The fixing-dreadnoughts thread (gameplay-wise)

I agree with the whole up damage flow here.

I think you should decrease the amount of weapon hardpoints on dreadnaughts, but the weapons that you fit should be absolutely devastating.

Laserbeams the size of a small frigate, desintegrating everything in it’s path, including unlucky fighters and frigates, and heavily damaging anything bigger. Of course, turning speed and fire rate should be slow.

Missiles which evoke a small thermonuclear explosion on impact, ripping off entire sections of a battleship. If it hits at all, that is.

Guns firing bullets the size of fighters, ripping through your enemies like butter.

You’re getting the gist.

Generally, they should be absolutely devastating against Battleships, while anything smaller should generally be too fast to hit (unless the dread gets really lucky)

If we are introducing a role for the dreadnought which involves slow-moving (assisted by propulsion beams) super-weapon platform, then would it make sense to add a new deployment order (or orders) “move to position and stop”? Perhaps it could be expressed as a “move forward” with a slider for distance (or % of the battlefield) - and then “rotate” with a slider for 0 degrees to 360?

All ships currently pick a target and move towards it (sometimes very slowly). It always struck me as more suitable behaviour for smaller more mobile vessels than carriers and weapon platforms (ships with no/tiny engines).

If your only weapons were a starboard broadside, for example, would it not be useful/appropriate to deploy your ship on one flank and have an order to instruct it to move (or be moved) to bring its broadside to bear on a certain proportion of the map - and then not to move again (unless caution takes over)? The skill for the player is then making sure the super-weapon is in the right place. And the risk is then being a sitting target or blind spots being more easily exploitable. You could load one side of the ship with weapons for asymmetric design - or create a more balanced loadout to position a deadnought in the middle of the “pitch”.

You would introduce a possibility of fleet battles to end in a stalemate - where two massive ships were parked out of each other’s firing arc and nothing else was left (or able to fight), but then again you have that when you gives lots of ships the ‘cautious’ instruction and they all end up milling around in your deployment area. I would imagine you could detect this final state position and determine the winner/outcome at that point.

[size=150]Executive Summary :[/size]
[size=85](additional details and subtleties sometime later)[/size]

#1: Agreed.

#2: Agreed, with minor reservations –
I’d be content as long as in the rush to a massive front-facing arsenal, we retain not only a promised few 360-arced turret slots, but also a few 180-degree Left side front-to-back, Right-side front-to-back, and Rear/tail arc turret slots.

We shouldn’t reorganize the turret slot arcs such that we emulate the tired old joke about the “[insert any foreign nationality] Army,” who are proud of their new class of Main Battle Tank whose engine has six gears for reverse movement and one gear for forward, “…in case the enemy gets behind them”. :stuck_out_tongue: Like some dinosaurs, we gotta have at least two or three big, sharp barbs in the tail.

As for the 360-degree arcs, their exact number can now become a premium feature, to aid in qualitatively distinguishing between the three different DN hulls which each races’ navy operates. Purchase cost of the hulls should perhaps be raised in proportion to that, even after any upcoming “+50% across the board” cost increase.

#3: Agreed. Please do switch that to being a destroyer-only system.

#4: Agreed, with medium reservations –
Cliff, did you literally mean only those exact named modules are leaving DN access – that DN hulls may still operate High-Power Tractor Beams, Combat Tractor Beams, and Heavy Combat Tractor Beams? If so, I am in favor of this option.

#5: Agreed.
Please speed-up the firing rate of this weapon as compensation for losing some accuracy.
Consider the revised weapon as a successor to the GSB1 “Cruiser Laser”. Compared to that classic, the revised heavy pulse cannon will still retain its shield piercing but gain faster fire than ever before. A dreadnought should have access to at least one weapon that revolves around moar dakka, and I think this should be one.

#6: Agreed, plus additions –
Yes, and please also raise the destructive potential of not just these two weapons, but all DN-only weapons. I am talking about a performance regime at or above 250 damage points per shot. They should be able to null-out an entire cruiser-level shield in a single blast. (Related: And DNs should finally receive some of their own DN-only supershield and superarmor modules, in addition to the access to existing cruiser stuff they share!)

Each race should have at least two DN-only weapons that are unique to that race. Any other DN-only weapons can be made generic/all-races’. If this hull size is going to be given a combat role so big, so game-critical, so integral to the pinnacle of the combat system as well as to the emotional space-opera feel of the game that no other hull size can come close to fulfilling it, then dreadnoughts MUST be given the tools to do the job.

With respect, Cliff, the time is ripe for allowing GSB2 dreadnoughts to finally become what they were meant to be. Not just re-branded or over-caffeinated cruisers.

No. You are definitely on the right path. Just keep following it and don’t stray.

I would definitely keep the single-point tractor beams on dreadnoughts, I’ve found them to be quite useful for side or rear mounting, where other ships can destroy them. The multi-point tractors are probably too powerful, but the dreadnought weapons don’t have the firing speeds to effectively use a single-point tractor beam. And I do quite like the cooperation between dreadnoughts and destroyers in destroying fighters.

And of course keeping some of those 180-degree arc weapons on the side and back would also help greatly in this.

Green Glue, with respect to your preferences:
Destroyer escorts should be performing all of that work. I created the original (and successful) design proposal for a coherent set of GSB2 destroyers, and such mundane fighter-swatting is one of the big Combined Arms operations reasons why I did so. That’s one from three out of four interrelated roles they are presently specialized to handle best in GSB2: anti-missile, anti-one-man craft, anti-frigate (still waiting for implementation), and direct dreadnought support [via the support beams] (that is cliffski’s concept).

Dreadnoughts have plenty of other massed-offense, “nobody does it better” anti-cruiser and anti-DN work that they need to be concentrating upon. Wasting dreadnought turret slots upon trying to tractor-drag/crush the occasional fighter is a waste of potential firepower of a quantity and character that will not be found on any other hull size in the game. If a GSB2 admiral brings dreadnoughts along – whether they’re acting as pure carrier strength, pure ship-to-ship firepower strength, or a hybrid of both – then he had also bring plenty of destroyers to the party, too. Otherwise, he is rolling dice with death.

Right then, I’ve made the changes suggested and there will be a patch tomorrow. This is just phase one, but hopefully it will make things a lot more balanced, and we can move on there to spotting unbalanced modules and opportunities for more class/race diversity and specialization.

Obviously this is currently a done deal (so far), I want to talk about the future.

One thing that turned me off of GSB was the leveling of the playing field (stay with me here) in that everything seemed so “normalised” that you couldn’t really play in a particular style, such as massive shielded missile boats, you were REQUIRED to have a mix to be competitive. This is the standard way of making a game fair.

There is another way!
My idea is to still allow min/maxing, look at what you can produce, then devise what strategy would work against it.

Example: Dreadnoughts with high shields/armor and missiles crush everything, the sea of missiles hitting one ship after another clears the screen in short order.
What SHOULDN’T happen is the dreadnought gets nerfed. (within reason, some nerfs are required at this stage) WHY are they so good and how can they be combated. For instance, fighters should ignore shields (as they are super close) and be able to drop devastating torpedoes. Cruisers could be designed as a missile defense, with little else BUT they provide almost total defense.

Don’t change the way I want to play, change the options so in some circumstances I have to adapt. I WANT to be able to play a missile swarm army and I am perfectly happy to come across shielded missile impenetrable fleets that I need to go back to the drawing board. I am perfectly fine going from pulverizing to being spanked, that is the fun of the game.

I want a game that has a 100 strategies, some overpowered but vulnerable to a particular counter, rather than a games that has 10 strategies because all the designs are “nice and balanced” so you can’t play (and experiment) how you like. I want to be able to beat levels in three different ways and am happy to be unable to EVER beat it with my favorite strategy. I would like to be able to try ANYTHING and have it have a chance to work. 2 dreadnoughts, 16 squads of fighters and 16 squads of torpedo boats? I want to try just that and the game should let me. Nerfing something because it works is not the way to go, finding a way to defend that strategy is. Every nerf that happens removes one (or more) ways that I can play the game, until it is all just a boring slugfest.

Missile dreadnoughts should be smashed by fighter heavy carriers. Fighter heavy carriers should be smashed by frigate heavy beam fleets. Frigate heavy beam fleets should be smashed by a cruiser support fleet. (as random examples)
Don’t bring weapons DOWN to match each other, make them MORE different! Missiles a problem? Make heavy weapons shoot FURTHER. Beams to powerful? Upgrade the reflective shield. Give MORE options, not less.

Don’t nerf strategies, understand why they excel and enhance defense against it. Create a “missile net” solution against missile boat destruction, don’t force me to play with a little bit of everything. More options of how to play is better than less, make solutions to strategies, don’t nerf the strategy.

Things that don’t move at the same speed are not worth mixing together. Everything that has to slow down for the formation will

  1. Takes more long range fire by taking longer to reach the enemy.
  2. Suffers a “dodge penalty” for not going full speed.

This is why nobody mix anything in GSB1. Frigate spam works, Cruiser spam works. Mixing never works. Even with cruiser spams, you either have long range spammer that barely moves, or close range CL rush that moves at 0.3. Fighters of course are an exception as they don’t lose dodge with “escort” and they are at no risk of getting hit by Cruiser Plasma/MWM.

Have you played Sins of a Solar Empire? (SoaSE)

There each ship class gets percentage damage bonus against certain others (well to be exact every ship type has an armour type: very light, light, medium, heavy, very heavy and capital ship - but that is the same as putting each modell into a certain ship type / category) - so each class has its use.
(The percentages are examples / probably not exactly correct for current version of SoaSE)
Fighters get 200% vs Bombers, 100% vs Scouts and 50% vs everything else.
Bombers get 100% vs Cruisers, 75% vs Capital Ships, and 50% vs everything else.
Cruisers get 75% vs CapShips and 100% vs everything.
Long Range Frigates have different bonuses than Siege Friagtes or Assault ships etc. - you get the idea.

Since GSB2 is modular you probably don’t want to restrict the use of long range weapons to one type of frigate etc. - but you already have a good number of different ship types / no matter what they are called. With giving them different a bonus you would encourage us to use certain types of ships against certain other types: destroyers get bonus vs cruisers, gunships get bonus vs frigates. Frigates get bonus vs Fighters / Bombers and to a lesser extend vs destroyers, Cruisers get a bonus vs gunships. etc.

You would not need to fiddle around with firing arcs and which class gets which modules etc.

Sure, destroyers should be the best at destroying fighters, and fitting tractor beams on dreadnoughts will often be suboptimal. But why totally remove such an option?

One of the things I enjoyed most in GSB 1 were the limited missions, where one of the ship classes was unavailable, and you had to figure out some solution to counter the enemy without using fighters or whatever. It turns out you can use tribe cruisers with autocannons to fire from underneath the enemies shield, just like fighters can. That kind of improvising would be impossible if it was decided that only fighters would be able to have a weapon with a minimal range below 100, because that’s their role.

By totally restricting such things you’re robbing the game of a lot of fun, if often suboptimal, design choices. Just lessen their power, by removing multi-point tractor beams for DN’s, for example, instead of removing the option altogether.

I just realized OldskoolRx7 made a similar point just before me. Basically: Don’t balance things by restricting, but my making things better. I derive most enjoyment in this game not from making some perfect design, but from making something ingenious, some absurd combination that manages to pull of everything it should in a gratuitous manner. Even if it’s not the best way to do it.

I actually agree with most of your points when it comes to balancing individual ships. But with GSB2 and its focus more on combined arms, I think that the changes Cliffski is working towards will eventually do a lot to create roles for distinct ship types. Once we have that, you get an entirely new strategic layer of the fleet deployment part of the game, with many more nuances.

I love nothing more than creating a Dreadnought “super cruiser” that is basically impossible to take down. But I think I’ll have more fun designing a Dreadnought with certain capabilities and limitations in other areas so I can design the appropriate ships to support it. This opens up many more point/counter point options for individual battles and challenges as well.

Just my opinion, naturally. Discussing balance for this game, as with most games, is going to be a very polarizing topic.

After playing with it for a little while, I think the reason dreadnought is the only thing that gets used is because nothing else can even damage them. They can either go at 1.5 speed with 26 shield resist, or they can have 20+ armor and 26 shield resist. Using other ships and you just see a bunch of white text “no effect” popping up.

No need for anti fighters/gunship since they will run out of fuel and die after the carrier ship is killed.

Frigates and Destroyer has a few “hard counter” tricks like target painter and smart bomb, that’s about it. Outside of that they have a life span of 3 seconds.

Cruiser actually kinna works, they seem to be a cheapest way to spam Fast Missiles.

And any self respecting (beam-based) death cannon goes BWWWWEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR when they fire. =P

You can have dreadnought-only weapons make almost any sound that you like, as long as such weaponry inflicts at least 250 damage points per shot plus very high penetration stats, opposed to how few damage points those DN-only weapons are presently (im-)balanced to inflict.

Remember, these are supposed to be dreadnoughts, the [size=115]Balrogs[/size] of the fleet – not merely cruisers wearing their older brothers’ clothing.

Of course additional careful tweaks to support and balance this level of outgoing firepower are necessary, but my overall point stands. At present, DNs still feel far too much like cruisers. If I wanted a cruiser, I would have deployed a cruiser.

  1. Totally agree on the epic sound. Some screen shake effect might be good as well when one of these god weapons fire.
  2. A potential solution to balance it is, once the big weapon(s) fire, the shields or other modules might become inactive for X period of time. This could represent the massive power drain of the main weapon. Thinking about it, I’m not sold on it yet.
  3. In an ode to star wars, you could possibly equip fighters with a special bomb module which gives them a very very small chance to insta-kill a dreadnought. Would be an interesting tactic for sure.

Joe, #1 is good. It would be in line with the amount of doom which dreadnought-only weapons should routinely be generating – a visual version of the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch battle cry of “Flame on!”

As for #2 and #3, they strike me as far more cinematically desirable rather than tactically desirable.

Note my opinions on balance should be taken lightly as I do not have the beta yet.

  1. Yeah, hearing a BWWWWEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR plus a little bit screen shake ought to be a good way to know something is gettin’ rekt.

  2. When thinking about a draw back I ask myself, is the weapon effective enough to warrant such a drawback? And is the drawback not crippling to the point the weapon is niche at best? Also I think disabling your shields when firing is a bit too much. That sounds like a drawback that could get your ship killed if used at the wrong moment, and in a game with no direct agency in it’s combat system, that’s a poor design choice. If it is implemented at all, I’d say 25-50% slow down in your weapons rate of fire a couple seconds before it fires would be more reasonable. It’s a drawback, but it won’t jeopardize your ships safety if used at an inopportune time.

  3. To put it shortly, that would be a game breaker and a major violation of rule 25 of the evil overlord list:

Yea I’m changing my tune about the shield dropping. Mega weapons I think will be best balanced by the approach Cliffski is already taking (e.g. reduced weapon arcs, increased cycle time, increased cost, etc.).

How do people feel right now about the dreadnoughts in build 1.16? better? I think they are still overpowered, in that they are still not dependent enough on destroyers, but I haven’t spent that much time testing them. Any thoughts?

Ok actually…I think I’ve cracked it (balancing dreadnoughts). here are my thoughts:

Making dreadnoughts unable to repel missiles and fighters is all well and good, but its kind of irrelevant, because as has been mentioned, these ships deliberately are big scary shield tanks that are tough to damage anyway. What we need is to give fighters a way to actually be a threat to dreadnoughts, whilst encouraging combined arms.
We give fighters VERY short range anti-shield weapons, in the form of shield-penetrating or destabilizing missiles. These missiles can knock out, or knock-down dreadnought shields but only at VERY close range. Closer than they are likely to ever get if there is a well-put-together destroyer screen protecting the dreadnought.

Furthermore, those missiles do great shield damage (or disruption) but sod-all to armor or internals, so it’s only phase one of a two part attack strategy. You need fighters to take down the enemy shields, then you need cruisers and dreadnoughts to actually deal the killer blow once those shields are down. And you need destroyers to prevent your own cruisers from falling victim to the same strategy. Frigates are like raiders, good at distracting enemy ships, and also potentially at charging in and taking out enemy destroyers.

So I propose two new weapons:

  1. Gunship mounted shield disruptor torpedo. Very short range (300) high shield disruption
  2. Fighter or gunship mounted anti-shield torpedo. Very high shield penetration, zero armor or hull damage, very short range (400).