Kairyu missiles are OP?

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Derakon
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Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:32 am

This missile splits into 12 homing missiles that deal a moderate amount of thermo damage. The description states that they're meant to be used to engage swarms of enemy craft. However, when the player is faced with an enemy launching Kairyus, they can be a nigh-insurmountable foe. The missiles are effectively undodgeable, they deal tremendous damage, and there's a significant amount of knockback to them as well. Because there's so many, point defense or trying to shoot the missiles down manually is a losing proposition, and enemy ships tend to have plenty of ammo. Or you get missions like the "destroy this station before it can destroy the Nagato" where you have to face multiple ships packing Kairyus.

It reminds me of when the Dragonfly was changed to fire homing missiles, and suddenly the Rigel Aurelius Black Market mission was incredibly lethal. Here it's less noticeable because the player is usually unlikely to be fighting enemy ships with Kairyus...but the Nagato and the Yamato-class ships both have them, and if you do the relevant questline you will find yourself staring down 30+ homing missiles with no defense other than "sit on a planet and wait for them to stop".

Why yes, I did die to these today, with a ship that had just destroyed Luminous and was easily ready to take on Heretic System. I'm not bitter. But I do think that Kairyus need to be nerfed. I see a few options:

* Greatly reduce the speed of the submunitions, so they can be outrun.
* Greatly reduce the turn rate of the submunitions, so they can be juked.
* Greatly reduce the number of submunitions.
* Reduce the amount of damage each submunition does.
* Give them radius explosions (like the Black Strelka) with a fairly wide trigger radius (this should effectively reduce their damage vs. single targets, but is flashier/laggier).
* Somehow prevent more than a fraction of the submunitions from tracking the same target (meaning they're largely wasted when used on single ships). I expect this would require special coding, and it sounds unpleasant to implement.

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Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:35 pm

When does the mission occur? Ungoverned Territories? The Kairyu may not be too overpowered for its level (at 8, one below S3 Medusa at 9), but perhaps the mission occurs too early? (Level 8 is after Eta Ceti, well within Outer Realm.) That was the biggest problem with re-balanced Dragonfly in recent versions - level 6 ammo weapon too powerful in early level 3 system.

Slower turning will not help if player is close enough, multitarget missiles will auto-aim all submunitions at all targets within range 50 (which means all missiles will stack and track you if it fragments close enough).

ED also has a similar ion missile (fragments do not track, but they are auto-aimed, and they hurt).

I would not be surprised if Kairyu missiles were balanced for Raijin players, where they would spam them against Ares and Dreaming Horde.
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Derakon
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Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:52 pm

This mission occurred near the middle of the Outer Realm. My ship had 2x Dvalin armor and 2x Light Iocrym armor. I was doing no shield for a challenge run, but at best the shield would've absorbed maybe 2 salvos' worth of missiles before falling. Honestly if I'd stuck with the Dvalin armor on all 4 segments I probably would have survived; I hadn't realized that the armor repair kits were rebalanced to disallow repairing Iocrym armor with them, so my only healing was Domina Restore.

But the fact remains that a ship armed with a Kairyu launcher is noticeably more powerful than anything else the game throws at you short of a Phobos (and I include the ICS in that statement). And the mission in question (destroy this Asia Pacific station before they can destroy the Nagato) expects you to fight at least four such ships! For that matter, I seem to recall that the Nagato itself is armed with Kairyus, and an earlier mission in the chain requires you to surveil it, staying close without getting killed. If you don't have Domina powers the only way you're winning that one is to spam high-fire-rate weapons at the missiles and hope to shoot enough of them down that you can tank the rest of the damage. That's kind of doable vs. a single ship, not so much vs. multiple.

Anyway, fair point on the slower turning; I hadn't realized they auto-aimed, though I suppose that's consistent with the behavior of other homing submunition weapons. And yeah, I 100% expect that Kairyus were designed to be fun for the player to use, and then handed out to enemies without realizing that they violated the power balance of the game between players and enemies.

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Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:55 pm

I calculated the balance of the Kairyu missiles by hand and they are roughly +9. A little strong, but not overly so, at least on paper. Many missiles are about plus or minus ten when run through George's balance algorithm. Kairyu missiles are heavy at 50 kg, so their power is a bit high to offset that. They are cheap compared to Gotha seekers, though.

Kairyu missiles and Uragan bolts fragment immediately after launch and auto-aim at all enemies within range 50. Kairyu is practically a mini-Medusa. Uragan fragments do not track but that would not matter if player or other target is close enough to a Imperator. Uragan behaves like an omni ion flame cannon with a tighter spread and more damage.

Domina Restore? I guess this is SotP with Near Stars Connector?
And yeah, I 100% expect that Kairyus were designed to be fun for the player to use, and then handed out to enemies without realizing that they violated the power balance of the game between players and enemies.
This is similar to the Reenu defenders in part 2. Their items are level 10, maybe 11, but their positron weapon has charges (and stronger to offset ammo disadvantage), and their shields are tough to break through with starter weapons. One defender is more than a match for a Sapphire or early Erebien ship, and player often needs to fight two of them (and Reenu stations have reinforcements). George has replaced the early encounters with defenders with unshielded satellites that do not pursue, but even they wiped out George during the one stream he showed them off.

Ammo weapons are a pain when used against the player.
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Derakon
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Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:50 pm

Yes, this is SotP with the connector. I expect that an EP run would have even more trouble, because you're unlikely to be able to disarm all of your opponents and you have no other defensive hacks to help you stay alive. I haven't played EP in awhile though because the early game is just such a marginal existence; it may be that I'm forgetting some special trick they could pull.

And yeah, I think you're right that ammo weapons in general are nasty in the hands of the AI. They have no concerns about running out (they can, but they don't care if they do) so they'll just throw as much ammo at the player as possible. Similarly, they don't care about how much cargo space the ammo takes up. Relatively few enemy ships have launchers, and most of the launchers they do have are somewhat underpowered exotic ones. I think the early-game ships with NAMI launchers have an unusually bad fire rate adjustment on them?

I wonder how the balance formula would change if it ignored energy/ammo/cargo requirements for weapons? That would be "balance in the hands of the AI" and I imagine it would look significantly different for a number of weapons.
Last edited by Derakon on Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Derakon
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Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:51 pm

quote is not edit

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Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:59 am

Yes, most NPCs have worse fireRate than playership. Only few elite ships, like Slicer and Dragon Slaver have full fire rate. Charon pirates may be handicapped more than others, and their favorite missile, Longbow, is relatively underpowered (compared to other missiles). Even so, the missiles hurt early-game ships badly if they hit. Charon frigates are killers early.

Be thankful Arco does not spawn with Stilettos anymore. He was too hard to deal without a high risk of getting killed.
Download and Play in 1.9 alpha...
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Other playable mods from 1.8 and 1.7, waiting to be updated...
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.
Playership Drones (WIP): Acquire more wingmen from Ship Broker. Unfinished, but updated to 1.8 beta.
Drake Technologies (Alpha) for 1.8: If you do not have 1.9 alpha 1...

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