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Author Topic: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up  (Read 994 times)

idiotekque

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Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« on: August 06, 2021, 04:35:23 PM »

Something I noticed starting a new run and trying for a somewhat more humble fleet is that the lowest level bounties are frequently against "trade fleets". Obviously, the targets you're up against in these bounties certainly fit the low payments (30-50k, etc), made up of mostly non-combat ships like the Colossus, Tarsus, maybe a Buffalo and a few Hounds or Cerberus, etc.

What I find a bit odd about these bounties is that despite the targets being classified as pirates, they always seem to be located orbiting a "lawful" colony, marked not as a pirate, or smuggler, but as an independent "trader". So that seemingly easy, low paying, low level bounty mission isn't actually forcing you to take on an underpowered smattering of pirate trade ships, it's forcing you to take on orbiting fleets of whatever planet they're orbiting. In addition to that, they even have a special fast picket style fleet of that colony's faction specifically assigned to them, with the "guarding trader" task applied to them.

This seems a little bizarre for a few reasons.

1. The obvious: If you take on the lowest, cheapest bounty, the idea is that you're on a new run, and you're looking for a mission that is is reasonable for a destroyer and few frigates, a new fleet, etc. Instead, you wind up pitted against relatively powerful orbital defenders, and at the very least, an addition cruiser or destroyer and a few frigates, provided by the "guard" that your target is assigned, which is hardly appropriate to the tiny bounty price.

2. Why are "pirate" trade fleets classified as independents in space? Why are they not only neutral/friendly with factions they are typically hostile with, but even assigned a defender from that faction? It is feasible to say that they're a smuggler more so than a trader, and they're running with false IFF (even though that isn't really an established mechanic in game), therefore allowing them to carry out their trading/smuggling, but again, this is a poor line of reasoning to explain why they would even have an assigned bodyguard from the Hegemony or whatever faction whose planet they're orbiting, as per how the bounty spawns them in.

3. This bit I'm not entirely sure of, but why exactly does this fleet spawn in and seemingly infinitely orbit a planet like this, as opposed to being in a more secluded location that would fit their pirate/smuggler status? Is there any way for these low level trade fleet bounties to spawn elsewhere? Do they leave at some point, sometimes, and allow you a chance to intercept them then? Keep in mind these are 30 day bounties, and I lurked for 25ish days and never saw this happen, so that doesn't seem to be the case, but has anyone seen otherwise?

All in all, it just seems a little wonky for these low level bounties to be set up like this. Obviously there are ways around the difficulty imposed by how they're set up, whether that's managing to lure away defenders, waiting till there are no additional orbiting fleets besides the designated guard fleet, etc, but like I mentioned before, this still is counterproductive to these bounties being aimed at low level,  small, new player fleets, befitting their measly credit rewards. I checked three of these missions ranging from 30-50k reward, and all of them were identical in their setup, so I feel like this is just how they are, and they're just sort of useless in every scenario. If you're using a new fleet, they're too difficult, or simply more effort than they're worth, and if you're using a stronger fleet, they're simply pointless.

I do feel like this could be remedied in couple different ways. If they were identified as smugglers, without a "guard" fleet in orbit, the player could simply roll up on them in orbit, knock them out, with lawful fleets indifferent to your actions based on their quasi-lawful status on their IFFs, or something along those lines. Or, you could simply find them somewhere else, perhaps near a jump hole, uncolonized planet, a debris field, etc, perhaps even properly identified as a pirate. Another idea that would make a bit more sense to me would be for them to be trading with unlawful bases. This would involve them orbiting a pirate, pather, etc base initially (which may provide more danger than the bounty is worth, naturally), but then moving off from that base once they're done, allowing you to intercept them alone. They could have a course set for a jump hole, and once they reach it, maybe that's the end of the bounty period.

I don't know, just brainstorming, because I really do think that these bounties are incredibly odd and pointless in their current execution. Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2021, 04:41:24 PM by idiotekque »
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Thaago

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2021, 05:09:51 PM »

Are these the bounties from pirate contacts? Those often have me hunting trade fleets - its really rare for me to have faction contacts give me anything thats in the core. I haven't seen any assigned bounties that do transponder changes like smugglers can.

My experience with bounties from contacts that are in the core systems from contacts is that they pay extremely well for the threat level and fuel/supply cost, but require tricks. For example, if the terrain is right you can lure the escorts away with a sensor pulse, then loop back to attack the defenseless fleet. Usually takes the sensors skill to do though, as you need to avoid the patrol fleet that is running after your sensor pulse.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2021, 05:33:31 PM »

OP is talking about the "a smuggler/trade fleet is stuck in customs at this location" missions. That's why there is a picket sitting on the trade fleet. I think pirate contacts give them? Maybe they are just pirate bar missions.
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idiotekque

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2021, 05:48:14 PM »

Are these the bounties from pirate contacts? Those often have me hunting trade fleets - its really rare for me to have faction contacts give me anything thats in the core. I haven't seen any assigned bounties that do transponder changes like smugglers can.

My experience with bounties from contacts that are in the core systems from contacts is that they pay extremely well for the threat level and fuel/supply cost, but require tricks. For example, if the terrain is right you can lure the escorts away with a sensor pulse, then loop back to attack the defenseless fleet. Usually takes the sensors skill to do though, as you need to avoid the patrol fleet that is running after your sensor pulse.

Yeah, I think this was from an underworld bounty (on a lawful planet, but I don't think that changes anything), to be fair, but the target is seemingly always classified as a pirate captain as per the mission intel, not an indie, not from a lawful faction, etc. Perhaps that's just a misclassification? But I'm not sure why that would be the case, when the intel could just as easily say the target is an independent or otherwise. I did always find that odd.

I do know there are lots of ways around such things, but like I said in my post, we're talking about 30-50k bounties. Needing to cater your fleet to stealth, speed, kitting yourself out for what amounts to an assassination mission that involves possibly *** off the big boys, just isn't worth the reward at all.

To be fair, that is a theme with low level missions. Lots of low paying mission types that ultimately wind up requiring very specific stealth set ups and tactics, all for nigh inconsequential amounts of credits. I'm giving a "salvager" start a try, with slow, d-modded salvage ships, generally neutral reputations, and I'm remembering how unreasonable it is to do anything but pick fights with fleets around your capabilities, take commissions, or take trade missions. Which is fine, sort of, it's just kind of unfortunate how many low level, low pay missions wind up revolving around a massive focus on stealth, or open warfare with fleets that just aren't worth fighting in comparison to the meager rewards of these missions. Being able to complete these missions winds up being incredibly circumstantial, at the will of what AI patrols decide to do, and incredibly reliant on your fleet running with phase ships, insulated engines, etc, to be reasonable.

To be clear, I know how to complete these missions. It's not frustration placed upon whether they're doable or not, it's disappointment in the fact that early game, low paying missions that should be catered to small, imperfect fleets, just aren't. I wish there were more reasonable early game options for scrappy, early fleets that are lacking mods, funds, etc.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2021, 05:50:28 PM by idiotekque »
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Megas

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2021, 05:57:35 PM »

To be fair, that is a theme with low level missions. Lots of low paying mission types that ultimately wind up requiring very specific stealth set ups and tactics, all for nigh inconsequential amounts of credits. I'm giving a "salvager" start a try, with slow, d-modded salvage ships, generally neutral reputations, and I'm remembering how unreasonable it is to do anything but pick fights with fleets around your capabilities, take commissions, or take trade missions. Which is fine, sort of, it's just kind of unfortunate how many low level, low pay missions wind up revolving around a massive focus on stealth, or open warfare with fleets that just aren't worth fighting in comparison to the meager rewards of these missions. Being able to complete these missions winds up being incredibly circumstantial, at the will of what AI patrols decide to do, and incredibly reliant on your fleet running with phase ships, insulated engines, etc, to be reasonable.

To be clear, I know how to complete these missions. It's not frustration placed upon whether they're doable or not, it's disappointment in the fact that early game, low paying missions that should be catered to small, imperfect fleets, just aren't. I wish there were more reasonable early game options for scrappy, early fleets that are lacking mods, funds, etc.
Related, I accepted a raid mission for about 50k-80k credits, completed it and ran off.  Much later (about months to a year), a revenge fleet about 180k-200k bounty strength hunted my fleet down and caught up.

Too many bar missions send persistent near-endgame fleets to chase the player for insignificant bounties.  Or the difficulty is too high for the reward.  I have learned to ignore those missions.
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idiotekque

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2021, 06:11:05 PM »

Related, I accepted a raid mission for about 50k-80k credits, completed it and ran off.  Much later (about months to a year), a revenge fleet about 180k-200k bounty strength hunted my fleet down and caught up.

Too many bar missions send persistent near-endgame fleets to chase the player for insignificant bounties.  Or the difficulty is too high for the reward.  I have learned to ignore those missions.

Right, my disappointment is the feeling that only a relatively small percentage of mission types are reasonable to take on early game. And considering that you may hit five colonies in a row that are only offering missions of these types, early game tends to feel like you're meticulously searching for specific mission types that are viable to do when you don't have much on hand, and it winds up being annoying, and you just wind up saying "oh well" and doing the same handful of things that speed you through early game.

I'm a little weird in that I really do enjoy early game in a lot genres, especially when the game gives you the opportunity to play with roleplay in mind. Unfortunately Starsector tends to favor the approach of being militant in your approach, signing on with a faction for a free lunch, following big fleets around and getting involved in large scale warfare, racking up commission money and recovered warships, and then speeding your way through to other stuff.

I'll certainly find a way to make it work either way. I'm not saying that there still isn't a wealth of different things to do and ways to play, but I really do just wish I didn't feel like a majority of mission types just aren't early game friendly, and incredibly stealth reliant (unless you just brute force your way through everything, which rarely makes sense given the low rewards).
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torbes

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2021, 07:21:42 PM »

Outside of the missions themselves I think it would be nice to have a way to influence which bar contacts spawn. Give players more freedom to tailor game to what they want and less reliance on RNG. Spend a story point at a bar and the bartender introduces you to X contact.
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Alex

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2021, 08:00:31 PM »

Just wanted to say, real quick, that I'd love to add more missions at some point; especially some exploration-focused ones, and/or ones that are more... universally appealing, let's say. The current mission set has a bunch of stuff for raids, and stuff for stealth, and if you're not building towards one of those, then that cuts out a fair chunk of the new missions. So, mainly, just wanted to say that this is something that's on my radar!
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SonnaBanana

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2021, 08:03:00 PM »

especially some exploration-focused ones
Yes yes yes!
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idiotekque

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2021, 08:04:08 PM »

Outside of the missions themselves I think it would be nice to have a way to influence which bar contacts spawn. Give players more freedom to tailor game to what they want and less reliance on RNG. Spend a story point at a bar and the bartender introduces you to X contact.

Keep in mind you can edit min/max bar events in the settings file. Pretty much a necessity if you're looking for operatives (Nex). Not exactly what you're saying, but at the very least it does help to make bars feel a little bit more lively and to give you more options. I think I have mine set at 2/5 right now.

Just wanted to say, real quick, that I'd love to add more missions at some point; especially some exploration-focused ones, and/or ones that are more... universally appealing, let's say. The current mission set has a bunch of stuff for raids, and stuff for stealth, and if you're not building towards one of those, then that cuts out a fair chunk of the new missions. So, mainly, just wanted to say that this is something that's on my radar!

Completely agreed. Hopefully this is already the idea, and we'll just have to see what get's implemented next. I do like the ones that .95 added, but like you said, they definitely fall into stealth/raid for the most part, which are pretty early game unfriendly.

EDIT: Ha, I'm such a dope. I replied on the message page and didn't realize it was you who replied, Alex. Awesome to hear!
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Alex

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2021, 08:56:06 PM »

Ha! :D
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Yunru

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2021, 01:14:23 AM »

Related, I accepted a raid mission for about 50k-80k credits, completed it and ran off.  Much later (about months to a year), a revenge fleet about 180k-200k bounty strength hunted my fleet down and caught up.
Aren't revenge fleets a Nex feature though? Vanilla can hardly be blamed for that.

Amoebka

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2021, 12:41:38 AM »

Revenge fleets for bar missions are 100% vanilla. And yes, they feel very unfair and unnecessary.
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Megas

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2021, 05:30:29 AM »

Related, I accepted a raid mission for about 50k-80k credits, completed it and ran off.  Much later (about months to a year), a revenge fleet about 180k-200k bounty strength hunted my fleet down and caught up.
Aren't revenge fleets a Nex feature though? Vanilla can hardly be blamed for that.

Revenge fleets for bar missions are 100% vanilla. And yes, they feel very unfair and unnecessary.
What Amoebka wrote.  And that revenge fleet was persistant too!  My fleet was not strong enough to kill it without losing at least half the fleet, so I lured it to my colony to vaporize it with my battlestation.

As far as I am concerned, the raid mission spawns the equivalent of a late-game bounty, and the mission should pay as such.  Raid missions are a named bounty in disguise.  You can run, but you cannot hide, and you must kill the revenge fleet eventually.

Raids may be disguised as a stealth mission, but it is really a named bounty job dressed up as a stealth mission, but you get paid far less, and named bounties already do not pay enough for those who are not strong enough for the flawless victory (which already greatly strains suspension of disbelief.)  The raid mission should make it very clear that it is ultimately a combat mission via revenge fleet, not a stealth mission, and it should pay at least as much as a bounty (and probably more to compensate for marine casualties).

P.S.  Because of that experience, I will never accept another raid mission in the current release.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...
« Last Edit: August 13, 2021, 05:34:48 AM by Megas »
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Amoebka

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Re: Low level bounties are very bizarre in how they're set up
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2021, 05:34:15 AM »

It gets even better when it's a faction revenge fleet for buying the security codes from pirates mission. If they catch you with transponder on, you HAVE to surrender a story point, because fighting instantly sets your rep to hostile.
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