Nerf the SML-B? Buff the torpedo launchers?

SML-B
Large weapon
5.4 dps
1700m splash radius

Here’s the problem with this weapon:
In a battleship-lead fleet, the furthest point from the middle is 2500m. This means a “center” aimed blast hits 68% of the field. Consequently, it’s not possible to arrange a fleet in such a way that you can punish the use of the weapon. It only needs to hit 4 ships to be the most powerful DPS in the game. So you spread your ships out. But it’s hard to arrange things in such a way that 1 blast isn’t still hitting 4+ ships and with your fleet arranged like this, you are going to block your own direct weapons…which means you will need to fire back with indirect weapons…which means you’ll be using the SML-B.

I feel like the blast radius should be more like 750. This would be punishing to people who do “front lines”. At 750m radius, hitting the middle of a wide row of direct fire frigates should hit 5-7 of them. That’s if the player crams them as close as they can, which they need to do to get that maximum “front line” DPS pain train. (I’m judging this by looking at how many Syntis T2 frigates I can cram on a line. I can get 15 of them lined up with a battleship in the middle and my eyeballing it suggests a 750m wide nuke in the line would hit 7 frigates, making for 7x5.2 = 36.4 DPS from the SML-B, making it better than any other weapon, but only for “crammed” ships.)

Now if we look at missiles and torpedoes…

Missiles have a 50m blast radius. Torpedoes have a 100m blast radius. T2 Syntis frigates – which are pretty small, easily crammed ships – can still only get within about 350m of each other. So you can’t splash T2 frigates with torpedoes or missiles.

Syntis Corvettes can only get within 200m of each other. So again torpedo and missile blast radius is meaningless.

Syntis Scouts can get to within what looks like about 90-95m of each other. So you can AE scouts with a torpedo if they’re jammed up, but the 50m radius of a missile is still too small. [unless I misunderstand how AE works. I assume it’s “distance from the middle point” and not “distance starting from the edge of the ship placement circle”]

In conclusion:
SML-B radius is absurdly huge and makes it OP.
Torpedo radius is too small making it only useful against crammed up scouts.
Missile radius is so small it’s not useful against anything.

Of course, “indirect fire” weapons deserve to do less DPS than direct fire weapons so missiles can still be useful but it’s worth pointing out that the 50m AE component is meaningless.

I think my proposal would be to keep SML-B as the champion AE weapon but cut the blast radius to about 750. Maybe just eliminate the blast radius of torpedoes but make them do better single target DPS. Missiles are actually decent as-is – high end missiles are pretty competitive for being indirect fire – but remove the AE component as it is simply misleading.


“Full cram”. This is how I arrange a DPS line in a fleet of 1 BS + 15 FR. A blast radius of about 650 would hit 5 of them and make the SML-B worthwhile. Make the blast radius 750 and you should hit 5-7 and I think that should be the “use case” of the SML-B.

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Rather than addressing one weapon, with one issue. I rather see a complete revamp of the entire Fleet combat system mechanic.

[ Reviewing limited ship space deployment, for structured fleet deployment based upon current know fleet dynamics. Possibly changing fleet cap for ‘mass’ cap. Allowing for Amada fleet interact, instead of piecemeal random agro fleet battles. Broaden combat ship building / tactics via options for possible small ship aggressive attack via small radius blast torpedos. Allowing for greater fleet buff interactions, while allowing special ship operations within said fleet. To name, but a few. ]

I agree with @Cheatle on this. This would be just another band aid.

I’m currently working on said idea of for Fleet combat. Much like I did for Economic rebuild, once I have completed it. I will post for peer review.

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I would also like to talk about fixes a developer can make in literally 5 minutes, by editing one field in an existing file, when something is heinously broken, and could improve our lives quite a lot, literally tomorrow.

“Here is a combat rework paper I wrote which will require 500 man-hours to implement” is nice and all but I probably won’t play a broken game until August, 2021, when something like that might get implemented.

Besides, I think fleet/weapon interaction is surprisingly good right now. I think the meta is deeper than people give it credit for, with the exception of the large weapons. Those are pretty messed up.

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I understand where you are coming from.

Sometimes quick fixes are good and needed. Such at mines and the quick fixes I came up with.

As you stated, this weapon definitely needs to be fixed. However, so do the fleet circle deployments. Plus battle times. I spent a week building one battleship and destroyers to fill the rest of the spots in the fleets. That fleet cost me a week in real time, 1.2 million credits and other resources.

The battle took ten seconds and I said bye, bye to that fleet. This resources investment versus result, was totally mismatched and yet another reason for anyone not to go to war. If we wish for this to be a true x4 game, we need to fix the motivations for people to go to war, the costs of war and the strategy for war.

Which, is why I feel that although this is something we can agree on in terms of a weapon fix, it is also just a band aid and perhaps we need to look further.

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The area of effect weapons are not that OPed, the key problem is that they (as well as any weapon) can be stacked to cause really insane effects. This in an intrinsic problem in RTS games because even if “Zerglings” do very little damage, stacking them up in numbers changes the equation entirely. Same here. The weapons themselves are individually unimpressive. It’s their stacked up nature that changes everything.

I was looking at one of my neighbour’s fleets go by and it was a group of 10 PR destroyers. 8 Hellfires on each. By my estimate, that fleet could kill a battleship in a single shot (80 x 40 = 3200 dmg).

Any weapon stacked up can cause insane effects, if you need the problem solved, it’s not the weapon that needs to change but the stacking of the ships.

Yes but most of these things have counters. An enemy of mine had a fleet exactly like that – 1 battleship and 15 hellfire frigates – and I owned him with a fleet that was 1 battleship and 15 plasma cannon frigates. He spent more slots on ammo (and even so, the last couple of his ships ran out) so he had less armor than I did and ended up getting donkey kicked. Of course, he could counter that fleet with heavy shielding. These “one trick pony” fleets tend to have counters that get them wasted.

The weakness of the SML-B should be fleets of bulky, higher single target damage ships, spaced wide enough apart to not share too much AE damage, but I don’t think such a thing can exist because the 1700m splash range is simply too large.

Toggle the range down to 750 and they are much more balanced. I would still use them against those compact “battle line” fleets because they would be the best weapon against it, but they would also have a weakness.

Area weapons could also have damage fall off as we get farther away from the point of explosion. Small fleets have very little chance against large area weapons because every ship is forced to be inside the explosion that does flat 100% damage to every ship. If there are enough SML-Bs then a whole fleet can be disintegrated in a single salvo.

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i realy like the less damage from point of impact…

some hard hitting but slow kinetic weapon

I suspect a large part of the problem really is the postage stamp sized deployment area we are forced into. In a battleship group, I have no problem separating the ships by 3 squares each (~1500m) so rarely do I get more than 2-3 ships hit per torpedo and frankly, individually, those torps are a joke (65 damage vs ~2.5k HP for battleships). If our small ship deployment area was larger it would help a lot (especially since we often try to squeeze a battleship or 3 in them to bypass minefields).

And those torps are not that hot initially either. They take 8 sec to charge then they fire sequentially, not simultaneously if the graphics are correct. So in that 8 seconds, if you can kill the battleship, the torps will not be able to fire.

But mostly I just think our small ships need more deployment space.

@Slamz about 8-10 months ago @Cheatle said that 18/18 Scare fleet with ripchee beam will win in any battle 1 vs 1. As I can see there was no any worth of attention rebalance of weapon from that time. So why are u put topic about cluster torps?

P.S. As a cat-player I welcome nerf of clusters instead of buffing torpedo launchers because nerf clusters=buff rypchee beams “Lets buff Rypchee together!”(that was sarcasm)
P.P.S. Obviously the whole battle\weapon\ship system atm is unbalanced crap and needs to be reworked.

I also remember cheatle calling you a lot of other things. lol.

Just because he said it does not mean it is automatically true, nor does it mean you cannot get a mutual kill situation.

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I’m shure in alpha 3 COTP had a lot of fleets to simulate all the possibilities.

Syntis battleships, for example, can carry 4 of them so 64x4, and if each hit can hit 5 ships then every round from 1 ship ends up doing 64x4x5 = 1280 total damage. And if you spread out your ships then you’re blocking your own direct fire weapons in which case you need to fire back with…probably the SML-B.

My real beef with the SML-B is that I believe it undermines the richness of fleet layouts by forcing us all towards one particular meta. It should be a good AOE weapon but it’s so wide that we don’t have enough room to build around it.

I’m hesitant to mess with deployment areas too much because if we make it too much wider then it lessens the impact of ship width. Like right now the T2 Syntis frigate is a good ship because while it’s somewhat weak, it’s also very small, so you can really line them up, versus the People’s ships, which are tougher but harder to line up because they’re so fat. I’m still a little on the fence as to how balanced all that is but it’s at least an interesting difference between ships (and races) and I’d hate to lose it.

(Although I do think corvette deployment areas need to change. Either that or we just shouldn’t be allowed to group large ships in with corvettes. Like why let me group a battleship with a corvette but then give me no room what-so-ever to shift it around?)

I’ve not looked at Ripchee weapons at all. This thread is about the SML-B and torpedo launchers in particular.

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Actually there is one slight problem with your maths. The 1280 damage is not dealt all to one ship, it is spread out among 5. So it’s 256 damage per ship. Worrying for a destroyer or a frigate, sure but much larger ships like battleships have HP on the average of 2500 or 3000. Some extreme ones even run close to 4k. 256 damage isn’t even a scratch on them. You’ll need something like 10 of them on one target to take them out and large ships are simply more dispersed, you will probably only get 2-3 in the blast zone.

It’s a very specialized weapon IMO, designed for taking out numerous small ships but is a lot less effective vs really hard targets unless you flood them in huge numbers and even then the battleships will take a huge chunk out of you before dying.

That’s the problem I’m feeling, though: in order to avoid this one weapon, you must spread your fleet out, which results in a configuration that negates the use of most other weapons.

The whole end-game meta is being driven by the threat of the SML-B. If we don’t all align our ships in the exact same way, we risk being annihilated by AOE spam.

A 750m radius blast would keep it powerful without, hopefully, negating half of the game content.

Which other weapons? For battleships, to avoid this, I tend to use a mixed forward/back staggered wedge for direct fire, the only ones that might get hit are the middle ship where it is forced to be there and the one in front of it. The others fire between the ships in front.

Just because you are spread out does not mean you are unable to focus fire. As long as your target is in the line of sight, you can do it, even if generally dispersed.

You just need more area to disperse in. Usually in the back so you get separation yet maintain LOS.

I do agree the smaller ships need more space to move around in but it is only because of this that SML-Bs are so lethal. Otherwise they are just weak jokes. I’ve jumped 12 ship saber squadrons before with battleships using SML-Bs. They were less than impressive. By the time 4 torps hit (one from each ship that carried 2, the 2nd one didn’t even get to fire), the sabers were already mostly chopped up by gunfire. Very slow firing.

Balance is tricky in this game because the implications of weapon changes go far beyond combat. One of the biggest factors is simply: how much does the weapon cost?

I know that if my enemy has lots of battleships and I have lots of light ships, I’m not focused on 1v1ing his fleets anyways. In that scenario, I’m much more interested in hit and runs, raiding supply lines, etc. When I do fight, it’ll be when I can bring 2-3 fleets against one of his.

Battleships in general seem overhyped to me since they have so many counters which don’t involve combat at all.

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Yes, though part of the problem I see is that the weapon in question was very specifically designed to clean out small ships, hence when compared vs small ships, it is murder on them. As intended. When the target is not a small ship, you run into problems that you really need mass numbers to solve. And even then, expect heavy losses. A proper anti-cap ship battleship will cut up a SML-B battleship to pieces frighteningly easily.

Ah I see… so you think the weapon is either amazing or useless, with no in-between?

Though I can think of one role in which this weapon makes a lot of sense, which is as an escort for cargo fleets. Speaking as a Ripchee player who loves hitting soft targets deep behind enemy lines… SML-B escorts for cargo vessels would make me… displeased lol

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Is this balanced complaint based only on numbers? or do you have battles of them being one sided slaughters? Because if its only theory, gather id gather prof before shouting they are op. If you have prof, id love to see the video.

There are ways for them to be weak at the same time. Do they take to long to fire/reach the target? While they do high damage, is it to spread out that the time difference between ships dieing, gives the non-missile user the advantage? After the center core of the enemy fleet dies, is the outer ring of ships spread out causing them to barely hit multiple ships, becoming so ineffective they don’t kill anything else?

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