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Games => AI War Classic => Topic started by: Wingflier on April 10, 2013, 04:05:28 PM

Title: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 10, 2013, 04:05:28 PM
So I've been mentioning in some other threads how big of a disparity there currently is between High-Cap Swarmers and Low-Cap Pseudo-Starships.

Recently I started a game with Laser Gatlings (randomly) and was very unimpressed by how ineffective they were compared to what I usually pick.

Remember that Low-Cap ships already have these innate advantages over High-Cap Swarmers:
1. They usually have several immunities if not more.
2. They're much easier to keep alive, so therefore you save a lot of money not having to constantly rebuild them.
3. They're much less vulnerable to AoE attacks.
3. They're low cap, so they don't trigger Eyes.
4. They can't be reclaimed and turned against you.
6. They can all be boosted by a Flagship, which increases their DPS much more than high cap swarmers, which can't all be boosted by the munitions bonus, since there are hundreds of them.

So with all this in mind, I expected the high-cap swarmers to have significantly better stats because of their inherent disadvantages. I was pretty surprised by the results:

Laser Gatling -

Cap Health: 10.7million,
Cap DPS: 163,200
Cap DPS with bonuses: 293,760
Cap Cost: 54,400

Raider -
Cap Health: 10.2 million
Cap DPS: 98,000
Cap DPS vs with bonuses: 392,000
Cap Cost: 60,760

Zenith Reprocessor -

Cap Health: 14.9 million
Cap DPS: 89,600
Cap DPS vs bonuses: 716,000
Cap Cost: 32,000 (did I mention it earns you money?)

Spire Railcluster -
Cap Health: 16.75 million
Cap DPS: 137,500
Cap DPS vs bonuses: 687,500
Cap Cost: 90,000

----

Similar patterns can be drawn from the rest of the high-cap swarmers vs. the low-cap pseudo-starships.

The point is that given ALL the advantages of a ship having a low cap, such as its immunities, much higher survival rate, lower susceptibility to AoE, and many other things, you would expect these ships to have significantly WORSE stats, and HIGHER costs, than their swarmer counterparts.

This is unfortunately not the case.  Especially where damage vs. their bonus ships are concerned, the low-cap ships win by a landslide. They also win the health department as well, which is somewhat odd considering that their survivability is already so much better to begin with by being low-capped.

When I say that the balance of the bonus ships needs to be reviewed, this is what I mean.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 10, 2013, 04:09:06 PM
I think Keith may have mentioned he would look into making high-cap ships have better cap stats (both HP and DPS), even though individually they are weaker.
There is some of that going on right now, but not enough to make up for the innate advantages low cap ships get.

This would be a nifty balance thing to tackle right now that is "low risk impact", like armor and energy and stuff are.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 10, 2013, 04:12:56 PM
Also, what about the idea floating around to make the bonus "Psuedo-starships" into full fledged bonus starships? (http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=9987), with the different balance target, limitations (both human and AI) that this entails?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 10, 2013, 04:18:47 PM
Also, what about the idea floating around to make the bonus "Psuedo-starships" into full fledged bonus starships? (http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=9987), with the different balance target, limitations (both human and AI) that this entails?
Actually the only bonus starship in the game (the Spire Corvette) uses the fleet ship balance targets, not the starship ones.

On the stats of high-cap vs low-cap ones, a broader comparison would be helpful but I do grant that high-cap stuff generally gets the short end of the stick.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 10, 2013, 04:24:12 PM
Even comparing Low-Cap ships to Medium-Cap ships, such as bombers, they still win by a pretty large margin and have most of the same advantages.

Space Tank -
Cap Health - 10million
Cap DPS - 100,000
Cap DPS vs bonuses - 600,000
Cap Cost - 134,400 (expensive!)

-I'm aware that Space Tanks get the armor bonus, but they also have a cap of 96, and their cap health is worse than the even swarmers (I've seen flocks of them die very quickly to anti-armor AoE such as Lightning Guardians).

Zenith Chameleon -
Cap Health - 19.7 million
Cap DPS - 129,600
Cap DPS vs bonuses - 470,400
Cap Cost - 134,000 (also expensive)

-Chameleons have a significantly better cap health than most low-cap bonus ships, but spread across 96 ships, with the close combat hull type, it doesn't translate to much in-game.

So while the Bombers do significantly better than the Swarmers in stats, they still have many of the same weaknesses, and are still far inferior to the Low-Cap ships for all intents and purposes.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 10, 2013, 04:26:21 PM
So, are you asking for a buff of high-cap stuff, a nerf in low-cap stuff, or a bit of both?
I'm assuming that mid-cap stuff is considered a decent "balance target" that the others should have their cap effectiveness scaled upon when deviating from mid-caps?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 10, 2013, 04:27:09 PM
Also, what about the idea floating around to make the bonus "Psuedo-starships" into full fledged bonus starships? (http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=9987), with the different balance target, limitations (both human and AI) that this entails?
Actually the only bonus starship in the game (the Spire Corvette) uses the fleet ship balance targets, not the starship ones.

On the stats of high-cap vs low-cap ones, a broader comparison would be helpful but I do grant that high-cap stuff generally gets the short end of the stick.
The reason I didn't use a "broader stroke" was because I was trying to pick the simplest examples possible. All of the ships I've listed are very basic with very few "special abilities". I thought it would muddle up the demonstration if I started adding things like Spire Maws or Zenith Anti-Armor ships, even though they both technically belong to the right category.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: RCIX on April 10, 2013, 05:26:25 PM
Zenith Reprocessor -
Cap Health: 14.9 million
Cap DPS: 89,600
Cap DPS vs bonuses: 716,000
Cap Cost: 32,000 (did I mention it earns you money?)

holy crap o.O
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 10, 2013, 05:35:18 PM
6. They can all be boosted by a Flagship, which increases their DPS much more than high cap swarmers, which can't all be boosted by the munitions bonus, since there are hundreds of them.

Just a minor nitpick, but the story is a bit more complicated than that.

IIRC, the maximum number "boosts" that limited boosters get (aka, not planetary like the planetary armor booster) is proportional to the area of the physical ship sizes of the ships being boosted. Put another way, the booster gets so much unit type "area" it can boost. This and probably collision ejection are the only cases I can think of where physical size that has a noticeable impact on balance (except for forcefields, their physical size matters very much).

So, if you have an especially physically large low cap ship (like the Spire tractor platform) vs something with a very physically small high cap ship (like laser gattlings or autocanon minipods), you might be able to boost a higher portion of their ship cap with the higher cap ships.


This doesn't negate the other five points (though point 5 is really just a subset of point 1)
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 10, 2013, 06:18:10 PM
6. They can all be boosted by a Flagship, which increases their DPS much more than high cap swarmers, which can't all be boosted by the munitions bonus, since there are hundreds of them.

Just a minor nitpick, but the story is a bit more complicated than that.

IIRC, the maximum number "boosts" that limited boosters get (aka, not planetary like the planetary armor booster) is proportional to the area of the physical ship sizes of the ships being boosted. Put another way, the booster gets so much unit type "area" it can boost. This and probably collision ejection are the only cases I can think of where physical size that has a noticeable impact on balance (except for forcefields, their physical size matters very much).

So, if you have an especially physically large low cap ship (like the Spire tractor platform) vs something with a very physically small high cap ship (like laser gattlings or autocanon minipods), you might be able to boost a higher portion of their ship cap with the higher cap ships.


This doesn't negate the other five points (though point 5 is really just a subset of point 1)
Sorry I think you're overcomplicating it.

From my understanding Flagships have a maximum number of ships they can boost.  It doesn't work like you say it does:

In this picture there are Gatlings right beside the Flagship that aren't being boosted:

(http://i.imgur.com/tqNVmoU.jpg)

In this picture with both MK1 and MK2 Gatling caps are present:

(http://i.imgur.com/z060jed.jpg)

In this picture both MK1 and MK2 Shield Bearers are present:

(http://i.imgur.com/xDajb9X.jpg)

Because they are a much lower cap, they all get the bonus.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Diazo on April 10, 2013, 06:56:38 PM
6. They can all be boosted by a Flagship, which increases their DPS much more than high cap swarmers, which can't all be boosted by the munitions bonus, since there are hundreds of them.

Just a minor nitpick, but the story is a bit more complicated than that.

IIRC, the maximum number "boosts" that limited boosters get (aka, not planetary like the planetary armor booster) is proportional to the area of the physical ship sizes of the ships being boosted. Put another way, the booster gets so much unit type "area" it can boost. This and probably collision ejection are the only cases I can think of where physical size that has a noticeable impact on balance (except for forcefields, their physical size matters very much).

So, if you have an especially physically large low cap ship (like the Spire tractor platform) vs something with a very physically small high cap ship (like laser gattlings or autocanon minipods), you might be able to boost a higher portion of their ship cap with the higher cap ships.


This doesn't negate the other five points (though point 5 is really just a subset of point 1)
Sorry I think you're overcomplicating it.

From my understanding Flagships have a maximum number of ships they can boost.  It doesn't work like you say it does:

From the discussion when I was starting on the wiki and trying to clarify all this stuff, boosts do not boost a set number of ships. Rather, they have a number of 'boost points' with other units in the game costing a certain number of 'boost points' to actually boost and so get the yellow line drawn.

We don't actually know the numbers in terms of how many 'boost points' the various boosting units have, or how many 'boost points' a unit takes to be boosted, beyond the stated fact that small units take less and large units take more 'boost points'.

That's straight from Keith and I don't think there's been any changes to boosting in the months since it last came up.

D.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 10, 2013, 07:07:18 PM
It's based on the boosted-unit's circle radius (called in the code and ref sheet "LoneUnitRadius").  Shield Bearers have a low cap but a fairly normal radius.  Starships have a larger radius, though not astronomically so.  Boosting a spire dreadnought would consume much of (if not all of) a flagship's boosting, though, because those things are huge.

In general it's difficult to do much in the way of tactical theory other than "saturate fleet ball with boosters".
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 10, 2013, 07:22:28 PM
All I know is that when I use full fleets of low-cap fleetships (and Starships), which already have a higher firepower in general than the higher-cap ships, they all seem to be affected by the munitions booster as in shown in the example above.

Higher-cap armies don't tend to work this way, as also shown in the example above.

Therefore based on my experiences, this is a significant advantage for lower cap armies.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 10, 2013, 07:33:52 PM
Therefore based on my experiences, this is a significant advantage for lower cap armies.
I agree.  It's much easier to saturate a low cap fleetball.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Bognor on April 11, 2013, 09:41:32 AM
You can see ships' radius on the User-friendly Spreadsheet (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11678.msg121099.html).

I posted before that in addition to the reasons already given, I think the brutal guard posts in homeworlds also favour low-cap ships.  Repeating for convenience:

Here is what I conclude when I see the different possible brutal picks:
  • Eye (any type): don't want to trigger that --> avoid high-cap ships
  • Grav Generator: drones do area-effect damage --> minimise targets by avoiding high-cap ships
  • Teuthida: zombification hurts --> focus on ships immune to reclamation (none of the high-cap ships, all of the pseudo-starships)
  • Wrath Lance: need ships with individually high hit points --> starships/superweapons/pseudo-starships (definitely not high-cap ships)
  • Raid Engine: (no special consideration)
  • CPA Guard Post: (no special consideration)
Most notably, all three of the brutal picks introduced in Ancient Shadows tend to favour low-cap ships.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Bognor on April 11, 2013, 10:06:15 AM
It's based on the boosted-unit's circle radius (called in the code and ref sheet "LoneUnitRadius").

Therefore based on my experiences, this is a significant advantage for lower cap armies.
I agree.  It's much easier to saturate a low cap fleetball.

There's no "LoneUnitRadius" in the export spreadsheet (the one you make via the in-game reference tables), but there is "ShipRadius".  I made the attached graph on the assumption that each ship consumes an amount of boost proportional to the square of its ShipRadius, which seems logical.  The data points represent all triangle ships, bonus ships, and player-available starships at Mark I.  The roughly flat trendline indicates that on average, a cap of high cap ships consumes just as much boost as a cap of low cap ships.

Or is boost consumption actually proportional to ShipRadius, rather than the square of ShipRadius?  If it is, you get a strongly positive trendline, consistent with Wingflier's experiences.  And you could easily flatten the trendline by making my initial assumption correct.

Edit: There's actually 78 data points on the graph, but many of the data points lie in little piles that look identical to single data points, which is also why the trendline appears to poorly fit the data.  The outlier at (96,614400) is the Neinzul Scapegoat.

Edit2: The second attachment, "Total cap ship radius by ship cap.jpg", is pertinent if boost consumption actually is proportional to ShipRadius.

Edit3: So finally I've found the explanation from Keith (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9840.msg95017.html#msg95017) about how it's supposed to work.  Based on my reading of Keith's explanation, boost consumption is supposed to be proportional to the square of ShipRadius, ie the first graph, inconsistent with Wingflier's and Keith's experience.  Is it possible there's a bug causing boost consumption to actually be proportional to ShipRadius, ie behaving like the second graph?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: KDR_11k on April 11, 2013, 10:48:00 AM
  • Wrath Lance: need ships with individually high hit points --> starships/superweapons/pseudo-starships (definitely not high-cap ships)

Does that actually stand a chance? I know when I tried to deal with a WL it just hit everything with so much damage that high HP units got vaporized anyway and its penetration through low-HP units seems limited, it doesn't clean up Infilballs that quickly.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: chemical_art on April 11, 2013, 10:52:57 AM

Does that actually stand a chance? I know when I tried to deal with a WL it just hit everything with so much damage that high HP units got vaporized anyway and its penetration through low-HP units seems limited, it doesn't clean up Infilballs that quickly.

For me, low cap units can survive glancing blows at longer range of the lance. In addition, if they can get into knife range, they can survive for much longer since they are easier to manage.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 11, 2013, 11:11:48 AM
Not that this matters greatly to the overall picture, but:

  • Wrath Lance: need ships with individually high hit points --> starships/superweapons/pseudo-starships (definitely not high-cap ships)
Does anything survive actual contact with those beams?  I'm thinking nothing in the fleet ship range has much chance of that.

Bear in mind those use the photon-lance mechanic, so they don't just hit everything on the line: they spend their strength against the first thing hit, then whatever's left goes against the next, etc.  So it doesn't necessarily do better against high-ship-count target-blobs.  A zenith-beam would do better against dense blobs, because everything it hits (up to the cap of 9 per shot) gets the full strength of the beam.

Anyway, the smaller the ship's unit radius, and the further away from the lance, the more chance the ships have of falling "between" the beams as they go by.  But if your fleet ball actually gets "caught" like that it's mostly done anyway, right?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Diazo on April 11, 2013, 11:43:44 AM
Not that this matters greatly to the overall picture, but:

  • Wrath Lance: need ships with individually high hit points --> starships/superweapons/pseudo-starships (definitely not high-cap ships)
Does anything survive actual contact with those beams?  I'm thinking nothing in the fleet ship range has much chance of that.

Bear in mind those use the photon-lance mechanic, so they don't just hit everything on the line: they spend their strength against the first thing hit, then whatever's left goes against the next, etc.  So it doesn't necessarily do better against high-ship-count target-blobs.  A zenith-beam would do better against dense blobs, because everything it hits (up to the cap of 9 per shot) gets the full strength of the beam.

Anyway, the smaller the ship's unit radius, and the further away from the lance, the more chance the ships have of falling "between" the beams as they go by.  But if your fleet ball actually gets "caught" like that it's mostly done anyway, right?

If it's hit by the beam, nothing survives. I cheated and spawned all the spirecraft while testing this. A single pass of one beam killed all the shield bearers and most of the rest of the ships.

It is probably low, but each beam does at least 500million DPS.

In practice however it has targetting issues. When I was taking one out a few games ago I had teleport raiders. I'd send them in and 90% would die in the first pass, but the other 10% would take 5 or 6 passes to kill as the beam just 'missed' somehow. I think there are small wedges inside each beam that don't get hit, but these wedges move slightly on each pass.

D.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 11, 2013, 12:16:57 PM
In practice however it has targetting issues. When I was taking one out a few games ago I had teleport raiders. I'd send them in and 90% would die in the first pass, but the other 10% would take 5 or 6 passes to kill as the beam just 'missed' somehow. I think there are small wedges inside each beam that don't get hit, but these wedges move slightly on each pass.
Yea, during development I had it doing a smooth rotation, but the truth is that our FInt (fixed-point-math) library uses fairly rough approximations for the few core trig functions it needs.  I need those functions to determine the endpoint of a beam of length X at angle Y.  The problem is that if I try to move Y smoothly through a range the results are really... well, wrong :)  If I use normal floating point math with the standard library trig functions it works great, but that would lead to desyncs in multiplayer because floating-point-math is not deterministic across different machines.

So it doesn't rotate smoothly but instead shifts a certain angle per "tick" and just pulses a few times at that angle before moving to the next.

Incidentally this makes it possible to not suffer 100% losses from one of these.  Without this quirk I really don't think anything would survive short of a massive FS fleet, and even that would be gutted afterward.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: KDR_11k on April 11, 2013, 12:27:04 PM
Also I think its maximum number of hits per tick is limited, against my Infilball it only killed the first few layers on each turn.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 11, 2013, 12:31:44 PM
I actually think someone might be able to use teleport ships to good effectiveness when taking on a wraith, if you had good micro, for similar reasons that fast ships can be useful in this fight.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 11, 2013, 12:34:11 PM
Yea, the ability to get from point A to point B without crossing all the space between does have special relevance to the wrath lance :)
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Diazo on April 11, 2013, 12:38:10 PM
Lol.

It's not that easy. When ships teleport on a right-click attack, they teleport to the center of the unit and then 'unstack' around it.

You can't see them behind the unit sprite, but the beams all emit from the center point of the wraith lance.

I gave my teleports that right-click attack order and they vanished. They did not even last a single frame to be drawn at the wraith lance, they just teleported away.

Expensive lesson when a full cap up to Mk IV is lost to learn that....

And as the wraith lance has AIP on death, I could not get them to attack without that right-click order.

I had to right-click move them next to the wraith lance so they were in range, and then right-click attack.

Still, teleporters are probably the unit that the easiest time with a wraith lance, but easiest isn't easy in this case.

D.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 11, 2013, 12:42:49 PM
But back on topic, any idea what a good "increase" in cap stats the balance target for high cap stuff should have compared to the "normal" balance target that would be fair compensation for their downsides? Should the cap health be buffed more than cap DPS, DPS more, or roughtly equal amounts of both.

NOTE: the following is based off of mid cap scale game statistics. The "standard" cap is 96 in this case

Just an idea, for very high cap stuff (laser gattling cap, which is around 200), how about something like a 1.3x in cap health and a 1.5x in cap DPS adjustment to balance target compared to that of the normal balance target? Scale these multipliers towards 1 as needed for high cap ships that aren't as high cap as laser gattlings. (At around 110 to 120 or so, these multipliers become so negligible that you can pretty much treat them as 1 at that point)

To help with the mid cap vs low cap stuff, how about something like .85x in cap health and a .8x in cap DPS adjustment to balance target compared to that of the normal balance target for ships with a cap of, whatever the lowest fleet ship cap is right now (3 is it?). Scale these multipliers towards to 1 up for ships that aren't quite as low cap. (At around 60 to 70 cap or so, these multipliers become so negligible that you can pretty much treat them as 1 at that point)


Yes, these multipliers aren't very extreme, but that is intentional. You WILL start hitting balance issues they were like 2x or something like that (or .5x for the low cap stuff). 2x and .5x are actually rather severe modifiers for cap stats. Multipliers that high are almost certainly going to be overcompensation.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Diazo on April 11, 2013, 01:18:57 PM
My only concern with something like that is what happens when the AI swarms you with a couple thousand of these buffed swarmers?

I'm not sure tweaking the target cap HP and DPS numbers as the primary balance method is the way to go, especially as they already have slightly higher numbers don't they?

I'd rather see the economic costs get slashed, swarmers are cheap and weak and you will lose a lot of them.

Right now a Cap of Laser Gatling costs almost double what a Cap of Fighters do. (They cost half a missile frigate and a third of a bomber cap.)

I like to see a cap of swarmers cost at most what a cap of fighters do. Probably no lower as the super-cheap and super-expendable neinzul already have those roles.

The real issue with swarmers (high-cap units) is that so many game mechanics favor low-cap stuff. Not only the obvious like Eyes, but the fact that DPS drops faster as for high-cap units as opposed to low-cap units in combat.

That's not the numbers being out of whack though, that's the game mechanics screwing them over. Boosting their stats is not fixing the problem, it's just band-aiding it.

D.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Hearteater on April 11, 2013, 01:30:39 PM
The economic costs do need to go down, possibly energy too.  Per cap, they should be cheap to use, but not youngling cheap.  Their cap build time is fine, and I might even tweak it up a touch as it is already pretty close to younglings.  For damage, I think I'd favor extra damage via bonuses, rather than raw DPS.  The player is better placed to take advantage of that on both offense and defense, and that avoids the problem of what to do about 2000 Laser Gatlings.  I'd be ok with their health staying the same for now, or even coming down a little.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 11, 2013, 02:10:23 PM
Scaling the target capwise economic costs down for high cap stuff would also work. :)

Good point with the bonuses. Many high cap ships have below average to really sad bonuses, which when combined with only average-ish base cap DPS, that is an issue. (There are exceptions, like the auto-canon minipod which has pretty strong bonuses, but lackluster bonus magnitudes for high cap stuff is the general trend)
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 11, 2013, 02:40:29 PM
My only concern with something like that is what happens when the AI swarms you with a couple thousand of these buffed swarmers?
As opposed to what? It swarming you with a 100 low-cap pseudo-starships?

I'll take the buffed Swarmers ANY day of the week.

With Riot Control II's I can paralyze them constantly. With Siege Starships I can stop huge swaths of them right in their tracks. With Champions there are all KINDS of modules to deal with things like this, such as HBCs modules or Siege modules. With many different kinds of bonus ships, such as Saboteurs, Railguns, or Fireflys, I can start a cascading chain reaction that kills most of them within less than a minute.

Not to mention that with many of the Golems I can kill them en masse (Black Widow, Wasp Golem), and if I have Botnet Golem, I can convert the entire swarm to my side in about 10 seconds.

All of those counters I listed would not work for low-cap pseudo-starships. I shudder to think how much we would have to buff high-cap bonus ships to be on par with, in the AI's hands, low-cap ships.

In the player's hands it's a bit different because the AI doesn't have nearly as many ways to shut down swarms as you do.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 03:37:36 PM
About the high cap stuff, I wonder if the "anti-low cap" was brought into balance, specifically things like the OMD (which needs help) and the anti-starship arachnid guard post (which I'm on the fence about), and was seeded more or less as frequently as the "anti-high cap" stuff. (Not the OMD though, as it is a capturable, though I guess it's base spawn rate could go up a bit, or a somewhat less powerful but not capturable "look-alike" is made and that is given AI eye levels of spawn rate), then maybe that will help out high cap stuff in cases. Also, I wonder if something like a "core anti-starship arachnid guard post" would be a good idea, and maybe a brutal pick version of that as well. (maybe the brutal pick version could have the OMD's range).

This would hopefully make some planets and possibly even homeworlds more favorable for high-cap ships at times.

Special care should be taken to make the two spawning together very rare though. like, say, if the chance of an "anti-low" spawning on a planet is 1/4, and the "anti-high" spawning on a planet is 1/4, then the chance of both spawning together should not be 1/4 * 1/4 = 1/16 (aka, they should not be independent picks) but more like (1/4 * 1/4)^(1.5) = (1/16)^(1.5) = 1/64). Normally, I would be all for statistical independence. But given that the two together would result in much, MUCH more difficulty than the difficulty of just one of them * 2 would be, I can see a such a sharp decrease of "co-spawning" odds.


In any case, the OMD needs some serious help anyways.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 16, 2013, 04:47:13 PM
Silly half-thought out idea:

Replace a quarter of the "AI Eyes" with "AI Fists". Only a quarter because Eye variety allows it's own counters. These "AI Fists" would have "Eye" levels of health and be mobile. Think Hunter-Killer crossed with Guardian, but completely unable to leave their home system. They would have limited attack range, barely outpace Heavy Bomber Starships, and have only a single target high damage attack. Maybe even make it a ram that doesn't self-destruct, a gigantic cutlass. They'd have significant wasted overkill on swarmer types, put a dent in regular fleets, and decimate low cap ships. They would have Eye levels of health, be immune to repair, and unlike eyes, they would lose a percentage of their health for each guard post that popped, or pop with the command station. Starship and low-cap focused players could operate in these systems with decoys at the opposite wormhole, or cloaker starships.

Anyways, just a little brainstorm while I recover from hauling stuff in Florida weather. I don't really have any clearly thought out reasons for any of the details I proposed, but just throwing out the idea as maybe an alternate direction, especially since a starship combat force is so much more accessible now from a K perspective.

Alternately, make it slower - and give it a repair beam in case you don't finish off a nearby guardpost.

Like an arachnid one-system patrol. Or, there would be an "Interplanetary Defender Post", and this guardian would travel between all adjacent systems kind of like a fleet version of an interplanetary munitions booster.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Toranth on April 16, 2013, 04:55:44 PM
In any case, the OMD needs some serious help anyways.
OMD: 1,800,000 Damage every 10 seconds
Arachnid GP:  10,000,000 * Mk damage every 5 seconds.

Plasma, Leech, Flagship Starships:  10,000,000 HP * Mk
Bomber: 18,000,000 * Mk
Spire:  24,000,000 * Mk
Zenith:  36,000,000 * Mk
Raid:  2,000,000 * Mk
Riot:  1,800,000 * Mk


Yeah, OMD should do about 20 times as much damage per shot.  In fact, considering it's a rare thing (Core and AI HW usually), it should be much nastier than the Arachnid.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 16, 2013, 05:43:55 PM
barely outpace Heavy Bomber Starships
You do realize that Heavy Bomber starships are actually really fast, right? 110 speed vs a Fighter's 84 and a Bomber's 72?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 16, 2013, 05:51:44 PM
Yep. A theoretical super guardian would have speed slightly faster than Heavy Bomber Starships so that: 1). Bombers would still have a chance to run away if the guardian was decoyed elsewhere 2). if the guardian caught up, they'd be doomed. In practice, this might not give enough time for anything to be done, but as I said, this is only a brainstorm, not an idea that has undergone careful review.

Alternate variant: Enforcer Maw, similar to a starship dissambler guardian, but only functions on fleetships, with a preference for low-cap ships. This ship would have considerably lower speed, none of the invulnerability, and you'd be able to rescue your ships.

Halfbaked idea #3, nerf engine health on low cap fleetships, bring starship engine health to a median 50,000, buff engine health on high cap ships, give AI more stationary sources of engine damage.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: chemical_art on April 16, 2013, 06:11:16 PM
I do think a guardian that really, really focuses on large targets would be nic-

Oh! Why not buff the artillery guardian? It already is supposed to do this.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 16, 2013, 06:12:07 PM
Oh! Why not buff the artillery guardian? It already is supposed to do this.
This is the person that gave us H/Ks in exos, so I suppose I should not be surprised.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 06:17:56 PM
I do think a guardian that really, really focuses on large targets would be nic-

Oh! Why not buff the artillery guardian? It already is supposed to do this.

I was thinking of something more along the lines of a "semi-super weapon" like AI eyes are, except geared around countering small numbers of very tough stuff instead of large numbers of weaker stuff. The rarity of them would thus be similar to that of AI eyes (or possibly even cut AI eye spawning rate in half, and give this new structure that same, now reduced, spawn rate).
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 16, 2013, 06:27:03 PM
Well, there's always implosion guardians.

The Imploding Eye!

Ok, not really.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: chemical_art on April 16, 2013, 06:31:01 PM
Well, there's always implosion guardians.

The Imploding Eye!

Ok, not really.

But it could work!

If the AI detects its own ships outnumber the enemy by 5 times the amount, it launches a dozen high powered lasers every 30 seconds. It causes massive damage. The theory being the AI is trying to eliminate the threat so it doesn't waste reinforcements.

[half way serious idea]
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: chemical_art on April 16, 2013, 06:32:21 PM
Oh! Why not buff the artillery guardian? It already is supposed to do this.
This is the person that gave us H/Ks in exos, so I suppose I should not be surprised.

My other idea was a new guardian, the siege guardian, which fires every 30 seconds, fires a plasma siege like projectile, and hits 1 * MK million damage and lesser damage to very nearby targets?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 16, 2013, 06:32:31 PM
It's funny how "Eye" in this game means "The AI is Unimpressed with your current playstyle and insists that you temporarily use a different one".
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 16, 2013, 07:13:41 PM
I was thinking of something more along the lines of a "semi-super weapon" like AI eyes are, except geared around countering small numbers of very tough stuff instead of large numbers of weaker stuff. The rarity of them would thus be similar to that of AI eyes (or possibly even cut AI eye spawning rate in half, and give this new structure that same, now reduced, spawn rate).
Well, let's look at our constraints:Thus, we know it has to be slower than its opposition, so it has to be a long-range ship. Possibly even stationary.

My suggestion:
It's good against low-cap bonus ships because each "1 ship" is worth more.
It doesn't crush superweapons because they're immune to nukes[1].

---

But, honestly, I prefer this:---

[1]: Modules should be made immune to nuclear explosions if their parent ship is.


My other idea was a new guardian, the siege guardian, which fires every 30 seconds, fires a plasma siege like projectile, and hits 1 * MK million damage and lesser damage to very nearby targets?

That doesn't work because splash damage is good against high-cap ships.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 07:26:12 PM
Why not both? Why not that sort of "sliding scale" for balance goals for low-cap vs high-cap ships, and introduce a new "inverse" of AI eyes?


Also, instead of a new "insta kill" mechanic, why not something of crazy, CRAZY high damage. Like with max armor peircing and just one point of damage away of being able to oneshot a mothership. Done, no special logic needed.
If you are worried about superweapon stuff, I guess you could give it artillery ammo, so things immune to artillery ammo can still face it, but it can still one-shot most things because immunity of artillery ammo is extremely rare. (Notably, most starships are immune to nukes, which is one of the staples of low-cap ship type play)
Should have immunity to radar dampening and immunity to attack boosts (not that lack of an attack boost really holds it back, but still, it's the principle of the thing)
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 16, 2013, 07:43:29 PM
Personally, I'm going for the 'scattergun' style of ideas, in the hopes that I inspire someone with a significantly better understanding of the gameplay than I possess.

But aside from how unfortunately awful my 'fist' name is - unfortunate euphemisms waiting to jump on the scene - why just one variety/form of this?* It's not like we have one type of AI Eye, some of which can be completely ignored by ships with the right type of immunity. There's room for a slow, long-ranged enemy and a fast, short-ranged enemy, right? If they have some giant weaknesses to some starships and low-caps, and unusually good against other starships and low-caps, why that's all for the better, in theory.

*yes, reality of development costs and art assets. But I'm no good judge of this for a variety of factors, so I'll leave that analysis up to devs, and not be disappointed if my ideas are too impractical.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Wingflier on April 16, 2013, 07:51:22 PM
It's funny how "Eye" in this game means "The AI is Unimpressed with your current playstyle and insists that you temporarily use a different one".
Keith is right.

AI Eyes were really just put into the game as a band-aid to the Fleetballing mechanic.

Now that Fleetballing low-cap ships has become the solution, we're just trying to invent another band-aid to put on top of the problem.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 16, 2013, 07:52:55 PM
Now that Fleetballing low-cap ships has become the solution, we're just trying to invent another band-aid to put on top of the problem.
Yep!

Ooh, I know, we can call it the AI Dire Bandaid!
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 16, 2013, 07:55:06 PM
Now that the starship tweaks and cloaker guardpost changes have made handling Eyes so much less miserable an affair (if you weren't already using raid starships), let's come up with a way to make swarmers competive make the player suffer again!

We truly are our own worst enemy, are we not?

Edit: But seriously, there are too many eyes for a turtle, and starships so good, that you might as well throw everything into starships anyway. It's not like you'll need anything else to handle forts and eyes and missile posts.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 08:08:21 PM
Can anyone give stats for average spawn rates of the turtle types? I wonder just how high it is right now...


TBH, I'm not sure how you can prevent "ball of death" type situations (whether high cap or low cap or "everything" dominated) if the player is allowed to set the "pace". Even in Starcraft II, if you allow your opponent to turtle (aka, let them control the pace), they will probably "death ball" you. What keeps that from happening all the time is that both players have tools to control the pace, and thus you have incentive to try to adjust it to suit whatever strat you are going for, in hopes that you will disrupt or "counter" your opponent's strat. As the opponent in this game is designed to let players have the majority of the control of the pace, "ball of death" will rise to the top of the metagame. AFIAK, there's no way to fix this without yanking some of that pacing control away from the player (which a lot of the optional game setting (minor factions, AIP over time, etc) allow for actually). As such, I'm not convinced that "fleetball" being the dominant strat in the "metagame" it is a problem.


I see this more as a way to diversify the "anti-fleetball" mechanics. We already have something that counters fleetballs that focus on quantity over quality. So why not have some of them be the inverse instead, targeting attack forces that focus on quality over quantity?

@LordSloth
So do you think the starships were overbuffed? If so, by a lot, or just a bit?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 16, 2013, 08:15:54 PM
Why not both? Why not that sort of "sliding scale" for balance goals for low-cap vs high-cap ships, and introduce a new "inverse" of AI eyes?

Also, instead of a new "insta kill" mechanic, why not something of crazy, CRAZY high damage. Like with max armor peircing and just one point of damage away of being able to oneshot a mothership. Done, no special logic needed.

If you are worried about superweapon stuff, I guess you could give it artillery ammo, so things immune to artillery ammo can still face it, but it can still one-shot most things because immunity of artillery ammo is extremely rare. (Notably, most starships are immune to nukes, which is one of the staples of low-cap ship type play)
Umm... Superweapons aren't immune to Artillery ammo.

Anything that makes you fear for your starships will make you fear for your superweapons even more.

Dropping at least one zero from non-superweapons is beginning to look more and more like something that needs to be done.

EDIT: Besides, the thread is about pseudo-starships, not starships.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 08:30:24 PM
Umm... Superweapons aren't immune to Artillery ammo.

Oh, wait, your right. Whoops. Not sure why I was thinking that. :-[

Quote
Dropping at least one zero from non-superweapons is beginning to look more and more like something that needs to be done.

I've been of this opinion (and stating it too) for like over a year by now.  ;)

Quote
EDIT: Besides, the thread is about pseudo-starships, not starships.

Hmm, that is a good point. Though I guess the fact that they are psuedo-starships naturally makes us want to compare them to the "big brothers", the starships.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 16, 2013, 08:32:15 PM
Quote
Dropping at least one zero from non-superweapons is beginning to look more and more like something that needs to be done.

I've been of this opinion (and stating it too) for like over a year by now.  ;)
I recall the repeated requests, but you were suggesting only doing it for non-superweapons?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 08:37:57 PM
Quote
Dropping at least one zero from non-superweapons is beginning to look more and more like something that needs to be done.

I've been of this opinion (and stating it too) for like over a year by now.  ;)
I recall the repeated requests, but you were suggesting only doing it for non-superweapons?

Not specifically no. But since I usually repeated it in response of you saying things like how it has become hard to make superweapons durable even if you pumped up their HP to the max the datatype allowed, I guess this is what I was trying to imply. (Though I also repeated it when people were complaining of being "lost in zeros")

But yea, I think the "inflation" has been lopsided, and has "defavored" the super-weapons and the high cap stuff the worst. And since data type restrictions won't let you bring the top up too much more, then why not bring the rest down?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 16, 2013, 08:40:42 PM
Honestly, when it comes to starships? I don't have a clue. I'm still working my way through 6.018. I've been getting home around 7 each night, so i'm falling behind the updates. I have definitely been avoiding too much criticism on that subject, and offering commentary on other subjects where I've been more comfortable.

I can say that I feel I no longer feel like I'm making a huge sacrifice unlocking two lines of MK3 Starships (plasma and bombers) and therefor raiding eye systems doesn't feel anywhere near as prohibitive anymore. Heck, thanks to cloaker starships and mobile repair, Mk3 Heavy Bombers and Mk3 Plasma Siege Starships can even sometimes clear out their direct counter guard posts.

The debates raging around K costs are significant, and honestly, I feel that maybe too many different balance discussions are going on to get a good feel for where things will actually end up - other than with thorough playtesting and feedback after they're implemented.

Before I go further, I want to emphasize that everything below this line is written with dual Defensive AIs in mind, and not the regular gameplay that you get with more middle of the road or offensive AI types. Aside from a game of fallen spire, starfleet commander, and mad bomber I put aside to take on the max AIP challenge, my experience has not caught up with the game as it stands now, with weekly updates. My hours (less than ten, more than three) of non-turtle AI hint that the experience is probably very different to what I'm reporting below. I'm honestly not comfortable commenting on starship balance, but I do hope to see if I can rope my usual team into a co-op game this weekend and try a faster paced marathon or two.

Using starships to take out Eyes is actually an interesting proposition now. Defensive AIs actually promote a significantly different playstyle and much more considered approach to cracking mk3 and 4 systems than before, particularly with the overlapping positions of force fields, fortresses, guard posts. I repeat: I'm actually having some fun facing both a turtle and a fortress baron, something I would have not believed possible a few months ago, when guard posts were uninteresting, starships fragile and k prohibitive, guard posts could cloak themselves, and so on. In a world where every game was against dual defense AIs, I think the game would remain strategically interesting even if fleetship K costs were nerfed to similar levels. Clearing these AI Eye systems now feels more like a puzzle than a punishment game. The only problem is: the answer is always starships, even if fleetship hordes have the right immunities, so why bother ever taking my fleetships on defense? They're more useful guarding my flanks. A variety of system-restricted types of AI super guardians could actually add to the variety of puzzles I have to solve, and if I invest in fleetships more, well, I have a reason to try and use them even in less than ideal circumstances.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 16, 2013, 08:44:57 PM
But yea, I think the "inflation" has been lopsided, and has "defavored" the super-weapons and the high cap stuff the worst. And since data type restrictions won't let you bring the top up too much more, then why not bring the rest down?
I do actually want to lop 2+ zeroes off all the attack-power, health, armor, and armor-piercing numbers.  But only doing it for some units (and not superweapons) would have a rather, um, dramatic impact on balance :)
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 16, 2013, 08:49:12 PM
There is actually one piece of criticism I feel comfortable giving about starship and guard post balance.
 
Missile Guard Posts should lose ultra-light multipliers, so they no longer counter Raid Starships. Why? Missile posts under forcefield and fortress coverage. I can bring plasma siege against normal shielded missile guard posts, I can bring heavy bombers cloaked mk3 to take out a missile post under a fortress but unshielded. But combine all three and I'm really in a bit of a pickle. Laser Guard posts still present a challenge, but a relatively localized one. Missile Guard Posts are nearly as significant as fortresses now, especially if you achieve overlapping coverage.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 08:49:39 PM
But yea, I think the "inflation" has been lopsided, and has "defavored" the super-weapons and the high cap stuff the worst. And since data type restrictions won't let you bring the top up too much more, then why not bring the rest down?
I do actually want to lop 2+ zeroes off all the attack-power, health, armor, and armor-piercing numbers.  But only doing it for some units (and not superweapons) would have a rather, um, dramatic impact on balance :)

Why not go for, you guessed it, a compromise? Lop 2 (or 4) zeros off everything but the "superweapons", and for the "superweapons" (both human and AI), lop only 1 (or 2) zeros off? :D
I think the idea is that the superweapons should be 2, 3, or possibly even 4 orders of magnitude above most everything else. (and they used to be) Right now, they are not. So I don't see how "un-deflating" lopsidely would make things worse.

Yes, adjustments would have to be made, but I think that "dramatic impact" would push it closer to what we want superweapons to be and a good balance in general, instead of putting it at a state where it is further away.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: TechSY730 on April 16, 2013, 08:56:54 PM
There is actually one piece of criticism I feel comfortable giving about starship and guard post balance.
 
Missile Guard Posts should lose ultra-light multipliers, so they no longer counter Raid Starships. Why? Missile posts under forcefield and fortress coverage. I can bring plasma siege against normal shielded missile guard posts, I can bring heavy bombers cloaked mk3 to take out a missile post under a fortress but unshielded. But combine all three and I'm really in a bit of a pickle. Laser Guard posts still present a challenge, but a relatively localized one. Missile Guard Posts are nearly as significant as fortresses now, especially if you achieve overlapping coverage.

What about us humans and putting missile turrets under forcefields, especially higher mark ones?
IIRC, our missile turrets decimate AI raid starships too.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Histidine on April 16, 2013, 09:23:03 PM
Divide non-superweapon stats by 10, superweapon stats by 2-5?
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: chemical_art on April 16, 2013, 10:06:46 PM
There is actually one piece of criticism I feel comfortable giving about starship and guard post balance.
 
Missile Guard Posts should lose ultra-light multipliers, so they no longer counter Raid Starships. Why? Missile posts under forcefield and fortress coverage. I can bring plasma siege against normal shielded missile guard posts, I can bring heavy bombers cloaked mk3 to take out a missile post under a fortress but unshielded. But combine all three and I'm really in a bit of a pickle. Laser Guard posts still present a challenge, but a relatively localized one. Missile Guard Posts are nearly as significant as fortresses now, especially if you achieve overlapping coverage.

What about us humans and putting missile turrets under forcefields, especially higher mark ones?
IIRC, our missile turrets decimate AI raid starships too.

25% damage makes it that their armor can take many hints.

More specifically though, since our sniper turrets vaporize them in most senses of the word you don't need to to use missile turrets.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 16, 2013, 10:10:32 PM
Divide non-superweapon stats by 10, superweapon stats by 2-5?

Non-superweapon by 100 and superweapon by 10-20 sounds better.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Faulty Logic on April 16, 2013, 10:20:22 PM
Superweapons certainly don't need to be above all else by orders of magnitude, though a 5x buff might work.

Golems and spirecraft have seemed very fragile (a black widow couldn't even get through a nothing-special mkIV system alone), though.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Kahuna on April 17, 2013, 02:09:19 AM
Golems and spirecraft have seemed very fragile (a black widow couldn't even get through a nothing-special mkIV system alone), though.
Those new Guard Posts with bonus damage vs Ultra-Heavy would probably 1 shot an Armored Golem.. hell.. Golems aren't even immune to radar dampening LOL
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: LordSloth on April 17, 2013, 04:01:30 AM

What about us humans and putting missile turrets under forcefields, especially higher mark ones?
IIRC, our missile turrets decimate AI raid starships too.

In particular, the AI doesn't have any damage reduction from firing out from underneath forcefields. Let me be fair: in my test game, I did encounter systems with this "Venn Diagram" of death from forcefields, missile guard posts, and fortresses, but it didn't bring my game to a screeching halt.

Missile Guard Posts are in a weird position in the triangle, they counter medium (spire), neutron (zenith), polycrystal (heavy bomber), and ultra-light (raids). Normally, countering them with plasma siege starships works just fine even if they're covered by a FF, and various other methods can clear them out if covered by a fortress. But that said, if they get FF and Fort coverage, they get a disproportionately large effect. Remember, AI Forcefields do not cause damage reduction to units firing out from under them. It is still entirely plausible to crack these systems without pulling out your hair, if I force myself to avoid exaggerating the difficulty of these systems. I did however unlock multiple MK3s, so that helped.

Really, I just think that it would be fitting to give low-level Raid Starships a role to fill in the current rock-paper-scissors guard post balance. Necessary? Nope. In other threads, you might even see people talking about buffing Raid Starships in a much more general fashion again. This wouldn't necessarily preclude that, but it would be a role-based buff, rather than a stat-based one.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: KDR_11k on April 17, 2013, 11:17:14 AM
IMO give swarmers cap DPSes that are 2-3x those of non-swarmers, perhaps also give low-cap ships lower cap DPSes (but also lower cap prices). Make swarms HURT. That'll make up for the various vulnerabilities they have. Perhaps also make sure they all have very low build times so you can carry an Enclave with you to counter the rapid attrition they face in combat without needing engineers on con-assist to get good output rates.

Kahuna: Please don't propagate more radar dampening immunity. It was specifically intended to force long ranged attackers to close in on the SSB, not to give all those long range attackers immunity.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Bognor on April 17, 2013, 11:57:31 AM
Can anyone give stats for average spawn rates of the turtle types? I wonder just how high it is right now...
Based on this (http://www.arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_AI_Opponent_Types#Other_information), Turtles and related AIs get roughly twice as many eyes as most AIs, and roughly four times as many as the more aggressive AIs.  Don't know the actual numbers, though.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: RCIX on April 17, 2013, 12:22:21 PM
I would like to say, low-cap/starship only games feel really fun to play in that you can actually do some damage without refleeting every objective you take (though you have to avoid some things, or should once OMDs get upgraded and other ways to penalize starships are made). I would rather see fleet ships and swarm ships be buffed up closer to that level of interesting strength in some way than see starships be nerfed back into meh-dom.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: KDR_11k on April 17, 2013, 12:35:10 PM
I think that's just not possible, once fleets get stronger those starships will start dying again.
Title: Re: (Bonus Ships) Comparing Swarmers to Pseudo-Starships
Post by: Kjara on April 17, 2013, 02:49:18 PM
One issue that I'm running into is that when the AI has a bunch of pseudo-starships unlocked AI eye planets are a pain, esp if most of your unlocks are swarmers.  Laser gatlings vs spire stealth battleships kinda sucks when you are only allowed a 2 to 1 ratio.