Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

General discussion about the game.
LostAlone
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:01 am

Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby LostAlone » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:09 am

Hey guys

I've just come back to FTL since AE came out and I'm starting to get the feeling that the Flagship is a lot more RNG based than it used to be, and during the fight itself rather than in the lead up to it. I remember the fight being hard as nails, and definitely never a free win, but once I had got the patterns and the tactics down, as well as knowing which systems and weapons gave the best value I felt like I could handle it reasonably well - Not always winning, but I seldom just died in a fire either.

I came back a few days ago, and I knew I'd be a bit rusty so I went down to easy to get the feel for the game again. The boss battle now feels like it's either a cake walk or a total disaster, even for extremely similar set ups and it feels to me like hacking and mind control are the prime offenders.

As an example - I had a run a few days ago in the Kestrel where I just curb stomped the boss using the same tactics as I used to - Cloaking to dodge power surges, teleporting into weapon rooms, then slowly pulling the rest of the ship apart over time as my lasers chipped off the damage. In that fight the hacking attack hit my drone sub which basically achieved nothing, since I was only running defense drones and the missile sub is the first one I killed.

Today I get a very similar set-up. Max teleport and cloak, defense drones, 2 Pulse Laser II, 4 shields, near max engines. I even had enough scrap on the run through (teleport heavy) to level subs I generally wouldn't. This time it hacked my O2 and four crew members died before I could do anything about it. I strategically used my regenerative teleport to try and attack the thing with absolutely no success at all. I couldn't even beam back my other boarding party to try and get them in on the action because the team attacking the hacking mod needed to go back and forth constantly. Eventually that team got trapped by a cloak and died too.

I did beat the first two stages in the end, when I managed to get a lucky shot and set their medbay on fire and kill the crew. But since I was down to two guys, and there was mind control on the third stage so the mind controlled guy killed my last crew member, and that was that.

Thing was that the fight was basically lost the second it started. It feels very much like there was no way for me to win at all. Even if I had something that could have knocked the hacking mod offline in one hit through the shields, at some point I'd miss or they would cloak and that'd be it. My whole crew would die.

It just feels like these two modules combined add another layer of RNG that can make the fight range in difficulty from reasonably easy to close to impossible. Hacking especially can totally invalidate your entire build in one swoop, and since you already needed to specialize heavily to stand a chance that's very close to a game over. Hitting life support is probably the worst possible result, as it drains life support extremely fast and just doesn't stop, but any other system you are counting on to let you survive is equally bad; weapons, cloak, teleporter, engines, shields.

The Flagship is a fight you need to go in with a strategy planned out, and have invested accordingly throughout the whole game. Having the game just roll a dice, kick you in the crotch and tell you 'Nope, you chose wrong in sector 2' or even 'You couldn't ever have won' just sucks.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels so unfair to have an extremely strong run that should beat the boss (again - this is on easy) and just get your legs kicked out from under you as your primary avenue of attack just vanishes for the entire fight.
Levgre
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:35 pm

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby Levgre » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:23 am

I don't know if the flagship hacking is different from player hacking, but even with level 3 hacking, if you have level 2 Oxygen you should be able to maintain your oxygen levels between the hacking disruptions.

I don't think the flagship hacking is much more rng than what else the flagship has, there are a number of ways around it (shoot their hacking system, hack their hacking system, win via boarding and destroying the flagship's weapons, make due with less use of whatever system of yours is hacked, might've missed some)

Mind control definitely makes having a large crew/boarding defense a bigger priority than before, as it is a 2 crew member swing against you. Keep in mind, if you have just a level 1 mind control, you can use it to 100% counter an enemy level 3 mind control by using it on your controlled crew member.
karadoc
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:01 pm

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby karadoc » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:04 am

Well, in some sense it is unlucky that they hacked your oxygen system, but I don't think that's a good example to show that it is too luck based. If you'd spent 20 scrap to upgrade your oxygen system before the fight then their hack would have achieved nothing. So the oxygen problem can definitely be foreseen and overcome.

I think the bigger problem is when they manage to hack the weapons system. That can be overcome as well, but it's not quite as simple as spending 20 scrap...

Think of it this way: we all know that the flagship is going to use missiles, mass drones, boarding drones, etc. So we make sure we have the equipment we need to survive those things. We need stealth, or defence drones, or well upgraded engines, or whatever else. We make sure that we have all the stuff we'll need before we get to the final fight. The hacking and mind control are new, but they're not special. They're just another danger that we need to plan for in advance and overcome. In fact, that kind of preparation for victory is common in other "rogue like" games.

(I personally don't really think of FTL as a rogue-like even though the developers say it is. But clearly FTL does have some things in common with other rogue-like games.)
stvip
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:12 pm

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby stvip » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:29 am

So far this is my biggest quibble with AE, even if I don't think the OP gave good examples. Oxygen hacking can be overcome by merely having it up to level 2, an upgrade which is minimal before facing the Flagship. I find Mind Control to be more a nuisance than a hazard - let the easily-swayed-by-enemy-propaganda crewmember attack a system, and if it's a critical one, send someone else in to distract them before it's destroyed. I suppose the danger is considerably enhanced if one has few crewmembers, the Flagship sends in boarding members, and one of the mind-controlled crew is a Mantis, but those are unusual circumstances, and one should prioritize a Mind Control system of one's own if one intends to engage the Flagship with both few crewmembers, and insufficient weaponry to quickly take it down.

The bigger problem, I think, is when Shields get hacked. Currently it feels as if a die is rolled during the fight, which ignores everything that went before (unless one has a hacking module, but I don't think any one system should be absolutely mandatory to have). If the die roll lands on Shields, unavoidable defeat is a significant threat, and Weapons might lead to a stalemate for certain loadouts, while other systems are far more manageable. It isn't fun to have victory or defeat determined by a specific single event at the end of the game.

I am, however, reserving judgment about this until more experience is gained dealing with this problem. So far I have lost one game to it.

The game I lost was with the Stealth B: frustratingly, Defense Drones can often miss - frequently enough that hacking is a viable tactic during the Second Stage. Having launched a Defense Drone and Anti Combat Drone to shoot the hacking module down, I watched as they missed, cloaked to avoid the module latching on, then watched miffed as the drones kept encircling my ship, ignoring the unattached enemy module floating in the air, patiently waiting for the cloak to end to attach and leave my poor ship defenseless. I imagine the conversation between the drones went something like this:
"Oh hi there, Defense Drone!"
"Hello, Hacking Module!"
"What's up?"
"Oh, nothing, nothing. I guess I should shoot you down, before this cloak ends, huh?"
"Yes. Wait, no! What if I promise not to land when it goes away?"
"Hmm... so you'll just go on floating here?"
"Sure... look, if we drones can't trust each other, whom can we trust? I mean, you think those 'ooh-look-at-me-I'm -organic' meatbags care about us? They'll grind us down to scrap once this battle's over, and not even feel bad about it, you know"
"Well, if you promise. OK, cloak's down and - hey!"
Citronvand
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:20 am

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby Citronvand » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:27 am

I agree that hacking has made the flagship too random. It's not very fun when one run is easy because it hacked some unimportant system while another gets ruined because it hacked my controls (No jump & 0% evade). The game is already too dependent on luck and even though you can work around it most of the time, having the final fight also dependent on luck is simply not fun.

I don't see why the flagship should have hacking. Remove it and it will still be a challenge, but it will be much less random which means a properly upgraded ship with a strategy behind it and player skill will be the deciding factor. Not some random dice roll.
User avatar
5thHorseman
Posts: 1672
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:29 am
Location: On the bridge of The Potential
Contact:

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby 5thHorseman » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:34 am

I like it. Before AE, if I reached the boss I beat him 99% of the time. Now, the boss is actually a challenge.

I don't understand the complaint that if the boss beats you, you wasted 2 hours to get there and then lost. Those 2 hours weren't wasted, you were playing FTL!
My Videos - MY MOD HUB
Simo-V - The Potential - Automated Scout - "Low O2" Icons
The Black Opal - The Asteroid - The Enforcer - The Pyro

"Every silver lining has a cloud..."
Citronvand
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:20 am

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby Citronvand » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:54 am

5thHorseman wrote:I like it. Before AE, if I reached the boss I beat him 99% of the time. Now, the boss is actually a challenge.

I can understand why you think so but I think hacking is too random to provide a good challenge. I mean you can make any game hard rather easily, but to provide a challenge and still maintain the fair feeling is not as easy. When you die it should be because you messed up, either directly (bad micromanagement) or indirectly (bad ship design/strategy). It should not be because the game decides to screw you over.

Since you can beat it otherwise 99% of the times, have you tried hard mode?

I don't understand the complaint that if the boss beats you, you wasted 2 hours to get there and then lost. Those 2 hours weren't wasted, you were playing FTL!

I agree, except when the death is the result of bad luck with the hacking.
stvip
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:12 pm

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby stvip » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:43 am

5thHorseman wrote:I like it. Before AE, if I reached the boss I beat him 99% of the time. Now, the boss is actually a challenge.


If that were so, I wouldn't find fault. The Captain's Edition mod enhanced the Flagship in some ways (IIRC, the ion and laser weapons have quadruple shots, the beam has piercing, and some other changes), as does Hard Mode, and both of those are good ways to increase the challenge. Currently, the situation changes between being trivial to lethal (unless there are some good counters I've missed - I'm still reserving judgment) by a random decision at the very start of the battle which cannot be influenced.

I don't understand the complaint that if the boss beats you, you wasted 2 hours to get there and then lost. Those 2 hours weren't wasted, you were playing FTL!


I do not feel I wasted 2 hours, it was a fun game. Yet, I still feel this might be a misstep in an otherwise remarkably well-designed game.
karadoc
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:01 pm

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby karadoc » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:23 pm

I think it's interesting that different people in this thread are talking about 'bad luck' from hacking while referring to different systems being hacked. The OP was talking about the oxygen system; I mentioned that I think the weapon system was the worst; someone has said hacked shield can result in an 'unavoidable defeat'; someone else said that hacked controls can 'ruin the game'...

So what's going on? Is it that different people have different weaknesses? Is it that -any- of these big systems being hacked is super-powerful? Maybe people are just trying to rationalise their losses...

In my opinion, it would be better if the AI was smart enough to always choose a system that could at least cause -some- problems (ie. not sensors). But other than that, I think the hacking is fine. It's just a bit of additional firepower for the enemy.

In any case, if there is a particular system that you really can't handle having hacked, you can jump away and come back.

In my experience so far, hacked weapons has resulted in the most difficulties (particularly on hard mode, where one generally can't keep the enemy's weapon systems disabled). When any other system is hacked (eg, shields), I can reduce the problem by dropping a bomb or a missile on their hacking system, or I can just ignore the problem and just focus on destroying the flagship as quickly as possible. Hacked shields might make me get hit by a few additional laser shots, but that's not the end of the world. In fact, it's not much different from just being a bit unlucky with their swarm missiles.
stvip
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:12 pm

Re: Has hacking made the Flagship too RNG?

Postby stvip » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:01 am

karadoc wrote: The OP was talking about the oxygen system; I mentioned that I think the weapon system was the worst; someone has said hacked shield can result in an 'unavoidable defeat'; someone else said that hacked controls can 'ruin the game'...


Hacking Oxygen is demonstrably easy to overcome with an upgrade that should be at hand regardless at that point. Hacked Weaponry can lead to an inability to use them (if their charge time synchronizes with the hacking pulse and the Flagship's cloak, firing some of them can be flat out impossible). My sole experience with hacked shields leading to defeat may have been infuenced by my attempt to cloak prematurely in order to allow my Defense Drone to get off additional shots against the hacking module (which as forementioned, doesn't work). This left me completely vulnerable to the beam attack, which coupled with the lasers (and sustaining previously a missile hit - that drone deserved its fate, I tell you), crippled my ship - and it seemed my chances were better trying to recuperate and kill the Flagship than to jump damaged to a Sector 8 Elite Rebel encouner. I do need to experience this a few more times before I decide how deadly it actually is.

In my opinion, it would be better if the AI was smart enough to always choose a system that could at least cause -some- problems (ie. not sensors).


And I regret not mentioning this myself - I also prefer this option. Make the Flagship consistently harder by having it target exclusively Shields, Weapons or Piloting/Engine. Sensors are useless, Oxygen/Medbay/others are easily overcome, and Doors can circumstancially be problematic (only *your* functioning doors can prevents ship forest fires), but not to the extent of the other systems. I'd welcome the increased challenge, if it were consistently applied.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests