Weapon Balance

Right now it just feels that bigger weapons means more damage while almost any other aspect of this game has a downside whenever you increase something. Id like to see some mechanic that L or even XL weapons have reduced damage or tracking against smaller ships that are 100m while they deal full damage against any ship above 2000m. That way you have some sort of soft new player protection and older players have to decide between building big ships against other older players or Smaller Ships with M or S size weapons against new players. Fleet composition will also matter more that way. And factions with lots of small ships will also have a new positve aspect. It might also be possible to balance Canons vs Turrets with that, so canons are more of the slow bad tracking weapons but high damage and turrets fire rapidly but hit way more often and that way be better against smaller ships.

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I actually find the weapons to be pretty well balanced. I have a couple of videos showing fleets of T2 frigates wiping fleets of T3 battleships, dreadnoughts and T2 destroyers because:

  • You can fit more small ships side by side for maximum DPS output.
  • The smaller ships are much quicker to produce so you can make several fleets in the time it takes your enemy to make 1 of his fat big-ship fleets.
  • The smaller ships are a lot cheaper.

There does seem to be a meta of “bigger = better” and I’m here to tell you that meta is wrong. And dumb. And I have been proving it to my enemies. I have been using a much more mixed build. Big ships have their place but if you build fleets of 100% big ships, I will make you feel silly. (Armor Bane helps with this too. At least for Syntis, T2 frigates with all armor bane are pretty ridiculous because with a single battleship to line up beside, you can fit 15 of them on a line and they will rip apart a fleet of fatties.)

I also find interesting tradeoffs in energy vs kinetic. The Hellfire seems like the obvious best weapon but it’s a glass cannon DPS dumper and very hard to balance your ammo storage. Some ships will die with a full load of ammo. Some may run out before the battle ends if it’s a meaty opponent fleet. If you apply armor and shields then you’re more likely to run out of ammo in a fight. And you could get baited with some garbage fleet to burn your ammo before the real one hits you. Whereas energy is less DPS (though not THAT much less at the high end) but solves the ammo balance problem.

Consequently I find a lot of uses for a lot of different configurations and most of my fleets are a mixture of larger ships and smaller ships.

Bigger weapons give higher alpha strike damage but are utterly terrible in DPS, which means in long fights, smaller, high DPS weapons have an advantage.

And there are no XL weapons, you’re thinking Stellaris, this is Outscape.

lets be honest here, Human / PR then its hellfire end of story other weapons arent worth a hand shake, no choice no tactics. just fit hellfire to what ever has the most medium gun slots. Forget large weapons kind of pointless really. Looks pretty but serves little purpose.

I dont think any weapon dps stat has relevance here, its more about a whole new mechanic than some balance stat. I was wrong by naming the thread Weapon Balance instead of Weapon Mechanic. Dps Numbers can be changed easily and is just a balance thing while i suggest a whole new mechanic that when properly balanced will introduce some new design choices.

They actually do. For Mankind, fighters are their “you die with me” weapons since their ships are not that impressive. Custer torpedoes en mass are a good way to clear out smaller ships and missiles are good for an alpha strike to take out enemy ships before they can kill you.

Hellfires have their own weaknesses, it’s just you need to fight a bit longer before the shortcomings become obvious.

I’m not sure if you get it. DPS has relevance because there are 2 “lineages” of weapons types in both the Kinetics and Energy weapons. One is a heavy alpha strike but long reload weapon, the other is low damage but fast firing that can add up to a lot more damage over time.

You need to have a mix due to the long reload for the alpha strike weapons. They do lots of damage, then the DPS weapons shave off the last of the HP. If you are without the DPS weapons, you need to wait 8 seconds before your next salvo goes off and there WILL be a massive amount of overkill.

L does not mean “better”, in fact, some L weapons are IMO inferior to M weapons. Don’t let the S,M,L fool you, bigger is not necessarily better. Large weapons are very limited.

If you want proper balance and some dynamics in the design its easy real easy
Kinetic weapons do 100% of there stated damage to hull
If ship is shielded the kinetics only do 5% damage to hull (shields stop bullets)
Beam weapons do 100% damage to shields
if no shields then beam weapons do 5% damage to armour

Now in simple terms shields are useful, currently they are just a wasted tech on the tech tree. Beam weapons have a use, currently they server no purpose except for the fact they need no ammo pods but are incapable of doing serious DPS
Now in your ship design you now have to think about it. how much sheilds do i put on, if i dont put enough then my hull will get sliced by kinetic weapons and my ship is dead real quick, but i need sheilds and power generators to run the sheilds but that means i have less space for ammo pods. now you have to figure out what is the best balance. In simple terms it becomes more dynamic and more interesting, of course for some this might be difficult to figure out what is the best set up and there is part of the fun, that is of course until the devs either change something or throw a random element in like aiming just to mess it all up…Aiming? well a fat dread will sit there like a fat target that it is, a crusier is more agile, but a destroyer is even more agile, then you have a frigate and a corrvette (think old fashion wooden sailing warships) cant beat a corvette for its ability to turn, so its harder to hit, so going to be a few misses there when the dread fires at it or the battleship. so all of a sudden you just added aiming into it or a random chance to miss based on how agile the ship is…this is so going to hurt some peoples brains but all of a sudden maybe just maybe turning up with a fleet of PR destroyers doing 150dps, might not cut it

Well currently even though the weapon tree is fairly wide, there only 3 weapons. Energy, hellfire, and indirect. The tech tree is loaded with weapons you should never use. For front line, there only 2 weapons, and i think their are fairly closely balanced once you research everything. The issue is, they are very boring.

One thought is more weapons that use ammo, and actually make them alot better then energy weapons (and direct fire even better then indirect fire). Having high, med, and low ammo use weapons. High using a crazy amount of ammo, like economically unsustainable, but would allow a lower tier fleet beat or badly damage a higher tier fleet. This would also be to high of a ammo usage to reasonably supply fleets outside of your territory. Combined with warp1 “minefields” allowing the defender to pick their fights. Med would be for areas slightly outside your territory where you might not know what will hit your fleet and can get 1-2 fights before ammo runs out. low and energy weapons be for long range expeditions where supplies be harder. They have lower dps but could go multiple fights before resupply became an issue. All this would also require everyone to spawn a reasonable distant apart other wise there is no risk for using high ammo weapons on offense.

Then if you want to make fleet design more interesting, you could add trade offs for extra armor. Either to counter ammo weapons i.e. out live their ammo supplies or give the defender another advantage. Two simple ways to add this would be,

  1. A warp 1/2 engine with very bad fuel usage, but gives the ship a large armor boost. Combine with w1 minefields, would let the defender catch enemy invading fleets with better stat ships
  2. A armor item that is placed in weapon slot

As for small ships not being good, simply put they will never be good. Because how many ships are in a fleet is limited, the biggest ships always are wanted over smaller ships. While a complex combat system that wants a balance of ship sizes/roles is possible, i expect it would be to complex for outscapes dev team to handle

Shields are not useful. Until someone comes along with an armourbane. Then your armour goes bye bye.

The problem with such a drastic damage profile is that 1- you can end up with a very unbalanced battle result, along the lines of something like 1:10 ship loss exchange rate just because someone guessed the weapons balance wrong. And 2- to get both the generators and the ammo onto a single ship to use both energy and kinetic weapons needs more slots than most ships can handle.

All equipment has their use and you might want to check again on the “beam weapons incapable of doing dps”.

Actually 6, you have to class them by role instead of just “energy,kinetic, indirect”. Energy-Alpha strike, Energy-DPS, Energy- special and Kinetic -Alpha, Kinetic- DPS and Kinetic -Special. Then we run into “Focused” vs “Area” damage for the large weapons. Lot more than just 3.

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by energy special i assume you mean energy with bane, in which case out classes all the other energy. Its basically the final item in the energy tech tree. My understanding is lasers are just bad. While iv never used them, it what i hear and from looking at the numbers. I have no idea what your talking about with the kinetic weapons, there is only hellfire, and the others are a joke (and none are alpha or special). Im fairly sure focused outclasses area, but i could be wrong there, haven’t tested it.

Sure they may technically exist, but when they are so bad they have no use who cares

Then you missed the point of their design.

There are 2 basic classes for each of the weapon types. Alpha strike and DPS. The alpha strike is meant to take a huge chunk of HP off the enemy fast while the DPS is there to exploit the heavy damage and finish the enemy ship off. The Alpha strike for kinetics is the Missile Launcher and the Torpedoes while the DPS are the Hellfires and Kinetic Cannons. Their specials are the AOE weapons that work very well at cleaning out smaller units.

The Alpha for energy are the Power Beams while the DPS for them are the plasma cannons. Special is the AB. Like the missiles, the purpose of the power beam is to instantly deal enough damage to blow out shields to let the plasma cannons and the armourbanes hit the hull.

They all have their role and place. It’s just how you use them.

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And how is big ships vs small ships balanced? other than “they are bad cause they deal less damage as iam using only Medium Sized weapons as those are the best weapons in the current meta”?

One of the most crucial things in a 4X MMO is the balance between older and younger players, when teching up only means that you get stronger weapons than there is no way for a younger player to catch up and it will always be a reason for some people not to start playing this game cause they cant compete with the big boys. I like the idea of advanced tech giving you access to different toys not just stronger stuff, like in eve online. One of the smallest ships is able to hold down the biggest ship there is cause a Titan simply cant destroy a Frigate as those huge weapons simply miss. New players have a role and swim in the same water as the big sharks.

You obviously never faced cloaked sabers before. Strangely enough, they carry 2 of your so called “best” weapons per ship.

Can’t tell you how glad I am to see a thread like this surface once more! THANK YOU ALL!

Yes indeedy, of course depends on the smaller ships but generally every race has one T2 hull that is disproportionately good for their costs/hp that can make this work. Somewhat sadly that makes every experienced player of that race’s fleet seem a bit “samey” sometimes.

Yup & yup! If you do not get Hellfire cannon ASAP you cannot compete in a fight end of period the end, no options. And its been that way since they brought them out. This is the era of damn racial differences YOU MUST use Hellfires someplace. I have yet to see a design that works that didn’t if you have one would LOVE to see it! Great weapon - rubbish implementation again.

Well yes but that usually means the second fleet sent in right after the first sacrificial one can win as there Ammo is gone. Not a great option IMOHO. THis is where as was observed PR with their “Great Big ships” are actually massively nerfed coz they cannot line up the wall of death (there simply isn’t room for them) so half their firepower is wasted.

How curious, all my time here has showed me its the other way around? Many is the time the enemy fleets been 80% dead before the first missile or torpedo can actually hit? But I suppose that might be a stylistic thing. You correct that its Kinetics all the way.

Beam weapons are largely useless in comparison (Possible exception Ripchee special)

The real way to limit Kinetic dominance of the game I recon is to make Limbalt a LOT scarcer and or make Ammo “Shells” a resource in their own right with a special Ordinance factory building to convert raw Lim to “Shells”

I kind of prefer going in the other direction, making shields work on kinetics but with a damage rebalance. Roughly something like this:

Shields give 50% (75% for specials) the HP of armour, so you end up with a choice of “self healing” ships that “repair” after every battle without a shipyard but are weaker compared to a fully armoured ship vs one that is tough but require shipyard support to “heal”.

Same with energy weapons, 75% damage of kinetics but you never run out of ammo, so they are more suited for independent deployments.

And armour banes can be the shield piercing weapons to keep people honest and not stack only shields.

Yeah I tend to agree I would wish all ship shad a set of damage categories, if accumulated damage tripped the player selected one of these thresholds they attempt to retreat from a fight.

Something like:

  • Light Damage 1%-24%
  • Mild Damage 25% -49%
  • Heavy Damage 50% - 74%
  • Crippled 75% - 99%

On a plus point the ships internal damage control teams would be able to repair the ship back one level in mid space (Only Syntis could fully repair using their special) damage in excess of that would need a shipyard for non Syntis as currently

The thing is the battles are massively too fast for the time it takes to build even the fastest ships in my opinion. Its not everyone’s cup of Tea I appreciate but personally I’d love it if major Fleet battles actually took say 15-20 minutes to complete. With such an extension ammo really would become a factor and the rather absurd “Phalanx of: Hellfires” Would no longer be a thing :frowning:

But Ammo in the terms of “Shells” are all screwy: I mean if the smallest most basic Kinetic weapon takes more than one “shell” to fire : Why? (The minimum is 3 shells right now)

I appreciate this thread is about weapon balance but I think that’s too narrow as until we get some reasonable “Battle tactics” and preferably a reversion to the actually sensible (not to mention view-able!) old fleet formation system of Alpha 2 and very early Alpha 3 the whole combat is badly gimped, and just twiddling the weapons will only result in a limiting of the system which really needs a complete overhaul.

Actually in large fleet battles, hellfires make it a lot more likely you’ll run out of ammo and do too little damage, it’s just that most battles don’t have an AAR to show if you ran out of ammo.

An example. A single hellfire fires from a small extended ammo module of 900 rounds. That is 18 shots at 40 damage apiece, which is 720 damage. A top level kinetic cannon on the other hand, fires (900/6) = 150 shots at 27 damage apiece, which is 4,050 damage, so if the ship survives, it will dish out a lot more firepower than a hellfire overall. A single hellfire can’t kill a battleship from total damage output but a Kinetic Cannon can (since an “average” battleship is only about 2.5-3.0k HP more or less).

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damage probaly needs to be lower, rather than it being DPS it should be damage per minute at a minimum, last pirate battle with 9/14 lasted 4 or 5 seconds. now if it was a PvP battle someone would have spent several days building the fleet just to have it last 5 seconds, not fun. Also think that we should be able to stack ships, that is several fleets in the same area of space… in short two fleets could attack one fleet at the same time, or 20 fleets could attack 30 fleets at the same time, a mass pub brawl. in this type of game nothing is more fun that several of you fighting several other players at the same time, with the other guys rushing to get reinforcements into the battle to win the day, and you screaming at empire buddies to help with reinforcements. reminds me of an old game i used to play where mass brawls could almost last the weekend, with more reinforcements from both sides arriving. people retreating from battle and attempting to repair just to go back in and fight again

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Very true. Never yet seen a fleet with a “single Hellfire” though. Even my Alpha Strike T1 Destroyers have 2 each as well as a handful of smaller guns. A Handful of those do a hellava good job softening defenders up before their ammo bins empty out.

Typically the Hells do enough damage so that the secondary point defence weapons can finish the kills and or a few volleys of missiles administer the coupe de grace.

I think my “complaint” is that before the advent of Hellfires there was some considerable variation in weapon load outs to try, as you correctly state, achieve the same result. Single cannon will over time do much more damage and more efficiently. But With the advent of Hells, ships not mounting them don’t usually survive long enough to take advantage of it!