Armor/coating/weapon effect changes (Moved)

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Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:05 pm

Here are my feelings about armor:
  • Permanent armor coatings are boring and they should be mostly or entirely replaced with consumables that apply temporary status effects (similar to how particle and ion field crystals work), e.g. you could have a paste that grants high particle resistance but which wears off after 2 minutes or 2000 absorbed damage or whatever. If you had blast plate, you might consider applying something like this before fighting a big Sung complex, but the current gameplay style where you just slap particle resistance coating onto blast plate and run around for five or six consecutive systems being highly resistant to all damage types would not be possible anymore.

    Permanently enhanced armor segments should be difficult to come by; maybe only have them available from tinkers/Dvalin/as rare loot. The manufacturer-specific enhancer devices should also add resistances to installed armor and shields from that manufacturer; they are so energy intensive to run that they need to provide major benefits beyond just improving weapon damage.

    You could supplement enhanced consumables with stuff that encourages consumable use, like armor types that increase the duration of temporary coatings or a nanorecycler device that grants a % chance to recycle shield crystals and SSG coils so that they can be reused. Maybe one of the ship classes could get a bonus to the duration or strength of all consumables.
  • Individual armor segment items should be discarded in favor of "armor sets"; ships that currently have 4 armor slots should instead mount two "armor sets" - one fore/aft and one left/right. My impression is that most players usually try to have all four (or five, or six) armor segments be the same type, and that most try to apply the same coating to each segment. Reducing the number of total armor segment items that have to be managed would streamline gameplay without detracting from it. The Hercules could mount three sets. (Edit: To clarify, ships would still have the same number of segments, it's just that segments would be found as sets rather than as individual items)
  • Each weapon damage type should have a chance to apply a specific interaction effect (e.g. giving all ion weapons a low chance to ionize devices or passthrough), which is something that has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere.
Last edited by Watch TV, Do Nothing on Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:47 pm

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:Here are my feelings about armor:
  • Permanent armor coatings are boring and they should be mostly or entirely replaced with consumables that apply temporary status effects (similar to how particle and ion field crystals work), e.g. you could have a paste that grants high particle resistance but which wears off after 2 minutes or 2000 absorbed damage or whatever. If you had blast plate, you might consider applying something like this before fighting a big Sung complex, but the current gameplay style where you just slap particle resistance coating onto blast plate and run around for five or six consecutive systems being highly resistant to all damage types would not be possible anymore.

    Permanently enhanced armor segments should be difficult to come by; maybe only have them available from tinkers/Dvalin/as rare loot. The manufacturer-specific enhancer devices should also add resistances to installed armor and shields from that manufacturer; they are so energy intensive to run that they need to provide major benefits beyond just improving weapon damage.

    You could supplement enhanced consumables with stuff that encourages consumable use, like armor types that increase the duration of temporary coatings or a nanorecycler device that grants a % chance to recycle shield crystals and SSG coils so that they can be reused. Maybe one of the ship classes could get a bonus to the duration or strength of all consumables.
I personally really don't like the armor crystal system, because it wears off at the worst times. But I do like the idea of temporary boosts. Maybe instead running them like an overlay: track the HP of the coating, and degrade/remove it as it (and the armor segment) takes damage. And don't repair it without using another barrel. Thus you *can* run around with coatings all the time....but you'll need to replace it after a big fight, or after a few regular fights. And there could be a difference between nanos (% boost to base armor health, carries over with repairs) and new HP-boosting applique armor packs (which would have set HP that depleted before the armor did).

Ultimately though, coatings aren't really the problem: at most levels they only give boosts rather than making a segment truly overpowered. The problem is level compression: you find gear that's far too good for the system (but within the curve), and coatings multiply the HP against certain damage types enough that it shifts to being well outside the curve and overpowered. And this is pretty much exclusive to kinetic/laser resists. Blast and particle do have a bit of the same.....but it's nowhere near as bad.

(The other way to do this would be to slow down the dropoff in damage type effectiveness, so that lasers can still damage stuff at 1-2 levels higher. Then coatings wouldn't make armor outright immune.
[*]Individual armor segments should be discarded in favor of "armor sets"; ships that currently have 4 armor slots should instead mount two "armor sets" - one fore/aft and one left/right. My impression is that most players usually try to have all four (or five, or six) armor segments be the same type, and that most try to apply the same coating to each segment. Reducing the number of total armor segments that have to be managed would streamline gameplay without detracting from it. The Hercules could mount three sets.
This wouldn't have much effect once you rebalance the armor availability. And the fewer armor segments you have, the more fragile your ship is. Playerships tend to need more total HP rather than less. So it would basically require a complete rebalance to end up more or less where we started.
[*]Each weapon damage type should have a chance to apply a specific interaction effect (e.g. giving all ion weapons a low chance to ionize devices or passthrough), which is something that has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere.[/list]
I think this devalues the mechanics for the most part, but having more effects is nice. But yeah, this has cropped up a lot elsewhere.
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Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:10 pm

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:Here are my feelings about armor:
Shrike wrote:
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
 While this is a fascinating conversation and all with some neat ideas even if I am approximately eleventeen kerzillionty percent against the idea of converting armor pastes to temporary duration consumables, this is entirely the wrong thread for it to be happening in. It should probably be split into its own topic, probably in Ideas & Suggestions, since this topic is supposed to be getting George to Heretic.
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Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:30 pm

Shrike wrote: This wouldn't have much effect once you rebalance the armor availability. And the fewer armor segments you have, the more fragile your ship is. Playerships tend to need more total HP rather than less. So it would basically require a complete rebalance to end up more or less where we started.
Before bowing to AP, I just wanna clarify that ships would still have the same number of armor segments with the same amount of HP; the segments would just be found and installed in pairs or even as complete sets by default rather than one segment at a time. There are almost no situations where the player would benefit from having four different kinds of armor installed on one ship, even for the twinkiest powergamer.

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Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:34 pm

Split off from the original topic and moved here to the suggestions board. :)
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Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:56 pm

What makes armor barrels boring that would be better as temporary items? I find that field crystals are more boring as temporary items because they're no longer worth the trouble. Any temporary item that doesn't have an invoke key is useless to me and there aren't enough invoke keys to go around because mods need them as well. Armor repair items can share a key, but nothing else consumable can. This also makes looting harder since sometimes the player will be able to carry only one segment of heavy armor at a time without dropping stuff.

Halving the number of armor items is completely unacceptable. First, it is incompatible with mod ships, which can have 3 or 5 segments and even if they have an even number of segments, ships with variable segment widths cannot be auto-generated and must use the old system which puts them in undefined order, making automatic set assignment impossible and breaking compatibility. Second, many people do not go for equal sets. It's not unheard of to deliberately use one solar segment aft with 3 heavier segments and use Domina Sustain for running away. It's also possible to want a partial Omsk set if you have access to both level appropriate Omsk armor and superior non-Omsk armor with three Omsk to boost the shield, but a superior non-Omsk on the rear quadrant for running away. It's common to have a preference for forward or aft armor and upgrade in order. Your set system would force players to upgrade fore and aft together rather than forward and one broadside. Assigning the sets to adjacent pairs doesn't help because other people or the same people in different ships or with different weapons prefer balancing forward and aft and letting the broadsides lag a little. This ruins mods and takes away player options for no benefit at all.

Giving all ion weapons debuffs is a really terrible idea. Everyone but you really hates ionize. Currently that makes the Ventari specifically a "demonic spider" and that's not actually bad gameplay, but if everything had it it would be the wrong kind of frustrating. Ion weapons in the late game are too common and fast firing to have non-damage effects. Doing this to all weapon types would require coding new effects and make the whole game frustrating and unplayable.
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Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:31 pm

Atarlost wrote:Any temporary item that doesn't have an invoke key is useless to me and there aren't enough invoke keys to go around because mods need them as well.
I've suggested rows and columns on the 'U'se menu; two-key invocation would also make sense- as an example, map barrels could be mapped to 'B' and then particle resistance to 'P', ion resistance to 'I', etc. Pressing 'BP' would apply a particle barrel (one barrel would coat every segment). If the player changed his/her mind, pressing 'B' again after 'B' would cancel the invoke command. Before voice chat became common, two-, three- and even four-key invocation was commonly used in multiplayer shooters to issue team commands and I recall it being very fluid and natural to use in, e.g., the Tribes games.
Atarlost wrote:This also makes looting harder since sometimes the player will be able to carry only one segment of heavy armor at a time without dropping stuff.
That's an extremely specific case. We already have cargo pods, Mule autons, (microsaur-protected?) stashes, etc. for dealing with heavy cargo. I have to drop stuff all the time anyway.
Atarlost wrote:Halving the number of armor items is completely unacceptable. First, it is incompatible with mod ships, which can have 3 or 5 segments and even if they have an even number of segments, ships with variable segment widths cannot be auto-generated and must use the old system which puts them in undefined order, making automatic set assignment impossible and breaking compatibility.
If there's any time to make changes that break compatibility with (a small number of) old mods, it's NOW, while Xelerus is already broken and before the Steam release happens. All the mod developers active right now are smart enough to fix their own ships if they get messed up by the change, and old mods from inactive modders are gonna inevitably break and/or become impossible to find sooner or later anyways.

Going forward, I can think of any number of ways to support future ships with odd armor segment numbers- for example, you could have a system where odd slots mount a full set for doubled armor strength (as if the player were mounting the two segments on top of one another), or you could require a full set for the odd slot and handwave away the missing segment as being kept in ballast, or you could even have the missing segment mounted internally to grant compartment strength, similar to capital ships.
Atarlost wrote:Second, many people do not go for equal sets. It's not unheard of to deliberately use one solar segment aft with 3 heavier segments and use Domina Sustain for running away.
So players will have to use the solar panel instead, or there could be a rare permanent coating that applies solar properties to any armor type, or a higher tier solar armor type could be added (make it occasional Heliotrope loot or a Dvalin reward or something like that). Solar armor and its associated strategies are very old and not well balanced for the current game.
Atarlost wrote:It's also possible to want a partial Omsk set if you have access to both level appropriate Omsk armor and superior non-Omsk armor with three Omsk to boost the shield, but a superior non-Omsk on the rear quadrant for running away.
Not every playstyle has to be supported from revision to revision. For example, fighting the ICS with the Penitent cannon used to be a premier endgame strategy and now it isn't. Getting worldship armor within the first three systems and blithely strolling all the way to the end was possible until worldship armor was boosted a couple levels and made a Military item.

If you really wanted to preserve five-strength granularity of Omsk shields, you could add a single unique +25% omsk emitter device or permanent armor coating as a guaranteed quest reward around the time that Omsk armor becomes viable (for example, let the player choose between the +50% shield ROM and an Omsk emitter when Katami helps you before the Slicer fight).

Also note that under my system the Hercules could still run mixed plates and get full Omsk strength.
Atarlost wrote:It's common to have a preference for forward or aft armor and upgrade in order. Your set system would force players to upgrade fore and aft together rather than forward and one broadside. Assigning the sets to adjacent pairs doesn't help because other people or the same people in different ships or with different weapons prefer balancing forward and aft and letting the broadsides lag a little. This ruins mods and takes away player options for no benefit at all.
Yeah, it would, because IMO those options are essentially trivial. To me, it's more important to streamline the upgrade cycle while improving the player's ability to make situation-specific defense choices; this outweighs the ability to finely tweak each individual armor segment.
Atarlost wrote:Giving all ion weapons debuffs is a really terrible idea. Everyone but you really hates ionize. Currently that makes the Ventari specifically a "demonic spider" and that's not actually bad gameplay, but if everything had it it would be the wrong kind of frustrating. Ion weapons in the late game are too common and fast firing to have non-damage effects. Doing this to all weapon types would require coding new effects and make the whole game frustrating and unplayable.
Okay, the whole weapon effects thing was admittedly not totally related to the shields thing when I brought it up, but let me roll with it. A higher chance that the player will occasionally experience negative effects is completely offset by the consumables system- for example, applying ion coating when a device is ionized could neutralize the ion effects. That's expanded gameplay, not expanded frustration.

The main thrust of my argument w/r/t weapons is that each damage type should be flavorful. There are lots of games where this is the case; take, say, the loot-heavy game Borderlands as an example. Many weapons in that game do elemental damage- fire weapons have a chance to do major DOT, corrosive weapons can cause subsequent attacks to do additional damage, shock weapons take down shields and can stun, and explosive weapons can do AOE damage in addition to hitting their main target. All these effects can happen to the player as well as to enemies, but they don't make gameplay more frustrating.

I discuss this further here.

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Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:46 am

There is literally no benefit whatsoever to clumping two pieces of armor together. It's 100% pure unadulterated downside.

In games that have lots of status effects almost the entire itemization subgame revolves around immunity. No one wants to deal with them. That's a sign they probably mostly shouldn't exist in the first place except to distinguish special enemies.

Mandatory condition removal items sort of work in Angband where they have negligible weight, are multi-application, and for sale in limitless quantities at low prices. They won't work in Transcendence where they literally weigh a ton and shops do not restock.
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Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:38 pm

Atarlost wrote:In games that have lots of status effects almost the entire itemization subgame revolves around immunity. No one wants to deal with them. That's a sign they probably mostly shouldn't exist in the first place except to distinguish special enemies.

Mandatory condition removal items sort of work in Angband where they have negligible weight, are multi-application, and for sale in limitless quantities at low prices. They won't work in Transcendence where they literally weigh a ton and shops do not restock.
In such games, I prioritize such defenses because holes can easily kill you. Here in Transcendence, I try to get +RadImmune on my solar armor, then when I no longer need it, I look for Taikon's *carbide or light Iocrym plate to get immunities. Armor HP is secondary to status immunities or other special powers (e.g., regen, solar, stealth, etc.)

Off topic, have you tried the latest Angband? Some of the cures (for stat drain and maybe XP) are no longer for sale or unlimited in town. For that, you are expected to suck up the penalties or store more consumables you find at the dungeon at home. I guess the reasoning is status effects mean nothing if you can go to town anytime and fix them.
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Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:00 pm

Weapon effects are mostly for the player's benefit! Most enemy weapons would have negligible ability to impose effects, and there are a lot of weapons in the game that aren't used by any enemy or are only used by ships that are primarily friendly. Maximizing weapon effects as the player would require stacking powers, devices and enhancements. Only a few enemies that already impose effects (Dwarg Master, Ventari, etc. etc.) would consistently be able to apply them in every engagement.

That said, there's no reason barrels couldn't be made lighter or have stores restock them; ammo already restocks. Powers and devices would also be available to the player as a way to counter status effects.

Note that most of the weapon effects I'm suggesting amount to either more instantaneous damage done in a flashy way; short-term maluses; and various field control abilities. (See my posts in the damage 2.0 thread) They wouldn't persist more than a few seconds outside of combat. I'm not suggesting anything equivalent to stat drain or sicknesses that persist until a cure potion is taken.

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Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:06 pm

PM wrote:Off topic, have you tried the latest Angband? Some of the cures (for stat drain and maybe XP) are no longer for sale or unlimited in town. For that, you are expected to suck up the penalties or store more consumables you find at the dungeon at home. I guess the reasoning is status effects mean nothing if you can go to town anytime and fix them.
No, and now I certainly won't unless they've also taken stat drain off of everything remotely common. There were even multiplying worm masses with stat drain last I played. XP drain is possible to power through, though it adds nothing whatsoever of value to the game: it just makes you go back and grind more.
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:Weapon effects are mostly for the player's benefit!
It doesn't work that way. There are more enemies than players. They fire more shots. If player only weapons have effect chances a hundred times higher than anything enemies get it will still favor the enemies because there are hundreds of times more of them.
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Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:11 am

Atarlost wrote: It doesn't work that way. There are more enemies than players. They fire more shots. If player only weapons have effect chances a hundred times higher than anything enemies get it will still favor the enemies because there are hundreds of times more of them.
Why is this bad?

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Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:16 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Atarlost wrote: It doesn't work that way. There are more enemies than players. They fire more shots. If player only weapons have effect chances a hundred times higher than anything enemies get it will still favor the enemies because there are hundreds of times more of them.
Why is this bad?
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:Weapon effects are mostly for the player's benefit!
Because you apparently don't believe your own arguments.
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Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:49 pm

Think of it this way. The enemy has near-infinite resources. You kill one of them, no problem, there is more where they came from. You, on the other hand, have one life (or more with insurance or resurrection). You, the player, need to kill lots of enemies constantly to reach your goal, and you need to keep up with the gear treadmill along the way. The enemy constantly upgrades for free as you advance (i.e., new stronger factions replace old wimps), and it only needs to score a kill against you once to win.
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