Proposed Balance Changes. Add Your Opinion:

It’s been a while since any of the ships modules got looked at in terms of balancing. I don’t plan any major overhauls, but here are a few thoughts, and your opinions are most welcome.

  1. Quantum Blasters are not a good choice. I intend to rectify this by raising its armor penetration from 14 to 18, which raises it above the cruiser laser, and maybe slightly reducing the cost.

  2. Armor, in general, is not a good choice. Especially frigate armor. I intend to boost the strength of frigate armor, and to generally boost the strength of cruiser armor, but also increase the stacking penalty of armor so that ‘tanks’ are no more effective than currently.
    I’m thinking a 25% boost in the absorbable damage for all frigate armor modules, and 15% boost to all cruiser armor modules.
    frigate stacking effectiveness will drop to 0.95 from 0.98. Cruiser stacking from 0.98 to 0.97

  3. Disruptor missiles are not being used much, possibly because they are easily shot down. I am considering making them faster moving, and possibly faster firing. I propose increasing the speed from 0.31 to 0.41, and the fire interval from 1950 to 1800

  4. The cruiser defence laser is expensive for what it does. I’m considering increasing it’s damage from 7 to 9 and cutting it’s cost from 114 to 96.

I generally tweak things by nudging then slightly in the right direction, and seeing how it goes, because otherwise I could de-stabilise other areas of the game.


  1. seems like a step in the right direction, and it gives the Alliance a bit of a buff too.

I’m not sure 1) is enough to make the quantum blaster a better choice than the cruiser laser, but I’d rather things move incrementally in the right direction than move much, much too far.

  1. would certainly make disruptor bombs better, but on the other hand it takes a lot of investment to make disruptor bomb frigates worth it–particularly against an employee with scramblers.

The Cruiser Laser is excessively powerful with damage per second of 46 and the ability to pierce any shield.
(In comparison, ~Lasers are ~20 DPS and ~Missles are ~10 DPS.)
I suggest lowering the Tracking Speed from .9 to .6 (like plasma) to limit the CL’s full performance to tractored targets.

A similar note for the Cruiser Howitzer with it’s 100 DPS.

  1. This may encourage mixing at least 1 or 2 QB’s in with CL’s
  2. Improving the viability of a few armor plates will change a lot of ship dynamics and encourage more versatility between shields and armor. The net gain to frigates and cruisers will probably be most noticeable compared to the other changes which may also affect Quantum blasters
  3. Assuming frigates get a noticeable survivability increase with the disruptor missiles improved they may see more use
  4. Cruiser defense lasers I think would benefit from a significant range increase or firing speed increase over improved damage imo

This is lovely. While screwing around recently on a one-on-one cruiser battle, I discovered that the Quantum Blaster was the only weapon abourd my ship whose minimum range was short enough to fire from within my enemy’s shield bubble. And since I couldn’t actually penetrate the shield with much of anything, the Quantum Blaster was the only one doing any damage. So the battle ran very very very long (somewhere around 35 minutes at 4.0 speed because I’m just that kind of masochist). So an increase in the AP fits nicely.

Hate to say it, but I’m one of the weirdos who rarely if ever uses armor at all. It’s expensive, it’s not much of a damage soak, and it slows my ships down to a crawl. Plus it takes WAY too much of it to get a decent armor rating (for me anyway).

I could see this making a big difference. I’ve used disruptors on a few niche designs, and I always wind up either swapping the disruptor out for something more effective (often Ion Cannons or something equally shield-hating) or scrapping the idea entirely.

This would be good. I used to use defence lasers on my AA cruisers until I realized the Pulse Laser got almost as good tracking speed and could do decent damage to capital ships later. A cheaper defence laser makes it a more viable option for me.

Exactly the way to do it, nice and scientific. And you get extra points for actually listening to the players’ opinions.

“4) Cruiser defense lasers I think would benefit from a significant range increase or firing speed increase over improved damage imo”

I believe what the Defense Laser primarily needs is a boost in Tracking Speed
so it can hit those rocket fighters without the necessity of a Tractor Beam or blind luck.

But again the range is so short :frowning:

Are there any other modules or weapons that are up for tweaking?

Does anyone ever use decoy missiles?

They could probably also use a slight damage hike if only to put it above the frigate equivalent.

Putting a significant health increase on it would be unique (for “reliability”), but then you would have to take steps to make sure tribe doesn’t start using it.

I actually use armored frigates more often than armored cruisers. Personally I think the upper armor limit is too high - I don’t think cruisers capable of bouncing hi-power beam weapons serve much of a purpose outside of confounding the driving AI for extended periods.

I think a general increase of mid-range stuff is a good start though. Armor causes interesting design considerations.

On a related note, has that rad cannon ignoring-shields-without-armor behavior been looked at? I have to equip a small budget armor plate on all of my frigate designs to keep their tiny HP from getting gutted by radiation doses.

I think it’s the price on them. A horde of disruptor missiles (backed with EMPs to limit point defense) will take down virtually any shield. Problem is, so will ion cannons, which are cheaper and have the added advantage of being the highest possible DPS weapon you can fit on a frigate while also working as makeshift AA.

The disruptor does less “stuff” than the ion, but costs the same or more. It is also virtually useless against Tribe, so any challenge posted dependent on disruptors is at a significant disadvantage from the start.

I’ve posted before that I think this thing could safely be made into a slight rival to the CL against targets stripped of defenses. I think the poorer range and penetration characteristics would probably keep it from ever getting out of control.

Other weapon systems that probably need help:
Fighter torpedoes
They’re really only useful against 12-50 rating armored units that are unshielded and isolated. The poor fighters equipped with these barely have anything going for them.

A very large fire rate increase might help bypass some of the issues with their unfocused firepower, for now.

Frigate/Cruiser regular missile systems (The blue and white missiles)
The large fuel and low speed of the cruiser variant make this an unfavorable system. It’s got range to compensate, but there are very few situations where this would put this ahead of one of the other missile types.

The frigate versions suffer from similar problems, but are also incapable of penetrating cruiser shields and have difficulty overcoming the recharge rate of a single frigate shield.

Nuclear launcher
This weapon appears inferior to the fast launcher at all times - there doesn’t seem to be enough radiation damage.

Heavy plasma
This weapon has the potential to be a real punisher for slug or unengined fleets. It just needs a little bit of a push.

Midrange weapons in general
It’s unsafe (or at least, very very hard) to use ‘keep moving’ orders on pretty much any design that wants to engage between 500-900 units. Disruptors fall in this category, as do rockets, light plasma, decoys, fusion torpedoes, and cruiser painter setups.

The cruiser howitzer fires in salvos. It actually does ~23dps:

(6 damage * salvo of 6) / (60 refire delay * 6 + 1200 salvo delay) == 36 / 1.56 == 23.07 DPS

I may be the only one, but I don’t find cost to be an issue for most builds - I usually run out of pilots long before I run out of capital.

From that viewpoint, increasing the quantum blaster’s DPS, or lowering its crew and energy costs slightly, might be a helpful tweak. Same thing for the defense laser.

1] Excellent idea

2] Not too sure about that. It’s already possible to build cruisers that have 70+ armor. It’s a pain in the ass to destroy and really slows down battles.
I think it would be better to reduce the cost of armor by the percentage you mentionned, certainly less unbalancing.

3] Excellent

4] Probably not enough to make it usefull. As other already mentionned, what needs to be raised is the tracking speed.

Other unbalanced modules

A] Frigate turbo shields : Currently useless, as all characteristics are worse than Frigate shield II, except the cost, higher… How about :
Keeping HP to 33 [so that it has a disadvantage VS Shields 2, which have 60]
Up resistance from 7 to 10 [on par with shields 2]
Recharge rate from 6 to 8 [shields 2 have 7]
Shield strength from 77 yo 83 [shields 2 have 70]

B] Phasor Cannon 2 needs to be changed, as it is currently not very usefull. Compared to Ion cannon, it is only slightly cheaper, for having half the DPS, being unable
to pierce cruiser shields. The only characteristic that would make it potentially usefull is its armor penetration (18). My suggestion : give it a niche as a “short
range anti-frigate weapon”, reducing fire interval from 525 to 380, increasing tracking speed from 1.90 to 2.30.
Probably not enough to make it usefull, but that would be a first step.

C] Decoy missiles : Nobody uses that I think. Dummy missiles are a good idea, but not if they cost about the same as real missiles… How about making it really cheap
? Right now it costs 97 when i could have real missiles for 139. How about 68 ?

D] Fighter Rockets & Missile Painter : It doesnt really make sense that the rocket + painter combination is better at dogfighting than regular laser fighters.
Moreover, rocket fighters are part of these stuff that slooooow down battles. I suggest raising - slightly - their weights :
Rocket : from 2 to 2.5
Painter : from 3.1 to 3.4

E] Fighter torpedo : Currently not useable. Fighters using them are so slow than they can be shot down by Heavy Plasma (well, almost…).
Reduce weight, fron 15 to 12.

F] I second the comment about heavy plasma. They need some tiny change to make them a valid choice.

Great feedback, I definitely agree about the high cost of decoy missiles.

This isn’t obvious to me from the modules’ description or stats - I had no idea it was so weak. Cliff, please consider making this clearer in the description.

Yeah, it looked massively overpowered to me, too, until I checked the data files.

I feel like there are a lot of problems like this–module data which doesn’t get displayed. As a thought, Cliff, you might think about maintaining a ‘master list’ of all the module statistics that need to be displayed and automatically displaying the intersection between the master list and a given module, so you don’t have to worry about changing the displayed statistics on each individual module.

Not sure if I would even use them. If I want armor penetration, I just use a beams. Also I don’t think I never beaten a heavy shield ship with QB, on cases where CL can (I guess that shields regenerate faster than the damage they can do).

If they weren’t missiles they would actually be usefull. Because if you need missile spam to give chances to go trough scrambler, just stick to missile spam. Considering their relative short range, I would actually prefer to have a cheap decoy launcher on frigates.

Seems interesting.
Cruiser Lightweight Amour, is way to much expensive. Cruiser Powered Amor is 25% cheaper, provides the same armour and weights LESS! for the difference in price I can afford a more expensive generator and I still make more profit.

Cruiser Minima Armour, Considering that if you don’t have a certain armour rating, armour is pretty useless. This module is completely worthless, because nearly any other module gives a better hitpoint-cost ratio plus added functionality.

Frigate Lightweight Power Armour, apart from costing 25% more than regular Frigate Power Armour, It offers less armor, and barely weights less.

Even then I think they will be still useless, the requisites from pulse laser are still slightly lower. Also their short range seems to make them useless as many times they do NOTHING while having appropriate targets in range (this affects all short ranged weapons, the shorter the more noticeable).

Turboshield, worse than shield2 in every sense.

Long Range Cruiser Missiles, need way less fuel. They waste to much time turning arround when they miss (mostly, because they are slow and have more fuel than the rest of missiles).

Armor Repair Systems. Considering that the armour must be gone before receiving hull hits and that once amour is gone CAN NOT be repaired, it doesn’t make sense in first place that they repair at smaller rate than Nanobot Repair System.

High Efficiency Engine, never used this one, because ALL other engines are more useful in at least one way. The main reason is It’s weight-trust ratio and it’s high requirements.

Fighter Torpedo, high cost, low dps, long reload, very heavy, poor max-min ranges, it shoots at fighters regardless of orders.

Fighter Rocket, unless this weapon is intended to be fighter killing weapons. It just needs that either it cannot hit fighters faster than 1.00 regardless if they are painted or not. Or weigh half the fighter torpedo.

I agree with the armor repair systems being useless, but weapons can penetrate the armor and damage the hull if the weapon has a decent armor penetration.

Really? Because in my opinion fighter rockets are basically fighter torps that don’t slow your fighters down.

Fighter rockets are my “Bomber weapons”.
Fighter torps are my “Heavy Bomber Weapons”.
which is why i usually go with the bomber.
my point is


No, damage may only applied to the hull once at least one armour slot is gone.
It works similarly to shields. What’s the same, incoming fire is separated for all armour slots regardless if they can absorb or not more damage. So the damage not absorbed goes to hull.

It weights so little that adding armour remains still faster than the lightest laser fighter possible. Mostly because it doesn’t have real energy requisites and weights the same.
The problems of fighter torpedo are so many that is hard to begin.

my idea for the cruiser laser/ Q Blaster problem is to shorten the range of the cruiser laser to around 400, or even 380, and give the Q blaster something like 600 or 650. its still alot weaker, but being able to soften up shields at that distance might make it more useful. and maybe give it some synergy with other weapon systems.

also i think what the missile decoys really needs is similar range to other missiles. it should be around 1000 range. that way they can sit back and add to the missile barrages

That’s a good idea; lowering the range of the cruiser laser. I was thinking; raise the price; but lowering the range is a good idea.

Maybe lower it as far as to 350 and see how things work out.