Military transports are too strong

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zenopath
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Military transports are too strong

Postby zenopath » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:50 am

So, the option of capturing ships with military transports is pretty OP. You ships could be much stronger and higher level than your foe's but if he brings a bunch of military transports, what are you supposed to do to stop him? The military crew quarters only give a measley 20 extra crew and take up a slot that could be used for shields. In theory you could recapture your ships with your own boarding actions, but they show up as disabled after being recaptured. In other words, it's the fastest way to disable an enemy ship is to throw a couple military transports with boarding shuttles at them. What's the counterplay? What can you do to prevent it? Is there a tech that I'm missing? Does the militia tech that gives +1 armor to infantry help you resist boarding actions?

Serenitis
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby Serenitis » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:29 am

The best ways I've found (so far) of dealing with massed boarding ships is:
- First, bring lots of destroyers to fly out in front and physically screen more valuable ships so if a transport hard docks you only lose a DD, but if it targets anything else the shuttles have to actually fly out
- Second, make sure to fit every ship you can with some amount of point defence
- Third, keep your ships as close together as possible for maximum overlapping of PD so any shuttles get dunked as hard as possible
- Lastly, focus down the transports as best you can & let the destroyers do thier jobs and soak up the attention

Might be of interest, but any captured ship can be used as normal in battle once you discover the Quantum Decryption tech.
Afaik there's nothing that boosts the strength of your ship crews - only the numbers matter.
Speaking of...
If you fit your ships with Neutron/Disruptor weapons you can kill some of the crew without destroying the transports, which means boarding attacks are weaker & fewer shuttles are sent out, which are easier to defend against etc. But that means using otherwise less than great weapons.

I do really like the whole capturing ships thing, and it's a big part of why I preferred MoO2 over the original even though it was inferior in a lot of ways. And I'd hate to see it get changed to become irrelevant or tedious, or go away entirely.
Although I do agree that the AI does sometimes seem to prioritise military transports to a degree that results in some quite dull battles, as all that above is a little more micro-heavy than I'd prefer.

This may be because the mil. transports themselves are technically a support role, and are being used in place of conventional transports to carry troops. Which, to be fair is quite sensible.
Not quite sure how I'd go about balancing that without making the AI underperform or otherwise make "odd" choices.

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PrivateHudson
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby PrivateHudson » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:34 am

zenopath wrote:So, the option of capturing ships with military transports is pretty OP.
And how then you call carriers with shuttles stationed in hangars, plus some missiles to distract victim's PD? Available even to Yoral and Tinkers. Boarding is seriously OP, and for me is the only method to tackle superior enemy fleets on brutal (at least, their secondary fleets, as primary ones are impossible to face directly).

zenopath
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby zenopath » Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:26 am

I think you can get a lot of milage out of small ships, building larger ships isn't very economical if your enemy is fielding bording units.
The absolute king of small ships is the Yoral who can win the game with sheer force of Torpedoe destroyers, but yeah, there's value in escort carriers armed with boarding shuttles... maybe too much value.

I think the boarding shuttles scale up with hover tanks and battle mechs, which is why they are so effective... dunno if that's working as intended though.

Serenitis
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby Serenitis » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:08 am

Troop types are completely irrelevant for boarding strength.
So long as theres some form of "population" in a fighter bay it counts as +50 crew each, with the sole exception of Human marines which count as +100 each.
If you unload the troops and instead load a generic unit of pop from a colony you still get a +50 crew bonus for that ship, and you can still board things using shuttles.

Literally the only thing that matters for boarding strength is how much crew a ship has. The only way to get a stronger boarding attack is to have more crew in that ship.
This is exactly why carriers full of shuttles are really good at boarding actions due to the crew count increase from carrying troops.
The AI can't take advantage of this though (it doesn't know how to fit those items - like with pods), so only the player has access to it. And it's on the player to either use it or not themselves.

That being said, maybe the AI could just not prioritise military transports quite so much and keep some of its troops in standard transports.
It's not "realistic", but it might make for less tedious gameplay. And gameplay should (imo) always come before realism if there's ever a conflict.

zolobolo
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby zolobolo » Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:34 pm

Agree that the boarding module is OP by the simple fact that the AI is not using them and these ignore shields completely
When mounted on a ship from Cruiser levle onward, you basically get the strongest units in the game which ignore shields and can also not be countered (unlike shuttles in range)

Thes can even futher be strengthened by shields AND giving them cloaking module produces the defacto best combo in the game as these guys cannot be hit and if hit they have shield which regens faster then how often they get hit (they can attack staying cloaked) but ignore shields themselves, dont have ammo and cannot be countered :)

I try to not use them in my games unless testing the exploit and would prefer if it wasnt an optin at all unless rebalanced or the AI starts using them as well

One way of making them work is to function like a torpedo: slow mokving targets that can be intercepted by PB. This would position them below Shuttles as far as usability goes which makes sense as they are a lower levle tech and simpler and cheaper to produce

Military transports are also a strong choice but not really OP in my opoinion untill they move into direct range (at which point they too cannot be countered anymore by PD). The have high research and production cost so I think they are ok now

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PrivateHudson
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby PrivateHudson » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:50 am

Once again something along the lines of MoO 2, where moving ships can't be boarded without shuttles or transporters, seems more balanced.

Dragar
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby Dragar » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:58 am

PrivateHudson wrote:Once again something along the lines of MoO 2, where moving ships can't be boarded without shuttles or transporters, seems more balanced.


Probably - but it would be good if it were easier to disable engines in that case. Leech missiles I think are the only thing that does?

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PrivateHudson
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby PrivateHudson » Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:01 pm

Dragar wrote:
PrivateHudson wrote:Once again something along the lines of MoO 2, where moving ships can't be boarded without shuttles or transporters, seems more balanced.


Probably - but it would be good if it were easier to disable engines in that case. Leech missiles I think are the only thing that does?

You mean EMP missiles? AFAIK, leeches only deplete shields. Somebody already proposed to repurpose cursed ion guns for that.

Dragar
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby Dragar » Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:36 am

Ah, could be.

It would be good to give ion guns something. There isn't really a reason to use them right now.

username
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby username » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:49 pm

Serenitis wrote:The best ways I've found (so far) of dealing with massed boarding ships is:
- First, bring lots of destroyers to fly out in front and physically screen more valuable ships so if a transport hard docks you only lose a DD, but if it targets anything else the shuttles have to actually fly out
You technically don't LOSE the DD, you can just take it back!

You can further reduce the cost of this tactic by using naked DDs that contain only engines, no weapons, armor, shields, or anything else.

Having no equipment also reduces their target priority so the AI is far less likely to bother firing at them, and reduces their cost significantly.

Last but not least, you could use your own transports and just fight this battle in the medieval style, where medieval navies, lacking ship-to-ship artillery worth a damn, would just fight by boarding, creating this giant raft of ships where people would then fight a land battle on.

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sven
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby sven » Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:11 pm

PrivateHudson wrote:Once again something along the lines of MoO 2, where moving ships can't be boarded without shuttles or transporters, seems more balanced.


If the game were still in beta, I'd probably change "boarding pods" to "boarding shuttles", and make them easily intercepted by PD, like assault shuttles are. That's a fairly big balance change though, and I know many people have been enjoying the relatively easy capture mechanics made possible by boarding pods. Human players, in particular, will get a lot weaker if they can't use boarding pods early game to capture a bunch of pirate ships.

Arioch's been discouraging me from making big balance changes to released mechanics unless we think there's very good reason to do so -- and I suspect the boarding pods / boarding shuttles change would not meet that threshold.

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PrivateHudson
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby PrivateHudson » Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:37 pm

sven wrote:
PrivateHudson wrote:Once again something along the lines of MoO 2, where moving ships can't be boarded without shuttles or transporters, seems more balanced.


If the game were still in beta, I'd probably change "boarding pods" to "boarding shuttles", and make them easily intercepted by PD, like assault shuttles are. That's a fairly big balance change though, and I know many people have been enjoying the relatively easy capture mechanics made possible by boarding pods. Human players, in particular, will get a lot weaker if they can't use boarding pods early game to capture a bunch of pirate ships.

Arioch's been discouraging me from making big balance changes to released mechanics unless we think there's very good reason to do so -- and I suspect the boarding pods / boarding shuttles change would not meet that threshold.

I guess, we can put that into category "difficulty level fine-tuning". Each player decides for himself whether he uses this exploit or not.

nweismuller
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby nweismuller » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:27 pm

For what it's worth, I'd welcome a balance change to boarding pods. They're sufficiently exploitative in my mind that I refuse to use them entirely.

zolobolo
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Re: Military transports are too strong

Postby zolobolo » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:25 am

sven wrote:If the game were still in beta, I'd probably change "boarding pods" to "boarding shuttles", and make them easily intercepted by PD, like assault shuttles are. That's a fairly big balance change though, and I know many people have been enjoying the relatively easy capture mechanics made possible by boarding pods. Human players, in particular, will get a lot weaker if they can't use boarding pods early game to capture a bunch of pirate ships.

Arioch's been discouraging me from making big balance changes to released mechanics unless we think there's very good reason to do so -- and I suspect the boarding pods / boarding shuttles change would not meet that threshold.

That is fair to say.

Even though boarding module is only used by humans and is extremeely powerfull, chaning or removing it would likely mess with the fun of most players

What if there was soft approach to reduce the level of exploit here though?
1. Cloaking ships cannot board - or boarding automatically removes cloaking
2. Boarding modules are more easily damaged when taking direct damage (not absorbed by shield) and thus their efectiveness reduces rapidly when under direct fire
3. AI ships routing logic adjustment to rotue ships that are below 30% crew and if enemy has boarding module in any of its ships and enemy SUM crew is >2X own crew

These would still allow cpaturing of pirate ships and most enemy vessels in early game but should prevent the extreme type of exploits

Then again: if someone doesnt want to exploit they just dont use the module at all :)

So another alternative: give AI boarding modules:
1. Changing the templates should be simple enough I assume
2.Making the tactical AI use the is likely tricky - Without changing much I can only imaging doing this by giving Boarding -modules range and classifying them the same way as shuttle - they would onyl have lower range and could not be intercepted by PD.

Increasing crew bonuss of marine quarters should not change the balance by much and is recommended but here the AI is not using them at al so would only benefit the player
The issue of how to counter military transports (boarding capable shielded ships), would be to:
1. Reduce shield capacity and regen rate
2. Give more weapons shield piercing mod (Ion guns, and maybe evne allow all rockets and trps to bypass shield completely)
3. The same as above: increase likelyhood of damaged boarding module once taking direct hit
This way a couple of military transports would have little chance to capture a fleet of similar size but armed with some rockets/torps and would need escort to take the blunt of the attack until lthe transports can move into position

The exploit would get a bit easier but if combined with the above exploit reduction measures, the AI could have boarding moduels as well, the extreme exploits would be blunted, plyers who like this cna keep using it and absolutely no tactical AI adjustment needed (strategica AI might need adjustment depending if boarding modules mess with the risk and defense calculations but I assume its fine if they are calculated the same way as shuttles)

As a cheerry on top of al the above, pirate ships could be given boarding modules (and integration of capture ship tech) of their own to bite back too cocky players and taking them ships and thereby increasing the priate fleet - thematic and interesting gameplay-mechanic


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