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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Author Topic: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?  (Read 2908 times)

Kos135

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Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« on: January 31, 2022, 10:44:15 AM »

You know, THOSE ships. The ones you always see but never use. The enemy loves to throw a screen of them at you in most battles and you always see a ton of them in shipyards.

There's a glut of them in the Frigate class, such as the various shuttles (Hermes, Kite, Mercury, etc). In the Destroyer class you have ships like the Buffalo Mk.II and the Gemini. Cruisers, the Colossus Mk.II and Mk.III. And in the Capital class you have the Prometheus Mk.II. I tried making the Prometheus Mk.II work before, and frankly it doesn't have anything going for it aside from a higher than average top speed for its class.

Starsector doesn't make it easy to use a quantity-over-quality strategy. Even if you take the Hull Restoration skill or install Reinforced Bulkheads on all of your ships to reduce the chance of them being destroyed (as opposed to disabled) in a battle, it's still very costly and inconvenient to constantly restock on supplies and crew to keep your fleet in shape.

The recent patch has taken a rather big step towards quantity-over-quality being viable (Hull Restoration and Support Doctrine skills, and built-in Rugged Construction hullmods on certain ships) but it's not quite there yet. Especially when it comes to fighting capital-heavy fleets and stations, you need large "elite" ships that can tank and dish out tons of damage to stand a chance in that sort of fight.

Since nearly all of 'those' ships full under the category of cheap, disposable cannon fodder, quantity-over-quality is really the only sort of playstyle in which they would be useful.
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Igncom1

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2022, 11:13:03 AM »

Well I can't speak for all of them but many are basically just pirate used militarised freighters. Cheap as chips and easy to use when exploring and salvaging when every ship added is just a drain on resources.

The Gemini is a freighter that has decent enough support capabilities with two medium ballistic mounts, a medium missile mount, and a single hanger bay.

Pirate Falcons are actually 100% better then normal Falcons and can pack FOUR medium missile mounts making them some of the best missile carriers in the game.
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Ahueh

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2022, 11:53:06 AM »

Frankly, I don’t think you can use them optimally in good conscience in the current iteration of the game. I don’t view the ships themselves as a problem that needs fixing, though. Rather, the conditions under which those ships should be used don’t exist in the game currently. Under almost all circumstances, you should expect the slow burning, resource hogging, plasma cannon equipped Paragon to be better at taking down Remnant Ordos than equivalent DP of Geminis – This is fine in my opinion. In order for there to be good ships, there have to be bad ships.

I’ve posted about it before (with solutions), but generally my view of the problem is that there is very little “mid-game” to speak of, and it is incredibly easy to acquire and field higher-end ships that immediately outclass those you mentioned. If the journey towards purchasing and equipping the aforementioned Paragon (or Fury, or Hyperion) was filled with engaging battles of Mules and Buffalos vs Geminis and Colossi, you’d feel a lot better about their role and place in the game.
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boogiebogus

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2022, 12:08:10 PM »

I’ve posted about it before (with solutions), but generally my view of the problem is that there is very little “mid-game” to speak of, and it is incredibly easy to acquire and field higher-end ships that immediately outclass those you mentioned. If the journey towards purchasing and equipping the aforementioned Paragon (or Fury, or Hyperion) was filled with engaging battles of Mules and Buffalos vs Geminis and Colossi, you’d feel a lot better about their role and place in the game.

Have you ever tried starpocalypse? in my experience, it does a wonderful job of extending the mid game. Without a commission, it makes getting good ships and weapons a whole lot harder. And with the most recent update, I believe there's a setting to remove capitals from even military markets, so you'll need to either salvage or build one.
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Ahueh

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2022, 01:05:15 PM »

I’ve posted about it before (with solutions), but generally my view of the problem is that there is very little “mid-game” to speak of, and it is incredibly easy to acquire and field higher-end ships that immediately outclass those you mentioned. If the journey towards purchasing and equipping the aforementioned Paragon (or Fury, or Hyperion) was filled with engaging battles of Mules and Buffalos vs Geminis and Colossi, you’d feel a lot better about their role and place in the game.

Have you ever tried starpocalypse? in my experience, it does a wonderful job of extending the mid game. Without a commission, it makes getting good ships and weapons a whole lot harder. And with the most recent update, I believe there's a setting to remove capitals from even military markets, so you'll need to either salvage or build one.

I have - I agree it does help. I did still find myself in old routines and habits that I hoped it would break. (Running some risk-free exploration/survey missions for easy cash and then spending it on black market cruisers, specifically).

I remain convinced that the only way to fully solve the "mid-game problem" is a near-total rebalance of ship cost/availability, trading, (Starpocalypse helps in these areas), and implementing forced engagements on the parts of the game which are currently just "click a place on the over-map to get money, salvage, or a ship". But that's another thread!
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Goumindong

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2022, 02:09:05 PM »

So... a lot of them see transient use and some of them are... Downright good until the point that you're out of fleet slots

First lets talk about strategic use. The more DP you have the stronger your fleet is evaluated by enemies. This has advantages and disadvantages but is generally advantageous. Particularly in the "clean up phase" where extra DP is extra clean up weight. So a lot of these ships are functionally better than the strict logistics versions of them (sometimes even when they carry less stuff)

Some however are quite good.

The Buffalo MK II has the highest missile density in the game per DP. And... while its uhhh slightly defenseless you can still utilize piliums and harpoons and a converted hangar pretty effectively. Just make sure to give them specific orders to get away from things and they should be OK.

The Kite is probably the best one of the bunch. Its effectively free and brings 2 reaper torpedo's to the fight. This means that you can effectively utilize it to harass almost anything since it will always put threat on an enemy ship while also being effectively free in terms of DP. Do you like harass orders? Well 10 kites is only 20 DP. With 140 speed and Maneuvering Jets they'll pretty much never be caught. And its a lot easier to make them even more throwaway with the new set of ship mods

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Megas

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2022, 02:10:55 PM »

In my recent games, my source of ships came from...
* Bar encounters with powered armor guy or commander/captain/admiral at a table.
* Black Markets all over the place.
* Looting from the enemy, then let Hull Restoration fix.  (In particular, Radiant at the Red Planet is my first or second capital I acquire in the game.)
* (Late) My colonies' Orbital Works.

Also, Legion XIV wrecks can be found very early (but I leave those alone; I wait until I buy blueprint from historian).
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Amoebka

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2022, 12:45:19 AM »

The Buffalo MK II has the highest missile density in the game per DP.

The Kite is probably the best one of the bunch.

Nothing competes with officered Gryphons for missile density (and sparing an officer for a 20 dp cruiser isn't hard). Buffalo will in practice die before it even shoots all of its missiles, so its high density is only theoretical.

Mercury is a better kite in the late game, if you are into that kind of thing. Better weapon arcs, better ship system, cheaper to replace.
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Kos135

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2022, 11:28:06 AM »

I don’t view the ships themselves as a problem that needs fixing, though. Rather, the conditions under which those ships should be used don’t exist in the game currently. Under almost all circumstances, you should expect the slow burning, resource hogging, plasma cannon equipped Paragon to be better at taking down Remnant Ordos than equivalent DP of Geminis – This is fine in my opinion. In order for there to be good ships, there have to be bad ships.

Well put. If you throw 10x Buffalo Mk.II's at an Onslaught, the Onslaught should win effortlessly. Onslaughts are battleships designed specifically for combat whereas the Buffalo Mk.II is a refitted freighter. It wouldn't make sense to for that to be an equal matchup even though they both add up to 40 DP.

The advantages of 'those' ships should be in logistics. Think of it in terms of civilian gun ownership in the real world. A refitted civilian ship like a Kite or a Buffalo Mk.II would be the Starsector equivalent of a civilian gun, something like a hunting rifle or a 9mm pistol designed for personal defense. They're relatively easy to acquire and maintain. Compare that to a military weapon like a .50 cal LMG or a shoulder-fired rocket launcher. In the real world, your chances of getting your hands on something like that are almost nothing. Even if you do acquire one you're going to have a hard time finding a steady supply of ammo for it.

Military ships ought to be gated behind military affiliation and/or criminal activity. You shouldn't see the Starsector equivalent of LMGs and rocket launchers on sale on the open market, at least not in legitimate markets like the Hegemony or Persean League. It shouldn't be impossible to acquire them unless you have a military commission, we should still be able to steal them using pirate missions or buy them off of black markets. But they should be more difficult to come by, more expensive to purchase, and more expensive to maintain.

Unless the player has a military commission or has founded their own faction and set up their own ship production, it should be very difficult to field a whole fleet of military ships. We should be forced to rely upon 'those' ships until we acquire some special means of acquiring military ships, just like you'd be restricted to owning certain kinds of guns in the civilian world unless you had some special access to military-grade weapons.

To summarize: Yes, 'those' ships should be crappy. But they should also be very accessible, and very cheap to purchase and maintain compared to military ships.

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Thaago

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2022, 12:36:27 PM »

That kind of analogy breaks down when you look across history though, and there's many lore reasons why the sectors current state bears very little resemblance to the current world. Private individuals/groups not having access to the full breadth of military technology is a very new phenomenon, barely more than a 100 years, and even today its mostly gated by money. Private military organizations are very real and profitable businesses with military hardware and in many places individuals can just buy rocket launchers/tanks/fighter jets. Thing like capital warships aren't owned by them (anymore) but that has far more to do with need (what are they going to use them for?), cost, and port regulations on weapons than any real impossibility.

I wouldn't mind more cost differentiation between ship classes and types to encourage using low end/converted ships though. If a BMII cost 10k credits while a Hammerhead costs 100k, well in some stages of the game fire support that cheap is useful.
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Igncom1

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2022, 12:42:42 PM »

I think at one point the East India Company had more soldiers, guns, and ships then the British Empire officially did.
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Gergin

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2022, 02:11:36 PM »

That kind of analogy breaks down when you look across history though, and there's many lore reasons why the sectors current state bears very little resemblance to the current world. Private individuals/groups not having access to the full breadth of military technology is a very new phenomenon, barely more than a 100 years, and even today its mostly gated by money. Private military organizations are very real and profitable businesses with military hardware and in many places individuals can just buy rocket launchers/tanks/fighter jets. Thing like capital warships aren't owned by them (anymore) but that has far more to do with need (what are they going to use them for?), cost, and port regulations on weapons than any real impossibility.

I wouldn't mind more cost differentiation between ship classes and types to encourage using low end/converted ships though. If a BMII cost 10k credits while a Hammerhead costs 100k, well in some stages of the game fire support that cheap is useful.
Fully agree on substantially higher cost variance between low end and high end ships.  A 30k difference between a combat freighter and a high tech frigate is almost negligible once you know how to make money.  It basically means you completely blow past whole swathes of ships and into what should be longer term goals.
Hobo phase is always my favorite part of games and Star Sector could do with some pumping the brakes on player progression.
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Thaago

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2022, 02:52:02 PM »

If you haven't seen them yet, check out ruthless sector and starpocalypse - they both make that phase of the game last longer in my experience!
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coldiceEVO

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2022, 01:43:03 AM »

They usually have 1 or 2 cheese to go for if their flaw can be mitigated or tolerated in exchange for their low dp and availability to mass them. Some good ones may come with superior op/dp, lots of caveats to make them work tho.
Common logistic flaw are large sensor profile from civ hull, bad overall fuel consumption and crew req for similar effectiveness, burn speed was also bummer but 0.95.1 gives industry skill that +2 burn for civs so escaping fleet ganging is easier.
and combat flaws are everywhere, bad flux, shield efficiency and narrow angle, mobility, armor and hull, system, allowing less hullmod per ship due to low op compares to same hull, you feel like over paying hullmods as each scales with less baseline performance(or larger hull for similar performance) and thus cant stack multiple hullmod to improve to godhood without lowering flux investment. They barely trade flux efficiently, being slow and heavy adding more risk to be ganged, and caught by same class or higher, and likely circle strafed by under class, results in hull damage. 
Some common reasons of using them:
Expanded missile to max missile/dp, mitigate their inferior stats like flux, shield efficiency&angle, armor, hull mobility during flux trade confrintation. Kite, buffalo mk2, atlas mk2 are prime examples.
Maximaize fighter per dp, again taking the carrier back seat. Condor, any Converted hanger destoryer, colossus mk3. The latter 2 comes at a cost of worsen the fighters.
Artillery support, mudskipper mk2 and atlas mk2, one move fast enough the other is a capital shoot far and fast enough with autoloader system, with a lot of atlas they may generate crossfire zone ~1.5 km long, restricted by line of sight and need 100% leading range, another skilled officer or hullmod to fix that, some have good result with masses of prometheus mk2 and tac lances which feel nicer to kit with a few dp more.
Regular weapon mount dp density isnt very relavent as most ship failed to have enough op and flux to reach that barrier.
Punchbag like Venture, unusally thick armor packing missiles and missile system that can also generate insane counter attacks if piloted or instructed.
Other than that as dedicated ECM, nav provider, command center and avoid contact.
Logistic wise some can be shield your illegal cargo, provide raid fire support, surveying bonus, half-assed cargo and bed capacity.
Still many are still untouchable lost cause for me, these frigate shuttles as they have no future or usefulness to be massed and many of their civilian ai avoid combat until modified by militarized subsystem. And Gremlin, there is no hope.
good ones can have s-mod builtin as they can make this dp denser.
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Megas

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Re: Trash to treasure - How to make use of 'those' ships?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2022, 08:48:11 AM »

I took a brief stab at a combat fleet with Ziggurat flagship, one or two other big ships, and a dozen or more frigates no more than 6 DP (Vanguard or cheaper).  So far, my skills are Hull Restoration and Automated Ships.  None of the ships have s-mods.  In other words, not optimized for the job.  Against endgame bounties, I lose about five or six frigates.  So far, I can recover most of them pristine, and with 30-something CR and hull, thanks to Industry skills.  The rest either get a d-mod or end up in difficult recovery, in which case, I scuttle because I can build more frigates for under 20k a pop (except Vanguard, but I already recovered so many pristine hulls from fighting pirates long enough).  Occasionally, I find a pristine Vanguard, or a one d-mod ship dropped by the enemy, and I recover those too.

So far, I used Vanguards and Wolves.  I have others I want to try, like Centurion and maybe Remnant ships.
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