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Author Topic: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)  (Read 1228 times)

Ghojo

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Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« on: August 24, 2020, 03:59:41 AM »

Hello!

I have loved Starsector ever since I bought it (long before it changed it's name) and come back every year to play it. It's just this great.  :)

However even with mods, after a while the game becomes stall and boring, because I become too powerful too easily and battles devolve into boring capital ship brawls, where the only viable strategy is to have as much capital ships as possible.
There is just no more real challenge after a while, and all the complexity and strategic choices in battle become meaningless, as mass always beats everything.

To solve this problem, make the battles more interesting and challenging again, and offer a much greater variety of playstyles ... I suggest the following change:
Limit how many ship types can be in a fleet (player + AI) at any given time.

Example (Class + Limit):
Shuttles & Support Ships - no limit
Frigates - 8
Destroyers - 4
Cruisers - 2
Carriers - 2
Battleships - 1


This would force the player to make strategic choices for the fleet, instead of relying on pure mass & strength of battleship fleets - which we are currently forced to as, because the AI spawns so many battleship death fleets.
Furthermore it would allow for a wide variety of fleets and playstyles, and make the smaller ships like frigates meaningful again (atm they aren't anymore).

And I believe it would be a rather simple change to the game, as all it takes is to introduce a limit of each ship class per fleet & force the AI to spawn fleets with the same rules.
And the AI could spawn fleets from on a list of predefined fleet-setups.


Tell me what you guys think. :)

PS: If main-dev doesn't want this to be added to the main game, maybe someone can make it a mod?

« Last Edit: August 24, 2020, 04:03:13 AM by Ghojo »
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2020, 04:07:29 AM »

If player wants a challenge like that, cant he self-control and use less ships without mod?
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Grievous69

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2020, 04:13:34 AM »

The next update will try solve some of the problems you mentioned, and fleets in general will probably become smaller.
But this:
where the only viable strategy is to have as much capital ships as possible.
This is just plain wrong mate. I'm always flying around in cruiser fleets with some supporting destroyers and rarely do I have issues in campaign. Sure I'll grab a capital or two for the huge bounties or to defeat star fortresses but even then I roll with battlecruisers. And then there's carrier spam which is even easier to do than capital spam (and more bland). Anyways I just get triggered when people say capital spam is the only way to go since then new players will just copy that instead of experimenting with the game.
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Ghojo

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2020, 04:21:27 AM »

If player wants a challenge like that, cant he self-control and use less ships without mod?

The problem is that the AI does not follow the rule and frigates become useless once the AI fleets start use the super heavy ships (cruisers and capitals).
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Ghojo

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2020, 04:31:06 AM »

The next update will try solve some of the problems you mentioned, and fleets in general will probably become smaller.
But this:
where the only viable strategy is to have as much capital ships as possible.
This is just plain wrong mate. I'm always flying around in cruiser fleets with some supporting destroyers and rarely do I have issues in campaign. Sure I'll grab a capital or two for the huge bounties or to defeat star fortresses but even then I roll with battlecruisers. And then there's carrier spam which is even easier to do than capital spam (and more bland). Anyways I just get triggered when people say capital spam is the only way to go since then new players will just copy that instead of experimenting with the game.

I consider battlecruisers "capital ships" and cruisers "super heavies".

And if so many people say capital spam is the way to go, there might be a reason why people repeat that claim, no?

The problem is simply that the super heavies (cruisers and capitals) are too powerful and small ships (frigates, destroyers, and smaller) have become useless agains them.

In a more realistic game, a fleet of small ships aka frigates and smaller would be a viable option against super heavy ships, if tactics are good.
In Starsector as it is right now, no matter how many frigates you have or how good your tactics are, you are not going to win against a fleet of super heavies.

Thus the player is forced to go super heavy too.
And considering how easy it is to make enough money fast to support a fleet of super-heavies, there is no real reason why a player wouldn't do it.
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Grievous69

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2020, 04:41:28 AM »

Read some of the latest blog posts, especially the one about skills, the dev is already doing what you're suggesting here in a way. Btw just because a vocal minority keeps repeating something, that doesn't make it true.
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2020, 04:56:17 AM »

Quote
And then there's carrier spam which is even easier to do than capital spam (and more bland)
This. I started ned playthrough a week ago and decided to try some carriers. Bought just 2 Herons... Holy Jesus! The game is so much easier with them. Absolutely nobrain thing...

Quote
And if so many people say capital spam is the way to go, there might be a reason why people repeat that claim, no?
Lie 100 times and the lie will become truth.

Right now i m using 2 capitals: Victory and Legion. Both D-modded to the ground and fixed by chewing gum. Can handle like 80% of game challenges. For other 20% i can restore them, you know...

Frigates useless right now, because carrier can bring fighters and bombers, which do better. Also, the problem why small ships cant do much to bigger ships is in two defence layers: shield and armor. You need enough firepower to pierce the shield and then you need damage big enough to break the armor. The only way for frigates to handle this is heavy missiles or EMP.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2020, 05:09:40 AM by Mordodrukow »
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Megas

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2020, 05:06:55 AM »

The main reason for me to use big ships is PPT and the cowardly AI.  If the enemy wants to play the stall war by running away (but not retreating) like Spathi, I will make them lose when they try that by cramming my fleet with big ships with lots of PPT.  Of course, that is not very effective because...

AI loves capital spam, and I need a fleet that can endure long slogs and not die because my ships run out of PPT gas first.
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Modo44

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2020, 07:05:26 AM »

If player wants a challenge like that, cant he self-control and use less ships without mod?
You can, but this is virtually guaranteed to lose late-game battles. Facing multiple capitals, and often more than one fleet at a time, your CR will never be enough.
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Igncom1

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2020, 07:29:41 AM »

While I could see it as a nice reward for following some kind of fleet structure, as a penalty I don't like it.

As it currently stands 'frigates' are just small ships and are outmoded in multiple ways by range and operating time ON TOP of being just smaller more terrible gunboats/carriers. So the game leads more to fleets of larger gunboats/carriers such as the 'capital ship' sized craft as they are the most effective packages for guns, defences, hanger bays, operational time and so on.

So the smaller sizes of ships have little going for them other then possibly being able to deploy more of them at once in a battle, speed, and cost. It's basically a fantasy to have fleets of very diverse ship sizes and roles because it make no sense to really bother other then for practical reasons like with support ships for from rampant fun.

If there was to be any balancing factor to larger ships vs smaller ones, which basically already exists, it would be cost to deploy. If you have ever used low tech capitals you might already know what that feels like, costs of crew and fuel and supplies so high that deploying capitals for anything BUT a capital or star fortress fights is prohibitively expensive. It's not worth pirate hunting with capitals unless you can afford to waste money for it, so you naturally want to use a most cost effective fleet for the job.

You can and could have inbuilt advantages for smaller ships and more diverse fleets, in and out of battle for screening actions and spotting and so on(use smaller ships to screen the enemy fleets frigates so they can swarm less in battle, or at least the first battle). I'd love to see an improved fleet tactics and command system with proper fleet coordination and formations (proper flanking actions, reinforcing from the sides, "crossing the t"). Improved and expanded fleet capture points on the battle map that might encourage smaller specialised ships over just ploughing a battleship and sitting on top of them (soemtimes happens as BB fight in the middle and smaller ships fight on the outskirts for the nav points). Improved electronic warfare and navigational boosters, so you can't just pick up a perk for them and are more forces to use multiple EW ships to produce their effects and escort the fleet(you can get EW from ship mods, but why bother when you can get a perk to make every ship produce it by default?).

But I'd be lying if I said I like the idea of being forced to never use large capital fleets when I want, especially against enemy capital fleets. They are VERY fun to me and are one of the main reasons I even play this game. Battleships are the biggest and best gunboats in the fleet, anything else to support them needs to have a different purpose or use in my opinion (like the Sunder that provides capitalship levels of energy weapon fire-power like self propelled battleship cannons more then vessels themselves.)
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Morbo513

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2020, 03:21:49 AM »

I agree that the distribution of ship classes amongst fleets is very top-heavy, but I don't believe arbitrary restrictions on the number of ships of each weight class is the way to go about addressing it.

In my opinion, Frigates, and maybe to a lesser degree Destroyers, need something extra to keep them not only viable but attractive up til end-game and help them stay competetive with the big bois.

For example, frigates and destroyers are almost universally able to replenish some CR and maybe some armour once per battle by temporarily retreating off-map - this could be enhanced by support ships with a specific hullmod. Or maybe this applies to all ships, just Frigates and Destroyers get exponentially more value out of it and take much less time to complete a mid-battle pit-stop - their speed is an inherent advantage in this regard.
But that's just one example off the top of my head, there are other ways to give especially Frigates more utility in combat without compromising how they fit into it directly.

I had another thought - How about giving larger ships less PPT instead of more (CR degradation unchanged)? = Frigates have longest PPT and potential for conserving CR, while captials still have the greatest overall length of CR to burn through?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 03:29:38 AM by Morbo513 »
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RustyCabbage

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2020, 09:39:35 AM »

I've played around with giving larger ships progressively slower CR recovery, so initial and chained combats play out identically, but multiple combats spread out over a period of time can become more problematic. I think it works out okay in that it provides some more incentive to either be more careful with route plans or prefer small ships in engagements where cruisers and capitals aren't necessary. With how profitable colonies are late game, cost barriers aren't really a reasonable way to get players to eschew capitals, but time-based restrictions seem possible, though a little tricky to balance (players should be incentivized to use more frigates/destroyers, not simply wait longer for their capitals to reach max CR again).

Alternatively (or additionally), maybe some minor range clamping would help. Something like reducing ITU to 10/20/30/50% (with DTC reducing to 20/40% or 25/45%, whatever), along with commensurate nerfs to ATC and maybe even Targeting Supercomputer.

Megas

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Re: Make fleets great again! (introducing ship class limits)
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2020, 10:31:08 AM »

Slower recovery is annoying, even with Efficiency Overhaul speeding things up, and several think EO on ships is a bad idea because it gimps combat power too much.

After chain-battling Ordos, if CR is too low, I leave the system to haul away spoils, fix ships, then come back.

If big ships got slower CR recovery, that just means bring more big ships until all ships cannot chain-battle anymore, then leave to fix ships when they run out of gas.
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