Author Topic: GA 2.0: Armor vs. Shields  (Read 820 times)

buttz

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GA 2.0: Armor vs. Shields
« on: November 26, 2012, 04:47:59 PM »
So that research stuff sounds really cool, and I'm hoping you guys will also take a look at my favorite imbalance in SR.  Armor vs. shields.

Short version, shields are horribly outclassed by armor for a couple reasons.
1. Shields use up a significant amount of space, armor doesn't use any.
2. Shields have no damage reduction.
3. Shield subsystems aren't that good or numerous, the decent ones are mutually exclusive, and they also use space.
4. Reactive armor is really, really good.

All this adds up to shields not being good for much more than sponging the first volley of a fight and taking a hit every now and again afterwards, which really isn't worth the internal space when I could just put a bigger repair tool on instead.

So the outcome is that my endgame ships always end up using a composite of reactive and powered armor and no shields at all unless I have a spare external mount slot for some reason or feel like adding some shield plate.

What about armor-penetrating weapons?

They hit external mounts before they hit armor and the damage doesn't overflow, so a ship with any amount of repair will have their external mounts alive enough that AP guns won't hit armor very often.

Shields keep your external mounted stuff alive longer, isn't that worth it?

Not really, if a ship's getting hit hard enough to lose their external mounts they're getting hit hard enough to chew through their shields pretty quickly anyway.  The exception is if you're running into a lot of AoE damage like an entire fleet equipped with fusion torpedoes, but even then a point or two of shield plate will work just as well and it doesn't consume space.

Most hulls only have four points of armor and four points of shields, isn't it worth maxing out both?

No, because shields are bad and you can put internal armor mounts on external mounts.

My dumb suggestions:
- Change armor/shield slots to just reduce the space taken up by them until you've used up the allotment, then they take up double space or w/e.  Make armor use space.
- Or include native shield generators in some hull designs.
- Or add a remote shield charging subsystem, similar to repair tools.  Maybe give it a small repair rate too to make up for it only being good for repairing shields vs. literally everything else.
    - Or make shield charge rate based on the amount of excess power available on the ship (up to a cap that can be improved with a subsystem or w/e) and add a remote power-providing subsystem.  This would also be cool for carriers.
- Or add new late-game shield generators.  Pocket dimension projectors that give evasion?  Directed-force emitters that also function as PD?  Graviton belts that get stronger the more graviton belt generators there are nearby?  The possibilities are endless!

Also the megastructure hull is objectively the best hull, nerf pls.

e: also make reactive plate's threshold a lot higher.

e2: and a way for small weapons to eventually penetrate high-reduction armor would be cool.  maybe make the reduction degrade a little every time it's hit.  i just want fighters to be good ;_;

e3: also please give lasers some love, right now they aren't really worth using until fusion lance/cutter.  the low effective range is really killer.

e4: and if you're working on reducing the geometric nature of research, are you going to be doing the same with economy?  to make a bad analogy, in starcraft you choose between focusing on aggression or focusing on expansion, literally building an army vs. building an economy.  but that's a 1:1 exchange, one army instead of one base, and extra bases increase your economy additively since they only affect your income, not your income AND research AND production.  so if i focus on economy and you focus on aggression and you come attack me, you only have to kill one base to make the trade worth it and then you've got a bigger army and an equal number of bases.  in SR, it's almost always better to focus on expansion since every planet you take improves your ability in EVERY aspect of the game at the cost of having a smaller navy.  so if someone focuses on aggression, they have to not only kill the other guy's fleet, but then their bigger and tougher and more frequent reinforcements thanks to the production & research boost and defender's advantage, and then kill enough planets to make the trade worthwhile (meaning pretty much every planet they've taken since the first player began to focus on aggression, which can be an awful lot), and then get away with enough of a fleet left to survive a counterattack.  SR as it is disproportionally rewards defense & economy over aggression.

e5: i should probably split that off into its own post.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 05:52:00 PM by buttz »

Azalrion

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Re: GA 2.0: Armor vs. Shields
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 05:41:21 PM »
I can sum it down too, "hope you had fun writing that, and thank you but we already have plans to completely redo weapons and defenses from scratch", like everything else were doing.
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XTRMNTR2K

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Re: GA 2.0: Armor vs. Shields
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 05:42:51 PM »
You are raising some good points (some that are known to us as well), but I hope you don't mind if I don't answer each and every point in detail. Let's just say we take the balancing aspect much more seriously for 2.0 and that we are throwing ideas around and discussing ways to improve the gameplay mechanics involved in combat. Keep in mind we are currently still discussing and designing this stuff, but it could look something like this:

Let's say you have weapons available of the types A, B and C. When designing a blueprint you also have the choice to equip your ship with different defensive systems in at least 2 different layers (let's call them internal and external for the sake of simplifying things). These also come in flavors A, B, and C, but a generic type X as well. Types A-C are specialized against one particular weapon type but offer no real protection against the other two, while type X provides decent defense against all of them while failing to protect properly against specialized offensive A, B or C-type ships. You can, however mix and match all of them according to what a given ship's limits allow. While this alone won't make shields better, it doesn't mean we won't give shield balance (and mechanics) an overhaul as well. However, you should keep in mind that shields are NOT meant to replace armor. Armor is and should, always, be the last line of defense.

A few other things:

4. Reactive armor is really, really good.

Yes, we are well aware of that (and its similar in vanilla as well if I recall correctly) and we will do something about it. Pinkie promise.

Quote
Most hulls only have four points of armor and four points of shields, isn't it worth maxing out both?

Fun fact: If you've been around long enough you may remember a time when shields ruled supreme and were absolutely OP because of their ridiculous HP. I think it was one of the first few releases.

Quote
Also the megastructure hull is objectively the best hull, nerf pls.

wat.

I can see how its great when used with integrated construction, but in terms of potential offensive AND defensive capabilities the Gargantuan hull wins, hands down. It's got 8 armor mounts, 8 shield emitters and a spinal hull as well. Stuff it full with shield armor to the max and enjoy the massive amount of internal space you can devote to subsystems that make other things go boom.

Quote
e2: and a way for small weapons to eventually penetrate high-reduction armor would be cool.  maybe make the reduction degrade a little every time it's hit.  i just want fighters to be good ;_;

We all want that. We really do.

Quote
e3: also please give lasers some love, right now they aren't really worth using until fusion lance/cutter.  the low effective range is really killer.

This is still subject to change, but fusion lance and cutter will probably not make it into our new tech tree. We do want to make sure lasers have their place, though (read: they should ROCK and melt faces because that's what lasers do!).

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e4: and if you're working on reducing the geometric nature of research, are you going to be doing the same with economy? (...)<

Short answer: Yes.
Slightly longer answer: Yes, that's one thing our planned changes should do.

I can sum it down too, "hope you had fun writing that, and thank you but we already have plans to completely redo weapons and defenses from scratch", like everything else were doing.

Well, yeah, that is one way to put it.

Damn, I take too long writing stuff.

buttz

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Re: GA 2.0: Armor vs. Shields
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 06:15:16 PM »
Well, all of that sounds awesome as hell and I love you guys.

Azalrion:

I did have fun writing it.  Dick.

XTRMNTR2K:

Yeah, I meant gargantuan.  Whoops!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 07:34:06 PM by buttz »