deficiency in armament slots by being fast, maneuverable or able to tank damage.  

If the objective is to merely nerf the Pirates and low-level fleets so that early-game is a piece of cake... the right answer is to simply not use all of those OPs up, rather than make the core designs a poor choice under any circumstance.
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Weltall

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2015, 04:53:05 PM »

I just plain don't like the (D) / Civilian Hull concept, because it just clutters up bases with ships I don't ever want to buy.  

Like you see it as cluttering of choices, I see it as a realism and immersion factor. In a game indeed it is pointless to have ships that you will never use. In many games actually people are like "I usually skip these and go for the better one!". But from a realism factor, it shows how anything that you see flying around, can be bought, used and sold. It is nice to feel that you are really into the world, at times finding crappy ships that only a cheap suicidal person would buy, sold for half a penny.
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Gothars

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2015, 04:53:40 PM »

Mh, but why? The problems you mentioned (mandatory OP skills) would go away by just reducing the cost efficiency of the related skills.
Because we've done that once (+OP from 50% to 30%), and it's already closed off some interesting build options and made certain hull mods much less useful / relevant.  I don't want to see that happen again.

Mh? With a max level char I have more OP then I need to specalize a ship for any role, I dont really see any (tactical) options closed. If certain hullmods get irrelevant with reduced OP that seems more a problem of hullmod balance.

I'd like more special ship variants, but not as the exlusive source of higher OP.
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Schwartz

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2015, 04:57:04 PM »

I just plain don't like the (D) / Civilian Hull concept, because it just clutters up bases with ships I don't ever want to buy.

I feel the same way. Even if the disadvantage isn't big, reading 'Civilian-Grade Hull' feels like a big, red 'Do Not Buy' sticker to me. I'd rather see Pirate variants instead of (D) variants. Jury-rigged ships that replace rare and expensive Energy mounts with ubiquitous Small Ballistics, that forgo more high-tech systems in favour of more burn drives and that come with some other tradeoffs - but no straight downgrades such as those (D) ship systems.

Instead of making them plain bad, make them unique. Give them little swarming missiles with homecooked homing systems strapped to fireworks, essentially. Give them those new low-tech torpedoes and some other signature weapons. They can and should end up being easier to fight than faction enemies, but make the player think "Oh, I'm fighting pirates", not "Oh, I'm fighting (D) variants". Make them the 4th tech level, essentially.

Ordnance Points and +OP skills are a ton of fun. Every player loves getting more OP and being able to fit more on their ships, to try new set-ups that previously were unattainable. The skills need to stay simply for how much fun it is to progress in them. So they're mandatory. So what?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 04:58:37 PM by Schwartz »
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Dabor

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2015, 05:32:42 PM »

To the me, the argument seemed more of "Make this amount of increased OP the default" than "Make everyone have too little OP."

On the same note, while plenty of things can be player buffed, raw OP is something where I'd prefer "boost the ship rather than the player." Even if a player has to unlock the bonus OP via a skill, it should manifest on the ship. Safety Overrides or SS+'s Maximized Ordanance provide these sorts of functions, while having radical enough disadvantages that people reconsider. If getting the 30% OP bonus out of your skills meant having to pay extra supplies, reduced peak performance or the like, people would seriously question if it's necessary. Does my carrier really need that extra flux capacity? Does my missile barrage group? Do my reserved-for-pursuit frigates really care about being better at trading shots enough to burn all of their CR on any individual deployment?

I don't mind stuff like "increased maneuverability" or "better target leading." But raw OP bonuses, being able to have a single reaper torpedo tube turn into 2 torpedoes and a small amount of hard flux dissipation or such feel like they need to be tech changes that require you to extensively modify a ship.

As it is, the technology bonuses are treated the same as combat ones - a magical instant buff, rather than just the skill to apply complex modifications (which itself exists both in Technology and Combat).
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ChaseBears

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2015, 05:36:41 PM »

Quote
Because we've done that once (+OP from 50% to 30%), and it's already closed off some interesting build options and made certain hull mods much less useful / relevant.  I don't want to see that happen again.
it actually makes builds way MORE interesting if doing really powerful hullmods involves sacrificing needed flux and weapons.

the supa xtra flux mods are for people who want to minmax and/or just safety valves they are NBD.

It would also end this weird situation where variants aren't really compatible between players or between players and the AI because of OP bonuses.
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Megas

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2015, 06:29:33 PM »

Related question:  How often do you (read: anyone) use Augmented Engines or Unstable Injector?

For me, the answer is always unless the ship has unlimited teleportation (Hyperion) or does not have enough OP to use it (tugs, maybe rig too).  That makes engine hullmods an OP tax.

Most AI ships do not use them.  This makes kiting AI possible.

If most if not everyone uses them (I do not know the answer), then perhaps hullmods that boost top speed should be done away it and the base top speed of ships raised.  This would also reduce kiting even more, since all ships will have more speed instead of the player's fleet only.

Other possible common OP taxes are maximum vents and range hullmods (Dedicated Targeting Core or Integrated Targeting Unit), at least for combat ships.
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Dabor

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2015, 06:46:31 PM »

Related question:  How often do you (read: anyone) use Augmented Engines or Unstable Injector?

For me, the answer is always unless the ship has unlimited teleportation (Hyperion) or does not have enough OP to use it (tugs, maybe rig too).  That makes engine hullmods an OP tax.

I use them a fair bit, but far from always. My flagship will usually have them, but the "mainstay" of my fleet - carriers, missile cruisers and brute force artillery boats - generally don't need them due to already outranging, since they don't have to chase. If the enemy is on the run, then my flagship will mop them up, or I'll hop into my Hyperion and annihilate them in the pursuit battle.

I consider Integrated Targeting Unit way more vital (to the ships that care about it at all), which is why I think SS+ makes it a smaller bonus while giving large ships a natural range bonus. Any "frontline" ship I make will use it, and throw in advanced optics if it uses beams.
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xenoargh

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2015, 06:47:47 PM »

Quote
It is nice to feel that you are really into the world, at times finding crappy ships that only a cheap suicidal person would buy, sold for half a penny.
Except that the costs on those "half penny" ships aren't reasonable vs. what a decent ship costs, amongst other problems.

A Pirate (D) Kite, for example, is worth maybe 100 credits; it's a throwaway hull good for laughs in a fight, where it's only utility is that it might get off some AI-annoying chaff missiles before dying, if you give it a Timid pilot (seriously, try it with a half-dozen of them, it's amusing).

Does it, the rough equivalent to a used '89 Corolla with a blown head gasket, cost 100 credits?  No, it costs almost as much as a perfectly-nice (if still-basically-useless) Kite.  Which makes it useless, rather than a viable throw-away ship.

What I'd really like to see is something analogous to real-world effects of military gear vs. civilian gear, in terms of prices.  In the real world, an old tank (say, a T-54) can be had for very cheap- less than $30,000.  It's still deadly dangerous; it's just not useful on a modern battlefield.  A modern tank with all of the fixin's costs roughly $5-6 million.  Why?  Because relatively-small improvements in weapons and sensor tech, mobility and armor really matter.  A modern cruiser could kill a small fleet of WWII ships fairly easily but costs more than 5 WWII cruisers did to build in real dollar terms; this is just how things work in the real world.  

But a Hyperion doesn't cost a million credits (like it should) and a XIV Onslaught doesn't cost 50% more than a stock Onslaught (which is roughly what the XIV bonuses really mean for a capital ship, in terms of real combat value).

When money actually matters and there are sources of drain, I presume this stuff will get a serious balance pass.

But let's get to the meat here, in regards to the specialization issues.  Alex tried a bunch of experiments with 0.7 and they've been interesting and largely fun.

Anyhow, I totally approve of the Safety Overrides hull mod... except that, frankly, I can't see a single reason not to take it thus far, because the bad parts don't outweigh the good.  If there was a Hull Mod that majorly buffed Venting that was incompatible, perhaps; if there was a Hull Mod that drained Hard Flux that was incompatible, perhaps; but I've put it onto every ship in my fleet, other than a carrier that needed staying power; the increase in survivability and kill-power means that if I take Hardened Subsystems (which is practically a must-buy with current CR degradation rates anyhow) then it's a win-win, other than some increased supply bite at the tail end of the fight.

It's kind of like ITU, where it's a must-have buff for a Cruiser or Capital, because who doesn't want ultra-kiting for half the price of that other Hull Mod?

This kind of illustrates the fundamental problem with the OP / Hull Mod system in general; by being a catch-all system, it's largely become something where a lot of potential buffs are ignored because they simply aren't good enough for what they cost (looking at you, Blast Doors), and others have had to be nerfed to pretty ridiculous extremes (Augmented Engines) because, well, because it was becoming a must-buy (I think it should cause a small constant CR drain rather than the sensor nerf, myself- long-term cost vs. short-term gain, but I digress).

Perhaps the right way to get things sensible is to have far fewer Hull Mods, but make them matter a lot more in terms of buff / nerf, but make them cost enough OPs or have enough mutual incompatibilities that the player has simpler but starker choices.  

Safety Overrides probably shouldn't be compatible with Hardened Subsystems, for example (but SO probably shouldn't have the huge additional CR drain at that point, because basically if you buy one, you practically always buy the other one).  

I'll bet that, with a bit of work, we could get things down to maybe 8 different "paths" that would be sensible; everything from "this gives you a shield tank that's slow" to "this gives you a Hammerhead that can dodge missiles".  Then it's simpler for new players to get into and there is less clutter in that UI.

Or simply nerf the Hull Mods until strapping more dakka / Cap / Vents on becomes the way to success again, lol.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 06:50:26 PM by xenoargh »
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Megas

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2015, 06:54:54 PM »

I consider Integrated Targeting Unit way more vital (to the ships that care about it at all), which is why I think SS+ makes it a smaller bonus while giving large ships a natural range bonus. Any "frontline" ship I make will use it, and throw in advanced optics if it uses beams.
While I think ITU is generally must-have for many ships, there are some ships that do not need it:  Civilians that cannot fight back (they have only enough OP for Augmented Engines and nothing else) and dedicated missile ships (Atropos Mercury, Reaper Afflictor, any Gryphon).
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Weltall

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2015, 07:06:48 PM »

Related question:  How often do you (read: anyone) use Augmented Engines or Unstable Injector?

I use them a bit, but not too much. For me the ones that always go in any ship first are stabilized shields and resistant flux conduits. Speed is not my problem in general. If I go in a large fight and I want to keep the battle around my slow battleships, I make every single ship to follow my main ship, keeping them all back and as soon as I see the enemy reach I remove the follow command and let my ships loose. I use augmented engines though since in a chaotic situation I would hate my engines to be shot and turned off.

Except that the costs on those "half penny" ships aren't reasonable vs. what a decent ship costs, amongst other problems.

I am going more for the looks rather if the pricing is reasonable. I mean they are obviously sold by a used ship place in the station, selling problematic machines. If anything, a solution for the future would be to separate damaged/problematic ships and brand new ones. Of course make the prices work too.

Quote
A Pirate (D) Kite, for example, is worth maybe 100 credits; it's a throwaway hull good for laughs in a fight, where it's only utility is that it might get off some AI-annoying chaff missiles before dying, if you give it a Timid pilot (seriously, try it with a half-dozen of them, it's amusing).

Does it, the rough equivalent to a used '89 Corolla with a blown head gasket, cost 100 credits?  No, it costs almost as much as a perfectly-nice (if still-basically-useless) Kite.  Which makes it useless, rather than a viable throw-away ship.

Sounds like the Kite version of Talon Fighters.

Quote
What I'd really like to see is something analogous to real-world effects of military gear vs. civilian gear, in terms of prices.  In the real world, an old tank (say, a T-54) can be had for very cheap- less than $30,000.  It's still deadly dangerous; it's just not useful on a modern battlefield.  A modern tank with all of the fixin's costs roughly $5-6 million.  Why?  Because relatively-small improvements in weapons and sensor tech, mobility and armor really matter.  A modern cruiser could kill a small fleet of WWII ships fairly easily but costs more than 5 WWII cruisers did to build in real dollar terms; this is just how things work in the real world.  

But a Hyperion doesn't cost a million credits (like it should) and a XIV Onslaught doesn't cost 50% more than a stock Onslaught (which is roughly what the XIV bonuses really mean for a capital ship, in terms of real combat value).

Considering I am one of the people that sees an XIV Onlslaught and I think "Holy moly, this is super cheap!", I agree with you. I just do not know if me thinking that is shared since I have seen posts of people calling it expensive. But indeed I feel Battleships should be worth a lot, although like a lot of games with boarding, that could make capturing ships an overpowered source of income. <- Not that I have a problem with it. XD
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Zaphide

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2015, 09:14:40 PM »

A Pirate (D) Kite, for example, is worth maybe 100 credits;
...
No, it costs almost as much as a perfectly-nice (if still-basically-useless) Kite.  Which makes it useless, rather than a viable throw-away ship.

Yeah it would be great if it was more in-line with throwaway pricing. It would probably make the earlier game progression easier as you could afford to purchase (and sacrifice) ships from the get-go.

Perhaps the right way to get things sensible is to have far fewer Hull Mods, but make them matter a lot more in terms of buff / nerf, but make them cost enough OPs or have enough mutual incompatibilities that the player has simpler but starker choices.  

I think it could probably just be the "make them cost enough OP's" part. There is no real reason that you shouldn't be able to have two ship-role-changing-or-defining hull mods, but if you do, you should pay a hefty OP cost so that you will have to forgo some best-in-slot weaponry or other nice hullmods. After all, it really only is an issue at the moment because there is no choice; just strap on certain hullmods on (almost) everything.
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TaLaR

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Re: Skill Revamp: What to do with bonus Ordnance Points?
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2015, 10:09:16 PM »

Related question:  How often do you (read: anyone) use Augmented Engines or Unstable Injector?

For me, the answer is always unless the ship has unlimited teleportation (Hyperion) or does not have enough OP to use it (tugs, maybe rig too).  That makes engine hullmods an OP tax.

Always, even on Hyperion. In earlier version it's teleport had almost zero cooldown, and mobility mods weren't necessary, but in current version it still has to do quite a lot of conventional movement between teleportation.

On other common mods:

Pretty much same goes for ITU (unless non-combat, pure Carrier or Missile boat) - obligatory on Cruisers and Capitals, good on almost every Destroyer, too cheap to pass on Frigates even if bonus is small (unless really stressed for OP).

SO I find not too impressive for player ship - mild flux gain (compared to vent spamming) + some speed is generally not worth huge range, CR and OP cost.
Can be powerful on AI ships, I guess...

RFC is a must on player ship, but dubious on AI ones (they don't make effective use of it).

Hardened Shields are theoretically nice, but require 10 points of one of least useful tech skills. Optics hullmod is in the same limbo.

Stabilized Shields are very rarely worth it - even on ships where they spare slightly more flux then vents would give, you are still comparing conditional bonus vs permanently active one.

Augmented Turret Gyros are cheap and noticeably benefit anything that is not burst pd or hardpoint.

Extended and Accelerated shields can be pretty much necessary to help AI pilot some ships (Tempest), but otherwise are waste of OP.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 10:22:18 PM by TaLaR »
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