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Establishing Priorities for Balance [Updated for Release]

By on May 30, 2012 1:35:41 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Volt_Cruelerz

Join Date 06/2008
+94

Despite all our bickering and disagreements here, we can all agree on one thing: the game is certainly not balanced.  Problems exist from the major racial imbalances (VL>VR>rest), corvettes are still problematic, and even fine details such as balancing the abilities of capitals such as Animosity which seems to be the most agreed-upon ability that is UP.

As such, this thread is about compiling a list of priorities to fix things and how they should be fixed.  Due to it's attempt to contain a vast amount of feedback, it is a wall of text.  Reading the sub-headings should allow someone to skim however.

I also only elected to contain "coarse changes" as fine balance changes are things that will (hopefully) happen after release.  Right now, there are components of balance that are just broken.  Fine balance suggestions can be found all over the place.  From Rebalanced Races to many threads throughout the forums.  These are all all well and good, but fundamental problems exist that must be fixed before any fine adjustment will have much of an effect.  That is the focus of the thread: attempting to discuss and solve the primary balance issues of the game.  I will attempt to proceed in order of priority.  Even if the later ones can't be addresses well, the first three must be fixed for any sort of semblance of balance to exist.

UPDATE 1: With 1.01 released, many were hoping for some joy as maybe, just maybe the major balance changed would get fixed with release; after all, it was a month coming.  Well, we were wrong.  It appears that instead of focusing on balance changes (which from PM's with Yarlen and his posts on the forums) which will take place in 1.02, they focused on stability and functionality for release which is perfectly understandable.  If you release a buggy game, it reflects badly in reviews whereas you have more time to fix balance after release.  Despite this, we have no ETA as of yet for 1.02.  As a result, our job is not done.

UPDATE 2: Due to the fact that the hotfix was 1.02, I'm assuming that 1.03 will be the balance patch, though there is no confirmation of this as of yet.


 

Vasari Loyalists

The fact of the matter is, this faction is wildly OP.  While to a certain extent it makes sense for them to have all the things they do (tax from capitals, labs on capitals, mobile rulership, etc), these things were not implemented in a way that works well with the rest of the game, leading them to be the most powerful faction by far.

-Civilian Evacuations: The oddity of this researchable is that it could be OP if it weren't for what Stripped to the Core does.  It gives a mobile player a steady income from tax which can significantly increase their base credit rate.  For VL however, this isn't of much concern.  Because of the massive influx of credits from stripping, they will likely expand their fleets rapidly, leading to high upkeep percentages.  As a result, their steady income is minimal but their burst income from stripping compensates, leading to this not being much of an issue.  If stripped were hypothetically removed, this would probably be OP, but as it stands, I don't think there's much of an issue here, though it by no means helps the situation.

-Mobile Rulership: This is clearly something necessary for the devs' vision for a completely mobile race as it allows you to strip even your capital planet, though many VL players keep it as insurance if their titan is destroyed because the Vorastra is the least powerful titan in terms of combat.  Due to it's very nature, it makes sense for the Vorastra's construction or at least research to be a prerequisite for this ability.  This would also mean that the VL would need nine labs before hitting Shipboard Labs and thus Stripped to the Core, changing the strip rush into more of a "strip teching," significantly increasing the window during which a VL player is vulnerable.

-Shipboard Labs: While this is fundamentally a good idea as you need such a thing for a fully mobile race, it's implementation has made research tiers moot.  Previously, research tiers were a good indicator for how early or late technologies could be implemented with players in MP having to make great sacrifices to achieve the higher tiers with their limited numbers of planets.  Since the introduction of titans, capital heavy fleets are now imperative, particularly against things such as the Kultorask that when faced by anything less than capitals, becomes invincible.  This reliance on capitals results in high numbers of capitals for all factions, and when you have a tech that allows four capitals to compensate for all a player's labs, you have a clear problem.  Suggestions for this ability have ranged from each capital being half a lab, to outright removal, though the most common seems to be having the first level allow a military lab while the second level enables a civic lab.

-Stripped to the Core: As the most iconic component of the faction, I feel this tech isn't something that should be changed as far as what it does, but some have suggested it be pushed up to tier eight.  That's not something I'm personally a fan of because unless Shipboard Labs is changed, another tier isn't going to help anything.

While there are multiple solutions, I feel some sort of agreement needs to be reached because as it stands, there's little one can do against a strip rushing VL, but many of the above changes would need to be mutually exclusive, lest we over-nerf the faction.  For instance, halving the effect of Shipboard Labs and having the Vorastra be a prerequisite for Mobile Rulership might delay their ability to strip too long, leaving them open to attack for too long.  I personally feel that stripping should be one of those abilities that a single race in a game has that makes a mid-to-late-game strategy nigh unstoppable, forcing the other races to rush them while they're weakest.  Incorporating both changes for instance might leave them vulnerable too long, leading to a race that while theoretically unstoppably powerful, is highly limited due to their extreme weakness until they unlock their iconic ability: Stripped to the Core.

UPDATE 1: This problem is now on the known issues thread and it appears that it is also known that the Vorastra is rather lackluster in combat.

UPDATE 2: Unfortunately, nothing about them was changed in 1.01.  This is likely because they have a more complex balance issue than the other races.  Give it time.

 

Vasari Rebels

Although agreed upon as OP before the VL, they are not quite so bad.  Their two primary components of imbalance are their titan and the ability to phase jump starbases.  Aside from that, they are a relatively balanced race.  Thankfully, unlike the VL, the iconic components of the VR are not intertwined, meaning that the problems can be balanced more independently of one another without so much fear of side-effects.  The problem with the VR isn't so much a strategy overpowering all others, but rather a couple of units that trump all else.

UPDATE: Of the factions, the VR probably received the heaviest nerfs which honestly weren't that heavy.

-Jumping Orkies: Ever since Entrenchment, the Orkulus starbase has been one of the most powerful "units" in the game, and in a lot of ways was the game's first titan.  It's a gargantuan gun platform that absorbs the corpses of the fallen to heal itself.  With massive Phase Missile banks, when plunged straight into the heart of the enemy fleet, it can quickly bring down sixteen enemies simultaneously while healing itself from their destruction.  This made it very powerful.  Thankfully for those defending against a Vasari onslaught, they could have the peace of mind that any Orkulus constructed in their gravity well would only be a weak one and that they would have time before it reached it's full power.  Now there is no such hope.  The VR assault is almost identical to it's defense.  Mines, fleet, titan, and now starbase, can be wherever the player so chooses.  The only differences are the absences of weapon jammers and repair platforms.  As a result, a VR on the attack is the most feared assault in the game at this time.

Having to deal with both a titan and a fully upgraded starbase is a truly fearsome experience, but one that could potentially be dealt with.  The problem is that unlike previous installments of the game, the Orky can now appear in it's full power along with the rest of one's fleet, rather than acting as a secondary push throughout a battle.  Perhaps even more scary is the fact that the a VR can have multiple Orkies lined up to take the place of the primary one.  For every Orky that you destroy, another is instantly ready to pick up the slack.  In other words, against a player with sufficient feed, you have to deal with one immortal titan and another pseudo-titan that can be instantly replaced and has no fleet supply.  It's no surprise that it's OP.

Like the VL, there have been many suggestions including having an "unpacking phase," replacing the Colony Pods upgrade with this tech, making this a second level of it's ability to create a phase node, and most simply, bump it to tier 7-8.  An unpacking phase would leave it open to attack as it brings it's systems back online (either together or system-by-system over time), thus harkening back to how it was prior to Rebellion.  Making it a unique upgrade, perhaps with multiple levels and having this effect as the final level (thus requiring the mobile Orky to be a cost-investment and a player must make some sacrifices in some other area of the Orky's upgrades to allow it to jump).  Moving it deeper into the tree would also make this a tech that would allow a VR player to become an offensive powerhouse late-game without making them OP earlier on.  Above all else however, the devs have listed some sort of nerf to the Orky in the known issues thread as fixed internally.  We'll have to see how it turns out.  Hopefully, they haven't over-nerfed it.

UPDATE 1: I just learned that the Orky is immune to traditional jump blockers such as PJI's, destabilization, and Mass Disorientation.  This should also be addressed.

UPDATE 2: As of 1.01, we can clearly see that the devs are interested in adjusting this.  Their chosen method of nerfing was to move it to T8.  This should prevent rush scenarios but nothing to stop the spam of them that eco players can put out and the unlimited income that is still possible.  This fixes the majority of the problems with it, and though the simplest solution, it's probably not the best.  They did fix some corner cases with it, so that should also be helpful.

 

-Kultorask: As if a pseudo-titan wasn't enough, those facing a VR will also need to concern themselves with the hardest ship in the game to kill.  While the Orky feasts on the dead, the Kultorask drinks the blood of the living.  As a vampiric titan, it gains more strength as more enemies face it.  In fact, no frigate can overcome the raw drain this ship causes. Kiting light carriers are the only sub-capitals that can deal damage faster than this thing can heal itself from their existence.  Even against capitals, it is a very powerful foe that cannot be taken down without the focus fire from either an incredible defense, or critical mass bombers.  When facing down a Kultorask that has just Kostura-jumped to your rear worlds, your primary form of defense is probably going to be frigates produced locally.  As mentioned, that won't ever work.  Nano Leech, Gravity Pulse (and possibly Dissever) will demolish all frigates in the path of the Kultorask, meaning a Kostura-jumping Kultorask becomes nigh unstoppable without a full fleet to defend against it.  With any sort of escort to the Kultorask, you're almost certainly going to lose the planet.

A nerf is clearly needed for this ship, but really it's not even the ship that needs it.  Nano Leech is the offender.  Dropping it's ability to drain would make the Kultorask mortal.  As with the above, lots of ideas have been suggested.  Unfortunately, many of the suggestions for fixing this have come from modders/the SP community.  I would really like to hear what the MP players think should be done.  I personally feel that lessening the drain by a point or two to hull and causing it to drain half as much AM on capitals would allow it to be taken down without losing your whole fleet in the process.  If much more of a nerf is performed on Nano Leech, IMO, Dissever might need to be made to target titans because right now, the power of the Kultorask is it's ability to faceroll any fleet that contains frigates.  Take that away, and you end up with something that can't do much against larger targets.

Overall, we'll have to see how the developers modify the Orky, but alongside the incoming nerf to the mobile Orky should be a nerf to the omnipotence of Nano Leech.

UPDATE: In addition to the above, the VR also lost the capacity to use Enslaved Labor which in and of itself may prove a very potent nerf.  Only time will tell. 

 

Corvettes

Ah these units..  Intended to be a cheap, easily produced unit in small numbers as an emergency defense and in larger numbers to counter LRF with their high speed and damage type.  They work wonders in those things..  And pretty much everything else.  Because Corvette spam has become so dominant, AoE's have become king, leading to many of the allegations against the Corsev and Marza.  I'm not saying that the Corsev isn't OP (it is far too durable), but the corvettes in their current state are amplifying the problem.

It really seems that Corvettes need a unique damage type.  Right now, because they share the composite damage type with HC's, you can't adjust counter webs without affecting HC.  A dedicated damageType is probably the best solution, though there is always the possibility that adding a new damageType is more complex than what we would expect which might explain why such hasn't already been performed by the devs.  Presuming of course that it's not overly hard to add a new one, I would advise starting with the composite damage type and modifying it to be less effective versus LF.  I'm not going to list specific numbers now as I've listed them before, but the concept remains the same.  A unique damage type would give control over the situation without having to involve HC's.

Another thing that is consistently pointed out is that while in small numbers they are harmless, it is their ability to massed, making them effectively heavy SC.  It is when they reach large swarms that flak cannot be built quickly enough to counter them.  Even if the flak builder does succeed in killing the corvettes, anything they built in the process aside from flak will die, leaving them with a "fleet" of flak that can be easily dealt with by LF and don't do much damage to priority targets.

UPDATE: Nothing in 1.01.  Hopefully there will be changes in 1.03.

 

Advent

As someone who hasn't played these a whole lot during Rebellion, I can't speak from experience.  Also, in light of the new balance issues related to the Vasari, these have been largely forgotten, though the problem still remains.  While the AR are better off than their counterparts, they still suffer in many ways as their titan relies largely on death to cause it.  Even with the increased duration to Unyielding Will, I still feel that fundamentally, it's not a useful ability.  You have to let your titan die to use it and as we have seen noobs on the forums posting, it's a downright unexpected effect that noobs think is either a bug.  For the significant portion of the community that doesn't frequent the forums, this seems horrendously OP.  They probably don't even realize that all they have to do is run away.  Thus, they come on here and talk about how OP it is.  I know we shouldn't be balancing around them, but the playerbase is larger than the forumites and MP community.

UPDATE: Unyielding will now lasts for 4 minutes at both levels.  The developers seem determined at this point about making it good, but unfortunately, as long as the opponent is the one with control of this ability, it will never be very useful.  Unfortunately for us, they also seem determined to keep it that way.

Beyond the AR however, the AL are in worse shape.  When in-culture, the AL will have the advantage.  Their supreme ability to dominate culture will ultimately mean that when on the defensive, they will have stupendously high mitigation and bypass blocking.  When combined with the use of the Coronata and Vertigo, they become debuff tanks.  Under the best scenario, they could conceivably take only 2-3% of incoming damage.  The problem for this faction rises when they attempt to attack.  They can't.  They in general lack the capacity to go on the offensive.

-Coronata: Suppression Aura is a great ability.  No one is going to question the fact that passively reducing incoming DPS and enemy speed by so much is great.  Unfortunately, that's really all the Coronata does.  It's the game's worst case of a a one-trick-pony.  Mind you, it is a spectacular trick, but it's only one and it's one that does nothing against SC, still leaving the door open for it's destruction, particularly against Vasari bombers.  The other three abilities are more things to stick ability points in than things to invest ability points in.  Subjugating Assault at higher levels is actually quite good, but at low levels, it seems to have little effect.  I would in this case recommend compressing the chances to convert so there isn't as much of a disparage between the low levels and the higher ones.  This would encourage players to put that first point in it and thus invest further.  Alternatively a popular idea is that when Subjugating Assault is active, the weapons would drain a small amount of AM from the target, allowing the ability to have some use against capital fleets.

Unity Mass is forever doomed to be compared to and be considered an inferior version of Snipe.  What must be remembered however is that you are dealing with a highly defensive race rather than the more aggressive AR which have Chastic Burst.  Even so, casting Malice can result in nuking a good chunk of the enemy fleet.  Unfortunately, the damage boost appears to originate from ships around the target, not the caster, meaning that while ships could conceivably be "in-range" from the perspective of the Coronata, they wouldn't be in-range of the target.  A simple range increase to the radius should help this.

UPDATE 1: Subjugating Assault has been buffed significantly from 4/6/8/10% to 5/8/11/15%.  This 50% buff wasn't quite what I'd expect, but such a large change may be enough to make players want to invest points in this and improve the Coronata's overall performance.  Unfortunately, it will likely put Unity Mass at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to priority for ability points.  Time will tell if this is the case.

UPDATE 2: Another idea I had recently regarding Unity Mass was that to avoid being a Snipe wannabe, it could receive a damage nerf but more importantly, drain the AM of the target.  The amount of damage and AM are debatable, but I think that it would help the Coronata deal with other titan, starbase, and capital abilities.

-Deliverance Engine: Unlike the Novalith and Kostura Cannons, the Deliverance Engine is very easily countered.  You can say, "but the Novalith can be blocked by Auxiliary Government!" but that does nothing to the huge economic impact that the weapon can do to an enemy.  Bilun once computed that two shots would pay for itself IIRC in terms of enemy economic damage.  The DE has no such effect.  In fact, it can under certain circumstances do absolutely nothing.  At minimum, the Novalith debuffs income and the Kostura damages and disables all structures.  Changes to this ranging from the ability to capture a planet if neutralized to destroying culture centers to capturing culture centers have been suggested.  

I'm personally partial to capturing culture centers, but that's also probably because I've invested time in developing that idea.  That said, it makes the DE a definitive weapon against enemies and in the testing myself and others have done, it seems to make it a much better tactical and strategic weapon and forms a good middle-ground between the strategic Novalith and the tactical Kostura.  By firing at a planet near where you intend to invade, you can increase the likelihood of your culture dominating that gravity well and giving you the upper hand.  From the perspective of strategy and long-term bombardment, it forces reconstruction of the centers draining resources, but also reduces income rates. Beyond that, in a game playing against an AL, I for the first time in years actually had some concern when the enemy fired at me.

As I said before, I do not have the knowledge to argue more on the status of the Advent, but the underuse of the AL would surely have a reason and personally, I believe the above changes would constitute significant buffs to the playstyle of the AL as well as the DE buff assisting the AR.

UPDATE: With the significant buff to Subjugating Assault, the Coronata will likely be significantly more powerful now than before.

 

TEC Loyalists

And here's the other underplayed faction.  Ever since the Novalith cap (that's basically the whole point of the superweapon cap and everyone knows it), the TL hasn't been played as much.  Their biggest toy got cut in half.  True, it is still a very powerful economic weapon in the long-term, but when playing as the TL, you're basically restricted to playing strategically.  As such, it stands to reason that they should be better at this than the other factions.  When playing as TEC, you're either playing strategic offense or strategic defense.  Due to Truce Among Rogues, the TR are much better at this than the TEC as they can effectively instantly expand once they research TAR.  TL defenses only really become supreme once Twin Fortresses is unlocked.  To a limited extent that's fine, but they still need something to accommodate their defensive playstyle until then.

Novalith Deregulation: This iconic tech of the TL helps in massing Novaliths that..  Oh wait, you can't do that anymore.  This is my point.  Now that there is the cap, this tech isn't nearly as useful as it previously was.  As a result, I feel that perhaps the best solution would be to strip this of it's slot reduction boost and instead allow it to increase the maximum number of Novaliths available to the player by one.  While this may seem inconsequential, that additional cannon would really be a boon to the defensive turtling playstyle of the TL.  

Due to the superweapon cap, the current cost reductions really aren't as useful.  True, it's not something that hurts, but for a race that reaches it's late-game earliest (I'm not counting the OP VL) and can accrue massive amounts of credits easier than the other races, cost isn't so much an issue anymore.  Number is.  Thus, the current version of this tech seems to be outdated, useful at a previous point in the beta's life, but should be retooled for the game moving forward.  The addition of another Novalith to a player's arsenal would allow a turtling TL (the intended primary role for the faction) to more easily hide behind their Jerichoan wall and bombard the enemy.

Honestly, even that single change might be enough to make the TL a decent race.  Once they set up borders and dig in, they can begin their artillery bombardment which really feels like what the faction was intended to be.  Turtling is seldom a good idea in MP, so this would still probably be used less frequently than the others, but it should help it when used by skilled players and given how much the non-forumite SP playerbase seems to love their Novaliths, I think they'd love the idea.

UPDATE: Nothing has changed that will impact gameplay as of 1.01.  Perhaps 1.03 will yield different results.

 

 

General Comments on Balance of Release Patch 1.01/1.02

Despite the balance problems that still persist, I believe the actions demonstrated in this patch are good indicators of what the devs intend to do with the game.  They do want to balance it (buffing the weakest faction and nerfing the strongest), but due in presumably large part the focus on stability for release, there weren't many balance changes.  Even so, I believe this is a step in the right direction.  We'll have to see how much the small changes implemented this time around affect balance long-term, but I believe with the stability issues out of the way, the devs can now focus more readily on balance.

 


 

Well, there you have it.  Fixing those things should be IMO enough coarse changes to fix the fundamental balance issues with the game.  Sure, there's moderate balance (for instance, the late-game VR techs) and fine balance changes remaining for things such as Salvage Operations and Animosity, but ultimately, I feel that the above are the first steps that need to be taken in this game.  

UPDATE 1: Even with all these problems, I congratulate Starclad on the excellent game Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion and wish them the best of luck in their future ventures, be it Sins of a Dark Age, future patches of Solar Empire, or something else entirely.

UPDATE 2: Moved to proper forum after forum bug and I can now edit OP again (thanks Kryo).

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May 30, 2012 2:01:01 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Good points but the one thing that i believe needs to be made a priority is addressing the problems with the VL titan and making the faction more balanced around being on the move rather than colonizing planets, and abusing VL researches.

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May 30, 2012 2:05:01 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Nice ideas. Very well thought and I agree with a lot of them.

I just have one issue.

given how much the SP playerbase loves their Novaliths

As an ardent SP player I say F*** the Novaliths.

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May 30, 2012 2:16:15 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

@Nicht: While I agree that the Vorastra needs love, I honestly am throwing it under the higher priority abilities of the fine adjustments.  I'm certainly not disagreeing with you.  I just feel that the coarse adjustments need to be made first so we can know how much to adjust the smaller components.

@Ryat: When I said SP there, I was referring to the people who only make one post in their entire course of playing the game, so the non-forumite, non-modding SP players.  Sorry for the vagueness.

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May 30, 2012 2:19:41 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Although agreed upon as OP before the VL, they are not quite so bad. Their two primary components of imbalance are their titan and the ability to phase jump starbases.

Honestly I think even once their titan and starbases are toned down, the Vasari Rebels will still be too good, especially late game. The 15% damage bonus on entering a gravity well is decent, and at tiers 6-8 they get very substantial bonuses to defense and phase missiles. The +5 armor and +25% hit points from armor restoration alone gives them effectively +50% total hull strength, combined with the other hull and armor upgrades they probably double their effective hitpoints. And phase missiles are phase missiles, and extra 20% damage may not be as bad as more shield bypass but its still deadly.

In short, the Vasari Rebels special toys are just as good if not better than anyone elses, yet they get stat bonuses much better than anyone else.

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May 30, 2012 2:28:00 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I am mostly interested in ship balance so I haven't given much thought to tech balance but this all seems pretty accurate.

that the a VR can have multiple Orkies lined up to take the place of the primary one. For every Orky that you destroy, another is instantly ready to pick up the slack. In other words, against a player with sufficient feed, you have to deal with one immortal titan and another pseudo-titan that can be instantly replaced and has no fleet supply. It's no surprise that it's OP.

If replacing destroyed fully upgraded Orkies is as easy as you make it out to be, then the VR player has won already.

 

Like the VL, there have been many suggestions including having an "unpacking phase," replacing the Colony Pods upgrade with this tech, making this a second level of it's ability to create a phase node, and most simply, bump it to tier 7-8

Making it replace colony pods wouldn't do anything because Colony Pods is pretty weak the last time I checked. Bumping it up to tier 8 should be enough. EDIT: Making it so that the ability to create a phase node is a prerequisite for this tech sounds good. Possibly also make it so that the phase node upgrade must be bought on the Orkulus for it to be able to jump.

 

It really seems that Corvettes need a unique damage type.

I've always agreed with this. Corvettes should be very ineffective against fighters, perhaps a 0.25 damage multiplier against them.

 

 While the AR are better off than their counterparts, they still suffer in many ways as their titan relies largely on death to cause it.

The AR are fine, or very close to it. They probably need a boost to population regrowth after use of Wail, but the shortcomings of just one of the Eradica's special abilities (Unyielding Will) does not unbalance or weaken the whole faction. Enemy ships that are resurrected can be consumed by the Eradica at no cost to the player. Does consuming friendly ships effect Strength of the Fallen? If not, it probably should.

Unyielding Will is useful on the offensive because a player can't afford to allow a hostile Eradica to remain in his territory. If it has to be changed, make it so that the Eradica absorbs a % of all damage with in a wide radius which directly effects its hull. As the Eradica loses hull points, it gets a RoF, AM recharge and ability cooldown buff. 

 

Subjugating Assault at higher levels is actually quite good, but at low levels, it seems to have little effect

I also suggest giving this ability the chance to drain AM from enemy Titans, SBs and Cap ships just like the Kortul's Disruptive Strikes ability.

 Unfortunately, the damage boost appears to originate from ships around the target, not the caster.

This should definitely be changed. Removing the damage cap and making damage boost originate from the caster should fix this, additionally the range could be doubled to match Snipe.

The Coronata's level 6 ability should keep all planet upgrades intact.

 

 Changes to this ranging from the ability to capture a planet if neutralized to destroying culture centers to capturing culture centers have been suggested. 

Neutral worlds are uncommon late game but it could be an unfair advantage in the Occupation Victory games. Unless there is an exception to this, capturing culture centres sounds best.

 

 EDIT: Armour restoration should only provide an armour increase and probably get bumped down a tier.

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May 30, 2012 2:32:36 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Nice wall of text, i'm truly amazed by the time you put into this! +1

I will give this another full read tomorrow and bite into this juicy convo, as this is a good thread to regain community perspective.

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May 30, 2012 2:47:28 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

+1 for sareths pic

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May 30, 2012 3:15:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

By and large agree.  But in addition to the unkillability, the AM drain on the kultorask is WAY too strong at later ranks.  It renders frigates obsoletes by outhealing their damage output and even worse makes capitalships obsoletes by VERY quickly running them out of AM.

 

 

300 AM from the entire enemy fleet is ridiculous.  SHouldn't be any higher then 150-180 at rank 4.

 

Also, the ability returning 100% of stolen AM is broken in it's own way- the Kultorask has essentially an ability that restores it to full AM once per minute- so it can't reasonably be AM drained- one of the most potent counters to EVERY OTHER TITAN IN THE GAME.  Little known fact: it gains the AM for every ship in the area-including those with no AM pool and those that are out of AM.

 

Honestly It needs to be dropped down to something like 1 AM/sec for each enemy in range- that way at rank 4 it would take about 4 enemies i nrange for the ability to pay for it's self over 30 seconds and generate 30 AM over 30 seconds per target in the area(which is actually pretty good).  The current implementation generates 300 AM per ship in the area at rank 4- that's so far outside balanced it's ridiculous.

 

Honestly I'm almost a fan of removing the AM drain entirely- the hull stealing effect alone is already better then the offensive & defensive components of the TLT's Frenzied Defense.

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May 30, 2012 3:25:50 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting axxo2,
+1 for sareths pic

I have to admit it is cool.

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May 30, 2012 4:01:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Ryat,
Nice ideas. Very well thought and I agree with a lot of them.

I just have one issue.

given how much the SP playerbase loves their Novaliths

As an ardent SP player I say F*** the Novaliths.

 

ye i never build the things - i have done it before but its no fun to use them against the ai because most of the time the AI wont build starbases in all of its systems with the enforced loyality so if you win you only won because of the AI not being all it can be...

Also if an AI takes once of your planets or retakes one of their ones you have taken the AI is not smart enough to build a starbase with enforced loyilty before they colinise while a human player is.

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May 30, 2012 4:20:31 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

@Volt:

I still feel that corvettes need not one but THREE different damage types, on a per-bank basis.

You could probably get away with the following three damage types:

  • Anti-medium (missiles/beams/???)
  • Anti-heavy (lasers/lasers/???)
  • Composite (autocannon/point defense/???)

Otherwise, I agree with your analysis 100% (though I also feel corvettes should be strike craft rather than manufactured units -- it would certainly control their population and make them easier to balance).

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May 30, 2012 7:27:24 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting ,



 Vasari Rebels


-Kultorask: As if a pseudo-titan wasn't enough, those facing a VR will also need to concern themselves with the hardest ship in the game to kill.  While the Orky feasts on the dead, the Kultorask drinks the blood of the living.  As a vampiric titan, it gains more strength as more enemies face it.  In fact, no frigate can overcome the raw drain this ship causes. Kiting light carriers are the only sub-capitals that can deal damage faster than this thing can heal itself from their existence.  Even against capitals, it is a very powerful foe that cannot be taken down without the focus fire from either an incredible defense, or critical mass bombers.  When facing down a Kultorask that has just Kostura-jumped to your rear worlds, your primary form of defense is probably going to be frigates produced locally.  As mentioned, that won't ever work.  Nano Leech, Gravity Pulse (and possibly Dissever) will demolish all frigates in the path of the Kultorask, meaning a Kostura-jumping Kultorask becomes nigh unstoppable without a full fleet to defend against it.  With any sort of escort to the Kultorask, you're almost certainly going to lose the planet.
 

Advent 

As someone who hasn't played these a whole lot during Rebellion, I can't speak from experience.  Also, in light of the new balance issues related to the Vasari, these have been largely forgotten, though the problem still remains.  While the AR are better off than their counterparts, they still suffer in many ways as their titan relies largely on death to cause it.  Even with the increased duration to Unyielding Will, I still feel that fundamentally, it's not a useful ability.  You have to let your titan die to use it and as we have seen noobs on the forums posting, it's a downright unexpected effect that noobs think is either a bug.  For the significant portion of the community that doesn't frequent the forums, this seems horrendously OP.  They probably don't even realize that all they have to do is run away.  Thus, they come on here and talk about how OP it is.  I know we shouldn't be balancing around them, but the playerbase is larger than the forumites and MP community.

Beyond the AR however, the AL are in worse shape.  When in-culture, the AL will have the advantage.  Their supreme ability to dominate culture will ultimately mean that when on the defensive, they will have stupendously high mitigation and bypass blocking.  When combined with the use of the Coronata and Vertigo, they become debuff tanks.  Under the best scenario, they could conceivably take only 2-3% of incoming damage.  The problem for this faction rises when they attempt to attack.  They can't.  They in general lack the capacity to go on the offensive.

-Coronata: Suppression Aura is a great ability.  No one is going to question the fact that passively reducing incoming DPS and enemy speed by so much is great.  Unfortunately, that's really all the Coronata does.  It's the game's worst case of a a one-trick-pony.  Mind you, it is a spectacular trick, but it's only one and it's one that does nothing against SC, still leaving the door open for it's destruction, particularly against Vasari bombers.  The other three abilities are more things to stick ability points in than things to invest ability points in.  Subjugating Assault at higher levels is actually quite good, but at low levels, it seems to have little effect.  I would in this case recommend compressing the chances to convert so there isn't as much of a disparage between the low levels and the higher ones.  This would encourage players to put that first point in it and thus invest further.

Unity Mass is forever doomed to be compared to and be considered an inferior version of Snipe.  What must be remembered however is that you are dealing with a highly defensive race rather than the more aggressive AR which have Chastic Burst.  Even so, casting Malice can result in nuking a good chunk of the enemy fleet.  Unfortunately, the damage boost appears to originate from ships around the target, not the caster, meaning that while ships could conceivably be "in-range" from the perspective of the Coronata, they wouldn't be in-range of the target.  A simple range increase to the radius should help this.

-Deliverance Engine: Unlike the Novalith and Kostura Cannons, the Deliverance Engine is very easily countered.  You can say, "but the Novalith can be blocked by Auxiliary Government!" but that does nothing to the huge economic impact that the weapon can do to an enemy.  Bilun once computed that two shots would pay for itself IIRC in terms of enemy economic damage.  The DE has no such effect.  In fact, it can under certain circumstances do absolutely nothing.  At minimum, the Novalith debuffs income and the Kostura damages and disables all structures.  Changes to this ranging from the ability to capture a planet if neutralized to destroying culture centers to capturing culture centers have been suggested.  

I'm personally partial to capturing culture centers, but that's also probably because I've invested time in developing that idea.  That said, it makes the DE a definitive weapon against enemies and in the testing myself and others have done, it seems to make it a much better tactical and strategic weapon and forms a good middle-ground between the strategic Novalith and the tactical Kostura.  By firing at a planet near where you intend to invade, you can increase the likelihood of your culture dominating that gravity well and giving you the upper hand.  From the perspective of strategy and long-term bombardment, it forces reconstruction of the centers draining resources, but also reduces income rates. Beyond that, in a game playing against an AL, I for the first time in years actually had some concern when the enemy fired at me.

As I said before, I do not have the knowledge to argue more on the status of the Advent, but the underuse of the AL would surely have a reason and personally, I believe the above changes would constitute significant buffs to the playstyle of the AL as well as the DE buff assisting the AR.


 

eh-where to begin:

 

Ok- Unyielding Will is a debuff of the Eradica whereby its chastic burst ability is very powerful and its level 6 ability only exists to supplement a defeat. Look at it this way-when you die then the ghost of your brotheren inflict vengeance on there attackers in normal space before disappearing. In theory an eradica is so powerful against fleets that it doesn't need a level 6 ability and should rarely die in fleet battles. 

 

AL are not complicated-they are who they are and there caps of choice are raptures and discords. The defensive debuffs enhance there attack significantly. You will have no choice but to play the game in their terms  if they culture spam with a star-base on the front line, you have no choice but to face them on their grounds and Its only logical that you can't fight culture vs culture with them. We know this.

Attacking is a minor issue here: theres no need to buff damage when fracture can debuff armor by up to -5 to all units in range-including titans. This is why Unity Mass is a weak snipe--->fracture buffs its damage. Fleet survival is key and the dps spread of Flak and illums with fracture is very fun to watch. It gets fun when you add disciples as anti-matter tanks.

 

Whats interesting is the use of radiances under so many debuffs as anti-matter detonators against titans late game. You can win games in this way very easily but turtle attack under culture-i think you know what i mean. Besides culture spread from planets is a cinch.

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May 30, 2012 8:18:49 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

-Deliverance Engine:

You are wrong.... deliverance is so much powerfull than novalit and kostura (but kosturo make a phase nod, is also very powerfull).

Advent have his power on your culture so, when you jump on a enemy planet the deliverance impact give you instantly the bonus of 25% MORE DAMAGE OUTPUT, right? also with the loyalist extreme culture, the gravity well and the planet is under you culture bring the mitigation bonus, and make you more power full..... and the enemy weak because no have culture

Deliverance is no for destroy enemy planets (it can but is no his purpose), is a support super weapon for invade enemy planets.

 

Corvettes:

 

I test it and are powerfull at begin, after when the enemy research damage / armor, corvetts are weak, realy easy to destroy, enemy titan get a party with them.

I built 100 corvertts and is no match for a fleet with 20 crusiers 25 cobalts 30 javelins. Only is very efective at the begin realy efective.

 

 

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May 30, 2012 8:25:07 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

With most I agree. And I want to add something more:

  • The new tech upgrades between factions. There are huge differences between them, some factions get insanely powerful techs while some others get nearly none. Now I'm missing the good old times, when most factions can get similar tech upgrades. Some are faster, some are slower, but they can indeed get some if they can live long enough.
  • TEC Rebels. Generally speaking I don't like the idea that some skill can have an extreme high damage with one shot. That can kill a low level capital ship way too easy, and so if some one looses his best capital ships, he can hardly change the tide of battle.
  • Vasari Loyalists. I don't think the Strip to the Core is a good idea. It changes the map permanently, and can punish some players permanently just because they loose a battle and loose one planet. It will be funny to see this in a campaign, but I don't like to see it in a normal game.

That's only some personal thoughts. And of course, I'm only a noob, and always enjoy comp-stomping after work...

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May 30, 2012 9:01:38 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

One thing I was wondering regarding balance and Stripped to the Core, does it change with game settings? Specifically, if the game is set to "Slow Income" or "Very Fast Income", does the resource return change?

 

As far as I've noticed, it does not, should it? How quick 'normal' income is going has a fairly significant impact on how useful any set amount of resources would be...

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May 30, 2012 9:13:35 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

@Goa: And their various allied techs late-game may well be OP, but I don't think we can accurately gauge exactly how much until the Kultorask receives a nerf and the jumping orkies are resolved.  I will agree that the hull upgrade in particular is huge.  That said, it's something that has to fall behind the above in priorities.  If these things were resolved in the next patch, I believe that we could have a final fine-tuning patch before the game comes out (and hopefully more afterwards) and perhaps that could be adjusted then.

 

@Juletron: Regarding the Advent, I get what you mean.  As I said above, I was trying to cover it from the perspective from someone without first-hand knowledge, but if people would care to elaborate more on what the issues are more specifically, I'd be happy to amend my OP.

 

@Bilun: I did suggest that it drain at half-rate against capitals.  Giving it only a 60% return on it's drain though might be better as capital-only fleets might be able to bring it down easier.

 

@Sinperium: lol he likes the fact that Sareth is using that pic because he made it.

 

@Frost: While multiple damage types might theoretically work well, I feel it would be harder to balance.  Ultimately, I feel the best option would just be to make a unique damageType for Corvettes simply because it gives the devs complete control over it's place in the counter web.

 

@Riddle: I'm not disputing the fact that a level six titan in it's death throws is a vicious opponent.  The thing is, the strategy against it is simply to run away.  It also means a lost titan for the user, so I just can't imagine it being fun for either party.  Yes, you can use Chastic Burst to your heart's content, but then it dies and the enemy has run away.

I didn't speak of buffing damage really on anything unless you're talking about Unity Mass and I'm just trying to get that thing to work as "intended" because looking at the buff files leads me to believe it doesn't work how one would expect.

If you're going to reference Unity Mass+Facture>Snipe, I'm going to reference Snipe+Scattershot>Unity Mass+Facture.

Yeah, I know what you mean.

 

@Vash: The DE is largely agreed upon as the weakest superweapon.  If you have sufficient culture centers you can completely negate it's effects.  Culture is a strategic and tactical method of playing the game.  It's strategic elements are derived from it increasing allegiance, thus income while the boost in-culture to ships is the tactical element.  As it stands, it's really not that hard to block it's effects outright.  In the testing I've done playing with and against the modified DE, this is no longer possible.  Sufficient scouting by the enemy can reveal where you have a large deposit of culture centers, leading to them knowing where to target it.

Corvettes are only a problem early on.  Flak eat them alive, but flak aren't available in large numbers at the beginning.  Thus, adjusting their damage to be weaker to LF among other smaller changes should better stabilize their position early-game.

 

@gundam: Adjusting the boost techs that each race receives would probably be something else.  In fact, given the consistent mention of it here and elsewhere, I think I'll add it, though I'll stick it below the TEC loyalists as I really feel it isn't as great a priority as the other things on the list.  Honestly, I'd probably just make a new category for it.

Snipe does hurt, but that's just the way the Ragnarov is.  The first few times I went against one it did well, but once you learn how to deal with it, it's not as much of an issue.

Stripped does punish players permanently, but at the same time, if things were adjusted, the situation might be better resolved so that if someone loses their planets to stripping, they deserved the punishment more than they do now.

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May 30, 2012 9:54:54 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Volt_Cruelerz,
Snipe does hurt, but that's just the way the Ragnarov is.  The first few times I went against one it did well, but once you learn how to deal with it, it's not as much of an issue.

I'm just considering such scenario: say one player lost some high level capital ships. He builds some again, and buys to Lv3 or Lv4. Then the enemies, leading with Lv6 Ragnarov, jumped to his grav well. The player's new fleet is rather fragile, especially low level Dunov / Jarassul / Halcyon.

Quoting Volt_Cruelerz,
Stripped does punish players permanently

And considering another scenario: for example a 2v2 fight. The TEC Attacker raped the defender's SB and then use the Novalith. Considering the defender's main fleets are coming, the Vasari Loyalist Attacker decided to strip the planet before retreat. Now the defenders' side permanently loose one planet.

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May 30, 2012 9:59:39 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting gundamlit,


And considering another scenario: for example a 2v2 fight. The TEC Attacker raped the defender's SB and then use the Novalith. Considering the defender's main fleets are coming, the Vasari Loyalist Attacker decided to strip the planet before retreat. Now the defenders' side permanently loose one planet.

While that can happen, there are factors making it more challenging than just that. There's still culture to consider (can't colonize without pushing back culture as well, and if you can't colonize, can't strip), as well as the novalith shot blocking colonization for a time.

Not trying to say it doesn't need changing or anything like that, just making some points about that specific scenario.

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May 30, 2012 1:39:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Well Volt, it's like this:

...the Pros are about ready to walk and ditch SoaSE altogether...

...the modders quite frankly don't give a damn since we can do the rebalancing ourselves...

...the casaul SP guys either can't recognize imbalance or just don't care...

...the devs, through both actions and direct quotes, have shown they can't balance a game and don't fancy MP that much...

So the theme for the day is apathy...no one cares, they just don't...they're tired, they've moved on, they only care about pretty pew pews, etc. etc. the list goes on...

Well maybe that's not entirely true...clearly you care Volt, and here's my advice: just stick to your mod....seriously, just start threads related to ideas you have for your balance mod...also, keep it to one issue or small group of issues at a time, otherwise you just get scattered brain feedback from glossed over interpretations of walls of text...get ideas, get feedback from people who play your mod, and don't hassle yourself with trying to get SD to change the game...

You want an awesome game concept?  You want awesome support?  You want moddability?  You want cool things implemented and awesome graphics and music and lore and pretty ships and flashy pew pews?  Then SD is your company...but if you want game balance, you are gonna have to do it yourself...which is okay, cause SD is awesome and makes their games easy to mod (hell they even give us the mod tools)...

The faith I have in SD to make a balanced game is this:

Stardock is not run by a bunch of middle-shoolers who need everyone to like them so they feel good about themselves....SD has a vision, they know what they want their game to be like, and balance just isn't their top priority...so please please please just tell us you are making a mod so we don't feel like our thoughts will be said in vain...

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May 30, 2012 2:07:38 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,
balance just isn't their top priority...so please please please just tell us you are making a mod so we don't feel like our thoughts will be said in vain...

So who is going to use the balance mod once the MP community dies out? Most of the "pros" don't use mods to my knowledge and believe that balance should be in the vanilla game not left for someone else to do.

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May 30, 2012 2:08:29 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,
Well Volt, it's like this:

... (blah blah blah rant sow dissent blah blah blah) ...

With all the respect: You are offtopic. Thread is discussing balancing issues. Keep it constructive. 

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May 30, 2012 2:42:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Volt_Cruelerz,
but I don't think we can accurately gauge exactly how much until the Kultorask receives a nerf and the jumping orkies are resolved. I will agree that the hull upgrade in particular is huge.

It is hard to say for sure, but I don't think that means we can't start talking about. Research all those techs and let a Vasari Rebel fleet fight an identical Vasari loyalist fleet. Even without titans and the "Orkulus Rex", I'll bet anything the Vasari Rebels still win.

And while I'd bet both the Kultorask and multiple orkies will be nerfed a little, they're not going to be removed. The devs clearly won't remove an entire feature no matter how OP it is. So I would say on a faction level it would be better to press for changes around these abilities at the same time. And honestly we don't know just how long we'll be getting patch support for Rebellion either.

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May 30, 2012 3:01:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Rovert10,
Most of the "pros" don't use mods to my knowledge and believe that balance should be in the vanilla game not left for someone else to do.

You don't get it, balance isn't ever going to be in the vanilla game...sure, it will improve over the course of the next year via updates, but if you really want game balance then do it yourself...your options are not "have devs balance game" or "have modder balance game"...rather, your options are "don't have a balanced game" or "use a mod"...

Quoting Brazilian_Joe,
With all the respect: You are offtopic. Thread is discussing balancing issues. Keep it constructive.

It is constructive...for one, I suggested to use a multiple thread approach instead of one single thread...this has been done before by simply including a special header in each thread title (such as [Balance] Discussing the Vasari Rebels or [Balance] Discussing Novalith Deregulation)...a single thread lacks focus and things easily get glossed over or forgotten about...this is not the first time community efforts to balance the game have been done...

Additionally, a lot of people are going to withold their opinions or just not bother giving detailed feedback when they don't feel like their thoughts will ever be realized into anything...Volt already has a respected mod and credibility...offer people something tangible rather than the remote chance the devs might listen...this is why I encourage him to shift his focus from mere discussion to actually designing a balance mod (which he'll probably do anyway)...

 

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May 30, 2012 3:59:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Vash_AMR,
-Deliverance Engine:

You are wrong.... deliverance is so much powerfull than novalit and kostura (but kosturo make a phase nod, is also very powerfull).

Advent have his power on your culture so, when you jump on a enemy planet the deliverance impact give you instantly the bonus of 25% MORE DAMAGE OUTPUT, right? also with the loyalist extreme culture, the gravity well and the planet is under you culture bring the mitigation bonus, and make you more power full..... and the enemy weak because no have culture

Deliverance is no for destroy enemy planets (it can but is no his purpose), is a support super weapon for invade enemy planets.

 

That's all true, when it works. The problem is that if I build enough (ie: 3) broadcast centers, the DE can't overwhelm my local culture and none of that except the 25% fleet damage boost happens. No culture change, no in-culture bonuses. I've nullified almost everything the DE does for a minimal investment.

Comparatively the Novalith's counter is far less effective (it doesn't save your economy) and the Kostura doesn't have a building counter whatsoever.

That's the heart of the issue with the DE. The idea itself isn't bad and if it worked it would be useful, but too often it just doesn't work.

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May 30, 2012 5:16:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,
so please please please just tell us you are making a mod so we don't feel like our thoughts will be said in vain...

At this point, I'd expect that the majority of people that are going to download mods for the game at least know about my mod and yeah, I'm never going to really be done with that and will keep working on that for quite some time.  As I explained in the OP however, such a thing really can only tweak minor things.  I can't for instance make the prerequisite for Mobile Rulership be the construction of the Vorastra.  I can't make the phase drive an upgrade module.  I can't make Unity Mass focus around the Coronata.  I can't add a new damageType.  I can't make a tech that increases the maximum number of Novaliths.

These are things that only the devs can do.  Sure, I can do a moddish hack like what I'm trying to do right now in an unreleased mod to make the Jarrasul prevent planet loss while in orbit.  It ain't pretty, but it's possible.  That's not possible with all the above.  I can make hacks of most of the things above, but none will be as good as if the devs did them.  Heck, I designed a buff computer on a theoretical level that would allow the Dunov to function as a working trade ship, generating income for a player.  You know the problems with it?  For one, it would require almost 60,000 buff files, which would suck up approximately 5% of the game's maximum memory.  The other issue is that because of the depth of the computation, it would take minutes to properly register the presence of the Dunov in a gravity well.  As such, I'm not going with that idea and ultimately decided on something else.

Yeah, you can create a buff computer to pretty much do whatever the heck you want (particularly with the new tools in Rebellion and on June 12th, I intend to publish a post explaining how to make one), but that doesn't mean it's convenient or for the best.  As the MP players have said many times before, balance shouldn't have to be through a mod. It should be in the game itself and I absolutely agree.

Beyond that, regarding what you said about this being unfocused, that's the point and not the point at the same time.  This post is an attempt to focus on the worst offenders of game balance and to help encourage the community to get behind these issues in a collective push for the devs to fix at bare minimum these things.

 

Quoting GoaFan77,
It is hard to say for sure, but I don't think that means we can't start talking about. Research all those techs and let a Vasari Rebel fleet fight an identical Vasari loyalist fleet. Even without titans and the "Orkulus Rex", I'll bet anything the Vasari Rebels still win.

And while I'd bet both the Kultorask and multiple orkies will be nerfed a little, they're not going to be removed. The devs clearly won't remove an entire feature no matter how OP it is. So I would say on a faction level it would be better to press for changes around these abilities at the same time. And honestly we don't know just how long we'll be getting patch support for Rebellion either.

Sorry, couldn't resist lol.

Anyways, I did end up changing my mind and I'll throw up the health upgrades when I get the chance.  I don't recall the exact effects off the top of my head so I'll have to go through all of them, but I'll do it when I get around to it.

 

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