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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: A Tale of Two Tech Levels (05/28/21)

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Author Topic: My thoughts and impressions  (Read 12269 times)

Blaine

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #75 on: November 04, 2018, 11:27:53 PM »

I'm not sure if you're aware but beams actually deal only soft flux to enemies, so they will be able to dissipate all flux you deal without dropping shields. Other weapons like kinetics/blasters deal hard flux which will not dissipate unless the enemy drops shields or vents. Your only hard flux is the HVD, which probably works well enough because the paragon is so strong, but as Goumindong said, 4x HIL is mad overkill, you really don't want to be shooting HIL into shields, it's flux inefficient and only dealing soft flux and 2x HIL is more than enough anti armor damage for anything in the game. 2x auto pulse would go a long way if you have no tach lance.

Yeah, I'm aware of soft flux vs. hard flux, as well as the value of burst damage vs. both shields (to defeat the AI's near-superhuman ability to efficiently micromanage its shields and flux by overwhelming with sudden damage packets) and armor (bursts > small amounts of constant damage).

I certainly considered APLs and tried them out, but they run out of charges after slightly more than two seconds of firing. Without Expanded Magazines (which should also increase recharge time, in my opinion), for every ~2 sec of firing, you wait 10 seconds before another ~2 sec burst is possible. With Expanded Magazines, you can do a ~3 sec burst every 15 seconds. APL projectiles also easier to dodge (although most things can't) and the consequences of missing are high. (Obviously, you can also perform shorter bursts with accordingly shorter recharge times.)

Maybe it's my playstyle, maybe I need more practice with them, but the trade-off for burst damage is very high in Starsector. I run a fairly carrier-heavy fleet, so in general I'm more focused on "pressure" than on going in for focused kills. That said, I'll pop on APLs and give them more of a chance.

You should definitely not put your most aggressive officer in a carrier, you want carriers to hide way in the back, since they massively outrange everything with their fighters. Aggressiveness corresponds to positioning more than 'firing weapons' a cautions officer in a carrier will still attack things, he will just hang back which is much safer. There is no reason for a carrier to intentionally go into enemy weapon range.

Oh I agree, but the fact is that in this campaign, I'm stuck with one level 20 aggressive carrier officer. The other three are two cautious and one steady, which I use on my Mora (steady) and two Herons (cautious). Searching for ideal officer personality/skill combinations is a huge time-wasting pain in the keester (let alone officers who begin with carrier skills), so I guess at some point I just threw up my hands and took an aggressive carrier officer.
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TaLaR

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #76 on: November 04, 2018, 11:34:13 PM »

Oh I agree, but the fact is that in this campaign, I'm stuck with one level 20 aggressive carrier officer. The other three are two cautious and one steady, which I use on my Mora (steady) and two Herons (cautious). Searching for ideal officer personality/skill combinations is a huge time-wasting pain in the keester (let alone officers who begin with carrier skills), so I guess at some point I just threw up my hands and took an aggressive carrier officer.

Which is the reason to not hire aggressive/reckless/timid officers in the first place, or at least replace early. They have too limited uses and no place in endgame fleet.

Steady/Cautious are the only two usable long term... If only we could just switch disposition at will.
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Goumindong

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #77 on: November 05, 2018, 12:07:48 AM »

I'm not sure if you're aware but beams actually deal only soft flux to enemies, so they will be able to dissipate all flux you deal without dropping shields

Yes... but no. Beams only deal soft flux and so enemies can dissipate flux without dropping shields. But they cannot do this if your damage (multiplied by their shield rate) plus their base shield cost is higher than their flux dissipation.  

If you’re in a paragon(and you have tac lasers and graviton beams).. it isn’t. There is no ship that can dissipate enough flux except another paragon and maybe an SO aurora. And once their shields drop two HIL will eat the armor on a heavy armor’d XIV onslaught in about 5 seconds*

Re: PD AI. Unnecessary and counter productive. PD AI lets you target missiles which you do not want your tac lasers doing. You want them targeting your main target or fighters. Any missiles that do get launched you can shield tank and pop your active if it’s a marginally dangerous salvo.

*to be fair I am not next to my spreadsheet so this is an estimation.

« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 12:10:29 AM by Goumindong »
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TaLaR

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #78 on: November 05, 2018, 12:17:24 AM »

If you’re in a paragon(and you have tac lasers and graviton beams).. it isn’t. There is no ship that can dissipate enough flux except another paragon and maybe an SO aurora. And once their shields drop two HIL will eat the armor on a heavy armor’d XIV onslaught in about 5 seconds*

4 TLs get through the shield faster and are still deadly enough against armor due to burst nature. Most things that aren't Onslaught won't notice difference in how fast their armor is stripped, and even for Onslaught it's not too big.
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Blaine

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #79 on: November 05, 2018, 12:46:32 AM »

Which is the reason to not hire aggressive/reckless/timid officers in the first place, or at least replace early. They have too limited uses and no place in endgame fleet.

Steady/Cautious are the only two usable long term... If only we could just switch disposition at will.

I haven't even come close to losing the Astral yet, so I don't feel that aggressive officers are unusable, just not ideal. Originally, that officer was piloting a Legion, which I absolutely did want to be piloted aggressively; otherwise, its heavier offensive and defensive loadout would go somewhat to waste.

The biggest issue (in my view) is that aggressive and reckless officers will attempt to close to the range of their PD weapons, which is... yeah. Let's just say I wouldn't have implemented them that way. Regardless, the fact that three out of five of the personality types are considered flat-out inferior by most players is a good indication that the officer personality AI needs to be reworked.

Re: PD AI. Unnecessary and counter productive. PD AI lets you target missiles which you do not want your tac lasers doing. You want them targeting your main target or fighters. Any missiles that do get launched you can shield tank and pop your active if it’s a marginally dangerous salvo.

You're probably right, and I've debated this with myself. It's torpedoes that give me pause, which REDACTED fleets often seem to have plenty of; but then again, they also have plenty of fighters, which aside from torpedoes are definitely priority targets.
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Megas

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #80 on: November 05, 2018, 04:58:27 AM »

Ships without officers will try to close in with PD weapons if it is all that they have.  I tried that with Heron with only dual flak (and all other mounts empty).  Instead of running away while fighters do their job, Heron tries to kiss the enemy with dual flak.

Astral can survive solo in the simulator until it runs out of CR.

Re: Paragon and missing Tachyon Lances.
If you cannot find Tachyon Lances, then a pulse laser theme configuration (four autopulse, pulse lasers in mediums, maybe dual flak in universals, and either IR pulse lasers or burst PD lasers in smalls) is reasonably effective.  It will not destroy quite as many ships as the four lance and two HVD wonder, but it can probably kill as many ships as Astral can before peak performance runs out.  It is not pretty, but it is practical and effective enough.

If you want shield pierce, HIL and Ion beams can substitute for lances, but that means fewer heavy blasters for close-range fighting and it is not as effective as Tachyon Lances.  Ion Beam is good for disabling ships through shields, but not at causing much damage, plus it is a flux hog.

Part of what makes Lances effective is not just burst damage (which can overload shields of some ships), but it is 1) almost hitscan, which lets the player punish the AI anytime their shields are down (and you can trick the AI to drop shields at times), and 2) shield piercing.  Four lances will cause not insignificant damage to ships even if their shields are up, if it has hard flux... which is why Paragon has two HVDs to put hard flux on shields.

Re: Tactical Laser and IPDAI
Tactical Laser is slowish.  Advanced Turret Gyros is a must, and even then, it is still not quite as fast as it should be, unlike (LR) PD Laser.  That costs too much OP in 0.8.x.  Tactical Laser can also be somewhat flux intensive.  Before 0.8, it was better because ships had more OP via skills and LR PD Laser had flux cost of 100 instead of 40.  (If PD Laser was not an option, the only other viable alternate back then was Tac Laser+IPDAI).  Tac Laser plus IPDAI is for long-range prevent PD, not for close-range and high-powered defense.

Capital rankings
My personal flagship rankings from best to worst are:  Paragon, Astral, Conquest/Legion/Onslaught, Odyssey.

All a playership Astral needs for weapons are maybe a few burst lasers to pick off stray missiles.  OP goes to fighters, hullmods, and vents.  The best fighters are expensive, and six will eat a lot of OP.  Astral is very OP hungry.  The Astral then runs away from everything while fighters kill.

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You forgot to take "fun" into account. That's a very important stat!
For me, fun is usually the one that is self-sufficient and can destroy the enemy most efficiently.  Currently, that award goes to Paragon.  (In 0.7.x, that award went to Onslaught.  In early 0.8, Astral.)  Also, I like Paragon because it is the only ship that feels like it has guns.  All other ships except carriers and maybe capitals with Gauss Cannon have knives and chainsaws - their shot range feels much too short to be proper guns.  If I want to play a melee game, I would play a fighting or hack-and-slash game.
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Blaine

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #81 on: November 05, 2018, 06:16:01 AM »

Well, I've got a bunch of veteran players here giving me often conflicting information. While slightly confusing, it's also a sign that the game is complex and balanced enough for there to frequently be differences of opinion. I guess it's my job to sort through it all and see what works for me. Regardless, I appreciate all of the advice.

Ships without officers will try to close in with PD weapons if it is all that they have.  I tried that with Heron with only dual flak (and all other mounts empty).  Instead of running away while fighters do their job, Heron tries to kiss the enemy with dual flak.

Yeah, that's why I've had my Herons running all tac lasers with the AT Gyros and IPDAI mods, plus graviton beams, since forever. Back when I first designed those loadouts, I for some reason thought that only PD weapons could target fighters, but I discovered that this wasn't the case once I obtained a Falcon XIV, put phase lances in the turrets, set them on auto, and watched them shoot down fighters. At one point I also thought that PD weapons couldn't target proper ships, only fighters and missiles.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like missiles are a little weak right now outside of 1 vs. 1 bouts, which happen only in the simulator or very early game. Rockets are okay, and torpedoes are great, if they hit their mark. The main function of missiles seems to be as anti-player weapons, since the AI has computer-perfect situational awareness and reflexes, and almost without fail the missiles fly as soon as I hit the active vent button, in far less time than it would it take me to even press 2 and switch to my own missile racks. They're not at all too threatening to deal with; I just find it amusing.

In general, the AI knows just exactly how to manage its flux, pulse its shields, and use its weapons to maximum effectiveness, and of course has absolutely no trouble multitasking and micromanaging, which I suppose is why Alex added a deliberate delay. Otherwise, it would be really aggravating. Of course, the AI has very obvious weaknesses as well, such as a total lack of ability to "think" in strategic abstractions. Also, as you say, the AI can be "tricked" into exposing itself.

Re: Tactical Laser and IPDAI
Tactical Laser is slowish.  Advanced Turret Gyros is a must, and even then, it is still not quite as fast as it should be, unlike (LR) PD Laser.  That costs too much OP in 0.8.x.  Tactical Laser can also be somewhat flux intensive.  Before 0.8, it was better because ships had more OP via skills and LR PD Laser had flux cost of 100 instead of 40.  (If PD Laser was not an option, the only other viable alternate back then was Tac Laser+IPDAI).  Tac Laser plus IPDAI is for long-range prevent PD, not for close-range and high-powered defense.

Tac laser IS fast enough to hit torpedoes and bombers, however, even without AT Gyros, although I typically use AT Gyros when I can. That said, if there's a huge barrage from one direction and they all need to turn, yeah, I've noticed the sluggishness without AT Gyros.
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TaLaR

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #82 on: November 05, 2018, 06:19:51 AM »

Problem with Astral is that you are either locked into piloting it (or Legion) by your skill picks, or you can't make reasonable use of it.
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Blaine

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #83 on: November 05, 2018, 06:48:22 AM »

Problem with Astral is that you are either locked into piloting it (or Legion) by your skill picks, or you can't make reasonable use of it.

Well, you can always use a mod to respec. I haven't done so (yet), but it's an option.

"But that's CHEATING!" some might say. Yeah, well, the unfortunate fact is that specializing in carrier pilot skills limits you to a tiny portion of ships in the game, and carriers don't make amazing player ships without at least some of the pilot-specific carrier skills. In fact, since carriers are some of the most automation-centered ships in the game, it's very effective to leave carriers to officers and just take Fighter Doctrine instead. Of course, then you can't pretend to be flying the Tiger's Claw from Wing Commander.
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Megas

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #84 on: November 05, 2018, 11:22:39 AM »

Most missiles stink for endurance fighting.  Burst damage is fine if you only have one fight against a similar-sized fleet.  So far, my favorite limited missile weapon is Locusts for having lots of ammo and being reliable all-around.

AI does not use Astral as well as player can, but it is still an effective bomber platform that can wreck enemies if protected.  AI seems to treat Legion as a dedicated carrier (by hanging back) even if it is built to brawl.  It is still decent thanks to all of the fighters, but its behavior leaves some to be desired.

I do not like to pilot Astral much because if I want to use it optimally, I need to build specifically for it.  Legion playership is effective with generalist skill set (only fighter skill you need is Fighter Doctrine, which is a must-pick like Fleet Logistics and Loadout Design due to fleetwide boost and Converted Hangar hullmod) or even unskilled.

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Tac laser IS fast enough to hit torpedoes and bombers, however, even without AT Gyros, although I typically use AT Gyros when I can. That said, if there's a huge barrage from one direction and they all need to turn, yeah, I've noticed the sluggishness without AT Gyros.
Tac laser is too slow to zap fast moving targets like Salamanders and some fighters.  I worry about those more than torpedoes.  AI rarely launches torpedoes at my ship unless it is already incapacitated or nearly so.

Quote
Yeah, well, the unfortunate fact is that specializing in carrier pilot skills limits you to a tiny portion of ships in the game, and carriers don't make amazing player ships without at least some of the pilot-specific carrier skills. In fact, since carriers are some of the most automation-centered ships in the game, it's very effective to leave carriers to officers and just take Fighter Doctrine instead. Of course, then you can't pretend to be flying the Tiger's Claw from Wing Commander.
That is one of my biggest gripes with the skill system.  You are married to a ship like a fighter that takes sword specialization is married to his long sword.  You can respec officers (by firing and replacing them) but you cannot respec yourself.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 11:24:52 AM by Megas »
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Goumindong

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #85 on: November 05, 2018, 02:48:54 PM »

If you’re in a paragon(and you have tac lasers and graviton beams).. it isn’t. There is no ship that can dissipate enough flux except another paragon and maybe an SO aurora. And once their shields drop two HIL will eat the armor on a heavy armor’d XIV onslaught in about 5 seconds*

4 TLs get through the shield faster and are still deadly enough against armor due to burst nature. Most things that aren't Onslaught won't notice difference in how fast their armor is stripped, and even for Onslaught it's not too big.

The AI can shield juggle 4 TL. It cannot do so with 2 and 2

Edit: as an example. I cannot finish the last stand with 4x but I can with 2 and 2.
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Thaago

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #86 on: November 05, 2018, 04:32:04 PM »

I would rank a player Onslaught as a better ship than a player Paragon because it rewards aggression with the burn drive - the mobility is too important to pass up. Onslaughts can also mount top tier weaponry like Storm Needlers or Mjolnirs. Tachyon Lances are good, but lacking in comparison.

@Megas
Soloing is of zero importance, so I don't consider whether a ship can solo to be of any value. At all. Dominators cannot solo worth a damn, and they are very strong cruisers. It doesn't matter that the Onslaught does much better with a few other ships in the fleet because... the player has a fleet. I laugh every time when you mention if a ship can solo the simulator or not - its like mentioning whether or not I can catch a duck with clogs on.
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Megas

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #87 on: November 05, 2018, 05:04:50 PM »

If you can solo things in the simulator, you can solo things in the campaign too.  Also, it is possible for ships to get drawn into personal duels from time to time.   Thus, I consider simulator performance very useful for gauging potential campaign performance.

Mjolnirs are good, but player needs to build for them (or put them on Conquest).  They are also very rare (at least as rare as Tachyon Lance), probably require Persean League commission to buy them, or save-scum a fight against a Conquest armed with one.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 05:12:50 PM by Megas »
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Blaine

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #88 on: November 05, 2018, 06:50:37 PM »

This is a bit like the whole "Is the dress black and blue, or white and gold?" sensation from four years ago, except it's about ship loadouts in Starsector. I don't have enough context to decide for myself who I agree with more.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle: There may be solo duels, or there may not. Ideally, prepare for both things as long as you don't sacrifice too much formation brawling ability for 1 vs. 1 jousting ability, and vice versa.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: My thoughts and impressions
« Reply #89 on: November 05, 2018, 06:57:10 PM »

Mobility and range provide a similar benefit, I do not need to reposition if I can shoot the enemy from where I am. My experience is that most ships the onslaught wants to burn drive towards, the paragon can already shoot from the same position, or by moving for a similar amount of time, and with less risk. This is also somewhat dependent on the AI being stupid and wandering into range. If the AI was more careful to stay out of range, mobility would be much more important.

I've found that storm needlers are not very useful. Nothing in the game except maybe the paragon has enough flux capacity to require the amount of flux it builds on your own ship. Using light/medium needlers in the other ballistic slots seems much more efficient, and achieves the same effect with a little bit better range even. I honestly haven't used them in a while so I could be wrong, but that is my experience.

I also haven't had good experiences with this iteration of the Mjolnir, it just feels too flux intensive for the damage it puts out, at least on the vanilla ships that can mount it. Again, I might be missing something, this is just my experience. It feels like it suffers all the drawbacks of a heavy blaster, except low tech ships have garbage flux stats so magnified.

I'd be happy to hear of some load outs where those weapons work well.
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