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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: The Pilgrim's Path (07/19/22)

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Author Topic: Eagle + HSA decent?  (Read 1766 times)

FooF

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2022, 03:33:09 PM »

“Odd one out” in terms of being overlooked in favor of other Cruisers. Prior to the latest buffs, it was a ship that looked good on paper but was too slow, too flux starved and strangely, not tough enough to fulfill its role. The last patch not only buffed the Dominator but added skills that greatly increase its effectiveness in tanking and flux stats, not mention hull mods that help.

The Eagle did receive some tweaks but the meta game moved past it. I don’t think anyone would call it “bad” it’s just that it’s not as attractive as other Cruiser options. It’s not far off from being a strong competitor for the DP cost but it either needs a slight buff or a slight reduction in DP to be “worth it” relative to other hulls.

I still stand by the single fighter bay addition. That’s something no other line cruiser would have, adds to the generalist feel, and mitigates some of the speed/lack of missile issues we’re discussing.
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smithney

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2022, 11:32:42 PM »

I still stand by the single fighter bay addition. That’s something no other line cruiser would have, adds to the generalist feel, and mitigates some of the speed/lack of missile issues we’re discussing.
I suppose it makes sense for Eagle to be the middle of the midline pack and enable the school's many cannons. The fighter bay sounds like a good idea on paper considering Eagle is leaning support anyway and carrying interceptors would complement that nicely. Not to mention that if a simple CH actually does work as a missile substitute for many slower ships, I don't see why a regular hangar shouldn't work for Eagle and give it some versatility.

The Eagle did receive some tweaks but the meta game moved past it.
Never understood the point of talking about metagame in a single player sandbox rpg, but I guess it makes for a good reference point
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MechanistGrimm

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2022, 11:40:35 PM »

Finally dragged my lazy keister onto the forum just to say I really like the idea of throwing a bay onto the Eagle to help it stand out as an option for the Line Cruiser role as a generalist. 
  It does feel like it needs something but a straight buff to speed or flux stats doesn't really feel quite right or feel like it will address the issue fully of what it is lacking.  The versatility of a fighter bay being what makes a Eagle stand out could really do the trick versus the Dom with it's tanky sun's out guns out approach and the Champion being able to bring heavy missile support to a solid mix of weapons or the Aurora bringing an eclectic mix of energy and some missiles.  Having a fighter bay to add to the theme of it not really excelling anywhere but having an option for most any question just feels like that could do it. 
   Would the addition of a bay also call for an additional 3-5 OP in order to support the bay or is it flexible enough on OP that this would simply be too much?
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Grievous69

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2022, 11:59:45 PM »

Probably would need 5 or so extra OP then yeah, and it would be a cooler upgrade from Falcon. We'd also remove the need of lowering its DP.
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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2022, 12:21:16 AM »

It's true that with the brilliant losing its bay the spot is open for another single-wing cruiser.
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Megas

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2022, 06:12:27 AM »

Eagle does not have excess OP.  If it gets a normal fighter bay and nothing else, it needs 10 more OP to support midgrade fighters like Broadswords.  No extra OP would be a thanks-for-nothing moment, with fighter likely being mining pods or Talons due to lack of OP.

If Eagle gets a fighter bay, its wing could be built-in (with possibly unique fighter wing), so that Converted Fighter Bay can be used to remove the bay if trying to keep fighter skills within the bay limit.

I think Eagle should get more missile power, either upsized hardpoints or synergy turrets.  It has no better missile power than Hammerhead or Sunder, and Conquest and upcoming Pegasus have two large missiles and more.

Maybe one idea for a buff:  Give Eagle Energy Bolt Coherer that the upcoming Apex has for longer range energy bolt weapons.  If Eagle's problem is not enough range with energy weapons, then give it to Eagle.
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Grievous69

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2022, 06:52:12 AM »

Isn't that a good thing some ships are more focused on other types of dealing damage rather than missile spam? I know 2 small missiles is weak for a cruiser but as you said we'll get even more ships with impressive missile firepower. Just this patch we'll get Invictus with 2 large missiles, Retribution with 6 mediums, Pegasus with 4 larges!, Executor with another 2, Nova with a bunch of mediums (maybe 4 idk), and even a Venture coversion that, you guessed it, gets a large missile mount now.

Thank god Alex nerfed some missiles, otherwise meta for the next update would be extremely dumb. We really don't need even more missiles haha.
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Megas

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2022, 08:42:43 AM »

Isn't that a good thing some ships are more focused on other types of dealing damage rather than missile spam?
Unfortunately, Eagle is not it.  Eagle is not focused at dealing other damage very well either.  It does not have the ballistic firepower (range and/or DPS) of Dominator and possibly Eradicator, and it does not have the speed to use smaller non-beam energy weapons like Fury or Aurora.  The one role Eagle seems to be built for is long-range beam support, which is not a useful role against superior opponents.

If Eagle does not get something, it will remain overshadowed by the majority of cruisers by cost, firepower, or both.
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FooF

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2022, 09:02:12 AM »

If the fighter bay was added, yes, and additional 10 or so OP would probably be needed. If you wanted bomber support, you’d have to pay for it (though I’d just leave the two side-missiles empty and focus on a premium fighter option).
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smithney

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2022, 09:59:42 AM »

Unfortunately, Eagle is not it.  Eagle is not focused at dealing other damage very well either.  It does not have the ballistic firepower (range and/or DPS) of Dominator and possibly Eradicator, and it does not have the speed to use smaller non-beam energy weapons like Fury or Aurora.  The one role Eagle seems to be built for is long-range beam support, which is not a useful role against superior opponents.
Then again if you buff Eagle to be able to punch up, it will end up taking another hull's niche. I can see Aurora and Champion sweating in their seats with this approach, next patch we'd probably be talking either of them needing a buff. I don't think a hull needs to punch up to be considered in one's roster. We forgot to mention the creep in the room, by the way; it's first name is power, and it seems to dress in missiles right now.

I agree with Grievous69 that variety is a good thing. You see, Starsector is not a multiplayer game, it's not necessary to cycle the spotlight throughout the roster to keep different players invested. It's enough that a hull feels powerful, and if a design is cool enough, players will find a way to utilize it, if not outright break it. And again, since Starsector is a single player game, hulls can remain somewhat broken until the next patch (or forever if they're cool enough, look no further than Phalcon). Eagle is very cool aesthetically (both sprite and lore wise) and a flight deck would be a very cool addition for a player to play with, if tuned properly. I definitely wouldn't restrict it to fighters, to me the decision between the 'responsible' - augmenting its ability to support with interceptors - and the 'cool' - ditching the missiles for premium bombers - feels more engaging than the decision between two 'responsible' options.
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Megas

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2022, 10:42:08 AM »

Quote
Then again if you buff Eagle to be able to punch up, it will end up taking another hull's niche.
Seeing that Eagle is currently overshadowed by most if not everyone else of its weight class or DP cost, I do not agree with this.  Right now, most cruisers can either punch up or use speed to catch enemies.  Eagle does not have either.  It can snipe, but that is not powerful enough.

Against superior endgame opponents when player only has 160-200 DP to the enemy's 240 DP and superior officer power, ships do need to punch up.

It is easier to buff Eagle than to nerf several cruisers, although some cruisers might need a nerf anyway.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2022, 11:17:48 AM »

Ships relying on medium energy mounts as largest and most common mount type (i.e. at least 50% of the ship's largest mounts are medium energy) versus speed and mount position:

Tempest: 180, small enough essentially both at front
Wolf: 150 + phase skimmer, nose mounted
Hyperion: 120 + phase teleporter, nose mounted
Medusa: 100 + phase skimmer, middle of ship - although relatively round shape instead of long
Shrike: 100 + plasma burn, front/broadside ship
Brawler: 100 + plasma jets (225 peak), nose mounted
Fury: 90 + plasma burn, front/broadside of ship
Harbinger: 80 + phase triple speed, nose mounted
Aurora: 80 + plasma jets (205 peak), nose/front of ship
Falcon: 80 + maneuvering jets (130 peak), middle of ship
Doom: 75 + phase triple speed, front of ship
Eagle: 50 + maneuvering jets (100 peak), middle of ship

There's is a number of distinct trends here.  One, really high maximum speed for that class of ship, when maneuverability systems are included.  The place their medium energy mounts very close to the front, if not on the nose of ship, which helps with range.

The Eagle bucks both of those trends.  The Eagle has two-thirds of the speed of the next slowest ship on that list (which is the Doom of all things). It does have a maneuverability system, but it adds the least amount of burst speed out of all maneuverability systems.  Assuming it's used on cooldown, an Eagle's average speed is 75, and peak is 100.  It can't even catch some destroyers with the system on, let alone frigates, so it can't really bully smaller ships or punch down effectively.  It's mount positions make short ranged energy weapons effectively even shorter ranged, at least compared to other ships.

So what is supposed to go into medium energy slots?  Either beams (long range, soft flux, low dps, efficient flux use), or blaster types (short range, high damage, high flux use).  Or I suppose PD, but heavy burst lasers aren't worth it at 11 OP, at least when compared to the efficiency of flak at 8 OP, or even downgrading to 7 OP for the burst laser.

The reason being ships which are primarily reliant on medium energy weapons are fast, and typically have good flux stats.  So, long range hard flux is out, otherwise other ships would be easily kited to death.  Similarly, even with soft flux, they can't do too much shield damage, or run into the same situation.  So for the most damaging beam against shields, you have the graviton beam, which deals a grand total of 100 kinetic dps.  Which, I'll point out, is the dps of a light autocannon and about the same flux/second.

Which is a problem in a slow ship, since beams are intended to be support weapons mounted on hard to catch fast ships, that very slowly build up flux on the target ship.  If you're a line ship dealing half the damage (in soft flux no less) to the opponent, they're just going to run you over.

As for the blaster type weapons, the mounting point on the Eagle reduces their already short range even further.  Against faster ships, the use of such short range weapons is dictated by the other ship.

The original idea behind the Eagle is clearly to mix beams and ballistics.  The default designs in the data/variants/eagle all have ballistics with either graviton, ion, or phase lances.  The problem is, beams aren't that great, unless heavily massed.  Just one or two slow ships with 50% of their weapons in beams is simply not very good.  Although ion beam is probably the best option of those available to mix with the ballistics, although due to flux inefficiency and lack of actual killing power, is best limited to 1.

Fundamentally, the Eagle is a 22 DP cruiser that in most situations has roughly the firepower of 10 DP destroyer (i.e. Hammerhead), although with the survivability and speed of a slow cruiser.  It's more of a support ship when using beams, but it's relatively expensive DP wise to use in that role.  It is potentially long range, but low DPS, and thus needs to be massed to be effective.  It has no way to secure kills, since it has a slow and steady damage profile.  I suppose if it can get an ion beam arc to knock out engines, but typically by that point, the enemy ship i already backpeddling with it's shield flux on the high end, so in line situations it won't necessarily be able to follow up.

So it's a slow, relatively tanky, support-ish line ship, although I'd typically prefer an Apogee in that role.  Plasma cannon is front mounted, and does roughly the DPS of 3 medium ballistics with similar range profile (or more DPS than 2x Hypervelocity + Heavy Mauler).  And then has a large missile (Squall, Hurricane, or Locust) which in most situations is going to be more helpful than 3 medium beam weapons.  Champion has a better weapons profile if you really want to mix energy and ballistics, and can secure kills between High Energy Focus and missile burst.

As for fighter bays, it's easy enough to mod one in and see the effects.  I'd be interested to see some fleet effectiveness comparisons.  I worry a single bomber wing is typically going to be flying in by itself, and thus extremely vulnerable to PD.  If I've got a cruiser with only 1 fighter bay, I'll typically be filling it with mining pods or Xyphos.  It would certainly improve it's simulator performance, but I do wonder at the typical fleet performance.  I suppose the initial attack wave would be simultaneous from all fighter in the fleet at least.

I'm not really sure what the right way to tweak the Eagle is, if we want to keep it's identity as the medium beam and medium ballistics line cruiser, since that identity isn't a very good one, except perhaps against fighters, which beams are good against.  The Champion does a better mixture of energy and ballistics with it's large energy mount plus high energy focus.  I tend to be in agreement that higher base speed would probably help.  Right now, if you compare it to a Champion (speed 60), Grypon (speed 60), or Heron (speed 80), it's like the eagle has 1/2 a ship system, with half the benefit just bringing it even with typical mid-line speed profiles.  Hilariously, it can't even catch the Heron in terms of average speed, even though the Eagle has a mobility system, and the Heron effectively has longer range with its fighters/bombers.  And as noted by others, the Conquest is base speed 45.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2022, 11:20:40 AM by Hiruma Kai »
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Megas

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2022, 11:25:35 AM »

Re: Hiruma Kai's post
I tried burst PD spam with ePD.  It kind of works against fleets no stronger than yours.  Great at zapping missiles and weaker ships.  Probably better than Graviton/Tac Lasers.  Kind of fun watch burst PD zapping missiles or wrecking thin armor of weak ships at long ranges.  It can hold its own against endgame human bounties.  But once it is time to hunt Ordos, it is not strong enough.

As to what to put into the energy mounts of Eagle.  I guess this is for the incoming autolance, but if that is only about as effective as Thumper, I have my doubts.  With only three ballistic mounts, Eagle needs to give up one among: shot range, anti-shield DPS, or anti-armor damage.

Also, Eagle is not that great defensively either (aside from beam PD spam).  It is not awful, but it does not excel at soaking damage like some other ships.

P.S.  One idea to buff Eagle:  Give it an advanced built-in version of Hard Scatter Amplifier with no range penalty, but no +10% damage.  Maybe block Advanced Optics as normal HSA.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2022, 11:33:38 AM by Megas »
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smithney

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2022, 11:38:18 AM »

Quote
Then again if you buff Eagle to be able to punch up, it will end up taking another hull's niche.
Seeing that Eagle is currently overshadowed by most if not everyone else of its weight class or DP cost, I do not agree with this.  Right now, most cruisers can either punch up or use speed to catch enemies.  Eagle does not have either.  It can snipe, but that is not powerful enough.

Against superior endgame opponents when player only has 160-200 DP to the enemy's 240 DP and superior officer power, ships do need to punch up.

It is easier to buff Eagle than to nerf several cruisers, although some cruisers might need a nerf anyway.
See, this is where you're starting a 'Red Queen race' between different hulls, with the winner being the power creep, potentially forcing you into nerf nukes. It makes sense in the game's current state, where the community's goalpost is fighting multiple groups of high-end [REDACTED] at once. I'm just not really sure it's the same goalpost Alex intends for the would-be newbies once the game is finally released. I see cruisers as a checkpoint, a single cruiser being a prized flagship for the usual midgame player after they finally got together enough resources to play with the big guns. At the same time, cruisers are a baseline for the lategame, serving vital functions in your composition alongside capitals. It is possible to put all the eggs into the second basket, but chances are you're going to miss someone's fantasy of owning the baddie that's decimating their destroyer fleets when they bite off more than they can chew.

To put things into perspective, not every ship needs to be a Tempest, a secret weapon for the skilled player to use for the rest of the game. A Shrike can be cool, too. Even if you grow past its flashy, but short-lived tendencies. By the way, Dominator, Apogee and the regular Falcon are all cruisers that don't punch up, albeit for different reasons. Dominator is a raidboss for midgame fleets, but also a brick to be sacrificed lategame. Apogee is a semi-civilian ship that's meant to fulfill trekkies' fantasies of piloting SS Enterprise, doubling as a support. Falcon is a nimble support that's shepherding enemy destroyers and pressuring cruisers for the bigger guys to finish the job. As long as Champion, Phalcon, Gryphon, Heron all punch up, even as specialists, I don't see a reason why midline can't get another ship to punch down.
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Grievous69

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Re: Eagle + HSA decent?
« Reply #44 on: July 01, 2022, 11:46:25 AM »

Well if you consider all the late game challenges (I'm scared to even think what we'll fight in the actual end game once it's done), then I'd say the cruisers are nicely balanced. We had a period where frigates were underpowered, and that has been solved now. I genuinely think the balance currently is the best it has ever been (coming from me playing the game for 8 years I think).
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