My solution for fixing ship balance issues

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My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Sun May 17, 2015 7:27 pm

These suggestions could potentially fix most problems with jumpships, gunships and starcruisers:

Gunships

Let individual gunships use multi-shot attacks when engaging certain unit types, targeting multiple units per combat round in exchange for reduced damage. This would improve their performance against basic jumpships (they're supposed to counter them, right?) and slightly improve high-tech gunships against low-tech planetary defenses without otherwise altering the playing field in any way. Jumpships would not have to be changed at all.

I'd suggest:

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Gunship   | Current         | Proposed
Sirius    | Gun  R:5  D:60  | Gun  R:7.5 D:60  / Multi-shot 2x R:5  D:15  
Minotaur  | Gun  R:10 D:100 | Gun  R:10  D:100 / Multi-shot 2x R:10 D:30

Hammerhead| Miss R:10 D:120 | Miss R:10  D:120 / Multi-miss 3x R:5  D:35
Cerberus  | Gun R:10 D:75   | Gun  R:10  D:75  / Multi-shot 3x R:10 D:20
These are balanced to ONLY improve low-tech gunships' performance vs. Stingers and Explorers; and to improve hi-tech gunships' performance vs. Stingers, Adamants, Eldritches and planetary defenses of TL 5 and lower.

Additionally it would improve the Sirius's currently pathetic performance due to short range and would give the missile-using Hammerhead a chance to actually do some damage to jumpships as long as the Hammerheads aren't overwhelmingly outnumbered. And hey, the Cerberus supposedly uses the TK10 Trident anyway, right? ;)

Starcruisers

Starcruisers can be made into a legitimately fearsome unit by giving them a "shield" ability that automatically reduces each individual incoming cannon-type attack by a fixed amount. This would move Starcruisers into a dedicated aggressive anti-gunship role, nerf explorer swarms, and make starcruisers less vulnerable to jumpship swarms (while still being unable to actually damage them). Starfrigates would slip into an anti-starcruiser/ anti-hypersonic or battlestation / general fire-support role without their stats having to be altered in any way! Jumpcruisers and battlestations would actually be worth building!

I'd suggest:

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Starfrigate | Per-attack cannon damage attenuation
Victory     | 30
Megathere   | 50

Behemoth    | 35
Typhon      | 60
For example, if Victories reduced incoming cannon attacks by 30, they would be immune to Stinger and explorer swarms, but would still require support units to destroy them. They would live a lot longer against Eldritches and Siriuses, but would be only a little stronger against Minotaurs and would remain vulnerable to missiles and starfrigates. The Victory's range keeps it away from planetary cannons anyway so these are irrelevant.

The nebular starcruisers live in a different tactical environment- they have shorter attack ranges, so they have to deal with defense cannons, and the low-tech nebular gunship uses strong missiles while the high-tech nebular gunship has a reduced-strength cannon. The low-TL starfrigate is also short-ranged. My suggestion would be to both give both classes enough attenuation to counter most or all defensive cannons; this which would also make the Behemoth totally immune to the Eldritch (unlike the Victory).

The Manta and Hammerhead already perform better than their starship counterparts against starcruisers (due to higher damage and missiles, respectively). With attenuation, the Cyclopses would be less effective against starcruisers since it has low damage, but would continue to excel against both gunship classes and be the only nebular ship with range>10. Consequently, starship and starcruiser roles would overlap more in nebulas and Hammerheads and Mantas would continue to be useful once the Cerberus and Cyclops become available.

Planetary Defenses

Battlestation missiles should only be interceptable by starfrigate defenses. Jumpships and the Megathere shouldn't be able to intercept them (this isn't a big issue for jumpships anyway, since losing a few jumpships out of a big fleet to battlestation missiles isn't a big deal). Autocannon range should be increased to R:15 and armored constellation range should be increased to R:15 or R:20. Satellites should retain their current inability to fire on ships that are underneath them (orbiting at <R:5) and ships with high delta-vees should be more aggressive about trying to get underneath them and engage them from below.

Whaddya think?

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Re: My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by catfighter » Mon May 18, 2015 12:29 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:Satellites should retain their current inability to fire on ships that are underneath them (orbiting at <R:5)...
They can't for you? When I attack, my fleets tend to ignore small-to-medium amounts of autocannons unless I command a direct attack on them; the autocannons easily dispatch them, even going so far as to shoot through a planet to pick of the ignorant pilots. Could this be a bug on my end?
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Re: My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by gc2 » Mon May 18, 2015 12:35 am

I feel that the current balance between the ship types is actually pretty good, with only jump/starcruisers being severely underpowered. The issues I see with certain ships (jumpships) being much better than the others is how their strengths give very big advantages with the current mechanics, namely:

1. Jumpship attacks can happen so fast that in the vast majority of cases the defender is not present to deploy countermeasures, and when they are there might not be anything left.
2. Attackers need to roll up their deathball fleets only once, whereas defenders have to very diligently fortify all their important worlds to have any hope of surviving.
3. Missile attacks have way too many disadvantages, not the least of which is that they're rendered completely useless by the fastest, most spammable ship type.

So I feel that balancing warfare is not so much about balancing ships, as it is about balancing the mechanics, for which I propose the following:

Remove all mechanics that makes a player's forces defect. As of now the first strike advantage is simply too great. Everything else notwithstanding, a player should not be killed by his own ships and troops.

Remove missile defense from jumpships and give it to jumpcruisers. With this change, a jumpship deathball is still powerful, but will quickly shrink in size if it is attacking too many worlds. It may also make jumpcruisers actually worth building.

Buff planetary defenses, in both power and ease of building. Specificly:
Significantly reduce, or eliminate entirely, the labour cost of building defenses. They would still cost resources, and the industry allocated for defenses could be capped at a certain value determined by planet type.
Slightly increase the range of HEL cannons and autocannon satellites (15 up from 10 as mentioned would be good).
These structures would be a very good hexacarbide sink, and will accumulate without player intervention once the supply routes are set up.

Increase the number of missiles fired by existing ships that use them, while reducing the damage of each missile to maintain the same output. The results would be a better chance to overwhelm missile defense and less overkill damage.

Uniformly scale up the HP of everything, while leaving weapon damage unchanged. This will make higher damage attacks meaningful (less overkill), and limits the speed at which a player can conquer because battles will take longer.

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Re: My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Wed May 20, 2015 8:48 pm

Those are all great ideas. Raising armor across the board makes a lot of sense, although maybe delta-vee might need to get tinkered with if we want to preserve the significance of range differences in ship-ship engagements. I'm on the fence about taking missile protection from jumpships and giving it to jumpcruisers, although the more I think about it the more I like it. At a minimum the Stinger and Helion would need to be completely revised; without missile protection I can't really think of any good uses for the Stinger and it would be totally inferior to the cheaper, faster, no-components, buildable-on-high-TL-high-production-worlds Helion.

We all love starfrigates but maybe their cannon ranges should be brought down to 15 Mm or less (with corresponding increase in planetary cannon range up to 15Mm) to make starfrigates more like dedicated starcruiser and battlestation hunters, with starcruisers excelling in the long-range planetary bombardment and anti-gunship roles. Maybe give the the Behemoth R:15 and the Typhon R:20.

The current dynamic right now where the low-tech Hammerhead and Manta are more effective against starcruisers than the high-tech Cerberus and Cyclops is kind of cool and should be preserved if possible, although it's currently mostly theoretical because the nebular starcruisers are so much worse than the Cyclops that I never saw anyone in Beta building or using them which meant that there was correspondingly never a real reason to build and use Hammerheads or Mantas.
Last edited by Watch TV, Do Nothing on Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:16 pm

What if starfrigates were restricted from entering low orbit and had to stay in high orbits where their guns couldn't reach planetary defenses? This would make them less formidable attackers and would make starcruisers useful for taking out heavy planetary defenses (right now starcruisers are strictly worse than starfrigates).

It would also make starfrigates less effective defenders, since their wings would be more spread out. Right now they start in low orbit which means they get a guaranteed hit in on an attacker every single combat round.

This is assuming the invincible eldritch ball gets addressed, right now the combat environment pretty much favors all eldritches all the time.

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Re: My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by Wayward Device » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:10 pm

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:This is assuming the invincible eldritch ball gets addressed, right now the combat environment pretty much favors all eldritches all the time.
You can stop a fleet of 1 million Eldritch with 30,000 Gorgos. The casualties will be horrendous on both sides but the Gorgos will win. The Eldritch death ball only works because people either don't know how effective Gorgos are or aren't willing to do the small amount of micro (well, small when considering how much micro Anacreon has) to use them to defend their worlds beyond caps/hubs/archives.

You can also easily argue that Helions are better than Eldritch. With the Republic of Reason I sustained a fleet of 50 million of them using the industrial output of the three worst clusters I had (the ones with a small number of worlds/worst ratio of barren worlds). It couldn't have been more than 130 worlds total and that fleet was equivalent in combat power to 7 million Eldritch (or 6.25 million, I can't remember if 1 Eldritch=7 or 8 Helions). It also moved 25% faster than my Eldritch fleet and was rebuilt in considerably less time. Plus people seeing you had 50 mil of anything kept the upstart powers quaking in their boot-equivilents.

Generally, I agree with gc2's comments. My take on improving planetary defense would be to massively increase their attrition cap/decrease attrition rate so that even if you are only investing 5% you can build up something worthwhile over time. Planetary defenses aren't bad right now because they are weak, it's because even a fully supplied TL10 cave/ocean/earthlike world that makes nothing but defenses can be beaten with acceptable losses by the kind of fleet anyone with 100+ worlds can field.

And just to harp on about my favorite subject one last time, if you sent that same equivalent amount of industrial capacity in Gorgos to defend your fully supplied TL10 cave/ocean/earthlike world there is no way in hell that a fleet from a 100 world empire could even touch it.

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Re: My solution for fixing ship balance issues

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:58 am

You can have up to about a million hypersonic sites on a mature capital that isn't building anything else. That would probably be impenetrable to a Helion fleet of the size you're describing - even without any defending ships.

Did we ever establish if starcruiser missiles take out >1 small combatants per shot?

If not, do me a favor- I have a desert starship autofac that's named "FREE FIRE TEST ZONE" 300 LY SE of my capital Sole Survivor, it has some Victory-class starcruisers stationed on it. The planet directly north of it, "Half-Share 2" also has a smaller Victory fleet on it.

Attack either planet with a Helion fleet and count the number of Helions that get destroyed per combat round. If starcruiser missiles are effective against Helions, that negates their advantage and provides an incentive to build starcruisers or battlestations (assuming that anyone else adopts your strategy, so far nobody has AFAIK).

This isn't a ruse to lure you into attacking me, your IM is at 60% of mine anyway so we're both valid targets for one another.

NOTE: I attacked an IMPERIUM ASCENDANT Helion fleet to test this but I couldn't tell if they were getting any more kills than normal because of the small size of the Helion wings. It seemed like actually <1 kill per missile, which suggests -> YES, STARCRUISERS CONTINUE TO SUCK <- and also they don't even open fire until like 50% max range.

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