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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Author Topic: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard  (Read 11892 times)

WM46

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I'm reaching a breaking point with this game. I've tried all manners of starts for vanilla SS and every one crashes and burns either right after getting a second fleet ship, or before I can even earn a few credits. Compared to earlier versions of this game (I'm mostly talking before the sensors update), you're living in constant fear even within your homeworld because at any moment a pirate or luddic can put on his afterburners and ambush you, with you only having half a second to mash the afterburner key and move opposite of them at the same time.

The fact that ambushes now exist makes starting with a trade ship neigh impossible. You will be caught, and the poor speed on trade ships mean you will die. Whether it's fleets waiting to gank you at wormhole exits to hyperspace, or ships roaming in between the planet and wormhole, your ship's exhaust port is at the mercy of their magic bullet. In my opinion, trade ships need a radar boost to stand a chance of surviving.

Bounty hunter starts would usually be my go to, but the previous ambush problem compounds the main problem with the starting ship choices we're given, speed. You're given a choice between the flow speed of honey, or the flow speed of molasses, both of which stand no chance when outnumbered. Even in the lasher ship that was specifically labelled as "not slower", when I was finally able to get a 1v1 battle the ship just danced around me for 15 minutes before it finally died to malfunctions after reducing its CR to 0 with salamander missiles.

I know the solution to my problems is either mods or picking easy mode, but then what about the other new players to the game. I doubt that if the game gets released in a state where ambushes are so commonly fatal early that it would pick up the best reviews from Steam/other megaphone.
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Tartiflette

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2016, 12:48:57 AM »

Do you turn off your transponder when venturing away from allied worlds? Because then you can detect fleets bigger than yours farther than they can detect you and, either change course, burndrive away or go dark. You can also hug a neutral patrol and join their battles for quick cash and rep without much risk... Or wait for the battle to end and prey on the survivors to keep all the loot and cash.
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Grizzlyadamz

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2016, 01:29:11 AM »

Seconding what Tartiflette said.
Joining battles gets you rep & is safer in general, but waiting for the stragglers gets you more XP/cash.
And try playing as a pirate for a little while if you need practice with transponders/going dark/asteroid belts. You only get in trouble if you wander too close to a patrol & they spot you being quiet. I think you can flick your transponder back on any time so long as they aren't currently 'pursuing/looking for your fleet.'

Also, hull mods. Try the safety overrides if you absolutely MUST have speed. That's what all the pirate vessels are doing. It'll let you escape, but you won't win standoffs anymore, (that 33% peak activation time is brutal).


Also also, mods are great man, give in to the temptation.
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Orikson

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2016, 01:33:23 AM »

Well, how have you been playing the game?

Don't worry about the new players, easy mode exist for that reason. Mods on the other hand, do not ease the difficulty of the game unless a player chooses to start as a very strong faction or utilise Console Commands. If they dabble in that already, they must have a basic knowledge of how the game works and how they should play it.


Since you have been trying to play only with the Vanilla base game, I would suggest two things.


1. Start as a Smuggler and pick the option "Has previously made a deal with a prominent pirate captain".

This will ensure you would never be attacked by anyone except the Luddic Path, who are usually pretty weak (in terms of numbers and ships).

This is because the big four factions are neutral towards you and the pirates inhospitable instead of hostile.

From here, do trading missions and prioritise the 'blue' skill tree and aim for what you want (usually terrain penalty reduction and then Augmented Engines) while building your fleet slowly.

I'm currently building up my fleet through these trading and increasing the relationship by the trading up to the 50 mark cap with the Independents so I have access to their military grade stuff at Nortia, in the Askonia system.

Alternatively, build relations with whichever faction you like and take their commission once you've gained enough cash and can outright create a fleet with those credits.

The benefit of commission is that you gain credits every month. Independents have no commission, so working towards neutrality until you have enough force to tackle pirates is quite lengthy.

The key thing is to never get involve in combat until you at least have access to destroyers.

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2. Pick the fighting frigate options and stay in Jangala, aiming towards befriending the Hegemony or the Independents.

Just exploit bounty that is active immediately upon the game start and fight alongside the patrol forces.

Scarab is the best out of the three, but it comes with the risk of the Tri-Tachyon breathing down your neck all the time.

It's ok if your aiming to befriend the Hegemony though, because they hate each other.

Keep fighting until you build a decent fleet before leaving the system.

A slightly faster option if you're a skilled pilot.

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Try what Tartiflette has suggested if you're the more aggressive type.

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I'm assuming the meaning of your line "every one crashes and burns either after getting a second fleet ship" is the game ends with you dying/restarting again?

.

My final point is: Do not pick fights you can't win.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 01:36:37 AM by Mr. K »
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WM46

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2016, 01:59:38 AM »

My experiece with playing as someone "allied" with the pirates (-45 isn't very ally-ish >.>):
"Neither side trusts you to join the battle, you can only sit out and watch"

Because almost every battle going on around me is tachyon v hegemony, hegemony v pirate, tachyon v pirate, etc...
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Tartiflette

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2016, 02:13:39 AM »

In mods that doesn't alter the game much but ease the early game, you can try Histidine's Steiner Foundation:

It gives you a few early game missions to introduce the new mechanics, as well as selling stuff cheaper than usual (but only while you are at a low level).
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HELMUT

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2016, 04:42:07 AM »

There's no shame in toggling easy mode in Starsector, but even then, early game will still be hard.

If you want to be a smuggler, a pack of Hounds with unstable injectors (and safety override if you don't want to take any risks) will make sure you'll escape unscathed from every encounters. A constant toggle between the transponder, running dark and emergency burn will reduce those encounters to a minimum. If on top of that you can take advantage of the terrain (asteroids fields will slow down bigger fleets, dust rings will make you nearly invisible when still, etc), you'll theoretically be untouchable.

If you want to be a bounty hunter, you must be confident in your combat abilities as you will always be outnumbered. If not, missions are a good way to get better at piloting. For the campaign, i always advocate the Safety Override Lasher with a bunch of machine guns/annihilators. You'll have both the mobility and firepower to catch and murder whatever is looking at you funny. It requires a very agressive playstyle though, so it might take a little while to get the subtlety if you're used to pilot Wolves and other glass cannons.

Also, in both cases, mobility is king when you start, therefore the Unstable Injectors hullmod is king as well.
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Megas

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2016, 05:40:23 AM »

For me, Scarab is the only combat ship worth starting as now that Wolf is no longer an option.  Warfarer needs +OP skills before it can fight, Centurion cannot fight very well due to bad turret arcs, and Lasher is one of the slower frigates and seems designed mostly for close-range fighting with machine guns.

Quote
My final point is: Do not pick fights you can't win.
That is not always easy.  Thanks to limited visibility, player can be ambushed.  Also, big fleets lurking nearby, possibly past detection range or (for some people) screen size, can join in on battles and turn a seemingly weak fleet into an impossible battle.

Player's fleet should be mostly fast frigates until player is strong enough to kill almost anything.
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WM46

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2016, 10:24:38 AM »

Tried playing as a pirate smuggler. The pirates still want to stab my ass any time they get the chance. 50% of the time when exiting a wormhole to hyperspace there has been a pirate fleet waiting to steal my cargo, and save scumming that away just feels wrong. And yes I did go out into hyperspace with my radio off, but somehow the pirates are packing much better cargo scanners than even the hegemony patrol's scanners that require being within 2 feet to use. They can smell a valuable good from half a screen away (2160 x 1440 resolution here).

I suppose I'm going to have to go all out flying glass cannon like others have suggested. Those hullmods alone take up about 20 ordinance so I've got very little after getting guns. Driving around with low flux machine guns because you can't afford vents is going to suck.
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Grizzlyadamz

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2016, 10:35:20 AM »

Heh, more like you can't afford *HEAVY* machine guns.
OP are tight.

To come clean here though, when I said 'try playing as a pirate', my experience was based on Nexerelin which lets you start as a bona-fide member of the pirate faction.
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Dri

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2016, 11:07:35 AM »

Just chill in Corvus for awhile - pick off 2-3 ship pirate fleets and sell off loot or stash it in the abandoned station near Asharu. I invest in Technology at the start so all my ships can get +30% OP which can help turn the tides of battle in your fleets favor.
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borgrel

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2016, 11:15:59 AM »

i have to agree that the lasher is a crappy ship

When playing vanilla for combat what i do is chose the non-combat trading ship (the big one) 'with a cargo hold filled with goods' and look what ships are available for sale at both big shipyards. Wash and repeat until a wolf is available ..... check if any trade missions for the goods i currently have available in corvus ...... sell all the goods, buy the ship (even if i have to sell the starting ship too). You can make between 15k and 30k this way which is more than enough for an awesome frigate. Outfit it and go to town on the pirates.

As for a trade start, I cannot advise. but ppl suggest overclocked cargo vessels and then start battle and tell the vessels to retreat while u distract the baddies and then follow .... without trying to beat them. Run away without using the run away choices.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 11:17:45 AM by borgrel »
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Megas

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2016, 01:12:57 PM »

If you want to start as a trader, get Hounds and Cerberus.  Put Safety Override and Unstable Injector on them for maximum top speed.  Ignore weapons.  If you get sucked into a fight, just run.  Hound will run from everything pirates will throw at you, as can Cerberus that spams Burn Drive.

Lasher is built to overload ships with machine guns, then smash 'em with missiles and Vulcans.  It is a bit poor at kiting targets, at least without light needlers and Target Analysis 10 (for kinetics to punch through armor).

Centurion is best used as a Monitor substitute, that is, use it to soak damage like meat shields do since it cannot do anything else effectively.

Wayfarer cannot do much beyond cargo hauling until it gets max OP, then it can fight decently, or at least more effectively than Centurion.

I miss the Wolf as a starter ship.  It is easier to solo with a Wolf than with any of the non-Scarab options, and the Wolf is not overpowered like Tempest, Hyperion, or Scarab.  It is annoying that the only good ship to start with (i.e., Scarab) automatically makes Tri-Tachyon hostile.
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WM46

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2016, 01:55:54 PM »

Going glass cannon finally worked for me, it seemed to take a lot of good rng to happen though. I managed to stumble across a few huge fleets of pirates and hegemony fighting within the first few minutes of spawning. My second frigate I spawned with managed to not get themselves killed this time (making a ship escort you makes it REALLY dumb, like show your engines to the enemy dumb), and then with the xp from the battles I got to around level 3 for both of us which let me spec into ordinance for me, and damage for my partner.

I think my gripes are still pretty valid though, this took a very specific build and good piloting to do. I would think requiring a build and some luck just to get to the point where you survive 2v3/2v4 when you're good at piloting is really annoying.
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Alex

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Re: Since I last played, the early sandbox is infuriatingly hard
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2016, 02:22:52 PM »

I think my gripes are still pretty valid though,

Yeah, definitely. As part of addressing early difficulty, there are going to be more reliable and easier-to-fight early game enemies in the next release; see this blog post for details.

The other big part of this is getting a feel for sensors. Once you get the hang of it and figure out when to disable the transponder, getting unavoidably ambushed becomes extremely rare and mostly due to inattention - except for going through a jump-point, that can be a bit rough if there's hostile a fleet right on the other side.

this took a very specific build and good piloting to do. I would think requiring a build and some luck just to get to the point where you survive 2v3/2v4 when you're good at piloting is really annoying.

Hmm. Pirates generally tend to be flying (D)-class ships, which have built-in hullmods ("degraded engines", "faulty power grid", etc) that make them inferior. However, smugglers that only fly the pirate flag when it suits them tend to have higher-quality independent gear, since they start out as independents. So at the moment, they're a bit of a trap - they look like regular pirates, but their ships are not subpar. Is it possible that you're engaging those?

Regular pirates with their (D) hulls, it's very much possible to 1v4 with just the starting Lasher, without any loadout changes. If you pick the Kite wingman to start, it becomes a lot easier to manage as well.

Good call on not using "escort" in the early game, btw. It's usually a bad idea to tie a fast ship down with escort duty when you're outnumbered; it's more useful when you've got slower ships and need to stick together to avoid being defeated in detail.
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