So I got the Tribes expansion (love it!) and have been using what I’ve learned to update my fleets from other races.
I have removed armor from all (!) of the cruisers I use. This is because nano-repair plus filling slots with modules that have lots of hitpoints is cheaper than armor. Cheap enough that in a typical 40,000 pt engagement, I save enough cash to buy 1 or even 2 extra cruisers! One modified cruiser got a shiny new engine and ECM defense, lasted longer against other cruisers and still was a big cost savings over its armored brother.
The only drawback I’ve noticed is that such cruisers are more vulnerable to fighters, so ignoring fighter defense is not an option with the unarmored fleet. But that’s it.
- Make armor cheaper.
- Change the armor critical hit system so that it takes longer for a fighter cloud to get through, longer for a ship armed with only cruiser lasers to get through, etc.
- Make the armor per plate higher. Armor penetration above 40 is quite common. Getting a ship up to that level of armor is insane in terms of direct cost and in terms of module slots used up.
My preferred solution: Make the diminishing returns on armor 90% instead of 98% (to match shields) but double or even triple the armor value per plate. A single shield provides 200+ points of protection. A plate of armor should be able to do the same. The diminishing returns will make the maximum number of plates on a reasonable ship top out at 5 and for an armor “hedgehog” at 8. That will leave the maximum thicknesses in the same range as they are currently but allow typical ships to benefit from carrying 1 or 2 armor plates.
The current advantage and disadvantage of armor vs shields is that it has a sliding resistance scale vs a different type of weaponry. The absorption mechanic is a separate function and cause of the disadvantage - and the Tribe is doubly punished by it. As discussed in the other thread, a few of us would like to do away with that part of the absorb mechanic.
Personally, I feel the current costs (and that includes slot, speed, weight, etc) per point of resistance are completely appropriate. The cost/weight/ratio considerations are difficult choices during ship creation and that is to be respected.
Any changes that lead to increases in average resistance values would probably be dangerous for game balance, as the benefits for higher resistances are in no way linear. Cruisers hitting 40 armor regularly would be pretty absurd - they would effectively be immune to every frigate weapon except one.
If I understand the armor thread on the main forum, mostly people think armor is too weak, which is also what I’m saying here. Increasing the average amount of armor carried by a cruiser is one way to buff up the armor.
Decreasing the cost is a way to mitigate the specific problem I have with armor: it’s cheaper to use nano-repair and extra engines to get about the same amount of longevity out of a cruiser. Of course, with armor the cruiser is 100% effective for a bit longer, but the reduction in cost is significant.
A couple of interesting suggestions on the other thread I will reprise here:
Change the critical hit model to where critical hits go straight to the hull without damaging armor. The problem with this as I see it is that armor “turtles” with thickness 60+ and one repair bot may become nigh invincible under this proposal.
Change the armor model from “onion” to “sectioned”. Under the current (onion) model armor with thickness 20 that has been half vaporized operates like armor of thickness 10 (peeling the onion). Under the “sectioned” model it would work more like shields, if half the armor is gone there’s a 50% chance of a shot going through and a 50% chance that it will hit thickness 20 armor. This suggestion is interesting and probably has the smallest amount of gameplay impact while still helping armor avoid the cascading failure problem that it currently has.
Of the two suggestions I have ported, I agree with other posters on that thread that suggestion 2, changing the armor model so that it continues to block at least a % of shots below its original thickness is better.
Try my challenge “Challenge training simulator module 1-A-3”. Posted on 11-08-09.
My forward Cruisers have 92.40 armour and 2 nanobot repair systems. The anti-fighter frigates have over 12 armour and can survive swarmed rocket fighter attacks.
I’m not seeing a problem with armour here. Use a little or a lot, but not usually a middling amount.
Those cruisers further underscore the point that overly high resistance values are not healthy - especially when it’s this difficult to goat the AI into ignoring them.
At any rate, the underperformance of ‘middling’ values are the concern.
To ignore Armour Cruisers use the Retaliate and Rescuer orders.
Medium Armour can be a problem because it gives the least benefit. Armour is destroyed very quickly after it is penetrated. I don’t think that there is really a fix for it though. It is generally a non-viable ship design to have medium armour. The main purposes of armour seem to be: Defense against fighters. Force the opponent to equip armour penetrating weapons. For front line use - drawing enemy fire away from other ships.
It basically makes no sense to ever put armor on Tribe ships. Repair modules work best when damage is spread evenly over all the modules in the ship (because you can’t repair a module that’s been knocked out), and armor plates absorb all shots first.
Well, right, but my original point is that since playing Tribe, I’ve taken the armor off of my Federation and Rebel ships because of issues with cost-effectiveness. It’s a sticky question, especially since several challenge posts right now deal with armorless ships by fighters ordered to attack cruisers first instead of dealing with the escorts first. So, probably nothing will change but it’s interesting to note that for facing normal challenges, armorless ships regardless of race seem to do better.
Sadly, no. The gunners eventually pick the correct targets, but the piloting AI often never seem to want to leave the armored cruisers until they die. You have to do annoying workarounds like telling your long range units to drive to 250 meters, and then you’re basically stuck to the cruisers. Occasionally you’ll see the AI do that to ‘cautious’ craft as well - the pilots are really, really stubborn.
Also, better doublecheck on the armor of those frigs. Six squads of rocket fighters will down the entire line of them in short order.