More Visceral Gameplay ideas

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Fri May 27, 2016 7:07 pm

NMS wrote:I'm not sure kiting is such a big problem. To some extent, there need to be tactics that allow the player to beat enemies that ought to outmatch them.
Good point. I think players that neglect the Domina Powers route should have an in game combat solution to handling enemies larger than them.
I also like your AI points as well. Retreating in particular is an important one for capital ships to follow, as well as using the full range of their weapons.

PM wrote: One of which is players will be burning through fuel more quickly; I think many will not drift through vast swathes if deep space if they can go faster by thrusting, if only to reduce tandem.
I think this is another, related problem with the game.
Like real space travel, 70% of my game time is spent traveling between gates and hitting Autopilot.
Is that good game design? I'm not so sure.


@LoneWolf:
You can't IRL but the idea was brainstormed as a gameplay balance measure against the optimal strategy of kiting against dumb AI.
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Fri May 27, 2016 7:39 pm

PM wrote:Another reason why I oppose drag everywhere is player who wants maximum speed will burn a lot a fuel going from A to B. This is one of the inertialess drive's disadvantages. People post that it is a fuel hog. This change will apply to all drives (and no drive). Adding drag to everything is a fundamental game-change with far-reaching consequences. One of which is players will be burning through fuel more quickly; I think many will not drift through vast swathes if deep space if they can go faster by thrusting, if only to reduce tandem.
Think of thrusting like turning on a petracnium megadrive, or like spending power on an afterburner as is done in many other games. The speed without it will get you where you're going just fine, but you'd want it on when you need to retreat or dogfight as efficiently as possible. The thing I don't think you're getting here is that the current maximum speed does not need to be reduced for this solution to be implemented.
I do not have a problem with kiting enemies to death. If the enemy is dumb enough to follow me mindlessly instead of disengaging and leaving me alone, it deserves to die.
At present, it is mathematically impossible for any ship to defeat or even damage an opponent that is faster and has a longer ranged weapon, so long as its opponent does not actively allow it to do so. There is no improvement that can be made to AI that would fix this.
The problem with Transcendence AI is all enemies seem to have a one-size-fits-all AI, and it is fairly stupid and predictable. There needs to be varying AI so the varying ships behave differently - and smarter sometimes. Sometimes, there is nothing it can do to win, and it dies. That is fine.
If the exact same exploit can be used against 90 percent of enemies with no drawback, there's a problem.
Adding drag to everything as a Band-Aid to the stupid one-size-fits-all AI seems like a cure worse than the disease.
Right now, by your standards, drag *is* added to everything by the inclusion of a maximum speed. When attempting to accelerate above the maximum speed, drag is applied that is exactly equal to the thrust being applied. The change I propose would make gameplay *more* faithful to newtonian motion, not less.
@ JohnBWatson:
Transcendence has speed (and efficiency mods). It is okay for an Omni weapon to fire slower (although firing at the same rate is better). Nothing in Transcendence has a range mod (and when I added one, AI ignored it and could not behave properly, and I scrapped it). An upgraded version of the laser cannon from EI should have basic laser cannon stats. I would not have a problem with less range if it was a competitor's version (e.g., taubeam or neutron blaster instead of standard particle beam weapon).
If you need a logical reason that an omni weapon has less range, think of max range as the point where error in the weapon's accuracy has accumulated to the point where the projectile is no longer likely to be along the line they player believes he fired it on. This is how many similar games explain the inclusion of a maximum range. Due to the lower stability of a turret mount, this error is higher, and thus accumulates to that point faster.

That aside, few people care about the justification - what matters is that, at present, omnidirectional weapons are powerful enough that the firerate nerf is not enough to balance them against their fixed counterparts.
As for the Spathi BUTT missile... If you fired the missile forward, that is drift-while-facing enemy, you would hit yourself. Also, the range of the BUTT is shorter than Ur-Quan weapons, and short in general. Spathi often needs to aim the missile at the enemy despite being homing, while kiting, to give missile enough range to hit. Spathi (and others like Syreen) need the kite the Ur-Quan to kill them without taking damage or dying. Finally, Spathi (and many other ships) needs to drift to maintain optimal kiting range against slower enemies. Spathi can face away from enemy, but needs to drift to kite. Others like Syreen kite like we do in Transcendence.
The general counter to that strategy is to turn around and approach the kiting enemy from the other side. The Ur Quan's hard counter against kiting is its special ability, which, when used in tandem with wrapping, can be used to trap the enemy between its fighters and its main gun. Transcendence has no such mechanic.

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Sat May 28, 2016 1:11 am

By drag, I mean if your ship stops thrusting, you slow down due to friction or other equivalent force. Star Control, Transcendence, and some other space games enforce top speed on per-ship basis for whatever reason, but do not have friction in deep space to force drag. They may feature nebula that adds friction to slow down drifting ships that enter it, among other things.
JohnBWatson wrote:At present, it is mathematically impossible for any ship to defeat or even damage an opponent that is faster and has a longer ranged weapon, so long as its opponent does not actively allow it to do so. There is no improvement that can be made to AI that would fix this.
At least the enemy should back off and run if it has no chance to win, and maybe scatter if part of a group. If the player does not want to bother with it, the enemy lives. If the enemy cannot run away due to reasons (e.g., commanded to kill player at all costs or die trying) or player is a bloodythirsty maniac and wants that ship dead, well... it dies. I have no problem with that.

That many enemies are stupid because they share mostly the same AI can be a problem, but I do not want a solution that trades one problem for another.
JohnBWatson wrote:If you need a logical reason that an omni weapon has less range, think of max range as the point where error in the weapon's accuracy has accumulated to the point where the projectile is no longer likely to be along the line they player believes he fired it on. This is how many similar games explain the inclusion of a maximum range. Due to the lower stability of a turret mount, this error is higher, and thus accumulates to that point faster.
It is not so much of logical explaination as it is expectations. For example, I am given a green apple, and it tastes like an apple. Next, I am given a red fruit that looks like an apple and is called an apple, but it tastes like an orange (or a chocolate bar). I would not call that red apple an apple, but an orange (or chocolate). Similarly, if I ordered burger-and-fries, I do not expect to be handed a taco. Back to Transcendence, if I see an EI-branded laser cannon with a variant configuration (e.g., dual, Omni, 3-way, and the like), I expect it to have basic EI-laser stats, or at least no additional (hidden) modifications beyond what I can see in its name, stats, and/or description. With competitor's weapons, those expectations do not apply (but different yet similar expectations do apply to the competitor's line of weapons, if applicable).

With the possible exception of the level 2 Omni laser, I do not think omni weapons are overpowered, and are fine.

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JohnBWatson wrote:The general counter to that strategy is to turn around and approach the kiting enemy from the other side. The Ur Quan's hard counter against kiting is its special ability, which, when used in tandem with wrapping, can be used to trap the enemy between its fighters and its main gun. Transcendence has no such mechanic.
The AI did not always do that (deploy fighters then wraparound), and if it tried (due to player being too far away), the player would avoid/kill fighters and kite some more elsewhere until the AI ship cooperated then died like a chump. AI does things no competent human would do or fall for, and if the AI tries countermeasures the player can see a mile away, he can counter the AI until the AI does dumb things again.
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Sat May 28, 2016 2:35 am

PM wrote:By drag, I mean if your ship stops thrusting, you slow down due to friction or other equivalent force. Star Control, Transcendence, and some other space games enforce top speed on per-ship basis for whatever reason, but do not have friction in deep space to force drag. They may feature nebula that adds friction to slow down drifting ships that enter it, among other things.
The mechanic would be simulating acceleration beyond the maximum speed rather than simulating friction. A ship that is not thrusting could continue moving forever, but it could still be chased down by a ship that is accelerating, just as it works in real life.
At least the enemy should back off and run if it has no chance to win, and maybe scatter if part of a group. If the player does not want to bother with it, the enemy lives. If the enemy cannot run away due to reasons (e.g., commanded to kill player at all costs or die trying) or player is a bloodythirsty maniac and wants that ship dead, well... it dies. I have no problem with that.

That many enemies are stupid because they share mostly the same AI can be a problem, but I do not want a solution that trades one problem for another.
If ninety percent of the enemies in the game have no chance at damaging the player, having them immediately gate instead of continuing to pursue forever wouldn't be much of an improvement.
JohnBWatson wrote: It is not so much of logical explaination as it is expectations. For example, I am given a green apple, and it tastes like an apple. Next, I am given a red fruit that looks like an apple and is called an apple, but it tastes like an orange (or a chocolate bar). I would not call that red apple an apple, but an orange (or chocolate). Similarly, if I ordered burger-and-fries, I do not expect to be handed a taco. Back to Transcendence, if I see an EI-branded laser cannon with a variant configuration (e.g., dual, Omni, 3-way, and the like), I expect it to have basic EI-laser stats, or at least no additional (hidden) modifications beyond what I can see in its name, stats, and/or description. With competitor's weapons, those expectations do not apply (but different yet similar expectations do apply to the competitor's line of weapons, if applicable).
I think that, so long as the projectile itself is the same, the expectations are not violated. After all, as we've mentioned earlier, there's already a firerate alteration and that doesn't confuse anyone.
With the possible exception of the level 2 Omni laser, I do not think omni weapons are overpowered, and are fine.
The OTL and OT9 are both better anti - gunship weapons than anything else for several tiers, and can also be used to kill most capital ships with underleveled equipment. The current setup for balancing omni weapons assumes that making a weapon omnidirectional is only equivalent to a 2x DPS bonus, which I've not seen to be true - even disregarding the ability to avoid damage while attacking, hitting a constant 50% accuracy while firing constantly in a dogfight is very difficult to achieve. That said, the Omnidirectional Partisan Cannon and Omni Tritum Cannon are fairly balanced, as their shots are slow enough that they still require some effort to use, and their projectiles can be intercepted more easily by enemy fire(not to mention the fact that their usual targets are capital ships and stations, for which accuracy is less important and raw DPS is more neccessary).

The AI did not always do that (deploy fighters then wraparound)
Yeah, the AI in Star Control is sadly not that great. I still found it impressive for its time, though.

Competitive players often used the technique quite well. The Leyland gravity whip maneuver was another way to catch up with a faster enemy in SC2, which did quite a bit to make kiting less unbalanced.

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Sat May 28, 2016 1:53 pm

In the past (pre-1.7), Omni turbolaser was great because Omni particle cannon was mediocre - lower DPS and nearly every midgame enemy had additional particle resistance beyond the level curve. Also, laser enhancer was cheaper and gave more damage. Omni turbolaser has not changed in ages and never once did I think it was overpowered. If anything, might be slightly underpowered without enhancement because level appropriate armor resist tier 1 damage strongly. Only recently, Omni particle cannon got the DPS buff it needed to compete and the ubiquitous Sung got blast resistance instead of particle, making particle damage competitive.

As for Omni TeV-9, it is not overpowered by the time you expect to get one (around Jiang's Star). Things start to resist particle damage heavily as things did for laser back at St. K's, and there are more enemies that shut down particle damage. If you get one early, well... it is overpowered like most other out-of-depth finds.

Omni weapons are good. If they were not they would not be used. All standard energy omni has no or low WMD, and is weak against objects with internals. (I did not think Omni was overpowered before internals and stochastic damage, except for pre-1.1 IM90.)

Today, I think either Omni laser cannon could either have fireRate slowed to five shots per second or level raised back to 3. Omni X-ray is very strong, but that is a crafted weapon with a hard-to-find component (x-ray laser). The other Omni weapons seem fine to me.
hitting a constant 50% accuracy while firing constantly in a dogfight is very difficult to achieve
That is true. In older versions which that was the case, it was because the base weapon was underpowered (e.g., pre-buff TeV-9, with DPS almost equal to dual particle beam weapon).

40% is more reasonable.
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Sat May 28, 2016 4:43 pm

OTL tends to show up alongside its enhancer, and neither uses much power. With the +75%, I've used it to kill even Charon frigates with a good degree of success. The recent changes to WMD, while beneficial, have meant that WMD is less of a barrier for weapons used against capital ships. As for the OT9, try it out against enemies in its region compared with the other weapons of its level. Unless you've got spectacular skill at the game, Ranx gunships, Kobol, and pretty much all other gunships in its level range are more easily beaten by it than any of the fixed weapons around its level.

In any case, I think we've gotten somewhat off topic here. We should probably be discussing mechanic changes rather than weapon balance. What would you propose as a means of giving ships a chance against kiting?

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Sun May 29, 2016 3:00 am

I checked omni turbolaser, and it has remained unchanged since 1.01. It was not overpowered then, and it is not overpowered now. The only problem before was omni particle cannon was underperforming, but that is no longer the case. As for laser enhancer, omni turbolaser will need it in Ungoverned Territories, and some ships like Wolfen might not have enough slots to support the enhancer without giving up something else the player wants more. (I usually go for miner's hold and either patcher arm or jumpdrive for Wolfen.)

I tried omni TeV 9. With +25% damage from before 1.7a, it is good now, instead of merely passable, and still not overpowered enough to be out-of-line. (Balance calculations show it is a bit overpowered, but not enough that it cannot be fixed with power and price adjustments.) Compared to fixed weapons, it is best only if I play the omni to its strengths and fight on the enemy gunships' terms (which is circling each other around range 20). If I kite and force the gunships to line up in a row, or I am faster and hug the enemy, I have better than 50% hit rate and I kill them somewhat faster with an ion weapon or tritium cannon. Dual TeV 9 is competitive too. Against destroyers or big capitals that I can tank, my hitrate is about 90+%, and fixed fire weapons are more powerful.

I think that while a "solution" to kiting is nice, it is not necessary. It is a minor problem at worst. Kiting is more of a problem because of lack of AI variety, not the concept of kiting itself. Even with kiting, players still die to carelessness or mistakes. Like Angband and Nethack, you can have the most overpowered character the game will allow you, yet you can still die to a single attack or combo almost instantly if you mess up at a bad time.

In the grand scheme of things, kiting is nothing compared to near-total immortality the game gives to the player who does not care about permadeath or score. Ran out of fuel and died? Who cares?! Just resurrect and resume your way. Commonwealth justice system means Commonwealth stations are fair game for armed robbery; just resurrect as many times as it takes for them to find you "Not Guilty!" and beat the system. When I played succession games with a resurrection count, I milked resurrection for all that it was worth. To me, there is no difference between one resurrection or a hundred. Resurrection, with full repairs and refueling, was added post-1.01 to prevent (or greatly minimize the chance of) players from saving the game into a no-win situation. It would be nice for the game to add a hardcore mode to enforce permadeath when a one-liner conduct amidst a wall-of-text of Game Statistics makes any conduct easy to overlook.

For those who care about permadeath, Domina power Desperate Escape overrides death with auto-Sustain for a few seconds. Combined with another escape, this makes honoring permadeath very easy. It is like godmode.

Solution to kiting for a game that has no boundaries (aside from Battle Arena), frictionless environment (aside from rare pockets of nebula), limitless ammo, and a fuel timer that can be extended by a plentiful supply of fuel is hard. Transcendence might make this even harder in that possible solutions may not be used on purpose.

Most ships are no faster than the player, and probably by design, and the few that are faster are weak enough to be easily slain by level-appropriate weapons. Wind Slaver used to be an exception, but sometime after 1.01, their armor was reduced from four segments to one, and they became easier to kill. Some Corporate Command enemy ships used to be a bit faster in the beta, but they were slowed down. Also, Manticore is called hard mode due to both sub-par speed and defenses.

To be honest, I do not think I have a solution that does not either fundamentally change the game (and introduce different problems) or violate canon (like adding teleportation or gravity beams that probably cannot be made by Transcendence humans).

One idea is a hack that interferes with power or engines, cutting target speed to half, like when interior for capital gets hits and the engine smokes. Only problem, the logical enemy to use this, Sung, already has the Wind Slaver, which outspeeds everything aside from Hornet or late-game ship with enhanced megadrive.

That is all for now.
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Sun May 29, 2016 4:17 pm

I find it no surprise that, in space, a slower ship with shorter ranged weapons would have no chance of hurting a faster and longer-ranged ship, given perfect actions of both sides. That is how it is, how it should be. In practice no player is perfect, and they will get hit while kiting enemies, perhaps a lot, perhaps almost never. It depends on their ability.

If we must have a counter to kiting, I suggest making the player's engine(drive) damageable, and repairable at most stations offering dock service. Now if the player gets hit while kiting, there's a chance their speed would drop, and the enemy can close in. The player will then need to dock at a station to repair their drive. This, however, could lead to a boring situation in which you drive slowly through systems to find a repair station. An altenative would be something akin to disruption that could always occur to the engine when the rear armor is damaged enough, regardless of what weapon hit it. It would be irrepairable, but would go away with time.
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Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:15 am

PM wrote:I checked omni turbolaser, and it has remained unchanged since 1.01. It was not overpowered then, and it is not overpowered now. The only problem before was omni particle cannon was underperforming, but that is no longer the case. As for laser enhancer, omni turbolaser will need it in Ungoverned Territories, and some ships like Wolfen might not have enough slots to support the enhancer without giving up something else the player wants more. (I usually go for miner's hold and either patcher arm or jumpdrive for Wolfen.)
I always have a slot for it as Wolfen - there's nothing else of much use up until later on, now that we can repair armor from <25%. I consider it OP on the basis that its effective DPS is much higher than that of other weapons of its level. To demonstrate, it can be used to easily beat the entire arena, including the Slicer, without difficulty.
Dual TeV 9 is competitive too. Against destroyers or big capitals that I can tank, my hitrate is about 90+%, and fixed fire weapons are more powerful.
The heavier weapons, like howitzers, aren't underpowered. The ones that have neither WMD nor omni don't seem to have much use, killing both gunships and capital ships more slowly than alternatives, while exposing the player to much more return fire.

I think that while a "solution" to kiting is nice, it is not necessary. It is a minor problem at worst. Kiting is more of a problem because of lack of AI variety, not the concept of kiting itself.
As I said earlier, there is no AI fix for kiting. Right now, it is mathematically impossible to defeat a faster, longer ranged enemy unless it makes a major error.
In the grand scheme of things, kiting is nothing compared to near-total immortality the game gives to the player who does not care about permadeath or score. Ran out of fuel and died? Who cares?! Just resurrect and resume your way.
Considering the fact that the player loses the progress made since the last death after resurrecting, there's still a challenge there. I will say that I liked the old resurrection system better, though - it felt more faithful to the genre.

Commonwealth justice system means Commonwealth stations are fair game for armed robbery; just resurrect as many times as it takes for them to find you "Not Guilty!" and beat the system.
Fixing that is both a good idea and quite easy. Just use ObjGetDestiny rather than a random value to determine the verdict. Lots of roguelikes do something similar to prevent abuse of the save function.
It would be nice for the game to add a hardcore mode to enforce permadeath when a one-liner conduct amidst a wall-of-text of Game Statistics makes any conduct easy to overlook.
A hardcore mode would be a nice feature to add, though, to justify its existence, it should probably change more than one thing. Here's what I'm thinking of:

- Enforce permadeath
- Enforce no backtracking
- Remove fire rate adjustment for hostile ships
- Prevent docking while a hostile/angry ship is within 50 ls
- Class powers reload upon entering a new system rather than over time
- Globally halve the sell price of equipment
For those who care about permadeath, Domina power Desperate Escape overrides death with auto-Sustain for a few seconds. Combined with another escape, this makes honoring permadeath very easy. It is like godmode.
I think there are ways to get past that, like disintegration or being 1 - hit by very heavy weaponry. Right now, slaves provide a way to max Domina rank very easily to the point where donating anything else is extraneous, and getting desperate escape is all but guaranteed, but ideally the effort required to unlock the ability should be on par with its utility, and getting it before the end of the Outer Realm should be quite rare.
Solution to kiting for a game that has no boundaries (aside from Battle Arena), frictionless environment (aside from rare pockets of nebula), limitless ammo, and a fuel timer that can be extended by a plentiful supply of fuel is hard. Transcendence might make this even harder in that possible solutions may not be used on purpose.
If you prefer a change to fix kiting that doesn't affect movement, enforcing an inverse relationship between speed and range could also work. In effect, this would give heavier gunships a bonus to weapon range relative to lighter gunships, to reflect more stable mounting. This would also give ships like the Spartan and Manticore a much needed advantage over the Wolfen, which is both quicker than them and a smaller target.
One idea is a hack that interferes with power or engines, cutting target speed to half, like when interior for capital gets hits and the engine smokes. Only problem, the logical enemy to use this, Sung, already has the Wind Slaver, which outspeeds everything aside from Hornet or late-game ship with enhanced megadrive.
I suggested this a while ago for the Steel or Earth slaver to use if being kited - it's a quite good idea, given that the current iteration of the Wind slaver usually doesn't last past the start of a battle.

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Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:05 pm

Re: Omni turbo.
Its DPS is higher because armor of the same level heavily resists laser and kinetic. RK15 is even more damaging than omni turbolaser, but more major enemies (i.e., Charon pirates, gladiators with monopole deflector or blast plate) resist kinetic more than laser. Level 4 is a bad place for weapons. In the New Beyond, they are much rarer than weapons of level 2 or 3; and in Ungoverned Territories, most are relatively underpowered and almost obsolete like level 1 weapons were in New Beyond. Finding a level 4 or 5 weapon that you want in the New Beyond is a luck-based mission. In Ungoverned Territories, you usually want level 5+ hardware. (Usually, because I want waste cannon, but only stations past St. K's can install it.) Enhanced Omni turbolaser/RK15 is useful in Ungoverned Territories, but does not overshadow the weapons you find there.

If I get Omni turbolaser (or RK15) early enough for Battle Arena AND laser collimator (or cannon accelerator for RK15), sure, it is overpowered... like other out-of-depth items (though Battle Arena gives out-of-depth enemies). I do not always find Omni turbolaser/RK15 before St. K's, and occasionally, not at all in the game. In one game, I looted an EMP cannon in Eridani, and that made Battle Arena (and Charon frigates) trivial.

For Wolfen, I occasionally use the collimator if I have not yet found a second non-device item to use, which is uncommon. Cargo expansion (usually miner's) is a given, and I often find a second device, either solar panel or patcher arm (although I might use weapon enhancer instead of solar panel if I have solar armor, otherwise the panel stays on). For Spartan, Raijin, and other ships with only two non-device slots, engine becomes high-priority once Titan becomes available.
JohnBWatson wrote:The heavier weapons, like howitzers, aren't underpowered. The ones that have neither WMD nor omni don't seem to have much use, killing both gunships and capital ships more slowly than alternatives, while exposing the player to much more return fire.
Howitzers are powerful, but not always so good against (some) gunships because their shots knock-out your shots, and howitzers fire slowly. When I tried howitzer against gunships, they kept shooting down most of my shots. As for skirmish weapons without WMD and Omni, well, yes, they are less than optimal, but sometimes, you take what you can get, and they are not underpowered against appropriate targets. Against a swarm of gunships, if I kite to line them up or stay within point-blank range where I cannot miss, my hit rate is high and I will kill gunships faster than with an Omni. If I can tank a capital, I will definitely kill it faster than with an Omni without WMD. Omni is mostly useful if you need to run-and-gun (attack while dodging things you cannot tank) or if your aiming is poor. Omni without WMD (which is most of them) is primarily a gunship killer, although it can be used to kill capitals slowly if run-and-gun is the only way to win without dying.
JohnBWatson wrote:As I said earlier, there is no AI fix for kiting. Right now, it is mathematically impossible to defeat a faster, longer ranged enemy unless it makes a major error.
True, and I expect that to be the case in a frictionless environment like in deep space. If the enemy is on the losing side like this, and it is chasing the winning side, the smart thing it should do is to stop chasing (and maybe gate out if it has nothing to defend). That alone should reduce some enemy casualties. Player will probably not go out of his way to chase every last gunship.
JohnBWatson wrote:Considering the fact that the player loses the progress made since the last death after resurrecting, there's still a challenge there. I will say that I liked the old resurrection system better, though - it felt more faithful to the genre.
This is one reason why I call Transcendence Diablo 2 in space. (Another reason is real-time instead of turn-based.) You only lose progress if you do not save. If I want to abuse resurrection, I save anytime I make useful progress so that when I die, I do not need to do it again. I prefer the old system, but the game auto-saves when you gate, and it is very possible to get stuck in a no-win situation; for example, gating when you have a few seconds left before you die from radiation. Enough people got into no-win situations that it was a problem, and resurrection was implemented.
JohnBWatson wrote:A hardcore mode would be a nice feature to add, though, to justify its existence, it should probably change more than one thing. Here's what I'm thinking of:

- Enforce permadeath
- Enforce no backtracking
- Remove fire rate adjustment for hostile ships
- Prevent docking while a hostile/angry ship is within 50 ls
- Class powers reload upon entering a new system rather than over time
- Globally halve the sell price of equipment
I disagree for "Hardcore". In Diablo 2, all Hardcore did there was enforce permadeath, nothing else, and it played much differently. People played a bit smarter and prioritized defense more, dupes were not as common, and player-killing griefers were common. Given how mainstream Diablo is (or was), if you call a game "Hardcore", people expect enforced permadeath (only).

All I want from a "Hardcore" mode in Transcendence is forced permadeath. (I have made a mod that does this, but it is a bit sloppy in execution - must resurrect once, and obituary is overridden by "honored permadeath".) I am a shameless powergamer who wants to win, and if push-come-to-shove, I will break permadeath conduct to win at any cost if necessary, if my character dies late enough.

No backtracking is "Ironman". This is possible in Stars of the Pilgrim, without Corporate Command. In Corporate Command, the final chimera mission is in a dead-end system, Belt Algez, and forced Ironman would be impossible (without skipping the Chimera mission line). Eternity Port has dead-end systems (Urak and Terminus), and not visiting them is noted on Game Statistics. The backtrack to Sirius after killing the final boss probably should not count since that is akin to leaving the dungeon with the amulet of Yendor. Option for Ironman should only be offered for adventures that do not have dead-end systems, aside from final systems like Heretic.


Re: Desperate Escape
Disintegration trumps Desperate Escape? (I will need to try that.) But that is only against the final boss.


Re: Sung
Earth Slavers only appear near Citadels or during Huari missions. They are a non-factor if player wants to avoid them. (I do because ShieldsDown is deadly to solar armor users.) Steel Slavers are slow and already have an obnoxious PeacefulRestraint hack. It would probably be useful if there was another Sung ship built for that purpose and included in random encounters.
Download and Play in 1.7 Beta...
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.

PM
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Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:00 pm

One idea to make kiting less common is to give more enemies long-range tracking missiles. After some point in the game, say after Rigel, every major enemy is armed with Stilettos or other level-appropriate equivalent. If gunships run out of missiles, either dock with their station for more or gate out and have reinforcements appear with more missiles.

Also, have more gunships act like Dwarg Masters and stand-off with missiles.
johnBWatson wrote:- Remove fire rate adjustment for hostile ships
One thing that bugged me about Diablo 2 is nearly every enemy had a delay between actions. That delay got shorter in higher difficulties, but it never became zero even in Hell difficulty. Not too crazy of all but boss ships firing slower than the player here in Transcendence either. (I made the Triggerhappy mod to fix this deficiency.) I suppose it could be useful to show pilots who are unskilled (or you do not want additional ships to give too much firepower in case of player wingmen), but standard combat pilots should be triggerhappy.
Download and Play in 1.7 Beta...
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.

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JohnBWatson
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Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:16 am

PM wrote: If I get Omni turbolaser (or RK15) early enough for Battle Arena AND laser collimator (or cannon accelerator for RK15), sure, it is overpowered... like other out-of-depth items (though Battle Arena gives out-of-depth enemies). I do not always find Omni turbolaser/RK15 before St. K's, and occasionally, not at all in the game. In one game, I looted an EMP cannon in Eridani, and that made Battle Arena (and Charon frigates) trivial.
I think you may be onto something there - I'm usually able to find an OTL by the second or third system, if not the first. It's possible that the issue with it is the same as that of Blast Plate - it just shows up too early for its level.
For Wolfen, I occasionally use the collimator if I have not yet found a second non-device item to use, which is uncommon. Cargo expansion (usually miner's) is a given, and I often find a second device, either solar panel or patcher arm (although I might use weapon enhancer instead of solar panel if I have solar armor, otherwise the panel stays on). For Spartan, Raijin, and other ships with only two non-device slots, engine becomes high-priority once Titan becomes available.
I think patcher arm may need a bit of a buff now, given that its cost/rarity is no longer made up for by the utility of easy repairs for heavily damaged armor. At any rate, I haven't used it since the armor damage change.
JohnBWatson wrote: Howitzers are powerful, but not always so good against (some) gunships because their shots knock-out your shots, and howitzers fire slowly. When I tried howitzer against gunships, they kept shooting down most of my shots. As for skirmish weapons without WMD and Omni, well, yes, they are less than optimal, but sometimes, you take what you can get, and they are not underpowered against appropriate targets. Against a swarm of gunships, if I kite to line them up or stay within point-blank range where I cannot miss, my hit rate is high and I will kill gunships faster than with an Omni. If I can tank a capital, I will definitely kill it faster than with an Omni without WMD. Omni is mostly useful if you need to run-and-gun (attack while dodging things you cannot tank) or if your aiming is poor. Omni without WMD (which is most of them) is primarily a gunship killer, although it can be used to kill capitals slowly if run-and-gun is the only way to win without dying.
That's my assessment as well. There's not really much of a niche for fixed non - WMD weapons, given that they aren't cheap/common enough(or, alternatively, omnis aren't expensive/rare enough) to be last resorts, and omnis kill even swarms of gunships quickly enough that there's not much advantage over an equally leveled fixed weapon. Howitzers and the like would probably be balanced if they couldn't consistently strike from outside weapon range of fighters, aside from things like the Flenser that excel against everything.

Come to think of it, a viable solution here could be buffing the speed and health of some gunships such that there is a middle ground between the ultra - light ones that omni weapons kill nearly instantly and the heavy ones that can easily be outranged and killed by heavier weapons. In other words, a class of ship that does need the extra bit of damage(and can reliably be hit by a non - omni weapon), but doesn't need WMD to be killed.
JohnBWatson wrote: True, and I expect that to be the case in a frictionless environment like in deep space. If the enemy is on the losing side like this, and it is chasing the winning side, the smart thing it should do is to stop chasing (and maybe gate out if it has nothing to defend). That alone should reduce some enemy casualties. Player will probably not go out of his way to chase every last gunship.
The issue there is that, under this system, nearly every enemy in the game would retreat from a stock Wolfen armed with a Mark I. I'm not against having the AI run from mathematically unwinnable fights, but for such a behavior to be reasonable, fewer fights need to be unwinnable for it. While having thrusting temporarily boost the max speed is one way of doing this, a more purist but somewhat more time consuming solution would be to re-balance some of the game's ships so that they're either fast enough to catch up with a howitzer wolfen or have some means of shooting back at that range.
JohnBWatson wrote: I disagree for "Hardcore". In Diablo 2, all Hardcore did there was enforce permadeath, nothing else, and it played much differently. People played a bit smarter and prioritized defense more, dupes were not as common, and player-killing griefers were common. Given how mainstream Diablo is (or was), if you call a game "Hardcore", people expect enforced permadeath (only).
My reasoning is that we've already got the permadeath conduct. Having two features with near - identical functionality might cause confusion.
No backtracking is "Ironman". This is possible in Stars of the Pilgrim, without Corporate Command. In Corporate Command, the final chimera mission is in a dead-end system, Belt Algez, and forced Ironman would be impossible (without skipping the Chimera mission line).
Jumpdrive or a Halo Gem would work, I believe. Complete the mission, then jump to Heretic.
Re: Desperate Escape
Disintegration trumps Desperate Escape? (I will need to try that.) But that is only against the final boss.
I think it was patched recently - I just tested it, and Desperate Escape now protects against disintegrate. That said, it doesn't last all that long - an EI500 saved at point blank range from an ICS won't be able to retreat to safety. If there were more ships that could shoot at a distance or keep up with the player, it wouldn't be quite as effective as it presently is.
Re: Sung
Earth Slavers only appear near Citadels or during Huari missions. They are a non-factor if player wants to avoid them. (I do because ShieldsDown is deadly to solar armor users.) Steel Slavers are slow and already have an obnoxious PeacefulRestraint hack. It would probably be useful if there was another Sung ship built for that purpose and included in random encounters.
I was thinking of the Steel Slaver due to its slow speed and short weapon range. I noted the Earth Slaver because it's a very powerful ship that can easily be led across the system after its Citadel is killed. The latter might be a bit too lethal at short range for that to be reasonably balanced, so fixing the glitch with patrolling guards might be a better way to alleviate that issue(along with having capital ship guards not respawn instantly).

One idea to make kiting less common is to give more enemies long-range tracking missiles. After some point in the game, say after Rigel, every major enemy is armed with Stilettos or other level-appropriate equivalent. If gunships run out of missiles, either dock with their station for more or gate out and have reinforcements appear with more missiles.

Also, have more gunships act like Dwarg Masters and stand-off with missiles.
Both good mechanics. Come to think of it, 'sniper missiles' would be a decent gimmick for ED's presently useless non - WMD missiles.
One thing that bugged me about Diablo 2 is nearly every enemy had a delay between actions. That delay got shorter in higher difficulties, but it never became zero even in Hell difficulty. Not too crazy of all but boss ships firing slower than the player here in Transcendence either. (I made the Triggerhappy mod to fix this deficiency.) I suppose it could be useful to show pilots who are unskilled (or you do not want additional ships to give too much firepower in case of player wingmen), but standard combat pilots should be triggerhappy.
My somewhat weak justification for that was that Domina was giving the player's equipment an edge over the opponent. That said, I definitely prefer giving lower - end enemy ships appropriately cheap weapons and letting the player's better gear be the advantage rather than giving them high end, incredibly expensive weaponry and then artificially lowering its DPS.

PM
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Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:20 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:I think you may be onto something there - I'm usually able to find an OTL by the second or third system, if not the first. It's possible that the issue with it is the same as that of Blast Plate - it just shows up too early for its level.
As someone who generally plays without expansions, my luck of finding either Omni turbolaser or RK15 before Rigel are not very good, and before St. K's unreliable at best. Some games, I get my level 4 omni and kill things. Other times, I do not, and I need to use Stilettos or the SmartCannon for non-fixed options. (Now, SmartCannon is guaranteed for those who play Benedict's game.)

Transcendence should have some out-of-depth stuff. It makes things interesting. Transcendence may or may not have too much though.

As for Omni turbo and RK15, level 4 is the top-of-the-line for New Beyond and cheap-clearance for Ungoverned Territories. Most places in New Beyond aside from arms dealers may have a level limit of 3, or have the bulk of their items at level 3 and a few level 4-5 treasures to make things special. In Ungoverned Territories, level 5 and 6 items are common and level 4 is the new level 1. As I wrote earlier, level 4 is a bad place to be. I really dislike adding such weapons in my mods unless it is a launcher that can last for a while longer (or something the enemy uses, which I have not made yet).
JohnBWatson wrote:I think patcher arm may need a bit of a buff now, given that its cost/rarity is no longer made up for by the utility of easy repairs for heavily damaged armor. At any rate, I haven't used it since the armor damage change.
Patcher arm is good as it is. I like to get it because it makes armor repair free. Like fuel, armor repairs rob the player of income. One thing I do not like about patcher arm is it cannot repair light Iocrym armor, although by then, I have patch spiders for that purpose.
There's not really much of a niche for fixed non - WMD weapons, given that they aren't cheap/common enough(or, alternatively, omnis aren't expensive/rare enough) to be last resorts,
Omni weapons are rarer than other weapons, and most of them do not have WMD, and the few that have significant WMD use ammo, aside from RK15. They also have sub-par DPS during uncommon times when you cannot miss with any other weapon, and they upgrade damage tier later. (You will never see a positron/plasma Omni in part 1 aside from the Morana endgame reward.)

Fixed weapons without WMD are less versatile, but they have a good blend of firepower and ease-of-use (fast rate-of-fire, fast shots) against appropriate targets. Nearly all such weapons are energy weapons. There are not many energy weapons with WMD.

Generally, I take weapons as I find them. I do not always have a choice of gear when I need it, due to availability or cost.
JohnBWatson wrote:My reasoning is that we've already got the permadeath conduct. Having two features with near - identical functionality might cause confusion.
It would not. I saw no such confusion at BattleNet during Diablo 2's heyday. People (aside from the incompetent ones) tend to avoid death without enforced permadeath, though they may not take death too seriously - enough that offense has priority over defense. (In case of Diablo 2, they do not want to waste hours or possibly days worth of XP grinding after they reach level 90.) When permadeath is enforced, player will put more emphasis on survival.
JohnBWatson wrote:I was thinking of the Steel Slaver due to its slow speed and short weapon range. I noted the Earth Slaver because it's a very powerful ship that can easily be led across the system after its Citadel is killed. The latter might be a bit too lethal at short range for that to be reasonably balanced, so fixing the glitch with patrolling guards might be a better way to alleviate that issue(along with having capital ship guards not respawn instantly).
Player is under no obligation to destroy a Sung citadel (unless ordered to do so in a mission from an expansion or mod, or Hurin questline). If the player wants to give the citadel a wide berth due to over-reliance on shield for defense, he will, and neither citadel nor Earth Slavers that guard the citadel will bother him. If player destroys the citadel but cannot deal with avenging Earth Slavers, he will die and learn to leave citadels alone if he does not want to fight Earth Slavers.

The point is player can easily avoid Earth Slavers and never need to fight them. Earth Slavers are never part of random encounters, only as guards to citadels and as siege weapons in Hurin missions.
Download and Play in 1.7 Beta...
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.

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