I’ve posted a challenge with the utterly generic name of ‘Order combined arms fleet’ (challenge ref 4582793). The challenge itself is nothing special, but I was hoping to get some retaliations and forum feedback on the map.
What I’ve tried to do is create a scenario that absolutely doesn’t allow for spam and encourages balanced fleets. The map is called ‘anti-spam’. I’ve gone for 100,000 points and 250 pilots which gives a ratio of 400 points per pilot. There are no anomalies, but every cruiser weapon has a supply limit of 70 and all frigate weapons have a limit of 100, so it should be impossible to field a total spam fleet. Those limits might seem on the high side, but the idea isn’t to render CLs or missiles unusable; rather, to encourage fleets that use a variety of weapon types to get the job done.
So far I’ve only given it the briefest of tests, so I’d be interested to see what people think of it. Are the limits too high? Too low? Should some weapons get different limits from others? Should there be any limits on other modules?
I’m probably not a good subject to comment on it as I generally use a pretty ‘balanced’ setup to explore fleets with. I won the challenge merely because of a plasma contingency force in the back of my fleet. Your ships otherwise out-tanked the fast wave.
I don’t think limits is the way to go, however.
Limiting weapons limits just… weapons, not classes of weapons.
If I wanted to rush you down as tribe, I would stack as many cruiser lasers as I could, and switch to howitzers once I run out. If I wanted to take it further, I’d start using quantum blasters or ion cannons. The end result is the same - a big green high-DPS antishield wrecking ball - and it’s pretty much the same thing you’re used to seeing from spam fleets.
Furthermore, it does weird things to the side balance. Alliance, for example, doesn’t have howitzers or rad cannons to fall back on as a secondary cruiser high-DPS weapon.
Unfortunately the onus for antispam balance lies more on the game itself. We can counter missiles fairly convincingly by using scramblers and plasma with fast moving ships… but we’re still lacking in viable counters to other things.
I’ll probably have to come back in a little while and add to this post since I haven’t had the chance to try this challenge out. However, here are my initial thoughts …
On the surface, I’m going to have to agree with yurch that limits may not quite achieve the “no-spam” rule. I do think it’s probably a good place to start, though there are some drawbacks (yurch pointed them out nicely, I see no need for me to mangle them in a recap).
The one thing I have to disagree on though is the notion of “viable counters” to the various spams out there. Not that the modules don’t exist, but the problem (to me) is that right now the only real viable counter to any form of spam is some other form of spam. You spam me with missiles, I spam with scramblers. You spam me with plasma, I spam with lightly-armed speed demons. It sucks the fun out for me, since I like to field balanced fleets (I suppose it’s my effort at achieving some form of realism).
EDIT: Okay, I like this map. The limits don’t do much to me since I prefer balanced fleets anyway, but I think that’s the first Order fleet I’ve gone up against that wasn’t a solid wall of rad guns. Hard to tell how much of that is the supply limits and how much is just the OP’s usual way of doing things, but still. A good effort for a worthwhile cause, even if in the long run it maybe doesn’t quite accomplish all of its goals.
A balanced fleet is about using relatively small investments in many directions.
Installing a scrambler on a good twenty ships or so has a very large benefit, but it doesn’t cripple you to the point where you can’t use the same fleet against an enemy without missiles. Most of my stock framework cruisers have a scrambler, which is almost as useful as a shield.
Air defense is a bit more of a stretch, but you still can manage to field a suitable offense in spite of having weapons directed at fighters.
Armor, on the other hand, is a total joke. Intuitively you should be able to take the momentum out of the vast arrays of high-dps-low-penetration weapons with carefully allocated armor, but we all know how well that works. This is a ‘counter’ or investment that could stand to have a much steeper return.
Yurch, you can always be relied on to give some outstanding analysis about this game. I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t even considered the fact that racial-specific weapons would effect the balance differently after limits are imposed. But i just created a simple Tribe fleet around 70 CLs and 70 howitzers, and I’d still only spent 70,000. So at the very least 30,000 will have to go on something else…and spending it all on ion cannon frigates makes for a fleet that fighters will chew apart.
At the very least, I wanted to create a map that really discouraged those fleets where you’re just up against one type of cruiser and tactic. It might be impossible to completely eradicate spam, but I think the limits help. The map isn’t intended to be the be-all-and-end-all of game balancing - Cliff has taken care of that pretty nicely, I’d say. It’s really just supposed to be a fun sandbox for those of us who like creating varied SF-movie style fleets or thinking a bit deeper about where to deploy our artillery.
EDIT: Ace, I think that fleet has just under the maximum limit of rad guns. I certainly deployed as many of that type of cruiser as I could.
EDIT 2: I just tried that Tribe rush fleet against a Rebel balanced fleet, and the Rebels won. One thing I am noticing from early battles is that a lot of the time the losing side has superiority in one department but loses due to better superiority elsewhere by the victor. The Tribe rush was halted by coming up against a squadron of general-purpose cruisers…the Rebels eventually went down but in that time their unmolested missile ships had dealt a crippling blow to those hippy bastards. Personally, I find this is a lot more enjoyable to watch than a wall of attack ships smashing into a wall of missiles over and over again
I’ll take a look. I have to say, though, that I hate limits, and think they are a poor way to limit spam.
I regularly post diverse challenges where every cruiser is of a unique design, but all of them have some core components in common - I only use two types of crew modules, one type of armour, one type of engine, and three types of shields. Almost every design has a cruiser laser for last-ditch defense, while the close-in brawlers have four or more. When I go to the trouble of designing 25 different cruisers, I don’t want to be held back deploying them if they average three cruiser lasers each.
To be honest, I think the problem with spam is in submitted challenges, not ones players use to win the challenges. I hate seeing generic names attached to deployments of large numbers of 1-2 types of cruisers and hundreds of fighters, and the limits you put on your map won’t fix that. Fortunately, the generic names do let us skip them.
Sorry for the rant. Thank you for doing your bit for antispam. I will certainly take a look.