BEAM balance discussion

General discussion about the game.
the Scientist
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:13 am

BEAM balance discussion

Postby the Scientist » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:59 am

first of all let me say that i think FTL is a gem of a game and the combat and weapons are really well designed and balanced.
After my first playthrough i thought alot of weapons and systems were useless, but by now i realized that all systems and combos can be effective and ive used all of the below to great effect:
concentrated laser salvos, ions & drones, offensive boarding, surgical missile strikes, bombs and defense turteling while waiting for the artillery beam.

the only weapon i dont see in this great concerto of possible tactics and combos is the class of beam weapons.
the problem i have with beams is that although they have great damage, you need a second weapon system to take out the shields. Now, in any fight, unless you use boarders, you will need to take out the shields anyway. the problem, as i see it, that beams are very energy intensive meaning the rest of your weapons, have less power available, also you definively need to max out to 8 cap on your weapons rack, being very expensive. drones alone cannot be used to punch through the shields.

so bottom line you find yourself in one of the two scenarios:
1) you have a power 3-4 beam and it is almost impossible to punch through later shields (3+) with the remaining weaponry.
2) you have a power 2 beam, at which point, most other weapon systems of same power have more combat value, as they can apply more damage to a single room

my point is: beams are only really viable with a weapon rack upgraded much earlier and power need higher than other combos. at the same time, you get less scrap because if you would use boarding tactics, you wouldnt use beams to begin with. i tried making beams work, and on lower levels i did, but later on it is just not as viable as other strats. what are your oppinions?

some suggestions:
1) final blow with beam yields extra scrap (ships sliced and diced are easier to salvage, like in the "surgical cut out ship of asteroid" event ^^)
2) ion drones (like ion blast, but as drone)
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:50 pm

Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby Warhawx » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:01 am

Don't complain if you're not lucky enough to have adequate gear. That's rogue like. Beams are way too powerful as is, since a halberd beam can kill the boss with 3-4 hits provided its shields are down.
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:09 am

Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby angelocire » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:08 am

He's bringing up a valid point-
Because not all beams pierce shields, it makes them much less viable as a stand-alone tactic.
Also, even when they do pierce shields, unless the ship is particularly big, if it has 3+ points of shield you will be doing relatively little damage for the charge time.

He's not discussing beams when used in conjunction with other systems, but rather purely examining their viability as a stand-alone combat tactic.
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby Incendax » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:18 am

Beams are fine, just have more weapons on your loadout than you have power to use.
Ion Burst 2, Hermes, Pike Beam? Hit their shields with a Hermes and Ion to lock their shields out. Then swap the Hermes to the Pike Beam to ravage them while their shields are down.
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby swixel » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:33 am

Incendax wrote:Beams are fine, just have more weapons on your loadout than you have power to use.


By far my favourite kit has been 2x Breach Missiles + 1x Hull Missile + 1x Bio Beam (the slug weapon). While that's not beam like, it's 10 energy total. Switching between missiles was fun.

Generally speaking if I'm playing the engineer ship (not stealth) I'll end up with ion + beam, or ion + missile. The trend being that I'm rarely one class, and assuming "one-size-kills-all" is crazy -- the game has enough balance to ensure a single weapon type yields a massive weakness (e.g. running out of missiles, or lasers being a world of terrible compared to bombs/missiles, or beams not making it through the shield *for the most part*). So much so that my cargo bays on my 3x missile + beam kit had my *actual* weapons in it so I could stockpile for the boss rounds (and I ran low on missiles at the end of stages 2 and had to swap out).

No single-type kit should be considered the "best fit"; not because it's a random game, but because swapping is needed.

And for anyone else having trouble with beams or weapons in general, it's time to learn to play without autofire ...
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby Nihy » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:35 pm

Beams are fine. Stop playing with autofire and use bombs/missiles/ion weapons/lasers with multiple shots per volley to bring down shields.

The only beam weapons that could possibly be improved are the anti-bio and the fire beam.
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby Guswut » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:38 pm

Beams are a specialized weapon, similar to ionic weapons. To use a beam effectively, you need to pair it with something that can take down shields, such as a nice missile or ion weapon. A power 3-4 beam with a power 2 missile or ion system is something you should be able to afford by late-early to early-mid game if you are aiming for a beam weapon build. That would be one point of upgrade for the Red Tail, for example.

Regarding your suggestions, I don't think beams should grant extra scrap on the killing blow, but perhaps extra scrap in general for having one powered on your weapons bar (and only a small amount). Ion drones sound like they'd need a good deal of play testing to find a balance point in regards to power/cost.
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby UltraMantis » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:02 pm

Plenty of defense for the beams, but i will side with the OP. I never use beams and sell what i find/receive.

Sure they are exceptionally powerfull but even the puniest laser is exceptionally powerfull against a ship with no shields. The only tactical advantage of beams is that you can damage several systems and set off fires which forces the enemy crew to split their work. But again, you can only do that to an unshielded ship. Any unshielded ship is at the mercy of whatever weapons you have, beams just finish off the enemy faster. Since the majority of enemies are well shielded i rarely use beams. I only ever used the Halberd and wasn't impressed. Beams do their job well BUT suck to much power to do what they do.

My favourite weapon is the mantis. Failing that an Ion Bomb + anything.
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby nukularpower » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:02 pm

Ion bomb is ridiculously OP, especially for 1 power slot.

Ion bomb + glaive = ezmode boss
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Re: BEAM balance discussion

Postby Autoclave » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:45 pm

Glaive beam is a total menace. If you get you hands on it and weapon pre-ignoter mod its GG.

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