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Author Topic: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier  (Read 8173 times)

xenoargh

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Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« on: October 29, 2014, 09:09:32 PM »

Simply put, I find that the "easy" start (i.e., a Destroyer for free) is harder than the "hard" start atm, due to the speed penalty. 

Right now, I find myself having to take on 2+ Destroyer groups of Pirates to catch them, which is a pretty risky fight, if you aren't already very good at the game (and if said group contains a BMK2, buh bye).  Granted, I'm not finding it too bad, especially with a Wolf as my primary, but it's not exactly "easy"; the difficulty ramp is currently very inverted, which I don't think was intended.  It didn't work that way in the last build- the current build's different feel, speed-wise, due to AI fleets having skills, is causing things to feel pretty different.

It would really help newbies if they got some free points in Navigation or some other speed buff, as well as the extra ship, so that they can catch speedy prey and actually have an easy start.
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Alex

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 09:16:03 PM »

Yeah, it's basically a newbie trap right now :(

Thinking of changing at least the bounty hunter start to add more frigates and maybe money instead. For trader/smuggler, the larger ships are probably ok since they can still outrun pirates and have much more cargo capacity.
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xenoargh

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 09:20:49 PM »

It's cool :) I presume it just got overlooked during testing, and I'm enjoying the release, although I don't really have enough time in it to have anything major to say yet :) A 3-Frigate Bounty Hunter start would be cool, I think :)
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Megas

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 06:24:29 AM »

I found Easy start easier only because I could not buy anything in the open market that could fight.  Well, the Mule can, but not without a pulse laser or any blaster, which are not available in the open market.  I needed the extra ship to help take pressure off of my Wolf.

Two more frigates (Lasher and/or Wolf) instead of a Hammerhead would be more useful to me than a Hammerhead.

For bounty hunter, I put points in Navigation and Mechanical Enginnering.  Combat is insignificant until player reaches perk levels.
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Megas

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 09:48:44 AM »

Quick suggestion:  Either replace the graviton beam with pulse laser or restore Advanced Optics hullmod.  Graviton beam and tactical lasers are bad without Advanced Optics because it barely outranges anything with ballistics, and Wolf will lose at trading shots against such opponents.  Such a change will make the heavy blaster option no longer a no-brainer.

EDIT:  With beams only, if the Wolf must withdraw, enemy flux dissipates even while its shield is up.  With either pulse laser or heavy blaster, flux will not dissipate if enemy keeps its shield up.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 09:52:34 AM by Megas »
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Plasmatic

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 12:35:24 PM »

Quick suggestion:  Either replace the graviton beam with pulse laser or restore Advanced Optics hullmod.  Graviton beam and tactical lasers are bad without Advanced Optics because it barely outranges anything with ballistics, and Wolf will lose at trading shots against such opponents.  Such a change will make the heavy blaster option no longer a no-brainer.

EDIT:  With beams only, if the Wolf must withdraw, enemy flux dissipates even while its shield is up.  With either pulse laser or heavy blaster, flux will not dissipate if enemy keeps its shield up.

You can do that yourself.

another possibility is to give it a phase beam instead and the defense AI hullmod thingy.. tac lasers aren't great at shooting down missiles, but better than nothing :)

I usually go for the easier start and then instantly sell the destroyer and get a couple frigates instead..
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Megas

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 04:04:18 PM »

Quote
You can do that yourself.
What do you mean?  Heavy blaster start?  The problem with that option is it is so much better than the others (more money or better crew), not only in effectiveness, but also that heavy blasters are rare.

I would sell the Hammerhead except there is no useful ships to buy at first because relations are too low (black market sells inferior Ds, and I have no access to military at first).  Same thing for acquiring energy weapons (aside from black market) not named mining laser.

Integrated Point Defense AI with Tactical Lasers is unreliable.  Aside from being unavailable to level 1 characters, tactical laser is too slow to track Salamanders and a bit slow at firing at other missiles.  It is better than nothing, but not as good as other options.

Phase Beam is substandard.  Its only use is that it is cheaper to buy from stores than Graviton Beam.
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xenoargh

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 09:24:38 PM »

I just sold the Hammerhead pretty much immediately and started chasing down bounties, solo, personally. 

It was straightforward, once I got past the first major fight (four frigates and a wing vs. me at lvl 2 in the Wolf, solo, for a 10K bounty).  That wasn't much fun, but I got it.

I agree that the starting Wolf variant is pretty newbie-unfriendly without Advanced Optics as its currently laid out, but that's largely because of Beams not doing any Hard Flux and the lame AI shield behaviors that make it ridiculously hard to get the kill vs. Pirate Lashers; I had to micro the Harpoons to get it done, and it wasn't terribly fun, largely because the behavior is so inhuman and just wastes so much time, not because it's hard per se, once you understand that that is the only method that will work.

I still think Beams not doing any Hard Flux and being largely the ultimate kiting weapons up until late game is not a feature, and this start sort of demonstrates why; until the Wolf gets the Advanced Optics range bonus, it can't really do push-kills at kiting ranges with the Tac Lasers vs. shielded opponents if it's out of Harpoons, and ultimately a Wolf pack is all about the missile spam.

However, once it can do stand-off kills that way and has enough numbers to keep shields pushed down, a Wolf pack is ungodly; it combines more missiles per vessel than practically anything else can do for the Logistics, save Lasher packs, with heavy firepower than cannot be answered by anything less than a Cruiser, range-wise, as it's doing 325 constant DPS at 800 range with no missing and very little that can knock shields down.  I'm not sure that's the most ridiculous thing available (I'd wager that giant packs of Cerebus with ITU + Heavy Mauler are perhaps superior, and Lasher packs oriented for missile spam and kinetic kills are nasty) but it's close.  If the AI handled Wolfs in that configuration halfway well, I'd wager they'd routinely defeat anything in the game, though, including fully-upgraded Onslaughts- it'd just take all day and you'd be at 0 CR at the end of the battle.

It's about the most inverted difficulty setup ever, really; vs. shielded opponents, the only way to win it is to push their Soft Flux up to Overload when pushed with a Harpoon, then kill with the beams.  But it's not intuitive or easy to kill like that; the timing and even arcing the ship to make sure the Harpoons hit (due to their weird, sinusoidal guidance pattern atm) makes it pretty hard. The AI does a very bad job; either it kills most of an enemy fleet almost immediately, or all of the Harpoons are gone and now it's grind-kills.  So I usually give my AI Wolfs Mining Blasters or Pulse Lasers, so they'll close and swarm stuff to death, instead.

Heavy Blasters and / or Pulse Lasers are far more newbie-friendly for a starter ship, in that their mechanics are really straightforward and don't take much expertise to play out, other than not allowing missiles around the shield while closing.  But they're really inefficient at Level 0; only the Heavy Blaster offers enough oomph that a newbie might find it fun, if they can figure out how to not die when facing 2:1 odds or worse.

Giving the "easy" start another couple of Frigates with the same Burn levels would really change the dynamic, though; then players could catch 3-4 Frigate units and pretty much assured of a win.  Once I reached that point, everything else has been a relative cakewalk.  It would be genuinely easier than the solo-frigate starts.
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2014, 10:55:19 PM »

Here is an idea for the starter wolf: why not make the Adv. Optics and Expanded Racks built in on a Starter skin? The reason why, IIRC, Alex removed those mods from the Wolf was because the player didn't have access to them yet and could lose them accidentally. With the mods built in, they wouldn't be able to remove them and "lose" them
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xenoargh

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2014, 11:17:29 PM »

That's a thought; it'd be better for newbies than having a Blaster, probably; I think that the Beam Wolf is a very easy ship to fly in most respects, if it could kite from the start, that would make it pretty easy to fly, if a bit boring :)
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TaLaR

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 11:49:09 PM »

Here is an idea for the starter wolf: why not make the Adv. Optics and Expanded Racks built in on a Starter skin? The reason why, IIRC, Alex removed those mods from the Wolf was because the player didn't have access to them yet and could lose them accidentally. With the mods built in, they wouldn't be able to remove them and "lose" them

If starter skin has these in addition to all normal stats - you get overpowered starter Wolf. It these modules come at cost (for example their cost is deducted from OP) - you get nerfed overspecialized Wolf which can't be refitted for any other role (including use of starter blaster). Seems bad either way.
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MrSnowman

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2014, 12:30:26 AM »

I just sold the Hammerhead [...]
This is what I did too, there's no point in keeping it right now.

To make the easier start easier doesn't require you to change what ships you get. You just need to introduce the newbie to the elements of the game more clearly. The easy start does have the serious disadvantage of burn speed being quite low so informing the player of this when they start an easier game will probably make more people take this approach. There's also no real problem with having the person learn that having big ships isn't always great. Only danger is that the player might judge pirates as overpowered because there's very few/no pirate fleets around with a single destroyer tier and two small ships. So you're stuck in a bit of a slump from the get go. I think changing pirate fleets to be more accessible in an easy start (adding more easy targets) is a better solution than making other rather major changes. Having the player be introduced to how bigger ships work from the player end instead of facing them at a random point in the game is beneficial. It's a more natural way of learning that having to guess what's good on a ship when you first buy it.
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Megas

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2014, 08:53:38 AM »

Quote
If starter skin has these in addition to all normal stats - you get overpowered starter Wolf. It these modules come at cost (for example their cost is deducted from OP) - you get nerfed overspecialized Wolf which can't be refitted for any other role (including use of starter blaster). Seems bad either way.
Free is too good.  Built-in at a cost means I will dispose of it eventually because beams are usually bad at offense.  My favorite choice of medium weapon on a Wolf is Heavy Blaster, followed by Pulse Laser, then Mining Blaster.  Everything else (i.e., beams) is rubbish.
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Plasmatic

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2014, 09:36:48 AM »

Quote
You can do that yourself.
What do you mean?  Heavy blaster start?  The problem with that option is it is so much better than the others (more money or better crew), not only in effectiveness, but also that heavy blasters are rare.

I would sell the Hammerhead except there is no useful ships to buy at first because relations are too low (black market sells inferior Ds, and I have no access to military at first).  Same thing for acquiring energy weapons (aside from black market) not named mining laser.

Integrated Point Defense AI with Tactical Lasers is unreliable.  Aside from being unavailable to level 1 characters, tactical laser is too slow to track Salamanders and a bit slow at firing at other missiles.  It is better than nothing, but not as good as other options.

Phase Beam is substandard.  Its only use is that it is cheaper to buy from stores than Graviton Beam.

I mean you can edit the wolf variant and give it whatever hullmods/weapons you want :)

And sometimes there are frigates to buy, other times there aren't still gets you more money than you had, and you get your speed back.
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Megas

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Re: Please Make Easy Start Actually Easier
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2014, 09:43:58 AM »

At first, player has very few hullmods available.  Also, many weapons and frigates we used to easily buy previously are locked and unavailable until player earns enough reputation (even if he has the cash), which takes more than one fight now.
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