Blog: Fleet management, the next steps

#1
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Release: Game update [v.0.9] [Complete]
#2

What i as a newer player would also like would be a better description on how the AOE works. Like in the weapon stats it should show what the Radius is atleast. Then does the aoe effect always starts at the middle of the hit ship or will it be at the part of the hul that got directly the hit?
Is the AOE dmg decreasing over distance. if so how much ?

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#3

I can say now, that if I can’t rearrange my fleet, I am stuck with using a “single” hull/design in every fleet which is unacceptable to me. This is what I messaged you privately on. This will need to get solved in order for me to proceed. This forces us to use “one design” for all ships in a fleet in order to get them placed properly, which we should not be required to do.

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#4

I’m not a fan of the AoE radius reduction and the increase in range.

Maybe my issue is that I’m coming at this from the wrong angle. The missile/torp tech says “high efficient weapon against compact groups of small ships”

With the limited range for fleets it makes the AoE efficient against any target, since it sounds like the goal is to have splash damage hit 2-3 ships. That doesn’t line up with the tech.

To me, a player should have the option to have a spread formation, but due to fleet radius they are unable to have 16 battleships spread out to avoid AoE. However, maybe they could fit 7 battleships that were far enough apart to not take extra AoE damage. You had a choice.

The new system removes that choice. It means that no matter how I build a fleet I will take AoE damage, so I might as well load up 16 battleships.

The other issue DPS. The AoE torp does 13.28 dps. Since you’re pretty much guaranteed to hit 2 ships I presume that means you are actually getting 26.56 dps, or if you are able to hit 3 ships nearly 40 dps. That makes the tier 5 torp pretty much worthless, and all other torp tiers are a joke.

Also, the expanded fleet area means that there’s no reason to put ships any closer than 600m. Players will spread out as much as possible because they can. That means that the AoE from normal missiles and torps no longer means anything.

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#5

Hmmm Well my thanks to Joe & Co for listening and taking steps. Going to reserve judgement till I see what the changes mean.

But for now I appreciate the rapid response

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#6

Really glad you guys are listening. Cluster torpedos will still be good but not op anymore. Before a torpedo strike would wipe out over half my fleet. 600m distance lets us use a more variety of formations instead of just a line. Thanks

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#7

I appreciate that you are acting fast, however, everything you described as a problem of the other system could be fixed with a very simple tutorial or wiki page update (really want both).

A couple of things:

People aren’t looking for bland combat, reducing the AoE range of Missiles/Torps is less interesting, than making it so that it does less damage the further it gets from the point of impact.

Ripchee is KING, since they can now use 11 battleships cloaking fleets in this new system.

Ripchee can now take 200-300k troops cloaked and invade worlds with this new system.

I feel as if consideration for balance, in general, didn’t happen with this update. It feels as if it was a way to correct a lot of complaints, complaints that could have been easily dealt with, with a basic understanding of the system. A lot of complaints weren’t even based on actual mechanics, but how some people play the game (not actually using any strategy).

This new system only encourages using T3 battleships and other ships that have niche rolls.

In general, my personal opinion (and the opinion of quite a few others I might add) is that the development team is trying to make improvements to parts of the game that doesn’t need improvements. Our ability to turn off/on buildings were removed, our ability to manually change speeds was removed, now the entirely new system of fleets removing freedom, some strategy, and versatility of some ships.

The issue that we face, between the player and development team, is that there is hardly communications BEFORE you roll out changes. If you would explain the changes before hand or give us reasoning behind them and let us discuss before they are made, I feel like there wouldn’t people quitting, getting to the level they are being upset, and those taking a break in frustration.

There are people burnt out over this development style, and furthermore over the hodge podge of development in general. Usually a team will focus in on a mechanism, feature, etc and work on that for awhile. There is understanding in a lot of the earlier changes in this Alpha due to how people feel about major changes from A2 to A3, however we have gotten so off track, or at least it feels that way, from where the road map was to take us.

It feels as if we are just jumping from piece to piece to piece, making the game and updates seem fragmented and without forward momentum or destination.

Fleet Management and Combat go hand in hand, they should be updated together and with how they are going to effect each other taken into account. We don’t need these updates that constantly change the meta every two weeks, it gives no sense of stability, and is extremely hard to test.

My recommendation is this:

Since we are on fleet management, we should work on fleet management until it is fixed to the liking of the majority of the people playing the game. This development should go hand in hand with balancing of the races in combat, as well as adding depth to the combat system. This way going forward you can focus on other aspects of the game, and give everyone else stability in combat and player interaction.

What needs to be heavily addressed >
Fleet Management
Exploits with the new Fleet system
Flagship rating and balance
Making T1 and T2 ships viable and wanted in fleets
Rebalancing Races
Removing the ability for Ripchee to use Battleships and Cruiser with their cloaked vessel
Fixing humans (almost every other update this Alpha has nerfed humans in some capacity)
Making the underlying combat more in depth (there have literally been thousands of posts from dozens of people asking for combat to be more in depth, and hundreds of people complaining about the length of combat).
We need things like a lot more base armor, dodge ratings for smaller ships, defense ratings for damage mitigation, a smarter look at how weapons fire/damage/hit their targets, accuracy, distances in combat, the ability to set up a Retreat (much like how we setup targeting).
We need to discuss the impact of the new crazy scout Engine (its so fast and uses up so little fuel that it really negates the Ripchee and Human advantage of small scouts. It also is so fast that Ripchee have an enormous advantage with them and sabers)
I am sure I am missing something.

In summary: The development seems to take steps backwards, remove features that are useful, still lacking in the communication department, and don’t focus for long on specific aspects of the game leaving a feeling of never getting to your destination or of being lost.

We need more communication (pre-updates, AMAs, more surveys), we need a better focus on iteration cycles that effect multiple systems within a core concept (Combat, Travel, Technology, Planets etc), and we need a clear destination (we have hardly seen any updates that deal with the current road map).

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#8

I totally agree with your post @Cheatle, and could not agree more with this sentence:

“In general, my personal opinion (and the opinion of quite a few others I might add) is that the development team is trying to make improvements to parts of the game that doesn’t need improvements.”

I am one of those quite a few.

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#9

This. I am starting to get the feeling that we’re moving toward the lowest common denominator. Yes, increasing usability for a wider audience is a good goal. However, it is starting to seem like that’s being done at the expense of grand strategy. The more things that are simplified, the more we reduce strategy. In the old system you had to decide what ships you wanted, and that gave more freedom, which means more strategic options.

Beyond that, I do wish there was more transparency in the development process. I guess I would expect as alpha testers we would have a bit more involvement in the process other than “Here’s what the team put together last week. Good luck.”

Don’t get me wrong here, I am very excited for what I hope Outscape will be. I’m just starting to wonder if what I am hoping for, and what reality will bring are going to anything like each other.

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#10

@joe thank you for the heads up on the release about to happen. I agree it will go a long way to allieving a lot of the frustrations people were having with the fleet management - and thank goodness for the no rearranging fleets every time a new ship is added - that was a real pain!!

I think @Cheatle has hit the nail on the head. There are still many things to be addressed and some more communication prior to releases is better - that way we can provide some feedback on tweaking it possibly. His list is a good start

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#11

*return the inter-system speeds to where they were or faster. I can not stand doing inter-system movements at this pace. Fix whatever the instability was as a priority and give that back to the game.

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#12

Totally agree with you here.

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#13

Zorbski makes a very excellent point here.

Which made me think of another sadly. The cruise or Boost speed mechanic has been tested to DEATH, and I cant recall coming across ANYONE that liked it more than the variable speed we had in the first half of A2.

So @joe while you are considering how to mitigate the fallout here please reconsider that terrible decision while you are at it!

As @Archo says above we are loosing interesting features on a semi regular basis and getting Kiddy car simplistic versions back. You just are not going to get players that come back and recommend this game if you turn it into Space Candy Crush.

Please IDA nobody here LIKES complaining: I’ll say that again Nobody wants to complain we just want to enjoy a game we can see has vast potential. But every effort that limits that potential is either going to incite wrath or just cause folks to loose heart.

Innovate. Be different, be community responsive as you have been here, a lot of the Alpha testers you have have been around the block a few times and know what balances what, toss out an idea and there is a core here that will analyse it and give you some projections to its long term consequences next day!

Do stuff like this and I guarantee when the game goes to Beta and the word gets out you will have paying hard core players desperate to pit their not inconsiderable wits against each other in a true game of Skill without the simple “Buy my way to success” that has frustrated most of us in other games. I figure we have maybe a third of a game right now so I’ll say it again: I’ll pay $10/month right now for what we have, just tell me where to wire the money. Or run a kickstarter or something if that whats needed to help.

But take elements that maximise skill away and you loose the major attractant to these players. From the conversations I have had with my fellows over the last (almost a) year most are level headed thinking gamers of great experience. That’s your target market not little Johnny N00b with his mummys credit card.

Goddamit I promised myself I wouldn’t rant… Sorry! Roll on the patch!

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#14

One line in the blog that stuck out at me was “but probably should have spent more time refining it internally before releasing and apologize for not doing so.”

Whereas quite often I feel things are overpolished that should have just been a drop down menu or the like untill a final form can be established. The art work always seems very on point in this game, but often I feel it’s an overcommitment to something that might need to be twisted and turned around every which way, and that might be ditched alltogether. I’d be up for less polish and a more freewheeling “trying things out”. You could make simple, ugly fleet formation mechanics, put a few side by side, let the players switch between them via an equally ugly drop down menu, and see what works mechanically.

Another example would be the tech tree, while it’s certainly nice that every level of cannon has its own model, I’d be just fine with a reskin and a different color. Then you can easily vastly expand the tech tree. Worry about “pretty” when things work. If the graphics work is indicative of how thoroughly each experiment is implemented, then you’re spending a lot of dev time on making perfect what probably wont be. But that’s just my impression of course.

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#15

With regards to AoE mechanics / fleet placement, I’d say that the main problem there is that there isn’t an opposite balancing factor to spreading out to avoid AoE. There are a number of “natural” solutions there, for example range, when you spread out your fleet too much, most ships wont be in range, and therefor they can get picked off one by one. Another one would be some sort of buff/debuff eminating from the flagship, i.e. rate of fire increase/decrease, shield/armor replenishment, player picked module.

The key thing here is that you have one consideration for how spread out your ships ought to be: avoid AoE. You need to have equally a reason for packing your ships closer together. And if you do that, you don’t need to have those odd 300/600m lines that restrict, because it’s once again a strategic choice in how spread they really want to be.

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#16

Def with you there… So if the new mechanics issues really focus around the tethering… what should be established is, is the circle grid fixed? if it is then we get to a sweet spot where the 300m soon to be 600 will almost be free placement… So try the 600 and see how it works out… I’m inclined after that to set it to 2000 then we will have in effect free placement…

if at 2000 and the problems disappear somewhat then we are good… dial back the 2000 until we get to a point where players start struggling again… Devs should make a 30 ship fleet at 2000 then 1500 then 1000 and then see honestly what they could live with themselves…

Balancing is kind of something I care very little about right now… so something is OP… dont care… sorry… the only thing players will do is spread out to escape the splash… thats the number 1 driver… so splash needs defining, i’m guessing a portion of damage is applied to all ships in the splash area… what it should really be is more random… so here is an idea or two… when a missile hits… 2 shard of the damaged ship are directed from the target and each have a damage between 10% and 30% of the initial DPS it might hit a ship it might not… but the shard arc would probably not target ships directly behind the hit ship, more likely the sides and in front…

Or apply damage based on distance, so ships within splash radius will take damage ranging from 1% to 30%. The idea being shards from the detonation spread out from source so less chance they hit other ships the further out it goes.

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#17

…and another thing…

Give us back the ability to CHANGE THE FLAGSHIP. Under this current system I cant find any way to do it and previously it was UBER simple so this fleeting system Over-Complicates something here…

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#18

I’m not even sure splash needs further nuance strictly speaking, allthough I am generally in favor of having things in gradients. You still need an opposite factor that makes you want to be close for 0 splash damage not to be preferable in all cases. Range, ships supporting one another through modules with limited range, etc.

If you do that and make splash damage a “cone” rather than a “cilinder” if you vertically map the amount of damage received on the area in question, you get questions like “how much splash damage am I willing to tolerate for being this compact?”. Because without such a cone, and have the cilinder model, placement always boil to X range + 1 meter. And when you have such a gradient cone, you open up the option to specialize your torpedoes for more gradually more splash or more damage, or a customisable mix between the two. Then if you make a distance based accuracy calculation for all weapon fire (instead of plain range) that fall off similarly, and keep going along those lines across the board, you end up with a bunch of variable factors that cannot easily be tic tac toed.

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#19

I agree @Zathabar here,
i have been doing research and unlocked mine detectors and cloak detectors, plus mine layers and cloaking.

i have just been trying to make some new ships with this tech, and BECAUSE of the new fleet formation tool and the limit restrictions on a human corvette (it only allows 1 piece of tech in the front right slot) i need to build four new fleets!

1 to lay mines - Frigate Flagship
1 to detect mines - Corvette Flagship
1 to cloak - Corvette Flagship
1 to detect cloak - Corvette Flagship

under the OLD management system i could have just swapped flagships within the fleet?

I just find it hard to believe that the ability to have something means you cant detect it?
i can lay mines but cant see where they are?
( i want to replace an enemy minefield with my own so need two seperate fleets to accomplish this)

i can cloak my fleet but cant detect the cloak?
(so two people using cloaked fleets heading towards each others borders crash into each other?)

if this is indeed the game mechanics design then the ability to switch out Flagships has to be easier

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#20

I feel your pain my friend.

I realise they are trying something new in A3 (Fair enough) but seriously how can you justify a cloak that can spread to multiple ships at all but ONLY if the ship generating it is leading them? What mechanic can be used as justification for this.

I know its fictional setting but if one applies just a ha’penth of logic to set ups like this you can see balance issues and redundancies.

Why in the name of little green men can a ship detect stuff when it leads a squadron but no tif part of one? Do the cloak/cloak detect fields cancel each other out? OK I could deal with that but all that means is you can use ONE SPECIAL AT A TIME not that you would have to rotate Flagships!

Also where is the consistency. Can Minelayers no longer Mine if they are not Flagships? If that’s your intent I have a Bug to report… They can still function just fine as a secondary (non Flag) ship in a fleet!

No adding a special ship to a fleet should create a really dead simple effect: That special power/Tech is enabled on that fleets control wheel. What on earth do you need to make that more complicated than that?

You worried that it will create mega powered fleets?

That’s fair so RAISE THE FUEL COSTS to operate as you have a larger fleet to cover with your cloak and or send you super sensors past their interference fields? Simple fix no need to redesign the whole framework!

I DO understand. Back in A2 I considered my Admiral led cloak-able planetary invader fleets massively OP. It was ridiculous one little Poisk could cloak ALL that tonnage for the tiny fuel cost… But the fix was make cloaking fuel costs be a % of the total fleets Mass plus a base cost. or vastly shorten the duration Not remove the power at all unless they lead the fleet!!

Thank god they are going to change this fleet layout as right now in theory you could have a Corvette leading THREE DREADNOUGHTS CLOAKED…

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