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Author Topic: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf  (Read 2787 times)

msoltyspl

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More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« on: July 29, 2022, 12:27:26 PM »

This is following my comments from https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=22918.1050 release thread. Overall after having a blast with small phase ships (mainly Afflictors and Shades) and having tried larger ones (Harbinger, Doom) my - so to speak - impressions about them are like from the old meme pic about an immeasurable disappointment and a ruined day (before someone mentions mine strike - I know the system is amazing, but it would be nice if Doom was something more than just a mine spammer). I'm not sure what is the idea about those ships post-nerf, but their original design of get-in/attack/get-out doesn't really cut in much - unless one slaps SO on those ships (and gimp them with the usual SO side effects). And even that can be borderline suicidial.

Anyway, Schwartz mentioned that "Ironically, phase frigates who were always the worst offenders in that they were basically untouchable and uncatchable, are hurt by the nerf the least.". Which - even post-nerf (as it's the only version I experienced) - kind of follows my experience with frigates (aside perhaps notably slower Gremlin, but I don't really use that ship). Sure I occasionally messed up / greeded / lingered too long and noticed speed penalty kicking in - but that's more of "git gud" territory than a game's fault.

Phase destroyer and cruiser though - ouch, wtf. Between their lack of shields (so they can't really brawl), biggest in-game deployment/supply/cr/recovery costs (with bonus cr decay on top from delicate machinery hullmod), not exactly stunning ordnance pool and now crippling speed penalty one can wonder - why give up so much in return for a crippled so little (the ships should be awesome across the board for their cumulative costs - and they +/- were before 0.95.1a - therefore they should be nerfed(?) ) ? why not use something else ? Or for that matter - two of that something else for equal or almost equal deployment cost. With a functional shield and without crippling speed penalty as a sugar on top (eagle, falcon, eradicator ...).

There are other fast cruisers with speed systems (maneuvering jets, plasma jets, burn drive, plasma burn) - imagine if they had 33% top speed penalty at some essential moment.


Anyway, some ideas that I have about this in context of controlling / changing this nerf.

1) Phase Coil Tuning DP pool adjustment

Nominal 40 DP of that skill before diminishing effects are starting to kick in are - IDK - borderline mocking. Covering one cruiser and half a frigate. Or 2 destroyers. Few more ships and the penalty kicks in hard as the ships are dp-hungry and the skill's dp base value is small. With 1 cruiser, 2 destroyers and 5 frigates (121 dp) the bonuses were crushed to ~1/3 - and the most important one (speed bonus) to a symbolic value considering phase speed penalty eating it away in a moment.

Perhaps it was somewhat passable before the nerf (hmm, is that actually the case - were reworked skills in the game before phase nerf ?), but now ?

With current tiny DP pool this skill can be characterized as:

- are you using frigates ? you don't really need this skill tbh, allocate the skill point to something more valuable
- are you using that 1 phase cruiser ? what about using something more useful and allocating the skill point to something more valuable
- are you using more phase ships ? go check current bonus values with reference to your fleet and reevaluate that skill point

Most other similar skills sit at 240 DP nominal value before diminishing returns kick in - maybe missing 2 in front is just a bug ?

I'd seriously change that to - at the very least - 120.

2a) PCT speed per-hull-size tuning

Assuming frigates are now in a good spot (what about poor "slow" gremlin though ?), the speed bonus could be split by hull size:

- leave +50% for frigates as it is now
- +150%-200% for destroyer (this is roughly the starting point of this ship with SO added at full CR, which feels barely sufficient; and the ship still has to be able to get out, meaning getting rid of some/most hard flux)
- +175%-225% for cruiser (values slightly above the destroyer)

Anyway, the above approach would give a knob for better control over the nerf regardless of the actual values chosen in the end.
Similarly the peak operating time could be tuned per-hull size as well

2b) as above, K.I.S.S. version (my favorite)

- remove phase drive nerf
- remove APC (returning precious OP points from de-facto mandatory hullmod, if even more op-hungry PA is not used)

cut the PCT bonuses to something like

- 0% frigates
- 10%-40% destroyer
- 15%-50% cruiser

2c) another K.I.S.S.

- separate speed penalty per hull size, e.g. something like top speed at 33% frigates, 80% destroyers, 100% cruisers

3) APC adjustment (non-linear with initially flat curve)

This part can be both together with 1 + 2a/c (after tweaking the values a bit) or perhaps even instead. The crucial part of the problem is speed nerf kicking in too fast - so what if the speed nerf penalty behaved +/- as follows:

without APC:

- the speed bottoms to 33% at 60% hard flux
- from 0% to 45% - no penalty, flat 0 curve
- 45%-60% covers the whole penalty (not linearly - maybe something like x^2 with a gentle start)

with APC:

- the speed bottoms to 33% at 85% hard flux
- from 0% to 70% - no penalty
- 70%-85% covers the whole penalty (remarks as above)

4) Some other remarks

- Phase Anchor - why prohibit "build in" option ?  It's a nice skill and looks like a good choice for a flagship, but is it so awesome as to prohibit it to be build in ?



Anyway, those are some of the ideas I had to control the phase nerf. The values are just [sensible?] placeholders and the final behavior could be finely tuned by combining the above ideas. Or just go with 2b =)
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Thaago

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2022, 01:00:50 PM »

Phase ships are in a much, much better place than they were. I previously refused to play in phase ships because it was just too boring, but now its actually fun because when to phase/unphase is a more interesting choice, and the player needs to spend more time in 'real space' to do quick vents etc, so interacts with the rest of the game more. Previously, phase ships were "phase, unphase and hit engines with amb/torpedo, rephase, repeat" over and over with no chance of the enemy doing anything and the rest of the ships operating at 1/3 speed. Plus they were so massively overpowered that it kind of broke the game (soloing entire Ordos with just 1 Doom, etc). And they were just awful to fight against, because they were basically unkillably fast until they ran out of CR, making every fight they were involved in a waiting game. No thank you!

Right after the change there was a freakout as people got used to their new abilities, but in terms of effectiveness phase ships still outperform their DP by a large margin - they are still elite killer ships, murderous in player hands and actually competent in AI as well (phase AI was significantly improved). Part of that effectiveness is capped by the DP limits of the skill. The skill's limit seems about right for me because its impact is massive. Even for a player taking 80 DP of ships, +25% speed is a very large buff (especially as the skill isn't even needed for the ships to outperform). The skill's low limit does encourage taking lower than that though, incentivizing taking mixed fleets of ships. From my perspective thats the successful implementation of game design against 'mono fleets' which in the past have been very successful, but boring. One of the upshots of the skill is that, even with limited officers, it makes pirate Afflictors competitive despite being worse in every way than a normal Afflictor!

A skilled Doom is very powerful, its just not as unstoppable in player hands as it was. Its low speed makes it so that destroyer sized ships can catch it... but its system and burst weaponry mean that it can annihilate those destroyers and frigates with ease. Its also amazing in that it can sit behind other allied ships and launch mine strikes - System Expertise gives them both more mines, faster recharge, and also extends the range the system can place them.

The only phase ship that needs a tweak is the Harbinger. It's still deadly, especially with other ships around to take advantage of the system activation, but its a little slow and a little expensive. Going from 80 to 100 speed, and 20 to 18 DP, would imo fix it right up with no other changes.
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SCC

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2022, 01:27:19 AM »

If you had a car with a 40 litres of petrol and you got 20 more, you would be able to drive 50% farther. But if you had two such cars and still only 20 litres extra, then they would only be able to go 25% further each, because that 20 L is split between two cars. Skills with DP limits work similarly. Bonuses don't get smaller, but are spread among more ships.
Soloing Ordos that Thaago mentioned

TaLaR

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2022, 04:27:53 AM »

Ultimately the phase nerf didn't affect my Afflictor use much. Sure, it lost some OP to now-mandatory APC, is a lot more sluggish without character skills, and even with top skills I can't quite completely ignore enemy fighters the way I did and need to use friendly ships much more often to cover venting. But otherwise, a player Afflictor still deletes 200-300 worth of DP in pretty much any enemy ships.

And then I just switch to next Afflictor from reserve. While not super fast at killing enemies in terms of player subjective time, it's competitive with Capitals in global time passage, so my AI distractions last enough for several Afflictors if necessary.

It gets to the point that I don't see a reason to build player character for anything else than piloting Afflictors only (P variant is easily available early and decent enough), other than as a challenge run. I fail to understand why most of community doesn't see Afflictor in same light. Imo, Doom doesn't come anywhere close. You get only 1 within 40DP skill limit instead of 4 Afflictors, and I wouldn't say a player Doom always outperforms even just 1 player Afflictor. Can't compete in multi-fight endurance either.

...Yet Afflictor is also the fun kind OP with a lot of player skill expression, so I don't want it to be nerfed to oblivion either.

Letting AI pilot phase ships is a waste though. AI Afflictors are nothing like player's, use a normal frigate wolfpack (Scarabs and Tempests) instead. AI Harbinger is waste of DP. AI Doom is not worth taking Phase Corps on player character just to make one AI ship actually worth it's DP cost.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2022, 04:33:59 AM by TaLaR »
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Amoebka

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2022, 04:46:58 AM »

I fail to understand why most of community doesn't see Afflictor in same light.
Some of us prefer to have fun when playing videogames.
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Grievous69

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2022, 04:55:21 AM »

I just find piloting phase ships painfully boring, near constant bullet time feels like I'm playing one fight forever. Once had a campaign where a Doom was my flagship, tried playing with Zigg a fair bit when it was released, and that's probably enough for me until maybe something else changes, or another phase ship comes.
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TaLaR

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2022, 08:26:17 AM »

I just find piloting phase ships painfully boring, near constant bullet time feels like I'm playing one fight forever. Once had a campaign where a Doom was my flagship, tried playing with Zigg a fair bit when it was released, and that's probably enough for me until maybe something else changes, or another phase ship comes.

Imo, this a problem completely solved by SpeedUp mod, to fast-forward the pre-combat approach phase. During actual combat there are enough things to micro, so time dilation is welcome.
Also, character-skilled Afflictor is faster during phase than most larger ships non-phased anyway.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2022, 08:41:52 AM »

Afflictor is obviously OP.

I just don't enjoy circumventing the primary combat mechanic (shields/flux). I also like designing loadouts and officers, so trivializing combat into soloing everything with chain afflictors ruins the game for me.
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Schwartz

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2022, 08:46:46 AM »

The boredom could also be fixed by removing the (imo harmful) time dilation entirely. Then we wouldn't have to worry about phase ships being too fast either. It's a bad solution on top of a bad solution. I don't see what is accomplished in the first place, except to make phase 'different' and OP, then to curb the OPness.
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msoltyspl

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2022, 06:38:35 PM »

Few remarks having spent prooly far too much time in simulator recently with those ships and checked some vids around the net about "how do people use these ships these days".

Quote
Phase ships are in a much, much better place than they were. I previously refused to play in phase ships because it was just too boring, but now its actually fun because when to phase/unphase is a more interesting choice, and the player needs to spend more time in 'real space' to do quick vents etc, so interacts with the rest of the game more.

Frigates are not much different from how they were, Dooms/Harbingers are literally cornered into burst weapons + phase anchor - with little flexibility or alternatives (and OP starved).

Quote
Previously, phase ships were "phase, unphase and hit engines with amb/torpedo, rephase, repeat" over and over with no chance of the enemy doing anything and the rest of the ships operating at 1/3 speed. Plus they were so massively overpowered that it kind of broke the game (soloing entire Ordos with just 1 Doom, etc). And they were just awful to fight against, because they were basically unkillably fast until they ran out of CR, making every fight they were involved in a waiting game. No thank you!

Frigates that work fine aside (and precisely in the way you described) - well, get in/strike/get out was like the main point of those ships, wasn't it ? Not shieldless brawling at the weapons edge with manadatory PA + ITU hullmods while pulsing phase ?

Is - burst, phase, wait for cooldowns, repeat, gtfo to ease hard flux (while the ship still can), repeat - that much more interesting ?

As for their overpowerness, that rather points finger to their systems that mixed with "assassin"-like design made them so good.

Quote
+25% speed is a very large buff (especially as the skill isn't even needed for the ships to outperform).

It was very large buff pre-nerf.

Looking at how math works in the game, it's 20 flat speed for harbinger and 18.75 for doom; it gets consumed by phase penalty within seconds before it has any measurable effect in practice on ships that are already on the slower end of the speeds. Think around 5 seconds of headstart at 0 hardflux after entering phase for Doom without APC (as PA seems to be preferred choice here along with burst weapons).

Nice ? Sure. But very large ? ...

80 DP IMHO should be barebone minimum pool for this skill now, so it actually feels like having some solid effect worth a skill point and doesn't suffer from "small base value" issue.

Quote
The skill's low limit does encourage taking lower than that though, incentivizing taking mixed fleets of ships.

It's penalizing one - and only one - type of ships in the game. No other skill in the game has this kind of limitation against any of the other hull(s) in whatever context. IMO its incentivizing the player to consider some other skill.

On top of this, one of main benefits of this skill IMO is kind of broken by the nerf now, as the speed penalty is applied after speed bonuses - (base*(1 + sum of percent bonuses)+flat bonuses)*penalties
 
Quote
From my perspective thats the successful implementation of game design against 'mono fleets' which in the past have been very successful, but boring. One of the upshots of the skill is that, even with limited officers, it makes pirate Afflictors competitive despite being worse in every way than a normal Afflictor!

When where they not competetive ? Frigates don't need this skill for anything in practice. Both regular Afflictors and their pirate counterparts are fine fast ships, with the latter being slightly cheaper (dp, supplies) in exchange for slightly less OPs/mounts.

I have no beef with afflictors or frigates in general (with gremlin being one question mark I has little experience with).

Quote
A skilled Doom is very powerful, its just not as unstoppable in player hands as it was. Its low speed makes it so that destroyer sized ships can catch it... but its system and burst weaponry mean that it can annihilate those destroyers and frigates with ease. Its also amazing in that it can sit behind other allied ships and launch mine strikes - System Expertise gives them both more mines, faster recharge, and also extends the range the system can place them.

- why not slash the speed of other cruisers if they dare to try to back off with shields up, so destroyers can catch them ?
- other cruisers can annihilate catching ships as well, not sure how is that even an excuse
- mine strike - while a very, very nice system - is not a golden goose annihilating everything after one carpet ...

Well, I agree that Doom is very powerful (but requires a good few "piloted ship" skills, built in hullmods (and it still feels OP starved), and it's still can be very frustrating to watch what AI is trying to do with it). But yea, PA and overall burst weapons (needlers, ion pulser, phase lance, antimnatter blasters) can be quite crushing with it. And analogously on Harbingers.

TBH, if PA is the way to go with those ships (as it seems to be, though SO still works for even a bigger OP price not mentioning side effects) - maybe they should come with PA built in by default.
And yea, Harbinger is too slow for what it's supposed to be. Doom for that matter as well, compared to some other cruisers.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2022, 06:41:31 PM by msoltyspl »
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Amoebka

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2022, 07:29:03 PM »

And yea, Harbinger is too slow for what it's supposed to be. Doom for that matter as well, compared to some other cruisers.
75 base speed before phase bonus is not enough for a 1250 armor heavy cruiser that turns completely invincible with a push of a button? Sorry, but your whole posts reads like you just want your mindless overpowered godships back. Phase ships should not be able to disengage from everything easily. That was the main design problem the nerf was aimed at to begin with. You can't be invincible to damage but also fast, it removes counterplay.
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Grievous69

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2022, 11:32:22 PM »

It's penalizing one - and only one - type of ships in the game. No other skill in the game has this kind of limitation against any of the other hull(s) in whatever context. IMO its incentivizing the player to consider some other skill.
The carrier skill is also pretty harsh, only 6 8 flight decks in the whole fleet versus 40 DP of special phase ships you won't even have much of. The bonus is just to allow some niche strats without enabling you to use a boring monofleet and overpower everything.

EDIT: My bad I forgot the skill was buffed to 8 flight decks.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2022, 12:01:56 AM by Grievous69 »
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TaLaR

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2022, 11:56:23 PM »

The carrier skill is also pretty harsh, only 6 flight decks in the whole fleet versus 40 DP of special phase ships you won't even have much of. The bonus is just to allow some niche strats without enabling you to use a boring monofleet and overpower everything.

Which is why I don't like the design choice with fleet-capped skills like carrier stuff and phase corps competing vs whole fleet skills and personals, because they always lose this competition unless player pilots DP-capped ships, making the skills semi-personal.
And maybe all of whole fleet/DP-capped/personals/non-combat should just use separate point pools, so that you don't have to weigh one category vs others.
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Grievous69

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2022, 12:01:00 AM »

So if it was bonus 10% replacement rate and the cap was 40 flight decks you'd be okay with it? Because that's exactly how it works now, you just get more out of it early.
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TaLaR

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Re: More fine-grained control over the crazy phase drive nerf
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2022, 12:43:20 AM »

So if it was bonus 10% replacement rate and the cap was 40 flight decks you'd be okay with it? Because that's exactly how it works now, you just get more out of it early.

In case of phase corps effect is rather discrete - either you are fast enough to be able to pull off proper phase tactics, or you are not and are fairly useless.

40 deck fleet is useless - mono-fighter fleets don't work anymore. You can go slightly above the cap, but that's about it.
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