Collected Thoughts on the Ares class Problem

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) Division Development Collected Thoughts on the Ares class Problem

This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Nhaima 2 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #25265

    Yooey
    Participant

    Having issues posting my real thread over the last day. So… Step one: make the thread work. Content should appear in first reply…

    #25267

    Yooey
    Participant

    Let me just open with this: please do not read this as complaint or whining or huffing & puffing. This is just my process as I try to think through the problem in an organized fashion. This STARTED as an essay to argue in favor of the merits of implementing a ship with a Broadside configuration, and then I decided to broaden my scope and try to articulate the problem itself in addition to my favored solution. For this reason, this could be a bit disjointed, although I’ve tried to clean it up.

    At the end of the day, this is just the text document I wrote for myself to keep my own thoughts recorded so I didn’t forget something. So, getting into it…

    Having our Ares-class discussion in the way we’ve been doing it on Discord–jumping between narrow focuses over an extended period of time with a bunch of Lancer mess inbetween–strikes me as less than ideal. It doesn’t offer a broad overview of design flaws, compromises, and strengths. I decided the best way to approach this (as most things) is with a comprehensive writeup. So here’s a write-up of my accumulated thoughts on the subject.

    Full disclosure, I’m a huge proponent of a broadside class. I’m in love with the idea. I was putting one together (for a non-TSN group) before I even heard that Phoenix was being reclassed. Nonetheless, I’ve made an effort to consider other possibilities (see below), although admittedly I’ve done so without spending hours conceptualizing how each of them could work. If one of the alternative possibilities spark interest, I’ll consider it further.

    
    Controlling Ideas. 
    
    Fleet config -- then & now: 
    Raven -- Battlecruiser // Artemis
    Phoenix -- Artemis // Ares
    Horizon -- Valkyrie // Valkyrie
    Viper -- Apollo // Apollo
    Lancer -- Nemesis // Nemesis
    
    No treading on other roles: 
    Artemis - Jack All, from which all others are derived.
    Valkyrie - Torpedo specialist
    Apollo - Face-to-face brawler
    Nemesis - Interceptor
    
    Intended Role: 
    Ares - Bunker Buster (Anti- single hardened target)
    

    Phoenix used to be the only Artemis-class. Raven has taken that class now, creating a perceived need for another unique class: Ares class. I struggle to see the distinction between a bunker buster and the tankier & up-gunned Apollo, or the long range bombardment style Valkyrie. There’s four methods of combat in Artemis, and they seem to have all been written off: enhanced beams and shields are forbidden because of Apollo, torpedoes are forbidden because of Valkyrie, fighters are forbidden because of crew restrictions and general hostile environment in TSN, mines are forbidden because of their general applicability to kill pretty much anything (they don’t play well with the idea of killing a single target dead better or easier than the other classes can), and jump drives are forbidden because they would trivialize Nemesis interception and flout the whole idea of formation flying.

    That doesn’t leave much to work with. So let’s go a bit more lenient on these points and try some subcategorizing on the assumption that we don’t want to just have TWO Artemis class ships in The 4th Light Division instead of only one. So let’s start by breaking unique points down as they differ from Artemis class as a classical configuration.

    Apollo: heavier front shield, weaker aft shield, harder-hitting & faster firing beams at normal range.
    Valkyrie: extra torpedo tube and guided ordnance to fill it (but fewer mines), softer-hitting beams at normal fire rate with longer range.
    Nemesis: more mobile, more beams that hit softer and fire faster at both longer and shorter range.

    Extrapolated independent differences that ‘matter’ include:
    + Mobility
    Mobility is great, but without a hole in a target’s beam arcs (or having no visible beam arcs to begin with), it is a meaningless attribute for a Bunker Buster.
    + Shield strength
    Shield strength, particularly having ‘enough’, is most certainly part and parcel of any ship that enters a hardened target’s weapons range.
    + Beam strength
    Beam strength is a solid way to modify firepower without directly impacting energy consumption and thus the longevity of active operations.
    + Beam count / fire rate
    Beam count and fire rate are both effective ways to modify firepower while altering energy consumption: more shots fired, regardless of whether they’re from X number of beams or how fast a beam fires, has a linear relationship to energy expenditure.
    + Beam range
    Range is an easy way to make an otherwise threatening enemy into a paper tiger; unless weapon ranges are redone across the board, a ship that out-ranges base beams or command ship beams will pretty much outrange everything, making poor play the only way to have fun.
    + Tube count
    Tube count can relate to reaction time or strength of reaction depending on the captain’s style; more tubes mean more situations a ship can be preemptively ‘ready’ for to reduce reaction time, or it can mean the ship can react more strongly from an empty state after the same amount of time as a ship with fewer tubes.
    + Ordnance type
    Ordnance type, insofar as it is used in practice, has two categories: splash and single target. Homing torpedoes are single target and (recently) sport respectable damage output; everything else is splash damage, limited in supply, and best used for clearing groups of ships rather than single targets. Even Nukes and Mines only deal ~160 damage to any single enemy, the rough equivalent of two homing torpedoes or 13 standard beam shots.
    + Drive style
    Jump drives clearly have no useful application to destroying a target–any target. They can, however, make a ship a phenomenal interceptor and penetrator of defensive lines by cutting out the middlemen of time and terrain.
    + Directionality of fire (wink wink)
    Directionality of fire can drastically affect engagement strategy and in some cases (wink wink) offer a relative boost in the ship’s defenses without altering any defensive values, just by nature of utilizing both shield facings instead of being forced to withdraw after only the business-end shield is down. Of course this change in direction of fire demands a change in ship’s heading relative to the target, making some long standing maneuvers impossible or much more demanding on the crew. Some benefits, some drawbacks. More on this much later, when I go into my detailed thoughts on a broadside configuration.
    + Extra Shield Nodes
    This idea just occurred to me, so forgive my haphazard description (I may or may not fix it before posting). A ship could greatly improve its combat effectiveness with more shield nodes. As some know, and others may be surprised to learn, shield permeability does not increase with system damage. If there are 10 forward shield nodes in engineering, and only one of them is online, the only impact on your shield efficacy is regeneration rate. A combat procedure is conceivable wherein a ship enters combat running 250% beams with 8 coolant and 300% shields with no coolant but a large number of shield nodes. It could overheat the shields to total breaking point before disengaging and just hanging out a little while while damcon teams fix the shield nodes. This isn’t really applicable to the role of Bunker Buster specifically, because it would work equally well against any and all combats, but if somebody were looking for a way to enhance a ship’s durability without increasing its raw shield value, this would effectively prolong the time that a ship could run 300% shields and maintain the resulting reduction in damage taken. It just becomes an exercise of finding the right ratio of beam power to shield power to cause the shields to completely burn out at the same time that the beams begin to threaten to burn out their first node. Manual damcon team management would be important for this, else they’d all die as nodes burn out while they’re standing in them.

    So the role of the Ares is to tackle a single hardened target such as a Command Ship or Starbase. What kind of tools would such a task require? For starters, Command Ships have thousands of shields even after being hit by an EMP (3000 for a Torgoth). So high damage output is required, be it burst damage or sustained dps. But exactly how much dps depends on how durable the strike craft is, because Command Ships have weapons. Weapons that do damage! The Torgoth command ship has beams that will do 1.67 dps (assuming no overlap of those beams). Thus the Ares class will need protection unless it does all of its damage with torpedoes or long range beams.

    Just to get a feel for things, let’s take a look at the Apollo class, being the current go-to for such a job in lieu of the former Raven Battlecruiser. The Apollo at 300% beams w/ 8 coolant does 18 dps for 35 seconds (630 damage) and 15 dps thereafter (250%/8 coolant). How do the numbers hash out? Apollo must fire for 193 seconds to bring down the Torgoth’s 3000 shields–to say nothing of the hull. In return, Apollo can crank shield power to 300% for 29 seconds without coolant (burning out 3 nodes and nearly the 4th) and receive little shield damage (~16) in that time before they are forced to normalize shield power. After that, the command ship will whittle away Apollo’s remaining 94 shields over the course of 56 seconds (85 seconds total). Thus, Apollo is forced to withdraw after dealing 1380 damage over 85 seconds to the command ship. Apollo can’t do it; not all at once, not 1v1 anyway.

    So a few things come to mind about what that means for the Ares class. Either it needs to be substantially more powerful than Apollo to get the job done; or we admit that Command Ships henceforth will always be team efforts. If we concede that Command Ships will always need to be team efforts, then we need to ask what Ares can do in order to specialize in hardened target destruction. It can either: bombard it with oodles of heavy ordnance and possibly risk splashing friendlies; or bombard it with oodles of homing torpedoes; or have nice strong beams with shields to match; or be a glass cannon; or be a tank to eat up damage while other ships do the damage, or tickle the command ship with long range beams to keep the pressure on while others recover and come back for a deathblow. What are some combinations we could consider to meet this goal of the Ares class being an effective bunker buster without simply being flatly overpowered?

    Ares role realization methods:
    + Glass cannon — conflict Lancer
    + Heavier beams and shields — conflict Apollo
    + Splash-heavy torpedo boat — conflict Valkyrie? Also turns into superb fleet-buster, conflicting intended role.
    + Three-or-more tube Homing Torpedo boat — conflict Valkyrie? Fits the role, at least. Hammer a single target with weapons that hurt only a single target, and have enough of them to end a command ship or two.
    + Minelayer — mines don’t trigger on bases, and mines are ideal fleet-busters, conflicting intended role
    + High damage, very short range beam with long cycle time — impractical, forcing a dive-bomber like approach which is very unfriendly to users, and folks seem to hate it
    + High damage, very short range beam with normal or short cycle time — decidedly overpowered (conflict Lancer 😛 )
    + Medium damage, short range beam with normal or short cycle time — conflict Apollo
    + Low damage, long range beam with any cycle time — boring; awful damage-per-energy; little need to ever enter danger zones; fighters or drones become the only threats, and drones not so much depending on firing arc
    + Simple Broadside — no real conflict, popular idea, possible balance issues, might not actually get enough protection out of both shield facings to make it any better at busting bunkers than Apollo
    + Upgunned Broadside — conflict Apollo (maybe less-so, since shields will be standard or weaker, and combat model will be distinctly different?)

    If none of those approaches appeal, maybe we can change the state of the game to create a way for the Ares to fill this niche without stepping on any toes.

    Game modification to avoid treading on other roles:
    + script bases to be ships so mines work on them — nobody wants to do that, right?
    + Take homings away from everybody and turn them into single-target bunker busters — nobody REALLY uses homing torpedoes anyway as far as I’ve seen, and TSN hates batteries too. Win/win?
    + somehow alter another torpedo type (everybody hates pshocks) — isn’t it impossible to alter non-damage characteristics?

    If changing the state of the game doesn’t appeal, and if we can think of no way to agreeably satisfy the declared role of Bunker Buster, perhaps it warrants an alternative job for the Ares to do that would contrast with the rest of the fleet.

    Alternative roles:
    + Carrier — TSN doesn’t like fighters, and lacks pilots
    + Tank or otherwise heavier ship — emphasis 4th LIGHT division & previous issues with OP Battlecruiser
    + Minelayer / Fleetbreaker / Area Denial Specialist — creates hazards for friendly ships or otherwise just goes splash crazy with Echo runs. Terrain is important in Artemis, but generating friendly-safe anti-hostile terrain from a ship is clunky and ineffective without accepting significant wait times to lure enemies into them.
    + Non-mine Anti-Fighter — either outrun the fighters ala Lancer, or be well enough protected to tank the swarms while plinking them down with porcupine beams pointed out in multiple directions; would be pretty silly to watch it fight warships by cranking maneuver and going all fidget spinner on them (The Last Starfighter: Death Blossom!!)
    + Scout — Lancer doesn’t sound like they want to be a scout anymore, so there seems to be an opening here.
    + Pure Missile Cruiser — would never be in any danger; outranges all enemies, and just kites drones at warp while flying in circles and firing torpedoes. The RavenBC at least had the potential to take damage sometimes.
    + Jump Drive ship — beat the Lancer at the interceptor game and flout formation flying at the same time!
    + Dive bomber — Swing in, fire a big beam shot, and escape until the weapon reloads. Perhaps this is what was intended with the first iteration of the Ares class with the short range high power beam; a repeat strafing run vessel. Feedback suggested that it was difficult to employ for having no way to check if the main gun was ready or not without a stopwatch, and that all the time spent setting up for another pass made performing the job a larger time-suck than simply handing the job over to Apollo. As noted in above realization methods: not user friendly, and folks seem to hate it.

    ==========

    So finally we come to my favored solution, an up-gunned broadside configuration, to attempt to meet the role of Bunker Buster without walking directly on Apollo’s territory. It shares similar beam power, but the different directionality of fire forces changes in engagement strategy and creates new weaknesses. This next part of my thought process is in 2 parts: Broadside as it compares to traditional configurations in general, and broadside sub-configurations as they compare to each other.

    Broadside Ares-class in General — Good and Bad relative to standard configurations

    The good:
    1. Realistic ability to take advantage of both shield facings in combat.
    2. Depending on turn rate, potentially excellent at staying on a single target’s unprotected flank (that is, dancing around an enemy’s beam arcs)
    3. Up-gunned (if you don’t up-gun the broadside, Apollo will be flatly better at the Ares niche than the Ares)
    4. Satisfies crew desire for uniqueness.

    The bad:
    1. Weaker single shield facings. (I recommend 65/65, as I’m sure the proposed 45/45 is MUCH too little.)
    2. More difficult to keep a target in optimal firing arc.
    3. Easily overtaken by enemy fleets for lack of ability to kite while firing optimally; i.e. if you “cross the T” with this ship, you can’t just go into reverse to maintain a standoff with only the leading elements. Either you you break contact, or tank the fleet as it comes into range and risk severe damage.
    4. Easily overrun by enemy fighters; exacerbated by “bad” points 1-3.
    5. Cannot pursue a tango-train and mop up an enemy fleet from the rear with impunity.
    6. Gambles on increasing power to shield facings, or burns out quickly to run both.

    Interpretation:
    A broadside configuration would excel at contending with singular targets using the advantages of greater optimal firepower, and greater potential survivability. It would be very similar to the Apollo class in those ways; however, It would in contrast struggle to contend with larger enemy battlegroups and most especially carrier groups due to a relative immobility when bringing optimal firepower to bear. It would be particularly vulnerable to encirclement by fighters because it could not protect against hull damage by rotating shield facings after one facing, individually substandard, is overloaded.

    It is not a tank-qua-tank. In contrast to the Apollo class, its defensive advantage is situationally dependent on the ability to present an alternate shield facing to a target without losing firepower, which is difficult to do with precision if consistently possible. Additionally, in lieu of extra coolant, it can’t maintain large power increases to beams and both shield facings simultaneously. That defensive pool stands a good chance of being substantially weaker than standard symmetrical facings while the crew attempts to predict which facing will receive the next shot: if they’re wrong, that’s a lot of damage that didn’t get absorbed by a hardened shield. The flip side, if the crew doesn’t gamble, is that engagement time is otherwise limited by how long the engineer can keep both shields running hot. (Honestly, writing this paragraph out has me convinced that 65/65 shields will probably be too little!)

    Suffice to say, the broadside doesn’t come with only advantages. It comes with some serious gambles or even liabilities in the realms of combat maneuvering, opportunity to fire, and durability. But what it does do, unequivocally, is fill the niche described: a ship tuned toward dealing with difficult single targets without necessitating a bunch of extra heavy ordnance and treading on the Valkyrie’s action. A role, however, which the Apollo could still perform better unless the broadside is similarly up-gunned. To be sure, the Apollo will be decisively superior when engaging enemy fleets thanks to the ability to kite and engage leading fleet elements without allowing rear fleet elements to close into range, combined with a much stronger business-end shield facing.

    ==========

    Configuration Comparison — Good and Bad relative to other broadside configurations

    Overlap configuration:
    1-2 fore arc, 1 aft arc, each with firing angle greater than 180°

    The good:
    1. 360° arc of fire granting abnormally easy single drone interception capability.
    2. Doesn’t lose ENTIRE damage output if targets are not in the narrow port or starboard arcs.
    3. Doesn’t tempt crew to play fleet cracker by barreling into the middle of a fleet to utilize both port and starboard guns.

    The bad:
    1. (Potentially) Fewer total beams prevent mass drone interception even if skilled crew were to try. Overlap configuration would have similar limitations under ideal circumstances to other ships in their own ideal circumstances (i.e. overlap broadside won’t be clearing drones any more quickly or effectively than traditional configurations).

    Independent Broadsides Only:
    1-2 port arc, 1-2 starboard arc, each with firing angle substantially less than 180°

    The good:
    1. Capacity for double dps with good positioning and fast clicking weapons officer.
    2. (Potentially) Greater total beam count, allowing for mass drone interception on par with Lancer under ideal circumstances.

    The bad:
    1. No fore or aft beam coverage resulting in more difficult drone interception.
    2. Very narrow arcs of fire, and zero capacity for damage outside those arcs.
    3. Tempts crew to play fleet cracker by barreling into the middle of a fleet to utilize both port and starboard guns. (Some say manual beams with shorter cycle time would approximate the gain of firing both sides and reduce temptation and efficacy of attempting to fire both. I disagree at present.).

    Hybrid Broadside & Point Defense:
    1-2 port arc, 1-2 starboard arc, each with firing angle substantially less than 180°, and a point defense beam.

    The good:
    1. Meets or exceeds fleet baseline for drone interception, both in arc of fire and number of drones per volley.
    2. Capacity for double dps with good positioning and fast clicking weapons officer.
    3. (Potentially) Greater total beam count, allowing for mass drone interception on par with Lancer under ideal circumstances.

    The bad:
    1. Could misfire point defense and waste it, having done no damage for the energy or cycle time expended.
    2. Very narrow arcs of fire, and zero capacity for damage outside those arcs.
    3. Tempts crew to play fleet cracker by barreling into the middle of a fleet to utilize both port and starboard guns. (Some say manual beams with shorter cycle time would approximate the gain of firing both sides and reduce temptation and efficacy of attempting to fire both. I disagree at present.).

    ==========

    …and some unrelated side-musings:

    Torpedoes: 75 damage, or +50 energy on convert

    Assuming 8 energy per beam shot and 12 beam damage per shot, 50 energy means: (6 • 12) + (12 • 0.25) = 75 damage.

    Beams are flexible, predictable, and operate on-demand. Beams can do damage to a target, or defend the ship against a drone. When doing damage to a target with beams, you can easily predict which target shield facing will be impacted.

    Torpedoes are comparatively unpredictable in angle of contact (possibly causing unhelpful damage), cannot be used for defense, and require forethought for use. Benefits of torpedoes include only bait for anti-torp targets and range.

    Straightup energy can also be shunted to shields or propulsion. Energy is extremely flexible. Torpedoes are not. The game truly punishes using torpedoes, because the energy is so much more valuable.

    #25269

    John van Leigh
    Participant

    My main interest as a captain is having an interesting ship, but I’m also curious as to the reactions to the broadside idea. Here’s the one point I disagree with, though.

    Tempts crew to play fleet cracker by barreling into the middle of a fleet to utilize both port and starboard guns. (Some say manual beams with shorter cycle time would approximate the gain of firing both sides and reduce temptation and efficacy of attempting to fire both. I disagree at present.).

    What I dislike about that is that you can’t select multiple targets. So in barging to the centre of an enemy fleet I accept fire from every direction in exchange for only being to fire in one. It’s much simpler to engage from the outside.

    #25273

    Yooey
    Participant

    I practically write a novel on the subject and you only disagree with one thing?
    I don’t believe you. There must be more. Fess up!

    But on that subject, the sequence of events that I envision is as follows:

    A fleet is spawned and begins moving to target. As is typical, they form a line with some spaces between ships; neither a dense cluster nor a particularly spaced out line. Just far enough that they don’t have overlapping arcs of fire with each other. It is into that gap that the Independent Broadside or Hybrid Broadside embeds itself: drop out of warp and maneuver between those ships, situating within one ship’s firing arc, but directly astern another foe. The broadside then lets loose with port and starboard guns with the weapons officer switching back and forth between targets. It takes less than a second to reposition the cursor from one ship to the other unless there is a fair amount of lag. With a normal cycle time of 6 seconds and running at 300% power, the weapons officer would have a 2 second window to switch targets from A to B and back to A again without losing any dps in the process (except for what is sacrificed by not using manual beams).

    I imagine the targets would die before other (non-fighter) enemies would close-in, since full damage is brought to bear on both targets. In this time, the ship is taking damage only from one enemy, and after they’re dead the independent / hybrid broadside goes looking for another such juicy gap, or is free to engage ‘normally’ with only one side. Overlapping Broadside wouldn’t have this capability.

    But maybe opportunities like this aren’t as common as they subjectively seem.

    #25276

    John van Leigh
    Participant

    Yeah, your method doesn’t come naturally to me. My preferred approach is to do a delta-1 pass to concentrate them into a tight ball of ships and fire an EMP if I feel they’re too heavy, otherwise begin by the rear and leave it to helm (or to my XO if our helm for the night is unexperienced) to expose as little as possible.

    About 45/45 being too little, you’re most likely right. Still, I’d rather start with a weak ship knowing it can be improved than going the opposite way, where it’d be too difficult to say if it’s just the shields that are too high or the broadside system is inherently broken.

    I don’t think that a pure broadside model will be approved because any ammount of drones will expose her weakness: shield strength will be too little to absorb drones effectively, so you need to somehow use those tiny arcs for defense, adding another layer of difficulty. The hybrid model is the best, I think, as it avoids making it too easy on helm while also being defensible in combat. The issue is setting an appropiate point defense beam. The one from my original proposal is a short-range version of the missile cruiser PD system, but I considered another option that offers 360° protection in segments with a high cycletime, so that you can protect against small swarms but sustained defense becomes impossible. The idea is making it so the PD beam is as small a concesion as possible.

    I’m not in love with increasing the shield nodes, as well. It’s a good concept for developing a tank, but I find the idea boring. It’s just inespecific protection you can abuse by diving right in the middle of a heavy fleet, so it doesn’t fit any role unless you nerf beams a lot; and the way aggro works in Artemis means that you won’t really gain a lot strategically by having such a ship help you in a battlegroup.

    #25285

    Xavier
    Keymaster

    The line of light cruisers were always meant to be slight alterations to the class in order to emphasis styles of play. The Artemis was the core model on which the light cruisers were based. The Apollo emphasised beams slightly and the valkyrie longer ranges. Since their firat design, I am not sure how much the emphasis has changed. Fundamentally though, they were light cruisers that could fulfil a general light cruiser role first, with slight specialism second.

    #25287

    Xavier
    Keymaster

    I must admit though, in designing my ideas my not have been interpreted as I intended, or perhaps too much emphasis has been made. I’d like to see the Ares be more in line with the Artemis, just with more homings for the direct damage and perhaps a heavier, narrow central beam for high damage firing passes.

    Whereas the Apollo is tailored to sustained beam combat, and Valkyrie is for sustained long range fleet combat, Ares in its ‘siege’ role would be tailored to short bursts of heavy hits. A volley of homings, coupled with a firing pass with the heavy cannon would be the intention. In that case, the cannon would be a slow firing, heavy shot.

    #25295

    John van Leigh
    Participant

    I really don’t see how your idea of Ares difers from a destroyer with LC engines, @admin

    In combat, I also disagree with siege being consistant with short bursts. If you want to destroy a station, and only the station (that is, not touching the supporting fleet), it all boils down to exploting small windows caused by the enemy moving aside. That being so, a slow cannon might not be able to use all of its firepower (say, you need to retreat a full second before the damned thing loads), while behind enemy lines your room for flexible positioning goes to hell very quick. It’s not that your conception is unworkable, it’s just more suited for a missile cruiser; or at least the way I’d fly one.

    That said, the broadside ship is not that different in capacity from any other cruiser. With a skilled helm the damage output is more or less equivalent, while the reduced endurance is a welcome challenge for a crew with the experience the Phoenix has.

    But most importantly, I strongly disagree that Ares and Artemis being similar will be good at all. Over the last nine months the Phoenix exhausted all the Artemis class has to offer. If we didn’t, the other six months I spent commanding an Artemis class for the USN surely did. The scope for further progress and learning in such a ship is too limited after this time, so I personally have no interest left, at all, in a ship class that’s too similar in style and handling. Fish’s work on redesigning the ship is something I’m grateful for because it allows for some new, exciting possiblilities, so an excess of similarity would be a huge step in the wrong direction.

    #25307

    starry
    Participant

    I am still struggling with the intent of the changes, both in ship classes and in energy consumption. This has made it very hard to suggest exact changes which would match both/either goals.

    Depending on the design goals there are a bunch of potential soultions with scripting, I am still unclear if this is even an acceptable soultions as it potentially causes issues for GM’s & whoever has to maintain the script(s). I personally believe that there are solutions that would work, but it heavily depends on the design goals.

    Personally I disagree with the ares being made closer to the artemis class as they already overlap substantally (I think more than any 2 other ships in the fleet). I think there being variety between the ships is a plus.

    If the ares class balance is taken as the main/only problem I too am struggling to see many solutions other than the broadside idea as all other solutions seem to be ruled out as infringing on other ships roles too much.
    If it is seen as a more generic problem with balance (be that energy/ship design) then I think reviewing scripting options with the question “what is the intention of this balance” being the first question asked would be a good starting location.

    #25312

    Matthew Vaj
    Participant

    @delpino perhaps you and Jemel could switch ships. That’d be one heck of a change 😉

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Matthew Vaj.
    #25322

    Matsiyan
    Participant

    Ares-more-like-Artemis sounds exactly like Excalibur which is an interesting ship but already needs some rebalancing or more playtesting with a regular crew who can work out her advantages and disadvantages.

    Broadside does sound interesting but i hate the 360 degree point defense.
    I also do not see a problem with allowing her to have the opportunity for fighting both sides. She has to give up manual targeting for that. I would propose a standard beam port and starboard with a 22.5 degree arc and also identical or lighter fore and aft bow- and stern-chasers. Then also give her broadside “carronades” with higher damage but shorter range, say 600-800. That means she has to manoeuvre for drones, but has a possibility of getting heavy close damage unlikely to be useful for fighting both sides. she will always struggle to respond well because targeting will be difficult as soon as the enemy starts to turn

    #25326

    John van Leigh
    Participant

    Here’s a screenshot of two broadside variants I was messing with.

    Broadsides

    From a game balance standpoint, one of the advantages of the hybrid (especially the fragmentary-hybrid in the screenshot) system is that the PD can be nerfed at will. 360° is too bad? Great, either cut the angles or increase the cycle times to compensate. Those 90° arcs are meant so that you can’t catch more than one drone from a volley. You’re catching drones too easily? Again, cut cycletime in the single beam variant, or even remove some beams in the fragmentary variant. I don’t think the risk of catching unintended targets with a slow-loading PD is a bad thing. It just makes it more of a compensation for the small beam arcs that isn’t meant to make the ship impervious, just on par with the others.

    I do like the chasers and carronades. In fact, one of my variants I didn’t post (because it was meant to be dreadnought-equivalent) uses at least a forward chaser with a slightly increased range, a 1° 48′ arc and nearly twice the damage of a standard beam with a cycletime that made the actual DPS slighly below standard. I envisioned its standard use as a beam that would be fired on approach as you turn to bear the main broadside.

    One of the reasons I didn’t include them in the proposal was that, especially the carronada, they would be in fact difficult to balance. I fear in particular that, for example, the chaser would be calculated in our total DPS count resulting in the main broadside being nerfed too severely; or that my arguments against destroyer-Ares would still apply to the carronade in a siege ship. As for a carronade in a general combat ship, I’m in love with the idea so long as the main beams have their range slightly increased to compensate for the ammount of fire the ship would have to accept in order to use them.

    #25376

    Nhaima
    Participant

    I really enjoy the broadside configuration, particularly flying one. Also nice write-up Yooey.

    I’m happy to identify myself as a/the person who has said that giving up single-side manual targeting is less efficient than the potential for trying to gain efficiency by firing on both sides for the split broadside configuration.

    The main concern I have though with @admin‘s idea of a slow firing cannon is its effectiveness. There is certainly the other concern that those are frustrating to play, but the damage on the main cannon has to be enough to compensate for the time spent out of combat, positioning, and effectiveness. Given the buffs to enemy shields, I’d say a ship like this should be able to destroy a Kralien cruiser in a single firing pass. It has to be able to make a significant dent to be of any use, let alone feel good. And currently that’s around 150 damage.

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