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Author Topic: Beam Stuff  (Read 22460 times)

Megas

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2018, 03:12:07 PM »

That feature was - imho, unwisely - removed from the game.
Disagree.  Most non-beam weapons received more base damage to compensate, and beams generally received more range and cheaper OP costs.  The only two weapons that got shafted by the change were AM blaster and mining blaster for getting less damage than most other weapons.  Maybe burst PD too for requiring two charges to blast some missiles instead of one.  Pulse lasers were atrocious before the change, then they get a huge damage boost and became somewhat useful.
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Wyvern

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2018, 09:58:06 PM »

That feature was - imho, unwisely - removed from the game.
Disagree.
Disagree with your disagree - yes, many weapons got partial compensation, but it's not even close to the same; before, high-tech ships had bonus firepower when they really needed it (i.e. were at high flux), which was both useful (particularly for point defense) and just neat - and added an extra dimension when fighting them, too, as high flux on an enemy meant a high risk high reward target.

Also, you missed one of the weapons that really lost out on the change: the plasma cannon is basically unusable in the current game due to absurdly high flux costs; you can get away with two on a Paragon and... that's it.  Nothing else worth fielding can support even one of the things anymore.
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TaLaR

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2018, 10:22:24 PM »

What I liked about high flux damage bonus is that there were 2 approaches to fighting:
- vent as soon and often as possible.
- keep close to max flux and use the bonus.

Now only the first tactic is valid.
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Megas

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2018, 07:02:28 AM »

Plasma cannon was unchanged at first and was worse than heavy blaster.  Heavy blaster becoming nearly as powerful for 18 less OP and 100 less range.  Also, autopulse did not get enough of a boost (such that heavy blaster overtook DPS after only few seconds of sustained fire).  At that time, heavy blaster was the best weapon for heavy mount due to combination of power and OP cost.  Then plasma got the damage boost plus passthrough (and autopulse too).  However, Alex also raised the flux cost, which no other energy weapon got as part of the rebalance (except possibly autopulse when he raised damage a bit more too).  The flux cost for plasma cannon became atrocious, although at the time, skills were powerful enough that it was usable.  Today, with worse skills and flux stats, the flux cost is so bad that it is only viable as a playership weapon if the player vent spams, which is still a thing.  However, the only ships I would consider plasma cannon and vent spam on, Apogee and Odyssey, are bad enough that they might as well not be there.  (Apogee being unable to force fights, and Odyssey having too low OP and becoming extremely fragile after shield nerf).

Come to think of it, the flux cost of blasters are atrociously bad, especially mining blaster.  Also, pulse lasers are also flux hogs for midline ships.  Energy weapons that are not beams or cannot hit for EMP are bad for midline ships due to poor range and flux efficiency.

I would not mind seeing flux costs for energy weapons lowered across the board (or damage raised so high that they are comparable to what they were during the days of clips for ballistics) so that they are a viable option for midline ships.

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Disagree with your disagree - yes, many weapons got partial compensation, but it's not even close to the same; before, high-tech ships had bonus firepower when they really needed it (i.e. were at high flux), which was both useful (particularly for point defense) and just neat - and added an extra dimension when fighting them, too, as high flux on an enemy meant a high risk high reward target.
I would say that they really needed it all the time and when flux is kept low, the extra damage is useful, especially for pulse lasers which were very weak before the flux supercharge removal.  The only thing I miss somewhat from flux supercharge removal is watching the weapons glow as flux built up.  However, I think the benefits of flux supercharge removal outweigh the drawbacks.  Most of all, one less thing cluttering the UI on the left.
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Goumindong

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2018, 02:29:38 PM »

However, the only ships I would consider plasma cannon and vent spam on, Apogee and Odyssey, are bad enough that they might as well not be there.  (Apogee being unable to force fights, and Odyssey having too low OP and becoming extremely fragile after shield nerf).

The Odyssey is a great ship* and one of the few battleships that are competent with a low amount of skills. You should barely even have to turn the shields on in order to fight with it. You just zoom around at 143 speed volleying frigates and destroyers until only large ships are left.

*Helsmanship 3/Human Pilot. Ideal load-out is 2 Tachyon Lance Primary + 2 Xyphos/Spark for point defense + Autopulse or Plasma Cannon on the back side. ITU is core. Advanced Turret + Aux Thrusters advisable but not necessary. Salamanders + ECCM + Missile Speed 1 is nice as well but also unnecessary.

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Wyvern

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2018, 03:01:57 PM »

You just zoom around at 143 speed volleying frigates and destroyers until only large ships are left.
If I wanted to hunt down frigates and destroyers, I can do that just fine with, oh, a Sunder or a Hammerhead or a Drover.  If I'm spending the resources to deploy a capital ship, it'd better be able to take on other capital ships - and the Odyssey can't.
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Megas

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2018, 03:28:33 PM »

To add to Wyvern's point, if I want to hunt small ships with a capital, Astral and Legion are better at it than Odyssey due to more fighters.  Plus, Astral and Legion can fight other capitals effectively.  Odyssey is really bad when even Conquest can crush it as easily as Onslaught can, and Legion can probably outfight Odyssey with better guns and more fighters.  Odyssey is the only capital that cannot fight any of its peers in a slugging match, and it is not fast enough to overtake most smaller ships (including those with less top speed but superb mobility systems).

Tachyon Lance is one of the few viable weapons for Odyssey, if you want to play sniper.  However, Paragon is far better at sniping with Lances than Odyssey.
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Goumindong

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2018, 05:42:56 PM »

Oddesy kills smaller ships much faster and more efficiently while still being able to bring effective firepower against capitals. The inability to swiftly swap between targets makes the legion and Astral much less effective at clearing out the blockers. You don’t “hunt small ships with fighters” you volley them with your tachyon lances and then volley another one when they come up again as you circle the main fleet pinning them into poor positions against the rest of your fleet and removing their support structure.

The inability to travel 140 speed means they’re less able to flank and create other tactical openings. The fact that they’re not fast enough to dodge incoming fire means they have much less effective cap for fire.

Like... there always must be a ship that loses a slugging match with other ships of the same size. The fact that it’s the Oddssy doesn’t make it a bad ship. Mainly because with its speed you shouldn’t be getting into slugging matches with larger ships.
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Megas

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2018, 06:04:53 PM »

The vast majority of ships that Odyssey can fight are fast enough to avoid it entirely.  Most of the ships the Odyssey can outspeed are enemy capitals that can outgun it easily.  As for Odyssey fighting capitals, Odyssey has some firepower, but it loses the flux war before it can get very many shots off due to bad shields (and either terrible shot range or weak beams that cannot get past shields without help).  The reason Astral and Legion are better against small ships is because fighters are fast enough to chase down and destroy small ships by themselves, and Astral and Legion have more fighters than Odyssey.

Conquest that spams its Jets is almost as fast as Odyssey, and if built properly, can go toe-to-toe against any other capital except maybe Paragon (if Conquest does not use Gauss Cannons).

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Like... there always must be a ship that loses a slugging match with other ships of the same size. The fact that it’s the Oddssy doesn’t make it a bad ship. Mainly because with its speed you shouldn’t be getting into slugging matches with larger ships.
It does not need to be that way.  And that Odyssey cannot fight its own peers does while doing nothing that its peers cannot also do does indeed make Odyssey a bad ship.  It is awful like pre-0.8 Hammerhead and 0.7.2-era Aurora.  Like Wyvern said, if I spend resources to use a capital, "it'd better be able to take on other capital ships - and the Odyssey can't."

If I do not feel like deploying Astral or Legion as super-ship that can kill almost everything, then I can deploy Drover or Heron and solo a fleet of small fry for less cost.
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Goumindong

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2018, 06:49:47 PM »

A drover or heron or 4 is simply not effective against large numbers of enemy ships. When you hit the point where enemy fleets require reinforcements to field the entirety of you will get overwhelmed. Either you’re using strike craft and are subject to return/travel times or you’re at the mercy of enemy interceptors and point defense.

The Oddssy does not suffer those problems. It just slices through the enemy fleet; shaving off portions with every circle.

Like, the fact that you need to comment on the quality of the shields surprises me. You should barely turn your oddesy’s shields on at all. You should use it far less than the much worse shielded conquest.
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Megas

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2018, 07:11:20 PM »

I use shields on Odyssey (when trying to fight capitals) because it has worse shot range than other capitals (or beams that are completely stopped by shields).  If I am outranged by the enemy, I need shields to block damage.  If I do not use shields, then I take hits... and Odyssey has worse armor (and maybe hull too) than other capitals.

In previous versions, Odyssey could shield tank... not very well, but some.  With worse shields and not enough OP to get more capacitors or Hardened Shields, Odyssey's shields evaporate quickly and loses the flux war when it gets close or takes a worse beating than the enemy capital (who has more armor and possibly hull).

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A drover or heron or 4 is simply not effective against large numbers of enemy ships.
If the enemy has large number of fighters to saturate your ship you might be right (but then we are not dealing with a modest fleet of frigates and destroyers anymore, in which case, deploy your battleship of choice and wipe out the heavy enemy ships, then deploy whatever to finish off the cowards that will not fight your battleship).  If not, characters built for fighter spam and speed can constantly outrun just about everything with Drover and Heron and kill everything small, or at least much more than other ships of their weight, with fighters.  If the enemy fleet is big enough to require capitals because they have a capital.  I would deploy Paragon and have it kill everything except the frigates (because AI frigates are cowardly enough to avoid Paragon unless they can swarm Paragon by the dozens).
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Goumindong

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2018, 09:47:03 PM »

Tachyon lances have as good or better range than any other weapon in the game. You do not need hard flux when you one volley small ships and flank everything else... and move fast enough that even HVD has a hard time hitting you... but when you do you can turn the third turret to add hard flux.

You also don’t need 15 skill points to do it (carriers generally need the fighter line and the helmsmanship line), you need 6 (Helmsmanship only)

Yea if you’re using the Odyssey to tank and spank you’re going to lose to the tank and spank battleships. Quelle surprise! But you shouldn’t be doing that. You should be using defeat in detail to remove ships until the enemies capitals are not an issue because they’re overwhelmed.
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Megas

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2018, 07:06:10 AM »

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Tachyon lances have as good or better range than any other weapon in the game. You do not need hard flux when you one volley small ships and flank everything else..
You need hard flux for Tachyon Lance to kill the big targets (at least if AI cannot be cheesed for some reason).  Two Tachyon Lances alone against bigger targets does not work.  Smaller targets will avoid Odyssey until they can swarm as they are faster, and they do not need to avoid as far (despite Odyssey being a bit faster).  Odyssey has fighters, but if it needs to rely on fighters to kill things its guns cannot reach, then there are better capitals (or Heron) for fighter power.

Tachyon Lance is one of the few viable weapons for Odyssey, but they are much better on Paragon.  Also, Tachyon Lance is rare.  I am lucky to find enough by endgame to outfit one ship, and they go on Paragon, who can use them much more effectively (by having about even more range and can put hard flux on shields with ballistics).

If Tachyon Lance cannot be found, Odyssey is out of luck.  While HIL is a somewhat worse but viable substitute for Sunder and Paragon, it is almost useless for Odyssey, who has no way to put hard flux on shields without fighters.  (IR Pulse Lasers on smalls is not viable due to terrible range - enemy will standoff like cowards and kite-snipe-kill - or simply outgun if capital - Odyssey if tried.)

Odyssey used to be able to tank somewhat (not very well, but a little), but now it cannot, and that is a shame.  High-Energy Focus is better suited for brawling.  Brawling loadouts like triple autopulse or triple plasma cannon used to be viable, but the shield nerf killed those.  Well, almost.  It is possible to brawl if Odyssey uses Claw wings, but that is a high-risk tactic.  If I need to deploy a capital, I need it to stand-off against capitals.  Otherwise, I am better off with a cruiser or two or some other combination of smaller ships.  If I want to be extravagant and kill frigates with a capital, capitals with more fighters are better because fighters are fast enough to chase down and kill frigates that attempt to run-and-turtle before they decide to swarm and kill with superior numbers.

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You also don’t need 15 skill points to do it (carriers generally need the fighter line and the helmsmanship line), you need 6 (Helmsmanship only)
In that case, get Paragon and kill everyone except maybe the frigates.  Paragon is a monster.  As for frigates, solo anything that is not a carrier struggles against frigates.  Oh, the bigger ship would eventually win if the frigates do not have the numbers to swarm effectively, but it might win just by waiting until the frigate's CR decays too much and runs out of gas.  Also, without fighter boosts, they are more unreliable for Odyssey.  The main point of using Odyssey is to mix up brawling and fighters.  Legion does it well.  Odyssey is horrible at it.

If you plan to use carriers in your fleet (not as flagship only), Fighter Doctrine 3 is close to a universal god skill as Loadout Design 3, Fleet Logistics 3, and Electronic Warfare 1, since it affects all carriers.  Plus, Fighter Doctrine 2 is the easiest way to get Converted Hangar in an unmodded game, which is great for cruisers and capitals.  Now Eagle, Dominator, and Paragon can be mini-carriers too, and fighters are better regenerators than Salamanders or Pilums.  If I get Fleet Logistics 3 as my #3 perk (#2 being Loadout Design 3 and #1 being Electronic Warfare 1), and if I have Leadership 3 solely for Fleet Logistics 3, then Fighter Doctrine 3 is a bargain at three points.  Now I can include carriers in my fleet and be decent with them.  Carrier Command 3 is good, but player cannot really afford that unless he plans to specialize his flagship for fighters.  (His officers can afford it, though.)  Wing Command 1 is good for slow pokes like Warthogs, but messes up Thunders.  The rest of Wing Command is only good to defend against enemy fighter swarmers, mostly useful for ships that rely entirely on fighters (like Astral; once again, delegate this to officers and use your points on things officers cannot get).  Strike Command has junk perks in 1 and 2.  3 is good, but costs too much to get for a minor damage boost.  Not useful enough in the campaign.  Maybe if trying to solo the simulator.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 07:32:38 AM by Megas »
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Goumindong

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2018, 12:41:20 PM »

You need half the tachyon lances for an oddesy to do about the same damage as a paragon does with 4 and you are 60 units faster base and 110 units faster effectively because the paragon cannot keep cap minimum while the Oddesy can

That isn’t “a tad bit faster” it’s faster by the base speed of a frigate! You don’t go “chasing frigates down. You just circle the fleet and they will be in range because you will push them in.

You fit an auto pulse or plasma cannon in the rear spot and just turn the ship to apply hard flux damage when necessary.
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xenoargh

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Re: Beam Stuff
« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2018, 12:50:21 PM »

The Paragon works because of range and sheer Flux Capacity / Shield Efficiency; its System is pretty lousy and unintuitive to use, but it gets away with it, since players will hardly ever use it and find out how (really) bad it is (if it basically conferred immunity, didn't put Hard Flux on the ship and let the Hard Flux drain happen, it'd be all right- as it stands, when the System goes up and it's taking fire, it's losing the Flux war even faster than if it kept firing).  In Vanilla, the Paragon works unless it gets mobbed by Destoyers and Frigates that can use Kinetics- this will beat it every time.  I don't fear Paragons in Vanilla, given that I tend to go for a mixed-arms approach and almost totally eschew High Tech.

The Odyssey is kind of a poster-child for the way that all-Energy can only work if given a huge advantage via stats or System or other things, given the balance issues.

This is totally fixable.  I'm playing a pretty viable, roughly balanced version of the Odyssey right now.

The balanced Odyssey has an efficient shield, better overall Flux stats so that it can fire without running out of room if given reasonably-efficient weapons (i.e., Dissipation > Weapon Flux, by more than enough to afford to spend Soft Flux draining Hard Flux with the Skill; if maxed on Dissipation and kitted out well, the ratio's about 1.5:1).  This makes it able to shield-tank long enough to stay in a scrum (it still has relatively-poor Armor values, so it doesn't like dropping shields).  

Its System is High Energy Focus, which has been rebalanced so that it improves damage enough to matter.  It also has turret arcs that are sensible; at an angle, on one side, it can bring all three Large Energy turrets to bear., and can usually bring two to bear, rather than the current situation, where there's barely any functional overlap.

It also is using the rebalanced Energy weapons, which have, at this point, completely different stat-lines, other than OP costs.  In general, I found Energy was the most difficult damage type to get balanced well, but it's generally functional now.  Most Energy weapons had to trade a bit of accuracy or total DPS to get their Flux efficiency into a range where they were solid.

Even in my build, though, and even with my current iteration of weapon rebalance, it can't use an all-Beam build; it's slow enough that it has to alpha small stuff that gets close enough to put Kinetics on it and gradual kills with Beams aren't viable.  But my favorite builds for it often have Beams in supportive roles or as defensive weapons, and a level-29 Captain running an optimized Odyssey can be expected to wreck things very reliably and shield-tanks well enough to avoid being destroyed by anything less than a mob or an Onslaught / Conquest geared for shield-kill.  I think that's how it's supposed to work; the Odyssey should feel like it's the inverse of the Paragon- shorter-ranged, faster, more built for alpha, but more fragile.

So it's the result of a lot of work on different areas.  But in the main, it's largely down to having Energy weapons and Beams be balanced properly, which requires examining the rest of the stuff as well.  This is key; otherwise the only way to make High Tech / Energy builds viable is to give them ridiculously-OP Systems or other crutches.


On specific weapons:

The Tachyon Lance is better than the HIL in Vanilla, but only because of the scripted effect and scary range on the Paragon.  I don't think it's worth mounting on anything but a Paragon right now; the burst damage isn't great and it's only cool against targets with small shields whose Flux levels are already high.

The HIL is still pretty bad; it barely outperforms a Heavy Mauler for OP costs, yet takes a Large Energy slot... and that's just the surface numbers.  

If you look at the details, it doesn't at out-perform it, when we consider that it doesn't inflict Hard Flux and that, unlike the Heavy Mauler, it's artificially gimped vs. Armor (it does a mere 16.7 damage per tick against Armor, before the Armor reduction, after the hidden Beam nerf in Settings).  

So we're talking about a weapon that can fry Fighters and small unshielded Pirate trash, mainly, at a horrific cost for its efficiency, not exactly a world-changer.  I'm sure that looks impressive to people, given that it was useless before, but it's not actually good.

The HIL should be considerably more Flux-efficient than it is, if that's where the damage is set and it's going to keep that damage type.  To put it another way... in Rebal, after getting rid of the hidden Beam nerf, it's at 400 DPS / 235 Flux and is Kinetic, yet it's still not amazingly powerful, it's merely competent as a Flux-trader at that point, when Soft Flux is considered properly.

The Guardian still underperforms against every other PD in the game.   I'd need to double-check, but I'm pretty sure it's even worse per OP spent than the Mining Laser, lol.

In Rebal, it got moved to Medium, range was set to 900, DPS/Flux is 2:1... and it's now effective on ships that actually want high-end PD and are willing to spend 15 OPs on it; it does 150 a strike, so it can efficiently kill Harpoons, but it can't stop swarms of Reapers or even mass Annihilators (due to re-engagement times) and it's not an effective offensive weapon, since it's still Energy and Soft Flux and therefore remains a poor Flux-trader (2:1 Soft Flux Energy damage is worse than 1:1 Hard Flux from anything; this isn't a Light Needler, performance-wise).

So, yeah.  Odyssey's problems are many and none of the Large Energy Slot Beams are tuned well yet, in Vanilla.  But I really didn't start this post to talk much about those weapons, frankly; there are so few ships that can even mount them, they're almost a separate problem (well, other than all the modded stuff out there that probably has suffered, balance-wise, by using Vanilla's numbers as a rough guide).  I'm much more interested in the mid-to-lower end of those things, where I feel like there are some basic fixes available that would help them out.  The big Beams aren't seen all over the game, after all, whereas stuff like the Graviton Beam, Phase Lance, etc. should be seen pretty often, but are largely a waste of OPs.
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