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Author Topic: Yet another fighter balance post  (Read 4724 times)

SonnaBanana

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2020, 10:24:19 AM »

Just double the replacement time for all of them.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2020, 10:44:36 AM »

If you kill the fighters faster, replacement rate goes down and the next swarm of fighters is slower/less effective. Mitigating the fighter swarms is something that I've felt has been relatively unchanged since 0.8 and fighters with shields make a lot of PD much less effective at outright killing fighters. Since killing the fighters is the only recourse an opposing ship has to slowing fighters' perpetual waves, this leads to carriers having a perennial advantage that can be multiplied if you keep adding carriers. 
I agree that there is a problem with replacement rates being too high resulting in a feeling of 'endless waves of fighters'. I think one root cause of the high replacement rates from a balance perspective is more that the mechanisms in place to coordinate fighters and bombers are somewhat bare. It's nearly impossible to time/coordinate bombers, and as far as I can tell, the AI has very little high level perspective, and mostly just focuses its fighters on the nearest enemy (or sometimes escorting the player). I think a result of that is that the fighters and bombers have to be over-tuned to consistently get good value without coordination. Since they can't be ordered to attack at the right moment like missiles can, they have to overpower the enemy with brute force/endless waves. I think if the player (and AI) had more ability to coordinate fighters, they could be tuned to be much weaker while still being influential. The old system had some significant advantages in that area: the fighters/bombers for the entire fleet could be ordered to group up/wait/engage by the players. Even some basic strategic commands like 'hold fire/regroup' and strike for the entire fleet would make a big difference. I know the game really wants to steer the player away from an overly micro-managy style of play, but I think this is one place where giving the player a lot of strategic control is fun and satisfying. Without that control, weaker/nerfed fighters will feel useless because they attack at the wrong moment and die too easily.

Most carriers are poor warships anyway and that sounds to me like shoehorning a square peg into a round hole. I would prefer tweaking the current system rather than going back to the old.
Completely agree, I like that new carriers are a completely unique class of ship with a unique play style rather than bad warships. I think giving the player more control over the fighters would make them actually fun to pilot which is my main complaint about them.
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Megas

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2020, 10:47:08 AM »

Pre 0.6a releases had a hangar stat which affected how many fighters the fleet could use.  It still required Fleet Points or whatever Logistics was called before 0.6a.  Hangar stat was less than Fleet Points, and it meant the player could not fill up the entire fleet with fighters.  At that time (before immortal fighter wings), most ships had some hangar stat (Hound had enough to bring Talons in the fleet).  All that carriers did was repair and regenerate damaged wings in battle, which was handy (but it consumed supplies).

Just double the replacement time for all of them.
I would remove Expanded Deck Crew first then see what happens (which I support if it means carriers have enough OP to properly support guns like they used to, although more likely means ship will get Daggers instead of Piranhas).  While the hullmod may or may not be overpowered, it boosts the carriers' prime fighter stats and is on par with ITU in importance.  It is a no-brainer hullmod for dedicated carriers to take, to the point of being an OP tax.
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Grievous69

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2020, 10:54:10 AM »

Completely agree, I like that new carriers are a completely unique class of ship with a unique play style rather than bad warships. I think giving the player more control over the fighters would make them actually fun to pilot which is my main complaint about them.
But this kinda goes against the whole point of fleet customization, build variety. You're just gonna end up with similar-ish fighters every time and exact same mounts (basic PD). This is even worse with carriers that have systems which punish a certain type of fighters. Like Megas said, might as well remove mounts completely from all dedicated carriers and give them some built-in PD just so they're not pinatas.
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TaLaR

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2020, 10:58:38 AM »

It's easy to demonstrate in sim duels that weapons on an optimally-piloted carrier are not just for show. Carrier weapons may not be much, but can easily tip the fight from state where enemy is able to counter fighter strikes to one where they already can't.
... But doing that obviously puts carrier into more risk than standoff style, so i don't expect that from AI ships.
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Megas

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2020, 11:03:19 AM »

I remember in previous releases when I ordered a Heron with Heavy Blaster and some burst PD to rally at a relay in the rear, and two enemy frigates (or maybe Enforcers) tried to attack the lone Heron and steal the relay, while my flagship and other ships were far away busy in separate duels and no help would come.  After a few minutes, the Heron killed them both (one at a time), though took some armor damage (I think)!  An enemy cruiser would probably slaughter the Heron (that I did not pilot), but some small fry, it could defend itself.

That said, Heron in those days had machine gun drones as a ship system.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 11:05:39 AM by Megas »
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2020, 11:09:49 AM »

Completely agree, I like that new carriers are a completely unique class of ship with a unique play style rather than bad warships. I think giving the player more control over the fighters would make them actually fun to pilot which is my main complaint about them.
But this kinda goes against the whole point of fleet customization, build variety. You're just gonna end up with similar-ish fighters every time and exact same mounts (basic PD). This is even worse with carriers that have systems which punish a certain type of fighters. Like Megas said, might as well remove mounts completely from all dedicated carriers and give them some built-in PD just so they're not pinatas.

So add more variety to fighters? There's only one or two fighters per role right now (with the exception of HE bombers), so of course you will only see one or two load outs. This ties into some other threads about adding more ways to differentiate and balance fighters though. In order for there to be more variety, there needs to be more ways that fighters can be different from one another while also not being strictly better or worse. I guess engagement range is an existing stat that could be used more than it is. There could be fighters tuned for aggressive carrier load outs by having very low engagement ranges. I still think an additional mechanic like adding flux cost to fighters or adding bay sizes would go a long way towards adding diversity.

I remember in previous releases when I ordered a Heron with Heavy Blaster and some burst PD to rally at a relay in the rear, and two enemy frigates (or maybe Enforcers) tried to attack the lone Heron and steal the relay, while my flagship and other ships were far away busy in separate duels and no help would come.  After a few minutes, the Heron killed them both (one at a time), though took some armor damage (I think)!  An enemy cruiser would probably slaughter the Heron (that I did not pilot), but some small fry, it could defend itself.

That said, Heron in those days had machine gun drones as a ship system.
If current herons were smart enough to recall fighters to protect themselves, they would have no trouble killing a few frigates. Even then, a beam heron will easily hold off a few frigates without dying until fighters or other ships come to help.
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Thaago

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2020, 11:15:16 AM »

Completely agree, I like that new carriers are a completely unique class of ship with a unique play style rather than bad warships. I think giving the player more control over the fighters would make them actually fun to pilot which is my main complaint about them.
But this kinda goes against the whole point of fleet customization, build variety. You're just gonna end up with similar-ish fighters every time and exact same mounts (basic PD). This is even worse with carriers that have systems which punish a certain type of fighters. Like Megas said, might as well remove mounts completely from all dedicated carriers and give them some built-in PD just so they're not pinatas.

Or put weapons on your carriers, along with flux stats, so that they can fight off smaller enemies.

I'll repeat myself from previous threads: The idea that carriers can't mount weapons is wrong. Claiming a carrier can't mount weapons because doubling down on fighters is "better" and then claiming that build is the only possible one is an example of false optimization.

Mounting bombers + expanded deck crew takes a huge amount of OP so weapons are scarce, but gives a huge amount of possible strike package. A vulnerable but powerful ship.

Mounting heavy fighters or interceptors often doesn't even require EDC, and even including it the OP costs have gone down enough to allow weapons and flux/hullmods (depending on missile or gun armaments). Now the ship has swarming lockdown/anti-frigate capabilities and can fight off smaller enemies that get through. A less vulnerable ship but also less immediately impactful fighter package. In this case make sure the rest of the fleet still has enough kill power to take down hard targets.

Or on battlecarriers go nuts and go all the way down to Talons or Mining Pods. Both are perfectly valid choices on the Legion and Mora, letting them dedicate their OP purely to offense Mora will usually also use SO, to odd but effective results, while the Legion is just a straight up battleship in this configuration that happens to have 4 interceptor wings for hunting down frigates/defense drones.

I wouldn't mind EDC going away because it is too powerful of a hullmod for bombers and vastly skews carrier power towards players (AI autobuilds often don't use it). That said, the OP system for fighters is working perfectly, creating a system with tradeoffs, which IMO is much more interesting than a system that allows for simply stuffing the best of everything onto every ship.

I remember in previous releases when I ordered a Heron with Heavy Blaster and some burst PD to rally at a relay in the rear, and two enemy frigates (or maybe Enforcers) tried to attack the lone Heron and steal the relay, while my flagship and other ships were far away busy in separate duels and no help would come.  After a few minutes, the Heron killed them both (one at a time), though took some armor damage (I think)!  An enemy cruiser would probably slaughter the Heron (that I did not pilot), but some small fry, it could defend itself.

That said, Heron in those days had machine gun drones as a ship system.

Heavy Blaster Heron is still a fine build for making smaller ships back off. I posted one in the other thread that works great. As a player ship you can hunt cruisers because you can control the fighter targets. As an AI ship it will hang back (CARRIER tag) but will be able to push frigates and destroyers back easily.
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Megas

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2020, 02:22:53 PM »

I'll repeat myself from previous threads: The idea that carriers can't mount weapons is wrong. Claiming a carrier can't mount weapons because doubling down on fighters is "better" and then claiming that build is the only possible one is an example of false optimization.
I cannot agree with this for carriers not named Legion.  (Although the point of Legion is battlecarrier; Astral is a superior carrier.)  Whenever I tried unarmed (or armed with basic PD) carriers versus battlecarriers with Talons and the like, the unarmed one performed better every time.  That does not mean battlecarriers loadouts do not work, just not as well as pure carrier (or pure warship if I want guns).  Inferior enough that I will take unarmed loadout every time if I want to win, or at least if I want a carrier instead of a warship.

Legion is an exception.  It can squeeze four or so 8-10 OP fighters (no bombers because Astral is much better at that game) and Deck Crew, plus two heavy weapons, two flak, and ITU.  Then again, if Legion was not a good enough battlecarrier, it would be utter rubbish because Astral does fighters better than Legion, and Onslaught brawls better than Legion.  Well, that is already true, but Legion can do both well enough to go toe-to-toe with a capital or sweep space with non-bombers to pick off the cowardly AI.

But something like Heron?  Too OP starved to get everything I want, so now I spec it for pure fighters.  Drover looks like a ship that could lightly brawl in a pinch, but there is no point.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 02:37:10 PM by Megas »
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Morbo513

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2020, 06:40:10 PM »

Posting in a fighters thread
I want to reiterate what I think might help balance fighters out and generally improve their effect on gameplay.
1) Only bomber primary weapons do 100% damage against full-size ships. Other fighter classes do roughly 25%, more for gunships. EMP weapons only have 10% effectiveness vs full-size, unless it's a bomber's primary weapon.
In other words, full-size ships should be able to largely ignore all but the strongest fighters/gunships unless they're severely damaged or very close to overload - while bombers retain the same threat level.

2) Reduce fighters' health/armor to the point that most 5OP+ ballistic/energy weapons can two-shot most of them, with some generally more resilient. Give them a probability of dodging hits. This would largely be an aesthetic change, it makes little visual sense for tiny fighters to stand up to as much fire as they can. The practical volume of fire required to kill them would be roughly the same, but it gives them a bonus against heavy single-shot weapons that aren't intended for combating fighters; It also means that fighters would less often block a high-power shot meant for a full-size target which is often frustrating.

3) Weapons targeting fighters (and missiles) can fire over friendly ships - maybe only for PD weapons/small weapons with IPDAI or small weapons in general. Fighters are more likely to take fire from multiple sources, PD-heavy ships can do a better job of covering their wingmates.

4) Fighters must dock to replenish their wing. Instead of steadily trickling out and being a near-constant annoyance, fighters can be more easily suppressed by whittling their numbers - Attacking in waves rather than maintaining a relatively consistent presence.

5) Tie replacement rate to carrier's CR - Replacing fighters diminishes the carrier's CR. Not too sure on this one.
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Megas

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2020, 05:28:09 AM »

Astral is another casualty of the ships-as-missiles change.  Before, I would arm it with three heavy blasters, ITU, and maybe some missiles, and try to brawl anything that was smaller than a capital.  Today, because bombers are SO expensive (and Warthogs were nerfed to uselessness), there is no way I can afford weapons beyond minor PD on Astral, along with ITU and high flux stats high-tech ships need (and Expanded Missile Racks if I think about missiles for it).  (Aside:  Other than Legion14, Astral was the only other candidate for aiming dumb-fire missiles, but why would I give up fighters to turn it into a Hammer boat?  So glad that the classic Aurora is being reborn as a new midline ship next release.)  Tridents are so expensive that if I want six of them, I probably have to skimp on the PD and/or flux to squeeze them on in.  (I do not use Tridents, but I use Daggers, Longbows, and maybe others.)  In exchange, Astral can reload bombers at will and destroy nearly anything fast.  It works better without weapons because bombers are infinite missiles.  My typical modern Astral build is five heavy burst lasers and everything else is bombers and Deck Crew.
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pairedeciseaux

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2020, 06:21:37 AM »

My typical modern Astral build is five heavy burst lasers and everything else is bombers and Deck Crew.

Give it 2 Pulse Lasers and they will do wonders at clearing enemy fighters and frigates (to some degree).

Give it a few LRPD and they will help building fleet wide cover against stray missiles.

Give it 2 Pillum launchers and you'll gain some long range pressure and effective finishers against pinned targets. Large missile options are also to be considered.

My point being: yes, even on an Astral, guns matter if you so choose.

Using 6 Trident wings on Astral certainly is not mandatory, nor using hullmods X and Y. If you choose to do so, well, it's on you - that's your balance decision. This, is my understanding of the current design, player has a lot of options and ... this is great!
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Grievous69

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2020, 06:41:28 AM »

Pilums on an Astral... I see great meme potential there. And your last sentence is exactly what I want, options! Currently you can choose to fill Astrals with guns but why would you do that when fighters do that work for you at much greater range and no risk to the carrier? It's not really an ''option'' if you're choosing to shoot yourself in the foot on purpose.

I think intrinsic_parity is right in the end, we just need more decent fighter options with varying costs and roles. Right now the bombers you're gonna use 99% of the time on an Astral are all between 12 and 18 OP for example.
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Igncom1

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2020, 06:49:42 AM »

I haven't read the whole thread, but yeah a problem I have with the astral and drover is throw they kinda limit themselves to either bombers or fighters/interceptors by design.

Fighter astrals seems like a waste of time, as do bomber drovers.
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Megas

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Re: Yet another fighter balance post
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2020, 08:08:52 AM »

Fighter astrals seems like a waste of time, as do bomber drovers.
It is today, but it was not in 0.8a releases when Remnant fighters and Warthogs (and carrier skills) were stronger.  Sparks had two burst PD, and could solo any campaign challenge, even a full strength Remnant Nexus.  Warthogs were very strong, cutting down ship after ship in seconds.  With non-bombers, Recall Device was a defensive power.  If a fast ship got close and ready to tear Astral a new one while fighters were halfway across the map chewing on bigger ships, Recall Device would recall them all and engulf and destroy any assailants, then those fighters can go back to where they left off.


@ pairedeciseaux:  Daggers are effective against frigates too!  It is the main reason to use Daggers instead of loading up on cheaper bombers like Cobras, Perditions, and Khopesh.  Daggers are useful against a wide range of targets.  I am not too worried about fighters from the enemy.  NPCs do not mass fighters like the player can.

Pilums are useless like old pre-0.8a Thumper was.  No weapon is better than Pilums.  When I build a Pilum spam fleet and the best they can do is kill one ship before the Pilums run out then wait to regenerate, it has problems.  Meanwhile, I can build an unskilled Spark spam fleet and wipe out a single max strength Ordos fleet.  Also, Pilum spam tends to make the enemy more cowardly and run away more.  AI already griefs enough with its cowardice and turtling, and I do not want to make that annoying behavior even worse!

Conventional missiles that are useful enough do not last long enough, except maybe Locusts with Expanded Missiles Racks (which is a big chunk of OP).  But, if I want Locusts, Conquest can do that job better.  Also, why would I use normal missiles when I have even better missiles called fighters? On a ship designed to use said fighters or especially bombers?

Guns can be used on Astral, but that is clearly sub-optimal to the one that does not use guns at all.  I have used unarmed Astral and it wrecks fleets efficiently, and at range!  I do not want to trade that away for shorter-ranged guns and weaker fighters!  That was not the case before 0.8a when fighters did not cost the ship anything to use (but it did cost the fleet resources like Logistics, and carrier stats were inferior to those of proper warships), even if it was worse than Odyssey in every way except number of decks at the time.


About Drover, at least when needlers had 800 range, needlers and annihilators was a viable build to brawl with.  It was inferior to the one that had no weapons and ran away while better fighters killed.

Currently you can choose to fill Astrals with guns but why would you do that when fighters do that work for you at much greater range and no risk to the carrier? It's not really an ''option'' if you're choosing to shoot yourself in the foot on purpose.
This is sooo right!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2020, 08:19:51 AM by Megas »
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