Some balance issues


#1

First off i would just like to say that this game is everything i hoped for and that i admire the level of customization this game has. I offer my insight into things that in my opinion dont work well , so to make the game better and more interesting.

This thread might seem a bit complicated or long for some because its explained in detail, i would like you to say if you are gonna repply something how well did you understood it.
If you dont want to bother reading all this, just read the summary.

The issue starts with the difference betwen cruiser laser and cruiser quantum blaster, but what i aim to show are deeper issues in balancing modules.

Does anyone actually use quantum blasters? No? Why? They are slightly cheaper (85 vs 113 cost) , their main advantage is low energy (3) versus (11) of cruiser laser, its has slightly lower range then cruiser laser but slightly higher tracking speed so there they are even. They also have compareable armor and shield penetration. They are inferior to cruiser lasers in their damage pher second or DPS:
8/0.6 sec= 13.33 DPS
versus
20/0.43 sec= 46.5 DPS.

So the DPS of a quantum blaster is around 3.5 times less then cruiser laser. But they are also around 3.5 time less expensive in energy.
It makes sense right? Less energy, less DPS, its balance right?

Well it would be balance if energy consumption was the central resource in which you actually determine how much a module is worth. But its not, its the price of the module.
Well ok: the price of the module is 85 (13.33 DPS) versus 113 (46.5DPS). This is 0.16 DPS pher unit of money, versus 0.41 DPS pher unit of money. The second weapon ( cruiser laser) is around 2.5 times more effective money wise, and efficiency of a module or a ship is measured only through money, so this means 2.5 times effective.
Wait ,what about the energy cost? I mean cruiser lasers cost more energy right? And more energy cost more money right? So the 0.41 DPS is actually lower since energy cost money.
Ok, im sure the adittional energy cost will make things even,and to make it even we can expect that total cost of a weapon + the energy cost you have to pay to operate that weapon should be proportional to its weapons DPS. So if DPS ratio is 3.5 so should be its cost. The current cost ratio is 113/85 = 1.33
To be 3.5 ratio we expect something like 350/100. 350-113= 237, so around 273 of the total cost should be its energy, which is almost 200% of the cost of the weapon.

So how much does 11 energy actually cost? We have power generator III that cost 229 and produces 66 energy. This is 0.29 pher point of money. So 11 energy costs 0.29*11=3.2 money? WHAT ? so energy cost of a weapon is 3% of its original value, instead of 200%?

THE POINT:

my point is , so what if some weapons need alot of energy , you just add stronger generator for basically insignificant cost. ENERGY GENERATORS SHOULD BE MORE EXPENSIVE. like 30 times more expensive.

Wait , but isnt adittional generator gonna cost you aditional slot?
Yes and so what ,I can have 6 weapon slots that have 3.5 times more DPS and use 2 generators , or use 7 weapon slots that have 1 times DPS and use 1 generator.
You get
3.5* 6= 19.5 damage
versus
7*1 =7 damage

which is still around 3 times more damage for almost the same amount of money. Adittional generator is 229 instead of 85 cost weapon, and difference between other 6 weapons is 113-85= 28.

Total difference in cost is 229 - 85 + 28*6= 312
A cruiser size ship will cost around 3000 and 312 less money is around 10% of its total cost.

So basically you get 3 times more damage for 10% more cost.

Eagle cruiser:
7 cruiser lasers
4 multiphasic shields
1 reflective shield
2 lightweight crusier engines
2 power generator III
1 free slot

cost 2700

Eagle cruiser:
7 Cruiser blasters
4 multiphacis shields
1 reflective shield
2 lightweight crusier engines
2 basic power generators
1 free slot

cost 2300

and the difference is 3.5 times more damage.

this is real design and you can test it.

even if the quantum blasters were FREE the ship would still cost like 1700.

1700 versus 2700 but 3.5 times less damage.
You can get more ships that cost 1700 and thus more shields or defenses, but the difference in damage still makes things unbalanced.

aaaah you get the point.
The same conclusions could be taken for crew resource.


THE IMPORTANT STUFF

SUMMARY
Weapons that have high DPS like cruiser laser cost more energy or crew but still have simmilar cost of money with the weapons that are low DPS like quantum blaster but cheap in energy and crew… are way better and imbalanced towards second type of weapons. For the sole reason that we pay energy and crew very very cheap. The true and only price you pay for a weapon is the one where it says “COST” and the only eficiency you should look at is the one that says DPS pher cost of money.

Which brings me to my next point. ARMOUR

Someone would say armour uses no crew or energy so its effectively cheaper since it does not need large crew compartements or energy generators, and thus its high module price. Yes , only thing ,CHEAP energy generators and cheap crew compartements make this feature non existant.

The best armour cost like 260 pher module , where shields i use cost 160. Shields have alot more total HP includindg shield strength, and regeneration ,and resistance that does not decay as they get damaged. I think you all know how ineffective armour is as a main source of defence, even with armour regenerators. The only use for it as i can tell are armour tanks and even those can be bypased with “retaliate” order. Putting small amounts of armour on cruisers to protect from fighters is also ineffective because its to damn expensive for a module that will eventually give to "critical " hits. I never use armor on my cruisers , which makes them cheaper so i have the money to use for something that will actually protect my cruiser better like AA fighters, or simply more cruisers.

But i dont have to tell you this:

Armour is used as i can tell only with armour tanks in large amounts, medim amount of armour is ineffective since it offers low protection that burns quickly for to much money. Minimum armor against fighters is questionable since it raises the cost of a cruiser significantly. Its better to use no armour on cruisers but with some AA for that price.

And to talk about armour on frigates… -.- , simply ineffective , to expensive. My best frigate cost around 700 , and its the main reason why its the best, because i can have shit load of them, and ofcourse it has no armour.

I would really like to have armour as an option for basic defence.

Quick fix for these issues in my book is :

1 make energy and crew compartements alot more expensive
2 reduce the cost of armour
2 Increase the points of armour can absorb by double but reduce its stacking efficiency to like 0.9 so that armour tanks still have same armour but medium armour ships have higher armour then now.


#2

Perhaps, instead of making energy generators and crew more expensive, simply increase the amount of crew and energy required by the cruiser laser. Have the cruiser laser requiring something 30 energy and 20 crew; and maybe that would begin to make it cost what it is worth, performance-wise.

Agreed that, as things are ‘nobody’ employs quantum blasters on ‘knife fighting’ cruisers. The quantum blaster is pretty good on an ‘aa cruiser,’ but falls way short of the cruiser laser when engaging ‘ground targets’ (other cruisers).

As for armour; here’s a vote for making it quite a bit cheaper than it already is.

I do put a bit of armor on my ships; but usually only when playing Alliance; and agree that it never seems to be worth anything on a frigate. It seems like, with frigates anyway; you can get protection, but the build design will be too expensive, for the amount of weapons fielded. Rather, it seems like a player needs currently to pick and choose when to employ frigates; in challenges where the risk of opposing fighters is low. Frigates have almost no place in those, 100k/1000 pilot battles; the chances for getting smoked by fighters is simply too great. On the other hand if you have say, 100k points and only 200 pilots; then you’ll begin to see some (probably unarmoured) frigates getting involved. Be that as it may; as the cost of armour stands, armoured frigates are ineffective for their cost.


#3

I agree on the power/crew needing to cost a bit more. That cost should probably be in something like increased weight, however, so you can move that cost on to engine ratios instead of outright breaking all existing fleets.

The quantum blaster is simply a bad weapon to use as any baseline. The howitzer has the same cost and I estimate it does about 24 DPS, which makes for more interesting comparisons. At that point the higher tracking and tribe’s hitpoint bonus makes it a viable alternative to the CL.

Armor is a problem of mechanics and not so much numbers. Since you can’t actually damage a ship without ablating the armor, it functions like a second shield instead of a different form of protection. Most problems will stay until that gets changed somehow.

The price is outrageous for sure, though. Armor suffers from the triple cost of high credit, high weight, and obscene diminishing returns in the form of the armor ratios.

I disagree on any baseline increase of the actual average armor values, though, as it will just lead to more use of ‘immune ships’ to x class, which aren’t terribly fun. And no, ‘retaliate’ orders are not enough for getting around those. The AI simply can’t deal with a ship that can’t be destroyed quickly right now, although ironically this is a factor keeping fighters under control.


#4

yes but if you give 0.9 diminishing returns or efficiency on armour as on shields you can increase the base value of one module of armour without increasing the average armour of armour tanks.

Lets consider 10 armour modules of 100. They give 1000 armour before diminishing returns of 0.98 pher module.
This is 0.98^9 = 0.834
(9 is the power because one armour module does not suffer penalty, 2 does, etc…)
So instead of 1000 armour that tank will have 834

Lets consider 10 armour modules of 180 with diminishing returns penalty of 0.92 for example.
This is 0.92^9= 0.472
So instead of 1800 armour you get 850, which is close to original 834

Lets consider medium amounts of armour

Lets consider 4 modules of armour of 100 with penalty of 0.98
This is 0.98^3= 0.941
So instead of 400 armour we have 376

Lets consider 4 modules of armour of 180 with penalty of 0.92
This is 0.92^3= 0.779
So instead of 720 armour we have 560 , which is alot more the original 376

This kind of scailing benefits meduim armored units but does the same thing for armour tanks


#5

Well, obviously if you slap DR’s on it (the current armor DR doesn’t seem to function), it won’t get as bad.

Personally I think it shouldn’t even be possible to get effective armor values over the 50’s. At that point frigates can’t touch it, and the armor will be bouncing things like megatons and heavy plasma, which is just ridiculous. Having to rely on crits against current 100+ armor tanks is just annoying gameplay.


#6

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

I dont complain about how bad missiles are up close, do i? It would seem ridiculus if i did, because we all understand the reason they are like that.
I dont see the quantum blaster as an alternative to the CL. Its for specificbuilds, a few extra power and crew, and you want some more DPS. Its nice to have something to use.

As for armour, you are using it wrong. Armour ships can, infact, take a hell of a lot more punishment that shields, proided you can come up with the right build.
Ive seen a single 0.08 speed ship get into CL range against 80k worth of missiles. Add some ships with CLs in formation, you got yourself a win.

As for retaliate, come up with a build that has a weapon, maybe. Its not that hard. If you are having truble, look to empire. They have higest base power ingame. Build right, you wont even need a powerplant.

Yurch, against high armour targets, use fast firing weapons. The faster, the better. Means more critical hits=lower armour. And have a beam laser around to reliably take it down once it hits the 70’s.

But i do think armour should be changed. To something more like damage mitigation, with value being the percent, and penetration being the amount of armour taken into account, or some such.


#7

Fire rate has nothing to do with it besides consistency. A crit does weapon damage to the armor, so a frigate rapid fire laser is going to do 5 damage to the armor on a crit while a megaton is going to do 60. Over a large enough span of weapon attacks it’ll average out and you’ll be left with 2% of your DPS (or whatever the hell the crit rate is) as armor damage.

It just so happens that the faster fire rate weapons in this game are usually the highest DPS anyway - huge packs of fighters, cruiser lasers, etc.


#8

Yes if you want your ship to be ineffective, my point is if the weapon is ineffective in its cost its better to leave an empty slot then place in it something that increases your ships cost and does not do much good. Its not about building biggest and strongest ships, its about finding balance between power and cost , so your ships are efficient so you can have more of them. Quantum blaster is simply a weapon that is ineffective, small DPS , small range and cost close to cruiser laser. My point is that some weapons have no function at all instead of diminishing the efficiency of your ship. If its not effective its not worth it.

Maybe you misunderstood me, i never said armour has no function, it has a function on big heavy armour tanks, but my point is that it is his only function. I would personally like to see armour made so it can be effectivelly used on frigates or normal crusies as a main part of defense.

the current DR do function, its the “average armour” number in the design screen that does not function properly since it does not take into accout the DR from armour.

If average armour says 80, but you have 80% efficiency on armour due to DR this means your effective average armour is 64. And this is why sometimes when you think you have more then enough armour to reflect beam weapons they damage the armour like you dont.

I tried playing and moding the armour modules, tried different armour DR’s like 90% or even 10%, with 3 modules of 10% efficiency armour your effective total armour is 1% of what its supposed to be and its 1% of what it says on average armour number. And you can see this in fight, it says you have 100 average armour but when your hit armour gets destroyed like it has 1 HP.


#9

Eeek. I better fix that. I’ll investigate today.


#10

The easiest way to check is simply to stack same type of armour like heavy armour into slots, they will always show 126 average armour no matter how many modules or armour you place , even though this number should fall down with each module due to DR’s.


#11

Here’s a perfect example of what the OP is talking about:

The ship on the left is immune to the cruiser laser, the ion cannon and the fighter laser cannon.
The ship on the right is immune to every weapon except the cruiser laser, the ion cannon and the fighter laser cannon.
The ship on the left costs 3168.
The ship on the right costs 2967.


#12

That is not a terribly good example.

Triple shielding is in no way ‘immune’ to all other weapons by any stretch of the imagination. I can defeat either cruiser with fast painted missile spam, which removes speed from the equation as far as accuracy goes, and allows for easy focus fire to negate recharge. It is unlikely I can ever beat the one on the left for cost with ion cannons. Armor is an honest immunity outside of crits, and even as weak as armor is right now, that immunity still has value. To say otherwise is unfair - the weapons 30ish armor provides immunity to are in fact the highest possible DPS weapons available and are quite popular.

Additionally, the ship on the left handily beats the one on the right, so one could even arrive at the conclusion that the cost of armor is justified… which I’m sure is not the point you were trying to make.

It does illustrate the extremes you have to go through to get armor protection to work, though. The sad part is you could keep the same speed and repair modules, replace all that armor with 5+ shields, and still end up with a unit roughly as effective as the one on the left because you can now shed engines to compensate. That’s the comparison we need to be making.

The unstated cost of all that armor is that you need to bring very expensive extra engines to have any speed at all, and that’s another factor that generally makes armor an inferior defensive choice.


#13

I spent some time of the weekend on GSB stats. I calculated the z scores for the modules’ stats - cost, dps, penetration, energy used, crew used, weight, hit points, you name it - and then compared the average z score for each weapon. Then I tried building ships around the “best” weapons. Then I tried modifying which stats I averaged to find the “best” weapon. What I found every time is that DPS (with a little intelligent thought regarding penetration) is far more reliable for picking the best weapon based on a more balanced series of measures.

Put another way, pick the weapons that do the most damage in the least amount of time - the other stats seem to make very little difference. This is too bad, in my opinion, as I wish I could find good uses for the lesser weapons.


#14

That’s not true. While it’s a cruiser that moves at .37 or .38 speed, which helps it dodge lower tracking weapons more often, it will get hit by them. High tracking weapons like a cruiser pulse laser will hit it almost every time. As Yurch noted, painter+missiles will get the job done as well. I’ve used a very similar design as that one to take on several challenges. In some cases it works, and in others, it gets shot down. While there are strong cruiser designs out there, you can always design a counter ship to it (once you know what you’re up against).

There is a psuedo rock(cruiser), scissors(frigate), paper(fighter) balance in the game, but fighters seem to be strong vs both cruisers and frigates. That’s the game imbalance that stands out to me.


#15

Oh, I didn’t take into account painters. That’s my problem. I’ve tested 9x fast missile python cruisers against it and they’re not effective.

What sort of missile painter ship design are you using to kill that minotaur at standoff range?

Yeah, but cruiser lasers are better than pulse lasers, so no point in thinking about them too much. The extra smig of range isn’t going to make a difference against a high speed ship, and the dps is way lower than crusier lasers. My point is that the minotaur is immune to long range weapons after all.

Yeah, but in the process of switching from good enough shield defense to beat everything but shield shredders, to good enough armor to beat shield shredders, it loses 0.28 speed and costs more. You can hardly call that balance.

Only laser fighters can damage cruisers (and only some cruisers), and they can’t damage rocket fighter escorted cruisers. Therefore fighters can’t damage rocket fighter escorted cruisers (without playing weird time release games). That’s why I wouldn’t say fighters are strong against cruisers.


#16

He’s not using point defense, so 1 painter, 4+ fast missiles will do provided you otherwise keep it cheap enough and have some numbers.

1v1 a pure missile ship may even get deadzoned and lose, but in any fight bigger then that, it’s trivial to set up your fleet so all deadzones are covered.

I’m starting to graft fast rockets/missiles/painters on my assault units. It’s more involved than a beam cannon, but missiles hurt shields on the approach and keep good focused pressure up when a painter is involved.

I’m tending towards the fast launcher for this as it seems a bit more reliable than the wildly inaccurate rocket system, and the decoys let me get some EMP and AA missiles in under scrambler cover.