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

Author Topic: (spoiler) Battlestation range  (Read 2131 times)

Plantissue

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(spoiler) Battlestation range
« on: February 02, 2019, 10:42:30 AM »

Currently fighting the AI remnant battlestation is a bit fustrating and odd. I think the cause of that is that its range and sight is phenomenally massive, shooting from out of the fog of war. I'm not sure from what range it shoots from and it may be aided by that the size and shape of the AI remnant battlestation may give extra range to the outer guns from when it is detected, but it feels that its range is about 4000, thus any ship approaching and retreating from the battlestation is under fire for a lengthy amount of time and range.  Various skills will alleviate this problem, but wil not solve that it is shooting from out of the fog of war. As it is currently with the default 200 battlesize, you can only deploy 120 deployment points worth of units. Using a brute force combat capital ship deployment it is either 2 Paragons or 3 Onslaughts worth of deployment. Deploying Onslaughts will roughly need deploying 7 Onslaughts and losing 3 Onslaughts. Whilst deploying the Paragon will, with some personal piloting lose nothing. It is quite the disparity. I think the cause of the disparity is the sheer range of the AI remnant battlestation and the range of the Paragon itself combined with range reducing skills. I suspect the AI remnant battlestation is so massive in the first place in order to counter the massive range of the Paragon which has Advance Targetting Core which combined with the Advanced Optics Hullmod can give an excessive range to snipe AI remnant battlestation modules.

So I propose that the maximal range the AI battlestation can shoot at (which I have no idea what it is, or what the rnage boost it is under) is reduced so it cannot shoot from out of the fog of war.
In line with this, the Advance Targetting Core of the Paragon built in hullmod is reduced, so it cannot simply outrange the AI remnant station including that the weapon range of the AI Battlestation is reduced by 25% due to skills.

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Megas

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2019, 12:23:25 PM »

That was why I posted "If Paragon gets outranged (by too many guns), then it is only a matter of time before Paragon loses to attrition, especially against full-power Remnant Nexus." some time back elsewhere.  Full power Remnant Nexus is no joke, and if your ship's flux gets too high, solo Paragon does not have enough time to withdraw before it needs to drop shields and eat some combo of HILs, Squalls, Gauss, and maybe fighter spam, which will hurt.  In early releases, Nexus did not have Gunnery Implants, and Paragon piloted by character with -25% to enemy range and Gunnery Implants outranged it, and could surgically pick off Nexus modules without getting shot back by HILs and Squalls.  Now, Nexus has Gunnery Implants, and Targeting Supercomputer might have been buffed from +200% range to +250% range in 0.9a (probably for other battlestations so they do not get outranged too).

Advanced Targeting Core is not much more than ITU, and the point of ATC on Paragon is so that ballistics ships cannot trivially solo Paragon by kiting and sniping.  Paragon is almost like a mobile small station (atypical of high-tech), and it needs the extra range to compensate for energy weapons' inferior range.

For what it is worth, when Tachyon Lance had 2500 or more base range, enemy Paragon could and would snipe at things from beyond fog-of-war.  It was a real terror (and fun to fight), until Tachyon Lance range was cut to 1000, at which point, Paragon became a pushover for things that could avoid and outrange it.  (Dominator could trivially kill Paragon.  Eagle could do it, but barely has the firepower to do so before CR decays too much.)  With ATC, Paragon got some of its range back and is legitimately dangerous.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 12:27:15 PM by Megas »
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RawCode

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2019, 08:21:31 PM »

issue will be fixed in next version, you will get 300 points to fight station, this is 5 paragons deployed at once.
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Plantissue

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 09:55:43 AM »

Megas, as you had posted before, you are still wrong as the Solo paragon can simply shoot once, or till the hard flux is just before half full, turn on fortress shield and retreat and do this ad infinitum till all the outer remnant weapon platforms are gone. It doesn't necessarily have to be solo either, you can add other ships to take hits/decrease range, the end result is still the same: no ships lost vs 3 /4 Onslaughts lost. The disparity is immense. I don't know why you are so recalcitrant over this. Normally you would profess to be happy to claim to use ships as skilfully as possible.

In any case, maybe I wasn't clear enough. I dislike the gameplay of shooting from out of fog of war in a game like this. At the moment the range is excessive. It doesn't matter about the past Tachyon Lance or not, it is unfun combat gameplay then, and it is still bad gameplay now. In this case I am against it, because the range is so immense that the losses taken to fight an AI remnant station is immense, because the usual tactic of retreating when appropriate is nullified except for a ship that can render itself invulnerable because of Fortress Shield and the shorter distance to retreat because range it initially engages on. The range is so excessively large that ships entering the map from the start of the battle will be immediately fired on by the Battlestation Gauss Cannon without ECM rating, about 5000 units away and you cannot tell the ships to eliminate the battlestation till you enter it's range when it is revealed from the fog of war some 3000 units away. It probably doesn't help that the Gauss cannon is some 500 units away from the centre of the battlestation when it is detected. Since ships don't naturally hide behind each other when in trouble, to exchange taking flux hits, it only leaves normal combat ships the option of just brute forcing vs the AI remant battlestation with multiple reinforcements as you simply cannot retreat against the battlestation safely.

I suggest a change in Paragon inbuilt Advance Targeting Core hullmod so that the AI Remnant can then have a reduced range, or a redesigned outer weapon platform so that more interesting interactions can occur. For instance, giving the rough and ready objective that the Gauss Cannon should not have a range beyond 3000, then at +150% range would give the Gauss Cannon and range of 3000. At -25% range of full ECM, then that Gauss cannon will have a range of 2250.

Keeping the Paragon integrated ATC hullmod range bonus of +100% and Advance Optics would give the Tachyon lance/High Intensity Laser a range of 2200, so it cannot outrange the Gauss Cannon specifically, but leeway must be given for the platform/armour itself. If the integrated ATC hullmod was instead +80%, it will always be outranged by the Gauss Cannon by 250 range even with full ECM. The outer platforms can have an extra Gauss cannon to compensate for its lost of range. And so there will be a broadened option of what to deploy vs the AI battlestation.

I don't know what the intention is behind the forces required to take on an AI battlestation, but there is something ridiculous about the decision to defeat an AI battlestation with combat warships will involve the decision to have 6/7 Onslaughts and lose 3/4 Onslaughts, or have a Paragon in the fleet and so lose none at all. Surely a better gameplay would be to lose a roughly even amount of combat warships. With my suggested change for instance people might even try cruisers rather than pure capital ships.

If the problem is that of a Dominator being able to kite a Paragon then the rest of the game can change around that too. As it is now, a Dominator with Gauss Cannon and ITU has a range of 1680 and a Tachyon Lance on an ITU Capital ship (non-Paragon) would have 1600, so with an Advanced Optics hullmod would have 1800 and so outrange the Dominator anyways. Having +100% instead of +60% doesn't change that interaction. With 25 OP invested in Vents, a Dominator should be able to dissipate 2 Tachyon Lances no matter how much the tachyon Lance over ranges it,  till it can get into range anyways.

I wonder though, is the Battlestation weapon range actually is +250%? I estimated +275%. There's no infomation in the game about the battlestation hulls and hullmods.


___________


issue will be fixed in next version, you will get 300 points to fight station, this is 5 paragons deployed at once.
Really? The only thing I can find is "Total battle size in vs-station battles is increased by the deployment cost of the station", which is +50 deployment. I don't see how that turns into 5 paragons deployed at once. It's not even enough for an additional 1 paragon.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 11:16:07 AM by Plantissue »
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Megas

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 12:43:46 PM »

Megas, as you had posted before, you are still wrong as the Solo paragon can simply shoot once, or till the hard flux is just before half full, turn on fortress shield and retreat and do this ad infinitum till all the outer remnant weapon platforms are gone. It doesn't necessarily have to be solo either, you can add other ships to take hits/decrease range, the end result is still the same: no ships lost vs 3 /4 Onslaughts lost. The disparity is immense. I don't know why you are so recalcitrant over this. Normally you would profess to be happy to claim to use ships as skilfully as possible.
I just tried solo Paragon against full-strength Nexus.  First, with only few combat skills (Gunnery Implants, Power Grid Modulation, Helmsmanship).  By the time I could get Paragon into range to shoot at modules, Paragon's flux was already at max, then overloaded.  Next, I tried with more combat skills (Defensive Systems, Ordnance Expert, few others), and I could make it by the time my hard flux was a bit more than half.  I could not quite withdraw far enough away from Nexus's HIL range before Paragon overloaded.  I suppose what you say about Paragon soloing Nexus is possible, but your character and Paragon must be min-maxed or built specifically for the job.  (My Paragon had Augmented Engines and Efficiency Overhaul, so it did not have the OP for Hardened Shields or ECM Package or a modicum of capacitors.)  I do not know if a more non-(direct-)combat focused character (like zombie/Industry specialist) could do it.

Update:  I tried the fight again after replacing campaign mods with Hardened Shields and ECM package.  Turns out that Nexus had Electronic Warfare, which offset that from EW 1, so Nexus only got -5% instead of -9% after my EW1 + ECM hullmod.  After a few minor mistakes, I managed to solo the Nexus with quad lance Paragon.  So, it is possible for characters with the necessary character skills and the right Paragon loadout to solo the Nexus.  Unskilled or inappropriately skilled character will not be able to do that even with a good loadout.

* * *

As for the rest of the post...

I have no problem with enemies shooting from beyond fog-of-war, and I do not think it is neither unfun nor bad gameplay.  If anything, I have a problem with Starsector having too few long-ranged attacks.  I often think of Starsector more of a hack-and-slash, Marvel vs. Capcom fighting game, or chainsaw jousting in space, instead of a shoot-'em-up, because shot range of most weapons are annoyingly short.  There should be more weapons like classic Tachyon Lance (with 2500+ range).  The only viable weapons that are like this are fighters.  Pilums in 0.9a do not count since they are completely ineffective.

With that said, map sight radius could be larger than 2000 something units because I am annoyed that I try to target enemies on the screen but cannot because they are in the fog-of-war, even though I can see them on the screen!  (I play with a standard HD monitor.)

I do not think Paragon should lose ATC just so battlestations can have less range too.  Even with ATC, Paragon's beams barely outrange Gauss Cannon from other capitals unless Paragon has Advanced Optics too (which is probably a given, admittedly), and those beams will not do much good against tough enemies without hard flux from HVDs.  If Paragon is built for plasma/pulse laser spam, it needs ATC to be close to par against other capitals.  (700 * 2 is still less than 900 * 1.6.)

As for forces needed against a battlestation, I would expect a big fleet of at least cruiser-sized, preferably capital-sized, ships to swarm and overrun it, and anything less should result in a rout or loss.  That is not really possible given map size limits.  If player tried that, it probably end up like a Mortal Kombat style endurance match where player probably deploys two or three big ships at a time then send in more replacement 1UPs as ships die.  Of course, that is not good enough when it is possible to min-max ships to solo any single top-tier target.  For example, chain-deploy triple Typhoon Harbinger that can knock out anything in the game, until next release.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 02:07:43 PM by Megas »
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Plantissue

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 03:01:26 PM »

Gald you admit that you are wrong, with a little testing.

Anyways...if you don't see a problem being shot at from beyond the fog of war, from a target so far away that you can't even focus on it, your strange gaming analogies non-withstanding, there is nothing much to discuss.

What matter mostly is range difference. I think that weapons can should have ranges tighter together. Or ships speeds tighter together. but that is an issue for another day that the developer probably isn't interested in changing.

2500 range tachyon Lance was bad game design. It was excessive and not fun for the human player receiving the attack. it entirely negated a whole branch of fleet choice with it's excesively large range and spike damage.

Map sight radius is 3000 I beleive. the reason why you can see them but not target them is because ships have a larger than 0 physical  size. The middle of the ship might be out of 3000, but the edge of the ship from that centre is under 3000 range.

You have given no real reason for why the paragon must have +100% range. Your dominator example is a solved problem that doesn't change wther the Paragon has +100% range or +1000% range. In any case you have shifted the goalposts. If the idea is that a pulse/plasma Paragon cannot be kited by a gauss cannon dominator then it needs more than +100 range anyways. That just sounds like an argument that Gauss cannon range should be reduced.

Deploying multiple capital ships and reinforcing as ships die is exaclty the problem here. As I have written already you cannot deploy a big fleet of cruiser warships. They simply don't have the survivability becuase of the battlestation range. The losses start early due to the excessive remnant station range and because of that range the ships cannot retreat and get destroyed, even before they can do reasonable damage to the Remnant station. With 120 deployment, 3 intitally are deployed, with 3 reinforcements with a total of 6 onslaughts need to be deployed and 3 destroyed, or one paragon and no losses. Perhaps there is a number of dominators that can be deployed succesfully, but it'll be at least 15 given reasonable extrapolation from onslaught losses.

What do you think should be a reasonable number of cruisers or capital ships that should be deployed and lost? In any case rereading the notes for the next version, the next maximum deployment points will be 210, alleviating some of this problem, by simply increasing the deployment size.
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Megas

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 04:12:20 PM »

Gald you admit that you are wrong, with a little testing.
I would not say I was completely wrong since player needs to build for it.  When I first tried it, before you brought it up, I could not do it because Paragon got too much hard flux before it could shoot at the Nexus, but that was because I did not have the proper skills and hullmods.  If player does not get multiple necessary skills, then he cannot do it.  In particular, player needs to somewhat specialize in combat skills, that is spend significant and permanent character resources to get a flagship with superior speed, shields, flux stats, shot range, and hard flux dissipation perk.  In addition, I had to give up campaign hullmods (which kind of hurts) to fit all of the extra hullmods I need to ensure enough flux (namely Hardened Shields and ECM Package).  With useful campaign mods that take combat power away, Paragon could not get close enough to Nexus without exceeding half flux capacity (and thus be overloaded before withdrawing far enough away).

This is not unlike 0.8 Astral being able to solo Nexus, but player needed to min-max carrier skills and get six Sparks (which had two burst lasers instead of one) to do it.  Here, at least player can build a direct combat specialist that is useful for a wide variety of warships and have Paragon solo Nexus that way.  However, that means player does not have many skills to spare for other things, like exploration, or zombie fleet industrialist, or colony builder.

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2500 range tachyon Lance was bad game design. It was excessive and not fun for the human player receiving the attack. it entirely negated a whole branch of fleet choice with it's excesively large range and spike damage.
Here, I disagree about so-called "bad design".  It helps that Tachyon Lance did not pierce shields when it had that range, plus it costed 32 OP back in the day (though 28 with Optimized Assembly perk, before skill rebalance).

I read much about so-called jargon like "balance" and "good/bad design or game master", among others, in recent times, and I think some of the "bad design" is more like "spoiled-gamer-wants-win-on-a-silver-platter-syndrome" and does not want to admit it (and blame game designer for the problem), or someone who does not like the style of gaming that was either enjoyable or acceptable twenty to forty years ago.

The only thing Lance negated was shieldless targets like Hounds, which were already negated by Harpoons and other stuff, and some fighters that were more like ships than weapons before 0.8.  It had better due to the price player paid to mount the weapon!  Maybe other frigates and Enforcers if several could be focused (although a fleet with that many lances could just steamroll the enemy with other weapons).  Otherwise, it was completely negated by shields since it is incapable of hard flux.  Back then, Tachyon Lance did not have the shield pierce feature, so shields of most ships completely stopped it.  AI would have shields up, and players that knew enemy Paragon was coming should have shields up to block it.

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You have given no real reason for why the paragon must have +100% range.
I already did (which is basically leveling the playing field with ballistic ships since high-tech Paragon handles like one), maybe in a roundabout way, even if you do not accept it.  A better question, now that Paragon has had ATC for 0.9a and all of 0.8.x without any problems (at least I do not see any), is why Paragon should lose range?  Of course, you gave your answers.

As for Gauss Cannon, the only reasons to use Gauss Cannon over Mark IX or other heavy ballistics is range and accuracy.  It costs 26 OP and generates a ton of flux, not to mention slow firing, so Gauss Cannon better have something going.  As it is, I do not use Gauss Cannon unless I absolutely need the range (like Conquest fighting against SIM Paragon).  Otherwise, the ship is better off with cheaper or better weapons like Mark IX or Mjolnir.

Quote
What do you think should be a reasonable number of cruisers or capital ships that should be deployed and lost? In any case rereading the notes for the next version, the next maximum deployment points will be 210, alleviating some of this problem, by simply increasing the deployment size.
Off the top of my head, I honestly do not know.  If a single, optimized ship can take out the station, that becomes the standard to measure by, and anything less is sub-optimal, regardless of what feels right.  I guess if player wants battle of Endor experience, then the death star will one-shot several capitals (by Rebel standards) before the death star itself gets knocked out.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 04:34:02 PM by Megas »
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Plantissue

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 02:38:22 PM »

Eh? You still don't need any combat skills. You can do it with 0 combat skills. You only need to move up to range, shoot once or twice and not miss, and you turn fortress shields on and retreat. it's the fleet skills that you would want really. I really can't see what you are doing wrong. Which is funny for a guy who talks about "spoiled-gamer-wants-win-on-a-silver-platter-syndrome" about being shot at from out of the fog of war. As for +100% range paragon, you say that it is needed becuase of a player dominator that can kite the paragon, in which a player dominator with enough flkux OP can always just dissapitate the flux away anyways, then you change it to capitals, in which case +100% range is not enough to prevent kiting, so what does it matter? Lowering Gauss range to 1000 would be a much better solution to both problems and alleviate others.

In either case since you seem to disagree that being shot at from outside the fog of war and to alleviate the "optimal answer" as problems there isn't much to say other than that you disagree with that.

But let me ask you instead, how do you defeat a Remant AI station? At which point do you think that fleet styles should be enabled to be more diversified? Even if 1 paragon cannot solo, 2 paragons certainly can with no losses, skills or no skills, and that is surely cheaper to obtain, deploy and with less loss that 6 Onslaughts and 3 Onslaughts lost, or 15+ cruisers lost.
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Megas

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2019, 05:59:43 AM »

Eh? You still don't need any combat skills. You can do it with 0 combat skills. You only need to move up to range, shoot once or twice and not miss, and you turn fortress shields on and retreat. it's the fleet skills that you would want really.
For soloing, I tried that with almost no combat skills and hard flux was almost capped by the time the Nexus was in range of Paragon's lances, thanks to constant pressure from all of the Nexus attacks and fighters, with insufficient flux to fire lances at Nexus, and my Paragon overloaded a second after.  Only after I got skills to min-max flux and shield stats, and replaced campaign mods with more critical combat mods, that Paragon could tank and reach Nexus before hard flux reaches half, then my ship could fire once, turn on fortress shield, then withdraw... then repeat.

With a fleet, and Nexus distracted by my other ships, sure, any capital can get close and wail on Nexus.

As for the question, I cannot answer that since I have not tried to kill the Nexus lately (aside from solo Paragon test... and one other), since it is the golden goose that lays the golden core and LPC eggs.  Why kill it when I can let it spawn infinite Remnant fleets for my fleet to farm for cores and chips?  (The only reason to kill today is it the system it is in has a great Terran planet you want to permanently settle, but even then, player might let colony patrols do the dirty work eventually.)

P.S.  I did try a solo fight against full power Nexus with triple Typhoon Harbinger, and (I do not remember all details but) either it knocked off most of the modules or killed the whole station.  No wonder why Harbinger will lose the synergies next release.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 07:03:10 AM by Megas »
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Plantissue

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Re: (spoiler) Battlestation range
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 11:03:08 AM »

No combat skills were taken. As in the combat skill tree, not as in any skills that could be said to be related to combat. I can't remember as it was a while ago but I didn't have an skills that affect the piloted ship solely. I would presume that you would have all the hullmods anyways by the time you want to kill a Remnant station. I've long since forgotten the exact skills I had but only the Leadership, Technology and Industry skills were ever taken. Gunnery Implants and Power grid manipulation were not taken at all. None of the skills in the combat skill tree were taken at all.


Yeah the Typhoon harbinger is a lot of fun. It's a shame, but it had to go. 3 mining blasters will be almost as good vs ships, but without the devastation towards stations. When I did it I had to deploy a fleet as distraction and it would still get destroyed in the short period it was unphased, but whatever.

Judging from the lack of replies other than you Megas, I think that most people actually never bothered to try to defeat the AI remnant battlestation in the base game, set at at the default 200 battlesize.


But it is as you said, there's little reason to do so. At least for not for the sake of curiosity. The loot is not worth it, being mostly trash items. Not even an AI core guaranteed. You'll think a nanoforge or synchrotron would be guaranteed as well. What's the point? I guess they are normally next to some nice worlds to colonise, but there are normally some nice worlds that don't force you to lose 3 Onslaughts or have obtain a Paragon to be freely able to enter and leave.
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