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"Fixing" the game

Tell the world your Dropfleet related trials and tribulations!
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brandothecommando

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"Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 6:06 pm

Hey all, long time tournament wargamer. I definitely don't claim to be an expert at dropzone or dropfleet however, having not enough games under my belt or enough time to game anymore, but I do have a long history of tournament flames of war and various other wargames throughout the years.

Regardless, one of the things that really draws me to both zone and fleet is the general balance of the various units and factions. One of my biggest gripes in games are when units are obviously too good or bad; I really enjoy having every unit legitimately being a viable choice with nothing being "overpowered" or only useful as a paperweight.

These are some of the issues I've observed playing dropfleet; please comment, add your own, make counter-points, whatever, let's just be constructive and try and potentially get some ideas of how we could fix these items.

1) Battleships: From my experience, the battleships for each race (barring the Shaltari's, because, shocker, the Shaltari have shenanigans going for them...even then, I'd argue only the diamond is really worth it) are not effective enough. Whether it's too big a signature, too slow, too high of strategy rating (not an issue IMO), not enough firepower/survivability for the points, or some combination there of, they just don't seem worth it in anything but the biggest of games (2k+). Not sure how to fix, lower points possibly, but something needs to be done as they should be a "viable" choice (without being auto-include) at tournament level games.

2) Shaltari Gates: I still find these guys to be too effective for the points; I know I'm gonna get lynched by Shaltari players here for this. Regardless, the ability to put a defence battery at EVERY dropzone for a piddly 15 points and the ability to literally strike anywhere on the table, combined with great ability to shoot down other strike carriers, makes these the kings of the ground game. Yes, I know you need motherships to make them really useful and they jack up your strategy ratings, but overall, the gate spam is so obnoxious and so difficult to counter for certain factions (the PD 6 makes them very difficult even for corvettes to take out and a 5+ save, while not great, means that they'll often save a point of damage even on 2 hits). Maybe an increase to 20 points to make glass a competitive choice as well?

3) General uselessness of some ships: Again, my opinions/observations here and I'm hoping to be proved wrong in my assessments. My list is as follows (I exclude BS since I've already mentioned them, but I honestly think they all suck barring the Diamond):

UCM:
Atlantis BC (similar to Moscow below, plus UCM launch is kind of a joke)
Moscow HC (too slow and not quite enough firepower to justify its cost; the traverse of its guns is awesome, but it's just not flexible enough)
St. Petersburg HC (even with the update, it's still pretty bad)
Rio cruiser (has uses, but generally Berlin's are better for the same cost)
Osaka Light Cruiser (again, New Cairo's are generally much better for a minimal increase in points)
Seattle Carrier? (I personally love them but I know lots of players have issues with them; they're gun boats, with some crappy launch assets as a secondary armament)
San Francisco (way too many points especially when compared to PHR and Shaltari's troopships)

Scourge:
Scylla Frigate
Manticore BC
Shenlong HC
Troopship (I can't even remember the name, it's so bad)

PHR:
Hector HC
Perseus Cruiser
Ikarus Carrier

Shaltari:
All BC and HC
Granite Cruiser
Basalt Carrier
Glass Corvette (mostly compared to gates)
Jade Frigate

Perhaps I'm dead wrong, but these ships seem to be underwhelming when compared to other ships in the faction. This might be simply by comparing them to something similar (ex. the basilisk is a 35 point upgrade over the shenlong but gets a HUGE boost in every department, more than compensating for the loss of a strike carrier, the manticore doesn't add enough over almost a pair of wyverns, etc.) or it could just be that they don't have enough "oomph" (whatever that is depends on the role of the ship) for their points cost.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
Last edited by brandothecommando on Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Shikatanai

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 7:14 pm

I agree nearly completely.

Battleships are bullshit in general. However I think the Platinum is still viable but the Diamond is much better and the Minos is also at least playable with Calypso support...

Agree on the Gates as well however a more elegant way to try to fix this problem might be to diable gates for dropping when using charged air and vice versa...

Another big issue that you do not bring up is the general uselessness of the Corvettes (except for the Echo). Imho corvettes need to be buffed in Atmosphere fight while also reducing their ability in Orbit to avoid huge spamming.

Concerning the useless Ships:

UCM:
I think the Frisco is playable but might need a small buff. Add all those frigates to the useless stuff :D

Scourge:
Actually the Scylla is not the worst of those frigates. Harpies are just useless compared to it and require a buff much more. I also think that all those CAW ships are not bringing enough to the table due to the low survivability... BTL ships are ok but suffer against all those other options. The Troopship is the same for UCM... small buff might do it imho.

PHR:
You listed the worst cruisers (except for the Hector) that's true but imho all cruisers are not worth taking right now... cause Troopships!

Shaltari:
Jet and Onyx are not in that bad shape but again they'll somehow compete with the Diamond ... the BCs are bullshit. Carrier is ok but Shaltari have the least benefit of Launchassets... so more a general problem imho. And yeah... you forgot about all the Particle Ships that are complete crap and the light Cruisers ;)
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Lordprinceps

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 10:25 pm

1) is absolutely correct, but I'd say just for the UCM and Scourge battleships. The PHR battleships, while not as outright good as the Diamond, are useful enough and actually have the durability to function well. Not to mention that the Minos is deceptively good with those neutron missiles.
I'd also say that the Platinum is pretty good too; it's 7 launch with the best fighters in the game and arguably 2nd or 3rd best bombers, as well as having proper guns to go along with it.

2) Agreed as well. I don't think the fundamental mechanics of the gates and motherships need to be changed, but some stats are definitely in need of tweaking. Bumping them up to 20 points and reducing PD to 3 or something would be a step in the right direction.

3) Just going to go through these line by line:
I'm going to disagree on both the Moscow and the Atlantis, since they have the unique ability amongst all heavy gun cruisers to actually be able to put out (near) maximum firepower into their side arcs, with both 6400 batteries and a single 4200.
Meanwhile, the Shenlong and Amber can only put out a single main gun in their side arcs. It may just be personal taste, but I'd say that maneuvering flexibility makes up for it. Also, even though UCM Launch is the objective worst in the game, it's not "bad", if that makes sense. It's a useful auxiliary , rather than a primary weapon like for the Scourge and PHR.

Saint Pete is pretty bad, there's really no argument there, and considering that the UCM just don't have stuff to make them more maneuverable (and it shouldn't be applied to just the Pete to make its WF viable), I'd say that the only thing to do is make its WF good enough (more than it already is) to make the costs of lining up a shot acceptable. As it stands, it's a -slightly- better Berlin with some more hull, which really isn't the way to go in my opinion.
Agreeing in general on the case of UCM beam ships being better than UCM gun ships; personally, if I'm considering taking a Rio, I'll take a Seattle instead. The launch are just so more useful than the 4200's, it doesn't need WF, and the extra cost is worth it.
On the issue of the Sanfran and troopships, I'd actually say that the PHR assault troopships and the Shaltari Emeralds are undercosted, rather than the Sanfran being overcosted.

Scylla is actually pretty good now that its Gravity guns are 3+ lock, but the fact that it has to go WF to use all its armament (unique among all frigates, save it and the Charybdis) does annoy me a tad.
Manticore/Banshee is bad because the Basilisk/Akuma is so good, and because the Torpedoes are such utter garbage. Nerf the Akumalisk, actually make Torpedoes good, and I'm sure you'd see more Banshees flying around.
Likewise for the Shenlong; the Basilisk/Akuma is just so good that it makes the Shenlong not worth taking in comparison.
Chimera is probably the worst out of all the troopships, I agree; that extra sig really, really hurts on a scoring ship. If anything, I think it should be sub 100 points.

Hector is "decent", but like the Shenlong, is overshadowed by the Bellerophon. It also hurts that it's near impossible for it to line up all its weapons on WF with ease.
Perseus is just a fundamentally trash design, in terms of armament. There's literally nothing you can do to save it besides either making heavy guns OP as all hell, or actually retconning the design into something good.
Ikarus is decent enough for the PHR, actually; For only 115 points and with much better launch assets (even if there's less), it's much more efficient than the comparable Seattle on overall firepower as well.

The Ruby is actually fairly good as far as BC's go; it's variable in where and what it can shoot, has an excellent armament, and has all the benefits that usually come with Shaltari. the Saphire is meh, like the Aquamarine, but at least it's got the ion storm and such. I'd take a Jet over the Saphire any day.
Their heavy cruisers are acceptable as well, but the Jet is definitely the best out of the bunch.
By "Onyx", I assume you mean the Granite, in which case I completely agree. It's absolutely terrible.
Basalt is okay enough for a carrier, but there's just so much other stuff that the Shaltari want in medium slots, and the Platinum is more efficient when it comes to launch assets anyways.
Glass is okay; it was absolutely busted when its ion lances were regular guns, but it's still effective and on par with other corvettes. Personally, I'd have its ion lances be CAW(beam) rather than just CAW.
Jade, like the Granite, is terrible. Even with the 2+ lock, a max of 1 damage per turn is inexcusable on a combat frigate.
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brandothecommando

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 10:48 pm

I don't have a ton of experience with Shaltari, only really played against their "good" ships. Haven't seen light cruisers in actual action, but I can see how they would be an issue. However, I can certainly see your point! I also actually meant the granite cruiser is terrible...mixed up the name. That thing is so bad!

Problem I see with the "charge air" and your fix is that isn't that the whole reason the air is charge in the first place? Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me unless I'm mistaken...

Would linking the dorsal turrets on UCM ships help or would that be too good? Problem with the frisco is it has basically no firepower; even the scourge troopship is better equipped. Linked railguns would certainly put it on par with scourge and shaltari equivalents.

Yeah, the PHR troopships are pretty awesome which does tend to trump the regular cruisers. I personally do really like Orions as they can really soak up punishment and if positioned well, those double broadsides can be pretty nasty. However, why would you ever bother with the Hector? It's a barely upgraded Orion for a huge point sink more that is actually harder for it to go weapons free and be useful...
Last edited by brandothecommando on Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dheran

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 11:07 pm

brandothecommando wrote:Would linking the dorsal turrets on UCM ships help or would that be too good? Problem with the frisco is it has basically no firepower; even the scourge troopship is better equipped. Linked railguns would certainly put it on par with scourge and shaltari equivalents.

It would make SanFran a warship. SanFran is a glorified taxi. Its peashooters are for self-defense agains corvettes.
brandothecommando wrote:Yeah, the PHR troopships are pretty awesome which does tend to trump the regular cruisers. I personally do really like Orions as they can really soak up punishment and if positioned well, those double broadsides can be pretty nasty. However, why would you ever bother with the Hector? It's a barely upgraded Orion for a huge point sink more that is actually harder for it to go weapons free and be useful...

It has an actually useful laser? Also after update the broadsides are linked.
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Lordprinceps

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 11:10 pm

The Azurite is "okay" as far as light cruisers go; it hasn't got the best weapon, but it's the cheapest one out there, and vectored really is nice as far as special rules go, especially with its weapon being spinal.

I do agree that the charged air thing shouldn't really be changed, but the voidgates should certainly be a bit more expensive and a bit less durable against the things that are actually trying to kill them. Preferably, voidgates should be in ratio with motherships, with maybe just one or two extra for redundancy, rather than the absolutely stupid "three motherships twelve gates" or "four motherships sixteen gates" lists that float around.

I have actually recommended linking the 4200s on all UCM ships before, and it's overall just a good idea, not just for the sanfran, but for everything!
It doesn't make most UCM ships all that much better, especially the gun cruisers, since they're only useful if you've got a thing on either side you want to plink at and are likely to be killed by that single turret (like Scourge frigates on 1 hull, for example).
Likewise for the beam ships, but a tad more useful.
It doesn't provide any added benefit on WF.
But what it does do is actually give the San Fran, the Madrid, and the New York some decent firepower on standard orders.

As for the why the Hector, I really wouldn't. The PHR twin beams are equal to the UCM's lasers, but if I want PHR lasers, I'll take a Bellerophon or a little squadron of Pandoras. No point in taking an Ajax when you could take the Orpheus, and the Hector is the Hector.

@ Dheran
To be fair, the Chimera has a 3+ lock 1 attack 2 damage scald weapon, which is actually a proper "weapon".
Same for the Emerald, which has 4+ lock 6 attack.
Giving the San Fran the ability to shoot 4+ lock 4 attack 1 damage on standard orders is literally the equivalent of a single PHR medium battery, and it doesn't even make sense that the San Fran has two seperate turrets if it's never, EVER going to go weapons free.
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Dheran

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 11:22 pm

What did you do to the guy that was so caring about WYSIWIG in that other thread? Should I call the police?

IMHO giving SanFran 4 shots, or linked requires doing same thing on every medium and heavy ship in UCM fleet*.
I would rather see it's cost lowered to light cruiser level or lower.

* Some exceptions apply.
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brandothecommando

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 11:24 pm

Dheran wrote:It has an actually useful laser? Also after update the broadsides are linked.


Yes, I am aware. What I meant was that narrow frontage weapons are generally hard to go WF with (see St. Petersburg as an example) and if you're trying to get your Hector into a position to broadside, it often isn't great for it's laser. Also, if you're going strictly by linking, Orions are armed exactly the same in that sense for 60% of the cost... So, basically, the Hector can fulfill multiple roles, but pays a premium of points to do that same job OR sacrifice secondary roles that it could normally fulfill at the same time (like the Bellerophon).

Certainly, you can use the laser on approach and then drive through the line and fire double broadsides; I'm not discrediting that. However, I'd rather take a Bellerophon and use it's lasers continuously and have the rest of my ships (Orions & Europas) do the bumrush up the middle and fire both broadsides.

Again, as others have said, it's not useless, just very overshadowed by something like the Bellerophon so you rarely see them hit the table in a "competitive" sense. That is the whole point of this thread, is to try and find balance so EVERY option is a viable choice.

One thing I've noticed in Fleet and Zone, is that certain builds also favour a particular class. I think certain ships will work better with others, but that doesn't mean the other ships are junk, just not as well suited for the rest of that particular line-up.
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Lordprinceps

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 11:29 pm

Hah, good catch! I actually am recommending doing that, including the double 4200's on the battleships and Avalon/Perth.
It doesn't make the gun ships or beam ships any better than they already are, save for some some specific fringe cases, but adds some much needed power to the Sanfran, Madrid, and New York.
the actual damage output of a single 4200 is impressively low.
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Admiral JCJF

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Re: "Fixing" the game

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 11:38 pm

While I agree with basically all the points made here, I don't think this means the game it'self needs "fixing".

For a startoff we're talking about things that are OP or UP within a pretty narrow band, with a handful of exceptions. While some units are better and some units are worse you CAN win games without the better ones and with the worse ones.

Now, I've been pretty vocal in calling for change in some cases myself (to surprising resistance of unusual kinds in some cases) so I've got a lot of sympathy for your cause.

But the issue isn't Dropfleet, just individual ships within it.
Why would we waste words on Prey?
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