After successful trials on several ships, and talking to Mike Substelny, I’m making the decision to go ahead with changing the energy efficiency ratings of the warp and impulse engines, and making weapon systems less efficient.
I had a very interesting conversation with Mike S regarding the energy efficiency. In earlier versions of the game, the ship was incredibly more efficient. The problem was, most crews completely disregarded their stations as a result. They weren’t important and people didn’t get into the spirit of the game as it was hoped. Energy was changed to make players protect their bases and think about what they were fighting for. Our RP makes bases important, and our GM team and stories and missions they design really promote the spirit of the game.
In terms of how it will affect gameplay, the feedback has been positive too, and the impact hasn’t made it easier. Instead, there are some new challenges being presented. The first that became relevant was damage control. The Raven crew learned that the hard way when we failed our first simulation. Our dam cons were all dead and our manoeuvring systems were out. We had to abandon ship. We ended up like that because we spent too long in combat with a command fleet. Usually we would have broken off at least a couple of times to refuel. Because we had plenty of energy, we didn’t. We actually failed to recognise the tactical situation we were in. The second was ordnance management. I think it was the crew of the hunter or hawk that learned that when they found they had used all their heavy weapons and had a command fleet to face.
Two other challenges have been presented to engineers and helm officers. For engineers, heat build up and damage control are affected. There is no longer the downtime between combats (or during longer engagements) and so less time to fix things up for the next combat. As there is a greater abundance of energy too, engineers are boosting systems more in combat, hence the heat issue.
For helm officers, they cam actually maneouvre in combat! I am hopong this will mean more creative flying from helm officers and more effective approaches to attacking enemies.
I also think there might be a knock on effect for science officers and navigation. Why fly through a nebula and slow down to warp 1 when you can skirt the edge and fly at warp 3? And what about asteroid fields? Hitting those at warp 3 with shields down is really going to cause issues. I noted that we were still using old approaches to navigation which either slowed ships down or put them at risk.
Finally, those fast deployments by a neighbouring sector under attack will actually be fast! We can go to maximum warp and move with a sense of urgency.
Overall, I believe that changing the efficiencies so that weapons use more energy and engines use less will be a great enhancement to our game. Based on the tests and feedback, as well as discussions with senior officers and Mike S, I am confident that changing efficiencies is a good move. And if it doesn’t work out, it is easy enough to reset.