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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: The heavy mortar deserves a buff  (Read 1272 times)

Megas

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2022, 06:05:52 AM »

I mean, who uses the Arbalest unless they can't find a HAC?
The arbalest is really good now, less accurate/more efficient railgun with double the hit strength.
Play arund with it, you'll be surprised how much hull damage it does on top of being a standard kinetic gun.
Arbalest is good.  The biggest problem with it is does not get all the nice boosts small kinetics can get from skills and hullmods.  If Arbalest could get all of the boosts small weapons can get, I would use it more.

Hellbor is very slow turning, very low projectile speed, low DPS.
Extremely good at cracking medium-heavy armor, but a completely different use case.

Same for mjollnir, 667 flux/sec for 533 energy DPS vs 480 for 480 HE.
Mjollnir is good for ships with better flux stats/fewer mounts to get kinetic from.
Since strippign armor takes longer in this version I think the heph is a good general weapon for ships with enough mounts, IMO the main competition is devastator.
Devastator is usually worse for general use, but the burst is really nasty at close-medium range and it also functions as turbo-PD.
We use HE mostly for armor cracking.  Otherwise, we would use more kinetics than we already do to win flux wars faster.

Mjolnir is more accurate than Hephaestus.  Also knocks out their weapons more easily.  Yes, Mjolnir is not as much anti-armor, but it has enough to be acceptable.

Devastator does not have enough range and accuracy to snipe effectively with other 900 range weapons.  It is no good as a Hellbore or Hephaestus substitute.  It has its uses, but sniping is not one of them.
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Draba

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2022, 04:35:41 PM »

Devastator is usually worse for general use, but the burst is really nasty at close-medium range and it also functions as turbo-PD.
We use HE mostly for armor cracking.  Otherwise, we would use more kinetics than we already do to win flux wars faster.

Mjolnir is more accurate than Hephaestus.  Also knocks out their weapons more easily.  Yes, Mjolnir is not as much anti-armor, but it has enough to be acceptable.
You focus on a relatively minor difference and handwave away the actual one, that looks a bit silly. Mjollnir's main advantage is energy being better against shields, not accuracy.
In that vein Heph has ~2.7x the base efficiency of Mjollnir against armor (including OP diff in vents). Yes, it doesn't have as much accuracy/hit strength, but it has enough to be acceptable.

Devastator does not have enough range and accuracy to snipe effectively with other 900 range weapons.  It is no good as a Hellbore or Hephaestus substitute.  It has its uses, but sniping is not one of them.
If you read what you quoted you'll see that the word "sniping" is not in there. What it actually says is devastator rules at low-mid range, but is usually a worse generic weapon.
With the elite PD range bonus it actually has a longer range than 900 kinetics, and skill+armored mounts give it noticeable damage in standoffs though
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Megas

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2022, 05:37:09 PM »

You focus on a relatively minor difference and handwave away the actual one, that looks a bit silly. Mjollnir's main advantage is energy being better against shields, not accuracy.
In that vein Heph has ~2.7x the base efficiency of Mjollnir against armor (including OP diff in vents). Yes, it doesn't have as much accuracy/hit strength, but it has enough to be acceptable.
I thought I did not need to spell Mjolnir's better-against-shields out (which I almost did but ultimately decided not to on the last post), but yes, Mjolnir does that, and it better for the extra flux cost.  Without Rangefinder, slots to fit weapons with enough range are generally too limited.  (And, yes, you pointed out slots.)

With the elite PD range bonus it actually has a longer range than 900 kinetics, and skill+armored mounts give it noticeable damage in standoffs though
Okay, after testing ePD+Devastator, having ePD and enough recoil reduction puts enough shots close to competitors' ranges to work as you say.  Kind of feels like a variant HE Volatile Particle Driver.  Without ePD, Devastator does not pump enough shots at long enough ranges to compete with other heavy HE.

When I use Hellbore, Hephaestus, or Mjolnir for anti-armor, I need the range, often to match complimenting Mark IX or range-boosted light kinetics.  If short range was not a concern, then of course Devastator without ePD would be an option.
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Delta_of_Isaire

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2022, 11:15:13 AM »

It all comes down to weapon range. 700 range is not bad for a cheap weapon, but the lack of options to boost that range is what kills the viability of the Mortar, and IMHO the Arbalest and Thumper as well.

Ballistic Rangefinder pushes small weapons to 800 / 900 range. That matches the HAC: 800 unboosted and 900 with rangefinder + large mounts on the ship. In contrast, the Mortar, Arbalest and Thumper are stuck at 700 / 800 range.

The solution is simple: let Ballistic Rangefinder boost medium weapons the same amount as small weapons, up to the existing maxima of 800 and 900. In other words, 700 > 800 range on ships without large mounts, and 700 > 900 on ships with large mounts.

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Megas

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2022, 12:38:21 PM »

It all comes down to weapon range. 700 range is not bad for a cheap weapon, but the lack of options to boost that range is what kills the viability of the Mortar, and IMHO the Arbalest and Thumper as well.
Heavy Needler too, for ballistic ships.  This is part of the pain trying to give Eagle a satisfying loadout.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2022, 02:32:08 PM by Megas »
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Grievous69

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2022, 11:03:14 PM »

It all comes down to weapon range. 700 range is not bad for a cheap weapon, but the lack of options to boost that range is what kills the viability of the Mortar, and IMHO the Arbalest and Thumper as well.
How do you mean lack of options? To boost those weapons you have access to ITU, Ballistic rangefinder, Gunnery implants and Ballistic mastery. And all of that stacks. And all of those 3 weapons are viable (hell I never touched 2 of them before the current patch), the point of the OP is the lack of a medium range option, albeit disguised in a weapon buff. It's not weird to feel that one weapon seems bad when you have only 2 points of comparison. But it doesn't feel right to buff a weapon and make it more expensive when it already has a defined role. I know I've been repeating myself a bit but I'm willing to die on this hill, we need a 800 range HE weapon.
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Candesce

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2022, 05:29:50 AM »

I know I've been repeating myself a bit but I'm willing to die on this hill, we need a 800 range HE weapon.
I wonder if the lack of an 800 range HE weapon is a balancing point for the HAC.
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Delta_of_Isaire

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2022, 06:13:10 AM »

It all comes down to weapon range. 700 range is not bad for a cheap weapon, but the lack of options to boost that range is what kills the viability of the Mortar, and IMHO the Arbalest and Thumper as well.
How do you mean lack of options? To boost those weapons you have access to ITU, Ballistic rangefinder, Gunnery implants and Ballistic mastery. And all of that stacks. And all of those 3 weapons are viable (hell I never touched 2 of them before the current patch), the point of the OP is the lack of a medium range option, albeit disguised in a weapon buff. It's not weird to feel that one weapon seems bad when you have only 2 points of comparison. But it doesn't feel right to buff a weapon and make it more expensive when it already has a defined role. I know I've been repeating myself a bit but I'm willing to die on this hill, we need a 800 range HE weapon.
Oh we definitely need an 800 range HE weapon. The point I was trying to make is that the Heavy Mortar could be that weapon if ballistic rangefinder would buff its range to 800 on ships without large ballistic mounts (and to 900 on ships with such mounts). When I said lack of options for range boosts I meant that (1) heavy mortar does not benefit from IPDAI + Elite Point Defense like small ballistics, and (2) receives less range buff from ballistic rangefinder compared to small ballistics.
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Draba

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2022, 06:18:23 AM »

It all comes down to weapon range. 700 range is not bad for a cheap weapon, but the lack of options to boost that range is what kills the viability of the Mortar, and IMHO the Arbalest and Thumper as well.

Ballistic Rangefinder pushes small weapons to 800 / 900 range. That matches the HAC: 800 unboosted and 900 with rangefinder + large mounts on the ship. In contrast, the Mortar, Arbalest and Thumper are stuck at 700 / 800 range.

The solution is simple: let Ballistic Rangefinder boost medium weapons the same amount as small weapons, up to the existing maxima of 800 and 900. In other words, 700 > 800 range on ships without large mounts, and 700 > 900 on ships with large mounts.
Making weapon ranges uniform would be pretty boring IMO, it's perfectly fine to have 700 base mounts as long as their stats/usability are good enough.
Ballistic rangefinder change wouldn't help too much, you add a hefty OP tax to a budget weapon (and only benefit ships with relatively high amount of mounts to spread the cost).
Heavy mortar is good at what it does, just not many ships have a mount/flux/speed combo for it to be a good fit.
I like mortar on Enforcer and maybe Hammerhead/Brawler, but not much else.

Keep in mind that both ballistic rangefinder and IPDAI+elite PD are pretty hefty taxes, don't think they are worth it for many ships so shouldn't be considered the baseline.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2022, 06:20:06 AM by Draba »
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Megas

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2022, 07:00:44 AM »

How do you mean lack of options? To boost those weapons you have access to ITU, Ballistic rangefinder, Gunnery implants and Ballistic mastery. And all of that stacks. And all of those 3 weapons are viable (hell I never touched 2 of them before the current patch), the point of the OP is the lack of a medium range option, albeit disguised in a weapon buff. It's not weird to feel that one weapon seems bad when you have only 2 points of comparison. But it doesn't feel right to buff a weapon and make it more expensive when it already has a defined role. I know I've been repeating myself a bit but I'm willing to die on this hill, we need a 800 range HE weapon.
Ballistic Mastery does not work on medium weapons if the ship does not have a heavy ballistic mount.  Even if the ship has a heavy mount, their (700) range is boosted to 800, while LAG and most light kinetics (and HAC) are now 900.

IPDAI is not an option for medium weapons.

ITU, Gunnery Implants, and Ballistic Mastery work on everything ballistic, so they do not count when comparing weapons, or if they did, is a favor to weapons with longer base range.

I would like an 800 range HE.  Using Ballistic Rangefinder or IPDAI+ePD on LAG is awkward.
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Brainwright

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2022, 09:03:16 AM »

Personally, I'd go for a recoilless rifle composite small weapon.  Limited ammo.  Give it whatever range you want.

Gives an HE option for ships that normally don't have good ones.

The problem with the mortar right now is the value of med mounts.  The weapon is fine.  We just need something better than the light assault gun and light mortar, which are kinda terrible.
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Hatter

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2022, 09:46:17 AM »

I'll note that the 'slightly lower' sustained firepower of the OP is 220 vs 133, a 60.45% reduction, much more than the difference in shot size is going to account for vs residual armor and even most pristine armors.
Nitpick: it's not a 60% reduction, it's the Mauler having 60% of the DPS of a the Heavy Mortar, which is a 40% reduction in DPS.

Mauler would deal more DPS against armor values of >1595. The only ships that have that much armor are the Dominator (XIV), Legion (XIV) and both Onslaughts, discounting armor increasing hull mods. However, the 85% reduction cap comes into play before that, with the Heavy Mortar hitting it at ~1247 armor. At that amount of armor the Heavy Mortar is dealing 15% of its damage, while the Mauler is dealing 24%. It's 33 vs 32.3 DPS in favor of the Heavy Mortar. Increasing armor doesn't help, because the Heavy Mortar can't have its damage reduced any more while the Mauler can still lose DPS vs heavier armor.

In terms of pure spherical-void anti-armor DPS under the current armor mechanics the Heavy Mortar will always outperform the Mauler.
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Thaago

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2022, 10:43:38 AM »

Right you are! Thanks for doing the math out, I hadn't realized that the heavy mortar always did more total DPS than the heavy mauler no matter the armor value.

Re: an 800 range HE weapons: We don't need one because there's no design need for weapons to range match. It would be nice for there to be a mid grade option though, a reliable 10 OP HE weapon with decent accuracy akin to a scaled up LAG. I wouldn't care if it were 700 or 800 range but something accurate enough to target mobile ships and hit the same spot of armor twice would be nice.
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Grievous69

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2022, 11:01:16 AM »

Re: an 800 range HE weapons: We don't need one because there's no design need for weapons to range match.
So why does the rest of the game work like that? The only other weapon that doesn't have a range companion (that I can think of) is the Gauss Cannon, and that's an elite sniper weapon used in niche builds. Heavy Autocannon is such a basic medium weapon that it's weird it doesn't have a HE friend. Medium ballistics in general have such specialised HE guns it really feels to me there's something missing. And before anyone again mentions "you have missiles to fill that role", I'll point out the energy weapons that have a lot of anti armour options in medium mounts.

But you do bring up another good point for a new weapon. Currently the only reliable medium HE is the Mauler, and that's an elite weapon. Feels wrong.
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Megas

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Re: The heavy mortar deserves a buff
« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2022, 11:33:37 AM »

So why does the rest of the game work like that? The only other weapon that doesn't have a range companion (that I can think of) is the Gauss Cannon, and that's an elite sniper weapon used in niche builds.
Not to mention the hit strength of Gauss is high enough to damage armor of almost any ship, despite kinetic and reduced DPS vs. armor.

But you do bring up another good point for a new weapon. Currently the only reliable medium HE is the Mauler, and that's an elite weapon. Feels wrong.
And Mauler now has a long reload delay since it was turned into a burst-fire strike weapon.  Either we have a slow weapon with less range (Mortar) or a strike weapon that takes too long to reload (Mauler).  Because of these annoyances, I have taken LAG occasionally when range-boosting was a good idea for the ship despite low hit strength (and armor penetration).
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