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Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - Printable Version

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Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - HugoBSH - 03-23-2016

This is my first time getting into forum shenanigans for any game I've played. That beimg said I've been playing quite a bit of BS:H and it seems the developers actually care about making a quality product and respond to user feedback. So I thought I'd start with a commentary on module stats, balancing, and use.

Human Energy Cannon: with enough upgrades, can complete easy and normal difficulties without having to switch to better variants or weapons.

•cheapest turret
•2 burst upgrades max the hull DPS at 16.7
•upgrades don't debuff damage
•high shield damage at 150 DPS after full shield and burst upgrades, 6 total upgrades.

•no hull damage upgrade
•upgrades debuff accuracy and range
•necessarily a close range weapon

Best used on the Capital Ship or similar (5 turrets = 83 hull dps) used in conjunction with bolter or gatling turrets can deal massive damage at close range for very cheap.

Human Projectile Cannon: I must not know how to use this one, or it just sucks, because I see almost no use for it or its variants. In the early game it is useless unless upgraded significantly, and in the mid to late game it is seriously underpowered; a maximum 60 hull dps at 400 range costing 6 upgrades might not sound that bad, but without a way to lower shields it's useless.

•2nd cheapest turret
•high projectile speed
•very effective against unshielded fighters and drones

•low maximum shield damage at 16 DPS, costing 6 upgrades and a range penalty of 600
•burst upgrade debuffs fire rate 1 second per level, 3 seconds total
•burst upgrade debuffs range 200 per level, 600 total
•accuracy and range upgrades debuff fire rate 0.2 seconds per level, 1 second total
•necessarily a close range weapon
•slow fire rate and low shield damage means most enemy shields regenerate 100% in between shots.
•in order to upgrade the weapon to be effective it needs 6+ upgrades costing 100+ in points per turret.

I have found this weapon to be very impractical for its price and cost of upgrades. A fix would include one or more of the following: higher base fire rate, higher shield damage upgrades, lower range/fire rate penalties for upgrades, higher max range upgrades. But I honestly don't know what exactly would balance it.

Human Teleport: useful for getting into/out of hairy situations in the early-mid game. The increased mobility only becomes more useful later because of the slow rate of movement (for most ships) and high DPS in the late game means that skirmishes are usually determined before warp recharges, thus optimal field position is essential and can be achieved quicker with a Teleport module.

•radically increased mobility

•requires use of a turret slot which decreases total main turret DPS by up to 50% depending on the ship

Escape Pod: essential for late game in normal and hard difficulties so you can escape to one of your fleet ships, think of it as a revival token.

•can escape a fatal situation

•requires use of a turret slot which decreases total main turret DPS by up to 50% depending on the ship

Human Laser Cannon: well balanced short to medium range weapon capable of completing easy difficulty games without upgrades.

•upgrades don't debuff accuracy or range
•base 20 hull DPS
•very high accuracy
•very high shield damage

•cannot upgrade range
•damage upgrades debuff fire rate, a total of +1.2 for 6 levels, fire rate upgrades give -1.5 for 3 levels.
•a fully upgraded turret only gains 10.2 hull DPS and 17.3 shield DPS at a cost of massive 288 upgrade points

Notes: I recommend only upgrading hull damage and fire rate, it will maximize hull dps. The upgrades for this weapon are poorly arranged, having a very low cost/benefit ratio. Eliminating penalties would make this a more pragmatic upgradable early-mid game weapon, this might also unbalance it, but to account for that the scrap cost could be increased.

That's all for now, I'll be taking a look at the more expensive modules soon, and will continue posting here.


Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - joe1512 - 03-23-2016

Based on your comments, you clearly are new at the game. As such are extremely unqualified to give "balance" feedback.

The human weapons are all starting points...NONE of them are really any good compared to versions from other races or other special weapons.

Human energy cannon is the ONLY way to bring down enemy shields early on at long range. It supplies a constant stream of shield-defeating damage once per second, ensuring your projectile cannons can do actual damage. Upgrading to autofire is usually a bad plan since it reduces the constant-barrage allowing a shield-recharge to block a whole volley of projectiles.

Projectile cannon is the ONLY way to do actual hull damage of significance early on at long range. You get 1 energy cannon, and a bunch of projectile cannons until you find better. Its upgrades aren't all that good, although in theory the cannon could be strong if fully upgrade which costs an absolute fortune and is not practical. (i.e. 4 burst, 80 hull/20 shield damage, but horrid recycle time). Every time you upgrade something, something else gets worse. I usually take 1 Burst upgrade so range matches energy cannon and 50% more firepower (at a bit of accuracy loss).

Lasers are really best against enemy fighters since they will shoot while your longer range weapons engage capitol ships. In Hard you cant fight with just 1 laser, so you have to go with Bays or with Energy/Projectile combo.
In easy, yes you can stack up lasers and win but you wind up with too much overkill-damage where you have 5 lasers all shooting 1 stupid fighter.
Lasers are also decent for anti-shield if you happen to pick up and use Vulcan cannon, Flak cannon or other shorter range high damage weapon.

You cant really afford rockets,Missiles, etc. You certainly cannot afford a Teleporter on hard and getting something that does 0 damage is really dumb early on, cuz you need firepower.

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - HugoBSH - 03-23-2016

Your remark on my experience may not be entirely off the mark, but it does not mean I cannot possibly know what I am talking about. How much I've played the game should be mostly irrelevant if I am strictly using numbers to identify potential imbalances (like the laser's upgrades: costing a total of 288 points while only giving a measly 10 dps, I would think that qualifies as an imbalance).

Regardless, I think my observations are valid, and I will still argue the projectile cannon is a very job specific weapon because of its slow rof and terrible shield damage. As far as I know, there's no long range shield killer so using it for sniping is also out of the question. A max burst energy cannon doubles as anti-missile and fighter because of its spread and amount of orbs fired. Lightly upgraded it also has similar (although admittedly less) hull dps for early game fittings. If there's only 1 energy cannon on the ship it is very easy for its fire to be blocked by a fighter or missle, allowing the opponent's shields to recharge. There is also almost no advantage that I can see to having a mid-range outfit: almost all of the powerful weapons type can reach the player while most of the cheap and easily accessible high dps weapons available to the player are shorter range. Although that changes once higher grade weapons become available.

I have found Teleport to be immensely useful for short range outfits in certain circumstances, one common example is warping in too far away from a dangerous enemy deathray/nuke ship, there is usually no time to get within range before warp recharges or the players ship is destroyed.

In regards to the lasers, I merely compiled the numbers and noted that it is entirely possible to cheaply beat the easy difficulty (more scrap means more points in the end) and save upgrade points on normal in the early game.

The purpose of my reviews will be to analyze the specific costs and benefits each weapon has. My task would be made much easier if people could contribute to the discussion in a similar fashion. Discussion as to the appropriate uses of each is secondary and i hope my notes would reflect as much.

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - Draikan - 03-24-2016

I did a very similar analysis early on, a while before all the updates. The projectile cannon and energy cannon are definitely best when used together. They both suck alone. Try a game using both, you'll probably kill most ships a lot faster.

If you build spreadsheets for the weapons and look at the cost/benefit of all the upgrades, it is clear that a ton of stuff isn't balanced. Many weapons have upgrades that don't make sense, are too weak, have huge drawbacks, etc. The balance has been slowly getting better, but a lot of things are still just weird.

The laser seems in a very odd place. It's worse at hull damage than projectiles, worse at shield damage than the energy cannon, and the upgrades don't do much. What's the point of it? It would be really cool if the laser could be paired with projectiles for a sniper setup, but with it's short range and no range upgrade that just can't work. Laser seems like it should be a long range weapon, it's a laser...

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - Forty In Red - 03-24-2016

@HugoBSH - here's some historical perspective from someone who HAS played this game an absolute ton. And I agree that your feedback is valid, even if you're new.

The projectile cannon was way OP in the original harbinger. Many agreed that it was the best human weapon, all things considered, which didn't make sense given how cheap it was. So it got nerfed in extended version 1. It was still pretty darned good though, and really all you needed was a single every cannon to knock down shields. Everything else was a maxed out projectile. I've beaten the game on hard several times using only projectiles and one energy (it's actually my go to strategy). So it got nerfed again. Now, I think it is where it should be. It is cheap, and shouldn't be incredible. Now, it's much more of a "you pay for what you get" weapon than in previous versions. I'm curious to see what you think of a death ray...

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - Forty In Red - 03-24-2016

^and if you're curious, yes, I have mapped out the "best" upgrades for all the starting weapons on excel. My caution to you here is that "best" on paper isn't always "best" in game. For example burst. Numerically it is one of your worst upgrade choices. But actually it plays out pretty well. In early game, and especially against missiles, "more shots" trumps "more damage" every day of the week.

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - Ezbz - 04-12-2016

My favorite weapon/strategy is Ion Cannon Mk II in as many slots as I can fill. one of each upgrade type initially, but hull and shield damage to max. I use strictly Valiant with lasers on four corners and front and 6 shield boosters. I have been using bolter fighters in all six fighter bays. They regen fast and upgrade cheaply. The (Celestial) Ion Cannons have good range and can stop a capital ship in its tracks while creating an effective missile shield.

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - the streaker - 04-20-2016

IMO the biggest issue with red hardpoint balance is the ever-increasing range and damage of EVERYTHING as you progress through the game. Lasers aren't that great at the start, because damage is relatively low and range not so good. By map#20, celestials can have several lasers with 1500+ range and enough damage to completely melt you away in one second.

I feel that range should not continuously increase in higher levels, since it is an important balance mechanism for the different modules. What good are missiles or photon cannons or even projectile weapons when lasers have enough range to reach anything instantly as soon as you warp in? And they can't be blocked or stopped or dodged in any way?

I'm willing to bet that everyone who is good enough to reach far into endless mode (20+ maps) gets knocked out by that eventual unlucky roll of the dice where three or four ships with lasers/deathrays insta-kill your fleet before you can even scratch your nose. It's just not a fun way to lose the game. Keep increasing the number of ships you face, so eventually you have to deal with a swarm. At least then it's within the power of the player to out-smart the stupid AI masses. You can't outsmart a death ray.

Reviews and Balance Issues: Red Hardpoint Modules - Bozobub - 05-08-2016

*Rise, RISE not-quite-dead thread!*

I tend to start with a single Laser + Bolter Drones. That combo is generally enough for me to buy (or steal, from wreckage) all the actual heavy-hitters and escorts I need.

If using just always-available Human weapons, my starting build for any given ship is the above, followed by a Nuke Cannon. Until Death Rays come along, anyhow, or other superior found/station-purchased weapons.