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Author Topic: Fixing S-Mods  (Read 2416 times)

gG_pilot

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2022, 05:17:35 PM »

An officer respec without SP could be like this:
Officers continue to level after lvl 5 but don't get new skills, every half level a random learned skill could be switched with another random skill.
Leveling offocers include Elite skills should be done only by their own sill points. Lets say Every pilot has his own story, e.i. their skill points are  in fact their own  story  points.  It means, same as main character use (story) points to  level himself, other pilots use their  own (skill)  point to level self.  Only for communication reason get  the xp points another name.

It would be  interesting make pilots more flexible like this.
Base Max level for pilots is  rised to 10.
Speed of xp gain is doubled  (reach max level takes same amount of effort as it  is now)
every level  add one skill point
here is a price  for different usage  of skill points:
skill  swap to other skill = 1 point
new skill =  2  points
elite skill = 3 points
>>elite skill or skill swap is available only  when pilot reach max level
>>pilots can hoard  skill points same way as main character. After reaching max lvl, pilot gets  xp and get more points  but  not more lvls     
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Jackundor

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2022, 12:27:05 AM »

tbh, i don't get why people think smods are such a problem...
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cytokine

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2022, 02:49:24 AM »

IMHO, the main problem with S-mods is that they're irresistible to use. This in turn penalizes swapping out ships, for strategic reasons, or for experimentation, or as the game progresses.

Most important of all, it makes retreat or fleet wipe unthinkable, since bonus XP is worth so little compared with losing the S-mods. So playing on iron mode, where retreats and defeats would actually happen, would be very different from playing normally, despite iron mode being the intended playstyle. And suppose that you did get your SP fully refunded from losses, then all that S-mods would amount to would be: "the Players' ships have more OP, because reasons". At that point you might as well turn down the difficulty one notch instead.

Personalizing ships is done better with cosmetics, like skins and decals IMO. And increasing OP could be a money sink instead. Spending 50% of ship value to increase OP in...maybe 10% increments? So times two, for +100% price, an Onslaught would have +72 OP, which is about two expensive hullmods. And losing it would mean losing only money, effectively. But money would matter more.

As for OPs suggestion, I don't see it as a problem that the most expensive hullmods get built in. If you expect players to min-max a bit, then each s-mod is effectively worth a bit more than the average hullmod cost. With 2 s-mods, each might on average be worth 5/10/15/30 OP. I don't know of any extreme outliers? So I don't see the issue. Derelicts and carriers benefit proportionally more from s-mods, but would do the same with a flat OP bonus. So meh?
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Jackundor

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2022, 03:04:20 AM »

spending only money to make a ship stronger sounds very questionable and qould just encourage people to grind more
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Grievous69

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2022, 03:47:43 AM »

spending only money to make a ship stronger sounds very questionable and qould just encourage people to grind more
??
You mean unlike the current system that encourages players to fight without officers and while piloting a god ship to get as much bonus xp as possible from farming Remnants?

At least farming money is more interesting and can be done in multiple ways.
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Megas

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2022, 05:31:46 AM »

spending only money to make a ship stronger sounds very questionable and qould just encourage people to grind more
??
You mean unlike the current system that encourages players to fight without officers and while piloting a god ship to get as much bonus xp as possible from farming Remnants?

At least farming money is more interesting and can be done in multiple ways.
The current way is grinding.  Aside from what Grievous69 wrote, it also encourages the player to fight nothing but Ordos two or more at a time, if player does not want to pilot solo Ziggurat or other godship for +500% xp to pay for the story point costs of ships, officers, and scaling costs of colonies and historian.

Credit cost is better.  More ways to earn credits and not individually tracked by historian's log.
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ubuntufreakdragon

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2022, 07:18:46 AM »

I don't think S-Mods should come from pure air, a credit cost is in order.
But it feels a bit empty, we just get to 9.1c where a d-mod is not removed but instead the ship is replaced, old ships should have some value above new ones.
I hope for a hullmod xp system:
Quote from: ubuntufreakdragon
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.
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Megas

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2022, 09:05:28 AM »

With Restore's outrageously high costs, I prefer cheap disposable ships of early 0.9 (after player gets Orbital Works), but without that today, I consider Hull Restoration the prime QoL skill in the game, or close runner-up to Navigation.

Without Hull Restoration, I would reload the game much more for flawless victories.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2022, 09:49:46 AM »

I'll note I've seen a number of alternatives to s-mods proposed on these forums.  Obviously the original Loadout Design providing blanket percentage extra OP, story points that just give bonus OP, story points that just give bonus hullmod OP like this, introducing a whole new set of hullmods which can only be added with story points and prevent cheaper OP versions from being used, and so on.

At the end of the day, s-mods or other OP increasing mechanic are all intended to give the player's fleet a boost compared to typical NPC fleets (as opposed to specifically challenging encounters).  They're there to make the average part of the game easier, as well as be a progression mechanic, just like skills.  However, there is a big difference between story points and skills in the fact that story points can be spent and lost.

Since they can be spent and lost, and to avoid the tendency of some players to never use an item you only can ever find X of in a game, they are left as continually grindable (unlike like skill levels).  This of course leads to a tendency of some players to grind enough to do whatever they want with them in game - essentially eliminate the need to prioritize by grinding more.  The only options for a progression system are cap it, or let it be grindable to the point you can do anything, with some sort of time scale for that.

Fundamentally, if I'm at the point where I can grind Ordos without losses, I don't need to grind Ordos anymore.  At that point I can defeat the unique Dorito bounty and the Hypershunt taps, and then as far as I'm concerned, the game is over because the only thing left is doing the same thing over and over with a fleet that is in theory only going up in strength.  Success is not in doubt, and thus it is boring to me, and I restart.  I find far more fun in trying to beat a pristine Destroyer led fleet with a base Wolf and Kite than killing my 50th Ordo fleet or NPC 400k bounty fleet with a human piloted and fully kitted Radiant and support, simply because success is in doubt.  I feel elated in success, and a desire for improvement in failure.  Where as I just feel the 50th Ordo is more like a job. 

Rather than seeing a rework of the story points (and thus the skill system yet again since they're tightly intertwined), or a rework of s-mods to another similar system which is just going to be Auroras with +5 effective OP and Dominators with -5 effective OP compared to before (and fly basically the same as before), I'd rather see a fully fleshed out mission builder that lets players test different fleet configurations, skills, player builds, and fine tuning opposing forces to their hearts content (and also easily pass opposition and test fleets around to other players).  One of the issues that seems to come up with these threads is what about people wanting to try out different fleet compositions.  Or new players spending story points poorly.

Rather than the campaign, which is intended to be a progression and resource based challenge, which also has to deal with ship availability, d-mods, credits, colony production, and what not, you just provide a full mission "super" simulator with access to all the bonuses the campaign can provide, to both sides.  At which point testing becomes easy and free.  No need to deal with ship availability, blueprints, d-mods, credits, colony production reloading if it doesn't work, etc.  In the campaign, if I want to try out 5 Odysseys in a fleet, and don't have the blueprint or colony heavy industries, it's a giant effort to be able to acquire them.

Anyways, back to s-mods.  I view s-mods in their current incarnation as allowing for more variety in fitting, despite statements that everyone builds in the same 2 s-mods (which is more like 6 s-mods for me) and that there is no decision making involved.  I come to that conclusion since I tend to look at the final ship builds, not the ship build with nothing fit but 2 s-mods.  At which point the set of viable builds are larger, in a similar way that the number of viable builds is larger with a larger OP budget.

When comparing these proposed systems, I like to see how final, fully load ship builds are different, and look at how the ships fly, as opposed to the exact way the numbers get crunched under the hood at the fitting screen.  If I've got the current s-mod system, or a +30 OP for hullmod system, my Dominators are getting Heavy Armor, Expanded Missile Banks, and Integrated Targeting Unit either way.  My Hyperions are getting Extended Shields, Hardened Shields, Hardened Subsystems either way.  It's mostly just a few OP one way or the other on the ships.

The decision making doesn't come into the picking which hullmods get the s-mod check mark (although it can if you change your loadouts often for some reason and thus check what hullmods are common between the loadouts), it comes in the overall loadout of the ship that the extra OP/hullmods allow.  S-modding in Heavy Armor means I can now fit Auxilliary Thrusters and with a bit of sacrifice, Resistant Flux Conduits, on those Dominators where before I couldn't.

So all these different suggestions just boil down to a few OP here and there for different ships, which just doesn't feel game changing in how the ships fly, the actual gameplay experience.  It just changes which ships come out slightly better or worse.  A flat OP bonus would likely benefit high tech ships more (tend to have lower OP budgets and cheaper individual hullmods), a percent bonus like Loadout design would likely help high OP ships more, the current s-mod system likely helps low tech more (since Heavy Armor is such a good bonus on them).

Systems which move the story point XP grind from global to ship specific is just shifting the grind around, and generally going to make the overall grind longer (perhaps that is desired?), unless the level up is very quick and not very meaningful.  It also makes it hard to scale with player progress.  Typically you are getting much more experience later than earlier, but story points come in quicker earlier rather than later.  Ship experience systems would typically mean s-mods come in much later, or simply be meaningless late game (as you pull in enough XP to level up in 1 fight). Or if it's just based on deployment, you go find a bunch of tiny frigate fleets and engage them over and over to level up your 5 capitals.  The devil is in the details of the implementation and the behaviors it will encourage compared to the current encouraged behaviors.  You could probably eventually settle on a reasonable compromise, but it wouldn't be quick and easy to do.

Moving s-mods to credits just encourages smuggling and trade spamming, and even playing the game semi-AFK once colonies are up, given the nature of how easily credits can be earned.  Alternatively, it would require a complete revamp of the economic system so that engaging gameplay is encouraged.  While I'm sure there are players who play Starsector for the economic, trading and colony models, I'm willing to bet there are more players who play the game for the starship combat.  I haven't seen any racing to make credits or colony competitions in Starsector, but I've seen multiple PVP tournaments with fleets beating on each other.  Story points being earned from XP, which is in turned earned most easily through combat, incentives players to do combat rather than, in my view, less interesting endeavors.
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Megas

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2022, 11:41:23 AM »

Moving s-mods to credits just encourages smuggling and trade spamming, and even playing the game semi-AFK once colonies are up, given the nature of how easily credits can be earned.  Alternatively, it would require a complete revamp of the economic system so that engaging gameplay is encouraged.  While I'm sure there are players who play Starsector for the economic, trading and colony models, I'm willing to bet there are more players who play the game for the starship combat.  I haven't seen any racing to make credits or colony competitions in Starsector, but I've seen multiple PVP tournaments with fleets beating on each other.  Story points being earned from XP, which is in turned earned most easily through combat, incentives players to do combat rather than, in my view, less interesting endeavors.
Problem with combat is it incentivizes stuff like solo godship against whatever or fleet against multi-Ordos to earn story points (or clearing green bonus xp debt) fast enough.  It makes the +xp% multiplier far too important, and the only rate that is reasonably fast enough is when the rate is above 400%, ideally at 500%.

I tried fighting human bounties with conventional fleet, but with only less than +50% xp, it took several years to clear more than 10 milllion xp worth of bonus xp.  Now, my final fleet is basically solo Ziggurat for maximum +xp% against anything less than a double Ordos.  If I want to kill multi-Ordos, and I do not build a fleet with carefully selected skills and carefully raised officers for each ship, I lower map size to 200 so that solo Ziggurat does not get overwhelmed by multiple Radiants and Brilliants.

With the current fight for story points, I do not want a fleet if I cannot get Leadership or cannot keep officers without locking in my choices.  Leveling up officers from 1 to 5 is a tedious royal pain.  Without Leadership, I am pushed to Ziggurat because it is the only thing overpowered enough to kill endgame enemies without Leadership skills or carefully raised officers.  Of course, with only one ship, Hull Restoration is only good for the bonus max CR if I want Industrial Planning as a pre-req or looting ships I will never use in a serious fight (because losing the flagship is a fleet wipe).

Building for maximum story points gain distorts fleet building too much.

Reason I prefer credits for SP uses is player is not so pressured into perfect fleet, officer, and skill builds; and gives a use to all of the surplus credits player has late in the game.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2022, 11:44:20 AM by Megas »
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FooF

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2022, 11:48:26 AM »

The super simulator idea would be welcome.

The overall goal is to make ships feel unique and more powerful than standard versions. The “more powerful” piece is done indirectly via more OP. I’d be tempted to suggest that S-mods could be more of a stat boost than an OP boost. If you had choices as to how the S-mod boosted the ship, would it make it more interesting/meaningful than which hullmod was free? If you had the choice between +10% damage, +10% top speed (or +10 su, whichever is greater), +10% range, etc. would that be more interesting or would we all min/max it to death?



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Megas

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2022, 02:26:02 PM »

For some ships, hullmods or caps/vents are more important than stat boosts.  Ziggurat, with Phase Anchor eating a lot of OP, I want more OP for more hullmods.  With Derelicts smaller than Rampart, I need s-mods to get hullmods at all because their OP capacity is too low (15 for some frigates) for anything other than basic weapons.  Heron is another where I want more OP just to get more vents and hullmods beyond ITU.
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Thaago

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2022, 04:25:01 PM »

...

Agreed.. Especially the part about not grinding ordos - I've only ever done it as the challenge of fighting many maxed ones at once, never to get experience points. If I'm there, there's nothing else to do anyways, so why would I want to? Maybe if I'm spending exponential story points on colonies, but other than a few points to meet the requirements of some items I don't really see the need to do that either so its hard for me to relate to that motivation.

I also don't always build in the highest OP cost hullmods. If Heavy Armor is not the right choice for a ship, having a ship whose "total OP including S mods" is higher than some other potential build's doesn't matter: what matters is total effectiveness, and if some other hullmod being built in does that, thats what I'll go with.

Moderator voice: reading the earlier posts in this thread, treat each other civilly please. I am glad the matter was dropped and didn't spiral out of control.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2022, 04:28:23 PM by Thaago »
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Jackundor

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2022, 11:38:02 PM »

Smods don't incentivize you to just build in the most expensiv hullmod, bc nobody in his right mind would build in heavy armor in an astral. It incentivizes mostly expensive hullmods but i think it's not just bc they are expensive but moreso bc the question is "what hullmod is the best for this ship in absolute terms, disregarding cost-effectiveness", and hullmods that cost more tend to be more powerful
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 12:31:45 AM by Jackundor »
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Vanshilar

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Re: Fixing S-Mods
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2022, 12:29:26 AM »

The current way of thinking is to build in the most expensive hullmods (i.e. heavy armor) as a way to cheese the game for 'free' OP.

I believe this is the wrong way of thinking and against Alex's intent (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Eh, I think building in the most expensive hullmods that's useful for the ship is exactly Alex's intent for SP use. He even says so explicitly in his blog post introducing Story Points: https://fractalsoftworks.com/2019/07/08/skills-and-story-points/

It's basically a long-term leveling mechanism for your character i.e. your fleet, since the player reaches level 15 fairly quickly. So your fleet continues to improve even after your character reaches the cap of level 15.

I don’t want to waste SP on ships that ultimately won’t make it in my final fleet.

I don't think that's a good way to consider them. You should be looking at how much they'll improve your current fleet in terms of enabling you to do more things and gain XP more quickly, regardless of whether or not the ship will be used in your final fleet. You also get bonus experience for junking the ship later on anyway. Also, early on it's better to use them so that you can reach level 15 more quickly via bonus XP. I usually just upgrade my fleet right away even if they may or may not be in my "final" fleet, because it makes the early game so much faster.

As an analogy, nobody buys a new computer (or whatever other appliance you want) thinking "wait a minute, this may not be permanent, I'll probably junk it in a few years, so maybe I shouldn't spend money on it". Instead, it's "is this going to give me more benefit or productivity or whatever over its lifetime compared with the cost?"

An officer respec without SP could be like this:
Officers continue to level after lvl 5 but don't get new skills, every half level a random learned skill could be switched with another random skill.

I would instead propose it be like this: Officers continue to level after 5 (or 6 or whatever the cap is). At each level after, the officer gets to add a new skill to their pool of known skills. However, at any given time, they can only have 5 skills be active. So officers can eventually reach level 14 and be able to choose any of the combat skills. (Conveniently, the code for this already largely exists, i.e. used for alpha/beta/gamma cores being used as officers.) Maybe you can change officer skills only when you're docked or something, rather than any time you want, to limit how frequently the player changes officer skills. This makes sense since when you're docked is also when you change your fleet, i.e. ships. This way there's no more need to fire an officer (or reload the game) if he didn't get the skill you want, if you know that they'll all be available eventually anyway. Also, retraining while docked eliminates the need of SP as a way to limit retraining an officer.

And increasing OP could be a money sink instead. Spending 50% of ship value to increase OP in...maybe 10% increments? So times two, for +100% price, an Onslaught would have +72 OP, which is about two expensive hullmods. And losing it would mean losing only money, effectively. But money would matter more.

No, because credits are too easy to come by -- they should be used to enable the player to get (re)started at building a fleet, but to reach its maximum effectiveness should be through combat. The game's reward mechanisms are toward combat. Buying upgrades through credits would mean the player can just use the latest drug shortage or whatever to max out their fleet without touching a battle.

(As a corollary, it also means that Alex would have to really firm up how credits work and make sure there are no too-easy ways to make money, rather than focusing on improving combat and gameplay mechanics.)
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