Fractal Softworks Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: New music for Galatia Academy (06/12/24)

Pages: [1] 2

Author Topic: The phase menace [Story spoilers]  (Read 1639 times)

Nettle

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 660
  • making humorous maneuvers
    • View Profile
The phase menace [Story spoilers]
« on: September 08, 2023, 06:32:59 PM »

A rant born of skill issue ahead, with story spoilers.









vinyl record scratch
freeze frame

Yup, that's me, you are probably wondering how I ended up in this situation...




Well, it could very well be a simple skill issue, indeed, but I still would like to go on a rant here on how the two phase-fleet fights in concluding steps of "Project Ziggurat" are so brutal for all the wrong reasons. First of all, I don't generally consider phase ships to be overpowered. I do understand how to deal with them, and more importantly, under normal circumstances, they don't make up 100% of the fleet you are about to face. Even if you don't have reliable means to put pressure on them, they will remain a hinderance, but most of the time, it won't determine the entire battle.

The mercenary phase-fleet you will find in the probe system sent by TT to smoke your ass is obviously nothing like it, as it consists entirely of S-moded phase ships. It feels more like a bizarre Custom Battle scenario, a fun exercise in applying anti-phase countermeasures to their full effect. That is, if you know about it in advance, and you won't on your first go with Academy questline. Even if you are good at picking up clues, and realized the pattern of sending Armadas after you throughout the story, nothing suggests an elite, exclusively phase fleet ahead. It can be a bitter-tasting experience if you choose to fight, even at equal or greater fleet strength. Without employing at least some of the anti-phase tactics, you are likely to get fleet-wiped, or at least suffer catastrophic losses, while feeling absolutely helpless.

Oh, and this brings me to the exhibit above. Honestly - no idea what fundamentally went wrong there. Although my choice of vessels is more thematical rather than perfectly optimized, its still a 240 DP worth of combat ships, that were refitted with best anti-phase practices in mind, specifically for this fight. The shield piercing EMP, however, was foolishly unaccounted for, and lack of RFC is what probably doomed this fleet. The encounter wasn't recorded, because I did fought and won Ziggurat battles before with arguably less impressive and less anti-phase optimized fleets (but I mostly attribute this to Gryphon's saturated missile bombardment freaking out the Zig AI), and I expected this one to be an absolute breeze. But frankly, I think this is beyond the point. Should your success in these two encounters really hinge on employing every single anti-phase trick in the book and then some? Is it fair to the player, is it unnecessarily frustrating? Is the Ziggurat battle, specifically, a bit over-tuned? I would like to hear some opinions on this, while I go mourn the 2510 brave souls who should've known better than to join my fleet.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2023, 02:36:51 AM by Nettle »
Logged

SafariJohn

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2023, 07:04:24 PM »

I think the main issue with the phase armada is that there aren't any other all-phase fleets in the game. The armada foreshadowing you mention isn't enough foreshadowing.

I'll be honest, my reaction to your fleet getting wrecked by the Zig is  L O L. If it weren't easy to lose the Zig fight it wouldn't be as scary as it should be.
Logged

Wyvern

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 3808
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2023, 07:28:00 PM »

I've noticed that the Ziggurat is significantly more dangerous in 0.96 than it was in previous versions of the game; fleets that could handle it with no great difficulty before will get ripped apart now.

That said, some commentary: I personally find that deploying anything smaller than a cruiser against the zig is a bad plan, with the exception of a player-controlled phase frigate*. Anything front-line that's destroyer grade or smaller will just die when the zig looks at it. So will cruisers if they pull too far ahead of the rest of your fleet. And carriers work poorly at best. So for the fleet you're showing, the only really relevant ships are the paragon, the champion, and the eagle, with the two falcons coming in as maybe-viable but you'll have to be careful with them. (Probably depends on how they're built; long-range falcons with HVDs and ion beams sound like they might work okay here; short-range SO builds will run in and die.)

It's probably possible to beat the zig with that lineup, but it's certainly not going to be easy; ideally, you want the paragon to be the frontline tank, but it's hard to arrange for that to happen without having lost multiple other ships already.

* Actually piloting a phase frigate against the zig is fairly hard; it's one of those 'make one mistake and you die' type situations. But if you do it right, the zig wastes a lot of time trying to shoot at you while you're phased out, which can really help with keeping the rest of your fleet alive.
Logged
Wyvern is 100% correct about the math.

Vanshilar

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 654
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2023, 07:58:49 PM »

Well it wouldn't be a challenge if it weren't, you know, challenging. And yes it's a pretty unique challenge so it requires some unique approaches, so most typical fleets won't do well with it.

Having said that, someone's already figured out the easiest, most effective way of handling this fight:

Spoiler
Take a single Falcon (P), arm it with 4 Proximity Charge Launchers, and spam them at the Ziggurat until it dies. The motes will (usually) go after the PCL's instead of you, so you just need to wait until the Ziggurat runs out of flux so it'll be forced to uncloak and dies.
[close]
Logged

Nettle

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 660
  • making humorous maneuvers
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2023, 08:10:32 PM »

I'll be honest, my reaction to your fleet getting wrecked by the Zig is  L O L. If it weren't easy to lose the Zig fight it wouldn't be as scary as it should be.

For the record, it wasn't a complete disaster, Ziggurat survived with around 1000 hull points left. But still, I did not expect any trouble at all, definitely not a fleet wipe.

I've noticed that the Ziggurat is significantly more dangerous in 0.96 than it was in previous versions of the game; fleets that could handle it with no great difficulty before will get ripped apart now.

Why, did something changed about it? I don't recall anything regarding Ziggurat in patch notes, although it could be not included.

That said, some commentary: I personally find that deploying anything smaller than a cruiser against the zig is a bad plan. Anything front-line that's destroyer grade or smaller will just die when the zig looks at it. And carriers work poorly at best. So for the fleet you're showing, the only really relevant ships are the paragon, the champion, and the eagle, with the two falcons coming in as maybe-viable but you'll have to be careful with them.

The frigates were tempests, omens and scarabs, they actually had pretty good survivability, all things considered. I would have to disagree on carriers being a poor choice versus Ziggurat, as for the specific fits - Falcons were armed with maulers and ion beams, all ships were fit exclusively with HE and EMP, where applicable.

It's probably possible to beat the zig with that lineup, but it's certainly not going to be easy; ideally, you want the paragon to be the frontline tank, but it's hard to arrange for that to happen without having lost multiple other ships already.

The entire fleet was positioned with waypoints in a way that would ensure Paragon makes first contact. Survivability was pretty decent in the opening exchange, nothing popped right away anyway, but not a single ship had RFC/ARU installed on it, so the weapons uptime was horrible, and they all eventually succumbed before Zig ran out of hull.

Well it wouldn't be a challenge if it weren't, you know, challenging. And yes it's a pretty unique challenge so it requires some unique approaches, so most typical fleets won't do well with it.

That's most definitely true, and there is no shortage of bizarrely effective fleet compositions and tactics that wouldn't, however, perform well outside of this specific encounter. I just don't think I necessary find this to be a good thing.
Logged

Nick9

  • Commander
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2023, 08:19:17 PM »

Fighting this big redacted is really a pain in the ass. Maganed to beat it with a decent amount of carries and 1 controlled Doom by myself with 4x2 reapers installed on it (and it was a trade rather than a clean victory since we blew up together #skillissue).

That was a 6th attempt though, boi was I frustrated. Still worth it in the end.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2023, 08:21:56 PM by Nick9 »
Logged

Wyvern

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 3808
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2023, 09:49:17 PM »

I've noticed that the Ziggurat is significantly more dangerous in 0.96 than it was in previous versions of the game; fleets that could handle it with no great difficulty before will get ripped apart now.

Why, did something changed about it? I don't recall anything regarding Ziggurat in patch notes, although it could be not included.
No changes to the zig itself, but several improvements to phase ship AI.
Logged
Wyvern is 100% correct about the math.

Ronin

  • Ensign
  • *
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2023, 11:24:19 PM »

I feel that anything that requires reloading the game and finding specific cheese that you would never use in any other situation is just lame. There is no conventional counterplay to everything being perma-disabled to shield piercing motes. The first time I fought the ship I was intrigued by the mystery of it in the storyline but was quickly ripped from that by the actual encounter. The reward for winning is nerfed but still overpowered phase ship, and that is something that I couldn't care less about using. Nowadays I just pretend that it doesn't exist.
Logged

Grievous69

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 3029
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2023, 11:35:05 PM »

What cheese? This isn't even a hard fight, you can beat it with a plethora of different ships, you don't even need a capital.

I don't know what people expect, to breeze through the whole story without ever struggling a bit in combat with their rust bucket fleet. Just because someone uploaded a solo win versus the Zig doesn't mean it's a cheese fight.
Logged
Please don't take me too seriously.

SCC

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4186
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2023, 11:43:59 PM »

Spoiler
Take a single Falcon (P), arm it with 4 Proximity Charge Launchers, and spam them at the Ziggurat until it dies. The motes will (usually) go after the PCL's instead of you, so you just need to wait until the Ziggurat runs out of flux so it'll be forced to uncloak and dies.
[close]
Wouldn't you rather fly a Dominator with this tactic? I just tested it and where Ziggurat has no qualm jumping on Falcon (P) if it can, it actually backs off from a Dominator and spends significantly more time in phase when facing it, making it an easier target.

Ronin

  • Ensign
  • *
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2023, 12:39:14 AM »

What cheese? This isn't even a hard fight, you can beat it with a plethora of different ships, you don't even need a capital.

I don't know what people expect, to breeze through the whole story without ever struggling a bit in combat with their rust bucket fleet. Just because someone uploaded a solo win versus the Zig doesn't mean it's a cheese fight.

Rust buckets? You don't even know what I'm using. Odyssey and Furies; a composition that in my experience, doesn't lose to anything else in the span of the whole game. No one can even fire torpedoes if they are disabled the whole fight. Nevermind all the discussion about tactics specifically for dealing with Ziggurat.
Logged

Grievous69

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 3029
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2023, 01:12:40 AM »

What cheese? This isn't even a hard fight, you can beat it with a plethora of different ships, you don't even need a capital.

I don't know what people expect, to breeze through the whole story without ever struggling a bit in combat with their rust bucket fleet. Just because someone uploaded a solo win versus the Zig doesn't mean it's a cheese fight.

Rust buckets? You don't even know what I'm using. Odyssey and Furies; a composition that in my experience, doesn't lose to anything else in the span of the whole game. No one can even fire torpedoes if they are disabled the whole fight. Nevermind all the discussion about tactics specifically for dealing with Ziggurat.
Well we can see the OP's fleet and they even said they went back to rework the whole fleet specifically for this fight. Yet out of the whole fleet there's maybe 3 ships I'd bring to a phase fight. Frigates pop like flies and destroyer glass cannons won't do much. And I can't think of a worse capital than Paragon to fight Zig. You waste 60 DP on a ship that can't even approach it since it's so slow.

I didn't mean literal rust buckets, more like in a methaphorical way how people put together random ships, don't even pay attention what weapons and hullmods they equip, and then go "game brutally hard".
Logged
Please don't take me too seriously.

Nettle

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 660
  • making humorous maneuvers
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2023, 02:16:22 AM »

What cheese? This isn't even a hard fight, you can beat it with a plethora of different ships, you don't even need a capital.
Well we can see the OP's fleet and they even said they went back to rework the whole fleet specifically for this fight. Yet out of the whole fleet there's maybe 3 ships I'd bring to a phase fight. Frigates pop like flies and destroyer glass cannons won't do much. And I can't think of a worse capital than Paragon to fight Zig. You waste 60 DP on a ship that can't even approach it since it's so slow.

There seems to be a leap of logic between "You can beat it with plethora of different ships, its not hard" and "Don't use frigates, use very specific destroyers, out of 10 hull types only 3 in your fleet work, this capital is crap". Also, if I say that Paragon speed wasn't an issue here, and it stayed on top of Ziggurat (when its weapons weren't EMPed anyway) will you believe me?
I don't even disagree with the general idea that this fight isn't, in fact, "hard". Ziggurat just made in a way that demands very specific ships and tactics that are not necessarily viable anywhere else in the game. I just don't think its a good thing.
Logged

Lawrence Master-blaster

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 697
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2023, 02:34:09 AM »

As Wyvern said, you need big ships that can tank Mote barrages. When one is targeted you order a retreat so even when it inevitably gets disabled it continues to drift away from the Ziggurat and it picks another target for another barrage.

I never even thought much about it because I always leave the fight "for later" but it really seems to be a bad case of You Must Be This Tall to Ride. Not only you need ships big enough so that they can tank an entire Mote barrage, you also need ones with decent armor since the Motes deal energy damage through the shield. The damage will be spread out but it still puts high tech ships(with their lower armor) at a disadvantage.

Another problem is that Motes switch targets if one is destroyed. So even if you wanted to bring a bunch of small ships and accept some attrition it wouldn't work well for you because the Motes will happily destroy several frigates/destroyers in a row in ONE barrage.

So no, you cannot "beat it with a plethora of different ships", especially if you don't want to suffer massive losses afterwards.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2023, 09:09:17 AM by Lawrence Master-blaster »
Logged

bob888w

  • Commander
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
    • View Profile
Re: Tell me, where did we go so wrong? [Story spoilers]
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2023, 03:20:23 AM »

The main frustration, like with all difficult starsector battles is that losing is super punishing, since you lose smods, ships, cargo space, and supplies all at the same time. If you arent save scumming and not immediately set up for the zigg boss, it might take at least a few hours to garner the required equipment to retry. Espically since normally you arent expected to be in the multi millions of credits when you first attempt it
Logged
Pages: [1] 2