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Author Topic: Better retreat for "too large" fleets  (Read 730 times)

Gothars

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Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« on: September 14, 2020, 04:39:45 AM »

Of all the combat scenarios in the game, the one I find the most problematic is the retreat of "too large" fleets. If you want to retreat in a big fleet you have to fight until either
- you dealt significant damage to the enemy, which is often impossible when they far outnumber you, or
- you lose enough ships that you are not longer considered a large fleet.
 But it is not indicated when this point is reached, so you might have to retreat multiple times (losing CR) to check if you are eligible already. In practice, this makes losing your entire fleet a far more likely thing than it has to be.

I gather that the main reason to limit retreat is performance related, because a big fleet can't be deployed all at once.

So, I'd suggest to at least better indicate when your fleet would be eligible for a retreat (a counter how many enemy/own ships have to be destroyed still?), or better, to come up with a new combat scenario for these types of situations.


My idea for such an scenario would be this:

When encountering an overwhelming enemy force, you select some of your fleet to fight a time-limited delaying action against the enemy. All your ships not part of that action will be in an autoresolved escape scenario. (Autoresolved, because then the size is not performance-limited.)
Int he delaying scenario, the enemy has the goal to send ships to the border on your side of the map as fast as possible. All enemy ships that reach that border within a time limit burn away and will be the pursuing force in the autoresolved escape scenario. Your goal is to stop the enemy ships from crossing your border, and thus increase the chances of your fleeing ships. When the timer ends, the remaining enemy ships can no longer join the pursuit. They will now likely destroy or root your delaying force, or if they are in turn defeated, the scenario will reset. At any point, you can retreat your delaying force and fight a standard escape scenario with them. At the end the survivors from the autoresolved escape scenario and the escape scenario of the delaying force will be joined again on the campaign map into one fleet.


Feel free to come up with a better scenario, I think there are many better options than what we have now!
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Mondaymonkey

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 05:00:39 AM »

So, you basically suggest to make pursuit scenario two-phased? I wouldn't say this is a bad idea (it's nice, actually), but it definitely additional source of possible bugs. Is the game worth the candles?

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But it is not indicated when this point is reached

Truth... Maybe, adding an indicator, similar to safe retreat, will be more useful? That would make possible to player to sacrifice exact number of ships he need to retreat, with no losing CR at all.
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Megas

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2020, 06:12:52 AM »

I think I might read that one of the uses of story points is retreating from a fight that is normally impossible for large fleets to run from.
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Histidine

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 07:14:44 AM »

I've found that if your fleet is large enough to not be able to disengage immediately in the first place, killing 100 DP of enemies is actually fairly manageable a lot of the time (two capitals' worth of big ships plus assorted fodder will get you there). You should be building a fleet that can win fights at the 2:3 DP ratio anyhow.
The big risk comes from getting overconfident and taking losses, or just losing ships in general (since you won't be able to recover them afterwards).

The real pain comes afterwards, when your retreating fleet gets harried and you eat huge CR recovery costs (I think I've seen over 1k supplies required in one case)


I wouldn't mind replacing the fight-retreat-harry chain of events with a more sophisticated rearguard action scenario.

Random idea: A normal combat scenario, but you can only choose ships to deploy during the first 5 seconds, and enemy AI is extra-aggressive (they want to break your rearguard and continue with the pursuit). You have to hold out for X seconds until the non-deployed ships get away; having more/slower ships involved in the retreat increases the time required. If you succeed, the rearguard ships get a regular escape scenario.

Maximally simple idea: You can always disengage, but if you choose not to play the actual escape scenario, or it's unavailable due to fleet size, the action gets autoresolved in the same way as when you're pursuing a fleeing enemy.
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pairedeciseaux

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2020, 11:00:25 AM »

My idea for such an scenario would be this:

When encountering an overwhelming enemy force, you select some of your fleet to fight a time-limited delaying action against the enemy.

Sounds like a good idea. Time limited objectives, other than defeat enemy fleet, could fit very well as alternative yet still arcade battle gameplay.

Int he delaying scenario, the enemy has the goal to send ships to the border on your side of the map as fast as possible. All enemy ships that reach that border within a time limit burn away and will be the pursuing force in the autoresolved escape scenario. Your goal is to stop the enemy ships from crossing your border, and thus increase the chances of your fleeing ships.

I'm not sure this would work, the game in its current form does not let the player perform that kind of space/territory control. Basically it would push the Defend and Eliminate order to their limits, I fear. Except, maybe, with a narrow-ish battle map?

I think I might read that one of the uses of story points is retreating from a fight that is normally impossible for large fleets to run from.

Ahh, I forgot about this. Had to search the blog posts.  ;D

At the end of the "Story Points" section in https://fractalsoftworks.com/2019/07/08/skills-and-story-points/

(emphasis is mine)

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In addition (and I’ve got a bit of a list to go through), uses would include taking all sorts of actions in the campaign that you would not normally be able to. For example, executing “special maneuvers” to disengage from a fight you don’t want, making a derelict ship recoverable when it otherwise wouldn’t be, or just avoiding a cargo scan while carrying contraband.

The general idea here is that “story” options in the campaign would either smooth out the flow of the game, letting you avoid a situation that would result in reloading a save – or grant you some long-term benefit.

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Alex

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 10:52:29 AM »

The real pain comes afterwards, when your retreating fleet gets harried and you eat huge CR recovery costs (I think I've seen over 1k supplies required in one case)

Oh - that's a bug, actually! They shouldn't be able to harry there, it should be a "clean" disengage. Fixed this up.


I think current "fight to destroy 100 dp worth of enemy ships" scenario very much fills the same role as the proposed idea, so I'm hesitant to try to add more things rather than make the existing things do the job well. On that note, as far as it being too difficult: the changes to objectives should actually make it a good bit more doable!

In brief, in addition to their normal effects, objectives give you 5% (or 10%, for Comm Relays) extra deployment points. The percentage is of the current battleSize. The bonus caps out at 60% total, so if one side already outnumbers the other significantly, it won't get any bonus points here. It's a mechanic that lets the weaker side catch up by being more aggressive, basically, and have a more even fight, but not one that lets the bigger side win even more.

(Also, for completeness - the battle size calculation is now based on officers present in each fleet and assigned to a ship, rather than ships themselves. Those do factor in, still, but only very slightly compared to officers. So e.g. an officer on a frigate or on a battleship has almost the same impact on the deployment point allocation.)
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Gothars

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2020, 03:14:33 PM »

I think current "fight to destroy 100 dp worth of enemy ships" scenario very much fills the same role

Mh, I probably missed it, where is this 100dp rule actually communicated in the game? I wasn't aware.
 Anyway, I think couting down these dp during battle would go a long way towards making the escape more managable.
 Looking forward to the changed role for objectives, and to see how much it helps frigates! (I imagine in early game I will open the battle with a bunch of SO lashers, later zoom around in a hyperion to get the objectives.)
Q
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Megas

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2020, 03:23:56 PM »

It is at the upper right along with some other stat (maybe CP left?)  It is easy to overlook for old players when the kill stat did not exist.
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Alex

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Re: Better retreat for "too large" fleets
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2020, 03:58:44 PM »

(What Megas said, yeah.)

Looking forward to the changed role for objectives, and to see how much it helps frigates! (I imagine in early game I will open the battle with a bunch of SO lashers, later zoom around in a hyperion to get the objectives.)

Yeah, we'll see! Combined with the other frigate stuff, I'm cautiously optimistic :)
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