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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

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Author Topic: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes  (Read 307315 times)

Thaago

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #855 on: August 26, 2019, 12:19:49 PM »

I find the Doom the most fun to fly of the three, but I find phase to have too little action to be really interesting to me as a pilot. The time dilation is a great mechanic to see from the outside, but from the perspective of the dilated ship it just takes forever to get to the next bit of action. IMO at least. From a balance perspective I find the smaller phase ships annoying: they are far too powerful in player hands - a boring "I Win!" button instead of engaging gameplay.

For the former, btw, the +100% speed bonus while phased from Phase Mastery is intended to hopefully help. For the latter, the Afflictor needs to meet the nerf bat in a back alley...

Oh! Yes, that should help quite a lot.

I'm having trouble thinking of Afflictor nerf suggestions that aren't too harsh... removing its missiles is pretty much required because its engine-reapers that is the problem, but thats a pretty heavy nerf. Ok, how about this: the missiles are removed, but the ship gets 2 built in AM blasters with boosted range (and reduced OP to compensate). Maybe boosted to 600 range? This raises the usefulness 'floor' of the ship by making it always have some appropriate weapons, and also helps the AI to not die in death explosions.
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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #856 on: August 26, 2019, 12:24:26 PM »

Afflictor and Shade were more fun with their old cloaks.  With Afflictor, I could give it two autocannons, two lags, and it would play like super Lasher.  With Shade, 800 range needlers and tac lasers made it a super Monitor (tanks better as a ghost).  Today, the only loadout I use on Afflictor is four Reapers (much like Harbinger last release).  I do not use Shade at all since Afflictor does everything a phase ship can do better.

Harbinger is a weaker but easier to use Afflictor.

Gremlin is an obvious civilian, if phase ships could have civilian ships.

Doom with Mine Strike is fun, and plays a bit like the old cloak ships despite new cloak mechanics.

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I'm having trouble thinking of Afflictor nerf suggestions that aren't too harsh... removing its missiles is pretty much required because its engine-reapers that is the problem, but thats a pretty heavy nerf. Ok, how about this: the missiles are removed, but the ship gets 2 built in AM blasters with boosted range (and reduced OP to compensate). Maybe boosted to 600 range? This raises the usefulness 'floor' of the ship by making it always have some appropriate weapons, and also helps the AI to not die in death explosions.
Reapers is the worst part, but it can AM blaster Afflictor is better than Harbinger if the player is skilled enough.  (For those annoyed with the skill required, Harbinger is the easy-to-use version.)

The only way to really nerf Afflictor is either remove two mounts or make two of them (plus maybe the center one too) ballistic.  (That makes it too close to Gremlin.)  Maybe lower flux capacity.  With maximum flux stats, it is possible for Afflictor to shoot four AM Blasters at the same time under best case.  Combine that with Entropy Amplifier.

If it loses two mounts, could throw Afflictor a bone and make some of the extra ammo hullmods built-in for free.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 12:26:17 PM by Megas »
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Alex

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #857 on: August 26, 2019, 12:37:30 PM »

I was thinking about making two of the Afflictor's universals either energy or hybrid, yeah. Two Reapers might still be too much, though.

The +range suggestion is an interesting one. Could even just be something like "built-in ITU" which wouldn't be a lot of range would would at least incentivize non-missile a bit...

Thinking about it some more, though, maybe there's a "ranged phase support" niche for it, leaving the Shade for close-in work (which it's certainly far worse at *now*, but is actually at a level that seems more reasonable). In that case, it'd probably go to all-hybrid hardpoints, with some other changes to make it better in this role... hmm. Not committed either way here, really, though this seems fairly promising just as far as differentiation.
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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #858 on: August 26, 2019, 12:43:03 PM »

Making Afflictor's mounts energy or hybrid means four AM Blaster loadout still gets used, which is still superior to Harbinger for a highly skilled player.  Reapers is the cheesiest, but AM Blaster spam boosted by Entropy Amplifier is a close runner-up.

Without Reapers or AM Blasters, Afflictor needs to be much more durable, or much faster cloaking like it used to.  Decloaking ships are completely defenseless (beyond overloading them with spike damage)

P.S.  If Afflictor loses missiles, but not Shade, then Shade becomes the Reaper platform to use.  However, two Reapers at a time (four total with missile racks) without Entropy Amplifier is not that overwhelming.  Still could be handy for cheese kills against some battlestations.  Player just needs to bring even more of them.

Gremlin is slow.  (Maybe not with Defensive Systems 3).  If it can be made fast enough, then maybe it too can be used for Reaper duty, and it is cheaper to deploy.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 12:52:35 PM by Megas »
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SCC

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #859 on: August 26, 2019, 12:46:20 PM »

I would rather have Shade have no phase cooldown or a very short one, to make it more defensive. Megas isn't the only one missing brawling phase ships!

Plantissue

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #860 on: August 26, 2019, 12:57:26 PM »

I tend not to play with any player skills nowadays for the "pure" experience. Which is basically false purity anyways, because many fleet skills are bonuses to player piloted ships anyways.

Ohase ships are good even without missiles. For instance an Afflictor with 2 Antimatter blasters and 2 Light Assault Gun is similar enough to reaper afflictor but with more staying power. Likewise with Shade. They can all point their guns forwards. Though it can be argued that in this case it is AM blaster that which makes it similar in style. Shade is almost an Afflictor. It's supposedly a little weaker, but EMP Emittor ship system is simply brilliant. Who needs Ion Cannons when you have EMP Emitter.

Personally I like to see Afflictor or Shade variants not as phase ships but as normal ships with shields, but I suppose we don't really need yet another specialist rare frigate to chase down other normal frigates.
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ANGRYABOUTELVES

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #861 on: August 27, 2019, 02:49:36 AM »

The Afflictor losing ballistic capability only affects its ability to be a light needler support boat, which isn't the issue. 8 engine reapers is the issue. 2 universal hardpoints, 2 hybrid hardpoints, 1 energy turret sounds fine to me. Or if two reapers is still too many, you could make it 4 hybrid hardpoints, 1 synergy turret.
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Hrothgar

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #862 on: August 27, 2019, 02:56:57 AM »

If someone need a ballistic affilictor, there is in some mod a ship which is just that.
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Embolism

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #863 on: August 27, 2019, 03:41:37 AM »

If 2 Reapers is too many then the Shade should also be a problem. I think Entropy Amplifier (and also Quantum Disruptor) is the problem. I never liked these Phase systems that are just "target, ship shimmies and something bad happens". Doesn't feel satisfying when they have no visual impact and the enemy can do nothing about it. EMP Emitter and Mine Strike are far more interesting systems.
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TaLaR

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #864 on: August 27, 2019, 04:32:01 AM »

How to nerf Afflictor depends on what it needs to be doing. Currently answer is very simple - bypass shields and do tons of damage.

For Reaper Afflictor this means simply attacking vulnerable ships with front-shield (or semi-suicidal point blank Reaper attack with goal to cripple, if you miscalculate and kill - you die yourself).

For AM Afflictor this literally means bypassing any feeble attempts at using shield, through sheer speed and by exploiting AI omni-shield handling, namely:
- AI raises shield in direction of your ship, not where your guns aim - Ok, I aim at the most exposed corner of target ship.
- AI only raises shield if you face it - Ok, I approach with my rear facing them.
- AI raises non 360 shields in advance at all - shields don't rotate fast enough without accelerated shields hullmod (and even then, not quite enough). If I aim where shields currently are not, there is not enough time to drop-raise. If shield was dropped to begin with and raised with perfect reaction and placement as I unphase, it would probably be more effective. Though this would be a brute-force superhuman reaction solution.

Anyway, AM Afflictor is a perfect shield-bypass machine and AI isn't even aware of such type of tactics to try to counter it. Even non-phase ships can bypass shields in a limited way by corner targeting, particularly with TLs.

Shade is inferior version of the same because it's system does not help with shield-bypass attacks, since it's too slow acting (and generally inferior stats, though difference is not that big). Despite being a sub-par replacement, it's still more deadly than any other frigate except Afflictor itself.

Actually, it's very easy to make AM Afflictor/Shade useless - just remove AM blasters. There is no alternative that can deliver enough damage within opportunity window. Or dramatically increase their pre-fire delay, for same effect.
Or nerf it's CR/Supply cost into the ground to the point where even perfect usage is not worthwhile (I'm looking at Hyperion).
But these are boring solutions that make game less interesting to play! I'd very much prefer to play phase chess with shield-bypass aware AI...


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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #865 on: August 27, 2019, 05:14:47 AM »

Afflictor has two dominant loadouts, four Reapers, or four AM Blasters.

Four Reapers is very strong, more so with Entropy Amplifier, enough to kill anything or nearly so with one salvo.

Four AM Blasters with Entropy Amplifier is much stronger than what Harbinger can output.

Harbinger with three AM Blasters or Phase Lances is not that overwhelming.  Quantum Disruptor makes those attacks unblockable, but it would not harm most things bigger than a destroyer very much.  Harbinger is best used for cleaning up stray frigates and destroyers (and weak cruisers like Colossus 3).

Afflictor was Harbinger lite, when Harbinger had synergies.  Now, Afflictor is the more annoying replacement to Harbinger.  (More annoying because I dedicate more fleets slots to more Afflictors to do the same job Harbinger used to do, and I do chain-deploy them if necessary.)

For Reaper Afflictor this means simply attacking vulnerable ships with front-shield (or semi-suicidal point blank Reaper attack with goal to cripple, if you miscalculate and kill - you die yourself).
Against some annoying Radiants, I was willing to sacrifice Reaper Afflictor if it meant Radiant goes down with it.  It is only 50k or so to build one, and I could build ten per month, and still have lots of income to spare.  (I am grinding alpha cores to colonize more planets far beyond normal limits.)  Or, I can Restore each one and still shrug the cost off.

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If 2 Reapers is too many then the Shade should also be a problem.
Not only Shade, but Gremlin as well.  Gremlin is much slower, but maybe those with Defensive Systems 3 and UI can make it fast enough.

I miss old brawler loadouts with old cloak.  New cloak makes brawling loadouts suicidal.  (600 range is not enough.)  The only useful way to make new cloak phase ships useful strike or glass sword loadouts, which means all Reapers or AM Blasters if possible.  Doom is an exception due to mines distracting enemies and being able to use mines while phased.
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TaLaR

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #866 on: August 27, 2019, 05:26:53 AM »

Four AM Blasters with Entropy Amplifier is much stronger than what Harbinger can output.

It's a mostly theoretical loadout. Even with maxed out character skills you barely have enough flux to fire all 4, but almost nothing to use on cloak during approach to actually bypass shield.
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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #867 on: August 27, 2019, 05:39:32 AM »

Player cannot always fire four all of the time, but three is still at least as good as Harbinger.

If I cannot fire all four at once, then I can fire those that did not fire at something else before those that did fire cool down.

What else would I use with AM Blasters?
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TaLaR

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #868 on: August 27, 2019, 06:06:52 AM »

Player cannot always fire four all of the time, but three is still at least as good as Harbinger.

If I cannot fire all four at once, then I can fire those that did not fire at something else before those that did fire cool down.

What else would I use with AM Blasters?

I find 3 Blaster variant more convenient (can fit comfort hullmods, 4 Blaster variant ends up very ascetic). Though I guess cruisers do often have just 1 shot worth of hp left after triple shot.
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Alex

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Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« Reply #869 on: August 27, 2019, 07:57:06 AM »

(Just wanted to say I've been keeping up with this.)

[/b] I'd very much prefer to play phase chess with shield-bypass aware AI...

Yeah, I saw your other suggestion thread! It sounds neat, but it's veeery much the sort of thing the AI is going to fail at no matter what. It trying to do that would have the effect of it being weaker overall or more easily gamed in most situations, and periodically just acting "weird" for no player-discernible reason... long-term planning is just really difficult to pull off. It's the whole "the failure mode of the AI trying to be smart is it looking dumb" thing.
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