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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2 (04/30/22)

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Author Topic: Starsector 0.95.1a (Released) Patch Notes  (Read 152801 times)

SCC

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #180 on: November 08, 2021, 01:43:32 PM »

(Every time I hear "X is back on the menu", I wonder what kind of society the Uruk-Hai had that made this a common turn of phrase among them. Do they have sit-down restaurants? Like... "yes, sparkling water, please, and I'll have the Leg of Guy-I-Killed-the-Other-Day... but I digress.)
Or perhaps it's a mangled westron idiom.

I also hesitate to use Redacted as the ultimate measuring stick long term; as you say they have some specific behaviors that might not carry over to every endgame threat (or, indeed, to high-level bounties, which can be pretty close to on par with them.)
If you think top of the line human fleets should match Remnants in difficulty, please consider making that so. Currently Remnants demand noticeably more than even toughest mercenaries. Mostly because of how many officers they get and Radiants.

And from experience, Harpoons and Reapers seem very, very good in vs-Ordo fights; the number of times that a Radiant - or even a Brilliant - has managed to back off after getting over-fluxed, for lack of finisher-type weapons... that seems to happen a lot.
Now that's a straight up lie. I used harpoons and reapers against Remnants and unless I overloaded their ships already, missiles would not score hits on the hull. And if you need to overload their ships, you must bring either bring double the missiles to force overloads for high-flux Remnants through sheer ordnance avalanche, or by bringing some sabots anyway.

That said, still, something for me to think about and keep an eye on, and I appreciate the video and the thoughts. While we're on the subject: any missiles that stand out as particularly bad?
Besides everything that isn't sabots, Pilum and Proximity Charge Launcher don't find use in my fleets much. At least the latter is being taken care of, though, so that's nice.

(This reminds me, I've been wanting to tweak the Tesseract fight. It's *supposed* to get harder once you destroy one of them, but that doesn't seem like it's holding up at all.)
Tessaract is a big slippery bugger. They are the biggest hurdle to overcome. All the refactors are also slippery, but aren't as big, so stuff that works against Tessaract works even better against them. Except for Facet, but it never seems to be an issue to deal with.

Would something like a simple 10% more real armor, or +75/150/200/250 (tweak numbers as needed) real extra armor based on size, repaired instantly at the end of every engagement work?  Where "repaired" is just the has an elite Impact Mitigation officer piloting it at deployment time, so it adds say +250 to whatever the armor was there as the ship is deployed into the fight.  At the end, if it's over normal maximum in any cell, just remove excess.
I would prefer it to have a bonus that's useful in combat, unless it's a campaign bonus that activates in between rounds in combat as well, like Field Repairs 2 and Damage Control 2 used to. Something like weapon and engine repairs not being interrupted by damage, merely slowed, or being resistant to EMP arcs.

Hm. Here's a question: does anyone actually use the large-slot Reaper? I've found myself considering it a few times - but every time I do, I end up deciding that the Hammer Barrage actually does the job better - less ammo, yes, but much cheaper to mount, higher DPS, and four small torpedos are harder to shoot down than two large torpedos.
It's an alright option for Radiant and Champion, but with Missile Spec I prefer to use Hammer Barrage for reasons you mentioned. It's less reliable, less damaging and more expensive.

Amoebka

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #181 on: November 08, 2021, 01:48:44 PM »

The spead on the hammer barrage is a blessing. AI is dreadful at lining torpedo strikes and misses reapers even on capitals all the time. With hammers at least something will connect.

In general, using torpedoes on non-flagships feels bad to me. 90% of the time they do nothing, 5% of the time they do very little, and 5% of the time they instagib someone. Harpoons always do something, even if they can't "highroll" as much.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #182 on: November 08, 2021, 02:09:24 PM »

Would something like a simple 10% more real armor, or +75/150/200/250 (tweak numbers as needed) real extra armor based on size, repaired instantly at the end of every engagement work?  Where "repaired" is just the has an elite Impact Mitigation officer piloting it at deployment time, so it adds say +250 to whatever the armor was there as the ship is deployed into the fight.  At the end, if it's over normal maximum in any cell, just remove excess.
I would prefer it to have a bonus that's useful in combat, unless it's a campaign bonus that activates in between rounds in combat as well, like Field Repairs 2 and Damage Control 2 used to. Something like weapon and engine repairs not being interrupted by damage, merely slowed, or being resistant to EMP arcs.

I probably didn't communicate the idea well.

What I was suggesting was an additional bonus armor on top of normal armor.  So instead of sitting at 1750 base armor, a pristine Onslaught being deployed with such an officer starts with 2000 total armor.  Which was what I was trying to get at with "real armor" and thus an actual benefit in combat.  If it takes no damage, it will immediately drop to 1750 armor after combat, the normal base armor.  If a damaged Onslaught had half armor in every cell, i.e. 875, upon deployment it would enter with 1125 armor in every cell, and if it never takes damage, leave with 1125 armor.  If it had to redeploy immediately, it would then enter with 1375 in every cell.  So a once per deployment armor regeneration, which can exceed the maximum.

One could phrase it as "Piloted ship gains 75/150/200/250 armor when deployed, which can exceed the normal maximum armor.  If armor is above maximum at end of combat, any excess is removed".

It's not necessarily the best suggestion, but it nicely combines to give the armor skills something to work with every fight, even if all armor has been stripped prior to deployment, and also increases the maximum combat effectiveness.  It's not hull tanking in disguise, as the flat armor for calculation purposes bonus tends to be.  It's also fairly straight forward to understand assuming it's explained well.
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RustyCabbage

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #183 on: November 08, 2021, 02:15:34 PM »

I'll go with this video, wherein a player easily takes the Tesseract fight in a pure Low Tech fleet with mass Sabots and a few complimentary Harpoons:

e.g. you can see off screen that three Enforcers and a Mora wipe the strongest ship in the game effortlessly. This course of events pretty much generalizes to any encounter in the game. Tesseracts aren't the tankiest ship around, but they aren't push-overs and they have built-in RFC so they're also far from the most vulnerable to Sabots. And you're not going to get comparable performance with any other missile + accompanying loadout.

Thank you, I appreciate it! It's unfortunate that the most interesting bit happened offscreen :) The Tesseracts can be surprisingly easy to burst down, provided they overload at the wrong time (for them), and I've seen it happen in some kind of unexpected cases - but that's luck based, and not seeing this, it's impossible to say what happened there.

And as far as generalizing - quite seriously, does it? The Tesseracts are heavily outnumbered and can't use allies to back off and recover behind. They also have "fearless" AI and so get into more trouble trying to tank Sabots on shields while hanging around. It's really the perfect storm of being susceptible to Sabots. RFC probably doesn't matter too much here; the bigger problem is how much they shield-tank and what it does to their flux, I think.

I have a feeling that even just changing their personality to "steady" could cut down on the effectiveness of Sabots against them a lot.

And whether this really generalizes to a fight when this fleet is outnumbered - I'd imagine it *can* beat a high-level Ordo, probably without too much trouble, because it looks like a high-end fleet. But would it be a much harder - or at all harder - fight with the Sabots either partially or fully replaced by something else? That seems much harder to say. At least, it does not appear to be self-evident to me just from watching this video. And from experience, Harpoons and Reapers seem very, very good in vs-Ordo fights; the number of times that a Radiant - or even a Brilliant - has managed to back off after getting over-fluxed, for lack of finisher-type weapons... that seems to happen a lot.
Yeah, I wish I had better footage on hand :(. It's sort of a popular enough opinion on the Discord that no one's felt the need to do a dedicated showcase for it, I suppose.

I'd still say that yes, it generalizes. The point about not having allies to retreat behind is valid, but in fleet scenarios you could similarly have cases where a ship is blocked from behind by its allies. And PD grids are a thing, but even then it doesn't take many Harpoons to knock out any overloaded ship on the front-line before it can retreat (excepting solid interceptor / Paladin PD coverage).

Steady/Timid Tesseracts would be nightmarish, but they have a combination of speed and tanki-ness that is unmatched excepting Radiants (kind of, and they're Fearless as well anyways), Auroras, Hyperions and maaybe Medusas. I doubt that personality changes would save any other ship. Fair point regarding RFC here; I wanted to make a more general point that even armor-tanking the Sabots wouldn't be great here despite the EMP damage reduction, but it's a rather clumsy exhibit for that.

I would wager that the nature of Sabots providing extremely easy overloads (or, while not particularly relevant in this instance, shutting down the entirety of a ship's weaponry and easily winning the flux war) compared to needing a sustained combination of various weapons does make this fight significantly harder than without them.

(I guess it's not super helpful since I'm arguing the opposite side, but I would not be excited to have to try to win this same fight refitted without Sabots (half is still probably reasonably doable but honestly I'd doubt it'd outperform Vlad's current loadouts), and I love a challenge :p)

Harpoons and Reapers are still good! but Sabots are on flexibility and average usefulness grounds a tier above, imo.

That said, still, something for me to think about and keep an eye on, and I appreciate the video and the thoughts. While we're on the subject: any missiles that stand out as particularly bad?
Honestly I'm reasonably happy with the current state of things (despite what my post may imply I actually don't like sweeping balance changes too much :p). If I have to be nitpicky:
- The (Single) versions of Harpoon, Sabot, Hammer, Atropos just feel like ways for autofit to punish the AI
- Small Hammers are probably ever so slightly worse than Reapers (don't have a recommendation here - this is just me being very nitpicky)
- Breaches are getting buffed, which I think is fair
- Swarmers are still on the weaker side but the buff in 0.95a helped them a lot. It's just hard for them to compare to the Sabot/Harpoon/Reaper trifecta.
- I wish Salamanders weren't so expensive. It's one of those cases where support weapons cost more than killing weapons, which feels unfortunate. Like yeah they can be kind of useful, but it takes a fairly large number of them and falls off very quickly as fleet sizes increase.

- Resonators are being buffed a ton, which is wonderful.
- I doubt anything less than an OP cost reduction will convince (other--I don't hate them!) people to use Proximity Charge Launchers, but I'm looking forward to the rework. Expensive support weapons, again.
- I will still rarely use Pilums, like in whatever old Last Hurrah showcase I did back in 0.9.1a, but it's more of a "mess with the AI" tool than a "I expect this will have a notable effect" sort of thing.

The Larges are probably fine, though the Hurricane is imo better, possibly significantly, than all the rest, especially with the buff to ECCM in 0.95a. I guess Squalls still feel distressingly low on ammo, and the refire delay and awkwardness of Cyclones make me just not ever want to use them over Hammer Barrages and Hurricane MIRVs, but I'd hesitate to say they're out and out bad.

(This reminds me, I've been wanting to tweak the Tesseract fight. It's *supposed* to get harder once you destroy one of them, but that doesn't seem like it's holding up at all.)
o-oh. (I think this was the case when people were still learning the fight at the start of the patch, but Facets and Shards aren't too threatening compared to a Time Dilation Cruiser and Point Defense trivializes all fighters - thankfully that's being nerfed :p)

Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #184 on: November 08, 2021, 03:07:02 PM »

Pilums are atrociously bad.  They are slow and fragile, but worst of all, blotting the screen with pilums causes enemy AI spines to turn deep yellow and run for the hills, wasting your fleet's PPT.  AI is already cowardly enough, and Pilums make it worse.  Going all in on Pilums was basically calling a time out until the pilums disappear.  If I was lucky, I might kill a ship or two after blotting the map with pilums.  I do not care if Pilums are dirt cheap today if they are bad enough that I do not ever want to use them.

Proximity Charges are also bad.  Cost too much OP, too slow, and runs out of ammo fast.  Also, at least in previous releases, they do not do full damage if they hit because they explode somewhat prematurely like Devastator used to do.

Most other missiles I have gripes, but they are not so bad (except maybe Squalls, and that is due to lack of ammo) that they are useless or worse.

My biggest gripe with Breach was lack of range.  Breach seems like a poor-man's Locusts, but that was not much help if the range was too short, which will be extended.

Atropos is also an annoying one to use due to narrow range band, and it cannot be used point-blank, just for what is basically a somewhat improved Harpoon with half the range.

Hm. Here's a question: does anyone actually use the large-slot Reaper? I've found myself considering it a few times - but every time I do, I end up deciding that the Hammer Barrage actually does the job better - less ammo, yes, but much cheaper to mount, higher DPS, and four small torpedos are harder to shoot down than two large torpedos.
Recently, no.  The problem is recent releases made Reapers fragile, and like MIRVs, not useful enough without buffs from missile skills or hullmods to make Reapers fast and/or sturdy enough.  It is too easy (for PD) to shoot down unboosted Reapers, and it does not help there are not many ships who could use Cyclone well in the first place.  0.95 added Champion and made Legion14 a viable option (thanks historian).  Gryphon does not count for being too fragile at near frontline combat.  AI is too conservative with Reapers, so larger Reapers are mostly playership weapons.

Hammer Barrage would be great if it did not spend all ammo so quickly.  At least all it needs is Expanded Missile Racks.  (Well, most missiles need it, but Hammers are more desperate for more ammo.)

That said, still, something for me to think about and keep an eye on, and I appreciate the video and the thoughts. While we're on the subject: any missiles that stand out as particularly bad?
Besides everything that isn't sabots, Pilum and Proximity Charge Launcher don't find use in my fleets much. At least the latter is being taken care of, though, so that's nice.
It is easier for me to list missiles I use than missiles I do not want to use because they lack ammo and/or reliability.

For me, I use Hammers, Annihilators, Salamanders, Sabots, and Locusts.  If I have OP to burn, then occasionally ECCM'ed MIRVs.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2021, 03:18:51 PM by Megas »
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braciszek

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #185 on: November 08, 2021, 03:49:42 PM »

The binary nature of pilums kind of ruins them as a weapon. It's not effective to only use some pilums; they pay off when everything has a pilum and you reach critical mass. And even then they primarily work because mass pilums screws up the enemy AI. So you don't use them at all or you use them everywhere. Since the latter option is only nice for one whole playthrough, no one really touches pilums ever again. That's not very interactive.

Squalls are also considered... not great. The idea of a lower base ammo pool for squalls in exchange for some longer lasting ammo regeneration was thrown around as a way to make them more attractive.

If single versions of small missiles vanished, no one would really bat an eye. You typically build around missiles, or at least I do, so I don't skimp out on OP for them. Singles are just so bizarre and out of place.

I'm looking forward to the resonator buff. They would be a weapon that would benefit if you could put them on many ships, but since they are limited, it is difficult to achieve a great effect with them.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2021, 04:45:25 PM by braciszek »
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Yubbin

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #186 on: November 08, 2021, 03:54:42 PM »

The binary nature of pilums kind of ruins them as a weapon. It's not effective to only use some pilums; they pay off when everything has a pilum and you reach critical mass. And even then they primarily work because mass pilums screws up the enemy AI. So you don't use them at all or you use them everywhere. Since the latter option is only nice for one whole playthrough, no one really touches pilums ever again.
I agree, against larger fleets pilums are not very helpful, unless you have a massive amount. Though in smaller fleets, I think pilums are pretty good. The lack of PD makes pilums much more scary.
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Thaago

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #187 on: November 08, 2021, 04:11:27 PM »

I'll use pilums on dedicated long range ships that should never be within 4000 units of the enemy anyways, in which case its some free distraction I guess (Thunder Condors). But yeah, they aren't effective. Squalls are excellent vs large targets while the ammo lasts, but the ammo runs out a bit too quickly. Good way to deal with Radiants though (in combination with a heavy gunship to chase them down and sink HE strike in).

In the medium slots, Sabots, Harpoons, and Reapers are all about equal value in their respective roles to me. I think sabots are very good at their job but overrated compared to the strike missiles for actually killing ships. I want enough to drive up flux or force an overload (preferably after some gunfire or other flux increases to the enemy) and no more.

For small slots, absolutely nothing beats the value of the single shot Reaper IF mounted on a ship that can use it effectively and be relatively close to the enemy.
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FooF

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #188 on: November 08, 2021, 04:43:21 PM »

Pilums could use a second-stage. If they get within X units of a target ship, they fix their direction and then propel themselves at like 2x speed for a bit before fizzling out. The slow, meandering nature of Pilums means they only ever hit by accident. With a little bit more initiative, they'd still miss most of the time but it wouldn't be a hope and a prayer.

I sort of wish Squalls and Pilums were switched. A Medium Kinetic pressure weapon that's long range but not terribly accurate and a Large HE weapon that dumps a ton of ordinance out sort of haphazardly but never runs out. More dakka, I suppose.
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Histidine

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #189 on: November 08, 2021, 04:52:29 PM »

I recently put two Cyclone Reapers on my Radiant due to specific circumstances.
I had OP to install ECCM but not Expanded Magazines (and was saving SP for other purposes). So the weapon's deep ammo pool was helpful, and elite Missile Spec and ECCM's speed boost helped with its natural weaknesses (relatively slow torpedoes and painfully long cooldown).

I haven't been watching the ship closely but it seems to work well enough; even shields don't like eating 4000 HE damage spikes, and if the target overloads before the salvo is done the ship is in for a lot of hurt.
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Amazigh

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #190 on: November 08, 2021, 05:22:02 PM »

While we're on the subject: any missiles that stand out as particularly bad?
Leaving aside prox charge and breaches as they are (hopefully) going to be good with the upcoming changes.

Pilum: as everyone else has said, they are near useless until you get an overwhelming swarm of them on field, and then they suddenly flip to being an all conquering death ball, not really fun to use in either situation.

Squall: I do use these occasionally if i really need more kinetic damage, but they are lackluster. Alongside previous comments on ammo issues, i'd ask why are they set to fire on frigates, as (in my experience) squalls will miss frigates in 95% of instances.
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boogiebogus

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #191 on: November 09, 2021, 03:36:45 AM »

On missiles that are bad:

Pilums: everything that I have to say about this one has been said already
Squalls: not only are these distressingly low on ammo, the AI likes to waste these - they fire them even if there's nothing stopping you from taking it on your armor.
Proximity charge launcher: this one's honestly so useless I forgot it was vanilla at first. Why would I use this when I could drastically increase the brawling power of my ship with proper missiles?
Single missiles: seems like a waste of a missile slot, TBH. I remember someone saying they made a personal rebalance to make them have infinite ammo, but a very slow reload - which sounds interesting but is probably unbalanced.

Things I don't agree on:

Cyclone reapers: these seem pretty good to me. Endurance throughout a whole fight is a pretty good quality for a missile IMO, and this can do that.
Breaches: these are honestly almost good. They help a lot on ships with poorer armor cracking, like some falcon/eagle builds (though mauler rework is changing that). The large ammo pool almost - but not exactly - places them on similar ground with other missiles for me.
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ubuntufreakdragon

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #192 on: November 09, 2021, 04:01:35 AM »

Pilums could get faster, they should at least keep up with most ships.
Squlls need more ammo, and a weak traking on 2nd stage would be nice, e.g. adjusting movement by about 30° for full reach.
Some weak point defence options for missiles would be nice, e.g. a 1op flare launcher a 3op active flare launcher or a 5op minilocust, there are ships not needing their missile slots in any proper loadout.
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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #193 on: November 09, 2021, 05:21:21 AM »

I also hesitate to use Redacted as the ultimate measuring stick long term; as you say they have some specific behaviors that might not carry over to every endgame threat (or, indeed, to high-level bounties, which can be pretty close to on par with them.)
If you think top of the line human fleets should match Remnants in difficulty, please consider making that so. Currently Remnants demand noticeably more than even toughest mercenaries. Mostly because of how many officers they get and Radiants.

And from experience, Harpoons and Reapers seem very, very good in vs-Ordo fights; the number of times that a Radiant - or even a Brilliant - has managed to back off after getting over-fluxed, for lack of finisher-type weapons... that seems to happen a lot.
Now that's a straight up lie. I used harpoons and reapers against Remnants and unless I overloaded their ships already, missiles would not score hits on the hull. And if you need to overload their ships, you must bring either bring double the missiles to force overloads for high-flux Remnants through sheer ordnance avalanche, or by bringing some sabots anyway.
Yes.  The main thing that makes Ordos hard is 1) Radiant; it is a bonafide SNK boss that is highly overpowered (and the only thing that makes Automated Ships worthwhile instead of getting Spec.Mods.), and 2) officer power (and DP pools vary solely on officer power instead of ships).  They get lots of alpha officers (level 7s with all elite skills), possibly on every ship, such that fights will have the player at -10% shot range unless the player min-maxes for ECM, and 40% deployment (and if Remnants take the points, or take them later and you cannot reinforce, you basically lose the fight).  Meanwhile, human NPC fleets have more reasonable limits on officers, and Electronic Warfare sometimes helps instead of never.

Radiant is very slippery.  Even if it loses the flux war somehow, it can easily disengage without taking damage unless you have something that can punish it immediately, like Tachyon Lance, or your attacker has a mobility system to keep up, like Onslaught.  None of the human ships have the combination of high stats, high firepower, and mobility that Radiant has.  Thus, bounties against human fleets are not so hard.

A fleet built to kill Ordos with Radiants will effortlessly kill everything else.  The reverse is often not true.  I had fleets that could slaughter 350k bounties with ease only to wipe against top Ordos fleets in 0.95 (and they did not wipe badly in previous 0.9 releases).  Ordos were easier in releases prior to 0.95.

P.S.  If human fleets get harder, make sure the rewards are worth it.  Even now, top human bounties are only worth it when player is overpowered enough that flawless victory is almost certain (because paying twice the bounty reward to replace a single capital ship is silly - who in their right mind would try to subdue the fleet if they merely equal in power like every other endgame NPC fleet).  It also gets tiring at times chewing through mostly capitals and brick cruisers.

Consider extending the fleet cap to more than 30 so that 1) NPCs get less capitals and more smaller ships and 2) player gets to fly around with more ships if he wants.  Before NPCs honored the same fleet cap as the player, their endgame fleets used to be several cruisers and dozens of destroyers and frigates.

P.P.S.  Lastly, a reason to consider Ordos with Radiants as the bar is aside from difficulty significantly higher than everything else, is alpha core drops so player can collect his harem of alpha cores for full sector colonization and/or saturating his colonies with them in every industry or structure.

And if human fleets get harder because they get more and/or bigger ships (or more officers with defense skills), then please crank PPT higher across the board.  Those times have not changed since 0.6, and enemies are steadily getting bigger over the releases (and skill power took a dive since 0.8 ).  Even 0.95 doubled down on capital spam, and now fleets get officer spam on top of that.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2021, 05:41:29 AM by Megas »
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bobucles

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #194 on: November 09, 2021, 08:53:55 AM »

They say quantity has a quality all its own.
Do NPC fleets get access to player skills? There are quite a few skills that provide major boosts to a fleet and could dramatically impact its combat doctrine. If human fleets seem lacking, maybe that's the extra edge they need?


Haha, or maybe it's just an excuse to put Radiants into human bounty contracts. Radiants 2 stronk? Just give everyone Radiants 6head
« Last Edit: November 09, 2021, 08:57:22 AM by bobucles »
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