Drone/Fighter/Bomber Balance


Long post ahead. TLDR at the bottom.

I spent a ton of time today playing games where drones were my only weapons. I did this to get a feel for exactly how strong drones can be. I'm not saying using them without other weapons should be totally viable, that was just part of how I did my testing. I'm not including repair drones in this post because I feel they are a bit of a different issue. Keep in mind I am guessing at some of the current stats since they are not shown, sorry if I make any bad estimates.

Here is my impression of the different drone types:
Plasma Bombers: Well balanced (maybe a little weak)
- Decent at killing ships, bad at killing fighters, drones, and missiles
- respawns too slowly to be useful for blocking fire
- range is fine, but often coasts on top of enemies
- Plenty of good upgrades, doesn't get OP

Missile Bombers: Well balanced
- Very similar to Plasma Bombers
- Don't seem to require quite as many upgrades as plasma bombers for similar performance

Bolter Fighters: Poorly balanced (compared to bolter drones)
- Seem to have a larger hitbox than drones, this makes them die too quickly
- Can actually be upgraded to do better damage than bolter drones
- These aren't actually that bad, bolter drones are just way better

Bolter Drones: Poorly balanced
- These do a ton of damage with just a few upgrades
- Very strong at defense and offense
- Effective at blocking incoming fire, high respawn rate makes this effective
- Occasionally are countered by enemy point defense or fighters. Usually can kill a few enemy ships before drone fleet is wiped out and the rest of the fight is easy.
- Pretty much always a better choice than all other drone types due to the fact that they excel at both defense and offense.

In my opinion, the problem here is not that bolter drones are actually too strong. The problem is that they are good at too many different things, and that the bolter fighters don't have a clear role. The bombers aren't weak, they just aren't better than bolter drones at anything. I see three clear roles for combat drones: defending your fleet, destroying enemy drones, and destroying the enemy capital ships. Here is what I recommend:
- Adjust bolter drones to be best suited for defending your fleet
- Leave bombers where they are for the moment
- Let fighters be ok at both defense and offense, but not excellent at either, they are a flex pick

This will make bolter drones the right defensive choice, but will limit their ability to outperform other fighter types in other roles. Bombers will be the strongest for destroying enemy capital ships, and fighters can do both pretty well.
Here is what I would change:

Bolter Drones:
- Keep their high damage, accuracy, and maneuverability. This will keep them strong at defending the friendly fleet from incoming threats.
- Reduce their movement speed. This should mean they are more easily destroyed when approaching a target.
- With these changes, the bolter drones should probably have slightly reduced purchase and upgrade cost.
- Now bolter drones are still a strong defense, and can fight enemy capitals, but they won't be better at capital killing than bombers.

Bolter Fighters:
- Reduce their hitbox just slightly, this will make them take a little less damage.
- Increase their base hull slightly and add an upgrade to increase hull or grant a small shield. This should probably a 1 point upgrade so they can't get too tanky.
- Increase movement speed slightly so the fighters can quickly move around the map.
- This increased usefulness should probably be accompanied by a slight increase in purchasing and upgrade cost.

Now all the drones are good at different things. There is no best option for everything.
- If you need defense pick bolter drones.
- If you want to kill capitals, pick your favorite bomber flavor.
- If you need flexibility, or drones with enough health to stick around during a fight, pick the bolter fighter.

TLDR: Bolter drones make other drones seem weak. Make bolter drones be best at defense. Give bolter fighters something useful to do.

Here are the spreadsheets I used to help figure this out if anyone is curious.
Plasma Bombers:
Missile Bombers:
Bolter Drones:
Bolter Fighters:

Let me know what you guys think! I can do a similar analysis for repair if there is any interest.


It would probably also be good if bombers made a better effort to stay at max range. They die really easily right now. They should be fragile compared to fighters, but I don't think their survivability is quite in the right place.


Those are some great ideas on the fighters and bombers. I don't like the idea of slowing down the drones though - I feel they need some speed to jump in front of those incoming missiles Smile

Another way to balance bolter drones vs fighters and bombers, would be to give drones a max range they can travel away from their carrier. That would make them useful for close defense and close-range targeted attack, but still require fighters and bombers to take out capital ships farther away (300 range?)

Another option to to not allow you to target a specific ship with bolter drones - only fighters and bombers could be pointed to a target. That would essentially accomplish the same thing - The drones would stay close to your ship for defense while an enemy capital ship is in the sector, then fly out to kill enemy fighters/drones when the last capital ship is dead (which is how they act currently if you don't direct them to a target.)



Those would definitely both have a similar effect to the speed reduction Darkstar. I was trying to think of ways to do it that could just use existing mechanics, and not feel arbitrary to the player.

I'm not sure a speed reduction would hurt their defensive abilities much though. I'm not suggesting that they get super slow, just a little slower, maybe 30% or so. And they're ability to get in front of missiles really only matters for the first volley, after that they are already there.

However, exactly how the change is made really isn't that important. The real important thing is just that, somehow, drones be good at different things. It's super hard to make them all unique and balanced when you have a bunch of different modules trying to perform the same role. If you give each module a different purpose and balance around that, the balancing act gets easier and there is better gameplay. This is why I suggested a hull/shield buff and upgrade for the fighters, there isn't currently a drone that really works well for close range. Bolter drones only seem to be effective here because they can do so much damage before they die. It would be really cool for example if bombers were most effective when you sent them in to battle with fighter support to draw fire and soak damage. Then you'd have to decide how to split your drone bays between fighter/bombers, and those would be fun choices!


I still waiting the hangar in the capital chip, a capital ship is not a capital ship if is not have the hangar, pleases i am sugesting thus for a long time, pleases put hangars to the capital ship.


@Pautaniik. The Extended Edition part 2 update will have many new ships!


Oo lol thanks but the capital shio will have hangar ???


Yes, there will be new big ships with hangars. "Capital Ship" is just a class, a name for the size of the ship essentially. It might be that we forget to name the big ships "Capital Ship", but they are still big ships with hangars Smile They can be heavy carriers or something.

Here is a couple of the new ships. BSE Harbinger will have 4 hangars (But remember! We might not name it "Capital Ship")

[Image: 6fd254b9bb77546eeab91228a10f601d_origina...b3ca3825fc]


As exciting as new ships are, let's try to keep this on topic! Anyone else have ideas about drone balance?

AdmiralGeezer I saw you mention in another thread that laser drones had been buffed. What is their purpose supposed to be? What are their strengths and weaknesses compared to other drones? Is that change live? I'd love to test it.


It is live on Android, if you update through the store normally. Next week on iOS. Buffed the starting damage of laser drones a little bit.

Your questions raise a good point, right now the normal fighters are the cheap ones, not that good but helps a lot to avoid some damage etc. The bombers are meant to be more long distance fellows, movement slower.

The laser drones and bolter drones are pretty much the same, only that one is better than the other. Laser drones would be more towards shield damage, but right now the shields are shredded so quickly that it doesn't really make a difference. We will have to think about this.

This topic raises good points about the different fighter classes, and we will have to look into how we can make them have their own strengths and weaknesses.

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