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My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewarding

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:56 pm
by nawoa
There's a lot of talk about how targeting weapons first is usually a good strategy. This isn't always the case, of course - personally I tend to target the bridge, shields, medbay, or engines pretty often as well, depending on the situation. But for the most part, if you're playing conservatively and especially if you don't understand the game mechanics very well, attacking the weapons first seems like a no-brainer and probably makes a lot of people think the game is a lot more repetitive than it really needs to be.

I like how successfully boarding the enemy ship often provides better or even unique rewards. I think it makes combat a lot more interesting and varied so I'm thinking, why not extend this concept of extra rewards for "style" to regular combat? Here are some examples of how I envision this working:

- Targeting the enemy engines reduces the chance of getting fuel and the amount of fuel you might get.

- Targeting the enemy oxygen (to a lesser extent their medbay, and to a much lesser extent their doors) reduces the chance of getting a boarded ship's survivor to join you. Doors being damaged reducing the possibility of survivors makes sense because survivors wouldn't be able to escape fires or rooms with hull breaches.

- Targeting the enemy weapons reduces the chance of finding a weapon and reduces the number of missiles you might get.

- Damaging the enemy hull reduces the amount of scrap you might get.

- Targeting the enemy drone controller reduces the chance of getting drone parts, likewise for enemy drones being destroyed.

- Targeting the enemy bridge reduces the chance of finding a map of nearby locations. (this would be a new reward, and it would tell you what's in any systems within one FTL jump, basically like getting a long-range sensors snapshot)

- Targeting the enemy scanners, cloak, or teleporters (high tech stuff) reduces the chance of getting an augment. Because, uh... they're all connected by the same plasma conduits... Sure, that'll work.

- (Maybe it's already like this but I'm not sure) I think that enemy ships that have a missile launcher should be the only ones that have a chance of giving you missiles. It not only makes sense logically but more importantly from a gameplay standpoint it rewards a player for fighting a ship that's more likely to cause lasting damage than one only equipped with energy weapons.

- To reduce the frustration of drones attacking the "wrong" systems for what you as a player most need as rewards at any given time, you could have drone attacks only cause 1/2 or even 1/4 of the reward loss compared to regular weapons. Coming up with a technobabble excuse for why this is the case shouldn't be hard - maybe something like, "Drone weapons need to cross a shorter distance and so are more accurate and lower-powered, reducing the chance of collateral damage."

- The probability of lost rewards should be based on how severely the system was damaged. A level 10 weapons system that takes 3 points of damage shouldn't be as "damaging" as a level 3 weapons system that takes 2 points of damage, for example.

- Since beam weapons are so awesome, maybe they could have a slightly greater chance of causing collateral damage. After all, you're slicing through a whole section of the ship rather than making a precise strike. Missile weapons could also have this property since naturally a giant explosion will be more likely to cause unintended damage. This would make the player need to consider the cost/benefit of equipping different types of systems, even if they're otherwise a good choice.

- Ion weapons of course would not cause ANY damage or loss of reward.

- Random idea: Make engines more resistant to damage and make it so that if you outright destroy (turn red) enemy engines, the enemy ship immediately explodes more violently than usual and you lose almost all chance of getting scrap. This would mean some minor changes, like making the final boss's engine impossible to completely destroy and making the condition to prevent enemy ships from escaping be destroying their bridge rather than engines (which makes just as much sense)

- Add a section to the tutorial that says, "Depending on how you fight an enemy ship, you may receive different rewards and bonuses." This will encourage the player to explore how combat works more without spelling it out for them. This would be a good thing to add even if you don't implement any of the other ideas, since they might think to try capturing an enemy ship instead of just destroying it.

- This is less directly related, but adding a weapon property called "accuracy" would be interesting, I think. I notice that a lot of the time, enemy attacks scatter across my different rooms rather than all hitting the same place. Maybe you could make certain player-usable weapons have this property too, like the variants that primarily damage the hull for example. Less accurate weapons would still hit the enemy ship if the enemy fails to dodge, but would have a chance of hitting the wrong location. They would also have a greater "collateral damage" effect than regular weapons even when they hit the correct location. This could open the possibility for "inaccurate" weapons that charge just as fast as "accurate" weapons, but which would be best saved as a last resort. This leaves EMP weapons of all sorts as "surgical strike" weapons, which have an appropriately greater risk when you use them.

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:02 pm
by Gorlom
Enemy doors? AS far as I know enemy ships don't have a door system.

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:14 pm
by nawoa
Oh... really? I'm sure I've run into security doors with my boarding party, so I just assumed they must have a targetable system.

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:21 pm
by Gorlom
Maybe it was sensory system they don't have... I know they don't have airlocks so maybe I just made up that they don't have a doors system because of that. :roll: silly me.

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:50 pm
by Derakon
Enemies certainly do have door systems sometimes; I've lost boarders because they got low on health before my teleporter was ready and I couldn't send them wandering through the enemy ship to avoid death.

Heck, the flagship always has level-3 doors.

My main concern with the suggested system is that it makes boarders even more desirable. Right now the best way to play is to defeat every ship you possibly can by killing its crew and leaving the ship intact. You only blow up Rebel droneships or ships where you can't reasonably kill them via boarding (e.g. solar flare ships, where you just want to get out ASAP). Frankly this does get tedious sometimes; I'd rather not see it get even more tactically desirable.

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:55 pm
by actionhero112
No, because all your ideas make the game more difficult and less fun. The damage suggestions all seem have negative consequences... just for you, not the computer. The computer doesn't have to give crap about scrap, but you do, making this a dichotomy that unfairly favors the computer.

So basically they can screw with your systems all they want, but you have to constantly worry about hitting their systems? Does that seem fair to you? Sometimes I want to win at the games I play, and not die horribly. It's annoying to me that you say you're encouraging, "alternate ways of destroying ships" but in reality all your changes would do is make boarding the only viable way to engage an enemy, all other ways would severely limit your rewards.

Beam weapons, which do the most possible damage in the game, should not be buffed for idealistic purposes.

The missiles thing is a bit weird too, bombs use missiles, but under your changes ships that have bomb capabilities wouldn't give missiles. Not only that, but even if your ship doesn't have a missile launcher, you can still collect missiles. Logically, enemy ships would also do that.

Just.... no.... this would make the game bad. Your title is misleading, because none of your points talk about rewards, only about punishments. This wouldn't make the game interesting either, because these aren't changes to gameplay, they are only changes to how the game gives you scrap. You are only changing the little white numbers in the brown box at the end of a battle, not the battle itself, which would still be "repetitive."


Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:04 pm
by Skafsgaard
I actually like most of your ideas. Well, I really like the part about attacking different systems having an impact on what rewards you're going to get. Accuracy as you've proposed it seems like it could possibly be interesting too.

I think the bit about destroyed engines making the ship go boom won't work very well, though - the balance will shift a lot if that were the case, not to mention preventing enemies from FTL'ing out will be a lot harder, and it'll suck if *your* ship goes down from a random hit to your engines as well. Also, making missiles only drop from enemies that use missiles or bombs themselves won't work either IMO - it'll simply make missile-dependent builds completely unviable.

Anyway, in any case, I think that if your proposals are added to the game, specifically the first one about rewards being dependent on system damage, then two things need to happen: first, boarding needs to get a big nerf, in order to prevent it from becoming a more OP strategy than it already is. Second, it needs to be a setting that can be toggled - sort of like an extra difficulty options, parallel to the easy/normal option that already exists.

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:05 pm
by nawoa
Had one more idea: if you have decent weapons, the approaching rebel fleet becomes more of a nuisance than a real threat. It closes off exploration and that's all.

What if some real possibility of danger was added with some random events? These could appear 25% of the time on easy and 50% of the time on normal:

- "There are too many enemy ships scanning your location, your cloak is ineffective!" (Your cloak is reduced two power levels - you can still cloak for a few seconds if you have a level 3 cloak)

- "A rebel FTL interdictor ship has almost completely shut down your engines!" (all but one point of engine power is cut off, leaving you with a reduced dodge chance and slower FTL charge)

- "The rebel fleet has drained your weapons power somehow - it's a good thing they don't do this every time! All power to the engines!" (Your weapon subsystem is reduced by half)

- "Just as you begin recharging your FTL weapons, you detect unrecognized biosigns on your ship! It's a boarding party!" (FIVE enemy boarders materialize on your ship - one on the bridge, one in engineering, one in weapons, two others in a random location, AND your sensors are disabled!)

- "The rebel fleet is closing fast! They'll be within firing range in-- *boom!*" (Your ship immediately takes 1 point of hull damage and every 10 seconds a 2-shot burst laser is fired at you from a hidden enemy, however it is subject to the same dodge chance as any other weapon. Starting at the 30-second volley, the lasers are joined by an Artemis missile!)

- "Just as you reappear in normal space your ship is rocked by an explosion! Wait, no, your ship was rocked by a rock! You've emerged into an uncharted asteroid field!" (Battle takes place in an asteroid field)

- "You're relieved to find that sensors reveal no rebel ships... or rather, they reveal nothing at all. You appear to have mis-jumped into a nearby nebula!" (Battle with a non-rebel ship about two sectors' worth stronger than you)

- "Environmental hazard warnings resound in unison - a plasma conduit has ruptured! Weren't those supposed to have been phased out decades ago?" (You start off combat with 1/8 to 1/4 of your ship on fire!)

Re: My ideas for making battles more interesting and rewardi

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:20 am
by nawoa
@Actionhero112: You're assuming that I'm trying to make the game more difficult, but that's not what I'm aiming for. I'd like the probability of rewards to be weighted based on how you fight, not "less" rewards or "more" rewards, simply rewards in proportion to what you did.

If anything, my changes would make the game easier. When you're running low on gas you'd want to avoid damaging the enemy's engine to maximize your chances of receiving fuel. Likewise, if you could make it through a battle without ever targeting your enemy's weapons, you'd have a slightly better chance of receiving a weapon or getting more missiles.

Also I don't mean to say that the differences should be huge. For example, if normally you have a 20% chance of getting fuel after combat, you might have a 30% chance if you don't damage their engine. I made up the 20% number, it's just an example.

The rewards I'm suggesting aren't meant to be only if you capture the ship, if that's what you were thinking. It's my thinking that when you destroy an enemy ship, it breaks up and some parts of it explode, so if you didn't cause any prior damage to a certain subsystem or the room it occupies, it would have a better chance of surviving the ship's destruction.

While logically it would make sense that capturing a ship virtually intact by boarding it would net you huge rewards, it wouldn't be good for gameplay. A bonus is appropriate for doing something difficult, but I'm not suggesting that ALL of the above rewards be given just because avoid damaging anything on the ship. I'm talking about weighting. If there's a 10% chance of getting a) gas, b) weapon, c) missile, d) survivor, then fulfilling one of the conditions I suggested would increase the weight on that reward and decrease the others. Simply taking the ship intact would mean that the weighting is not affected whatsoever. You would, as happens currently, get a better reward than for destroying the ship, but the reward probability distribution would remain as it is now.