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Author Topic: A huge nerf to the missiles  (Read 5830 times)

Thaago

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #60 on: July 05, 2023, 05:10:05 PM »

For the first part, that is a fair definition - I haven't tested heavy player combat investment in this version to see how easy/optimal it is compared to a nice roster of officers. I'm kind of addicted to leadership as the bonuses are so large, so for me even a very heavy investement in combat is going to look like... combat 10 leadership 5? Combat 8 tech 2 (with gunnery implants) leadership 5? Something to that effect. Ordinance Expertise is so good that I might go combat 8 industry 2 leadership 5 as well (maybe 7/3/5 for polarized armor as well? Depends on flagship). So even with most of my points dedicated to the flagship, I'm still going to have level 6 officers with 2 elite skills.

I suppose I could try to do 13 personal combat skills (combat 10, then 3 personal skills from tech/industry, plus the 2 mandatory QoL skills), but that seems a bit masochistic when things like 15% CR, 20% speed, and an extra S mod are so good. Even if I was taking them just for my ship, I would do that, but they apply to everything!

...
P.S.  Also better as in a flagship that is not capable of too much cheese (simple and not too fast line ships like Eagle, Champion, and most capitals) that can significantly outperform an NPC ship with similar officer power.

I mean this is kind of what it means to be an experienced pilot in this game, right? Being 2-3x better than an AI ship, with any ship at all, even with less numerical boosts from skills? I know that it can take time and experience to get to that point, but the ceiling for player skill is higher than 3x on anything if people are really trying. For small ships it can be twitch piloting, but for larger ships good shield use, venting, and target selection propels a player far beyond the AI.

As an example, doing main menu mission sim fights (so 0 skills on either side), an experienced player in a "mirror" fight (IE same ships vs each other) should stomp the enemy ship under AI control, and in real battles where positioning and orders come into play the difference is even bigger.
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Zsar

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #61 on: July 06, 2023, 09:59:45 AM »

Can't reproduce, truth be told. Neither player-on-AI nor AI-on-player. Yes, vs. Persean League I may lose a frigate or a destroyer or two, but then they are out of missiles and they lose everything. Gryphons in particular just die, die, die. I find Remnant fighter spam to be worse than any opponents missile armaments, because those have shields and shoot missiles (well, Proximity Charges, but those are a missile weapon). Yes, it is true that my missiles tend to last all the fight on ships specifically so modded and commanded - but that does not translate into automatic or easy wins, so I fail to see the problem. "Does not win the fight and runs out midway through" would feel like "not worth it" territory.

For comparison: I still struggle against Omega and against even single Remnant Ordos, neither of which are particularly missile heavy.

... but if you feel that way, here is how you can nerf missiles without nerfing missiles:
  • check all variants for excess flux vents, invest those in more/better PD
  • check the variants used by the more professional factions for trash mods (Blast Doors...), invest those in more/better PD
  • move PD in all variants towards the center of the ship, away from the sides (except on Conquest / Odyssey / broadside Atlas Mk.2 of course)
  • pick PD that is outranged by the variant's regular weapons for all firing arcs overlapping those of the regular weapons
Bam. Problem solved.

Still not enough? Are you not also bothered that all those nice PD guns merrily waste time, flux and charges shooting ships instead of missiles? There is the PD_ONLY tag to fix this. The only place it is used in vanilla is on the Wasp strike craft's Stinger Proximity Mine. Further nerf missiles by adding it to these weapons:
  • Burst PD Laser
  • Flak Cannon (damn you, Monitors, you are supposed to tank)
  • Heavy Burst Laser
  • LR PD Laser
  • Mining Laser
(I am not including the low range PD weapons because those will generally be outranged by normal weapons, so it is not necessary to restrict them; all but the basic PD Laser are also excellent damage dealers themselves, so if they do get in range of a ship, they better do shoot at it.
Conversely e.g. the two Burst Lasers are strictly worse than same-size-similar-OP weapons for shooting at ships, so there is no point in having them waste their charges on that.
The Flak Cannon I am on the fence about, but given its propensity to target missiles too late it feels like an improvement even though a fair bit of flux-efficient ship-to-ship damage is missed out on when making it PD_ONLY.)

Still not enough? The description of Needlers claims they would be used as backup PD. They are not. But there is a tag for that: PD_ALSO. In vanilla, only the Devastator Cannon has that. Slap it on Light Needler, Heavy Needler, Storm Needler and they will eat away all those Annihilator and Squall missiles even without any other PD on your ship.

Still not enough? There are a lot of weapons which marry two relevant capabilities: Perfect aim, "medium"-or-faster rotation. These weapons could easily hit missiles, if only they tried. Make them all PD_ONLY.
(Maybe only those with <1 flux efficiency, lest they do more harm than good: Esp. with Hardened Shields some ships are better off tanking many types of missile, rather than trying and shooting them down.)

If you work through the whole list, you will - without touching a single stat - nerf missiles so hard as to make them not worth the OP.
But I have ordered the measures by escalating gravity, so it might be sensible to stop after the first or second paragraph, because that will probably suffice.
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Amazigh

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #62 on: July 06, 2023, 05:36:22 PM »

"invest those in more/better PD"
I suspect that there are very few ship variants that could do this without compromising their main offensive weaponry, which would make those ships flat out worse against anything other than a missile/fighter spam fleet.

There is the PD_ONLY tag to fix this. The only place it is used in vanilla is on the Wasp strike craft's Stinger Proximity Mine. Further nerf missiles by adding it to these weapons:
  • Burst PD Laser
  • Flak Cannon (damn you, Monitors, you are supposed to tank)
  • Heavy Burst Laser
  • LR PD Laser
  • Mining Laser
This would not really fix things, PD_ONLY is a really awkward tag for modular weapons, as unless it's some sort of special super dedicated PD weapon then the fact that it flat out removes the ability for AI/Autofire to use it against ships will definitely lead to weird behavior (eg: the burst lasers are actually rather decent as a secondary weapon against lighter ships, so blocking them from firing on ships would be bad)

Adding PD_ALSO to needlers and some other weapons could be interesting, but the long reload between bursts for light/heavy needler means i could see this easily being really annoying in practice.
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prav

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #63 on: July 07, 2023, 08:58:16 AM »

Many AI fits could use more PD.

"invest those in more/better PD"
I suspect that there are very few ship variants that could do this without compromising their main offensive weaponry

Good, there should be reason to use heavy PD - and reason not to. Nm, got some more context.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2023, 09:02:14 AM by prav »
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CapnHector

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #64 on: July 07, 2023, 09:19:21 AM »

If you do the math though then if you have .37 efficiency shields (hardened, skilled base 0.6) then instead of firing a single PD laser you could just tank 220 HE DPS on the shields for the same flux/sec (granted, in hard rather than soft form though) and at a cost of no OP and it's guaranteed to work unlike the PD laser which actually will do nothing when a Fulgent or Radiant fires a missile spec'd Reaper at you point-blank. 2 of my 4 five ships vs five Ordo fits had zero PD (okay you could argue Sarissa is PD) and that is about as missile spammy of an environment as it gets. It is sometimes necessary (shieldless ships) and sometimes value but mostly ships kind of don't have the OP for that luxury if you want all the good stuff. I wonder where everybody learns PD=good.
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BigBrainEnergy

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #65 on: July 07, 2023, 11:56:00 AM »

PD is definitely more valuable for armour tanking where most high-damage shots that can ruin your armour will be missiles.

As for shield focused ships, kinetic missles are rarer and all of them are designed to get past pd somehow, either with range (gazer and sabot) or unusually high speed and durability (squall).
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Zsar

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #66 on: July 07, 2023, 03:37:09 PM »

I mean, if PD is not worth it, then clearly missiles are not overpowered... enough?

As I feel is indeed the case. Not having any PD seems to be a bad idea (unless you have the aforementioned .6 base shield efficiency), but I do not generally go out of my way to get more PD and I certainly do use less PD than I could, because I already seem to have enough.

Re. PD_ONLY on Burst Lasers: I am under the impression that one can always switch those out for a better conventional weapon at same-ish OP and flux cost, so I figured that if I put those on a ship, I specifically do not want them to waste their charges on ships and then have none left against the missiles (or fighters). I also figure that it is never worth it to S-mod Extended Magazines just to improve the Burst Lasers (and I have yet to find a variant that I want to have S-modded Extended Magazines and Burst Lasers, though that is likely a failure on my part).
So, either/or: Burst Lasers are not on a ship / Burst Lasers are on a ship and should not fire at other ships.
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Thaago

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #67 on: July 07, 2023, 04:14:55 PM »

I think I've said in this thread but don't remember: I'm on team 'moderate pd', preferably ballistic, and machine guns if I can get their damage bonus up enough. Mainly because while taking hits on the shield is usually just fine, that means I have to have a shield pointed in that direction and hard flux to spare, which is not always the case. Then again I'm on a low tech kick at the moment, and vulcans/dlmgs are just such great bang for buck so I'm not even spending that much to get 'moderate' pd that doubles as shield/general damage shredders.
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Megas

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #68 on: July 08, 2023, 08:04:37 PM »

If anything, I wished burst PD would "waste" their charges on ships (like they did in early releases), especially after it receives the s-mod bonus from Expanded Magazines and/or gains hard flux from High Scatter Amplifier.  Sometimes, I get burst PD primarily as an assault weapon or assault/PD combo like Devastator is for ballistics.

Burst PD has better anti-armor than continuous small beams (like Tac Laser), and with s-mod Expanded Magazines, better DPS too.  Also, burst PD has more range than IR PL with Advanced Optics, and it does not need sIPDAI to get +200 range from ePD since it is a native PD weapon (but it needs sExMag for the DPS, which IR PL does not need).

For medium mounts, heavy burst laser looks like a compromise between phase lance and IR autolance, if ignoring PD capability.  Without s-mods, I probably end up with IR Autolance if I have it.

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Void Ganymede

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #69 on: July 08, 2023, 09:17:07 PM »

PD frees up shield flux. Flux you can spend on damage.

In the right situation, PD is damage.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #70 on: July 09, 2023, 12:06:19 PM »

I could solo two Ordos at a time with Ziggurat (three last release), but I cannot solo five Ordos with it - not enough PPT, and Z can only be deployed twice at most because of -50% CR per round.

I'd love to see a 75 DP no player flagship fleet handle a double Ordos (with battle size set to 400) to be honest.  I don't think I've ever seen that, although perhaps I've just missed it.  Given a 75 DP solo ship fleet is a very different fleet from a 240 DP fleet.  AI is fine when it's even up in numbers, but when it gets surrounded, it starts having issues.  Given these are all self-imposed challenges, which do people think is harder for the AI?  75 vs ~640 DP (double Ordo), or 240 vs ~1600 DP (5 Ordo)?  Assuming 400 deployment point limit.

A player intensive build, such as a Neural Link Radiant using 70 DP (10 for the initial flagship Afflictor, then switching to the Radiant) can certainly handle a single Ordo no sweat, even without resorting to the Zigguraut, but even that might prove too much for the AI.  That is a build that really only uses 2 leadership skills at most.

CapnHector, once you're happy with the Astral quintuple Ordo challenge, you might consider going the other way - what is the least amount of DP under AI control you can use to beat a double Ordo?  Can you get to or lower than 75 DP , the level of a human running a solo Zig?  Feel free to use Tesseract dropped weapons and/or the Zig under AI control.

If you do the math though then if you have .37 efficiency shields (hardened, skilled base 0.6) then instead of firing a single PD laser you could just tank 220 HE DPS on the shields for the same flux/sec (granted, in hard rather than soft form though) and at a cost of no OP and it's guaranteed to work unlike the PD laser which actually will do nothing when a Fulgent or Radiant fires a missile spec'd Reaper at you point-blank.

That is not quite a fair comparison.  One, depending on which ship is firing, and the target (say an Executor), that include high CR bonuses (5-10% more damage), Target Analysis (to counter Hardened Shields), or Wolf pack tactics (+10% from that Fulgent).  So 220 might be more like 270 hard flux/second per Typhoon launcher.   Secondly, missiles are really bursty.  An Alpha Core Radiant's salvo of 4 Reapers might be 4000 real final flux after all the bonuses on both sides are taken into account.  That is a non-trivial chunk of an Executor's shields - if it is already high at 70-80% hard flux (depending on capacitors), that is likely an overload.

So it really depends on fitting of the rest of the ship, enemies in weapon arcs, and how close to hitting your flux capacity you are.  Firing PD can result in zero net flux change if you are only firing a subset of weapons in arc, or the entire ship is flux neutral including PD weapon fire.  I suppose yes that means you could have spent those 4 OP on flux capacitors and had 800 more flux capacity.  Then again, we're talking about a 1% OP shift on a capital.  If you spent only 1% of your OP on something, I expect you'd be pretty bad at it.  Energy weapon based capitals tend to have large banks of small energy slots (Astral has 8, Odyssey has 12, Paragon has 9), so if you are putting PD on, it is generally more than just 1.  Three burst PD in arc, and assuming IPDAI and elite Point Defense, will take down that elite Missile Specialization Reaper (which presumably invested expand missile racks as well).  Or combine with IR Pulse lasers for both PD and a decent ranged hard flux barrage - it isn't an Autopulse, but they do add up fast (IR Pulse Lasers with IPDAI and elite Point Defense, Gunnery Implants and ITU reaches 1075 range, and 150 DPS each).  Broadside of 6 of those is like two Autopulse against shields in terms of sustained DPS.  Mix with some armor breaker large energies or missiles and you're got a working build.

The other thing to consider is long range PD (LR PD, or elite PD Flak for example) can support other ships on a line.  I've often been pulling back in a ship, behind a line of Legions and/or Onslaughts and just watch chasing missiles and fighters evaporate (OK, so side Devastators might be involved along with the Flak cannons).

I will say that in a solo or close to solo situation where ships will come at you at bad angles, even 2 lowly Burst PD lasers without significant bonuses can shoot down a significant number of missiles (3.75% OP investment shot down 34 missiles and 5 fighters in the attached example).  That particular build also heavily used Plasma Cannon, PCLs, and a Reality Disruptor as the forward fighter/missile defenses rather than taking hard flux or letting fighters get into rear arcs.  So, depending on how you count weapons as non-PD, the only non-PD on that Radiant might be the two Autopulse.  However, what was key was those two rear Burst laser PD were capable of shooting down Salamanders without me needing to shift shields or spend a precious skimmer charge.
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Megas

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #71 on: July 09, 2023, 03:14:16 PM »

I remember trying Neural Linked Radiant against single Ordos, but aside from Reality Disruptor, I used two Plasma Cannons, two Paladin PD, and four IR Autolances.  Reality Disruptor is great at locking down the enemy.  (I had fun locking down enemy Radiant while I beat it to death with plasma and autolances.)  Reality Disruptor tooltip mentions that knockout times are twice as long as normal.

If fighting Ordos with 80 DP or less worth of ships, there is no shame in lowering map size to 200 to force a more even matchup.  The point of soloing an endgame fleet with Z for me is because I dumped Leadership (no points in any green skills) and I did not min-max my officers or put s-mods on most of my ships.

I did not solo fleets because I wanted more difficulty.  I solo fleets because building up Ziggurat is easier than building up a fleet I cannot easily change if the ship/officer/skill combination does not work, and I do not want to spend story points willy-nilly to buff my fleet only to throw them out if what I tried did not work or I get bored and want to change the fleet and officers.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2023, 03:20:51 PM by Megas »
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Vanshilar

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2023, 05:11:08 PM »

Coincidentally the thread I clicked on just before this one was Vanshilar's thread about killing 5 ordos with a Conquest-focused fleet (https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=27471.0)

A fight that requires a ton of endurance (maybe more than you ever need in the unmodified game), but they still get good use out of four Conquests and two Gryphons with all missile slots filled.

PD simply wasn't needed. The current meta in Starsector, as far as I can tell -- or at least, what I've found to work the most successfully against [REDACTED] -- is to use very long range weapons, to kill them before they get close. This also allows my fleet to corral them into a ball, with my fleet surrounding them, so my ships can focus fire if needed, while staying out of the range of their backline ships that are still moving to the front lines. I've found this to be much more effective than bursting in at close range and/or SO and/or hiding in the corner or any other strategy.

The long range means that for the most part, the enemy ships won't get into range to fire (much) on my ships, so my ships' flux stays low. This also means that generally they won't fire missiles that much -- they tend to wait until your ships are at a high flux percentage (your current flux percent is an often-overlooked stat; the AI looks at your flux percent and the enemy flux percent to determine whether or not to fire weapons, or back off, etc., so having high flux capacity is good for this). In fact you can see that when I screw up and start getting high on flux is when the AI starts launching a bunch of missiles at me. So having high flux capacity was basically my PD (plus, kept my ships firing, etc.).

So since I was fighting at long range and generally kept my ship flux levels low, there simply wasn't that many missiles to worry about. So I didn't really need PD.

In terms of my fleet composition, the Gryphons were there just to take care of frigates and such and then help out against the main fleet, the star of the show was really the Conquest. I haven't bothered to try using other ships to fulfill the Gryphon role, so I know that's an area where I could improve on my fleet.

For the Conquests, while the missiles were great to have, it was really the Mjolnirs that did the bulk of the work, and secondarily the HVDs. Detailed Combat Results has a bug with reporting beam damage, tending to over-report it -- so the Tac Laser and Graviton numbers can't be relied upon. However, from other work, 3 Tac Lasers provide roughly the same damage as one HVD to hull, and their damage to shields is pretty much negligible since it's soft flux. So it's very OP- and flux-inefficient, but I had some extra OP left over so I just put it into that. The Tac Lasers would be the first to go if you needed more OP. Next to go would be the Graviton Beam; it just provides a bit of damage bonus vs shields.

Having said that, the Tac Lasers, Graviton, and Locust were good to have in the initial stages to take out the little ships more quickly, and the Squall does a good job of messing up the enemy fleet and sending them in disarray. So in that sense the missiles and beams were useful as supporting weapons, but they weren't the main contributors.

The fight was a one-off (it was the first and only time I tried that fleet configuration against 5 Ordos, I didn't bother to optimize it, and then I moved on to other things), so there are a number of changes I would make if I were to do it again. But it shows that while missiles were certainly relevant, it wasn't really central to the fight.

Having said that, I think Squall HP should be nerfed (it kills enemy shields *and* kills their PD, which lets your other missiles get through, whereas if enemy PD could stop it then it'd tie up enemy PD but not kill their shields, which I think is more fair), I don't think it needs to be a general Missile Spec nerf. The main issue for Missile Spec is that the +50% fire rate for elite is simply too strong, especially when it also gives +10% damage. That should be maybe +10-20% or so.
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CapnHector

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #73 on: August 02, 2023, 06:07:37 AM »

I could solo two Ordos at a time with Ziggurat (three last release), but I cannot solo five Ordos with it - not enough PPT, and Z can only be deployed twice at most because of -50% CR per round.

I'd love to see a 75 DP no player flagship fleet handle a double Ordos (with battle size set to 400) to be honest.  I don't think I've ever seen that, although perhaps I've just missed it.  Given a 75 DP solo ship fleet is a very different fleet from a 240 DP fleet.  AI is fine when it's even up in numbers, but when it gets surrounded, it starts having issues.  Given these are all self-imposed challenges, which do people think is harder for the AI?  75 vs ~640 DP (double Ordo), or 240 vs ~1600 DP (5 Ordo)?  Assuming 400 deployment point limit.

...

CapnHector, once you're happy with the Astral quintuple Ordo challenge, you might consider going the other way - what is the least amount of DP under AI control you can use to beat a double Ordo?  Can you get to or lower than 75 DP , the level of a human running a solo Zig?  Feel free to use Tesseract dropped weapons and/or the Zig under AI control.

I believe I have this build. However I'd like a rules clarification: is it in the spirit of this challenge to use Derelict Operations to reduce DP?

As is I have a 8-9 Medusa Double Ordo build so assigning suitable D-mods that'll be 72-90 DP (uses converted hangar). It also in its current iteration requires an Omega weapon on each ship but I believe I can make do even without.
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: A huge nerf to the missiles
« Reply #74 on: August 02, 2023, 09:46:25 AM »

I believe I have this build. However I'd like a rules clarification: is it in the spirit of this challenge to use Derelict Operations to reduce DP?

As is I have a 8-9 Medusa Double Ordo build so assigning suitable D-mods that'll be 72-90 DP (uses converted hangar). It also in its current iteration requires an Omega weapon on each ship but I believe I can make do even without.

Any skill build you want.  Using 4 hand picked d-mods on 8-9 ships might raise some eyebrows about expected time investment to be able to get that naturally in gameplay, though but I'd love to see it either way.  If you hand pick the d-mods, I would expect no losses, since you'd have issues doing it several times in a row as they pile up new d-mods.  Unlike the Zig or a Radiant + neural link ship.

As for Omega weapons, sure 9 Cryoblasters are unlikely, but a mixture of small and mediums that actually might drop in a campaign seems fine. 

In any case, if you've got 8 destroyers that can tackle a typical double Ordo that sounds really cool.
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