Buff the Centauri Warlords

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Trensicourt
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Thu May 18, 2017 11:34 pm

The Centauri Warlords are practically fodder for any experienced player. Increasing their difficulty would make them more a threat, at least for their "Warlord" title.
  • -Make Centuari Outposts smaller to better represent their weakness
    -Add new Centauri building called the Depot. The Depot is a mid-strength building that Centauri Heavy Raiders patrol around. It's a place where Centauri Raiding Parties hole up and resupply.
    -Make Centauri Stronghold look more threatening. Their defense is laughable once you get basic anti-kinetic armor and decent shields. I suggest adding a Centauri Gunship to protect it.
For the ships themselves, I suggest making them stronger by default.
  • -Add centauri nanos to the front plate of every light Centauri Raider and Centauri Heavy Raider
    -Add Centauri Capital Ships, aka "Centauri Gunships". These gunships carry a 3-burst heavy kinetic cannon that fires incredibly fast called the "Gatling Claw". It has auto targeting at a 35 degree angle in front of the ship. These gunships are fairly robust and agile. They are equipped with Ceramic Armor enhanced with Centauri Nanos.
An increase in difficulty, means the loot gained from destroying stronger buildings and ships should also be more valuable. In addition, each warlord(which I'll explain) has a bounty that can be received upon completion at a local Commonwealth station.

Next, I suggest an increase in story line, since the Centauri plot is admittedly boring, even for a tutorial quest. However, I suggest that the advance ships of Eridani should be removed in order to make the system look weaker to convince us that the Centauri Warlords are a serious threat. For example, there should be no Centurions and Mag Manticores within Eridani.
  • -Arco Vaughn is an ex-warlord who abandons his position to seek the core, weakening the Centauri in Eridani.
    -[Secret Quest] The player kills Arco Vaughn. If the player gives the data ROM to Arco's wife in one of the residential station, she will confess that she wasn't able to betray Arco to have him arrested. She tells us the location of a valuable jettison pod in one of the systems.
    -When the player returns to Raisu station, the player is notified of a quest at the Commonwealth Station. At the Commonwealth Station, the player is given the quest to destroy all Centauri stations in the system. The player receives no reward for completing it and proceeds to the next quest.
    -The Commonwealth informs the player of an expedition to destroy a secret Centaur stronghold that is guarded by a gunship, few heavy raiders, and lots of light raiders. The expedition consists of 5 random civilian ships. All expedition ships will fight to the death. The player gains a medal that gives him a good job at Korolov and free repairs. The player is also able to choose a third reword, which is either valuable goods, an extension, or a ROM package.
    -[Secret Quest] The player returns to the residential building where Arco's wife resides. She is elated at the destruction of the Centauri Warlords in the region. She informs us that Centauri Warlords had agreed upon a new warlord after Arco left. She warns that the warlord would be mad and that a revenge fleet may head towards Eridani to subjugate the system. The Centauri fleet contains an improved gunship(flagship of warlord) with missiles, two gunships, and several heavy raiders. Destroying the fleet grants the player very valuable loot in the destroyed flagship of the warlord.
    -[Secret Quest pt.2] The player can find a ROM of all the Centauri Warlords in the wreck of the capital gunship. These Warlords get more progressively difficult, as their equipment and base also get stronger. Destroying all Warlords would destroy the Centauri faction permanently. Each Warlord has their own bounty that can be collected at any Commonwealth Station.

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JohnBWatson
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Sat May 20, 2017 2:20 pm

I'm all for buffing the excessively weak ships to the point where their existence makes sense, though I'd do it a bit more simply. I don't think they need any more plot content - there are other factions in much greater need, and they've already got several missions that involve them.
-Make Centuari Outposts smaller to better represent their weakness
-Add new Centauri building called the Depot. The Depot is a mid-strength building that Centauri Heavy Raiders patrol around. It's a place where Centauri Raiding Parties hole up and resupply.
-Make Centauri Stronghold look more threatening. Their defense is laughable once you get basic anti-kinetic armor and decent shields. I suggest adding a Centauri Gunship to protect it.
New graphics for the different station types would be cool, but I feel like we've got to wait for a major revamp to get that. Centauri's eventually getting fleshed out, so perhaps the Centauri Warlords will benefit from that in terms of content.
-Add centauri nanos to the front plate of every light Centauri Raider and Centauri Heavy Raider
Absolutely support. Easy to implement, adds some immersion, and improves balance. I'd also make the basic raiders much faster, about the same speed as a Corsair. They can't really hurt the playership, so all that would do is give the player a better impression of combat by making the first experience less kiting - centric.
Arco Vaughn is an ex-warlord who abandons his position to seek the core, weakening the Centauri in Eridani...
I'd always seen that ROM as having been written by Arco's father. The implication being that Arco turned to crime because his father wasn't around. This could be relevant with regard to his hesitation in attacking the player, assuming he knows that the player is also a pilgrim.

Derakon
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Sat May 20, 2017 2:38 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:
Sat May 20, 2017 2:20 pm
I'd always seen that ROM as having been written by Arco's father. The implication being that Arco turned to crime because his father wasn't around. This could be relevant with regard to his hesitation in attacking the player, assuming he knows that the player is also a pilgrim.
Funny, I assumed it was his sister. But yeah, some kind of immediate family in any case.

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Shrike
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Sun May 21, 2017 12:55 am

Adding centauri nanos to the front of every ship is a bad idea. There aren't enough blast weapons to get around it, and that stuff is seriously powerful. However I've agreed for a long time that the centauri need a boost, and fortunately....I can actually provide some concrete suggestions.

I've personally experimented heavily with the centauri and made a buff to them in SM&M++. It's generally been well regarded by the people who notice it, so I'm mostly going to just recap them.

However first, the assumptions going into my changes:

1. The centauri are a training enemy. They're the first thing you fight, so they can't be too difficult.
2. They should, however, be capable of killing you if you mess up, and be able to kill low-level NPCs under the right conditions (hornets, earthzones, light IAVs, etc)
3. Minimal changes from stock setup (except for my improved CLAW/heavy CLAW) should be made
4. Basic weapons should always be able to damage them (this, plus the lack of randomised armor capability, is why I do not use nanos on them at all right now).
5. Because I don't do art (except the Awful Sotho), I assume that 20 facings are kept and thus I have to work around them. These values would create an even more effective faction with 40 or 120 facings (and as such, I've suggested that as my final point).

So, that out of the way, this is what I've done, and what I'd suggest for the core game:


1. Increase missilespeed of the centauri recoilless from 30 to 45

This allows the aiming code to actually hit targets, and gives some extra range. They're light guns, so making them hit fairly often is the key. It's also slow enough to dodge, so new players might get some practice before running into ships with missiles (or CLAW/heavy CLAW cannons).

2. Increase the agility stats of the ships slightly

The values I have changed for SM&M++ are:

Raider: Thrust ratio of 4.5 (from 4), top speed of 15 (from 13), maximum rotation rate of 6 (from 5), rotational acceleration of 2 (from 1)
Heavy raider: Thrust ratio of 2 (from 1.8), top speed of 15 (from 13), rotational acceleration of 2 (from 1).

These allow the ships to get their guns on target more effectively, and keep them in range more effectively. The increased thrust ratio also makes them change direction faster (which makes a huge difference in close-quarters fighting). You can still outrun and outfly them effectively, but they're not as ridiculous as before. Combined with increased shell velocity this makes the little raiders hit quite often. This provides good training by making the player react to movement, rather than just doing anything and watching them be unable to follow, while also giving an idea of how shields and armor perform.

3. Decrease the fire-rate penalty for the AI on the basic raider

In SM&M++ the centauri raider has a firerateadj value of 15 (from 40), while the heavy raider (which I must add, has an entirely different type of gun to the vanilla ones) has no change (firerateadj is 20). This means that the raiders shoot constantly and do lots of little bits of damage, while the heavy raider fires less frequently but does a lot of damage if it hits (and is easier to dodge).

4. Upgrade to 40 or 120 facings

20 facings really shows on these ships. My changes hide it a bit, but they don't remove it as a problem. I obviously haven't done this myself, because I can't do my own art. But it's something that should be done.


Addendum: SM&M++ frees up room for dual NAMI kinetic weapons by altering the CLAW and Heavy CLAW to fire large bursts of the same projectile that the basic centauri recoilless fires. Thus they have higher damage-per-burst, but are less effective against heavy shields and armor. I'd love to see this in vanilla as they're more thematically appropriate and allow for more dual kinetic weapons (an area the game is sorely lacking in), but I'm almost certain it won't happen. So that needs to be taken into account when reading my own changes. If folks want, I can give the stats of them (plus the changed probabilities for them to appear on heavy raiders)




Summary: The basic centauri don't actually need very much to make them a good first-foe. You can do almost all of it with soft stats, plus a minor gun buff that most people won't even notice. In terms of higher level things....that is where new content (ships, station, etc) comes in: it can't be done with what's in the game now (and shouldn't: it would make eridani unfun). Wolfy has made some excellent content for the centauri in TSB, so this might provide a good avenue for getting such things into the base game.
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