Armor balance discussion

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Armor balance discussion

Post by george moromisato » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:18 am

I've put together a spreadsheet trying to determine current balance for armor:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

Some notes:
  • Column E shows the calculated balance excluding cost. This is the column that we should strive to get close to 0.
  • Column I shows the balance from regen/decay. I think it is much to low right now, but what should it be? How much should (e.g.,) Duralloy's regeneration cost in terms of HP?
  • Column P shows balance contribution from mass. Right now you get an extra 25% HP for every 3 tons of mass above 3. If more than 6 tons, you get an extra 25% and if more than 12 tons, another 25%. I'm not sure if this is the right balance (should it be lower or higher?)
Lastly, looking at Column E we can see which armors the algorithms thinks is over/under-powered. The algorithm thinks titanium barricades are overpowered (by double). And it thinks some of the lower-level meteorsteel is overpowered.

Right now I'm trying to refine the balance algorithm. Let me know where you disagree with the balance algorithm. Which armors did the balance algorithm over/under estimate?

Once we've refined the balance algorithm, we can talk about re-balancing armor.

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by Xephyr » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:50 am

It might also be important to consider armor frequency. Heavy Meteorsteel looks unbalanced at a glance, but I haven't seen a full set of it before the Ungoverned Territories since pre-1.0.

I'm not sure that the shield interference penalty should be consistent across levels, because losing shields may be more dangerous at lower levels compared to higher levels.

Advanced ceralloy is radiation vulnerable at level 7, but gets no penalty!

Mass balance should probably consider the armor mass limits on playerships. It should have several thresholds: 6,12,20 tons are the current consistent limits for part I ships. Low masses should be more forgiving on +cost and +damage resistance, and high masses should be more forgiving on high-HP; titanium barricades could get a break on this.

Beyond all that, it's pretty much exactly what I expected. The armors I naturally gravitate to are all positive and the armors I avoid like the plague are all negative.
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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by JohnBWatson » Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:33 am

I notice most of the high level armors are negative. While a few could use improvement, I'd say that overall, mid - late game armor is tougher than it ought to be - shields could use greater importance, given that, even in a Sapphire, I've always found upgraded shields more trouble than they tend to be worth for anything other than dreadnought farming. Aside from that, the general trends seem okay, though I'll point out a few things that I considered exceptions.

Titanium barricades (and their variants) aren't very good. Their complete lack of resistances to the common damage types mean that that extra HP evaporates in combat. Salvagers, which use them, are absolutely trivial to kill nowadays, and players using them also have to deal with the fact that these armors make repair more costly and repair devices do less to help the player per unit healed. Perhaps a damage reduction to non - WMD damage could make them relevant again, while providing a de facto boost to the EI500, which tends to suffer in the early game.

Heavy ithalium is pretty solid, especially given that the +50% HP boost from orthosteel nanos makes it nigh - impenetrable. Great resistance against the sorts of things that tear the player up in the late game. I would say it's the strongest Wolfen - equippable armor in the vanilla game when properly enhanced.

Dragon armor is somewhat weak for a unique armor that's only going to be found by a player with endgame equipment. It's good for its level, but any player that gets it will be using armor several levels higher. Dvalin armor suffers from this as well. Power creep has been unkind to them.

Solar armor is an obvious special case. It'd probably be mildly OP given its resistances if it weren't quite so rare. I'd say it's perfect as it is.

Ceralloy is pretty good. EMP immunity is a very good benefit to have in the region where it shows up, and 15 hp is no significant disadvantage when it's all but immune to the immediate threats.

P1000 hexphase can't be used by the player, nor can anything in vanilla with mass beyond 20kg. Given that CSCs are already nearly invincible in battles of attirition, it could stand to be a bit weaker, as just how many kg heavier than 20 it is is irrelevant to its status in the game. The system for capital ship armor masses could do to be more consistent as a whole - some capships field armor that would fit on a Sapphire, while others use supermassive armor that is completely locked out for the player. My personal preference would be to go through the game's capships and give all of them reasonably desirable armor that is just barely light enough to be used by the heaviest available playership. I like the idea of someone starting a game with a freighter and getting excited the first time they realize that stealing the armor off of a battleship is now a possibility.

Armor fielded by late game enemies that draw power from numbers, like luminous armature and light tharsis, is going to be useless to players that find them in almost all cases. Giving them niche effects and/or making some of the more powerful armors restricted to higher weight classes could ease this. Luminous Armature, for example, could make shields slightly more efficient. Perhaps light tharsis could be incredibly quick/cheap to repair?

Other notes:

Some laser/kinetic vulnerabilities in midgame would be an improvement, in my opinion. Right now, every early - mid level armor has +615% resistance to both, yet these armors can be acquired while enemies use almost nothing else, and both laser and, to a lesser degree, kinetic are used well into the Ungoverned Territories.

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by shanejfilomena » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:47 pm

Ok, you guys amaze me :
Why weren't those kind of brains available to the rest of us? I only got the little red one ..

:)

The manner that the game calculates damage is interestingly annoying because stations now require pretty much a Planet Buster approach .. Bombers anybody?

Anyway, Dragon Armor - I used to fly a Dragon Slaver & forever complained that the Great Technical Sung Innovation was harmed more by it's use of slaves then helped because they can't defend against their own weapon damage types.

the CSC has issues with Hostiles over level 6 because it doesn't MOVE during a battle ( in game ), it just sits there taking damage : the CSC Base does try to help the ship but after a few Ventari or Phobos, there aren't many CSC left in the game.

** I once flew a CSC ..as well other ships in game so I could understand them better. Including the Borer Miner ... talk about a cramped work space..

( I am trying to address this in DSV Hummingbird and have yet to find a counter that I like because the Brits are too much ( until they run out of rockets ) and
the Centurians aren't much at all. in terms of weapons Vs. armor types - I watched 3 Brits take well over a minute to kill to kill an EI7000 using just the main gun)
Then you have the Repair factor : the 1.7 Damage Control Party are a bunch of slackers.

I love Solar Armor, not very strong by itself but useful. Getting a heavy version so you can backtrack with a Hyperion is impossible unless it's a Mod.

Ceralloy is fine but the main problem with it is pairing it with a shield that actually works.

The only shield I think that is worth anything against high value targets is the Invincible, but I know too well that if you're not moving in Ares or Dwarg space you're DOA. Only your Armor can save you in those areas and the best options against those weapons aren't always as good on the Player ship as they appear to be on the NPC..
Flying Irresponsibly In Eridani......

I don't like to kill pirates in cold blood ..I do it.. but I don't like it..

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by PM » Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:15 am

Xephyr wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:50 am
Mass balance should probably consider the armor mass limits on playerships. It should have several thresholds: 6,12,20 tons are the current consistent limits for part I ships.
There are also armor limits for autons. This is important for Constellation or any ship with auton bay. Limits for stock autons are four tons or less.

Also, armor mass is a big deal. I prefer light armor on light ships even if they can use heavy armor. I tend to avoid armor weighing more than three or four tons on Sapphire and Wolfen (and maybe Raijin) because they, along with progressively heavier devices, can kill maneuverability, and too much will hurt thrust enough that even Wolfen will want an engine.

I will examine the docs more later, but off the top of my head:
* I agree with others that barricades are fragile despite high hp due to lack of resistances.

* Solar armor is a special case: Given how I play, I consider it the only viable armor in the game, because solar refueling is infinite food. Because I rely on armor for fuel, I rely almost entirely on shields for defense. Aside from that, the armor itself may be good against energy weapons, but weakness to blast really hurts. Missiles are fairly common, and using blast armor in Battle Arena is an easy way to die if you cannot kill the opponent immediately.
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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by Derakon » Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:23 am

Seems like armor HP should be calculated as effective HP against weapons whose damage type is equal or lesser than the armor's level? Or something along those lines, anyway. It's pretty easy to get armor that's nearly immune to particle or lesser damage types, for example, which renders a lot of mid- and late-game threats more or less moot (except in that they'll destroy externally-mounted gear once your shields drop).

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by AssumedPseudonym » Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:51 am

 Copypasta from Shrike, who is currently at a university whose IP address has been blocked from most of the internet after one of the other students there managed to get their computer righteously pwned.
Shrike wrote: Ok, Shrike here writing from the purgatory that is my university.

This is a nice sheet and all, but there's a few issues with it.

Here's the big one: Armor balance isn't fully determined by the armor and its own attributes. It's largely determined by what is shooting at it. Xephyr's made it to heretic on plasteel armor by virtue of not getting shot at, and there are weapons that in more normal circumstances are able to shift balance by themselves. For example: the KM110 and 800F are both (somewhat overpowered) common missiles used be dangerous enemies....and make matter-vulnerable armors less viable in the early game. Likewise, the basic laser cannon stops working on level 6 armor or so, making common armors of that level (cough, blast plate) even more attractive than they would otherwise be. In the later game, resistance to ionisation becomes important as the ventari turn up (because it stacks to absurd levels rather than having sensible time periods, and can easily cripple a ship).

Particle-resistant armors (Ceralloy, Gusoku) are less valuable because 1: They're not very good (rad vulnerability for ceralloy, general awfulness for Gusoku) but more importantly 2: Particle weapons aren't paired with dangerous secondaries. Whereas blast resistant armor provides great protection against the dwargs primary blast weapons if you're disabled by their EMP weapons (Yes, ceralloy is resistant to EMP, and eventually immune. This mostly doesn't matter because it's vulnerable to blast in a way that doesn't really compensate enough).


Armor needs to be balanced by mass, and have a number of categories. As one possible set (made up on the spot, so don't critique it too much) Light and ultralight for autons and small gunships. Standard armor for freighters, gunships and yachts. Medium armor for gunships and heavier craft, heavy armor for bigger ships, and capital-grade for ships that need great armor that we don't want the player to use unless they're also in a capital ship.

I would suggest not being overly attached to the armor limits on the playerships. Those can, and should, be revised in the light of changes made during the armor rebalance process.

These are early thoughts, and I'll try coming up with more to post once my uni fixes its damned network and gets off the anti-spam blocklist. To leave off with, these are armors I personally feel deserve changes:

Blast plate: The go-to armor for the early game. It can ignore red-laser fire, absorb missiles with ease, has good HP totals, has radiation immunity (allowing you to ignore radiation as soon as you encounter it) and has no disadvantage whatsoever. It's also fairly easy to get. While not as insane as it was before stochastic damage adjustment was brought in, it's still absurdly powerful in the early game.

Gusoku armor: There is no point to lightweight armors with low hitpoints in this game right now. No playerships are light enough that an armor with these stats is justified. The military rating (originally used as a means to 'fix' the problem of it turning up in Eridani) makes it even worse to get. If light armor is going to be a thing, make it necessary to use: cut the armor limits on the Wolfen and Sapphire so that heavy gunships have a monopoly on heavy armor. And for this armor...it needs to be civilian, or massively better.

XMH Armor: I have no idea what to do with this stuff, but.....yeah. It's awful

Dwarg reflective armors: Reflect is currently a win-button until another damage type does damage, at which point it's useless. I would suggest having a lower "full health" reflect value (maybe 80-90%) and a higher "low health" value. Immunity can, and should, be handled with damage resistance modifiers, not a special status effect.

Diamond lattice: Currently I would say that Octocarbide is balanced perfectly for level 10. Diamond lattice....is kinda 'eh'. Largely for the same reasons as Gusoku. There's just no niche for it given how common carbide is. Heavy ithalium has a different problem: there aren't enough plasma and thermo sources for it to be worthwhile for the most part (unless you add ion paste and go hunting phobos dreadnoughts)

Stealth armor: Nerfs to stealth in 1.7 made it basically useless, particularly on NPCs.

I would also note that, with the current armor limitations, the reduced health and worse resistances of ceramic armor when compared with reactive armor (on the entire lineup) is by no means compensated for by their reduced mass (mass doesn't matter right now).
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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by JohnBWatson » Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:17 am

I have to disagree on getting rid of reflect and the like. It's far from a win button as it is, and it's one of the few exciting features that armor presently has. If all armor choice is is comparing numbers, most people aren't going to like it as much.

I've used the reflect coatings and armors, and, while useful in some cases, they've generally been less powerful than more standard alternatives. Armor is the player's last barrier from death, so trading extreme resistance or immunity from one threat for weakness to others is more than fair.

Regarding Ceralloy, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses in my experience. It has the same nigh immunity to early damagetypes as blast plate and Omsk armor, but is immune to EMP, an often lethal status effect carried by two factions that make use of it throughout the UT through very difficult to avoid weapons.

Thoughts on status resistances:

They're definitely not all equal, and should probably be weighted differently based on how much of a threat they are.

Blind isn't all that relevant for anything fast enough to avoid the gunships that provide it, and near - universal immunity shows up before the ships that inflict it. It was much more balanced in the New Beyond, where the Visual Display ROMs that repaired it were widely available, the laser damage typically paired with blinder cannons was threatening, and it served as an introduction to the mechanic of status effects as well as one of the few sources of region - relevant lootable armor in the game. As a side note, Heliotrope gunships could do to be as agile as their size and shape imply they would be - they don't really have anything else going for them.

EMP is, as mentioned above, a very deadly status effect, due in part to the way Dwarg weapons accidentally make use of its stacking properties. EMP immunity turns the Dwarg from one of the most dangerous factions in the game to a threat that can be taken on without much more concern than any other. Given that the Dwarg have some of the best(relative to region) loot in the game, this is another major advantage. Easily the best immunity to have in the region where it's relevant.

Radiation vulnerability/immunity is rarely more than a QoL issue, given that the only sources of radiation damage with any chance of landing a hit are the missiles fielded by the Sapiens, which are slow and easy to avoid encountering, and almost never result in more than a 250 credit penalty for a careful player. While radiation was much more lethal in earlier versions with less generous system generation, it's less threatening nowadays. Because of the potential for death, it's probably worth a small change in resistance to a valued damagetype.

Device Damage immunity is of minimal use - the only source of it in the game is a short ranged attack from a slow enemy with no long ranged weapons, so a careful player will never be hit by it at all and a reckless one can easily escape and wait it out. It's less of a QoL improvement than radiation, but a small HP bonus in exchange for vulnerability might make players feel good about not needing it while adding diversity to the set of armors available.

Disintegrate immunity is insurance during the final battle, serving as an alternative to or backup for a strong shield, a high level of vigilance, or a point defense device. I've never had need for it, but it definitely makes people more comfortable taking on ICS, so it's probably worth a small penalty as a tradeoff for peace of mind.

Additionally, all status effects tend to be associated/paired with a single damage type. (Laser for blind, blast/laser for EMP, etc.) Perhaps being immune to an effect that cripples(rather than kills, like Disintegrate) should be worth more for an armor that isn't resistant to the damage associated with it?

Side note:

A script that goes through vanilla game deaths and compares the causes would be very interesting, and could be useful here. As others have mentioned, resistances should be weighted based on the threat a damage type presents in the region where a player is likely to use the armor carrying them. The ability to see which ships are most dangerous would help with determining the weighting here. Though it's not scientific, in general, I've noticed the following trends from looking at a small sample of games:

New Beyond:

Laser = Blast > Kinetic, all others irrelevant.

Early Ungoverned Territories:

Blast > Laser ~ Particle > Kinetic

Early Outer Realm(Bleeds into late UT):

Ion = Thermo > Particle

Late outer realm

Ion = Thermo = Positron > Plasma ~ Particle

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by NMS » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:32 am

There are a lot of good points here. But I disagree with the people who are down on titanium barricades. I consider the doubles (level 3) about as good as level 5s and the quads (level 4) better than level 6s (except maybe blast plate because of the convenience of rad immunity). Sure, they have less effective health against laser and kinetic, but much more against anything else, which is to say, the things that actually have a chance of killing you. And because of the low repair level, they aren't necessarily more expensive to repair at a station, though repair consumables are less good on them.

Also, George has said that low level damage types becoming obsolete later in the game is very much intentional. And they don't become entirely ineffective quite as soon as they used to, thanks to stochastic rounding. So the problem is not with the armor balance, but with enemies with weak weapons appearing too late in the game. I've been meaning to make a more detailed thread or ticket, but basically the ones that fill an important role where they are, like Marauders, need better weapons. And the others, like Anarchists, should be restricted to system levels where they can compete.

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by JohnBWatson » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:26 am

That's a good point. The issues with obsolete damage types come largely from the movement of groups originating in the New Beyond over to the Ungoverned Territories, where they really don't fit. The Sapiens, Anarchists, and Heliotropes would be perfectly balanced back in the region they were created for. That said, I still believe that the cost, health, and early damagetype resistances of Omsk, Ceralloy, and Blast Plate shouldn't be nearly identical, if only for the sake of appearances.

For example, Blast Plate could be weaker against all energy damagetypes and stronger against matter weapons, Ceralloy vice verso, and Omsk could fall somewhere in between. That'd make the choice between them a bit more meaningful.

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by PM » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:10 am

Various comments:

I agree with Shrike that stealth armor is basically worthless now - its stealth rating is not high enough. Most things already ignore the player without stealth at range 40, unless player shoots at them, in which case no amount of stealth will help. It may be useful for hiding for NPCs from the player, but that would be it. Stealth armor needs a rating of 11 or 12 before it can be somewhat useful. Pre-nerf stealth armor was mildly useful. Now if stealth did things like break missile lock, sort of like Ilwrath cloaking device in Star Control, or otherwise prevent tracking or auto-aiming, stealth would be more useful, or more useful than not being seen while diving through systems like how most characters dive down stairs (while avoiding most fights) in Angband for better loot.

Shrike is right that whoever is shooting at your armor determines how useful the armor is.

For example, in New Beyond, the only significant enemy that uses kinetic are the Centauri in Eridani. Outside of Eridani, Charon Pirates dominate, and they use mostly lasers and occasionally missiles. In addition, all of the important missions (i.e., Korolov, agricutural) feature Charon pirates (and little, if anything, else). They attack with lasers and missiles. Enemies that use kinetic are insignificant and can be fled from, and particle damage is almost non-existant. You generally cannot flee from Charon Pirates during a mission without failing it.

In Ungoverned Territories, while Sung is very common, other enemies may vary. In several games, the most common enemy I found were... outlaw miners... who use mostly lasers and kinetics, aside from the turrets with Moskva 33s. Some games, Ungoverned Territories are infested with barely upgraded early-game enemies (namely Outlaws and Marauders) that are easy to kill. NMS is probably right; enemies like Marauders need better weapons.


About reflection: Keep it. That is fun property, and it can be an alternative method of making armor immune. By that, armor can be immune either be absorbing an attack completely or bouncing it away. However current reflect does not always protect fragile targets. Dwarg masters can sometimes get killed by particle attacks despite reflection. Maybe armor with reflect could just automatically make it immune.


I like low mass and low hp armor (at least during late game). It helps let my gunships watch their weight as device upgrades get progressively heavier. The ultimate armor in the game is light Iocrym Plate. It is also useful for making NPC ships easier to kill.

Octocarbide is very good, but diamond lattice is a fine alternative if octocarbide cannot be found or is too pricey when found. There was one, maybe two, time(s) my ship used diamond lattice over octocarbide due to mass.


About status effects:

EMP: Can be deadly, depending on adventure. In Stars of the Pilgrim, activating Sustain quickly enough will block further hits, and the player can recover in time then flee. However, if the player does not have Sustain (because Eternity Port or other non-pilgrim), EMP is probably a death-sentence.

Radiation: If I honor permadeath, I view this more dangerous than EMP because Domina magic cannot fix it. I must stop what I am doing and get it fixed now or die, and doing that costs money I may not always afford to waste. Radiation immunity is also very nice for looting radioactive wrecks without warning spam. If I do not care about permadeath, then radiation is indeed meaningless - I will let the clock time out when convenient, and get free fuel and repairs after resurrection.

Device Damage/Ionization: I disagree with JBW. Aside the change from device damage to disrupt, ion disruptor has remained mostly unchanged since 1.01, and Ventari are still very dangerous (their weapons have average or better range), just not unfair like they used to be during 1.01 days (but they had great loot, and fabricators were better, which made the risk of farming them worthwhile). Remember, damage disrupt only ionizes devices that are clean. If a device gets disrupted while already ionized, it takes permanent damage instead, just like old device damage. Because of this, after solar armor becomes no longer useful, I view armor with ion-effect immune very useful. It means I do not need to risk getting my equipment permanently damaged due to unlucky double ionization. Aside from player, ionization is a powerful debuff to enemies. After experimenting with various mod weapons with disruption, enemies with disrupted weapons cannot fight back very effectively.

Disintegrate immune: This is mandatory if player is shieldless or uses a shield that cannot block all damage (such as Trenton). For those with good shields and/or reliable anti-missile, it is merely insurance as JBW says.
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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by JohnBWatson » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:57 am

If a device gets disrupted while already ionized, it takes permanent damage instead
Wasn't that a glitch that was fixed a few versions ago? I've never seen it happen.

At any rate, Ventari destroyers need to be more difficult to kite if device disruption is intended to be a threat. Taking damage from them at all is fairly optional right now.

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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by PM » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:02 am

It can happen, but it is not likely since the same item getting ionized again via ion disruptor (due to slow fire rate) while ionized is remote.
At any rate, Ventari destroyers need to be more difficult to kite if device disruption is intended to be a threat. Taking damage from them at all is fairly optional right now.
They should still be a threat or else people would not complain about device damage back in the day.
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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by Shrike » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:53 pm

Ok, my uni ISP peeps have got the blacklisting undone...so I can post again. I'm avoiding quotes and instead going straight to points.


Extra issues with the spreadsheet:

This is the important stuff, before getting into the nitpicking (which is most here because I'm catching up on things). The big one: George's spreadsheet doesn't show his working, or the armor base stats that are generating these values. Condensing everything to a single number is all well and good, but I can't see what's causing that and without that...I can't trust the algorithm. When I did my graphs of WMD damage to kickstart the 1.7 rebalancing, I had everything on that sheet, including all my working. I strongly urge George to take this approach, rather than to have an opaque algorithm in the background spitting out single numbers that have meanings that are unclear. At the very least, the algorithm itself should be fully documented.

(This isn't to say I think the algorithm doesn't, or won't work. It's that I can't tell from what is being shown, and I can't easily work back from it to see individual issues. This may be a bit forward since such a sheet will be needed more for the next phase)

Things that we need to consider when looking at armor:

This is just a raw list, not all-inclusive. It missed the obvious questions about damage adjustment and stuff

-What is the purpose of the armor? (By which I mean, why is this segment being made by a factory, instead of something else.)
-Who uses it?
-What is likely to be fired at it?
-What weapons cannot reliably damage it?
-What weapons can destroy it rapidly?
-What overlap is there between these three things?(What shoots, what can kill quickly, what cannot kill)
-How long does this armor take to kill under normal circumstances (I would go for levelled damage without modifers, all damage types, and measure as average seconds to failure, using a correction for the average firerateadj of foes of around that part of the game)
-How long does this armor take to kill under extreme circumstances (a weapon or enemy that would have previously been noted as being able to rapidly destroy an armor segment)
-If it's an armor that playerships may start with, can it survive an accidental hit by a plot NPC (eg. Anton Nasser)? (Generally speaking, playerships should not be capable of being killed by single hits by mission NPCs unless that's actually the point. Multiple shells is more reasonable)
-Where can we repair it? Does this cause us particular issues? (Heck, you can probably use script to map this: See which parts of the game you can repair each segment in)
-Is the armor specialised against damage, or status effects, or both?
-Can we find it reliably?
-Is it military? (and if so, can we get a military ROM by the point it shows up reliably?
-Will using the armor slow us down (not literally, but acceleration and turn time. May become literal if George fixes the speed adjust code and starts using it, which I strongly advise)

And finally and most importantly:

Why would a player or in-universe buyer use this armor over something else?

Several of these questions are qualitative: they can't be answered by numbers. They're still damned important though.

Damage dropoff and obsolete types: Yes, enemies use obsolete damage types (eg. miners) however there's two things that make "upgrade the weapons" problematic: 1: Damage type upgrades aren't necessarily..um..necessary. For example: In Shrike's Mines and Missiles, I give borers upgraded mining lasers at higher levels. These are extremely dangerous weapons, but still use laser damage. Laser and kinetic are ubiquitous civilian weapons, so having them appear across a wide spread is fine. The second thing is that George has expressed interest in, eventually, making the obsolescence of damage types less absurdly steep. This would make these weapons more effective at higher levels. Generally speaking it is good to have more damage types in use rather than less: it promotes diverse strategies and weapon design. It also allows for themes (eg. pirate use of turbolasers) which a basic weapon upgrade tends to lose (I've had this issue trying to upgrade the marauders for SM&M++)

And yes, George has said it's intentional. However I think his experience with my own experiments in late-game laser weaponry has opened him up to wider use of 'low tech' weapons in the later game. Things in this game change, and just because something is intentional doesn't mean it's always the best system (cough: the original WMD system).

Reflect: I'm not sure how Watson thought I was advocating removal. I'm not: I want more control over it. Right now, it's very inconsistent. 98% reflect when at full health means you can ignore everything..but once you start taking damage, that goes away rapidly and at low health it's basically useless. All I'd want is making it a bit more consistent (or even a customisable percentage). That can either be a fixed percentage or a reduced spread across the health of the armor. Immunity must be kept separate because making it an intrinsic function of reflect reduces options...but armors using reflect should definitely have immunity be considered as an option if that's what's wanted. I've done quite a lot of experiments with reflect, and it's generally too annoying to balance because of the current hardcoding.


PM wrote:
Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:02 am
It can happen, but it is not likely since the same item getting ionized again via ion disruptor (due to slow fire rate) while ionized is remote.
At any rate, Ventari destroyers need to be more difficult to kite if device disruption is intended to be a threat. Taking damage from them at all is fairly optional right now.
They should still be a threat or else people would not complain about device damage back in the day.
Stacked ionising occurs more often the fewer devices you have (or the most shots that land on you), so some ships are more vulnerable than others. In vanilla it usually occurs when a player is EMP'd by a ventari colony, then fired at by the destroyers. This situation is usually fatal though, so even then it's not that common. But it is a thing, and device disrupt is still held back by being a bit too strong. As PM says, ionising is still a serious threat. Kiting is an AI issue, not an armor issue and should not be considered for armor balance.
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JohnBWatson
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Re: Armor balance discussion

Post by JohnBWatson » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:48 am

Overall, that's a decent summary - we need to focus on the qualitative as well as the quantitative. Focusing on the factions using said armor is a good trend to continue. Seeing the formula used would also be helpful, even if it might lead to over-analysis.

Kiting a Ventari Destroyer is possible no matter what the AI does - it's slower than a playership and has shorter ranged weapons. But that's neither here nor there.

Getting killed by Nasser isn't something an armor rebalance can fix - it's very reasonable that a slow firing endgame weapon should one - shot a small civilian - grade yacht. What's unreasonable is the CH sending something with multiple such weapons mounted on turrets into a region where they could potentially destroy entire stations while firing at a passing Corsair when the threat presented doesn't merit such a vessel. Switching Nasser's point defense weapons to something more reasonable for the role, like Makayev launchers, would work, with the added benefit of being able to reconfigure Nasser's ship to safely operate in different regions by switching out the ammo in the cargo hold.

The +military tag isn't that much of an issue right now - Korolov stations are easy enough to come by, and you only need one successful escort, plus you've got four extra sources in EP and a guaranteed Battle Arena in vanilla. It's relevant for speedrunners, but not really anyone else. If greater Korolov experience were required to gain a military ID(or once George implements his idea of choosing between the Militia and the Black Market), this would be more relevant to balance, and we would more easily be able to decide what balance adjustment would be fair.

Damage falloff reduction introduces problems - the Flenser is already the only weapon you need from the Battle Arena to Jiang's Star, and a well enhanced turbolaser turret can handle any gunships up until the Ares show up. While I like the idea of some factions making use of outclassed weapons, the key to such a faction's relevance should be its use of interesting tactics or gimmicks to overcome its disadvantage, rather than the mechanical reduction of said disadvantage.

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