Thermo shell nanofac is overpowered

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Derakon
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:18 am

Thermo weapons tend to be the best bet for the late game -- they have good damage, good WMD, good availability, and tritium injectors / lithium boosters make them heavily upgradable. However, I'm starting to feel like the thermo cannon is by far the best out of the lot, perhaps too much so. Let's compare it to the Mk. V Howitzer, another tier-7 thermo weapon, when both have their "support item" in play -- the nanofac for the thermo cannon, and the howitzer speed loader for the Mk. V. I forget exactly what the fire rate modifier is for the speed loader, but I think it's 1.5x; that's what I've used below. I've also thrown in the Fusionfire howitzer, which presumably a player with the Mk. V would graduate to.

Mk. 5 Howitzer: 52 damage/shot at 2.25 shots/sec (117 damage/sec), using 60MW base plus 25MW for the speed loader. WMD5.
Fusionfire Howitzer: 71.5 damage/shot at 2.25 shots/sec (161 damage/sec), using 120MW base plus 25MW for speed loader. WMD5.
Thermo cannon: 39 damage/shot at 6 shots/sec (234 damage/sec), using 5MW base plus 20MW for the nanofac. WMD6.

So the thermo cannon does 2x the damage of the Mk. V and about 40% more damage than the Fusionfire. It also fires faster-moving projectiles, puts out far more of them per unit time (giving a greater chance to intercept enemy fire or hit smaller targets), and of course does not impart recoil to your ship.

It does, granted, deal less damage than the dual Fusionfire, but by the time you get a dual Fusionfire, you'll have had a thermo cannon for a long time. They're not hard to find in the Ungoverned Territories, and you can use a corporate trading station to get the nanofac.

Range is also less than the howitzers, but not to a crippling extent. And you generally only really care about the extreme range on howitzers if you're trying to kite a Phobos or something similar.

I'm not sure that the nanofac can be made to be balanced, either; either it's so slow that it's frustrating to use, or it's so fast that you effectively have infinite ammo. Maybe if it required massively more energy to run, like 150MW or more? That would put the energy requirements on par with the Fusionfire, and make it that much harder/more expensive to run if you get it set up early. As it stands you can plausibly run a thermo cannon + nanofac off of an enhanced 100MW reactor, which has got to be the least energy-intensive endgame-quality weapon loadout possible.

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Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:21 am

 A quick-n’-dirty way to partially deal the issue would be to tag the thermo nanofac — and the lithium booster, while you’re at it — as military items. That would at least keep them from being able to be ordered at Corporate Trading Posts.
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:02 pm

Nanofac is like adding a capacitor and unlimited ammo to the thermo cannons. With three shells per second, thermo cannon can fire at half rate at worst. Omni thermo cannon, the one that benefits most, fires at 80% of its rate at worst. If the nanofac needs to be weakened, here are my suggestions.
  • Raise powerUse to 50 MW, to match guidelines for enhancers. Yes, nanofac is powerful.
  • Regenerate two shells per second (instead of three), so that omni thermo cannon does not fire at nearly full effectiveness at all times.
  • If we want the cannons to feel like Ares lightning turret, stop making shells at 20 or more in cargo. If we want fire for a while, 60 shells should be fine if gaining two shells per second.
  • EDIT: If player has multiple nanofacs installed, more shells are regenerated and the limit is before shells stop regenerating is higher. This would be useful for ships that can linked-fire multiple weapons.
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NMS
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:59 pm

Ammo weapons are supposed to be more powerful for their level than non-ammo weapons, to compensate for the ammo cost and inconvenience. Since the last rebalance, when most ammo was made significantly lighter and cheaper, and with availability now usually not a problem, I think many ammo weapons are a bit OP, especially tracking missiles. But the thermo cannon doesn't seem too crazy. The nanofac does generate a huge amount of value though. There's a ministry ticket about it. To quote myself:
I just did the math, and to make the fuel cost equal to the value of the ammo it generates, it would have to draw 1.05 GW!

70 cr./shell * 3 shells/sec. * 1 sec./60 game-sec. * 100 fuel-units/cr. * 3 MJ/fuel-unit
= 1050 MJ/game-sec. = 1.05 GW
From a weapon balance standpoint, i.e. assuming you aren't just selling the ammo, it should probably draw power comparable to a level 9 weapon, since it essentially converts the omni thermo cannon into a level 9 quality ammoless weapon.


Also, the howitzer loader adds about 42% fire rate, IIRC.

Derakon
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:21 pm

NMS wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:59 pm
Ammo weapons are supposed to be more powerful for their level than non-ammo weapons, to compensate for the ammo cost and inconvenience. Since the last rebalance, when most ammo was made significantly lighter and cheaper, and with availability now usually not a problem, I think many ammo weapons are a bit OP, especially tracking missiles. But the thermo cannon doesn't seem too crazy. The nanofac does generate a huge amount of value though. There's a ministry ticket about it.
Thanks for the link; I crossposted the suggestions here to that thread. And yeah, I agree, the base thermo cannon is probably fine balance-wise, because it's held back by ammo limitations. It's when you remove those limitations that the weapon becomes overpowered.

Of the suggestions made here, I think adding the military tag to the nanofac just makes sense; otherwise, limiting the nanofac's max stock to 20-30 shells would be the first thing I'd try. At 20 shells, you only get about 4 seconds of continuous firing with a standard thermo cannon before running low, but then it also only takes a bit under 7 seconds for the nanofac to max out again. That seems reasonable. On the other hand, it might leave the omni thermo overpowered. I don't use omni weapons very much because they make combat a bit too automatic for my tastes (just hold the fire button and focus on dodging), so I can't comment on them balance-wise.

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Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:39 pm

Derakon wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:21 pm
Of the suggestions made here, I think adding the military tag to the nanofac just makes sense; otherwise, limiting the nanofac's max stock to 20-30 shells would be the first thing I'd try. At 20 shells, you only get about 4 seconds of continuous firing with a standard thermo cannon before running low, but then it also only takes a bit under 7 seconds for the nanofac to max out again. That seems reasonable. On the other hand, it might leave the omni thermo overpowered. I don't use omni weapons very much because they make combat a bit too automatic for my tastes (just hold the fire button and focus on dodging), so I can't comment on them balance-wise.
Lowering max shells without affecting shells regenerated per second almost leaves omni thermo cannon unaffected (assuming only one is fired at a time) and omni thermo plus nanofac is the real power combo.

Omni thermo cannon plus nanofac is the most powerful omni weapon in the game. It would be my go-to endgame weapon for any ship if I enable Corporate Command. High DPS, long range, WMD, and omni.

That said, if shells regained per second are lowered, four seconds to fire normal thermo cannon may be a bit short. Should fire for at least six seconds, preferably a bit longer.
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shanejfilomena
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:08 pm

Perhaps it's because we fly into battle differently.

However, When I first looked at the Source for this My first reaction was that I would get killed using it.

I think it would be more helpful to lowly players like me if we looked at "The Rest of the Story" as to what you guys are playing with at the time you find this device to be either over-powering or a ship saver.....?

Not everybody that would be playing Corporate Command ( love it ) runs into the Universe all knowing...

Personally, ( outside of testing ideas with my Cruiser )
I like to take each run from the character's POV and experience it , not simply play it.
Flying Irresponsibly In Eridani......

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

Derakon
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:40 pm

shanejfilomena wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:08 pm
Perhaps it's because we fly into battle differently.

However, When I first looked at the Source for this My first reaction was that I would get killed using it.
I don't understand what you mean by this. Could you please clarify?
I think it would be more helpful to lowly players like me if we looked at "The Rest of the Story" as to what you guys are playing with at the time you find this device to be either over-powering or a ship saver.....?

Not everybody that would be playing Corporate Command ( love it ) runs into the Universe all knowing...
It's certainly true that if you don't know you can order a nanofac from a Corporate trading post, then the apparent value of the thermo cannon is considerably lessened until you find a nanofac naturally, which is a late-game item. It's still an extremely powerful weapon at the time you can get it -- there aren't very many thermo weapons in the Ungoverned Territories, and most primary weapons are very power-hungry when you probably have not found a 250MW or 500MW reactor yet, while the thermo cannon needs a mere 5MW. But if you're spending 10k credits on ammo every few stations (or worse, not finding ammo and thus not having your primary weapon), then you won't feel overpowered. It's the nanofac, which effectively makes the weapon have unlimited ammo, that's so broken.

For comparison, in my last playthrough I went from a Dragonfly launcher to the thermo cannon + nanofac. I don't have the stats handy, but the Dragonfly does something like 3x20 damage per shot (it fires three guided micromissiles) at about 2 shots/sec, for around 120 damage per second. But it does blast damage, which gets pretty unreliable towards the end of the Ungoverned Territories; its WMD is also mediocre. The thermo cannon, as noted above, does 234 damage/sec, and has a pretty decent WMD6. The upgrade is very noticeable.

shanejfilomena
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Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:38 am

Derakon wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:40 pm
shanejfilomena wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:08 pm
Perhaps it's because we fly into battle differently.

However, When I first looked at the Source for this My first reaction was that I would get killed using it.
I don't understand what you mean by this. Could you please clarify?
I think it would be more helpful to lowly players like me if we looked at "The Rest of the Story" as to what you guys are playing with at the time you find this device to be either over-powering or a ship saver.....?

Not everybody that would be playing Corporate Command ( love it ) runs into the Universe all knowing...
It's certainly true that if you don't know you can order a nanofac from a Corporate trading post, then the apparent value of the thermo cannon is considerably lessened until you find a nanofac naturally, which is a late-game item. It's still an extremely powerful weapon at the time you can get it -- there aren't very many thermo weapons in the Ungoverned Territories, and most primary weapons are very power-hungry when you probably have not found a 250MW or 500MW reactor yet, while the thermo cannon needs a mere 5MW. But if you're spending 10k credits on ammo every few stations (or worse, not finding ammo and thus not having your primary weapon), then you won't feel overpowered. It's the nanofac, which effectively makes the weapon have unlimited ammo, that's so broken.

For comparison, in my last playthrough I went from a Dragonfly launcher to the thermo cannon + nanofac. I don't have the stats handy, but the Dragonfly does something like 3x20 damage per shot (it fires three guided micromissiles) at about 2 shots/sec, for around 120 damage per second. But it does blast damage, which gets pretty unreliable towards the end of the Ungoverned Territories; its WMD is also mediocre. The thermo cannon, as noted above, does 234 damage/sec, and has a pretty decent WMD6. The upgrade is very noticeable.
I think You answered all your own questions here.

Perhaps, yes, you should not be able to Order it : either get it from the Manufacturer or the faction that uses it.

As for showing up in basically the edge of Ranx Space.....you have virtually unlimited Ammo for Ranx weapons.

in Ares Space you have the Hecates .....

a Powerful weapon that basically doesn't require purchasing Ammo isn't a bad thing, but You are correct, You should have it as Military Item or CanNotOrder.
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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