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Author Topic: Is Thumper good now?  (Read 2372 times)

Alex

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2022, 10:08:11 AM »

Huh, weirdly enough I never tried Thumpers on XIV Legions. How did you build it if you don't mind answering? I'd probably go with Squall + Hurricane and some good pressure fighters.

I don't remember all the details, but - expanded mags and racks, 2x Hammer Barrage, a few Vulcans for PD, and of course ITU. The fighters were all Broadswords for the added kinetic damage; IIRC it had some kind of fighter-related d-mod but was still fine. I might've built Auxiliary Thrusters into it; as I remember being able to turn quickly enough was a huge deal. And iirc 5 points in combat, definitely with Missile Specialization and Impact Mitigation (for even faster turning).

The playstyle was basically burn in and dump a world of pain onto whatever you burned in on - and to make sure to let the Thumpers recharge in-between, and to avoid longer engagements. The Hammers are really only needed for larger ships or when you need to blow up a bunch of things in a real hurry; the amount of kills it could get in literally seconds was glorious. Being able to turn quickly was critical to just being able to be in the right place at the right time.

I'm definitely not saying this was some kind of refined lategame build, btw. Just - enough to handle some Ordos. And my second capital was an Atlas Mk.II :)

*cries in doing a lot of playtesting vs a multi-Radiant Ordo and finding an Aurora flagship to be one of the easiest ships to win the fight with*

(Erm, a bit off-topic, sorry!)

Could you please share your build? I'm very curious.

I don't remember all the details, but having a bunch of Ion Cannons was, in my experience, the key. It both lets you have a loadout that's close to flux-neutral, and gives you an ability to mitigate damage when you (inevitably) find yourself near a Radiant and your flux is high, or that Radiant is trying to blow up an ally. So basically enough alpha strike to quickly dispatch destroyers and smaller, and the ability to outlast something larger through EMP damage from the Ions (and, IIRC, some Sabots for the tough opponents).

As I remember, the main tactic was not to get too focused on any single opponent but more to "troubleshoot" the fight by using your ion damage to quickly mitigate any situation where things were going bad... this is why enough burst was important, too; couldn't really afford to have longer fights with smaller ships while the rest of the fight goes bad.
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gG_pilot

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2022, 10:09:41 AM »

You are simply bullying small ships with a cruiser, where the weapon doesn't really matter that much as long as it's decent. 2 heavy mortars, 1 heavy autocannon and 2 light autocannons does the same job and also pose a better stand against other cruisers, yet requires only gunnery implants. Nonetheless Thumper is a decent option against small ships but it's not "THE BEST" option for general.
Test of Bullying  small ships with your recommended load:
Althou I put two railguns rather than two Light autocanons for more antishield power and range.
Flux was not issue, battle  took also the same time, and you are right it did almost same  job. The only difference is ship was seriously damaged.
https://i.imgur.com/hJhMU8r.png
Compare to Thumpers
https://i.imgur.com/j1tiaH7.png
4k vs 10k dmg received
« Last Edit: June 20, 2022, 10:32:55 AM by gG_pilot »
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Drazan

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2022, 11:37:21 AM »


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTUdO-ZqqbI

The video is a quick and dirty build that's clearly not endgame optimized (I mean lol CH Warthogs, amirite?), but it shows how easy it is to bully multiple weak SIM targets.

Thank you DaShiv for doing exactly the same thing I wanted to. Saved some valuable time for me (im getting ready for my final exams wish me luck pls).

*cries in doing a lot of playtesting vs a multi-Radiant Ordo and finding an Aurora flagship to be one of the easiest ships to win the fight with*

(Erm, a bit off-topic, sorry!)

Could you please share your build? I'm very curious.

I said it would devolve into a Conquest thread not an Aurora one :D

To bring things more on-topic, I've had pretty good results using a bunch of Thumpers on an XIV Legion - wasn't super-endgame, but it was definitely facing Ordos etc, and they more than pulled their weight. The burst is just ferocious, and I think managing the flow of the fight so that the ammo recharges during "downtime" and not during an actual engagement is key to making it work. (Hence, a ship with some kind of mobility system being particularly handy here...)

Yeah with Legion XIV is probably a good platform for what thumper does, but I find the range quite lacking to use on a capital ship. Legion is nimble  (for a lowtech capital, especially with the skills you mentioned) but I dont see it being soo nimble to reliably do burst damage aganist ordos, I think similar or better results could be achieved with kinetic mediums and Khopesh bombers.
Legion especially the non-XIV is somewhat lackluster right now compared to other capitals in my opinion.

EDIT: https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=18818.msg293987#msg293987
This is how you do a test.

This right there, I remember seeing this post a while back. Perhaps it contributed to the Thumper being buffed. I wish someone could do the same again.
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Alex

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2022, 02:08:20 PM »

I said it would devolve into a Conquest thread not an Aurora one :D

Haha!

Yeah with Legion XIV is probably a good platform for what thumper does, but I find the range quite lacking to use on a capital ship. Legion is nimble  (for a lowtech capital, especially with the skills you mentioned) but I dont see it being soo nimble to reliably do burst damage aganist ordos, I think similar or better results could be achieved with kinetic mediums and Khopesh bombers.

That reminds me, I did have some Light Needlers in the small slots - possibly three of them? It was a long time ago. I can see what you're describing working, but it'd definitely have some tradeoffs or at least a different playstyle; the one I had was very much a close-range brawler since, well, I was really enjoying blowing things up with Hammer Barrages.
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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2022, 07:37:57 PM »

I found the thumper good in this build. Took far more damage than Dashiv's build but chewed through the enemies much faster.

That being said, it's not much better than anything else in that slot.


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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2022, 02:50:47 AM »

I found similar results with triple chaingun and double thumper + emags. Although in my case I'm using the default eradicator and as far as I can tell thumpers don't regain charges faster when the ammo feeder is going, so maybe that would be a good way to buff them.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 03:34:12 AM by BigBrainEnergy »
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DaShiv

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2022, 05:25:23 AM »

I found the thumper good in this build. Took far more damage than Dashiv's build but chewed through the enemies much faster.
Although in my case I'm using the default eradicator and as far as I can tell thumpers don't regain charges faster when the ammo feeder is going, so maybe that would be a good way to buff them.

Results between base Eradicator and Eradicator (P) aren't at all comparable. As a reference, I plugged your build into an Eradicator (P) and the results weren't great - out of 5 trials, only 1 success while defeating an average of 41.6 of 73 DP. AAF is a world of difference, especially with SO as a stacking multiplier.

But it gets much worse. As I previously wrote:

Simulator testing proves very little about the effectiveness of loadouts in actual battle - combat videos against Ordos fleets is the standard benchmark. There's a particular danger in over-optimizing for simulator performance (especially solo simulator performance) that don't translate into live fleet vs fleet combat.

Still using your build on the Eradicator (P), I replaced the SIM Eagle with the Falcon (using dual Ion Beams) and the results were even more lopsided: 0 of 5 successes, averaging just 16.4 of 65 DP defeated. This is because your build is over-specialized to take on weak, slow ships that lack any EMP or decent armor breaking.

To illustrate this even more dramatically, I tested using a SIM fleet of Aurora, Falcon, and Sunder (Close Support w/ HIL), totaling "only" 55 DP. Results: 0 of 5 successes without a single kill for your build, while my build succeeded 5 times in a row easily (even though Breaches and CH Warthogs didn't pull much weight against these enemies, although BRF Railguns proved more impactful).

The point isn't whether either of our builds is the platonic ideal Eradicator build - I can assure you that neither one is, especially given how hastily I threw mine together without even trying it out in live combat - but rather that it's foolhardy to extrapolate too much from very limited simulator performance against a very specific set of targets. If you bring your Thumper + Shield Shunt Eradicator build against a high tech bounty or a multi-Ordos stack, you're going to be horribly disappointed in its performance, regardless of how it tested in the simulator against those select targets.

As for whether Thumper need another buff - I think it's performing fairly reasonably for a 7 OP punch-down weapon. To me, Thumper adequately fills its specific niche now that it's been given burst. It's not supposed to perform like a 13 OP premium weapon.
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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2022, 09:20:28 AM »

I'm well aware the difference AAF makes. I know that shield shunt is weak to HIL and ion beams, and while I do think it's weird that the thumper doesn't recharge faster during AAF, I'm not concerned whether it gets buffed or not.

I'm a lot more interested in the other stuff that's come up.  For example, I don't agree that my SO build is specialized for weak ships, even though it does struggle against faster ships. Did you give it the appropriate personality? It's pretty easy to fix it so it doesn't struggle against the falcon by taking off emags and trading a railgun for a LAG so you can afford resistant flux conduits, I just didn't bother because the example we were working with didn't have much EMP damage. Not much I can do against HIL except hope the AI targets it first and actually finishes the job.

Obviously, outside the sim is very different: a fleet of reckless SO ships work much better than a single reckless ship. I found without shield shunt it would be too timid and drag out the battle while slowly getting whittled down. In a real battle I would probably leave it with shields, but I can't say 100% for sure because I haven't tested it. On the other hand, converted hangar is a bit of a sly trick in the sim because even if it doesn't contribute much damage it diverts the attention of the enemy so your 1 ship doesn't get overwhelmed, while in a fleet there's already other ships pulling enemy attention.

That being said, I'm super curious what a peak performance eradicator looks like to you. I usually play high tech so I haven't done a lot of experimenting with low-tech beyond the obvious long range kinetic spam. It works, but it's a little boring.
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Salter

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2022, 11:22:31 AM »

Ive found the thumper works well on a Hammerhead. It gives you comparable results to dual chainguns but with better range and effectiveness against shields, since it can speed up its fire rate. What to pair with it in terms of missiles is always a mixed bag given its generalist descriptor. With 700 range, a good officer can do alot with a hammerhead and it. Some Harpoons is not a terrible choice. Giving it reapers can turn it into a particularly nasty attacker that can pop shields then punch up to cruisers and a few capitals without having to get as close with the chaingun and leaving you some room for a hullmod or extra vents/capacitors.

A bit off topic but shield shunt also works if you have an Officer with Elite Polarized Armor & Resistant Flux Conduits Hullmod. High tech EMP weapons wont be giving you any trouble with that combo, but its really only something I would consider on a much more maneuverable/high armor ship as you are still susceptible to a lot of other damage sources.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 07:29:15 PM by Salter »
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DaShiv

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2022, 11:56:17 PM »

Did you give it the appropriate personality? It's pretty easy to fix it so it doesn't struggle against the falcon by taking off emags and trading a railgun for a LAG so you can afford resistant flux conduits

Actually I did one better - I issued the Full Assault command at the start of combat just to make sure that a Shield Shunt build would have the maximum aggression possible.

The actual reason your build struggled against Falcons is speed: during every trial involving the SIM Falcon, whenever the Falcon was pressured, it was fast enough to fall back behind another enemy to cause the autopilot AI to switch to the closer enemy, and thus the SIM Falcon was never successfully destroyed in any of the 10 trials. This is a significant issue with using SO on larger-than-frigate ships: the AI is very easily outsmarted and outmaneuvered in a fleet context against multiple enemies when it has neither range nor overwhelming speed.

For example, I don't agree that my SO build is specialized for weak ships, even though it does struggle against faster ships.

Both the ACG and Thumper are punch-down weapons due to their low hit strength. To illustrate, I ran your Eradicator (P) build 1vs1 against SIM Conquest, with 0 of 5 successes (average 71.6% hull damage to Conquest, highest 92.2% so it's quite possible to win with random luck). Even the Conquest's 1200 base armor with no skills was enough to slow down ACG/Thumper damage and prevent the Conquest from being overwhelmed. The Thumper fared especially poorly: in every instance it dealt well less than half the hull damage of the ACG despite the Thumper's huge burst frag DPS, due to the Conquest's residual armor.

Now the ACG's raw DPS is so high that it's feasible to simply spam enough ACGs using DP-efficient ships to overwhelm heavily armored targets - the Brawler (LP) is particularly good at this strategy. However, the Eradicator (especially the P variant) isn't really a good ship for this, and on its own the ACG isn't very efficient against heavy armor compared to how easily it annihilates lighter targets.

In contrast, the AI autopilot had no problems soloing the SIM Conquest using the HVD Breach build, because the Breach's irreducible scripted armor damage easily strips capital-grade armor, and HVD has high enough hit strength to punch through capital-grade residual armor and effectively chew through hull. This is an example of a build that isn't just punching down on weak targets.

It's pretty easy to fix it so it doesn't struggle against the falcon by taking off emags and trading a railgun for a LAG so you can afford resistant flux conduits, I just didn't bother because the example we were working with didn't have much EMP damage.
A bit off topic but shield shunt also works if you have an Officer with Elite Polarized Armor & Resistant Flux Conduits Hullmod. High tech EMP weapons wont be giving you any trouble with that combo, but its really only something I would consider on a much more maneuverable/high armor ship as you are still susceptible to a lot of other damage sources.

Unfortunately, Polarized Armor and RFC aren't panaceas for Shield Shunt against EMP damage. Polarized Armor is a permanent -25% EMP with Shield Shunt, so stacked (multiplicatively) with RFC that's -62.5%. However, if you're factoring in skills, Elite Target Analysis is +100% on its own. (We'll ignore other bonuses like CR bonus, sizes bonuses from Wolfpack/Target Analysis, and even systems like HEF.) A small weapon mount has 250 hp while a single shot from Ion Cannon does 400 base damage (and Ion Beam has 400 base EMP DPS as well), so 400*2*0.375 = 300 damage received, resulting in small weapons still being disabled by a single shot. This doesn't even factor in: multiple weapons, bursts from larger weapons like Ion Pulser or Tachyon Lance, EMP arcs, or simply being fired on repeatedly for longer than 1s.

There are a ton of other factors that go into this, such as hit location, weapon size, EMP arc targeting, and so on. However, it's pretty clear that while EMP resistance has a large effect against stray EMP damage, it's not going to hold up at all against sustained EMP attacks without using shields to relieve the pressure.

Even worse than EMP is large anti-armor damage from weapons like HIL, Tach Lance, Plasma Cannon, Hellbore, etc., against which Shield Shunt has no recourse. Armor tanking is very effective early on (arguably too effective, especially against Pirates and Hegemony) so it's quite reasonable that Shield Shunt falls off very hard late game. Effective armor tanking against tougher fleets requires using shields to block EMP/anti-armor to preserve armor for soaking up weak hits.

On the other hand, converted hangar is a bit of a sly trick in the sim because even if it doesn't contribute much damage it diverts the attention of the enemy so your 1 ship doesn't get overwhelmed, while in a fleet there's already other ships pulling enemy attention.

That being said, I'm super curious what a peak performance eradicator looks like to you.

Were I to use Eradicator in one of my fleets, the specific build would depend heavily on composition of the entire fleet. However, I can't imagine a fleet where I'd use an SO Shield Shunt Eradicator, whether base or (P). It's simply not the right ship for that strategy: not tanky enough to survive, nor fast enough to outmaneuver enemies.

Calling CH decoys a "sly trick in the sim" implies that it doesn't work in live combat, but in fact I use CH extensively in my actual fleets - it's not a simulator-only gimmick. All builds have weaknesses, not just SO and Shield Shunt builds; for long-range kinetic builds, their main vulnerability is being swarmed and not being able to apply shield pressure fast enough to push enemies back and maintain range. Using CH as a defensive decoy is actually a perfectly logical strategy to compensate for this weakness, even during full fleet combat. (You'll notice that the Warthog's limited engagement range serves as a feature to tether itself to its home ship as a decoy, instead of wandering away to chase some random frigate it can't catch.)

In fact, one tendency I see in many players is to not compensate at all for build weaknesses, but instead merely excuse them as "this ship is designed to be a flanker" or "this ship is only designed to fight X types of enemies but avoid Y enemies" - and then blame the AI when the build fails because the AI isn't programmed to execute those parameters exactly. I believe that the AI performs best with builds that are more situation-agnostic and with some safeguards against the most common failure scenarios - and for long-range kinetic builds, CH is one example of such an AI-friendly safeguard.
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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2022, 01:59:57 AM »

Polarized Armor is a permanent -25% EMP with Shield Shunt
Isn't it equal to RFC at 50 percent?

Otherwise, yeah in a real battle you should only consider shield shunt if you stack AWM, ARU, RFC, impact mitigation, and polarized armor. As far as I'm aware that's 75% reduced damage and 75% reduced emp so it takes 16x times as much emp or 8x against elite target analysis. That's assuming you can find a build where shield shunt is actually the right choice, and to that end I'm looking at SO XIV enforcer.

Calling CH decoys a "sly trick in the sim" implies that it doesn't work in live combat, but in fact I use CH extensively in my actual fleets - it's not a simulator-only gimmick.

All builds have weaknesses, not just SO and Shield Shunt builds; for long-range kinetic builds, their main vulnerability is being swarmed and not being able to apply shield pressure fast enough to push enemies back and maintain range.

Using CH as a defensive decoy is actually a perfectly logical strategy to compensate for this weakness, even during full fleet combat. (You'll notice that the Warthog's limited engagement range serves as a feature to tether itself to its home ship as a decoy, instead of wandering away to chase some random frigate it can't catch.)
This makes sense. It's more relevant when you only have 1 ship, but I did downplay the impact it has in a real battle.

In fact, one tendency I see in many players is to not compensate at all for build weaknesses, but instead merely excuse them as "this ship is designed to be a flanker" or "this ship is only designed to fight X types of enemies but avoid Y enemies" - and then blame the AI when the build fails because the AI isn't programmed to execute those parameters exactly. I believe that the AI performs best with builds that are more situation-agnostic and with some safeguards against the most common failure scenarios - and for long-range kinetic builds, CH is one example of such an AI-friendly safeguard.
Absolutely true. There's almost no way to tell the AI what role it's supposed to fill. You can't have design that folds against X enemy because the AI can't know to avoid it. Except radiants. An avoid order keeps your smaller ships safe but that's not really the same thing as having a "specialized" design, that's just radiants 101.

The only example of a good specialized design I can think of right now is omens. The role omens are designed for is not what the AI would do automatically, but you can force them into it with the escort command. I like to put zero point defense on a shrike and completely design it for ship to ship combat, then set an omen to escort it. While the shrike can punch up (and down) very effectively it gets shredded by fighter swarms, and while the omen can't punch up it keeps the shrike safe from fighters and provides EMP damage.

[The other stuff]
Not much to say, but worth the read.
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DaShiv

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2022, 03:06:34 PM »

Polarized Armor is a permanent -25% EMP with Shield Shunt
Isn't it equal to RFC at 50 percent?

From the skill: "Ships without a shield or a phase cloak are treated as always having 50% hard flux" and the bonus is -50% EMP damage at max hard flux, so for Shield Shunt builds it's a permanent -25% EMP damage (and +25% armor damage reduction). In practical terms, Polarized Armor is somewhat overrated since you're never going to receive the max bonus from the scaling portion. Further, the AI doesn't utilize active venting nearly as effectively as players do (and the bonus is useless with SO), which makes the skill a lot more niche than many players assume.

It's a lot like EWM where the +30% bonus looks amazing on paper, but in practice the average damage bonus is going to be far smaller across the entire battle due to hard flux (and range) scaling.

Not much to say, but worth the read.

Thanks!
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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2022, 04:04:48 PM »

It's a lot like EWM where the +30% bonus looks amazing on paper, but in practice the average damage bonus is going to be far smaller across the entire battle due to hard flux (and range) scaling.
You know, for some reason I always assumed that it reached the maximum benefit at 50% hard flux even though now that I'm looking at it there's no text saying it does. I knew that wasn't the case for EWM, I just assumed polarized armour was different for some reason. I'd actually like to see both of them get their full bonus before hitting 100% flux, maybe not as early as 50% but I think 75% would be a good place especially for EWM. It's so niche with the range limitation and you're usually getting less than 15% bonus damage because if you're THAT close to the enemy and on high flux you're in trouble.
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Salter

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2022, 11:08:12 AM »

It's a lot like EWM where the +30% bonus looks amazing on paper, but in practice the average damage bonus is going to be far smaller across the entire battle due to hard flux (and range) scaling.
You know, for some reason I always assumed that it reached the maximum benefit at 50% hard flux even though now that I'm looking at it there's no text saying it does. I knew that wasn't the case for EWM, I just assumed polarized armour was different for some reason. I'd actually like to see both of them get their full bonus before hitting 100% flux, maybe not as early as 50% but I think 75% would be a good place especially for EWM. It's so niche with the range limitation and you're usually getting less than 15% bonus damage because if you're THAT close to the enemy and on high flux you're in trouble.

I could see it working on an alpha strike setup for a phase ship. Outfitting them with something like AM blasters, Heavy Blasters or Phase Lances and given that you will naturally run up your flux from phasing anyways, you could pop out and strike someone for alot of damage. But yeah with how wildly your flux goes in any given fight and losing the flux war is not ideal, its not something thats applicable everywhere.
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Doctorhealsgood

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Re: Is Thumper good now?
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2022, 11:22:26 AM »

Polarized Armor is a permanent -25% EMP with Shield Shunt
Isn't it equal to RFC at 50 percent?

From the skill: "Ships without a shield or a phase cloak are treated as always having 50% hard flux" and the bonus is -50% EMP damage at max hard flux, so for Shield Shunt builds it's a permanent -25% EMP damage (and +25% armor damage reduction). In practical terms, Polarized Armor is somewhat overrated since you're never going to receive the max bonus from the scaling portion. Further, the AI doesn't utilize active venting nearly as effectively as players do (and the bonus is useless with SO), which makes the skill a lot more niche than many players assume.

It's a lot like EWM where the +30% bonus looks amazing on paper, but in practice the average damage bonus is going to be far smaller across the entire battle due to hard flux (and range)

Wait what? I thought it was always being considered as if you had 50% base and going higher than 50% would start scaling higher. That is depressing. The shield shunt nerf was already pain.
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