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Author Topic: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP  (Read 655 times)

ubuntufreakdragon

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Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« on: September 24, 2022, 04:58:28 AM »

Don't get me wrong there should still be permanent upgrades, but SP should be used for temporary things only.
S-MOD:
Instead hull mods could gain xp, the more you use a ship the quicker its hullmods level.
the xp increase the effect of the hullmod, a bit.
A 100% xp hullmod can be integrated at the cost of either risking a d-mod or spending some Credits at a dock.
Once integrated xp-limit is 200% leveling it up further reduces op-cost and increases effect or even gain an additional effect.(to make cheap hullmods a canidate)
Removal of an integrated mod should be possible at a cost again Credits or risking a d-mod and all current xp naturally.
This makes old ships more valuable than new ones.
Of cause a SP could be used to integrate an unleveled hullmod.
logistical hullmods could be installed midflight btw. having -100%xp an no effect until leveled.

elite-skills:
they just feel like a remainder of the old 3-tier skills for officers.
Drop them.

colony upgrades:
use Credits instead and may be an industry xp system.
And remove the exponential cost scaling, because an exponential cost can only be overcome by an exponential growth.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2022, 05:00:37 AM by ubuntufreakdragon »
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smithney

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2022, 05:40:10 AM »

but SP should be used for temporary things only.
... Why?
Don't mind if I answer for OP. Hoarding SP for "value" usage isn't fun compared to using them incidentally for plot purposes. Besides, fleet build isn't something that should be gated by how much SP you can grind imho.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2022, 08:23:44 AM »

Don't mind if I answer for OP. Hoarding SP for "value" usage isn't fun compared to using them incidentally for plot purposes. Besides, fleet build isn't something that should be gated by how much SP you can grind imho.

Instead hull mods could gain xp, the more you use a ship the quicker its hullmods level.
the xp increase the effect of the hullmod, a bit.

I'd hazard a guess that the OP is opposed to grinding SP since they're just swapping it to a ship specific XP grind from a generic player XP grind (which in general will make the grind longer since you'll finish the grind based on when you acquire your very last ship for your fleet build).

Hoarding will likely happen for some players anyways, since as you remove uses for story points, the number available will need to shrink to make their uses meaningful.  If story points are not limiting your decision making in some way, they should just be removed as they are not actually doing anything but making you click more.

elite-skills:
they just feel like a remainder of the old 3-tier skills for officers.
Drop them.

Given the stated reasons by Alex for including elite skills (giving the player an edge over the average run of the mill NPC officers, as well as making Remnants even more terrifying than normal fleets), what would your new solution be to handle those issues?  For example, other than Radiants, Remnant ships are nothing to write home about, and without their alpha core fully elite officers would be significantly weaker, on par with many officered faction fleet ships.  Similarly, a 5-6 combat skill investment player character would have the same bonuses as any level 5 or 6 officer, where as with the current system they have an edge with 4 more elite skills.

Is this a desired result, and if so, why?

colony upgrades:
use Credits instead and may be an industry xp system.
And remove the exponential cost scaling, because an exponential cost can only be overcome by an exponential growth.

If you're going this route, why not just remove the story point use instead of replacing it with credits and another stage of building, and just increase the time for things to build and costs associated?  Even more staged building than what we have is not that interesting to me.  If you're expected to do it anyways (because credits become effectively unlimited in the late colony game), just remove the extra clicking rather than making me do more busy work.  In this proposed system, since the expectation is you upgrade everything to the max level with credits, the lower stage profits would be reduced, so the final expected state is the same as now (which is colonies with 1 or maybe 2 story point upgrades).

Right now, story points are increasing with every application to a colony because the expectation is that every industry should NOT be fully upgraded with story points.  Exponentially increasing costs are by definition a soft cap mechanism and achieve much of the same effect as a hard cap for most players (I would hope).  I'm pretty sure it is intended to make you stop a one or two uses to shore up places on your colony where the RNG was unkind in terms of resources or colony items, not give you a reason to grind for 10 years in game.  If the soft cap is failing in communicating that intention, then maybe Alex needs to convert it to an explicit hard cap, say no more than 2 industries can have story points applied per colony.

As it stands now, with story points being usable on ships, officers, skills, colonies, and dialog interactions, and in a somewhat  limited quantity, you are telling the game what is most important to you.  If you're spending 70 story points on your colonies, you're making a statement about how you want the greatest star empire ever.  If you're spending story points on officers and ships, you're saying you want the strongest fleet.  If you're spending on personal combat skills and dialogs, you're saying your personal character is hyper competent.  These are the kind of overall choices and changes in the game play that story points were introduced to try and foster.  If you're just spending credits on colonies, and ships, officers, and skills don't use story points, then story points are much more limited in scope in telling the game what you actually care about, and are much reduced in changing how the game feels from player to player, run to run.

Perhaps the current story point implementation doesn't work for some, or perhaps the majority, of players, and the fact you can grind for years to eventually get as many story points as you want blunts the effect, but I can at least see what Alex was trying to do with the system.  I feel like a number of suggestions take the narrow view and keep looking at the various uses in isolation, and want to replace it with different progression mechanics so that you can raise everything to the maximum simultaneously, but I fear doing so loses the larger idea that Alex was going for.
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Megas

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2022, 09:15:00 AM »

The main story point uses I dislike are the 2^n ones.  They dwarf everything else in cost, and they have no refunds.  Those uses are the ones where they motivate me to grind multi-Ordos at +500% for story points to feed more and more to colony improvements.  If Starsector came out twenty years ago, I would so totally grind Ordos for weeks at least like I did in Diablo 2 leveling characters beyond level 90 or doing magic-find runs to get those items.  Grinding Ordos feels much like item or level grinding in Diablo 2.

Colony upgrades should be treated like s-mods for ships - hard limit.  No more than two or three or whatever per colony (and let player reassign improvements like commander skills).  None of this dangle the reward in front of the player that is theoretically possible but extremely hard or tedious to obtain.  There was a reason character level was changed from soft level to hard level.

Historian, limited by time.  After player buys a colony item from him, historian does not offer another colony item until at least a year or two passes.  Cost otherwise stays the same instead of doubling.

Hoarding will likely happen for some players anyways, since as you remove uses for story points, the number available will need to shrink to make their uses meaningful.  If story points are not limiting your decision making in some way, they should just be removed as they are not actually doing anything but making you click more.
For plot things that only take 1 SP, +100% XP.  Those options are usually a no-brainer.  The cost is insignificant to s-mods/skills/officers/colonies/historian.

Same for mentoring officers.  1 SP, +100% XP.  Plus, officers need the double XP, and the player too if he is not at max level.
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smithney

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2022, 11:04:22 AM »

Perhaps the current story point implementation doesn't work for some, or perhaps the majority, of players, and the fact you can grind for years to eventually get as many story points as you want blunts the effect, but I can at least see what Alex was trying to do with the system.  I feel like a number of suggestions take the narrow view and keep looking at the various uses in isolation, and want to replace it with different progression mechanics so that you can raise everything to the maximum simultaneously, but I fear doing so loses the larger idea that Alex was going for.
I'll try to illustrate you why I personally vouch so much for the decoupling of value uses from the SP system.

One of the greatest features of Starsector is its potential for granular storytelling. Just as you mentioned, the usage of SP defines what kind of a player you are. Even more, using SP to support one's roleplay of a character is a great way to challenge oneself into decisions and storylines that they wouldn't be comfortable taking if played straight. However, player's fleets and colonies are such an integral part of the player's gameplay that cheaping out on them feels wrong. This makes the player think twice about using SP in incidental situations. It wouldn't be wrong if the value usage was also tied to incidental situations and pushed the player towards interesting decisions, but as it is now, upgrading ships and colonies feels like an obligation you're taking to make your personal fleet fully online. Like upgrading your weapons and enchanting your gear in an RPG. Coupled with the fact that S-modding ships you're using only temporarily feels suboptimal, one inevitably gets into a situation where the fun, incidental use of SP gets sidelined in favor of "optimizing" one's gameplay.

Tying the S-mods to an individual progression with a concrete ship feels much more natural. It would reflect the time and effort dedicated to using and maintaining a particular ship relevant to the player. On one hand, the game should encourage experimentation with different hulls and compositions. At the same time, your ships having an edge by being battle-tested, crew accustomed to an unorthodox loadout, should feel rewarding to the player. Having your veteran endgame fleet be composed of fresh pickups you kept saving SP for the whole game doesn't sound as epic in comparison, does it? To me it's currently at a point of it being immersion breaking. Yet I don't think losing the current S-mod system would make the game unplayable.
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ubuntufreakdragon

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2022, 01:10:28 PM »

I don't have time to answer all posts today, but I will come back later.
Colony upgrades should be treated like s-mods for ships - hard limit.  No more than two or three or whatever per colony (and let player reassign improvements like commander skills).  None of this dangle the reward in front of the player that is theoretically possible but extremely hard or tedious to obtain.  There was a reason character level was changed from soft level to hard level.
I like this idea.
It clearly better than mine.
If you're going this route, why not just remove the story point use instead of replacing it with credits and another stage of building, and just increase the time for things to build and costs associated?  Even more staged building than what we have is not that interesting to me.  If you're expected to do it anyways (because credits become effectively unlimited in the late colony game), just remove the extra clicking rather than making me do more busy work.  In this proposed system, since the expectation is you upgrade everything to the max level with credits, the lower stage profits would be reduced, so the final expected state is the same as now (which is colonies with 1 or maybe 2 story point upgrades).
They should not be dropped because the allow the adaption to local conditions.
e.g. a weak deposit, too few planets for patrols, similar things.
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Vanshilar

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2022, 09:38:04 PM »

Don't mind if I answer for OP. Hoarding SP for "value" usage isn't fun compared to using them incidentally for plot purposes. Besides, fleet build isn't something that should be gated by how much SP you can grind imho.

Why? People forget that despite their name, Story Points are basically an extended XP system. You gain Story Points primarily by fighting. Their main benefit is to let you upgrade your fleet, i.e. your "character". The more you fight, the better you get at fighting. If you're not fighting, then you don't really need Story Points for the most part (other than to avoid fighting, or to buy items to help with your economy which is generally a dumb trade since credits are much easier to get than Story Points).

The heart of the game is fleet vs fleet combat, which is where you get your SP, so that's what the reward mechanisms such as SP will steer the player toward. Yet some posters keep calling getting SP a "grind". This reward mechanism has been around for decades and is not something new to Starsector. Maybe if Alex had renamed it "XP2" it would've been more easily understood.

One of the greatest features of Starsector is its potential for granular storytelling. Just as you mentioned, the usage of SP defines what kind of a player you are.

In its current incarnation, not really, other than how you choose to upgrade your fleet. If Story Points were earned through stuff like say, fulfilling quests, and then used toward, say, opening up new dialogues or other quests (for example: a quest which results in changing your relations with a faction, or going down one or another path in the eventual player's story) that you couldn't get by simply fighting, then it would actually be about your character's "story". But right now it's not.

Maybe it would be better served if there were two separate systems, i.e. the current system which is actually "XP2" where you gain XP from fighting and then apply that XP toward upgrading your ships (like in a traditional RPG), and another system that's exclusively about doing quests and moving forward with whatever plot or story the game eventually has. But I think a lot of the confusion is in thinking that Story Points represents the latter, when right now it represents the former.
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Megas

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2022, 06:12:29 AM »

Why? People forget that despite their name, Story Points are basically an extended XP system. You gain Story Points primarily by fighting. Their main benefit is to let you upgrade your fleet, i.e. your "character". The more you fight, the better you get at fighting. If you're not fighting, then you don't really need Story Points for the most part (other than to avoid fighting, or to buy items to help with your economy which is generally a dumb trade since credits are much easier to get than Story Points).

The heart of the game is fleet vs fleet combat, which is where you get your SP, so that's what the reward mechanisms such as SP will steer the player toward. Yet some posters keep calling getting SP a "grind". This reward mechanism has been around for decades and is not something new to Starsector. Maybe if Alex had renamed it "XP2" it would've been more easily understood.
People may not forget, but they expect "Story Points" to work more for stories and quests because of the name.  It may have been born to aid skill design, then tacked on for other "cool" things, but with a name like that, plus uses tracked as special events (which are dominated by upgrade uses instead of in-game plot accomplishments), people expect story points to be used for... story things.  People get annoyed when things do not work well for things they are led to believe.  Yes, Story Points are badly named for what they are used mostly for now.

It is a grind because unless the player has the Ordos slayer fleet and hang around in red systems, it will be a long time (in-game years) at high-to-max level just to clear millions of accumulated bonus xp.  The game becomes all about Ordos at the end of the game or maximum character level because of the story point system, and that is annoying.  I also dislike how the xp multiplier distorts fleet/character building and effectively tells the player you must play a certain way or you are playing the game wrong by punishing the player with no or low xp multiplier.  (For example, no spare ships in your fleet to backup fallen or worn-out ships, less officers are better.)

And if I want several colony improvements on a colony, then it will be a huge grind to get the points to pay double- or triple-digit costs.  Gameplay degenerates into something akin to endless item or xp runs in Diablo 2.

Players gets few story points for completing quests, but they are a drop in a bucket.
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smithney

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2022, 09:03:58 AM »

Why? People forget that despite their name, Story Points are basically an extended XP system.
People may not forget, but they expect "Story Points" to work more for stories and quests because of the name.

I'd like to emphasize that it's not just a matter of delivering on expectations. People do have a tendency to optimize. As long as the "boring" option is seen as the optimal, people will tend to take it even at the cost of their own entertainment. Even if guided towards a leisurely mindset, players will still likely gravitate to playing optimally, because the alternative mostly feels like missing on full power.

When implementing SP, Alex did foresee players prefer value usage and tried to dissuade them with the bonus xp mechanic. Whether that was a success you can tell for yourselves. The way I see it it just introduced the gameplay of chasing bonus xp. And since there is no limit to SP, there is also no limit to grinding them for colony improvements.

All in all, I think SP are a great mechanic whose implementation needs polishing. S-mods and colony improvements feel good, too. I just don't believe they work together in a bunch.

EDIT:
Don't mind if I answer for OP. Hoarding SP for "value" usage isn't fun compared to using them incidentally for plot purposes. Besides, fleet build isn't something that should be gated by how much SP you can grind imho.
Why? People forget that despite their name, Story Points are basically an extended XP system. You gain Story Points primarily by fighting. Their main benefit is to let you upgrade your fleet, i.e. your "character". The more you fight, the better you get at fighting. If you're not fighting, then you don't really need Story Points for the most part (other than to avoid fighting, or to buy items to help with your economy which is generally a dumb trade since credits are much easier to get than Story Points).

Perhaps I should make clear that by fleet build I mean ships and their loadouts. You're right that xp affects the fleet build, too, primarily through Skills. But unlike Credits and officer mini-xp, it does so in broad strokes. Not through customization, the individual ships and loadouts like I mention above.

You're right when you say that SP are basically an extension of the xp system, an another arm besides Skills. Because SP are not decoupled from the value (or shall I say "power"?) usage, their incidental usage gets sidelined. It feeds back into fleet building just like Skills do. You probably see this as the intended development, but I feel like Alex wanted SP to support the storytelling aspect of the game rather than the power fantasy one. Would be amusing to get the word of god on this one, but we'll likely get it by the means of the next patch dropping.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 09:27:32 AM by smithney »
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Megas

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Re: Remove permanent upgrades at the cost of SP
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2022, 09:12:24 AM »

As long as the "boring" option is seen as the optimal, people will tend to take it even at the cost of their own entertainment. Even if guided towards a leisurely mindset, players will still likely gravitate to playing optimally, because the alternative mostly feels like missing on full power.
Yes, that too.  I fought a double Ordos fleet with a fleet, and the experience felt miserable.  I had to prepare the fleet with officers specifically raised for the ships.  I had to fire seven of my old officers and spend short sessions across real days raising new ones for the new fleet.  It was totally miserable.  The fight itself was hectic, and not in a good way.  I used overpowered ships to make up for not using Leadership.  If I had changed the fleet, I probably need to respec and raise new officers.

Later, I settled on using solo Ziggurat with Omega weapons and lowered map size to 200 to prevent more than one Radiant attacking at a time.  It was a bit more enjoyable because the experience was more forgiving (do not need Leadership), and I needed less prep work and commitment.  Still, I would not want to be locked into solo Ziggurat all of the time.

And no Leadership feels like a handicap if the fleet is not solo Ziggurat.

Some ships I have collected felt useless for double Ordos fights, which is annoying too.  For example, Eagle.  For its cost, it simply does not have the firepower (for its speed) needed to fight multi-Ordos.  I am better off with another Gryphon or other cruiser.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 09:16:28 AM by Megas »
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