Author Topic: Swarmer ships  (Read 4145 times)

Offline Faulty Logic

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Swarmer ships
« on: March 31, 2013, 12:11:14 PM »
High-cap ships are underpowered at the moment because their damage decays faster than other ships, and secondary mechanics all favor low numbers of ships (transports, cloaking, eyes).

I think there are three reasonable options:
1} Rebalance them as normal-cap ships (the easy way out).
2} Buff their damage so initial cap-dps is higher than a non-swarmer cap.
3} Rebalance them with absolutely huge caps (3 to 5 times their current size) to take advantage of overkill.

I prefer option three, but there may be some options I haven't thought of.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 12:12:48 PM by Faulty Logic »
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Offline _K_

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 01:53:06 PM »
Agreed. 2 is the option i find the best.

One of the reason swarmers aerent too good is the current individual HP vs individual damage per shot balance. The swarmers cant capitalise on overkill, as the overkill is minimal. There are very few ships that would suffer of overkill against swarmers, and its almost impossible to isolate these so they have nothing else to shoot.

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 02:44:18 PM »
I prefer option 3, but my system memory doesn't. Option 2 is probably the best one if any.

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 04:26:37 PM »
I prefer option 3, but my system memory doesn't.
Agreed :)

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2013, 06:00:07 PM »
Until they can move to a version of Unity with a version of Mono with a sane GC, option 3 is a no go.
Thus, I would go for option 2.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2013, 07:25:14 PM »
I think there are three reasonable options:
1} Rebalance them as normal-cap ships (the easy way out).
2} Buff their damage so initial cap-dps is higher than a non-swarmer cap.
3} Rebalance them with absolutely huge caps (3 to 5 times their current size) to take advantage of overkill.

Agreed. 2 is the option i find the best.

Thus, I would go for option 2.

Unfortunately, option 2 is already implemented.
The swarmers have 10-80% more Cap DPS than Fighters, and many of them have special abilities as well.  Cloaking, FF Immunity, etc.
I suppose you could ask for 100% DPS above fighters level damage, or maybe 10x multipliers? 

That's about what it'd take to make Swarmers have enough advantages to overcome the disadvantages.

Swarmers are, for example, about the only place that Armor matters.
Laser Gatlings have good DPS for a swarmer, 600/sec.  A Fighter I is 1020/sec.  The Gatling is 60% of the Fighter's DPS, and has almost 3x the cap.
Yet it takes 1301 Gatlings to kill a Fortress I, while only taking 415 Fighters.  That's because the swarmers all fire lots of weak shots, so Armor can actually matter.

Swarmers suffer worse DPS deterioration than lower cap ship types.

As mentioned, Swarmers cause the game engine to cry in pain when you've unlocked Mk I - Mk IV of one or two types of swarmer.

If you made Swarmers a high-alpha unit (10,000 damage, 15 sec reload) they might be more useful... but I dunno about that.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 07:43:53 PM »
What about just giving them a higher cap-health, so killing a cap of them takes long enough that they're getting in a total amount of damage comparable to the more-individually-durable stuff?


And even with a sane GC just inflating unit count is going to cause problems.  The GC can't collect what's actively being used.  Sanity would just make it take a bit longer before it started at least really bogging down due to frequent collection, if not crashing outright.
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2013, 07:45:17 PM »
Quote from: Toranth
Unfortunately, option 2 is already implemented.
The swarmers have 10-80% more Cap DPS than Fighters...

It is? I don't remember that this was done, but I haven't checked over the stats.


Double the cap damage or 10x multipliers seems extreme. Most swarmer units aren't actually all that bad. UP, yes, but not terri-bad (though some of them might be terrible).

About the armor thing, the issue of armor is so up in the air at the moment that I am not really putting armor considerations that high up in my analysis.

Plus, there is value in the sheer utility of "clogging up" target lists, even if it is hard to put a quantitative value to it and it doesn't show very well in normal stats, damage done, and kill-death ratios.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2013, 07:50:23 PM »
What about just giving them a higher cap-health, so killing a cap of them takes long enough that they're getting in a total amount of damage comparable to the more-individually-durable stuff?

IIRC, this was the consensus the last time this topic came up.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2013, 08:19:55 PM »
Imo swarmers will never be good in the current balance. I wouldn't even consider Fighters swarmers by the technical definition, but if I just take some Riot MKIIs with me, or the new Saboteur bonus ship, or unlock higher level Siege Starships, or any other of dozens of options, I can just start a cascade effect which causes an infinite amount of "Swarming" ships to die within seconds.

This is why I play with Special Forces Guard Posts on difficulty 9+, and I can still take on thousands of small AI ships regularly without even accruing heavy losses. The biggest threat to me are bigger ships like Rams, Spire Maw, Spire Stealth Battleships, etc. Small ships really serve no purpose except to get evaporated, especially when I can just hide myself under a 10m health Champion shield 6 times in a row.

Ultimately to make smaller ships useful (especially for the AI), it will probably require an entire rebalance of the game. Ancient Shadows made it especially worse for them with the addition of new anti-swarm mechanics such as the Railclusters, Saboteurs, Champions, minor faction units, and more.
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2013, 08:27:35 PM »
Imo swarmers will never be good in the current balance. I wouldn't even consider Fighters swarmers by the technical definition, but if I just take some Riot MKIIs with me, or the new Saboteur bonus ship, or unlock higher level Siege Starships, or any other of dozens of options, I can just start a cascade effect which causes an infinite amount of "Swarming" ships to die within seconds.

This is why I play with Special Forces Guard Posts on difficulty 9+, and I can still take on thousands of small AI ships regularly without even accruing heavy losses. The biggest threat to me are bigger ships like Rams, Spire Maw, Spire Stealth Battleships, etc. Small ships really serve no purpose except to get evaporated, especially when I can just hide myself under a 10m health Champion shield 6 times in a row.

Ultimately to make smaller ships useful (especially for the AI), it will probably require an entire rebalance of the game. Ancient Shadows made it especially worse for them with the addition of new anti-swarm mechanics such as the Railclusters, Saboteurs, Champions, minor faction units, and more.

I sort of hoping the armor rework (and maybe the multiplier value and hull type distribution rebalances near that time as well, hopefully) will be that rebalance.

There is something interesting here. HP has gotten really high, while ship caps have stayed mostly the same (due to memory constraints of the engine mostly). Maybe it's time to "dial back" the HP and damage inflation that has hit the game over the years, back to more of the AI War 3.0 orders of magnitude?
EDIT: I think the key is that HP has inflated faster than damage has, leaving swarmers "in the dust".
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 08:41:27 PM by TechSY730 »

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2013, 08:36:43 PM »
We could trim non-Swarmer fleet ships down from caps of 96 to caps of 64, and keep the same cap health and cap dps.  Swarms end up larger by default.

Offline Winge

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2013, 08:37:56 PM »
I agree that it might be best to finish the armor rework before doing too much  to swarmers.  Armor numbers can be very high, which does terrible things to swarmer dps.  A balanced % reduction would do wonders to helping the swarmer type.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2013, 08:42:16 PM »
Yea, I think the main impact armor has on the game is "make swarmers stink" ;)  For a while I thought the impact on high-rof was a good thing, but ultimately it isn't working.

I keep thinking through armor reworks, though, and I'm not really happy with any of the ideas thus far.  Just taking it out altogether is honestly the most appealing option, though that also requires other adjustments.
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2013, 08:50:23 PM »
Yea, I think the main impact armor has on the game is "make swarmers stink" ;)  For a while I thought the impact on high-rof was a good thing, but ultimately it isn't working.

I keep thinking through armor reworks, though, and I'm not really happy with any of the ideas thus far.  Just taking it out altogether is honestly the most appealing option, though that also requires other adjustments.

I still think that some form of durability besides just HP is a good thing, and a per shot received damage reduction is a classic example of such an alternate durability for a reason.

It's just the current balance and/or system isn't in a good place right now.

But that can be a discussion for a another thread.