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Author Topic: My take on Starsector as a new player  (Read 1343 times)

Ludd wills it

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My take on Starsector as a new player
« on: February 19, 2020, 03:19:24 AM »

Hello, I have recently found out about this beautiful game and have been binge playing it for the last 3 weeks or so. I have to say a love this game, the theme/setting, the unique factions, the colonization but probably most of all the space exploration. I really had a blast with this game. The game is still in early development, so I hope that by writing a bit about my experience I can help improve it. I am probably gonna write a lot and sound a bit nitpicky, but be assured that I love this game and really just want to help making it better by sharing my experiences. Also I should say I played the game unmodded, so all I write about is about the vanilla gameplay and that English is not my native language.

The main two things I think are flawed about the game right now are 1) it is unfinished and 2) the balance is off. 1) is obvious so I will mostly focus on the balance of the game right now.
Star sector desperately needs a hard mode. It is way too easy to go from rags to having multiple fully fortified colonies that each churn out 100k+ credits per month while the star fortresses beat down all attackers on their own. The best way to do so is to make money from trading with colonies that have a supply deficit. Even as early as the tutorial the player can just buy up the stock of items the starting colonies have, wait until they run out of supply and sell them back the items at 3 times the price. Its easily possible to finish the tutorial with over 100k credits in the bank. But it doesnt stop there, next the player will just head to the Kumari Kandam Star system, where the Luddic Path is perpetually undersupplied because they are at war with almost everyone. One can simply buy a bunch of supplies/fuel/Marines from Olinadu or the nearby Askonia star system and and deliver them to Chalcedon for a huge profit. The patrols are extremely weak, even a starting fleet can probably deal with them, and even if by some miracle they catch you and you can't fight them, the Luddic Path patrols will just let you off for a few thousand credits.
By now the player will have a few hundreds of thousands of credits at their disposal and this is where things truly become absurd. At this point, I usually buy civilian transporter or two, buy about 500 marines and just shut down all the Staceports in the Kumari Kandam star system. After a month or so of waiting (I usually start colonizing the first planets during this time while I wait to be able to trade with the colonies again) the player can now deliver huge quantaties of wares into 3 colonies of that star system, usually bought from Askonia, at a gigantic market up, at barely any risk. A lot of easy delivery trips later, the player will have millions of credits that they can invest into the colonies and a decently strong fleet.
To emphasize this, less than half a cycle has passed and at this point I am already at 4 million+ credits and have my first few colonies going and usually I havent done a single battle or mission (aside from the procurement missions you inevitably get after shutting down the spaceports and the tutorial missions). Trading is too easy in this game. Shutting down a colony's spaceport is too easy/too strong.

Now lets talk about colonies, I also think taking any colony is way too easy. The startup price is 100 heavy machinery and 200 supplies and 1000 crew. This amounts to about 40000 credits which is just way too low considering how much money they return and how quickly they do it. Also finding "good" planets is way too easy on most seeds, because usually you have 1 or 2 good planets in the Hegemony controlled space, which you can instantly access due to starting with the game with enough reputation to instantly get a commission from them, the Duzahk star system has a good chance of having a really good planet, the Persean League or Luddic Church might have one and Al Gebbar almost always has a good cryovolcanic planet. Basically, you don't even have to leave the core worlds to find a really good place to settle or to make the credits to sustain that colony.
This also really devalues exploration, when I played the game for the first time and found a class V Terran planet at 75% hazard rating I was overjoyed, but after understanding the game a bit better I realize that trying to find a good planet is pretty much a waste of time, just settling the first decent planets you find within or close to the core worlds is much better since the colonies will grow way more quickly and return money way quicker this way. Even a class I "barren world" type planet can be a huge moneymaker if it has a low hazard rating, just put Refining/Light Industries/Fuel Production/Heavy Industries there and youre gonna make huge amounts of credits.

Now I want to talk about some smaller problems I see in the game.
Luddic Path: These are probably the most non-threatening extremists of all time. I frankly don't even know what their sleeper cells do, I only get a message saying that an incident has been averted by local security. Is it even possible for them to harm your colonies? Also they don't have any military bases so you can just go into their star systems and colonize their planets and they can't do anything about it. The fleets near their bases outside of the core worlds can actually be decently strong, but they are usually slow and easy to avoid, so I just never bother fighting them. Also you can go crazy on AI cores, technology, Heavy Industries and still be best friends with them because you don't get any reputation penalty, just harmless sleeper cells which don't do anything, which is a bit absurd considering they are anti tech extremists.

Tri-Tachyon: they are also just really weak, their task forces do very little.

Pirates: I like the pirates! They are the only thing in the game that really poses some amount of threat to the player. Yay pirates!

Hacking: Hacking Nav Buoys and Comms really easy and usually poses no threat at all, at most the player has to wait a bit before a patrol orbiting them leaves, if there is one at all.

Character Points: The whole "Combat" tree is too weak, it only affects one ship at a time and the player can just hire officers to do the same thing, the other trees are so much better. Especially the Industry and Technology ones.

Hyperspace: in Hyperspace you can just fly around without a Transponder and nobody is gonna be bothered by it or run away from you, so it makes it really easy to raid shipping fleets with minimal danger or reputation loss.

Death: Losing all your ships is really inconsequential since you just get teleported and get a new fleet while retaining all your colonies and losing nothing. Sometimes When in deep space, I put all my stuff into a colony and just suicide to get back to the core worlds quicker, which is a bit silly. Permanent death when losing your entire fleet should be a thing, at least on a higher difficulty.

Deep space exploration: This is one of my favorite parts of the game, I absolutely loved it the first few times I was just flying around through space, discovering things. Sadly, as you get to understand the game more, you realize some things a get very predictable. Blackhole star system? Might have a Research station near the center, otherwise can be ignored. Blue giant? Probably doesnt have any good planets, can be ignored. System doesnt have many planets and only has 1 jump point? Can probably be ignored. On the contrary, if you see a Domain gate, Domain Nav Buoy/Comm/Sensor Array or some AI Remnants it very likely has good planets. This makes deep space exploration very predictable, and I quite often skip star systems or enter and immediately leave them, because you can instantly get too much information about the star system without even really exploring it. Please make the star systems less predictable, scatter more random stuff about, give the player less information for just entering a system, just wandering around deep space aimlessly and flying through star systems and finding random stuff was one of the most fun parts for me.

Patrols: Duping patrols is way too easy in this game. You can simply smuggle huge amounts of wares to a colony, sell everything on the black market and they can't do anything, because even if they "catch" you, they won't find anything since you already sold everything. Also when buying illegal stuff, you can simply use the Transverse Jump and even if there is a patrol orbiting the planet they will not be able to catch you in time before the jump goes through. Also since speed is capped at 20 units its usually really easy to outrun them too since they can never catch up to you as long as you have 20 speed, which is really easy to reach with a hacked Nav Buoy. Considering patrols are the only thing to really stop the player from getting rich from trading easily this is one of the bigger flaws in the game.

So yeah, that was a lot of text. Hope this is of any value to you. Again I absolutely love the game and despite some of it's flaws I had a lot more fun with it than I had with most other games I got to play in recent years. Thanks a bunch to the people reading all of this, and thank you developers for keeping this amazing project up.
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FinalTwist

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2020, 05:41:45 AM »

Good writeup!

Exploration really needs to be fleshed out more, since its so fun... you forgot to mention selling blueprints to make money instantly and early on.  I usually get a *** ship and go explore, get a 400k blueprint or two, then instantly have enough for a magnificent fleet... maybe 30 minutes in the game.

Exploration needs some flavour to it... stories, background, more randomness.  totally agree there.  its a really fun (and dangerous) part of the game.  Decivilized planets?  why not put some background story on there?  why is it decivilized?  who did it?  what happened?  who were they before?  Community writers could really help here.

As for colonies... i disagree... get Nexerelin.  Nexerelin should really be integrated into the main game.  MAkes holding on to colonies a lot harder, and more fun.
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SapphireSage

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2020, 05:52:07 AM »

Nice writing. Sounds like you were able to successfully exploit the trading system as it was intended, though maybe the payouts are a bit too high for the diffculty.

The Luddic Path Terrorist cells are supposed to regularly destroy the industries/buildings on your colony similar to faction expeditions but without being able to prevent it with ground defenses and needing to destroy the LP bases. Unfortunately, due to a recent change to allow for higher stability to give a chance of preventing it, there was an error and now all terrorist sabotage attempts are prevented as long as a colony has at least 2 stability. So for right now, their cells just reduce colony stability by a measly 1.

When the next major patch comes out and its fixed, or you decide to go for fixing it yourself Pathers are attracted to colonies with H. Industry, Fuel Production, Nanoforges/Synchrotron cores, and AI usage. Once you have enough of those then they'll show up and start causing trouble and are impossible to remove save for removing the offending industries/AI.
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Megas

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2020, 06:00:59 AM »

When the next major patch comes out and its fixed, or you decide to go for fixing it yourself Pathers are attracted to colonies with H. Industry, Fuel Production, Nanoforges/Synchrotron cores, and AI usage. Once you have enough of those then they'll show up and start causing trouble and are impossible to remove save for removing the offending industries/AI.
And core admins cannot be safely removed by you after it governs a world long enough.  (Inspectors can safely remove cores gone bad.)

If Pather cells worked, then they, not Hegemony inspectors would be the main deterrent to core use for me.  At least inspectors can be killed off permanently by destroying Hegemony.  Pathers are immortal zombies like Pirates.
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Plantissue

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2020, 06:31:12 AM »

A good read. English is may not be your native language, but you write as if it is. Certainly better than many new posters. We can do with more viewpoints of making as much money as quickly as possible. I agree broadly with many of your observations. Trading is easy. Colonies can be a very fast return on money, especially if you don't care to explore to find the best worlds. Exploring is devalued with colonies already set up. You are only really exploring as it's interesting and for blueprints.

What do you think about the path to setting up multiple fully fortified colonies, before you have that huge moneymaker of multiple industries?
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Thaago

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2020, 09:26:33 AM »

Thanks for the writeup and welcome to the forum! With regards to that trading run: sounds to me like the danger of Luddic Path systems needs to be upped...
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wei270

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2020, 09:32:07 PM »

it should be upped progressively, but it should be upped.
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SonnaBanana

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2020, 10:36:20 PM »

Luddic Path: These are probably the most non-threatening extremists of all time. I frankly don't even know what their sleeper cells do, I only get a message saying that an incident has been averted by local security. Is it even possible for them to harm your colonies? Also they don't have any military bases so you can just go into their star systems and colonize their planets and they can't do anything about it. The fleets near their bases outside of the core worlds can actually be decently strong, but they are usually slow and easy to avoid, so I just never bother fighting them. Also you can go crazy on AI cores, technology, Heavy Industries and still be best friends with them because you don't get any reputation penalty, just harmless sleeper cells which don't do anything, which is a bit absurd considering they are anti tech extremists.
That's from a coding error, should be fixed next release.
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SCC

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2020, 12:07:27 AM »

Combat tree seems weak, because it relies on player skill. Good players with combat focus can make their flagship punch way above their weight, up to Paragons soloing stations.

DatonKallandor

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2020, 04:11:32 AM »

Most new players think the game is way too hard. So it's probably just perfect.
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bobucles

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2020, 06:18:21 AM »

The value of the combat tree is highly dependent on battle size. It seems tuned mostly for vanilla settings, where the player ship can be a substantial chunk of a 300 size battlefield. Player input is much less meaningful as you reach 500 or larger battle spaces. At that point you are better grabbing the fleet wide boosts, which are already pretty powerful in vanilla settings.

I think the game difficulty settings could more meaningfully tackle the ways that players actually die. For example, the biggest hurdle early game is income and supply debt. Extra combat damage doesn't really fix that, a new player will run out of supplies either way. Easy mode should probably cut supply drain in half. Staying in the green is also a serious early game obstacle, so higher mission payouts might make sense on easy. The amount of loot you find in space is also substantial, so other tweaks may include a far higher chance of lost ship recovery or a multiplier on basic supplies from battle. Then easy mode would be easier across the board.

Mondaymonkey

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2020, 10:35:41 AM »

Combat tree seems weak, because it relies on player skill. Good players with combat focus can make their flagship punch way above their weight, up to Paragons soloing stations.

You do not have to be a "good player" or have any combat skills to destroy any station with solo paragon. All you need is a proper weapons\mods loadout and some patience. All the types of station have their weakness, while a paragon is cheating-overpowered pice of solid overwhelming.

P.S. I love all of mine paragons. :-*
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I dislike human beings... or I just do not know how to cook them well.

Aereto

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Re: My take on Starsector as a new player
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2020, 12:46:05 PM »

Thanks for the writeup and welcome to the forum! With regards to that trading run: sounds to me like the danger of Luddic Path systems needs to be upped...
As though I hear a thousuand "OOF"s suddenly, and then silenced just as quick. When it comes to the Luddic Path, I shake with one hand, and carry a Pirate blaster in the other. Enough rep to keep them off my back while I let them get away with punching other factions in my systems, but enough to destroy their stations to further befriend Pirates.
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