Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

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MatGB
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Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#1 Post by MatGB »

Well, one thing that's very clear from recent playtest feedback, virtually everyone agrees that the Scattered Asteroid Hull is too easy to research and way too powerful, even with the stupid high buildtime.

We need to fix that, it should be on a par with the other flagship hulls, and not ridiculously overpowered. This can include both more interstitial techs before unlocking it, increasing its research cost or something radical and different.

You could even add a 'capacity' to all asteroid fields and have building various ships deplete the capacity, with the scattered hull depleting it massively. No idea how to script that let alone if it's even a good idea, but, well, it's an option.

Ideas? Thoughts?
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Chriss
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#2 Post by Chriss »

My opinion on asteroid hulls in general: They should be cheap, slow (huge mass), and have no fuel to start with. ;)
Maybe they could even use more fuel than other hulls?

That should "fix" some of the imbalance, since a slow hull has some major practical drawbacks. No fuel is only an issue at the early game, since fuel research and production is cheap and asteroid hulls do have enough internal slots to equip them with fuel. It just changes the builds a bit. The build time is annoying, yes.

Some changes to the techs will probably help, too, especially compared to the Sentient hull.
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Vezzra
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#3 Post by Vezzra »

Chriss wrote:My opinion on asteroid hulls in general: They should be cheap, slow (huge mass), and have no fuel to start with. ;)
They are already cheap and slow, and no fuel at all does not make sense, if a part has to be added in order for a hull to be useful, you can as well raise the cost for the hull accordingly and remove the slot required by that part, same end result, but the player doesn't have to bother with adding the mandatory part.

Anyway, as there are asteroid hulls without internal slots, that won't work.

That said, the idea of giving asteroid hulls low fuel capacity instead of high (as it's now) is a good idea. Maybe 2 fuel? This, in conjunction with the low speed, would limit them already quite seriously.[/quote]

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Dilvish
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#4 Post by Dilvish »

Vezzra wrote:no fuel at all does not make sense, if a part has to be added in order for a hull to be useful, you can as well raise the cost for the hull accordingly and remove the slot required by that part, same end result, but the player doesn't have to bother with adding the mandatory part.
I'm not really in favor of making them no-fuel, but they would still be useful as a 'Starbase' hull even with no fuel. But I suppose it would still be a bit silly to not just use at least one slot for fuel, so maybe my point is not a particularly strong one.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#5 Post by MatGB »

No fuel wouldn't make much difference unless I'm completely misunderstanding the mechanics, because they would still be able to move around within supply.

Reducing them significantly would make sense though. Is it worth considering giving scattered asteroids a slower base speed?
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#6 Post by Dilvish »

MatGB wrote:No fuel wouldn't make much difference unless I'm completely misunderstanding the mechanics, because they would still be able to move around within supply.
My recollection is that the check for fuel happens before the check for in-supply, and so you cannot travel with less than 1 fuel no matter what. That's just a recollection though, could be I'm wrong. To test it currently you have to be off-supply, running out of fuel, and then land back in supply with less than one fuel, and see if it immediately let you move anywhere.
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Vezzra
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#7 Post by Vezzra »

MatGB wrote:No fuel wouldn't make much difference unless I'm completely misunderstanding the mechanics, because they would still be able to move around within supply.
That depends on how the mechanic has been implemented. If it checks for fuel>0 to move the ship, and only decreases fuel if you are outside supply range, ships with fuel 0 won't be able to move. If it checks if the ship is within supply range, and only if not also checks the fuel, ships with fuel 0 can move. Dilvish or Geoff most probably can tell...
Reducing them significantly would make sense though. Is it worth considering giving scattered asteroids a slower base speed?
Asteroid hulls are already extremely slow. IMO a speed of 60 is the lower limit for hulls, if you go below that, things get too annoying and un-fun. The build time is already far too high (15 turns is ridiculous), if you make them even slower on the top of that, using them would become a major PITA.

Nerfing and balancing them is fine (and I agree, it's necessary, they are overpowered), but not by making use them a chore.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#8 Post by Vezzra »

Dilvish wrote:To test it currently you have to be off-supply, running out of fuel, and then land back in supply with less than one fuel, and see if it immediately let you move anywhere.
Or just temporarily set the fuel capacity of a hull type to 0 in the content scripts...

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#9 Post by Sloth »

MatGB wrote:Is it worth considering giving scattered asteroids a slower base speed?
That was my first thought when comparing the flagship hulls. I was surprised that there wasn't any hull with starlane speed below 60 yet. So i think it's a good idea (but only the scattered asteroid hull).
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#10 Post by MatGB »

Dilvish wrote:
MatGB wrote:No fuel wouldn't make much difference unless I'm completely misunderstanding the mechanics, because they would still be able to move around within supply.
My recollection is that the check for fuel happens before the check for in-supply, and so you cannot travel with less than 1 fuel no matter what. That's just a recollection though, could be I'm wrong. To test it currently you have to be off-supply, running out of fuel, and then land back in supply with less than one fuel, and see if it immediately let you move anywhere.
No need to test it, I do it regularly, if you have below 1 fuel and stop in supply, even right at the edge of supply, you can immediately move off again and next turn it'll show you as being fully fueled.

I don't know if that's the intent, but it's been the way it's been working for, well, since I've been contributing here, 2 years?
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#11 Post by Vezzra »

Sloth wrote:I was surprised that there wasn't any hull with starlane speed below 60 yet.
Try playing with ships with speed<60 on a large map and you'll probably understand... 60 is already quite a pain, I don't think that going lower will work. It will make using a hull that slow too tedious.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#12 Post by MatGB »

*cough*

Large Hull had a speed of 40 until I did the rebalancing pass last summer, had done since the very beginning. There was a time when speed 80 was fast (and on the cramped maps like Elliptical anything faster than that is frequently a waste of points).

I do want to do something to rationalise ship/engine speeds at some point, I dislike having 60/75/80/90/100/120, we could easily dump 75 and 90 as base stats.

If we were to pull down all the max speeds, it'd be fine. Also worth noting with Scattered Asteroids it's got lots of internal slots good for engines/transpatial drive, so if you wanted it purely as a defensive beast having a very slow speed wouldn't matter at all, and for offence you just used some slots on speed.

Which is pretty much all I do with larger hulls at the moment anyway, fuel is pointless past a few jumps once you've got pure energy and a megalith, and until I've got the damage control parts written up so we've more variety of internal slot use what else do you do with them anyway?
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#13 Post by Sloth »

Vezzra wrote:
Sloth wrote:I was surprised that there wasn't any hull with starlane speed below 60 yet.
Try playing with ships with speed<60 on a large map and you'll probably understand... 60 is already quite a pain, I don't think that going lower will work. It will make using a hull that slow too tedious.
This is really no reason not to have one hull that is slower. Especially since extra engines are possible. No one is forcing anyone to use slow ships.

The only concern that has to be respected is that defensive strategies (turtling up) should not be able to easily trump aggressive strategies.

EDIT: Now that i think about it, we already have a hull with starlane speed below 60: The colony base hull (starlane speed 0). But without external slots it doesn't really count.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#14 Post by Chriss »

MatGB wrote:[...]Also worth noting with Scattered Asteroids it's got lots of internal slots good for engines/transpatial drive, so if you wanted it purely as a defensive beast having a very slow speed wouldn't matter at all, and for offence you just used some slots on speed.

Which is pretty much all I do with larger hulls at the moment anyway, fuel is pointless past a few jumps once you've got pure energy and a megalith, and until I've got the damage control parts written up so we've more variety of internal slot use what else do you do with them anyway?
That was my rationale, yes. If it gets moved further back in the tech tree, then having engine tech is no biggie. So you can make it faster, but you have to work for it. Which for big and heavy asteroids should fit the lore.

With fuel, I am assuming that a ship with zero fuel can still move within supply. If that's wrong then I propose 1 fuel. That lets asteroid hulls move, even one jump outside supply, but it can't move back (immediately). So without fuel cells it's not good for attacks. Or rather, you gotta fill some of those internal slots.

About the asteroid hull without an internal slot: does anybody use it or has a good use for it? ;)
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#15 Post by Vezzra »

MatGB wrote:Large Hull had a speed of 40 until I did the rebalancing pass last summer, had done since the very beginning.
Which has been a pain, and needed to be corrected, which you did. Furthermore, the Large Hull is an early game hull, where your empire is still small and your ships don't have to travel long distances, so the speed of 40 was still somehow bearable.

The Scattered Asteroid Hull is supposed to be a mid to late game hull. Where your empire has grown large. At that point, a ship with speed 60 is already a major pain to use (I'm not talking in terms of in-game strategic advantages/disadvantages, I'm talking about ease of use in the sense of "user-friendliness"). Even slower? Nightmare.
There was a time when speed 80 was fast (and on the cramped maps like Elliptical anything faster than that is frequently a waste of points).
That's an issue specific to the elliptical galaxy shape, and probably something we need to do something about. The average distance between systems shouldn't vary that much depending on galaxy shape, it makes balancing things like ship speed, detection range and things like that so much more difficult.

What we shouldn't do is scaling down the max speeds of ships because of the elliptical galaxy shape.
If we were to pull down all the max speeds, it'd be fine.
I really don't like the idea. Even with current speed stats, it happens often enough that when you have to send a slower ship over a larger distance, this journey will take 20+ turns. That's not a rare exception, it happens quite frequently on larger maps. Considering that a typical game lasts probably 200-250 turns, that means sending your ship from A to B takes ~10% of the total turns of an entire game. That's a bit much. Reduce the max speed of ships, and that gets even worse. Ugh.

My main complaint here is that I think this approach will make the game considerably less fun.
Also worth noting with Scattered Asteroids it's got lots of internal slots good for engines/transpatial drive, so if you wanted it purely as a defensive beast having a very slow speed wouldn't matter at all, and for offence you just used some slots on speed.
That reasoning would be fine if we were talking about a very special purpose exotic hull type (like the Camouflage Asteroid Hull). The Scattered Asteroid Hull is the standard high end flagship of the asteroid hulls line (comparable to the Titan Hull, Sentient Hull, Solar Hull). As such it should be usable for standard fleet operation like the other standard high end flagships, and like them not having to be patched up for that purpose.

Let me reiterate: This is not about complaining about the in-game strategic disadvantage the Scattered Asteroid Hull would get. If that were the issue, that would be fine - slow speed is an important drawback of the asteroid line. I'm talking about the "user experience" as a player you get when ships get too slow. Right now, the Scattered Asteroid Hull takes 15(!!!) turns to build. With its slow speed, it usually takes those ships another 10-20 turns (or even more) to reach the front lines the first time. So, we're talking about 30 turns it takes to deploy a Scattered Asteroid ship. The way our game is designed, this is extremely long term. The ship is most likely outdated by the time it can be put into action, the amount of planning ahead you have to do to use a ship under these conditions/circumstances exceeds what I'd still consider fun.

It's simply that using such a ship effectivlely might be possible, but because of the necessary long term and complicated planning, even simply keeping track of which ship was supposed to go where once it's finally built and what it's been supposed to do once it finally arrives at its first destination is going to be awfully micromanagy. Keep in mind, that with such long deployment times (where technology advances significantly in the time it takes you to build and deploy a ship) you'll end up with several generations of ships wandering slowly across your empire, and you need to keep track which ships are still useful for what when they finally arrive, why you sent them there in the first place... I think you get the picture. Now imagine making that even worse by slowing it down even more? Frankly, as a player I won't bother with it anymore. Simply because it's too annoying to use.

Basically Scattered Asteroid ships would be too out of sync with the normal pace and time scope of a typical game, and using them effectively micromanagement heavy. Putting engines on Scattered Asteroid ships is not the proper solution, because I wouldn't do it because of a strategic decision, but because I, as a player, want to avoid micromanagement/a tedious user experience. That's not the idea.

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