Thoughts on Device Balancing/Future Changes

MoonSet416

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#1
TLDR: I think if the devs need to nerf/buff/adjust certain devices in the future (especially after CA), they should try to only change stats that do not interact with anything else on the same ship so that old ships can still work well.

This mainly came from the recent increase in weapon power draw and to a lesser extent the changes to thrusters. I think for the same purpose the dev wanted to achieve (nerfing weapons in general, differentiating thrusters into more specific roles) there were better ways to do this.

For example, if let's say autocannons are way too OP and need a nerf. Instead of increasing the power draw, which is directly linked to the power system of the ship, the devs could have nerfed things that are not directly related to the rest of the ship, like damage, the mag size, range, penetration etc. After nerfing the second group of stats, a fighter would be weaker than before (which is intended), but it would not have issues with simply not having enough power to do things.

This actually matters a lot for Starbase because SB ships take longer to build than most other sandbox games. Design-breaking changes would force dedicated ship designers away, especially when these changes could have been done in better ways.
 

CalenLoki

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#2
I absolutely disagree.

Old ships will get obsolete anyway, as the player understanding of the game mechanics will grow.

Many similar games suffered from trying to remain backward-compatible. It often holds back some really needed changes.
I.e. FtD would be much more fun with less drag, weaker thrusters and less buoyancy. But that would make most of the exisiting ships sink, and most planes fall from the sky. So it remained as it was.

Unlike FtD, SB have very few "stock" ships that'll need updating. And over time they'll get slowly replaced by better ships designed, updated and sold by players.


But IMO those changes (after alpha) should be very gradual. I.e. it's announced that guns power usage will triple in the future, but it only increase by 25% every week for the next 3 months.
Just so players have time to adapt, rather than ship suddenly stopping overnight in the middle of nowhere.
Also smaller adjustments prevent overshooting too much.
 

MoonSet416

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#3
Not everyone has the time to redesign ships whenever power draw is updated, especially in Starbase where building a ship takes longer than some of the other games.

I played FtD as well (from 2015 to around 2018 ish), I can say from my experience I would much prefer basic physics stay the same unless there is some obvious glitch or exploits. I think it's just the "flavor" of the game, same as Starbase having space drag.

Gradual changes and overshoots are exactly why things like power draw should be left alone so that people do not waste time redesigning ships knowing that they won't work/won't be optimal next week. And my point still stands, why not just decrease the damage of the guns? 1/3 number of guns and 1/3 damage have practically the same effect, except the latter option save players' time.

PS: OK I know 1/3 damage won't be exactly equivalent to 1/3 number of guns, but because changes to damage do not render old ships obsolete, you can potentially have hotfix patches every day to test it out without any worries.
 

XenoCow

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Dec 10, 2019
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#4
but because changes to damage do not render old ships obsolete
I could imagine situations where old ships become obsolete from damage changes, just like from power changes. Imagine that at some point 2 layers of standard armor are plenty enough to stop a few normal auto-cannon rounds. Then, after damage is reduced, it only takes one layer to have the same defense. That means that older ships will be hauling around twice the armor as the newer ships which are more maneuverable and just as sturdy as the old ships were.

I think that no matter what you change, something that someone made will brake. Even fixing bugs can break somebody's ship if they exploited it, knowingly or not.
 

MoonSet416

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#5
No the new ships are nowhere as sturdy as the old ones, they have half the armor and just that, half the armor. The two ships in this comparison now fill different roles (one nimble and one tanky) and are totally functional in their respective area without the need for any redesigning and this is great.

unless there is some obvious glitch or exploits
Like I said, I wasn't including glitch ships. Using glitch is a completely separate issue.

Again, changes will and should happen even after release, but there are less damaging ways to achieve the same balancing effect.
 

CalenLoki

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#6
It doesn't take that much time to redesign a ship. In our example - increased power draw - it's matter of removing few guns and adding few batteries or generators. Less than hour of work.
Will the ship be exactly as powerful as before? No. Will it still work? Yes.
It's a meaningful choice between building meta-ships, with cutting edge calculated proportions for max efficiency, or making it more future-proof by leaving some wasteful elements (empty space inside) to accommodate future changes.

That "flavor" kept thrustercraft as the absolute meta for years, leaving ships, planes and submarines way behind. It made buoyancy and lift completely unimportant, thanks to how light everything was, and how strong thrusters were.

SB has space drag (and thanks for that) but how strong it should be, and how strong thrusters should be is yet to be defined by the testing. Max speed for given thrust-mass ration has to remain the same, but reducing/increasing acceleration and increasing/reducing drift is still on the table IMO.
But that's completely different topic, as it changes feel of the game, rather than balance directly.

Changing damage of the guns forces everyone to cover their ships with them. Also guns require frontal surface, which is limited, especially for large ships.
Generators on the other hand stay inside and require armouring. Both of these are domain of large ships.
And large ships just need help, thanks to how easy target they are.
Gradual is still a change.
 

Meetbolio

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#7
Glitch ships are great, even if they don't last long. I mean I've been flying between stations in under 3 minutes on a freaking chair with 2 laser cannons on it! How ridiculous is that? While I hope this gets patched soon, I think that in cases where it's not a glitch, balance is more important than preserving old designs.
 

MoonSet416

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#8
It's a meaningful choice between building meta-ships, with cutting edge calculated proportions for max efficiency, or making it more future-proof by leaving some wasteful elements (empty space inside) to accommodate future changes.
Depends, if it's a small change then I agree, but I don't think it's meaningful when it's a 300% difference. Hopefully future changes will not be this drastic.

That "flavor" kept thrustercraft as the absolute meta for years, leaving ships, planes and submarines way behind. It made buoyancy and lift completely unimportant, thanks to how light everything was, and how strong thrusters were.
Yep, that's the flavor of that game and that's it. All SB ships seem like thruster crafts to me so I don't exactly see the issue there.

Changing damage of the guns forces everyone to cover their ships with them. Also guns require frontal surface, which is limited, especially for large ships.
In my proposal, only damage is decreased. First you wouldn't necessarily want to get that damage output back from a competitive standpoint because everyone gets the same nerf. If a player wants more guns, he will have to add more generators, which increases the volume and surface area of the ship, so the volume to gun ratio should be roughly the same. Surface doesn't scale directly with volume but still, it will get bigger and the surface to gun ratio should remain reasonable. The only way you can get ships covered with guns is if you change the power draw of the guns, which is the exact thing I'm against.

Gradual is still a change.
Yes it is. My point is that things like damage changes are better suited for a more gradual change than, say, energy draw because you don't have to redesign/recalculate what's the optimal generator to gun ratio every week or so.
 

MoonSet416

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#9
I think that in cases where it's not a glitch, balance is more important than preserving old designs.
I do agree with that. All I'm trying to say is, there are a lot of ways to nerf/buff something and when possible, preserve old designs by leaving things like power draw alone and changing other parameters. If there are no other alternatives then sure, balance first, but I don't think these cases will be common.
 

Meetbolio

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#10
I do agree with that. All I'm trying to say is, there are a lot of ways to nerf/buff something and when possible, preserve old designs by leaving things like power draw alone and changing other parameters. If there are no other alternatives then sure, balance first, but I don't think these cases will be common.
I agree with this, but I'd be happy to suffer losses of blueprints in the alpha. That's what it's for. If a strat is stupid broken, nerf it back in line and don't even bother thinking about the fighters that abused that strat.
 
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