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State of the Game

Tell the world your Dropfleet related trials and tribulations!
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Nobody

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Re: State of the Game

PostFri Aug 24, 2018 9:10 pm

Curious to see see what’s in part 2 with the UCM, I have my theories about what’s going to be in it but I’m always glad to see an alternate POV.
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Jaeger

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Re: State of the Game

PostFri Aug 24, 2018 11:54 pm

-- INDIVIDUAL FACTION BALANCE ISSUES (PART 2) --

Firstly, thank you all for your comments and interest.

@Wundergoat, I agree strongly with your ideas, particularly with regards to rules bloat.

@Nobody, feel free to chime in! :D

This is Part 2 of 2.

Shaltari

Overall:

The sense I have gotten from Shaltari players is that for one, generally, particle lances are no where near as effective as disintegrator batteries.

This ties in to the other overall issue that Shaltari are described as the 'skirmishing' fleet, keeping opponents at arm's length before moving in for the kill when the enemy is sufficiently weakened - however, this does not play out in practice. Because disintegrator / CAW ships are generally more effective, the Shaltari are encouraged to get up-close-and-personal.

Of course, this playstyle is also hampered by the need to get in close to clusters. Hence my wondering about expanded missions beyond space D-Day.

Another impression one receives is that, as compared with the other factions, Shaltari ship roles seem to overlap more. That is, lots of Shaltari ships do very similar things to each other, and this may be exacerbated by less statistical differentiation between ships of various tonnages (e.g. in Shaltari armour saves, thrust and signature).

My gut instinct is that in the long run the Shaltari probably need more variety in weapons systems, as well as better balance for the existing ones, in order to provide stronger differentiation.

Light Ships

Glass - These little vessels appear to have gone from being very points-effective to now suffering from the same general issues that corvettes have.

Jade - The poster child for particle beam issues. As per Lorn's thoughts, without the experimental rules updates (BTW, does TTC officially support those rules? Haven't seen them on the site...) they do not put out anywhere near enough firepower to be worthwhile. With the updates (giving them a 2+ Lock), points balance with the Topaz remains an issue.

Voidgates - The scourge of early starter set battles. There is a view that perhaps Voidgates are a bit too effective in engaging hostile dropships and bulk landers in atmosphere.

Medium Ships

Aquamarine - While having a potentially interesting gimmick weapon for tactical shenanigans, in practice I get the impression that the Aquamarine, like its sister the Azurite, lacks sufficient bang-for-buck. The Impel rule relies on getting 2 unsaved hits on the target, where the ship puts out 2 attacks, and even with a 2+ Lock, this seems unreliable.

Azurite - As above, even with the assistance of the Vectored rule, the Azurite seems under-gunned. Considering one can get an Amber to do the same job with greater crit-causing firepower, hull and PD for only a few points more, the Azurite appears somewhat noncompetitive.

Granite - Suffers from the issues with particle lances. I do like Lorn's fix of making them Lock 2+, although a part of me also feels that maybe they should be Linked.

Turquoise - I have gotten the impression that this ship tends to lose out to the Jet because the latter brings disintegrators as well as CAW and bombardment. I confess not to know enough to comment.

Heavy Ships

From my understanding, the Shaltari heavies tend to suffer from the lack of differentiation mentioned above. They directly compete with cruisers, but unlike other factions, they do not bring unique features of their own to make them more worthwhile.

Super-Heavy Ships

The infamous Diamond and Platinum. To be honest, I am of the cautious opinion that they are actually fine, it's just that they have the threat range to overcome the general issues that all other battleships face.


UCM

Overall:
Others have noted, and I tend to agree, that the UF-4200 turrets on cruisers probably should be linked and have rear arcs for QoL purposes. I have strong distaste for funny little weapons with limited utility (like the UF-4200s as they are, and the PHR Medium Turret on the front of cruisers).

I have also noticed sentiments opposite to those found in the Shaltari, in that UCM BTLs are generally more effective that mass drivers.

Light Ships

Havana - Suffers from general torpedo issues.

Jakarta- Situational but still useful (Nobody).

Kiev - Somewhat powerful relative to other light vessels (Nobody).

Lima - Very specific use that usually only gets half-a-game's worth of play (Nobody).

Santiago- As per other corvettes. Too much of a points investment to ensure a strike carrier kill.

Toulon - Not taken beyond starter games due to general frigate issues (Nobody).

Medium Ships

Berlin - Competes with the New Cairo, but fairly evenly matched (Nobody).

Osaka - Definitely outcompeted by the New Cairo due to the effectiveness of its BTL and close points cost.

Rio - Loses out to BTL ships due to relative points cost (Nobody). Also competes with Seattle, which has launch in its favour.

San Francisco - Under-gunned and vulnerable.

Heavy Ships

Moscow - Loses out due to the issue of turrets vs. BTLs, and even then, is eclipsed by the Atlantis/Johannesburg (Nobody).

Atlantis/Johannesburg - As above, outcompeted in effective direct fire by the Avalon with its superlaser (Nobody).

St. Petersburg - As-written, can only be used to full effectiveness on WF, which is too punishing for a ship that wants to stay out of threat range and snipe. It also directly competes in role with the Avalon, which can do the same BTL sniping job without the WF. With Siphon Power it is better, but I get the impression that it needs more tweaking?

Super-Heavy Ships
The UCM battleships suffer as others do - lack of points-effective firepower, lack of threat range, and a high signature.

The New York can partially counteract this to an extent with its launch payload (Nobody).

----------------------------------

Once again, please feel free to correct me, or add to your own thoughts. I'm thinking, with peoples' permission, I can edit my posts with everyone else's submissions for ease of reading?
Last edited by Jaeger on Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: State of the Game

PostSat Aug 25, 2018 3:06 am

Generally with you.

BTL vs Turret you are correct. Turrets do steady damage, and that puts them into the tortoise role compared to the BTL's hare. Unfortunately, with the number of turns you get to shoot the lower steady damage just doesn't win out.

Light ships:

The Jakarta finds room in TAC fleets because you may not encounter an opponent that the aegis rule is useful against in game 1, but there might be one in game 2. It can also double as an active scan ship.

Toulons don't see use beyond starter games and escalation groups (excepting, of course, the command card). This is more of a frigate problem than a problem with Toulons themselves IMO.

Limas are seen as a crutch, but rarely have a function in the game past turn 3ish (depending on the opposing fleet).

For Destroyers, the Havana suffers for being based around torpedoes, the Kiev is becoming a major crutch on it's own, and the Vancouver is fantastic.

Cruisers:

Berlin vs New Cairo is a personal choice, and the hive consensus tends to change every so often as to which one is better based on cost or hull points + better armor save. I wouldn't say there's a definitive problem here.

The Osaka and Rio suffer for being turret ships that cost the same (or nearly the same) as their BTL counterparts. Rios still kinda see use due to the command card though.

Heavies:

You are correct on the St Pete, it's the only BTL ship we have that is considered bad.

Missing from the analysis is the Moscow and Atlantis/Johannesburg. The Moscow, like the Toulon, only shows up in starter and escalation battles (at least, in my experience), and the Atlantis/Johannesburg is a Moscow that's a lot more expensive so it can fit a Seattle's worth of Launch so...

Based on my observations, the only Heavy that's respected for UCM is the Avalon/Perth.

Superheavies:

You are pretty much spot on here. The Beijing just doesn't have enough punch to justify bringing it. The Tokyo is too slow and bombardment is too weak to be really effective at its job, and the New York can work, but it's relying heavily on the bombers and fighters that have the weakest stats in the game as well as torpedoes.
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Jaeger

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Re: State of the Game

PostSat Aug 25, 2018 4:15 am

Cheers Nobody, thank you for the points, particularly on the heavy cruisers vs. battlecruisers that I missed. If I understand correctly, you're essentially saying that the battlecruisers are simply better heavy cruisers, and since BTLs do better overall, the Avalon wins out over the Atlantis?

Your comment on the Toulon interests me. Would you mind expanding upon what you see wrong with it, in relation to frigates in general?
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Re: State of the Game

PostSat Aug 25, 2018 5:14 pm

Jaeger wrote:Cheers Nobody, thank you for the points, particularly on the heavy cruisers vs. battlecruisers that I missed. If I understand correctly, you're essentially saying that the battlecruisers are simply better heavy cruisers, and since BTLs do better overall, the Avalon wins out over the Atlantis?

Your comment on the Toulon interests me. Would you mind expanding upon what you see wrong with it, in relation to frigates in general?


Generally that frigates (outside of Strike Carriers and the odd escort ship) get sidelined in list construction the closer a player gets to a tournament sized (1250 pts). Some leeway is given for CAW frigate packs, but I'll admit I don't see those as much anymore when people start spitballing lists. Likely has to do with the tendency to go off like a firecracker string (ship A dies, catastrophic table damage hits another ship and forces a crippling roll, which generally tends to lead to another catastrophic roll, repeat) as well as a general lack of firepower.

Edit: and correct on the Avalon vs Atlantis
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Re: State of the Game

PostSun Sep 02, 2018 1:52 pm

Great points. This should get posted into the Facebook group!
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Jaeger

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Re: State of the Game

PostMon Sep 03, 2018 1:30 am

_ghost_ wrote:Great points. This should get posted into the Facebook group!


I wasn't sure how such a topic would go on there? I confess that I lurk there, but generally don't use FB very often. I have heard that critique, however constructive, doesn't go down well?

Apologies if I seem a little out of it :P Life issues in the past year have really cut down on the time I have for hobbies. Trying to get back into it.


As an aside, it is heartening to see that the new dreadnoughts appear to have a decent threat range now, as compared to battleships. Still wondering if a 16" Signature is too high though.
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Re: State of the Game

PostMon Sep 03, 2018 6:07 am

Honestly I'm fine with the 16" sig, I'm actually surprised Dave didn't set them to 24".

I'm expecting the most likely usage is that they're going to silent run up the board and then weapons free to remove a battleship and/or some cruisers the first turn they can (or try to put the hurt on an enemy dread so another kill group can take it out your next activation).
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Re: State of the Game

PostMon Sep 03, 2018 6:26 am

16” is probably workable, it it really shows how out of line battleship sig is. A UCM BB is 6” more than a cruiser but 4” less than a dread, despite the dread being a significantly greater jump in power than cruiser to BB.

Nobody wrote:
Jaeger wrote:Cheers Nobody, thank you for the points, particularly on the heavy cruisers vs. battlecruisers that I missed. If I understand correctly, you're essentially saying that the battlecruisers are simply better heavy cruisers, and since BTLs do better overall, the Avalon wins out over the Atlantis?

Your comment on the Toulon interests me. Would you mind expanding upon what you see wrong with it, in relation to frigates in general?


Generally that frigates (outside of Strike Carriers and the odd escort ship) get sidelined in list construction the closer a player gets to a tournament sized (1250 pts). Some leeway is given for CAW frigate packs, but I'll admit I don't see those as much anymore when people start spitballing lists. Likely has to do with the tendency to go off like a firecracker string (ship A dies, catastrophic table damage hits another ship and forces a crippling roll, which generally tends to lead to another catastrophic roll, repeat) as well as a general lack of firepower.

Edit: and correct on the Avalon vs Atlantis


Chain reactions are IMO the biggest drag on frigates. Their firepower is ok at roughly half a cruiser, but they have favorable sig and are more responsive. However, the ease at which they cripple and explode plus the catastrophic table potential for chain reactions is especially rough. Here are some detailed observations of the issue:

1) Frigates are weak enough that a hit from catastrophic damage can cripple an up damaged frigate, which in turn has a 50/50 chance to die and trigger another catastrophic roll.
2) While the level of catastrophic result is tied to ship size, the damage output is not, so the table’s lethality to frigates isn’t changed all that much.
3) Though the lower end of the damage table allows saves, frigates tend to have bad saves, so are very susceptible to chain reactions.
4) It is hard to spread frigates out to minimize chain reactions. Besides the fact that larger groups have a more difficult time focusing firepower and maneuvering, explosions hit at max range 1/3 of the time versus 1/6 for cruisers.

I would make small ships (anything with the d3 explosion radius) do half damage from catastrophic effects and remove explosion radius rolls in favor of set distance (2” and 4” for small/large ships for example). There is already enough randomness in the table effects.
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