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Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:35 pm
by yurch
Comparisons to GSB1 should also take into consideration that GSB1 had an optimum distance stat which could reduce damage of non-missile weapons even further.

cliffski wrote:Interesting analysis, thanks.
One of the motivations for the different design is that I dislike it when the game becomes a 'slugfest' which goes on for ages as shields are slowly bit-by bit eaten away, when the outcome is known, but resolution takes forever.
I take the point that maybe shield strength is too easily one-shotted.

What is the average fleet size you use in balance consideration? A defense that might be sufficient in 1v1 fight could be a mere speed bump in a pitched battle.

What do you consider too long for overall combat to resolve? There's considerable drama to be found in say, ridiculous American civil war back-and-forth endurance matches or old ironclad boats hammering on each other.

Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:51 pm
by Xinxspuz
shali8 wrote:First post; thought I could add some abstract perspective.

I would suggest that even if the light shields present better efficiency (strength and resistance vs cost, power, weight, crew, etc...) than the heavy shields people would still pick the heavy shields. They would pick the heavy shields because the light shields are absolutely better. The problem is that the one limiter which people are usually worried about the most is the number of slots on any given hull. Not cost or weight or power or crew (in general). One heavy shield takes up one slot; same as one light shield. When i'm designing a ship why would I want to use one of my very scarce slots for an inferior (in defensive stats provided) module?

That's absolutely how I design most of my ships, but realize that there are people out there who build "cheap" ships with empty slots, building their strategy around having larger numbers of cheaper ships, rather than a small number of maxed-out superships. This group of people are the ones to whom Light Shields and Light Armor should, in theory, be attractive.
That, I think, is the "why". Next I want to propose how to fix it.

Light shields (and to a lesser extent medium shields) should have a much better stacking effectiveness - to such an extent that having more than three heavy shields is less effective than three light shields (absolutely in terms of defensive stats provided; not efficiency-wise). No other changes to stats would be necessary. The same system could even be applied to armor.

The end result would make the expensive items be most effective by themselves, and the less expensive ones would become more effective (relative to the expensive ones) as more modules are added.

Let me know what you guys think.

That's an interesting thought, but even with a higher stacking penalty (or no stacking penalty at all) on Light Shields, it would take 4+ modules to equal the defensive performance of a single Heavy Shield. The low Shield Points are the most glaring problem, and the Stacking Modifier is just a red herring at the moment. I agree with the general direction you're headed, though - If the Light Shield becomes good enough that 2-3 modules can almost equal the performance of a Heavy Shield, while doing so at a reduced overall cost, then you're giving up module slots on the hull to gain cost efficiency (and possibly crew efficiency or power efficiency as well). That seems like a valid trade-off to me, and one I would seriously consider for a given ship design.

cliffski wrote:Interesting analysis, thanks.
One of the motivations for the different design is that I dislike it when the game becomes a 'slugfest' which goes on for ages as shields are slowly bit-by bit eaten away, when the outcome is known, but resolution takes forever.
I take the point that maybe shield strength is too easily one-shotted.

Interesting. A lot of the changes (GSB1 vs. 2) you made make sense in that context. I think you definitely achieved your goal of making battles faster and more lethal, although I don't think that's due to a shift in overall game balance - it's due almost entirely to a few distinct factors (Pulse Cannons still being one of the most glaring).

cliffski wrote:Would it be fair to say you agree *in principle* with the kind of changes I suggest, but that you also think that overall, shield strengths need to be increased across the board? it's certainly true that the time taken to drop a shield that is being penetrated could certainly do with raising.
How about the proposal of making the changes as described above, but also having a 30% boost across-the-board to shield strength (and recharge, otherwise the values get out of synch...or does the existence of shield support modules reduce that imperative?)

Yeah, I'd say that's a fair assessment. Why not try (instead of an across-the-board 30% jump, because I like nice whole numbers that are evenly divisible by 25) the following:
Heavy Shield goes to 250 shield points (a 25% increase), keeps current recharge rate
Medium Shield goes to 200 shield points (a 26.7% increase), gets small boost to recharge rate (maybe 7.0 or 8.0 instead of 6.0)
Light Shield goes to 100 shield points (a 100% increase, because it is pretty crappy at the moment), keeps current recharge rate (6.0), gets weight and/or cost reduction.

That gives each shield module a good niche: The Heavy is the toughest shield you can buy, per module, the Medium offers better recharge rate at the cost of reduced shield strength, and the Light becomes your budget-friendly option, while getting enough of a boost that it's actually worth putting on a ship.
Those are pretty easy changes to implement, and will make cruisers and dreadnoughts a little more durable. It's also a good place to start with your balance tweaks - after all, there are only three shield modules, so they have a limited number of ways they can interact with other things (as opposed to the 5+ types of armor, or the dozens upon dozens of different weapons).

Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:19 pm
by Sable Phoenix
I'm just curious as to why the Reflective/Multiphasic/Fast Recharge choice was eliminated in the first place? It seems to me a lot of the balance problems in this game comes because, even though we have had an increase in choice in the types of modules we can install on a hull, there has been a serious & harmful decrease in the variety displayed within those modules. GSB1, with fewer choices on the surface, paradoxically gave more freedom in design and was better balanced, to boot.

Of course that's not the sole balancing problem - plenty of that comes from the raw numbers - but it looks like in an effort to simplify things, they've become noticeably dumbed-down instead.

Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm
by Danou
I took this from another thread:
yurch wrote:...
ECM missiles are too effective.

I disagree with that fundementally. EMP puts selective pressure against fleets that concentrate too much power in one area - namely dreadnaught spam - and the missile nature encourages the use of destroyers as point defense. That's a good dynamic.

I would have really preferred them on frigates, but it might be almost too late for that now.

I completely agree with yurch. I want to add the following related to shields:

I only use the heavy shields on dreadnoughts (highest resistance, highest strength), because it drastically increases the survivability compared to the medium or light shield. Even if I have to reduce my weapons number from 12 (with 3x medium shields) to 8 (with 3x heavy shields) to meet power and crew requirements, it usually means my ship lives 4x longer and thus fires 3x more shots during its lifespan than a configuration with medium shields, despite having less weapons mounted.

Nerfing EMP would only confirm my strategy. I would never consider using worse defense modules. It would also confirm my strategy in using dreadnoughts over cruisers or even frigates...

Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:08 am
by Danou
Excuse me for double-post, but I have to comment this:
Xinxspuz wrote:Heavy Shield goes to 250 shield points (a 25% increase)

I'm clearly against this.

From my POV Cruiser Heavy Shields are already very strong. We should definitely not boost them, they should rather be nerfed a little bit (even if the other shields are getting a boost).

Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:32 pm
by Hammer_Wizard
I am late to the party so I do not have much to add that hasn't already been said, however I will say that I find shield disruption to be an underutilized mechanic when it comes to balancing shields.

I think you can safely buff shields across the board if the instances where disruption can occur increases. If every weapon strike contributed some disruption to shields, then you could have shields with 1000 health while keeping the game flowing. The pace would be short stretches where the shields are up, punctuated with opportunities for direct damage. Once the disruption is shaken off the shields come back online and ships have a chance to lick wounds.

Under this system, "big" damage weapons are used to keep the shields down permanently, disruptive weapons are important to get shields down faster and more regularly, repair modules are more valuable and have a better chance to expend their full resources every time shields come back up, and shields stay relevant for a longer stretch than just at the beginning, disruption resistance modules are more valuable. It gives another variable to tweak the balance between weapon modules and lets the shield modules feel more powerful without making them dominate over all other mechanics in the game.

Re: [Balance debate] Cruiser shields.

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:02 pm
by Regdren
I agree that the variety of shields is currently lacking for cruisers and dreadnoughts. If small and medium shields were removed and fast recharge, reflective, and multiphasic equivalents were added we'd probably see a more interesting variety of starship designs. There's also the lack of weapon variety. As many people have mentioned, the fact that pulse cannons can wear down any shield, most armor, and deal tons of hull damage all at decent range is a serious problem that affects every aspect of ship design. For shields, it seems to mean that shield strength is king; resistance barely matters.

Disruption has produced okay results for me. It looks like it bypasses those destroyer recharge beams, and I haven't yet encountered a cruiser that lasts long enough to bring its shields back up. The main problem being that the only good disruption tools are subject to point defenses and missile scrambling.