Dev Diary #4 - Restoring The Balance

#1
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#2

Gimme all dem datas on dem dreadz…

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#3

I trust you guys can make a balance in balance and fun. But i personally perfer balance. Coming from an ex vega conflict player, that game was ruined because it is only fun for the players who buy latest tech. It is embarrassingly unbalanced. and i dont want that to happen to this game either. But again i trust you can make a fair share of both. Thanks for the post.

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#4

Plus i personally dont find being stupidly overpowered fun. I like competition. Where the dude im fighting doesnt just sit there and take it, he fights back, and i have to find a way rather i lose or win. I like balance, because it encourages you to put more thought into your units, rather than just put as many op weapons on as you can. Im sure alot of people feel the same, especially ex vega players. The only ones that perfer the “fun” of an unbalanced game are the ones that feel the need to spend money in order to win, which is vega conflict in a nutshell.

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#5

Well there will be a mathematical expression that will determine the optimal way to “win” when it comes to ships and combat…

I guess there are 2 gameplay modes to discuss…

  • Time limited galaxies
  • Perma Galaxy…

Time limited galaxies can come and go and each can be their own little alpha, lessons can be learnt from each iteration just like alpha… and some of this can feed back into the perma galaxy…

Perma galaxy is where the big boys and girls will be putting most of their time, crunching the numbers, forming alliances, strategising on a grand scale… content can be rolled out quarter after quarter (haha) and there is time to introduce balance that way.

They say variety is the spice of life, well I also think each content iteration should spice up things… together with some kind of background story… so you see that uptake of ripchee as a race is low or on the forum you see lots of comments about them being week in battle… then in the next iteration “ripchee invent a process that allows them to reduce shipbuilding time by 15%” so add a tech somewhere reasonable… balance restored… await more game feedback, see how it works in alpha… I would prefer to see balance this way rather then just adding 10 more DPS onto weapon x… so they gain it on release, players should build, upgrade and research their new balances in…

On the spice… each race needs to have a unique set of traits…like some races can capture ships then clone them… sounds cool… on the opposite of that a race that cant have their ships captured… so each race has targets and non targets for their trait… this variety will keep encounters fresh… 12 races ready for live will be a mammoth task for sure… I dont mind 6 for live and 3 a year over the next 2 years… it would be cool to make them balanced slightly more powerful for the perma galaxy… do you or dont you seed ship out to a new race?

More spice in that each race has a special weapon… like a weapon that can fire from 10LY way and infect a planet with a virus… random 10-20% pop die… or a race that can launch mass packets that can smash into worlds and decimate a percentage of buildings… a race that can over a long period of time build a bomb into a ship… move it into someones armada and detonate it… (limit to 1 per players at any one time and a could weeks to build) detonation kills everything in a 2 LY radius, all ships from all players… Variety leads to combinations of tactics that lead to some innovative game play… balance is key here… and rapid time-limited galaxies are where these can be tested out before release to perma… this will of course lead to more involvement in time limited galaxies as everyone will want to learn in advance of the perma galaxy getting it… and there is a trick here for IDA to create upto 10 galaxies that are live at any one time… this can increase revenue and we all know that more money means more investment in the game… it would be a glorious cycle…

I really hope that perma galaxy has everything in it…

Also it might be nice to see the plans for say 6 races and lets have an honest discussion around their balancing… I sometimes feel that the content gets released then feedback changes it… so why not discuss it now and sidestep some failures while we’re waiting for the next galaxy…

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#6

Well So as per my post, a player has the bomb ship… he is under attack… so he decides to move a shipout to the enemy… calls it “bombship”… but is it or not… do you call the bluff… and plough on into oblivion?

Thats fun… building a massive set of fleets well setup and delivering world after world is fun… one race with a death star… not fun… someone depriving you of sleep cos they attacked you from all side @Cheatle, yes you… You’re expecting not fun right… ironically the most fun ever in BD… I did whinge and whine and lie as you do… but looking back… minefield warfare was f*****g awesome even though I lost…

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#7

One difference between VC and here is that VC was pay to win. That will be impossible here, so in theory everyone has the chance to be your equal if they follow the right path to build their strength. I only see time in game being the deciding factor between the strongest and weakest player here (given everything else is somewhat equal).

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#8

Great diary. I am for reasonable balance, but not so much that that the game becomes boring.

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#9

For my thoughts - fun is in the eye of the beholder. For some unbalanced will not be fun and others it will make the fun.

But more literally it depends on what how you ‘can’ play as much as how you ‘want’ to play. This comes to something I have said before, there are players who can be on all day, there are players who can be on for 10 hours a week and there are those who can only be on for 4 or 5 hours a week (I vary between 4 and 10 depending on time of year).
I don’t believe that there is one combination that can give fun or balance to all those groups.

This is where the (very well judged idea) of multiple galaxies comes in - 1. fast paced, unbalanced 2. Very long term, balanced but only if you play short times 3. Balanced for people that can play a lot (etc etc).

I think you can have it all - just not in the same galaxy.

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#10

One way to make littler ships more usable is to make t2 and t3 ships cost more and take longer to build. Right now there barely any reason to build a frigate over a battleship, because cost is so low and they dont take alot of time to build. For example, a syntis battleship costs like 2k farsu, and takes a day to build. A syntis frigate take about 900-1000 farsu to build, and takes 9 hours. The battleship can have 3k armor and 700 sheilds, 4 med weapons and 4 large, while the frigate can have 1k armor 300 shields, 4 med and 4 small. You can build ONLY TWO frigates for the cost of a single battleship, and that battleship could single handedly woop those two frigates. I think a battleship fully fitted should cost 5 to 8k depending on race, and take 2 to 4 days to build. Or just make res harder to earn. Both would make battleships much more valuable, and frigates a much more reliable option. A syntis frigate fleet of 6 cost about 5k farsu. These fleets could maybe take out one battleship. Thats 5k farsu lost to a single battleship, which cost 2k something farsu. The thing is that theres literally no point in building littler ships. and this is one way of fixing that.

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#11

All I have to say to you is LMAO!

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#12

Unbalanced better have faster recovery if you get wiped out and truces so you can walk away for a few days and have a life…

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#13

@joe @mel @DeicidE @SlayMoreDragons

I do agree with you @BigBoomer about increasing the costs of ships.

I actually have a very comprehensive post about this as well as have done the work already in a lot of balance.

Essentially what we need to happen is this >

COST: The cost of T1 ships needs to be slightly decreased, the cost of T2 ships needs to be increased to at least a minimum of double their current costs, maybe even tripled. T3 ships should also be increased by at least double to triple. This means that fleets make up will be more hodge podge in nature (random or checkered), since to build an “ultimate” fleet will take far too long and too many resources if you are currently locked in battle.

SHIP SPECIALIZATION: Each ship needs a better niche/gimmick/specialization, right now they aren’t really unique enough, we have a colonization ship, a tech ship (cloaks/detects/minesweep), a mine layer, and a carrier/Space to Surface ship. While these do add some specialization and strategy, that still doesn’t offer a lot yet.

One of the things I focused on is making ships more specialized allowing for interesting gameplay options. Scouts have are faster, more fuel efficient, better scanners, colonization ships have various modules and upgrades they can attach leaving your fledgling colony better off, your destroyer is better at pin point accuracy or taking a hit for the fleet, your frigates have specialized jobs like mine laying, or flak guns that can take out fighters or ecms that can confuse or mitigate missiles, then we start getting to the bigger ships, ships that can take a beating, that can help boost ships around them, etc.

BETTER BALANCE: Now they just talked about balance being that fact that people do have fun, in the current iteration, Ripchee are the best long term (short to mid term they are the worst). Humans are in the middle in every category (somewhat do to their ship prices), and Syntis/PR battle for 1st or 2nd place during the short to mid game, and seem to tie late game for 2nd. This offers some interesting game play until about 2 months into the game.

Ripchee need to have a more focused Theme, currently they don’t, they are suppose to have super cheap ships, don’t need flagships, and fight in larger groups. They kind of have some of the most expensive ships right now, and then the most powerful. They need all of their ships scaled back heavily in power, and in price, they should be the cheapest ships across the board. One of the reasons for this, is because they will have the ability to capture other ships and produce those ships for 1.5x the cost (expensive, but allows Ripchee to cover their weaker points). They need to have huge fleets of fodder ships, with backup from those ships they steal in combat. The other thing they need, Ripchee ships are based around being more fuel efficient and going longer faster, they should have something that focuses on that, like free fuel slots on all of their ships.

Syntis, they are pretty well rounded, however, they get some really powerful early ships AND their flagship levels are average sized, which gives them a better footing that most everyone by T2. This needs adjusting. I think the best way to fix this, is limit large weapons to only T3 ships for Syntis. They are suppose to have the 2nd largest ships, but be more efficient and have ships that are suppose to heal themselves. The latter is the hard part, no one wants to give up slots when each battle is basically a suicide run, and have 1+ slots dedicated to after the battle isn’t the best strategy. Syntis either need their repair modules added in like a tech rather than a module, or they need dedicated slots that don’t take away from performance.

PR are pretty powerful, and they are limited in their fleet size enough that you could afford them large weapons at T2, however…Their T2 ships are pound for pound the most devastating ships in the game. They do more damage than any other ship, period. Which makes them king of the hill until T3 rolls around. I do agree they can use large weapons, especially since they specialize in large ass ships, however 6 meds is just too OP, especially with all the missile/torp specialization. If the game lasted longer at T1 and T2, the hurrdle in game would be to try and survive long enough to combat all the people that play PR, because they would slaughter the server. Thus I think the change here is scrolling the ship back to 1 large, 4 medium weapons. Still extremely powerful, and the only ship at T2 with a Large weapon, however more balanced on a fleet to fleet basis (still requires around 2 fleets of anyone else to take them out).

Humans/Mankind are kind of OK at everything, and have cheaper ships, the reality is that every other race should be balanced against Mankind. You know if you want super hardcore fleets, a single fleet should cost just as much as 2 fleets for Humans, but it would take humans to send two fleets to defeat them. I think humans should also be a bit more versatile in their slot usage, which they kind of currently are, and they do have the best detector ships in that they can hold two modules instead of one.

TECHNOLOGY: This is very important, most people I have talked to want more technology, they want to see trees with 200-300 techs before launch, and I agree. I created something like 40-50 techs, including some just for races in my combat document, that would really push us into a place that increases T1 and T2 much longer (months). This is good, allowing more techs really pushes people to figure out what path they want to take, where they want to specialize, and gives the server time to play at different tech levels for longer.

We need more buildings we have power, food/housing, entertainment, resources, but we need things like administration, hospitals/repair bay, recycle centers, and different versions of all of the above that do different things, and have pros/cons.

We need for there to be a specialization for people to play economy focused. Better cargo modules, better freighters, mining modules, different kinds of mining modules that work differently, and maybe a specialization where you mine certain resources faster than other ones. Also maybe some techs that make it easier or cheaper to trade.

We need for there to be a specialization for people to play civic/cloak and dagger focused. Techs that allow your planets to become better at the expensive of going down a more combat oriented path. Ships that are focused on exploring, and science. Creating spies to infiltrate and sabotage from behind enemy lines, defense better against other races’ spies

We need for there to be a specialization for people to play multiple different types of combat. Those that want to play defense, or those that want super fast ships, or those that specialize in ballistic weapons. A focus in combat that really allows for some depth and strategic thinking against what you are going to face, or the things you want to envision.

We need for there to be a specialization for people to terraform. There needs to be more and different types of climate controllers and terraforming tech. We need planets to have types, and planets to be more specialized and harder to terraform, but not a a death churn you throw bodies into, but more of a long term project that has a pay out. There are people that like to focus on terraforming for money/resources, or as a way to back up their alliance members/friends.

We need for there to be a specialization for people to support other people. I think there should be techs that allow for stations to be built in space, these would be things like defensive stations that work like Planetary Weapons if anyone gets too close and have to be bomb to turn them off/destroy them. I would like to see repair stations also built, that way you and your friends can have a place to repair and get back out to the fight faster than having to bring ships on the long journey home. Deep space listening posts that really allows you to see quite far and be prepared. I want to see these things on the tech tree, things that make people really question, “Do I want better combat weapons right now, or do I want stations, because they are cool and no one that I know is focused here.”

All in all, there needs to be a lot of changes, A LOT of changes, as well as a lot of tech introduced. Right now, in my mind, I can come up with around 200-250 more Techs to support everything that I have stated that would really allow people to choose THEIR PATH, which I think is inherently fun about most games.

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#14

Balance is key yes, but I’m sure I speak for most PR players when I say, I’m concerned about cutting the Solaris’ firepower down like that. While I agree it definitely owns the middle game, it is our mainstay and manages to compete in the late game, as a result PR fleets are made up of either an Admiral, or a RR.

So I agree balance for middle game may be needed, I have a different idea.

Rather than trim it down, so that it suffers late game. Since all other factions will have their Large weapon slots on all T3 ships rather than getting them in their T2’s initially, why not move the Large weapon techs, to the T3 level of technology. AKA you need to develop either the cruiser or battleship before you can make Large scale weapons.

That will tone down the Solaris mid game, while not ultimately reducing it’s late game performance aswell.
It’s a change that wouldn’t hurt other factions as they need to wait until they do both anyway to use them.
The Solaris does take almost as long as some factons T3s to make so I think that’s important to remember aswell.

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#15

Right, but I am not suggesting that that is the only change.

I am suggesting that PR are the ONLY ones to have them mid game, and late game per my combat document, I suggested something replace it with a Cruiser, as well as RR getting an upgrade. So I understood that the Solaris is your main vehicle for damage output later on, however I think its actually a weakness, because of its base armor.

In the current iteration, the Solaris suffers from being able to be 1 shot by basically everything but human ships, on a one on one basis. This makes targeting fleets of Solaris much easier to take down, even though they are doing significant damage.

Look under ANOTHER REBALNCE

Actually as I see some of the stuff the devs posted, as well as the dreadnaughts, I think they are actually going with my idea of have a single large ship for each faction that acts as the carrier/catch all.

Anyways, I understand where you are coming from, and my suggestions revolve around input that you and other PR players gave me months ago. Your idea is totally valid though, could change the dynamic of middle tier ships much later in the game which has some depth and revitalizes them as well.

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#16

So I added some columns to your balancing… The idea around the columns is to factor in the current max DPS of a race’s weapon slots and aggregate that with the maximum shipyard output that a planet generating 100 farsu per hour.

We get the max ships per week and the max DPS for all those ships… huge caveat here in that the oversimplification betrays some nuances in the size of ships and other factors like durability… so this is a pure DPS analysis… It also doesnt attempt to add extra costs for weapons and other items, so its just hull costs and build time… Everything is subjective so please dont take it too seriously.

Current setup…

So Ripchee are way out there and players I’ve spoken to about this generally regard Ripchee as OP…

So their Rabid is crazy… They wont last long but 13 + scare can pop and Admiral on round 1… ok @Cheatle maybe its 2… you would know for sure…

We also see Solaris are as out there also as a clear winner…

The rest meh…

@Cheatle’s “ANOTHER BALANCE” does even things up quite a bit. However Ripchee are still way out there…

Given these are based on a planet producing 100 Farsu /hour around the clock.

Syntis a race that at full worker level can produce many ships… I think thats wrong and they would seriously out perform all races… a Syntis shipyard might need half the workers… organics need rest, syntis less… given all would automate I still think its a bit off… I also think Syntis would reproduce much faster than any one else… Whey they might lack is creativity and therefore research would take longer… maybe 10 times longer… but production and population would not be low… IMHO… I will not factor this

So in my YARB (Yet another re-balance, a fairly quick one) I factor in this to let Syntis outperform, with build times lower … and allow Syntis to produce 30% more mines in accordance with the pop cap per Syntis world…

Also added in dreadnaught and carrier at varying Tech levels of 4/5/6. Also added a retooling factor so that ships that build quick dont appear to be over powering… it could be added to the build time in actual game but for the sheet it was easier this way… plus I thought some races could have the ability to perfect production line research and reduce it to zero for some ship type or retooling for a dreadnaught could be 8 hours and research reduces it to 2 hours…

I also tripled the durability of fleets… and hope that shields also get a durability boost… so that battles take longer and tactics have more of a chance of having a larger effect… lazy settings should be punished more… random does but I feel it needs to be magnified more…

I change the small wep DPS for syntis as maybe they would favour smaller weapons but have more… and research might stymie their ability to scale up to larger more powerful weapons as well

PR are the large ship lovers and would likely take dreadnaught up a notch late game, the downside is costs both n the ships and in the shipyard…

If there was some coupling between the tech level and the hard(ish) limits the civ could have… so max of 5 Tech 6 shipyards… or however far the tech levels will eventually go over the years.

Given the problems regarding large vs small weapons larger ships dont fare well enough for me… High end tech level ship should introduce fleet wide bonuses…

From battleships up to leviathan… (I didnt mention titans but you know they will come one day)

  • accuracy bonuses where the flag has multiple radars or other unique computer parts.
  • fleet wide durability bonus for carriers with fighters that provide cover
  • ability to slow projective weapons if the flag has a gravity defense array… something like that…

Without this the whole balancing this might fail… players will find that sweet spot then all fleets will be the same… and potentially all T2/3 leading to product/content launch fails if new ships don’t alter the landscape so to speak…

Racial traits could be similar in that they offer some bonuses and some negatives that make them interesting for certain scenarios… not everyone will just WAR!!!.. some types of players might just gather, scout or spy… so they pick a race that can mine real f****** hard… but their DPS is low and their hulls are weak… but your alliance needs them… a lot of them

some races might have much smaller hulls but their base dodge is pretty high, if you cant hit em what u gonna do…

I think that its a massive mistake to balance all the races 1 on 1… Each race needs a profile of what they are generally good at… and bad at… and the game needs to honour that through out the life of BD (may it be long) so mankind and jack of all trades… master of none, ripchee mastered medium laser tech so they are OP as they are now with medium laser… but their hulls are smaller… so early game OP late game not OP… Syntis slow but steady with repairability and so on… a bit like classes… support, glass, armour, researcher (can share 10% of their research points with the rest of the coalition, a talk for alliance features maybe but maybe alliances pool 25% research and it gets shared out evenly) even alliances can specialise… anyway… well thats 4 hours of my weekend gone for the game, hope it helps others with their thoughts.

For reference the sheet

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#17

They can pop a whole Admiral fleet in round 1 dude.

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#18

I never said that all races should be balanced for 1 on 1, but within the capacity of what they can do in totality. If we have races that are too good in certain areas, then we will never have mixed races with jobs.

I think races should be interesting and add depth, but not be the OK you want to go combat, well Ripchee are the only ones for you.

Ripchee are outliers, because they have the ability, or will, to capture other’s ships to make up for their differences.

I appreciate the bonuses and stretching out the tiers here, but I am not sure that balancing for DPS is accurate at all. Even in combat now they aren’t 100% accurate, and when you add in dodge, higher armor, and possibly damage reduction that complicates things. I think rough and dirty might not have been the way to go.

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#19

I love the idea of perma galaxy but beyond the fact of balancing the races, which is a number balancing job, does the strongest way to balance perma galaxie should’nt be to limit the number of planet and, or ship a player should have, because sme point, if one or a few players wery powerful (read 5000+ ship or so) and decide to be a bully, it will sterilize the perma galaxy and then what happen ?

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#20

As to the general question if we want fun or balance, there is that extra credits episode about perfect imbalance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e31OSVZF77w , that you might want to have a look at. The gist of it is that as long as there are options to counter whatever is being thrown at you, and the imbalanced element isn’t just better across the board, things will tend to evolve rather naturally into some sort of meta-balance. Some imbalance might thus translate to fun, but before you can go there, you first need to have a balance set up that can handle such deviations. Such nuanced imbalances should however not be confused with blatant imbalance. Blatant imbalance is simply not fun.

On the topic of balance for 4X I’d like to point to the simple mathematics of diminishing returns. Either by linear improvements for exponential costs, or diminishing returns for lineair costs. The magic in such systems is that they tend to balance themselves. No matter how overpowered something is, at some point it will cost as much as its worth, and when you push investment beyond that point, too much. It would take something quite weird to fundamentally unbalance such systems.

For example, if we imagine the simplest game, where you can invest resource points in either option (aka strategy) A or B, and get win points for each time you do so. However, each investment into the same category costs twice as much as the previous investment. (i.e. The first points costs one, the second two, the third 4, etc) He who gets the most win points wins. So you invest one resource point for one win point in either A or B, say A. Now the next win point from A costs 2 resource points, so you’re better off investing in B. And this logic repeats. Balance

Now say the win point payouts in A are doubled (because they are imbalanced). So the first investment should be in A where we get 2 win points for one resource point. The next investment doesn’t really matter, as A offers 2 win points for 2 investment, and B offers 1 win point for 1 investment. Again, there is balance, where A runs ahead by a little, but balance none the less. Say we increase the win point payout for A tenfold, well at some point the next point from A is still going to cost more than the 1 win point for 1 resource point deal that B offers.

It’s really hard to upset the balance of a few well thought out diminishing return schemes, giving you great flexibility as a designer in what you can or cannot allow in your game. Use these schemes everywhere. In resource deposits, upkeep, in research trees (& repeatable research if you want an indefinite game length), in combat balance, everywhere. And always, there will be some point of balance.

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