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Author Topic: Starsector 0.65.2a (Released) Patch Notes  (Read 332754 times)

Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2014, 06:49:41 PM »

Quote
•Added Conquest battlecruiser to Sindrian Diktat fleet composition
Nice.  Can we have Astral, Valkyrie, and Trident wings added for sale?  I have not found them (and Conquest) anywhere for sale!

Quote
•Beam weapons:?Standardized range to 1000 for most non-PD, from Tactical Laser to HIL
?Increased range for PD Laser and LR PD Laser
?Slightly reduced OP cost for all beam weapons
?Greatly reduced fade in/out time for most beams
What happens to Tachyon Lance?  It is a beam weapon, after all.

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?Tactical Laser, Graviton Beam, and Phase Beam are no longer interrupted by missiles
What does this mean?  That these beams cannot hit missiles?  If so, does this mean IPDAI hullmod is worthless for tactical laser?

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•Missiles:?Salamander: both versions have unlimited ammo and require 20 seconds to reload
?Hurricane MIRV: regenerates 1 ammo every 20 seconds
?Pilum LRM: regenerates 1 ammo every 10 seconds
These sound like a big powerup, but will probably be mitigated by peak performance for most ships.

Re: the rest...
I will probably need to play with the next release before I can give a more fair evaluation.
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Alex

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2014, 07:08:36 PM »

The Ammo mechanic is responsible for more than just an "Oh ***!" moment when it runs out. It shapes the entire playstyle. High-damage, low-ammo weapons have to be used with caution and aimed carefully. High RoF also means that you can decide to burst-damage your way to a blaze of glory early in a match to tip the scales, but it'll come at a tradeoff. A prolonged fight might've seen most of your Vulcans run out of ammo and you frantically twisting and turning shields to try and keep your head above water.

That's missiles in a nutshell. I don't think that describes ballistic weapons, either pre or post ammo change. I know what you mean about the Vulcans running out of ammo, though, it's neat. Might just be a case for Vulcans having limited ammo, rather than all ballistics having limited ammo, though.


While the Flux damage bonus was rather arbitrary and we can all live without it, the other changes effectively turn all weapons into the same thing running on different numbers. We can all agree that ballistics are simply better than the alternatives. They can wreck you and do it not expending much flux. What comes next, upping their flux to not make them too OP in comparison to Energy? You see where I'm going with this. I love the variety and I'm forced to see this as a narrowing down of variety and playstyle, or conversely bringing all weapons up to a certain plateau of similarity and power. One less thing to worry about translates into more single-minded battles, which is in my opinion a bad thing. Arcade is fun and all, but simulation feels more satisfying.

As I mentioned earlier, ammo and flux operate on different planes in terms of balance. Also, direct comparisons of ballistic and energy don't make sense as they don't compete for the same slots the vast majority of the time. If ships had universal slots all over the place, then they would, but they don't, precisely for this reason. They also don't generally fit on the same kinds of ships, and energy-slot-heavy ships tend to have more flux to play with, which is also part of the balance.


Though, just to make it clear, this doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. A game isn't static and nothing says we can't play it differently once in a while, see how it feels. I kinda hope it'll be a temporary change all the same.  ;)

Fair enough :)




I'd rather have, like with how Tugs work currently, a freighter-class assigned to each capital, to give them 'unlimited ammo' in combat in the form of being 'well stocked'.

Would force more freighters in fleets and more to consider than just slapping on a capital and going wild. But then again, that'd imply making ammo less of a unitary thing, and more of a 'status' effect, even fractionary, which would be cool to apply to the entire fleet.

I ... hmm. This sounds interesting, but if we're being honest, overcomplex. Managing this in the campaign view could be fiddly.

Another thing, related to missiles. Missiles could be split strategically in 'tactical' missiles like the Salamander, event the Sabot, missiles that alone cannot and should not win an engagement, which would be fine to be regenerative/unlimited. Then area-denial, like Pilums and Annihilators, which should work in bursts, unlike now where we mostly fire off unitary 'salvoes', but limited and used more in the sense of 'laying a minefield' or 'burning ground' rather than direct damage, and these should stay limited, but not too constrained, and direct-damage like Harpoons and Torpedoes, which should be used sparsely and given as they currently have, 1-3 shots maximum.

Salamanders and Sabots will need to have ZERO hull/armor damage though.

Point being, missiles as 'activateable' abilities. I never really considered them to be an actual weapon system, and i think most people use them as a tactical option. (AI aside, they just pew out all the Harpoons first second they see anyone)

Under this way of thinking, they'd be similar to ship systems and i don't think that's a bad thing. I'd actually think it pretty cool to integrate them as such, 'installable' ship systems in OP slots. Wouldn't per se change anything in the way the game plays, but in the way the game is felt and perceived.

That's very much like they're shaping up, though I think I prefer to keep them as explicit weapons. Having more weapon variety is a good thing, and it also makes universal slots more special.

Interesting idea about Salamanders/Sabots doing 0 damage, although I think that universal CR peak performance should take care of this already.



Quote
•Added Conquest battlecruiser to Sindrian Diktat fleet composition
Nice.  Can we have Astral, Valkyrie, and Trident wings added for sale?  I have not found them (and Conquest) anywhere for sale!

The Astral should be able to spawn for Tri-Tachyon. Not likely, though. In general, I don't want to spend too much time tweaking ship availability until the mechanics that drive it are more final.

(Also not a fan of how the Tridents turned out, so not entirely sure whether they'll stick around at all.)

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•Beam weapons:?Standardized range to 1000 for most non-PD, from Tactical Laser to HIL
?Increased range for PD Laser and LR PD Laser
?Slightly reduced OP cost for all beam weapons
?Greatly reduced fade in/out time for most beams
What happens to Tachyon Lance?  It is a beam weapon, after all.

Nothing. Seems fine as-is.

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?Tactical Laser, Graviton Beam, and Phase Beam are no longer interrupted by missiles
What does this mean?  That these beams cannot hit missiles?  If so, does this mean IPDAI hullmod is worthless for tactical laser?

It means they damage missiles, but pass through them and can hit other things.
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Gothars

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2014, 07:11:46 PM »

It does make me wonder whether giving ballistic weapons absurdly high ammo (Needler levels or above) purely for flavor might be worthwhile, although it'd also be misleading, as in presenting a stat that's actually meaningless. I mean, high enough ammo that the CR timer would always run out first, except for capitals.

If you implement my "CR decay only when facing equivalent strength" mechanic, there's no guarantee that CR will run out before ammo. Ammo count might be gamed with again. 


How about another way to give it a similar feel: Reduce CR ever so slightly for used ammunition after the battle. Just to represent the supplies that have to be used to auto-fabricate new ammo. That would give you a (psychological) motivation to conserve ammo while not influencing the actual combat gameplay. You could even use a reversed "shots fired" ammo counter (or "%o CR cost").

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2014, 07:14:47 PM »

Maybe I'm a minority here but I'm totally looking forward to removal of ammo counter for many weapons.  These balance changes look really interesting overall.
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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2014, 07:19:09 PM »

It does make me wonder whether giving ballistic weapons absurdly high ammo (Needler levels or above) purely for flavor might be worthwhile, although it'd also be misleading, as in presenting a stat that's actually meaningless. I mean, high enough ammo that the CR timer would always run out first, except for capitals.

If you implement my "CR decay only when facing equivalent strength" mechanic, there's no guarantee that CR will run out before ammo. Ammo count might be gamed with again. 

How about another way to give it a similar feel: Reduce CR ever so slightly for used ammunition after the battle. Just to represent the supplies that have to be used to auto-fabricate new ammo. That would give you a (psychological) motivation to conserve ammo while not influencing the actual combat gameplay. You could even use a reversed "shots fired" ammo counter (or "%o CR cost").
Oh please no! This would make the gameplay worse for newbies because of the "phantom" CR loss and or supply loss
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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2014, 07:19:41 PM »

Some quick thoughts:

With ballistic weapons, ammo count was a primary consideration.  In particular, heavy autocannon and heavy needler are very similar.  I usually take heavy needler over heavy autocannon because of ammo count.  But now that ammo will be (mostly) stricken, it looks like Heavy Autocannon might be the superior weapon due to cheaper OP cost.  Similarly, the main reasons why I do not use HAG are because it would run out of ammo faster than the Hellbore Cannon, and costs 4 more OP.  With ammo out of the way, HAG might be more useful (provided I have OP to burn, which is... unlikely).

Salamanders with unlimited ammo?  This may be useful for frigate swarms.  I like to see what 30+ frigates armed with Salamanders instead of Swarmers can do.
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Histidine

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2014, 07:23:32 PM »

HMMMMM.

Okay, my first thoughts.
Removed energy weapon bonus damage from high flux level
Hmm. I can see that it didn't really add anything to the gameplay (and not having to deal with special rules is a plus), but it still had the "cool" factor (especially with the glowy weapons), know what I'm saying? Ah well.

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Standardized range to 1000 for most non-PD, from Tactical Laser to HIL
BO-RING. Weapons should not be made more alike!  :(

Also, this represents a significant nerf with a 20% range loss to HIL (already one of the less useful weapons in the game), did it get anything to compensate?

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Salamander: both versions have unlimited ammo and require 20 seconds to reload[/li][/list]
Hurricane MIRV: regenerates 1 ammo every 20 seconds
Pilum LRM: regenerates 1 ammo every 10 seconds
The gameplay reasoning seems to make sense (and hooray Hurricane buff!), but it still seems odd to have reloading missiles.

Salamander should get a different graphic or something to communicate that you can't flush the rack in 3 seconds like you can with the other missiles. Did it?

Quote
Ballistic weapons:
Now have unlimited ammo, except for Bomb Bay
And the big one.

Okay, first, it's good that low tech ships no longer have worse in-combat endurance than high tech ones (this doesn't affect most of them any more with the expansion of CR timers, but it still matters for capitals). That was kinda silly. Also good that you can't cheese the AI into running out of ammo.

For inter-weapon balance: As Megas noted, ammo count (IMO at least) was an important balance mechanic in at least a few cases (Heavy Autocannon, Gauss Cannon in Vanilla). This was particularly notable in protracted engagements: I remember flying my Blackrock Nevermore back in 0.62, and midway through a particularly brutal fight my vanilla Railguns would be silent while the Ferroguns (which are otherwise an inferior weapon in most aspects) were still firing. Also, now you have even fewer scenarios where you want to put a Pulse Laser in a universal mount instead of a ballistic of some kind. I'm not saying it was a good way to differentiate the weapons, mind you - Gauss is notoriously un-useful for this reason - I'm just saying it was a relevant consideration in designing a ship's loadout.

More generally, there's the part about having your guns go silent one by one in an engagement. CR fulfils largely the same function gameplay-wise, but it's not nearly as "epic" (though perhaps more realistic in some ways) to be in a bad spot because your crew are fatigued and all your systems are overloaded instead of because YOU FIRED AND FIRED AND FIRED AND THEY JUST KEPT COMING! (so to speak). It also fails to correlate the weapon no longer working with how much the weapon was actually used (this was one of my complaints about the CR mechanic in general, if you'll recall).

On balance, I still think it's worth at try. Consider releasing it sooner so we can get our feedback out there

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?Tactical Laser, Graviton Beam, and Phase Beam are no longer interrupted by missiles
What does this mean?  That these beams cannot hit missiles?  If so, does this mean IPDAI hullmod is worthless for tactical laser?

It means they damage missiles, but pass through them and can hit other things.
Hmm, so I can wave my offensive beam weapons over an incoming Annihilator/Swarmer/Harpoon to clear it? That's pretty neat. Can the AI do it too?
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xenoargh

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2014, 07:32:00 PM »

On the Beam changes:

From a player POV...
Spoiler
...this is a good change, if it's done well.

If the HIL OP change is sufficient, it'll be just fine; that weapon's OP cost was one of the prime arguments against using it. 

Not sure how HIL will get differentiated from Graviton Beam and especially the Phase Beam, however; right now, the Phase Beam is more efficient for shield-killing, for the OPs, and the Phase Beam is, well, kind of useless, for practically anything.  Suggestion:  make the Phase Beam a slow-cycle, one shot beam with a lot more peak damage- like the Tachyon Lance, but no EMP- something to make it genuinely useful in the assault role.  However, it'd need to do quite a lot of damage to be worth using; bursts of Soft Flux damage are a totally different animal than constant Soft Flux. 
[close]

I'm not sure what the rationale is, from a rebal perspective, though, tbh. 
Spoiler
This change still leaves Beams as the ultimate kiting weapon, due to range and no-miss advantages, yet the AI doesn't know how to use them effectively to help the team without getting killed.  Until there are AI settings, and we can tell the AI that it's supposed to kite and stay out of the general engagement, I'm not sure how this helps Beams, from the AI / general-fairness POV.

Moreover, while it certainly gives Beams a niche, and a much more obvious niche than they had, I think it's going to be very difficult to get them balanced right.  Lots of Tac Lasers at 1400+ range (with Tech and Hull Mod bonuses) are a completely different efficiency curve now.  Wouldn't it have been a whole lot easier to just give them Hard Flux and balance them simply in line with their no-miss mechanic vs. their DPS and range and have done with it, as well as removing that other obscure mechanic?
[close]

On removing the Flux Bonus:
Spoiler
Yay :) It was always fussy and totally favored the player.
[close]

On the ship changes:
Spoiler
I still think the Hammerhead needs a fairly serious buff and a stronger sense of role.  I agree with the Sunder buffs completely.  I'm not sure the Brawler has gotten enough to be worth using.  I am generally happy with the other changes, especially the Burn changes.  I think that will work really well.
[close]

On removing ammo from Ballistics (except, well, for exceptions)
Spoiler
I'm not sure I agree with this completely, but it's not so much the removing the ammo part, as the exceptions / mechanics.  I agree that, in practice, Ballistics rarely run out of ammo unless something spurious happens, so it's meaningless.  I do, however, feel that this makes the two types of weapons entirely too much like each other in some ways.  So, a thought; perhaps Ballistics should use "clips", where they have a long reload cycle but get X rounds back at the end?  That gives their load and limit a practical meaning and would differentiate them from pew-pew, but allows them to have endless ammo.

I don't think there should be exceptions, though.  With missiles, even, I think it needs to be made super-clear that ammo limits are a thing.  I totally get why regen on Harpoons would be bad, same with torpedoes, but I think that this may be a UI issue for newbies, since it's essentially a silent rule until you're in a battle with the current UI.  A note that says "USES LIMITED AMMO" or something in the weapon description?

If the AM Blaster is an issue, nerf it other ways.  I don't honestly think that's a huge issue now; about the only time it really matters is when expert players, playing expertly, use it to take down prey that's otherwise too big to handle, and I don't think ammo limits really came into play with the AM Blaster a lot (I have never really had that problem unless doing something really spurious, like pre-0.6 takedowns on Onslaughts with Frigates etc.).  With the timers on Destroyers / Cruisers, it's pretty much a non-issue; you can't just kite about with a Medusa and slowly whittle a Cruiser until finishing with Blasters... at least, not endlessly, which is not the end of the world.
[close]

On the Ship Timers
Spoiler
I have mixed feelings.  It pushes players even further into one-ship-at-a-time tactics.  I'm not sure that the best solution for the problem of one-ship-armies is to further encourage it via the mechanics, while also weakening the Destroyers as a class to the point where they're mainly irrelevant. 

Right now, they're relevant, largely because they aren't effected by the CR timer, but are faster / more maneuverable than Cruisers, putting them into a sweet spot vs. Frigates.  Now they're going to fade out before Cruisers, which may cause a lot of people to re-assess.  However, without being able to pick up more Logistics (and more importantly, imo, Deployment Points) at a reasonable price, it's going to be really hard to justify using anything above Frigates now; one-two to slow-kite all the AI ships below Capital down to low CR, then use ship that can engage the Capital. 

When the path of efficiency is to bring as little as possible onto the battlefield as possible, something might be wrong.

Suggested fix:  force all of the player's fleet to be deployed, up to X DP, and do not allow reinforcements.  The whole concept of reinforcement in a space battle never made a lot of sense; instead, just force the player to decide what ships are possibly going to get killed and force them to deal with it.  That means no more endless-frigate nonsense, but it'd mean real changes would have to be made to how Command Points worked.

On the other hand, it really gives Capitals a big edge, which is nice; they can finally be the lords of the space-lanes through sheer staying-power.  Going to be interesting to see how many players choose to use Conquests to eternally kite their opponents' CR to death, though, lol.
[close]

Anyhow, will be interesting to see how this works, one way or another; I certainly salute your willingness to try some major rebal / mechanics-altering concepts out with combat in general now that the feel is considerably different :)
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Megas

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2014, 07:32:07 PM »

Another quick comment:  I have used high-flux damage bonus for two situations:
  • Powering up my Wolf flagship's LR PD lasers by firing my heavy blaster at nothing to build up flux quickly, so that my LR PD lasers can shoot down Pilums and Salamanders faster.
  • A reason not to vent spam after every blaster shot, when I do not need my shields.

Not saying anything for or against high-flux damage bonus.
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Gothars

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2014, 07:49:47 PM »

Mh... Clips could be combined with ammo-CR cost, so you only pay CR for reloading a clip. Easier to keep the overview.
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Alex

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2014, 08:09:26 PM »

A couple of brief responses:

The Salamander got new graphics for the weapon base, yeah.

The idea of "clips" came up before in suggestions. Briefly, imo it gets weird without a per-weapon (not even per group, but per weapon) reload button - for example, you might be incentivized to fire off the last few shots to trigger a reload.


This change still leaves Beams as the ultimate kiting weapon, due to range and no-miss advantages, yet the AI doesn't know how to use them effectively to help the team without getting killed.  Until there are AI settings, and we can tell the AI that it's supposed to kite and stay out of the general engagement, I'm not sure how this helps Beams, from the AI / general-fairness POV.

It actually helps the AI quite a bit, giving more room for error in the optimal kiting range.

Moreover, while it certainly gives Beams a niche, and a much more obvious niche than they had, I think it's going to be very difficult to get them balanced right.  Lots of Tac Lasers at 1400+ range (with Tech and Hull Mod bonuses) are a completely different efficiency curve now.  Wouldn't it have been a whole lot easier to just give them Hard Flux and balance them simply in line with their no-miss mechanic vs. their DPS and range and have done with it, as well as removing that other obscure mechanic?

Hard flux on beams would make them too similar to other energy weapons, imo. (Possibly another answer is an extra damage type, or some such, since their mechanics are differentiating within the energy type, and that's part of the difficulty.)
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xenoargh

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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2014, 08:21:14 PM »

Quote
Briefly, imo it gets weird without a per-weapon (not even per group, but per weapon) reload button - for example, you might be incentivized to fire off the last few shots to trigger a reload.
Yeah, I know.  Embrace the weirdness; it'll mean weapons running dry at variable rates, making Ballistics unique and interesting, imo  ;)

Quote
It actually helps the AI quite a bit, giving more room for error in the optimal kiting range.
That's going to depend on loadout.  An all-beam Sunder using PD on the Smalls will be happier; a mixed-arms Sunder will not, because it'll confuse short-range DPS pew-pew that is only meant to absorb fighters / Frigates that manage to close with it with offensive firepower.  I really feel like the one-AI-to-rule-em-all approach has serious problems with varying ranges, and doesn't emphasize range advantages over DPS well enough for these kinds of situations, personally, but we'll just have to see :)

Quote
Hard flux on beams would make them too similar to other energy weapons, imo. (Possibly another answer is an extra damage type, or some such, since their mechanics are differentiating within the energy type, and that's part of the difficulty.)
Nah; they're already unique due to their no-miss nature and damage-over-time vs. armor-crushing single-shot-DPS mechanics.  I think you worry too much about their niche, when their niche is largely due to those two things, personally.  I would welcome another damage type, though, even if it's just to make things clearer to newbies :)
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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2014, 08:31:15 PM »

Overall interesting change. I think Alex made a bold move here, but since the game is still in Alpha I believe we can afford to take some risks and do some experiment here.

The way I see it, limited ammo count should be implemented for strike weapons (High damage per shot, long cooldown). I like the change for salamander and the fire support missiles, because these aren't weapons where "every shots count". I would agree with having unlimited ballistic ammo for the same reason, though I seems to foresee low tech ship becoming favor of the patch, with higher burst damage capability (ballistic = specialised damage) and longevity (slower CR degradation).

I would had suggest ballistic weapon becoming "cast from CR", seeing that low-tech ships would have a larger CR pool.... so you either pick short term burst or endurance. However, I like the clip idea too, from a balance and "feel" aspect.

Beam changes feel alright, I myself would love to see the community crying "beam imba" someday  :D

Can't wait to play the new patch. We can theorycraft here all day but it's how things work in practice that count.
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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2014, 09:01:38 PM »

So, a thought; perhaps Ballistics should use "clips", where they have a long reload cycle but get X rounds back at the end?  That gives their load and limit a practical meaning and would differentiate them from pew-pew, but allows them to have endless ammo.

This sounds very interesting. But will probably need at least 2 keys to manage - reload current weapon group and reload all.
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Re: Starsector 0.65.2a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2014, 10:00:18 PM »


Suggested fix:  force all of the player's fleet to be deployed, up to X DP, and do not allow reinforcements.  The whole concept of reinforcement in a space battle never made a lot of sense; instead, just force the player to decide what ships are possibly going to get killed and force them to deal with it.  That means no more endless-frigate nonsense, but it'd mean real changes would have to be made to how Command Points worked.


I'd just like to highlight this idea. I really like it as it would eliminate the gamey fleet-of-one-type-of-frigate-deployed-one-at-a-time. At the risk of just parroting xenoargh here, reinforcements didn't really make sense either. I think it'd place more weight on the players shoulders at deployment time. Going small to save deployment costs is a lot more permanent when you can't panic and fall back to your freshly deployed Conquest if the battle turns the other way. My only issue is that it increases risk without really increasing reward, but I can live with that given that the risks are firmly in the player's hands.
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