Weapon balance proposal

Post ideas & suggestions you have pertaining to the game here.
NMS
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:53 am

george moromisato wrote:3. Concurrently with these changes, I also expect to do something about WMD (more WMD at lower levels), ...
5. Post Alpha 1 (maybe Alpha 2) I intend to also revamp station defenses. HPs are a little low right now, and they need to have better long range defenses (at minimum, guards should have a bigger radius).
6. Post Alpha 1 (maybe Alpha 2) I also intend to do something about compartments. I'm leaning towards the proposal of supporting multiple armor segments per location (and lowering compartment HPs).
This might help, but it doesn't really resolve the balance issues with compartments. Currently, they can be summarized as, "it takes x hits to destroy a compartment, except with many missiles and some mid- to late-game matter weapons, which do a percentage of their shot damage." There's no value of x which is reasonable for both high-WMD and low- or non-WMD weapons, or fixes the issue of making fire rate extra important, regardless of shot damage. Reducing compartment hp and distributing WMD more evenly across levels doesn't remove the near necessity of using high-WMD weapons against tough targets or provide any incentive to use non-WMD weapons, especially when high-WMD weapons are often just as good or better in other ways (like overall DPS and range).

That's why I keep suggesting changing the WMD damage adjustment table to make compartment damage related to shot damage for all weapons.

If compartments are fixed, then I'm not opposed to giving capital ships a multiplier to their armor health to compensate, as long as it's reasonable (i.e. not more than 2x unless it's carefully considered on a case-by-case basis taking what armor they're using into account).

Stations are currently much easier to kill than capital ships. Again assuming compartments are fixed, stations could be made more like capitals, with layers of armor and compartments underneath. However, there's no point in making them too tough, since that just further incentivizes bombarding them from beyond their own weapons' range. To really protect them better, their guards would generally need to be more powerful, faster, and smarter.

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JohnBWatson
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:33 pm

However, there's no point in making them too tough, since that just further incentivizes bombarding them from beyond their own weapons' range. To really protect them better, their guards would generally need to be more powerful, faster, and smarter.
Definitely something I agree with.

I believe that multiple segments per location will be enough to take care of the compartments issue you mentioned. As long as it's just a last bit of HP before the ship is destroyed, rather than most of the ship's effective health, I think the current system for compartments is fine.

I would, however, restate my earlier suggestion of making compartment HP be denoted on the health bar with a different color.

Also, any opinions at all on making the missile racks/pods slotless? It would be a much needed usefulness buff, and might solve the problem of nobody touching them past Eridani.
Last edited by JohnBWatson on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:32 pm

Main thing that discourages me from getting launchers early in the game is price. NAMI launcher is cheap, has tracking options, and enemies drop ammo freely. Unless I loot a MAG or Makayev launcher, I do not use them.
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JohnBWatson
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:46 pm

PM wrote:Main thing that discourages me from getting launchers early in the game is price. NAMI launcher is cheap, has tracking options, and enemies drop ammo freely. Unless I loot a MAG or Makayev launcher, I do not use them.
I definitely feel the same way. Adding more enemies that field launchers(especially a more diverse set of launchers) is something I greatly approve of. It both adds more variety to the threats faced by the player, and makes the NAMI Launcher less of an extreme outlier in terms of usability and ammo availability.

The following are things I believe would help solve this issue:

Vanilla

Fix up the Black Market so that fighting it isn't a non - option. Add a cap to the number of bounty hunters that can be sent after all BM stations in the system are destroyed, mark bounty hunters as hostile, and let the whole faction turn hostile if you kill one of their stations before you become a member. This would provide a decent supply of MAG launchers, Dragonfly ammo, and mags to those who take this path, making that launcher more viable. This would also help balance the mining and standard cargo bays against the presently much higher economic benefits of the smuggler's hold, as illegal goods could be plundered and sold at the cost of not being able to get the higher prices of a nightclub, losing some of the goods upon destroying the stations, and having to fight very tough enemies in order to get them. This would also add more choice to the game, as the faction becomes viable to interact with in two different ways.

Give Kobol bases a chance of spawning defended by a Rasiermesser launcher rather than the Tev9 cluster, preferably armed with missiles capable of hitting a distant attacker. The Rasiermesser launcher could also be added to a Ranx interceptor, which would let their outposts defend themselves from ranged attackers. Both factions should have the ammo they use for it added to their loot tables.

Give the Ventari an interceptor that uses the Makayev launcher. Have it defend their destroyers and colonies from distant attackers.

The Rogue Fleet should use the NAMI Heavy for something. Giving their larger stations a chance of using one towards the end of the Outer Realm would work well, and keep their threat decay from happening quite so fast.

CC

Add a few of the Curators' heavy gunships to the New Beyond, at around the same point Corsair IIs start showing up. Also, fit their larger stations with a Burak launcher and some long ranged missiles, to make killing them less trivial.

Add the Lumiere heavy weapon's ammo to Lumiere Stations' loot table. The Destroyer should also be a bit more common as a defender of their heavy stations, which at present are roughly as well protected as their basic stations.

EP

The planned completion of the NAU and UAS mission paths will likely feature some enemies with the ED and APD launchers, making them more viable to obtain.

The ED and APD could provide inexpensive launchers, equipment upgrades, and refills to their privateers, in order to reduce the situation where players who side with one faction have more access to equipment belonging to the other(due to killing their ships). Code can be reused from either the Militia or the Black Market.

The NAU's SIGINT mission could feature a hostile capital ship, at least in later systems where the current set of enemies spawned are no match for the player's equipment. This would also fix the issue where the freighter presently does not need player intervention to complete its mission.
Last edited by JohnBWatson on Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NMS
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:22 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:I believe that multiple segments per location will be enough to take care of the compartments issue you mentioned. As long as it's just a last bit of HP before the ship is destroyed, rather than most of the ship's effective health, I think the current system for compartments is fine.

I would, however, restate my earlier suggestion of making compartment HP be denoted on the health bar with a different color.
How much is "just a last bit", though? A Fusionfire does about 45 per hit (68 per second), while an ion blaster does about 3 per second (5 per second in the next version, thanks to stochastic rounding). What number is acceptable against both of those weapons? If it's small enough that most weapons can chew through it quickly, what's the point of having it at all?

I already have a ministry ticket suggesting a separate health bar for compartments.

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JohnBWatson
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:30 pm

NMS wrote:
How much is "just a last bit", though? A Fusionfire does about 45 per hit (68 per second), while an ion blaster does about 3 per second (5 per second in the next version, thanks to stochastic rounding). What number is acceptable against both of those weapons? If it's small enough that most weapons can chew through it quickly, what's the point of having it at all?
100 seems reasonable for a major capital ship. Probably 50 for a medium one, and 25 for something like the Drake.

The defense for having it at all is that it doesn't really make sense for a capital ship to just explode after a single portion of its armor has been pierced, and it serves a hard counter for light weapons. It's a lot more intuitive to have to finish a fight with a high WMD weapon in an unarmored area, like Luke killing the Death Star or its many parallels in other works of science fiction. It also allows for compartment destruction, if the player wants to cripple a target's offenses to buy time while trying to kill it with a lighter weapon, or if the player wants a specific piece of equipment and thus has to try to avoid targeting that compartment, which makes the game more interesting.

That said, I don't have any strong opposition to going back to the old system for finishing off capital ships, once their armor's been adjusted to provide the majority of defense.

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Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:00 pm

So if you were using an ion blaster against, say, a Deimos with 100 compartment hp (instead of 300), it would take:
- 4 to 5 seconds to knock out its shield
- 4 seconds to cut through its armor, maybe 8 if it gets 2 layers
- 20 seconds to destroy its main compartment
Assuming all shots hit from the same direction, and don't hit the engine compartment. Obviously it would be longer in a real combat situation.

That isn't enough of a reduction to avoid making a WMD weapon essentially necessary.

Whereas with my suggestion, the WMD1 ion cannon would do 39% damage to compartments, taking 6 seconds to go through the current 300 compartment hp. And the WMD5 Fusionfire would do 73%, taking just over 3 seconds.

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Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:53 pm

 My alternate suggestion of just removing the need for WMD to effectively damage ship compartments would similarly affect the time needed to destroy a capital ship.
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Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:50 am

AssumedPseudonym wrote: My alternate suggestion of just removing the need for WMD to effectively damage ship compartments would similarly affect the time needed to destroy a capital ship.
While I'm wary of such a radical change, this could work so long as heavier weapons retain some logical advantage over lighter ones, such as the ability to damage adjacent segments(via radius or as a part of WMD).

As I was testing various things today, I noticed the severe weakness of the long neglected kytyrn launcher. Any ideas on how to fix it up so that it's worth using?

It and its similarly named ammoless cousin could also use some new effects. Right now their age shows quite a lot. As rare weapons that are fielded by the second most alien faction in the game, they could probably work well with a new effect.

In addition, the Teratons really need to improve their defenses. Integration of the kytyrn launcher may be the way to do this, given its impressive range.

JohnBWatson wrote:
Fix up the Black Market so that fighting it isn't a non - option. Add a cap to the number of bounty hunters that can be sent after all BM stations in the system are destroyed, mark bounty hunters as hostile, and let the whole faction turn hostile if you kill one of their stations before you become a member. This would provide a decent supply of MAG launchers, Dragonfly ammo, and mags to those who take this path, making that launcher more viable. This would also help balance the mining and standard cargo bays against the presently much higher economic benefits of the smuggler's hold, as illegal goods could be plundered and sold at the cost of not being able to get the higher prices of a nightclub, losing some of the goods upon destroying the stations, and having to fight very tough enemies in order to get them. This would also add more choice to the game, as the faction becomes viable to interact with in two different ways.
If anyone was interested in this, or in a general cleanup of the Black Market's issues, such as the notorious 'friendly bounty hunters', I have made a mod to this effect.

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Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:51 pm

The sole ammo type for Kytryn Launcher suffers from slow speed. Just speed it up, and it should be better. The damage is fine, but it is hard to apply it when the missile and fragments are slow as molasses. Currently, it is only useful against Phobos and the final system where enemies resist thermo too much. It would also be nice if there was one or two other ammo types. For example, a level 9 ammo type that acts like a powered-up Ferian cannon.

As for cargo holds, I almost never use smuggler's hold. Capacity is awful, and I usually do not bother with smuggling. If I need to sell a few illegals, I sell them at Corporate stations, if I remember. I usually want miner's hold because I often stumble on mined ore, and I want to pick them up without losing ore. For Sapphire, I probably want the basic cargo hold for maximum cargo space after I am done with mining. For me, capacity is most important for cargo hold, but only Sapphire and few expansion ships make full use of +100 cargo. For Wolfen, +50 (from smugglers) does not reach max, but +80 (from miners) does. Smuggler's hold is also the most expensive cargo hold available.

The suggestion to make entire Black Market hostile under certain conditions is interesting.
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Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:41 am

A very important thing I just noticed:

Damagetypes higher than ion/thermo have few to no enhancers. This makes it nearly impossible for some of them to compete. While the APC and Iocrym weapons are powerful enough as it is, and the APA can be boosted with a speedloader, other weapons of higher types need a bit of a buff in endgame to compensate for the lack of enhancers.

Suggestions, anyone?

A few of mine:

- Alien devices that enhance weapons of the better types in an unconventional manner. IE:
- - Plasma: Adds a DOT effect
- - Positron: Adds slight target tracking
- - Antimatter: Adds an explosion effect when projectile is destroyed
- - and so on...

- Overall buff. Right now, the Lamplighter and its fellow advanced weapons aren't really powerful enough to justify switching to them from an earlier weapon. They could use some extra damage.

- Luminous cubes that go well with high end weapons. It'd give the faction's loot a bonus to have something genuinely useful in late game.
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:41 pm

I think that those late game weapons are meant partly to become more useful in Part II, if the game is to be completely continuous.
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:11 pm

sun1404 wrote:I think that those late game weapons are meant partly to become more useful in Part II, if the game is to be completely continuous.
It's established that we'll be able to start in part II. If keeping a weapon from part I is a necessity or major alteration to balance, there might be some issues there. Also, there's the issue of these weapons being designed by and for use against various factions within the QZ. If they aren't really useful there, it raises some plot issues.

On top of this, the issue with weapons whose main benefit is a higher damagetype is that by the time that counts for any major improvement in their dps, much better weapons are already available.

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:03 am

Oh, I really expect we will be able to continue in Part II with a save from Part I. If you choose to begin in Part II, I think you should start with no more than level 8-9 gears. Keeping equipment from Part I won't be necessary, but it would be an advantage justified by playing the game from the start, and reaping as much as you can along the way.

But still, I agree that some end game weapons really are too weak. But what do I know about, I always end up using the APA.
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:34 am

JohnBWatson wrote:Damagetypes higher than ion/thermo have few to no enhancers. This makes it nearly impossible for some of them to compete. While the APC and Iocrym weapons are powerful enough as it is, and the APA can be boosted with a speedloader, other weapons of higher types need a bit of a buff in endgame to compensate for the lack of enhancers.
I've noticed this too. I use howitzers to finish the second half of the late game and almost always regret it when I don't. The late game non-howitzers aren't powerful enough to take out a Phobos or an Ares shipyard with all its guards, though some of them may do okay against the ICS.

If we had enhancers or cubes that added fragmentation, radius, tracking, or WMD to level 9 and 10 weapons, that would definitely help. Alternatively, really heavy missiles that are actually available in shops would also do the trick.

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