While there are some uses for deploying larger hulls alongside smaller ones, the primary (or only) frigate/cruiser hull design of most competitive fleets is almost always going to be the smallest one. Not getting popped in short order is just too useful compared to other hull bonuses, and the best way to do that is to make yourself smaller and faster.
So unless we want to be doomed to stare at Fed Panthers, Horus frigates and Mr. Peanut Tribe Utopia cruisers for the rest of time, I propose we give the big hulls a little more love.
The easiest solution would be to bump the hull bonuses on the big boys up. Way up.
A secondary approach would be the addition of some new mechanic that rewards large size (is it even possible to miss a 256m stationary cruiser?) in some way, but I’m not convinced that’s needed quite yet, nor can I even conceive of one just yet that I think would be intuitive and fair.
The only intuitive thing to do is to improve the bonuses more for the larger ships. The only bonus that might not make as much sense in this way is a speed bonus, but hull, shield and armor bonuses all make sense to be bigger for the bigger ships.
After seeing the hit determinance system mathematically for the first time, I decided to revamp my fleet - I’m now playing Rebels with ships that mostly consist of the smallest hull going at .34 (save for some tank/distraction/JOAT ships and move at .20), and this is my conclusion:
However you intend to spend the extra modules you get from a larger hull, and whatever the bonuses on it, in almost all cases your results will be superior with the smallest hull, cutting out whatever weapons, extra armor, extra shielding, etc., particularly because less modules = higher average armor with fewer slots spent (Rebel Fenrir achieves 9.67 armor with a single Superheavy armor, 8.07 with a single Armor III, with all slots used). Whatever damage you aren’t pewpewing, you make up in time your ship spends alive continuing to fire with undamaged guns. Whatever damage your armor would be deflecting or your shields would be soaking, you just dodge instead with your smaller ship size and reduced weight.
I’ve basically phased all larger hulls out of my fleet entirely.
Small Hull is faster, because thrust power to speed grows exponentially to weight
Small Hull has more armor rating for each armor piece
Small Hull can be deploy closer to the edge on some maps
It will take quite a bit of bonuses to offset all of that. Rebel Fenrir vs Minotaur is a good example. 1% speed and 8% power boost is not enough to offset the 25 meters difference. Of course, Utopia is in a class of it’s own.
Hey I’m just going to say that with the larger ships come more damage they must take to even out there size. I have been making a super-cruiser. I have found that the shield bubble is soooo large that some cruiser can get underneath it. But I have offset that with insane armor bonues and insanly good repair modules. I’m working on the eve-online mod and the captial ships are more long than wide so I have HUGE shield bubble troubles, but I’ve offset that with armor boosts.
This one is pretty easy to fix. Don’t have armor degrade by the number of other modules. If I have two lasers and a sheet of armor, should my bridge be less protected than if I just had that sheet of armor? Probably not, I’m still putting it on the same frame.
What my understanding of mathematically superior hull choices is (Got ninja’d by anyone who posted before my medication caused me to pass out last night <_<):
Frigate: Gazelle or Puma (Each Hull+10%, Gazelle has Armor+10% and 8 power, Puma has 15c more cost, 2 more power, 1 more hardpoint, and Power+8%. Depending on design you have TWO FULL VIABLE CHOICES)
Cruiser: Panther (Tiger costs you 50 meters and 20c for some 10% [instead of 12%] bonus to hull and 8% to armor. Oh, and one more module overall. I won’t bother listing precise number of hardpoints because you’ll rarely need/want to fill them all with weapons. Anyway. Eagle is 30c and 60m for 3 more modules, ensuring it’ll be big, fat, and slow in most cases, even with its… power… boost. Buffalo is just ass, it’s 240 meters [EIGHTY more than Panther], meaning all your 18 modules are going to do is make expensive wreckage when even Heavy Plasma can hit it consistently).
All fighters are useful. I posted somewhere else about it, but basically they give you several options for cost vs. speed and doublerocket potential
Frigate: Loki wins at 70 meters and 8 modules, with an impressive speed+13% and hull+12%. The Asgard is viable but a bit weaker - 80 meters and 10 modules, with speed+10% and armor+7%. It’s useful if you need to cram more gear on a frigate while maintaining survivability. Midgard is 110 meters for 12 modules, power+19%, and hull+17%, putting it solidly out of the running for actually useful effects. Odin is tolerable - 90 meters and 11 modules, but its boosts are the same as the Asgard, so you’re basically paying 10m and 15c in return for 1 module and 1 power. Not too great.
Cruiser: Fenrir, hands down. The relatively weak 9% speed bonus is a small price to pay for being only 140m with 14 modules. The 165-meter Minotaur has 15 modules, speed+10% and power+8%, costs 21 more, and will die much faster. Valhalla and Valkyrie are only good if you intend to have a tankship you need to be large enough to draw fire from smaller ships. :I
The formula that takes size into account might be a candidate for re-evaluation. It is very counter-intuitive that a ship that is 30m less long and has +x% to all kinds of stats is a lot worse than the smaller one.
It makes sense that it’s easier to hit bigger things. Bigger things just need better bonuses to compensate for it. More modules doesn’t provide a good answer because that makes it less survivable and more expensive.
Also, bigger hulls shouldn’t cost more, from a balance perspective.
Recently I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot.
From a naval architechture and construction perspective, they definitely should cost more. However, this is a “gratuitous” game, so we usually don’t concern ourselves with such things… but this point does offer a glimmer of light to shine upon a possible solution.
My chosen starting point was the Hull Integrity bonus for cruisers. If we proceed from the assumption that a larger hull offers not only more volume for equipment (modules & weapons) but also for a deck plan allowing a far higher degree of airtight compartmentalization, redundant piping and wiring conduits, internal armor belts/splinter shields for secondary defense, generous distribution of pre-placed damage-control equipment at key spots, etc., then that’s all the justification needed for a drastically boosted Hull Integrity bonus.
As for the new extent of the bonus, none of this piddly +5 to +10% stuff. With the kind of problem we’re confronted with (cruisers acting as absurdly efficient damage magnets), those kinds of answers are just getting lost in the background noise. I’ve already been playtesting this idea via modding different strengths of so-called “Durability Cruisers” with H.I. bonuses in the +30 to +70% range, and so far the results are on par with my expectations. More tweaking is needed, of course; it’s a tedious business to find the balance between stronger GSB cruiser hulls instead of invincible cruiser hulls.
It should be interesting to experiment with the above plus various combinations of boosted Armor and Shield bonuses.
Comparison between Durability Cruisers and conventional cruisers also shows the effectiveness of the change very clearly.
The historical basis of my approach is rooted in the Anglo-German arms race in the decade just before the Great War. The British Royal Navy concentrated on raw firepower above all, versus the German High Seas Fleet’s emphasis on ship survivability. RN dreadnoughts boasted signifigantly greater gun caliber than any other; take that as a GSB reliability on higher count of weapons and modules to support them. The German ships typically used heavy guns of lesser caliber, which reduced the volume and mass of the turrets’ support systems enough to make room for a huge increase of internal subdivisioning in their hulls.
The result? British ships which hit impressively hard but were more easily “mission-killed,” versus German ships that were somewhat weaker-hitting but could shrug off an amazing amount of damage and, while still impaired, continue to victory. That’s a much more dramatic difference than it might seem here in mere text – and it’s what we’re after here for the game. It shows me that a signifigant increase in Hull Integrity goes a long way towards reducing the cruiser weaknesses we’ve listed previously. Again, I’m quite clear that comparisons to 1914-1918 naval warfare aren’t exactly symmetrical to what we have here in GSB, but there are more similarities than differences; that’s why I stumbled upon this.
Other kinds of cruiser damage mitigation exist and depend on one’s style of choosing ship modules (armor/shield tanking, repair systems, camouflage just as a damage-sink, etc.) but so far the largest result is gained for the least complexity and cost for the player by raising the H.I. bonus. I’m all in favor of keeping the solution as simple as I can while still making some sense and giving a result that leads to less un-fun battles.
Perhaps instead of jacking up hull integrity or hit points - larger ships get some sort of integral armour bonus. This is not a percent but a permament armour bonus that does not degrade. If lets say 10 is applied to the Fed. Tiger cruiser hull, add it to the tuturial armour of 12. This now gives the Cruiser an armour of 22. Even after the purchased armour is gone it will always retain 10 armour.
This would give larger ships more survivability against lighter weapons. CL spam would mean each hit only does 5 points of damage. Immune to fighter lasers - but still suffer lightly from missiles. The Cruiser - or the larger ones - would now suffer much less from being nickled and dimed to death from light weapons.
Taking Archduke Astro’s (any relation to Astroboy?) analogy to WWII Batttlecruiser/Battleships - they were virtually immune to smaller calibre weapons. Thats why destroyers (GSB’s vr of Frigates) were armed with torpedoes. The Bismarck although all gun turrets were knocked out, the bridge knocked out, local gun director controllers knocked out was scuttled by her own crew. She was still making speed - though since she had her rudder damaged earlier was going in circles.
I don’t think it would make large ships invinvible - but it would keep them running much longer. Possible making repair units more viable.