Plasma -in every form- is overpowered


#1

I keep hoping to notice a weakness with the plasma weapons but as it is these are by far the best weapons you can put on your cruisers. They do extreme shield and armor damage, they hit from long range, they can’t be countered like missiles can (the other ultra long range weapon), they are a 1 stop shop for destruction. And with a minimum range of 330 and a max range of 900+ there is almost not chance of a ship getting through that window and up close where they hvy plasma’s won’t be able to hit. A cruiser fleet loaded out with these, in my experience, can only be countered by another fleet using the same tactic. They just annihilate everything. (give them a minimal escort of fighters and some escort frigates) They do miss occasionally but when you have 15 of them firing, as long as 50% hit, the target is done for.

Some possible solutions:

Take away the shield or armor penetration. (It should get one or the other) I think a short range weapon could have both types of penetration without being unbalanced but on a long range weapon it gives you and easy kill while the enemy isn’t in range.

Assuming you took away it’s shield penetration the weapon might serve very little purpose as a ranged weapon that can’t get through shields won’t help much prior to the enemy getting close. Plus there isnt’ much that can take down shields at their highest resistance so without this weapon shields might become even more powerful. (If you haven’t tried trippling up on the highest resistance shield you are in for a treat)

Assuming you took away armor penetration this weapon could be useful to weaken shields but wouldn’t be a kill weapon from long range, just a harassment or support weapon for heavily armored shorter range ships.

I think I’d vote for taking away armor penetration, most of the other stats would work fine if the Plasma was a dedicated anti shield weapon. And it would be more in line with the long range missle weapons which seem to harass more than they kill.


#2

I haven’t found plasma spam to be that much of a problem, but then again one of my favourite ships is a close-ranged attack frigate with decent speed. The accuracy on plasma weapons is their downfall, so anything that isn’t effectively stopped gains a fair amount of survivability.


#3

Send me a challenge in game with these close ranged attack frigates. Same name in game as here, frigates have never stood up to these weapons in the matches I’ve played. If they did get in close my fighters would kill them or one of the shorter ranged weapons on the cruiser or my escort frigates.


#4

Plasma doesn’t manage that high a DPS (especially frigate plasma, which is pretty rubbish) and has really low tracking speed. I find it works best to strip shields off enemy cruisers before using beam weapons to do serious damage.
You can also (potentially) armour a ship enough to make it nearly immune to plasma, so you can stick an armoured / armour repairing ship in the way of enemy plasma firing ships to keep them occupied.


#5

This.

My fleet is usually some plasma cruisers and proton beam cruisers. The first cuts down cruiser shields, and does fire support against frigates. The latter completely rips to shreds frigates and unshielded cruisers. I could use missiles for the first, but I find plasma performs better (higher DPS, and no way to stop it).


#6

I sent you a challenge with some of those attack frigates. When you beat it, please send me the balanced fleet you were talking about.


#7

I think plasma weapons are not that great. They have very low DPS, and are very inaccurate. Their only benefit is the long range and they work on shields and armor. I’ve played many of the “mass plasma” challenges, and just destroy them.


#8

I sent you a challenge as well, send back the counter :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#9

Sometimes I think they’re overpowered, sometimes I think they’re not. I’ve beat 90% of the challenges I’ve played with a plasma spam frigate fleet like the one I used in the tournament… But when that fleet was posted up as a challenge with the rest of the round 1 fleets it got trounced by everyone who tried it just about.

So far, I think there are 3 main counters: another plasma spam fleet, lots of fighters, and fast frigates with short range weapons. Especially if they’re set on keep-moving. Cruisers don’t seem to fare very well against them though.


#10

That’s a sign that a specialized counter exists, much like current fighter swarms. You have a pretty good idea of what you’re facing when you attempt another player’s challenge, but when you build a challenge you have to engage your worst matchup almost every time. A challenge fleet has to be good against everything or else it’ll get trounced by the proper counter, whereas when you’re beating up on other challenges you can spam all you want without (likely) running into a dedicated counter fleet.

That, above all else, is why I think the game needs a more interactive mode. Having tournaments built into the game system would help a lot, where the contenders have to build one fleet for the whole field.


#11

Yeah, the tournament that’s going on involves quite a different way of thinking about fleet design. Some folk have submitted frigate/fighter heavy deployments that would destroy plasma spam. You have to make a flexible fleet.


#12

I’ve seen challenges posted where people have 4-5 cruisers with plasma spam, and each time invariably they have a low pilot count to avoid the obvious.

Plasma is probably the best cruiser vs cruiser weapon.

If I were to make a change, it’d be to lower the tracking on them and keep them in the domain they probably should be.

That being said, one of the OTHER problems is that most people make their frigates as slow as cruisers…

yes it’s going to appear overpowered when it’s blowing up your overloaded frigs.


#13

Update:

I’ve beaten all of the “you can’t beat this!”, with as low as HALF of the points allowable, so no. Plasma isn’t overpowered, it’s just good vs nonmoving targets and takes shields down.

There are a LOT of things that beat plasma, especially targets fast and close enough that the tracking fails.

I believe the problem is in people playing to the plasma’s strengths, and utilizing other weapons that plasmas are superior to in that particular engagement… yes if you are standing still with big ships without shield disruption, etc, then plasma beats lasers because lasers won’t take shields down.

The only other long-ball weapon are missiles, and - really I need to test it but it -felt- like missile DPS was low.

Now that makes me want to go test a theory.


#14

i had great difficulty getting missile cruisers even slightly on-par with plasma spam. the problem is there’s such a time-lag between fire and hit/miss at long ranges. and it’s even worse if you coorperate/vulture, as most of a fleet-volley tends to be wasted after the target goes boom.


#15

Right now missiles are severely nerfed by the fact that there can only be one volley in space per launcher (as discussed here). If you’re firing your missiles at maximum range, they’ll take several times longer to get to their target than it will take for the tubes to be reloaded, but the missile crews will just sit on their hands after that, waiting for the first missiles to finish their business.

For example, the standard Cruiser Missile Launcher has a nominal reload time 3600 and does 30 damage. That would normally imply a DPS of 15.38 (30/3.6, assuming the reload time is in milliseconds), but a more realistic estimate needs to account for the missile’s flight time. Cruiser missiles fly at 110m/s (0.11m/ms, a little less than 250mph) and have a maximum range of 1200. If we assume none of them get shot down or miss, that means that instead of firing every 3600ms, they will in fact wait for 10909ms between shots at max range. That reduces their DPS to 2.75, which is indeed quite a bit worse than plasma weapons (which would do between 9.4 and 10 DPS if they always hit). Fast Missiles are a bit closer, with an effective DPS of 8.

None of those compare to the one truly evil weapon in the current game though: the Cruiser Laser module does 46.51 DPS.


#16

but can’t punch through shields.

That’s one of my current builds - cruisers with cruiser lasers, with a couple of plasma just to pop shields, and supported by frigates who escort them with disruptors and EW.

I have a ‘balanced fleet’ up that demonstrates this.


#17

My current favourite cruiser weapon is the Federation Fusion Beam, which is also why my cruisers tend to have high refraction shields instead of fast recharge ones. :slight_smile:

For frigates I’m mixing beam lasers with everything, as the frigate beam weapons have the punch to bypass other frigate shields and take down those annoying frigate swarm fleets.


#18

I think you’re confusing the “Cruiser Laser” module with the various beam lasers. The module I’m talking about has a shield penetration of 55, more than enough to drop even the toughest shields after a few seconds of concentrated fire. It’s weakness is its armor penetration of 15 and it’s short range (max 490). That’s why you need some backup ships with weapons like beam lasers to crack any heavily armored ships (after which the Cruiser Laser ships can finish the job with their excessive DPS).


#19

you’re right.

that being said, having shield penetration on a laser bothers me. That sort of breaks the consistency.


#20

I like 2 cruiser lasers & 2 cruiser pulse lasers on my short-range tanks. Gives you combined high shield and armor penetration, plus both have 400m optimal ranges and high rates of fire. The pulse lasers do a bit less than half the DPS, but together they really get the job done. As a bonus, the pulse lasers have a high enough tracking speed to be of some use against fighters.