Ship classes

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JohnBWatson
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Sun May 31, 2015 9:54 am

As of late, a frequent topic on the forums and the IRC has been the dynamic between the various classes of ship in Transcendence. I think it might be good to dedicate a thread towards discussing balance possibilities and the like.

Ultimately, the primary division is between gunships and capital ships. The former prioritizes agility and typically has no turret mounts, and the latter prioritizes stamina and possesses multiple linked fire weapons. Other ships, such as freighters, minelayers, and other specialty classes, have their own roles, but are not specifically designed for direct combat, and thus will not be the primary subject of my post.

I believe it would be simplest to divide combat ships into three categories on top of the gunship / capital ship division. Antigunship, anticapital, and non - specialized. With these two distinctions, we are left with 6 groups of ship, three gunship types, and three capital ship types. In my view, will preserve the uniqueness of capital ships while keeping the player balanced throughout the game, and making the ship - changing mechanic in future releases more practical.

Gunships

Fighter (antigunship gunship)

Fighters are the lightest of gunships, designed for drawing fire in groups with more valuable ships and engaging other gunships. They are typically outfitted with a quick, non - WMD weapon, and light, inexpensive armor. Deployed in groups, they can provide a cost - effective counter to other gunship types. Their weaponry is generally on the low end of the spectrum in their region, both in terms of raw damage and damage type, and their lack of armor means that omnidirectional weaponry and tracking missiles make quick work of them. While groups without industrial power can use them to raid unarmed stations, attacks against hardened targets without support are doomed to fail. Fighters are rarely used for long term defense of static targets by factions that have a choice, as they have a tendency to be picked off without support, and face a steep decrease in effectiveness as they lose their numerical advantage.

Attributes:

- High thrust ratios

- Low armor capacity

- Low cargo capacity, minimal ammunition can be held

- Inability to field medium - heavy weaponry

- Few or no device slots

Enemy examples:

- Corsair gunship

- Wind Slaver

- Sandstorm

Friendly examples:

- Ronin A

- Raijin

- Light IAV

Gunship (non - specialized gunship)

The true gunships are highly mobile and reasonably hard hitting, but not efficient for the role of attacking capital ships. Their weaponry is unlikely to be WMD, unless it's a launcher. The factions fielding these ships are either using them as support for groups of fighters, or more reliable, less expendable defenders for bombers, attack craft, and stations. Depending on their loadout, gunships can be pseudo - fighters armed with omnidirectional weaponry or pseudo weapons platforms fitted with launchers and some heavy ammunition. Due to their versatility, survivability, and practicality, civilian ships that aren't freighters tend to be this. Gunships tend to rely on shielding for protection, and, when fielded in groups, can cover each others' retreats as they regenerate to be significantly better in attrition - based battles than fighters.

Attributes:

- Moderate - high thrust ratios, highly dependent on loadout

- Moderate armor capacity

- Respectable cargo capacity, minimal ammunition can be held

- Inability to field heavy weaponry

Hostile examples:

- Viking II

- Ranx gunship

- Chasm

Friendly examples:

- Ronin C

- Wolfen

- Centurion

Attack craft (anticapital gunship)

Attack craft are analogous to torpedo bombers in naval warfare. They specialize in destroying capital ships, using range and numbers to overcome their less than superb armor. They are much less agile and mobile than their fellow gunships, and rarely have weaponry with omnidirectional or strong tracking capabilities, making them subject to harassment from fighters and easy prey from medium gunships. However, so long as they have a sizable distance between them and their target, they can thin the numbers of a hostile squadron through bombardment, giving their escorts an advantage once the distance is closed. Attack craft excel at destroying stations, though they require escorts in order to survive engagement with the defenders.

Attributes:

- Low thrust ratios, though higher than most capital ships

- Ability to field all but the heaviest armor, though anything designed for bombers or cruisers will result in a sharp decrease in mobility

- Enough cargo space to hold reserve fuel and whatever ammunition is required

- Unlimited or virtually unlimited weight capacity for weapon mounts

Hostile examples:

- Revelations - class missileship

- Tundra

- Omnithor heavy gunship

Friendly examples:

- Manticore

-

-

Capital Ships

Cruiser (antigunship capital ship)

Cruisers are the fastest capital ships, designed to protect targets against attack craft and other gunships. They primarily field multiple turreted non - WMD weapons, along with a missile launcher with tracking capability or area damage. Though capable of wearing down opposing capital ships in groups, or with a significant technological edge, they are almost never an efficient counter to something with internal HP. Attack craft can generally fight them on even ground, though only in groups, as any singular target without internal HP would be quickly destroyed.

Hostile examples:

- Charon frigate

- Xenophobe defender

- Ventari destroyer

Friendly examples:

-

- ED Cruiser

- Aquila Cruiser

Dreadnought (non - specialized capital ship)

Dreadnoughts are massive vessels that field superheavy armor and are intended to spearhead offensive missions. Generally equipped with a long ranged WMD weapon and enough omnidirectional turrets to deter most gunships, they can typically destroy any other singular non - dreadnought ship in their region. Expensive to produce and thus rare to encounter, their main weakness lies in the fact that, given the opportunity cost of building one, groups of attack craft and bombers can be a very efficient counter, and their reliance on a singular weapon for destroying fortified targets, while useful in destroying stations, makes it difficult for them to face multiple targets that outrange or shrug off their turret fire. In general, they are quick enough to lessen most gunships' advantage in that area, but unable to elegantly retreat. Thus, they rely on heavy quasi - armor styled shielding and extremely massive armor to survive, and are vulnerable to any attack force with sufficient armament to quickly get through their defenses.

Hostile examples:

- Ranx Dreadnought

- Xenophobe Worldship

- Phobos Dreadnought

Friendly examples:

- Anton Nasser

- APD Explorer

- UAS Dreadnought

Bomber (anticapital capital ship)

Bombers are light capital ships designed to efficiently destroy cruisers and effectively combat dreadnoughts. Fielding heavy WMD weaponry, typically in the form of missile launchers, and armor sufficient to endure turret fire, bombers deal fast, extreme damage intended to destroy the target before their defenses give way. While, like attack craft, they can fight gunships at a distance and succeed, they are vulnerable to anything that can close the distance and exploit their inability to retaliate effectively in close quarters, despite the occasional light turreted weapon. Being sufficiently expensive to be an undesirable trade for the group of gunships that would be required to kill it, they require escorts to fight anything with gunships defending it.

Hostile examples:

-

-

- Cometfall - class missileship

Friendly examples:

- Yamato

- Corporate Cruiser

-
Last edited by JohnBWatson on Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Watch TV, Do Nothing
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Sun May 31, 2015 7:08 pm

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here- there are definitely distinctions, but I'm not sure what gets added to the discussion by trying to formalize classification like this.

I would argue that the biggest distinction among ship classes has to do with their behavior: roamers/guards, fast/slow, solo/group, and within group, homogeneous-group and mixed-group combatants.

Support ships are a major part of the tactical environment and can't be omitted. There are mothership classes that rely on spawning or gating in support ships, e.g. the Marauder raid platform, Dwarg master, and arguably even the Charon frigate; and light support classes like the Barbary, Steel slaver and Heliotrope gunship that operate in mixed groups and apply annoying status effects while other ships do the heavy hitting.

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Song
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Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:48 am

There is a page on the dev wiki that covers ship classes (or rather, the basic groups of ships in the game right now). It's a bit out of date, but it may be of use. I'll ask George if I can post the relevant table.

Edit: I have asked. It won't answer stuff posed here (because ship design is complex, and what I'm wanting to post is a single table of the really, really basic stuff) but may give good background.
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JohnBWatson
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Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:04 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here- there are definitely distinctions, but I'm not sure what gets added to the discussion by trying to formalize classification like this.
Firstly, it allows us to better balance various ships for the player. At present, a light, small ship is always optimal, as the armor they field is not limited enough to be a severe drawback, and they are capable of using weaponry that can destroy hardened targets. While AI ships tend to stick to their roles, playerships are distinct from them in everything but image and name. A good example of this is the Manticore.

In addition, this would give heavy gunships a genuine use. At present, the AI variants are using better weaponry and armor, but there is nothing that prevents the factions from outfitting, say, a Wolfen, with the equipment currently used by Britannias with absolutely no drawbacks. Adding hard distinction between different gunships, and establishing a balance framework in which to do so, allows for more relevance of which ship is being used, and more replayability due to forcing different strategies to be taken into consideration.

While, like in real life, not everything will fit perfectly into a single class, taking a ship's intended role into consideration would be excellent for worldbuilding. Being able to look at a ship and understand why the faction built it is quite beneficial for immersion. In addition, missions can make much more use of ships when the designer had a purpose in mind when creating them. It gives us a view into how factions see the situation depending on what ships they sent in, and what their intentions are. Rather than "small faction", "big faction", "friendly faction", we can see clearly entities that have built up their fleets for defense, for raiding, for conquest, and so on.
I would argue that the biggest distinction among ship classes has to do with their behavior: roamers/guards, fast/slow, solo/group, and within group, homogeneous-group and mixed-group combatants.
I believe it would add more depth for ships to have a reason for serving in these roles, and for their attributes to reflect this. While ships existing only to provide a challenge to the player is okay, if not excellent, in vanilla, it begins to show tears in larger and more epic campaigns that pit AI ships against each other in pitched battles, and would be very difficult to make work in an RTS like the one currently in development.

Haven't you ever been a bit confused as to why the Ares puts resources into massive groups of Sandstorms when Fleet counters wipe them out in a matter of seconds and CSCs are all but immune to their attacks?
Support ships are a major part of the tactical environment and can't be omitted. There are mothership classes that rely on spawning or gating in support ships, e.g. the Marauder raid platform, Dwarg master, and arguably even the Charon frigate;
I would argue that a re-balance for gunship classes would be vastly beneficial to balancing these ships. The introduction of gunships designed to engage capitals would make the Fleet's CSCs more practical. More strategic gunships would make the Marauder raid platform less of a pushover. The Dwarg master is innately unique, and lacks any close parallels in other factions. Defining its role relative to conventional ships would improve balance.
and light support classes like the Barbary, Steel slaver and Heliotrope gunship that operate in mixed groups and apply annoying status effects while other ships do the heavy hitting.
These are gunships that are purpose built to support groups of fighters, save for the Heliotrope gunship that is a fighter.

I'd note that, at present, the Heliotrope gunship is not balanced for its region, using a weapon that is useless against everything it's likely to encounter. Considering what it is supposed to do and readjusting it based on that purpose would, in my view, be a great improvement.

I recall reading that the Heliotropes are a cult based on the heat death of the universe. In essence, eco - terrorists. It is therefore rational that they would want to destroy other major stations so as to delay the spread of entropy, specifically stations related to industry. The Heliotrope Frigate would therefore be a bomber specializing in station assault. Its weapon serves to bombard stations from a distance, avoiding retaliation from static defenses such as turrets or station mounted weapons, which the Heliotropes thus have no counter for. A lack of point defenses and a rather slow turning rate mean that the Heliotrope Frigate is vulnerable to station defenders, in particular attack platforms like the Manticore, which can close the distance and destroy it with ease. The Heliotrope Gunship is therefore a fighter designed to escort frigates, keeping them alive long enough to complete their mission, and then covering their retreat. Defensively, their role is to disorient targets while the stations' exceptionally powerful weapons do the heavy hitting. Therefore, they should rarely show up alone, as they currently do, given that they are not built as heavy hitters. While they could perform raids, the casualties they would incur in doing so would make it an inefficient use of resources considering the Heliotropes' goals, especially considering that their equipment is expensive. Thus, the Heliotrope Gunship is a support fighter designed for stalling enemy gunships. It should therefore have light armor, an improved blinder weapon that is more likely to take effect, and a less powerful secondary weapon considering how rarely it would be useful.

PM
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Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:28 pm

The most important role for NPC ships, when most are trying to kill you, is how they can grief challenge the player. Realism takes a back seat to this.

When inverted for the player (say with Playership Drones), the most important role of playable ships is which one is the best at killing everything as quickly as possible (since best defense is overwhelming offense) for times when combat is required.
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Song
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Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:23 pm

Right. For some background details (this doesn't over-ride anything that's been said here, nor does it technically confirm it), here is the first of two important tables. THis one is the basic ship types table, adapted for the forums and scrubbed of certain.....details.....which are not ready for release. The second table would be the table of generations, and I'm not posting it (or asking permission to post it) because it contains both spoilers for ingame stuff, and may be altered by CSC America. This makes this table a bit less useful...but there's not much I can do about that, sorry.

Please note that this is accurate for Generation 9 (The three years or so up to and including 2419 [when the pilgrim sets out[) ships, and possibly the generation or so before it. Many (most) ships ingame (or their designs) are considerably older and have different size/performance categories (Eg. Titan class). Ares/Fleet stuff in particular can be quite old and may or may not have been upgraded.

But anyway. Here's the table. It's all George stuff, dating to about 2013 or so (so a little out of date), and is designed for use with Part I. Do not assume that it will carry over to Part II. It might! But it might not. All annotations I've added are clearly marked as such, and should be taken only as what I think, not the official spec.


  • Basic types of human combat ships: Generation IX
    Source: Registered Developer's Wiki, released with permission.


    Type: Battlepod
    Characteristics: Cockpit-only vessel; mostly single-person
    Size: 5-15 meters
    Mass: 5-20 tons
    Notes: Designed for short-range travel and local combat.


    Type: Fighter
    Characteristics: Single-deck vessel designed for dogfighting; 1-4 crew
    Size: 10-30 meters
    Mass: 20-150 tons
    Notes: Thrust-to-weight ration generally greater than 9.
    Shrike Notes: The upper mass limit seems excessive, but could be designed for ships with extremely heavy weapons that still don't have the endurance of a corvette or gunship. Or it could be a typo. Honestly, I don't know.


    Type: Gunship
    Characteristics: Single-deck vessel; 1-4 crew
    Size:15-30 meters
    Mass: 20-75 tons
    Notes: Smallest type designed for multi-day missions.

    Type: Heavy Gunship
    Characteristics: 1-10 crew; small size, but heavy armor
    Size: 20-50 meters
    Mass: 75-300 tons
    Notes: N/A
    Shrike Notes: The Britannia is a good example, as it's a Gen IX ship of this type.

    Type: Corvette
    Characteristics: 10-50 crew; small, fast, lightly armed
    Size: 50-75 meters
    Mass: 300-2,500 tons
    Notes: Smallest long-endurance type.
    Shrike Notes: I'm not sure what's actually in this class that's actually in the game. Most corvettes ingame are actually missileships (although some may be mislabelled as such when they're more accurate corvettes)

    Type: Missileship
    Characteristics: Corvette- or frigate-sized ship devoted to missiles.
    Size: 50-120 meters
    Mass: 300-10,000 tons
    Notes: Generally lacks armor and close-range weapons; designed for stand-off combat.


    Type: Frigate
    Characteristics: 30-70 crew; small, fast, better weapons than corvette.
    Size: 75-120 meters
    Mass: 2,500-10,000 tons
    Notes: N/A
    Shrike Notes: We now have a lot more of these, with old 'destroyers' being classified as frigates as they're given new sprites.

    Type: Destroyer
    Characteristics: 50-150 crew; medium-sized
    Size: 120-200 meters
    Mass: 10,000-25,000 tons
    Notes: Smallest ship likely to be considered a capital ship.

    Type: Cruiser
    Characteristics: 100-500 crew; large, heavily armed and armored.
    Size: 200-350 meters
    Mass: 20,000-100,000 tons
    Notes: Largest ship for most fleets.

    Type: Dreadnought
    Characteristics: 500+ crew; massive weapons and armor.
    Size: 300+ meters
    Mass: 100,000+ tons
    Notes: Largest ships in Human Space.


    Other stuff:
    -Ships are classified by mass, not size. That is, a 30,000 ton ship counts as a cruiser, even if it is longer than some dreadnoughts
    -For freighters, in general, anything able to carry more than 100 kilotons is considered a superfreighter; anything of a megaton or more is a hyperfreigher.
    - (Shrike note) There is a second table, but it's not that important unless you want to complain about internal HP (it gives the baseline values for internals)
-----------------------

Hopefully that gives a little background and maybe helps a bit with discussing stuff. Personally I'd like to see more specialisation in terms of what different classes do. But at the least, this can get converted (minus my notes probably) to the wiki some day if people want to do that.
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Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:18 pm

PM wrote:The most important role for NPC ships, when most are trying to kill you, is how they can grief challenge the player. Realism takes a back seat to this.
I would disagree. Firstly, ships designed for specific roles can provide a much more diverse and satisfying challenge than ships whose sole purpose is to be a threat to the player. Secondly, missions, a key part of the game, can be much more enjoyable when the ships taking part, both friendly and hostile, have distinct roles and thus strategic relevance. Thirdly, with hard counters and specifically designed roles, power creep, mechanics changes, and other things that can harm balance have less effect, and modders can more easily integrate new features and factions into the universe.

But anyway. Here's the table. It's all George stuff, dating to about 2013 or so (so a little out of date), and is designed for use with Part I. Do not assume that it will carry over to Part II. It might! But it might not. All annotations I've added are clearly marked as such, and should be taken only as what I think, not the official spec.
I very much doubt a table of human ships will be relevant to alien races, or humans that were cut off such a long time ago. :P

In any case, useful information, but mostly relating to ship size rather than balance. The idea of ships' logistical needs being relevant to their balance ingame adds depth, though.

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Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:28 am

JohnBWatson wrote:
In any case, useful information, but mostly relating to ship size rather than balance. The idea of ships' logistical needs being relevant to their balance ingame adds depth, though.
Pretty much. It's what you've got to work with at least. The endurance stuff in particular, since that isn't ingame at all.
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Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:02 am

You're making some incorrect assumptions and butchering your capship terminology.

Anti-gunship gunships are not always fighters. The omni TeV Kobol gunship and the Raijin are clearly anti-gunship, but are quite large and the Kobol are rather sluggish. The Ronin A neither fits your description nor fills the role. The Ronin A would be a museum piece if there weren't so many of them and is no longer fit for any purpose at all, but in its era was neither as relatively slow nor weak as it is now. Now it's a nominally armed customs boat.

Non-specialized gunships as you have them aren't a real classification. They're formerly attack craft rendered obsolete by changes to the game engine.

Your attack craft, again, make assumptions of maneuverability that aren't warranted. The Corsair-II is as much an attack craft as the Tundra, but has the same speed, maneuverability, and even hitbox as the Corsair you list as a fighter.

On the capship end you have terminology problems. Cruiser is a word with a historically established meaning. It's not anti-gunship. A Cruiser is an unspecialised ship designed for individual patrol. There is a word for anti-gunship ships. They're called Torpedo Boat Destroyers, or more recently just Destroyers.

Dreadnoughts don't encompass the whole non-specialized role, and some ships that you call dreadnoughts don't fit the role. Not all unspecialized capital ships are "massive vessels that field superheavy armor" or "Expensive to produce and thus rare to encounter." The Deimos is general purpose capital ship, but it doesn't fit your definition of dreadnought. The Ranx Dreadnought fits your definition of dreadnought, but isn't a general purpose capital ship: its armament mix is ineffective against gunships putting it into your bomber role.

The bomber role, of course, is also a mistake. Cometfalls aren't anti-capship. They're anti-station. The Cometfall's missiles are too slow to be a danger to any capital ship other than a CSC. I can't recall the Yamato's armament, but the Corporate Cruiser is specialized in killing single player character gunships. It doesn't have the armor or shields to go up against capital ships. It's a leg breaker, not a combatant.

Too many ships are not currently fit for any purpose to classify them as they are. Any classification scheme needs to address ships as they should be or it will lock in the problems created by a change made to one game element that hasn't been compensated for or followed through on in other game elements.
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Song
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Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:04 am

Given that the Commonwealth strategy of the last century or so has been based around large fortresses and carriers, the Cometfall makes a pretty good assault boat in general. Get it within range with an escort and a bunch of other cometfalls and volley-fire and in theory (ingame this will not happen) you can blanket enough space that a carrier is going to take heavy damage no matter what it does. And that's what Ares strategy is all about: trying to knock out and neutralise the carriers so the commonwealth cannot project forces and defend its own colonies. The phobos is basically an anti-carrier gun with some armor and turrets to keep it alive (and it's very good at that if you line them up in G.O.D), and the cometfall is an earlier take on the same concept that didn't work out quite as well.


Personally I'd like to see some corvettes turn up. Not-quite-missileships, not-quite-gunships, but with elements of both. Sort of the average player EI500 before it becomes a terror to all that lives. Or a frigate for those who can't afford to use frigate for everything.
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Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:30 pm

Shrike wrote:
JohnBWatson wrote:
In any case, useful information, but mostly relating to ship size rather than balance. The idea of ships' logistical needs being relevant to their balance ingame adds depth, though.
Pretty much. It's what you've got to work with at least. The endurance stuff in particular, since that isn't ingame at all.
That reminds me - battlepods probably shouldn't spawn and attack the player outside of a certain radius from a supporting station. That always kinda bugged me in early systems.

Given that the Commonwealth strategy of the last century or so has been based around large fortresses
What do you mean by fortresses?

Aside from the Militia bases, which aren't even armed, there isn't really anything in the CW that resembles a fortress. Is there some lore on the subject that I missed?
and carriers, the Cometfall makes a pretty good assault boat in general. Get it within range with an escort and a bunch of other cometfalls and volley-fire and in theory (ingame this will not happen) you can blanket enough space that a carrier is going to take heavy damage no matter what it does.
In the Juno raid and the Ares Squadron missions, they do this. I'd like to see some escorts for the Cometfalls in Juno as well.

Also, am I alone in thinking that their armor is a bit too powerful? The number of facings and degree of protection is quite hard to punch through, and isn't seen on anything else in the game smaller than a Deimos. Giving them a handful of escorts and nerfing the armor seems like a balanced decision.
And that's what Ares strategy is all about: trying to knock out and neutralise the carriers so the commonwealth cannot project forces and defend its own colonies. The phobos is basically an anti-carrier gun with some armor and turrets to keep it alive (and it's very good at that if you line them up in G.O.D), and the cometfall is an earlier take on the same concept that didn't work out quite as well.
My understanding of it is that the Phobos is designed to lead large, deliberate assaults, and quickly punch through defenders, while the Cometfall is meant to neutralize high value targets that are relatively undefended.

Personally I'd like to see some corvettes turn up. Not-quite-missileships, not-quite-gunships, but with elements of both. Sort of the average player EI500 before it becomes a terror to all that lives. Or a frigate for those who can't afford to use frigate for everything.
You mean like the old Fleet missileship from that mod?


Anti-gunship gunships are not always fighters. The omni TeV Kobol gunship and the Raijin are clearly anti-gunship, but are quite large and the Kobol are rather sluggish.
A gunship fitted for destroying other gunships is still a gunship. A fighter is different in that it cannot effectively be fitted for anti - capital roles, and is designed for expendability rather than survivability. Fighters are built to intercept attacking non - capitals, and that's it. Gunships are much more versatile.
The Ronin A neither fits your description nor fills the role. The Ronin A would be a museum piece if there weren't so many of them and is no longer fit for any purpose at all, but in its era was neither as relatively slow nor weak as it is now. Now it's a nominally armed customs boat.
There are two scenarios in which it is used effectively. It is deployed alongside gunships in a Korolov raid, drawing fire from more valuable, hard hitting gunships and engaging enemy fighters defending the station, and it escorts light freighters likely to only be attacked by other fighters. In both, it is cost effective and well balanced. It is effectively useless defending stations, and should thus not appear in this role. Indeed, the reason I created this thread was to help resolve such things, readjusting ships for the roles in which they are supposed to serve and removing inappropriate ships from roles where they simply don't fit.
Non-specialized gunships as you have them aren't a real classification. They're formerly attack craft rendered obsolete by changes to the game engine.
The omni IAV, omni Kobol, and both variants of Centurion were never reliable capship or station killers. They aren't expendable interceptors either, and never were. They're survivable units with moderate speeds that can raid or defend for long periods of time.

Attack craft don't guard stations(or, at the very least, shouldn't). At close range, they're likely to destroy their station or fellow escorts, and their lack of maneuverability make them ineffective at repelling raids by fighters and light gunships. With this distinction, we can remove howitzer IAVs, MAG Manticores, and other ineffective defenders from roles where they are immersion - breaking at best and unintentional serial killers at worst.
Your attack craft, again, make assumptions of maneuverability that aren't warranted. The Corsair-II is as much an attack craft as the Tundra, but has the same speed, maneuverability, and even hitbox as the Corsair you list as a fighter.
The Tundra can hammer away at fortified targets for massive WMD damage, and can withstand enough return fire that it doesn't get bugsplatted instantly. The Corsair II is a gunship, vulnerable to anything omnidirectional and lacking any weapon that can quickly destroy large ships built for combat, only bearing a small number of missiles insufficient to crack purpose - built heavy armor. Raiding freighters for profit(at least, non - super/hyperfreighters) is the role of a gunship, anything more would be overkill. Look at how quickly an omni - turbolaser kills a Corsair II compared to how long it takes an omni Tev9 or even Ares Lighting Turret to kill a Tundra.
On the capship end you have terminology problems. Cruiser is a word with a historically established meaning. It's not anti-gunship. A Cruiser is an unspecialised ship designed for individual patrol. There is a word for anti-gunship ships. They're called Torpedo Boat Destroyers, or more recently just Destroyers.
My use of the term Cruiser is based upon the Aquila ingame, which appears purpose built for destroying gunships. Transcendence doesn't seem to use the historical ship class meanings, given that the only time we see an Aquila Cruiser it's being used as a bomber, and the only time we see non - Kate Corporate Cruisers they're being deployed to attack individual targets. Heliotrope Destroyers are rather ineffective at fighting anything quick and small, as well.
Dreadnoughts don't encompass the whole non-specialized role, and some ships that you call dreadnoughts don't fit the role. Not all unspecialized capital ships are "massive vessels that field superheavy armor" or "Expensive to produce and thus rare to encounter." The Deimos is general purpose capital ship, but it doesn't fit your definition of dreadnought.


The Deimos doesn't appear to have a specific purpose, effectively working as a bomber, escort, and station defender. Its armament and weaknesses, however, most closely match Dreadnoughts.
The Ranx Dreadnought fits your definition of dreadnought, but isn't a general purpose capital ship: its armament mix is ineffective against gunships putting it into your bomber role.
It has multiple omnidirectional turrets, including a turreted, area damage main weapon. It's relatively good against everything.
The bomber role, of course, is also a mistake. Cometfalls aren't anti-capship. They're anti-station. The Cometfall's missiles are too slow to be a danger to any capital ship other than a CSC.
I've used them against Phobii and other capships. I remember, in fact, that they were the way I first successfully defended the Antarctica.
I can't recall the Yamato's armament, but the Corporate Cruiser is specialized in killing single player character gunships. It doesn't have the armor or shields to go up against capital ships. It's a leg breaker, not a combatant.
I've fought them in a Phobos playership. Get more than one on you, things get rough.
Too many ships are not currently fit for any purpose to classify them as they are.
Exactly my concern. Rather than simply giving useless ships a universal buff, we ought to decide what they're supposed to do and equip them to perform that task.
Any classification scheme needs to address ships as they should be or it will lock in the problems created by a change made to one game element that hasn't been compensated for or followed through on in other game elements.
Agreed. The ships I listed are ones that I consider fairly good fits for the roles described. Many ships do not fit into a role yet, either being big, expensive, and strategically useless like the Ventari(which are easily farmed or lured to friendly stations, but incapable of killing any competent player) or completely scrambled like Howitzer IAVs(which fire off a single slow shot at attacking gunships, miss, and proceed to have their armor torn through and destroyed).

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Atarlost
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Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:12 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:A gunship fitted for destroying other gunships is still a gunship. A fighter is different in that it cannot effectively be fitted for anti - capital roles, and is designed for expendability rather than survivability. Fighters are built to intercept attacking non - capitals, and that's it. Gunships are much more versatile.
But the base of your classification is anti-capship or anti-gunship and it doesn't match that at all.

A number of gunships are fit only to intercept attacking non-capitals. The omni-Kobol is a particularly obvious example. The Sung "fighter" is more fit to fight capital ships than the Sung "gunship" because of its rate of fire advantage.

If you want to talk about role as what something is supposed to kill you can't talk about what it looks like without distorting your classification schema.
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Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:53 pm

Bad phrasing, sorry. By 'fortress' I really mean 'large station': Bases like Point Juno that can repair and resupply carriers. They're armored but not armed themselves. Reading the ingame stuff, it's apparent that Point Juno is (as of 2419) the only place that can support the carrier fleet, and that a loss there will be a massive, massive blow to the Fleet. I can't say much more about that without going into Spoiler territory, which I'm not going to do.



Cometfalls used to be squishier.....and maybe they should be...they are missileships after all. On the other hand, their close-range weaponry is appallingly bad, so (right now) they're quite easy to kill if you can get within arming range of the warhammers...but if they gained escorts then they'd definitely need a reduction in HP, either internal or armor-based.


In terms of the SUng.....they're a bit odd (and there's no canon here, I'm just speculating). The wind slaver is garbage as an anti-capship system by itself. The shuriken has great DPS, but the platform cannot take hits, and capital ships generally aren't relying on inaccurate forward-firing weapons. They will rip a wind slaver apart very quickly. Against gunships, or things it can out-turn....it's theoretically good but still suffers from low survivability. Back in 0.99c it was an ungodly killing machine though. The Steel slaver I look at more as a support vehicle than anything else....it's an accurate source of support-fire from a terrible weapon, which gives it low but constant damage output. The real weapon on it is the cyberdeck though. As a faction of slavers, being able to knock out weapons and then send in wind slavers to cut apart the enemy ship and leave it helpless is a really good tactic. Flavour-text indicates this is also what the Resurrectors in EP do (in universe): they use plague pods to knock out or control the crew, then use beam weapons to cut through the hull to extract them for experiments. The Earth Slaver also has a bit of a hybrid role, but is firmly in heavy Frigate or Destroyer territory. The Dragon....honestly I have no idea. It handles like a gunship, it's armored like a light cruiser and has the anti-gunship abilities of a destroyer on steroids. It's almost like a super-heavy fighter.

In short, the Sung light ships aren't really designed for heavy combat...that's where their bigger stuff comes in. The light stuff is for disabling and knocking out light targets and capturing slaves. At least, in my mind. They've got such immense cyber-abilities that they can use them to make up for reduced damage output and/or poor survivability.



Atarlost<--Remember that AI can fit omni-versions of non-omni weapons without the fire-rate nerf of the player. I actually consider the omni-TeV9 armed kobol to be easily the most dangerous, and against a capital ship it's probably still the best....because it can (in theory, in practice it often won't do this) accurately hit with virtually every shot, and in some situations it's going to focus on a single segment. Of course, in-universe it's probably different because of different aiming physics and the fact that AI fire rate caps may not apply in-universe.
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Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:10 am

Watson, I strongly suggest you read this:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... egregation

Transcendence as it stands suffers from some *severe* cases of gameplay-story segregation that in all honesty dont need to be there and can probably be chalked up to 'stuff george did ages ago balanced to one old mindset with little consideration for lore (do note that there was no lore for the vast majority of factions and george was just throwing ship names around) and probably havent been touched in nearly a decade, sometimes more'

Currently, even your assumptions based on the in-game ships dont stand as in reality, george just is naming ships based on physical volume/mass relative to their level. I believe this too is ultimately a mistake which leads to this sort of confusion and us reg-devs should draw up role-based (with some minimal criteria) guidelines for naming them instead.
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JohnBWatson
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Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:07 am

Atarlost wrote:
JohnBWatson wrote:A gunship fitted for destroying other gunships is still a gunship. A fighter is different in that it cannot effectively be fitted for anti - capital roles, and is designed for expendability rather than survivability. Fighters are built to intercept attacking non - capitals, and that's it. Gunships are much more versatile. The omni-Kobol is a particularly obvious example.
But the base of your classification is anti-capship or anti-gunship and it doesn't match that at all. A number of gunships are fit only to intercept attacking non-capitals.
Ultimately, heavy capital ships can only be efficiently fought by other capital ships or gunships fitted specifically to destroy capital ships. The distinction between fighters and gunships is survivability against omnidirectional and other dedicated anti - gunship weaponry. Against anything but other gunships, including armed stations, fighters will be killed quickly. Gunships, on the other hand, can stand a chance against lighter capital ships and effectively raid moderately defended stations.

While the extreme upper end of capital ships, like the Phobos, Deimos, and Aquila, are virtually immune to gunship attacks, Heliotrope Destroyers, Charon frigates, and other light capital ships can be challenged on even ground by groups of gunships.
The Sung "fighter" is more fit to fight capital ships than the Sung "gunship" because of its rate of fire advantage.
The Wind Slaver and Steel Slaver aren't conscientiously designed. The former has a very expensive weapon and minimal armor and the latter has a weapon that barely shoots and a special ability that almost never takes effect.

Personally, I'd like to see their weapons switched. The Wind Slaver would be a true fighter that could escort larger ships, engaging faster targets that try to kite Earth Slavers and exploiting openings created by the Steel Slavers' cyberattacks(which are in need of a hitchance buff), and the Steel Slaver would be a competent support craft and station guard.
If you want to talk about role as what something is supposed to kill you can't talk about what it looks like without distorting your classification schema.
The guidelines I listed are fairly loose. I don't expect most ships to fit the roles I described perfectly, but they should have a purpose they are supposed to accomplish and be fitted such that they could reasonably accomplish it.

Watson, I strongly suggest you read this:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... egregation

Transcendence as it stands suffers from some *severe* cases of gameplay-story segregation that in all honesty dont need to be there and can probably be chalked up to 'stuff george did ages ago balanced to one old mindset with little consideration for lore (do note that there was no lore for the vast majority of factions and george was just throwing ship names around) and probably havent been touched in nearly a decade, sometimes more'
I've got that. My recommendation is to pick a role for ships that presently aren't balanced and equip them for that role. It would make factions more interesting and present a more diverse challenge.
Currently, even your assumptions based on the in-game ships dont stand as in reality, george just is naming ships based on physical volume/mass relative to their level. I believe this too is ultimately a mistake which leads to this sort of confusion and us reg-devs should draw up role-based (with some minimal criteria) guidelines for naming them instead.
I agree that I've probably made some odd assumptions about ships that presently exist. That's ultimately wild mass guessing, given that most of what I have to go on regarding the factions is, to paraphrase George from a while back, what sorts of ships they have. If you've got recommendations for how to fix the confusion that resulted from this, I'd be glad to give them a shot.

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