The fixing-dreadnoughts thread (gameplay-wise)


#1

Right, lets get a discussion going regarding what we should do, balance-wise to make the role of dreadnoughts more clearly defined in the game.

Aim: To encourage a ‘combined-arms’ (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_arms) approach to combat, whilst also avoiding ship-spamming, and encourage (through gameplay) the players to create aesthetically pleasing fleets.

Current problems:

  1. Dreadnoughts do not seem especially unaffordable.
  2. Dreadnought can survive alone, to some extent, against fighters and other non-dreadnoughts, even without escorts.
  3. The current situation undermines the strategic case for cruisers. generally its worth using dreadnoughts instead.

Possible solutions:
A) A major increase in the base hull cost for all dreadnoughts. They currently cost about double what a cruiser costs. This could be increased another 50 or even 100%.
B) A reduction in the effectiveness of dreadnought engines. Possibly restricting most fast cruiser engines to be cruiser-only, resulting in a better case to accompany dreadnoughts with ‘tug’ escorts equipped with propulsion beams
C) A nerfing of some of the currently-available to dreadnought weapons that have fast tracking speeds, so they are no longer as effective in the role of defending themselves against fighters, thus requiring more escorts (although a defensive fighter screen, itself dreadnought-launched could do the same to be honest).
D) An increase in the weight, and also power/crew requirements for all dreadnought-only modules, meaning choosing those ‘big-hitters’ will require compromises in other areas, thus reducing the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ capabilities of the vessels.
E) A change to many of the weapon module slots to make them non-weapon, reducing the tendency to equip dreadnoughts with defensive weapons alongside their main armament.

Thought, opinions, most welcome. I know this is not the only thing that needs balancing, and lots of things are going to get tweaked, but I feel right now that the dreadnought problem is the most glaring one in terms of gameplay balance. Am I wrong?


#2

Hi - first post here!

IMO, I would suggest a combination of C, D, & E, to adjust dreadnoughts. I am on the fence of suggestion A. I’m unsure whether B will have significant enough impact.

Hope this helps. Thanks again for all of your hard work!!


#3

Another possible solution? I would also think that limiting the number of 360 degree weapon slots on larger vessels would be good - creating firing shadows and blind spots. Combined with a likely low turning speed, a dreadnought could only bring a smaller proportion of its weapons to bear on individual targets and may be outflanked by smaller faster-moving vessels. I am, of course, assuming that the firing arc highlighted when you are attaching a weapon has a gameplay impact - but honestly it’s difficult to keep track of these things mid-fight.

I think if the expense goes up - making fielding only 1-2 dreadnoughts affordable, then they ought to be awesome. I like the idea of ‘superweapon’ spinal mounts, superlasers or lances where you can only field one slow firing planet-killing weapon with point defences for missiles, which would mean making sure that the dreadnought wasn’t targeting fighters - and a lot of the time, while the weapon is charging, the dreadnought would be vulnerable to fighters and other smaller vessels. It would be interesting to see if one could repel firepower of that magnitude.

Although the battle might come down to which person’s superweapon fired first - actually the value of the dreadnought would then diminish over the course of the battle as larger vessels disappeared and only faster moving vessels were left.

Perhaps if the dreadnought only had broadside weapon mounts, and special broadside array weapons, then the ship would need to turn to fire each bank - and propulsion beams would be needed to get the dreadnought into position.

I see the dreadnought as a massive tough firing system defense platform designed to repel cruisers. The cruiser is the frigate and destroyer killer and the frigates can outmaneuver the dreadnought’s superweapon.


#4

I think a combination of all five of these, albeit more lenient/harsh depending on how things pan out, is an aspect of the best way forward. I also think part of the problem is that at the moment, dreadnought are just souped-up cruisers. This inevitably means that either one or the other is the better option, and even if they hypothetically were perfectly balanced to be just as cost-effective as each other, there would then be no point to having both, and the game would be boring as a result.

We want the player to be choosing to have only a small number of dreadnoughts, while fielding cruisers as their main force, and through the organic combination of gameplay systems rather than something artificial like a ‘Dreadnought pilots’ limit for each mission. Therefore, the dreadnought needs to be significantly less cost-effective at raw dps (and perhaps tanking) than cruisers, while also offering something which is useful by its lonesome but not so much in large numbers. I have never designed a game before, so I’m sure you can come up with something much better, but these are just a few thoughts off the top of my head:

  1. A dreadnought hangar module which is in some way substantially better than anything cruisers can provide. Maybe it heals fighters super-fast, or gives them a buff for a period of time after they’ve used it? I’m not sure this would be able to prop up the usefulness of the dreadnought on it’s own, though.
  2. Some modules unique to dreadnoughts that let them buff friendly units offensively, as opposed to the defensive buffing of destroyers. This way, past a certain size of fleet, you would get a better increase in damage output via a well-placed dreadnought rather than 3 or 4 more cruisers.
    Of course, this would make dreadnoughts less accessible or intuitive to casual players, who just want the enemy to GET REKT M8 by their expensive megaship.
  3. Some modules or hull bonuses unique to dreadnoughts that make them more receptive to the beneficial effects of destroyers, possibly balanced with some penalties elsewhere, so that on their own they’re a waste of space but are unstoppable paired with destroyers. It would also make it not worth the cost of having more than a few of them.
    I’m a bit unsure about this idea, because it feels too restrictive to the role of destroyers, plus it means that using them on non-dreadnoughts will always be a waste of a potentially bigger buff on a dreadnought.
  4. Give the duty of one kind of damage output to dreadnoughts. Make everything’s armour/shield penetration pitifully low, apart from a few dreadnought exclusives. This is another one I’m not too sure of, because it again feels like artificially forcing the player to use ships in a specific way, rather than giving them a variety of options.
  5. Make dreadnoughts the specialist tanks of the fleet, with some powerful shields and armour, weaker weapons, and maybe a gun that attracts enemy targetting systems. Perhaps pair it with a reduction in cruiser survivability.
    This is my least favourite of all these suggestions, simply because I hate this kind of character/ship class in every game it appears in.

Sorry for the wall of text.

EDIT:

I wish I’d thought of this! Yeah, this gives both cruisers AND dreadnoughts a role, without affecting the badassness of the dreadnought. Cruisers are the versatile, front-line brawlers most of the time, but when the dreadnought’s in position, you’d better get out of the way.


#5

Might want to review the shield resistance stats as well - Dreadnaughts will almost never go down if the opponent doesn’t have the proper weapons. I suppose it couldn’t hurt to see exactly how many weapons are available to smaller ships that can actually damage their shields.


#6

I would like to see them go the way of sea navies. Split into carriers and BBs. Make the hanger modules so large and bulky that you need dedicated ships for them that are limited to small defense weapons. Then have the dreadnaughts mounting the heavy ship killing weapons with low tracking speeds. Against other dreadnaughts and slow cruisers, they would excel, against fighters and other small fast ships, they would require escorts. And the carriers will always need escorts since they will lack the weaponry to defeat the larger ships.


#7

I think it would be interesting to give Dreadnoughts unique “Command & Control” (C&C) modules that represents centralized leadership of a fleet. A few thoughts:

  1. It helps re-enforce Dreads role of being the ‘huge powerful’ flagship in a fleet as there will rarely be more than a handful of them at any given battle
  2. The C&C modules could provide fleetwide bonuses like +10% targeting for all ships in the fleet. In practice, it could represent a large number of crew coordinating the battle.
    2a) To take this a step further, each C&C module equipped to a Dreadnought would take a large amount of crew/power and maybe only covers X number of ships in the fleet. So if you wanted to cover all ships in your fleet, you may need to have multiple C&C modules equipped. (EDIT: You could add ships to a particular Dreadnought just like you assign fighters to a ship with a carrier bay)
  3. A few other potential bonuses could be increased fire rates on weapons, increased shield recharge rates, quicker fighter/gunship reload and rearm timing, etc.

Just a few thoughts I had on this. I do feel it has the potential to set Dreadnoughts apart with a unique role that is valuable rather than just a “super cruiser”. I also like the idea of super powerful spine mounted weapons as mentioned above.


#8

A few ideas:

Game Mechanics: First, this is a game about building your dream fleet of Yamato battleships for the “decisive battle”. Navies build lower tonnage ships not because they will be good at the “decisive battle” but because navies have so many other jobs to do besides dream of that. It’s not an insurmountable problem its just one of the reasons I think this game has trouble with super top heavy gameplay.

Second, GSB AI encourages players to design strategies which don’t task it. Classic example is how the skirmish AI can’t coordinate its forces and instead feeds it fast ships first into the meat grinder before the slow ships can arrive to help.

Weapon Facings One thing I’d love to see ships do is rely on broadside heavy weapon loadouts. Not only is this “naval” but it would cause the ship to come to a stop in order to bring its greatest firepower to bear. With some tinkering it might create an advantage for more maneuverable and smaller ships to cross the T whereas, right now, the 360 turrets make it dangerous for lighter ships to come close unless they have a high enough speed.

Dreadnoughts: One idea might be to remove the most powerful anti-fighter weapons, such as pulse cannons and multi-bream tractors, from dreadnoughts and increase their vulnerability to fighters.

Frigates: Have always been difficult to use. One idea I always wanted to see was a torpedo boat frigate such as the kind used to crush the Russian fleet at Port Arthur. These frigates would basically be anti-caps with a high speed and high DPS weapon with low tracking.

Fighters: Bombers fighters have always been tricky to use. If dreadnoughts lost the ability to fight fighters and torpedoes got a corresponding boost against fatties we would not only encourage people on both sides to use fighters but other cap ships to take out bombers.

Basically, some sort of anti-cap only weapon whose lethality is based upon a speed modifier given by the ship that fires it and can only have one model in existence at a time. Sticking the weapon on a slow ship won’t work because the weapon will be far too slow and either shot down or take so long to reach the target that the model limitation will cripple the DPS.


#9

Restricting the fire arcs would be a very good idea, although I would make most of the weapons only fire forward. Broadsides would look pretty silly on most ships (the hulls aren’t exactly slim, because there’s no aerodynamics to worry about). Might work for a few of them though.

Having something akin to a spinal mounted weapon would also be very cool, a weapon for which the dreadnought would have to position itself to fire at an enemy. That would only be useful against other dreadnoughts and very slow cruisers though, so it can’t replace all weapons.

A cost increase is, of course, also necessary.


#10

Ok, interesting feedback, here is what I think I am proposing so far in this thread for the first pass at dreadnought improvement:

Change #1
We increase the hull cost of all dreadnoughts by 50% immediately, as an incentive to only use a few of them.
Change #2:
Changes to most of the dreadnought firing arcs so very few of them are 360, and most are forward firing, increasing their vulnerability when enemy ships get closer, and focusing them more on the whole spinal mount death-dealer at slow moving enemies role.
Change #3:
Remove the ability for dreadnoughts to use limpet launchers,. which are effectively a fighter-defense.
Change #4:
Remove tractor beams and multi-point tractor beams from dreadnoughts entirely, again this is too good a fighter-defense capability. Also add an expensive multi-point tractor beam to destroyers, so this capability still exists outside of cruisers.
Change #5:
Reduce the tracking speed of the heavy pulse-laser (currently the fastest tracking dreadnought weapon), and possibly up its damage or firing rate to compensate.
Change #6:
Boost the weight of the pulverizer beam and lightning gun (DN only weapons) to make it more of a big deal to mount them.

Anyone strongly opposed to any of these interim measures?


#11

I think this is a good first pass, and addresses most of the feedback received in this thread.

The changes definitely increase reliance on using support ships but I’m wondering if its too much of a nerf ?

Higher cost (totally agree on this one though) and we get reduced defensive capabilities, reduced firing arcs, and heavier weapons. As you stated in point #2 “…focusing them more on the whole spinal mount death-dealer at slow moving enemies role” , maybe we should see a dmg bump for some Dreadnought only weapons?

With these changes, what would the advantage be of using Dread’s vs. using several more Cruisers for the same cost?


#12

This works as an interim measure, but I still think dreads need to offer something over cruisers to justify fielding them both. Also, I’m sure one of the atually good players will want to correct me, but it seems like the lightning gun is useless enough already - it’s only good for shield penetration, and at a much higher cost and lower payoff than the most basic of cruiser missile systems.


#13

@ Cliffski

I think these measures are fine, I would just agree with Joe and Abhard in the sense that focusing on nerfs only may not be a long term solution. The playerbase needs gameplay reasons to use each chassis and right now I have difficulty within the system of understanding the purpose of each chassis.

In that sense GSB was stronger because fighter, frigate and cruiser gave a strong tier indication of ship roles (even if frigates were underutilized). For GSB2 what is the purpose of each chassis: fighter, gunboat, frigate, destroyer, cruiser and dreadnought? And how does that purpose compare and contrast with the other chassis? One reason people gravitate to dreadnoughts is they have a clear purpose that works well within the game design: a big ship that blows up other ships.

Mind, I’m not advocating removing chassis I just want to understand their roles.


#14

Indeed, I think you are right, especially if there are a lot of restrictions on the firing arcs for the only ships hosting those weapons, a damage boost is definitely worth doing. And purely aesthetically, I’ve always liked the idea of slowly wheeling in some major death-cannon that shoots really slowly but absolutely pulverizes whatever it hits :smiley:


#15

That’s exactly what I was thinking - you just expressed it more gratuitously than I could :slight_smile:


#16

Personally I see the dreadnought as a BSG-esque fighter delivery system. It should be the best chassis hands down to deliver small craft to the battle, and then almost all of it’s limited weapon slots should be devoted to shorter range defensive weapons, (And a single big mammoth weapon, because even the Galactica had nukes to use:D )
While cruisers should have some ability to deliver fighters, their main role should be the damage dealer/soaker. Makes dreadnoughts vulnerable and you’ll see cruisers being used more.


#17

Well I am keen on cruisers having fighters too, because I think if the only carriers are dreadnoughts, that makes every battle need to be the size to support them. However making dreadnought carrier bays clearly the best choice compared with cruiser carrier bays is definitely something that I’m planning to tweak.


#18

I know this isn’t feasible with the game being feature complete, etc. but what about the addition of a Carrier class? Possibly in a future DLC?

Dreadnought: Slow but with hugely powerful weapons. Relies heavily on support ships for defense.
Carrier: Slow but with large amounts of hangar capacity and minimal offensive capability. Relies heavily on support ships for defense.
Cruiser: These are your front line brawlers with a wide range of offensive/defensive capabilities


#19

Hello, everyone!

Cliffski, don’t close the door on this yet. Additional focused feedback to this thread is coming, if my short-term obligations don’t get too busy.


#20

I built the very opposite of a fast moving dreadnought. Instead, I created a very slow dreadnought missile boat designed to slowly move into missile range and then stop. I also set their AI to focus enemy ships from largest to smallest. I initially had an issue penetrating enemy shields until I realized swapping in a few torpedoes provided the 30 shield penetration I’d need to break the enemy shields so my other multiple warhead missiles could hit full force. After that, I was able to dominate all of the levels while using less than 50% of the available budget. Most enemy ships, including their dreadnoughts, were destroyed moments within getting into range. This in turn led to me unlocking everything in the game very easily, in perhaps 2 or 3 hours total playtime.

Aside from dreadnoughts needing adjustments, I also feel a very high shield resistance is too hard to overcome. Fighters especially are useless unless the dread’s shields are taken down by something else. Since fighters almost always fly in first, using a few tractor beams and some freighter escorts made it easy to wipe them out before the bigger ships arrived. Even the freighters didn’t have much issue with fighters though. I saw a lot of “No Effect” due to shield resistance even with them. I realize fighters shouldn’t be very effective against massive dreadnoughts, but the fact that they can’t do any damage or overcome even very basic shield recharge even in massive swarms seems to be an issue.