Balancing Iocrym sentinels

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sun1404
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by sun1404 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:54 am

As I see it, the Iocrym Sentinels were made more as a bridge for the player than an obstacle. In-game lore aside (I think we aren't even sure yet what role the Iocrym actually serve in the big picture), without the Iocrym Sentinels as they are, Heretic can become practically a dead-end, especially for many new players who didn't hoard vast loots. They are meant to be killed, they are meant to be farmed, even.

But I think the most interesting change would be to give them jumpdrives, which they target precisely and perhaps used on a charge-based system.
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by JohnBWatson » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:40 am

sun1404 wrote:As I see it, the Iocrym Sentinels were made more as a bridge for the player than an obstacle. In-game lore aside (I think we aren't even sure yet what role the Iocrym actually serve in the big picture), without the Iocrym Sentinels as they are, Heretic can become practically a dead-end, especially for many new players who didn't hoard vast loots. They are meant to be killed, they are meant to be farmed, even.
Considering the ICS can be beaten with weapons available a third of the way through the game, I don't think that's still applicable, if it ever was(I didn't have the pleasure of fighting the old ICS, so I wouldn't know*).
But I think the most interesting change would be to give them jumpdrives, which they target precisely and perhaps used on a charge-based system.
Yeah, I definitely like that. It seems like it would be possible to code in, but I'm not sure how elegantly it could be done in a mod.

*has anyone made a mod to put it back in? I'd love to try that out.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by gunship256 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:52 am

JohnBWatson wrote:
But I think the most interesting change would be to give them jumpdrives, which they target precisely and perhaps used on a charge-based system.
Yeah, I definitely like that. It seems like it would be possible to code in, but I'm not sure how elegantly it could be done in a mod.
In PSD 6, PM's drones were able to use jumpdrives to either escape when they took too much armor damage or to catch up to the player if the distance was large enough. I haven't played PSD 7 much, but I assume that drones would behave the same way.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by sun1404 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:25 am

By dead end I meant more of the quarantine than the ICS. Had the Sentinels been much harder to kill, or faster than they are, it could become impossible to save enough stations and do enough missions, or hunt enough sentinels for the ROMs required to break the quarantine.
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by JohnBWatson » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:46 am

gunship256 wrote: In PSD 6, PM's drones were able to use jumpdrives to either escape when they took too much armor damage or to catch up to the player if the distance was large enough. I haven't played PSD 7 much, but I assume that drones would behave the same way.
Very interesting. Definitely worth a test implementation.

sun1404 wrote:By dead end I meant more of the quarantine than the ICS. Had the Sentinels been much harder to kill, or faster than they are, it could become impossible to save enough stations and do enough missions, or hunt enough sentinels for the ROMs required to break the quarantine.
It's implied that fighting Sentinels without kiting would not become any more difficult - that isn't the issue being discussed.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by TheLoneWolf » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:43 am

Sentinels with JumpDrives would be an overkill.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by AssumedPseudonym » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:26 am

TheLoneWolf wrote:Sentinels with JumpDrives would be an overkill.
 I agree. I’m of the opinion that if anything needs done to the Iocrym — which I remain unconvinced of — adding an extra ship type to the mix specifically for harassing opposing ships as opposed to the anti-station role that the sentinels fill may be the best way to about it.
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by TheLoneWolf » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:14 pm

AssumedPseudonym wrote:
TheLoneWolf wrote:Sentinels with JumpDrives would be an overkill.
 I agree. I’m of the opinion that if anything needs done to the Iocrym — which I remain unconvinced of — adding an extra ship type to the mix specifically for harassing opposing ships as opposed to the anti-station role that the sentinels fill may be the best way to about it.
Exactly. The Sentinels are already very difficult to counter for newbs. I remember my first time. Was pounding for hours for the Veil to break open, just to discover that the armour was immune to my attacks :/
So as for the new AA crafts of the Iocrym, it should not have more defence than a Tundra or Chasm. Or else we might find new players trying to farm the Iocrym for ROMs.

Seriously I like the game as it is :D

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by PM » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:35 pm

Inexperienced players will likely struggle at destroying sentinels before they destroy at least one station.

I think the first time I fought them, I had Lamplighter archcannon, which sentinels seemed to shrug off too easily. (Lamplighter damaged them, but if the sentinels were shooting at a station, Lamplighter could not kill sentinels before station was destroyed.) In later (pre-1.1 or 1.2) games, I got +150% Fracture Cannon, which could kill them somewhat quickly, but not quickly enough if I could not find them before they arrive at a station.

As for new Iocrym ship idea...

Iocrym Probe: Its mission, push player away (with repeller) from sentinels while the latter proceed to smash stations. Might interfere with sentinels' job if their target is you.

Or if another ship is too much work, give the sentinels a slowing weapon, maybe a low-grade graviton or singularity weapon, assuming we want to stop player from kiting sentinels.

Keep in mind that fracture cannon is very damaging, and player will not get enough plasma resistant defenses to shrug it off. If player lets sentinels get close enough to fire their weapons, player may die quickly. Sentinels are like an advancing wall of doom - harmless at a distance, but lethal when the wall catches up. Player should be able to kite sentinels.
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by TheLoneWolf » Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:12 pm

I'm getting these to IRC day.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by JohnBWatson » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:34 am

PM wrote:Inexperienced players will likely struggle at destroying sentinels before they destroy at least one station.

I think the first time I fought them, I had Lamplighter archcannon, which sentinels seemed to shrug off too easily. (Lamplighter damaged them, but if the sentinels were shooting at a station, Lamplighter could not kill sentinels before station was destroyed.) In later (pre-1.1 or 1.2) games, I got +150% Fracture Cannon, which could kill them somewhat quickly, but not quickly enough if I could not find them before they arrive at a station.
As I said before, nobody's advocating making them more durable. Indeed, kiting isn't even possible against the Sentinels attacking stations(as they are not pursuing the player), so fixes to it are entirely irrelevant to that part of the game.
Iocrym Probe: Its mission, push player away (with repeller) from sentinels while the latter proceed to smash stations. Might interfere with sentinels' job if their target is you.
My proposal for such a ship earlier in the thread had each Sentinel carrying two of them, launching them when they are being attacked beyond weapon range and calling them back when the target flees beyond ~120ls or enters weapon range. Might require a special variant of Sentinel that doesn't carry them for the part where they attack stations.
Or if another ship is too much work, give the sentinels a slowing weapon, maybe a low-grade graviton or singularity weapon, assuming we want to stop player from kiting sentinels.
That could work too. I recall seeing it proposed as a means of buffing the ICS, as well.
Sentinels are like an advancing wall of doom - harmless at a distance, but lethal when the wall catches up. Player should be able to kite sentinels.
The purpose of an 'advancing wall of doom' in a game is to destroy players that aren't actively moving away from it. Such a mechanic does not work when velocity can be maintained without thrust, as it can in Transcendence.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by TheLoneWolf » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:08 pm

See sentinels. They are slow. Have low range weapons. And they have fast rotation speeds. This suggests:
1. Sentinels are guard ships. Their role is to guard even slower/same speeded ships, possibly carriers or long range attack ships. Their fast rotatiin speed suggests that they need to attack fast ships that approach the larger craft, like a bomber.
2. Sentinels have slow speed but short range grinding weaponary. This suggests that they gave a purpose in swarming up and grinding at other slow moving or stationary targets.

I'm sure we will see more of their roles in part 2.

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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by PM » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:42 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:The purpose of an 'advancing wall of doom' in a game is to destroy players that aren't actively moving away from it. Such a mechanic does not work when velocity can be maintained without thrust, as it can in Transcendence.
That makes no sense. Ships in Transcendence can only move forward. This is not other games that allow strafing or backpedaling. Without an Omni weapon, the only way player can kite in Transcendence (and Star Control and some retro 80s arcade games) is to thrust and drift away from target, rotate to face target, slow down to maintain speed (if necessary), then fire until it dies.

If player fails to kite properly, then the wall will catch up and smash the player.
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by sun1404 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:50 pm

As far as I can see, any change that will make it harder to kite and kill the Sentinels, will inevitably affect the difficulty of protecting the stations from them. To stop the player from kiting them, you must either increase their mobility, or decrease the player's freedom of movement while fighting them. Unless the change only apply while the Sentinels aren't targeting a station, then it will surely make defending them harder.

Anyway, I still like the idea of rapid short-ranged jump drives, though it would be hard to explain why they don't jump to the stations. It would give the Iocrym a unique advantage in combat not seen from anything else, and should give a good exotic alien feel to them.
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Re: Balancing Iocrym sentinels

Post by gunship256 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 3:23 pm

What about a point-defense device? It would give the sentinels a shield against being attacked with howitzers and force the player to either use a beam weapon or plasma cloud or come in close with a rapid-fire weapon.

If the device could also fire at and hurt the player, it would be more of a challenge to intercept the sentinels when they're on their way to destroy a station.

If a variation of the Iocrym repeller were given more range and a lower fire rate, the new weapon could be usable for point defense.

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