Posted in the semi-recent past at here, there and also here, we have a bit of a mildly humorous amount of “whose mod is more overpowered? yours!” and “no wai u r teh OP” going on here. I think that we need to channel that energy into asking a different series of questions. For example:
Why do some modders seem to feel the urgent need to include various amounts of game-breakingly powerful weapons, defenses, etc.?
I am asking this question because of the clear trend towards more and more overpowered hulls plus devices to fit aboard them. When compared to the amount of well-balanced mod content already in existence this may seem only like a small irritant, but it seems to be on the rise and I would like to explore this trend in a rational manner.
The so-called standard ruler that GSB is measured by will always be the nine official races; the Great Powers. Do you folks create your content at the level that you do because you feel that the ships and gadgets in the official content are too weak?
Or is it simply a fanatical desire to transplant content from the science-fiction franchise of your choice into the game, regardless of how poor it might fit in the game if you were to keep the content fully “accurate”?
Or is it done because people would rather lavish the majority of their time on fancy graphics while deliberately refusing to make the effort to balance their content against Cliff’s official GSB stuff? Or balance it against other mods? If so, which mods??? You may end up choosing one that is just as unbalanced as yours, but with the flaws located in places different from your own mod’s flaws – that makes it hard to choose intelligently.
Or does it happen because people are too lazy or too unskilled at preventing their mod from getting out of control? Do some of you simply not care about balance at all regardless of how it badly it distorts the game, while others might care but have no clue how to accomplish it or where to begin?
Now that the majority of the small devoted number of long-term people here are veteran GSB modders first and veteran GSB players second, we are going to keep encountering these problems more and more frequently as more mod content is created over time. Therefore, I think it’s important that we at least make some attempt to have a “meeting of the minds” here. Hopefully you folks will share your thoughts on this subject.
I’ll begin by speaking of how my own mod fits into this larger situation…
For my own part, a big reason behind the genesis of my well-known Classic Dreadnoughts mod were my own thoughts that yes, the vanilla cruisers are too weak for some situations.
Look at the Alliance’s cruisers; 3 out of 4 cruisers only have a max of five turrets! Despite the differences in the exact types of guns available to each class, that’s barely better than most frigates.
The Empire isn’t much better, with some of the biggest (i.e., hardest to keep enemy units out of their shields) cruisers in the game and all of the turrets spread out around those huge rings. Goodbye, concentration of firepower.
So where does this leave us? Well, we now have seen that 2 out of the 4 races that ship with every copy of GSB are built with significant flaws. That’s really not a good position to be in.
The Swarm’s in a similar position to the Empire regarding tactical difficulties due to size. Hell, the Nomads are stuck with only 1 cruiser out of 4 having a hull size smaller than 240! There’s a clear problem with too many ships being built too large (and thus hard to shield as well as easy to hit) relative to the amount of usable firepower that they can actually carry.
The current version of my dreadnoughts does a good job of allowing a player to achieve local firepower superiority in a relatively small area. The tactical value of this cannot be over-emphasized. However, the hulls themselves are expensive - about four times the cost of a vanilla cruiser. The special shipboard equipment is likewise neither cheap, lightweight, or otherwise “a freebie” for the player. Even if you choose instead to bulk up with standard items, the COSTBOOST penalty I baked into each hull will make sure that you pay for the privilege. Balance is therefore preserved. Yes, you can have a much stronger cruiser-type warship, but I promise you’ll pay a steep price for them. This acts as a very efficient check upon their numbers when assembling your fleet.
But much more than giving you new tactical options, an even greater reason to create my mod was a desire to have a carefully crafted counter-weight to the further spread of OP mods out there. Some of what I’ve played, reviewed, privately tested or otherwise heard of from others is just much too strong for the units and equipment that ship with the basic game and the DLC expansions. I think this is not a minor problem and that it needs to be addressed somehow. Anyone can hastily power-level their way through the official scenarios in the game without too much trouble if OP mod stuff is freely used. This brings me to my next point…
My future plans for the CDN mod are revolving around creation of additional scenarios, with dreadnoughts as part of the A.I. threat forces. I think it is important to give the official game the ability to bite back and bite DEEP when you show up with some over-caffeinated “Very Heavy New-Type Super Protonic Attack Battlecruiser” of your own creation. The stock A.I. fleets were designed over two years ago and are permanently stuck within the game in this now-primitive state. I seek to provide much more risky and interesting missions for all of you bloodthirsty admirals.
If I can achieve my goal to my satisfaction, the end result will greatly extend the usefulness of a copy of GSB – for us here who create mod content, as well as the far greater population who does not but will sometimes play with a mod.
Who’s next? Don’t be shy.