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Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - Printable Version

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Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - TeeKayL - 03-11-2016

So, in the first few hours of Battlestation: Harbinger I played, I noticed I had far more trouble getting through celestial sectors than any other. This is because groups of celestial ships will hit my ships with an insane amount of damage, from fairly long range, so quickly that my FTL drive can't even charge before they've vaporized at least one of my ships.

I noticed the weapon they were using to accomplish this is a death ray. I had found a death ray before, but I believe it was Trolgar (maybe wanderer?). It did about 150 shield and 60 hull damage.

Then, I found a celestial death ray, which did about 200 shield damage and over 400 damage to hull., with the same recharge time as the Trolgar death ray.

I have since found more death rays, some celestial, some not, and without fail, the non-celestial death rays are mediocre weapons, and the celestial death rays do 200+ shield and 400+ hull damage. Suddenly, celestial sectors being unreasonably difficult makes sense.

But I believe the 400 hull damage is a bug, the celestial death ray is supposed to deal far less hull damage, and that the developer misplaced a decimal.

Here are my reasons:
1. The current damage of the celestial death ray is game-breakingly overpowered.
2. When you attempt to upgrade the hull damage, it only increases by about 10 (about 2.5%), despite most weapons gaining more like 15-20% damage from an upgrade. Even upgrading the shield damage on the celestial death ray adds about 22 damage (10%).
3. 40 hull and 220 shield damage seems like a reasonable amount of damage, compared to other death rays. This would make the celestial death ray deal more shield damage, but less hull damage, than other races' death rays.

Anyway, bug or not, the celestial death ray is absolutely overpowered right now. When the enemies have them, it feels like there's no way to counter them. They have long range, so you can't really out-range them. They're a ray, so you can't dodge them. I've tried shielding ships that are taking damage with other ships, but often they vaporize my ship so fast that I don't even have time to move my other ship in front of the one that's being attacked. The only counter-strategy seems to be to send my drones to attack the enemy ship and hope it targets my drones instead of my ships, which only sometimes works, and doesn't work when you're facing 4+ ships at once.

For the player, the celestial death ray is so good there seems to be no reason to use anything else. It has good range, high accuracy, instant velocity, high shield damage and very high hull damage!

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - AdmiralGeezer - 03-11-2016

Not a bug. The different races are more adept with certain turret types. Trolgars are the best with projectiles, Celestials are the best with Energy turrets. So if the random generator throws a death ray to a Celestial then yeah, that is going to hurt.

That doesn't happen always though, and it is very rare to happen in the first galaxy if you face them there. But it can happen.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - TeeKayL - 03-11-2016

Why does upgrading the hull damage only add 2.5% damage though? And why is the celestial death ray so damn good? It feels really weird to have a weapon that's just clearly way better than the others.

Especially when I warp into a system and there are 4+ ships, often meaning 3+ celestial death rays, and they vaporize one of my ships almost instantly. It seems not that uncommon in celestial sectors (aside from sector 1). I can't even warp in away from the enemy ships, because they are sometimes spread out enough in the system to make this impossible.

It makes celestial sectors much more difficult than the others. On normal difficulty, generally, by the time I get 3 ships I can practically just stomp my way through most sectors, but running into a celestial sector often involves lots of warping in and out, running out of beacons and frustrating near-instant ship popping.

If it's not a bug, can the celestial death ray probably at least deserves a pretty significant nerf. If you did intend it to do massive damage, maybe it should be relatively short ranged? That way, you don't get hit by many different death rays upon warping in, and good positioning and firepower could maybe let you destroy the ships before they do too much damage.

Maybe the RNG could just spawn them on enemies a bit less? It would actually be fun to run into a scary, super-powerful weapon once in a while, but the celestial death ray seems relatively common past sector 1. If it were just one ship in a group of enemies that had the death ray, at least I could focus them down quickly.

It's just right now, the celestial death ray is so powerful it honestly feels like a bug. Before posting this thread I actually thought about if it might be working as intended, but concluded that it's so good it's more likely to be a bug.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - TeeKayL - 03-11-2016

As an example, I just lost about 10 minutes ago in a (celestial) sector 3 while attempting to destroy a station. I warped in, saw the station + 3 ships. Two of the three ships had one celestial death ray, and despite warping in fairly far away from the station and 2 of the ships, two death rays were still able to reach me.
Luckily, one got distracted by my drones, and I made it back out after destroying one of their ships.

I repair and warp back in. Again, station + 3 ships, two of which have a celestial death ray. Luckily, one of them is too far away. I destroy 2 ships, but am forced to warp out and repair.

I repair and warp back in a third time. Again, station + 3 ships, this time all 3 have celestial death rays. They target my main ship and fire. I see what's happening, and attempt to move my other two ships to shield it and spread the damage, but before my other two ships can move in front of my main, it's already exploded, and it's game over.

I actually had two celestial death rays of my own, but it wasn't enough Sad
I should mention that I did attempt to lure the ships out with distress beacons first, but it didn't work.

It's frustrating to lose like this because it feels like there's no counter-play. I can't really out-distance them. Warping in close (to make use of effective short ranged weapons) is usually suicide, as it lets them strip shields quickly with other weapons, allowing the death rays to tear into my hull even sooner. Drones can sometimes distract one or two enemy ships, but this is unreliable and doesn't work on a group. Luring the enemy out with distress beacons doesn't seem to work. Even having two of my own celestial death rays wasn't nearly good enough.

Right now, it feels like my best shot at victory is to get lucky enough to not run into a celestial sector 2 or 3.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - joe1512 - 03-11-2016

I have been wanting a nerf to death rays... but maybe its just Celestial ones that have been overpowered. Ill have to pay more attention.

In any case, Celestials should get a bonus to energy weapons...fine. But not any 5 to 8 times more damage to hull.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - TeeKayL - 03-11-2016

Yeah, that was one of the other reasons I thought it may have been a bug. Most races seem to get maybe a 50% damage bonus in the weapons they specialize in. Even celestial ion cannons are good, but not insanely good. The celestial death ray seems to get such a huge bonus. Every non-celestial death ray I've encountered has had such low stats that's it's practically unusable, yet the celestial death ray is amazing.

I've also noticed what makes it particularly tough is that the celestial death ray has high hull damage and is so often combined with other energy weapons (lasers, ion, mega plasma) that are great and taking down shields, because celestials tend to favor those weapons. So they have an a very effective way to strip shields and hull.

Compare that to Trolgar, who are extremely scary if you lose your shields, but are generally pretty ineffective as long as you can keep your shields up. The scary trolgar flak cannons also have fairly limited range. I can play around trolgar for the most part, by beefing up my shields and keeping distance, but I've yet to find any strategy that works against celestial death rays.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - Ezbz - 03-11-2016

I generally stay away from buying any death rays from battlestations unless they are Celestial. Regular laser turrets have comparable damage with a faster recharge time and range to the other death rays. As far as a nerf, I feel like they should just be ultra rare.

In the same vein, the nuke could stand a few more hp. It seems like even with several missile turrets running interference for the nuke, the nuke still seems to get destroyed before hitting the target much of the time. Perhaps just a slight tweak to the armor of the missile itself.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - TeeKayL - 03-12-2016

As long as by ultra rare, you mean for both the player and the enemies. Rare enough that encountering multiple celestial death rays in one fight would be very bad luck. As it is now, if you get a celestial sector 3, it seems that maybe half the ships have celestial death rays. In my example, 7 out of 9 ships that spawned at the station had one.

As for the nukes, I think having extra missiles as interference doesn't help sometimes because often the nuke is not shot down by point defenses or drones. Often the nuke collides with a projectile from the enemy's main guns.
I actually love using setups that spam a lot of projectiles (lots of ion cannons, projectile cannons, flak, dual plasma, all with burst upgrade) because it's so efficient at blocking missiles, nukes, and swarms of drones.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - Draikan - 03-12-2016

Totally agree that the current situation is imbalanced and doesn't create fair gameplay. In my opinion it's ok for the death rate to be this strong, but they shouldn't ALWAYS be this strong. I agree with you that the upgrades for the weapon are the problem. The base stats are fantastic, and the upgrades are useless. In practice this means that EVERY celestial death ray you face is absolutely deadly, and if you come across 2+ at once (fairly common), you are gonna get wrecked. If the weapon were balanced so that it had to be upgraded carefully in order to be effective, the average threat a random death ray presents would be lessened, but the player could still use them as a super weapon if they really invest into the upgrades.

I've struggled with celestial death days quite a bit too, as you said they are only rivaled by unknown laser cannons. The celestial death ray does too much hull damage to defend against. However, if you have a strong shield buffer and decent shield repair, you can prevent it from ever getting to your hull. This is the strategy I have had the most luck with. However, the celestials are unique compared to most other races. Their weapons are generally very good at stripping away shields, and their death rays are one of the most destructive hull weapons in the game. This makes them imbalanced and extremely difficult to defeat. Most other races only do one kind of damage well(trolgar using projectile cannons to damage hull), or if they can do both they are only effective at certain ranges (wanderer flak cannons for example). Celestials break this trend and leaves no real effective counter against them.

The other problem with death rays is that they are, in a sense, the "perfect" weapon. Their combination of long range, accuracy, and high damage, makes most other weapons obsolete. There has to be a trade off, right now there isn't.

Misplaced decimal place on Celestial Death Ray hull damage!? - TeeKayL - 03-12-2016

So since posting this thread I've thought of a few different ways to fix the celestial death ray.

1. Lower the damage
This is probably the simplest solution, and the easiest to balance, but maybe not very creative or fun.

2. Decrease range significantly
This would allow for some counter-play to the celestial death ray, and would help prevent getting hit by 3 of them all at once upon entering a battle. It would also make it less likely that all death rays target the same ship, preventing the near-instant death they sometimes cause.

3. Make it much less common.
A single celestial death ray can be dealt with (by focusing on the ship that has it), the real problems only start when facing at least two (and especially 3+) celestial death rays at once. This also makes it less likely the player ends up with 2 or 3 celestial death rays, making the game too easy.

4. Make the it require lots of upgrades to be extremely powerful.
This makes it much less likely the AIs end up with multiple powerful death rays, but allows the player to use a powerful death ray if they invest a lot of upgrade points.

5. Make the death ray "overheat" and damage its own ship
This way, the celestial death ray would still be very powerful, but it could have a significant drawback.
The description could say something about the weapon being so powerful that it overheats and damages the user.
It could create some interesting builds using lots of shield or hull repair drones to compensate for the self-inflicted damage.
This might not fix the problem of entering a battle and dying in an unpreventable way to multiple celestial death rays though. It would probably have to be made less common too.

6. Make the death ray drain it's own ship's shields in order to fire, and unable to fire if the ship has no shields
Similar to #1. This would make the death ray a powerful but risky weapon to use, and would open up a clear counter-strategy. It would have interesting synergy with shield repair drones. The description could say that the weapon needs so much energy to fire, it has to draw energy from the ship's shields.