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Rankulas, the clear winner of "Worst Piece of Garbage" award.

By on December 26, 2013 12:01:27 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

N3rull

Join Date 10/2008
+42

Hi again.

It was probably repeated and is now common knowledge, but I just recently started playing rebellion and I can't believe what I see.

And what I see is: Rankulas, the new Vasari cap, is an utter, complete, undeniable piece of garbage.

Please explain to me what I'm doing wrong cause I just can't get it. It's just a nerfed down Skirantra for all I can see!

Combat nanite swarm - creates a corvette-ish little piece of shit that does about as much damage as a scout. Even in huge numbers all these pieces of junk can really do is soak damage (if someone is stupid enough to shoot them), cause their DPS is just bleh.  
In potential DPS, this ability loses hard to scramble bombers in 95% of real game situations. 

Support nanite swarm - this one is a laugh. You look at it and think "hmm... a free Overseer! Nice!". And then you look at the goddamn skirantra and see that this ability loses hard to repair cloud. The tradeoff looks like this:
+ stackable if your first cloud survives a minute (yeah right)
+ gives armor
+/- cheaper in AM for all the potential heal it can do to single target. It will NEVER get ANYWHERE close to repair cloud when there are more targets for healing.
---- the support nanites are weak and can easily get killed before they fire the second heal; in this case their healing potential becomes a complete laugh, considering a whopping 60 second cooldown on the ability
---- YOU LOSE THE ONLY RELIABLE AOE HEAL IN THE VASARI ARSENAL (except Nano Remit, but that's a whole different story for several reasons)

Assault swarm - ok, ok, so it has that tiny whiney itsy bitsy debuff. Great. It still loses hard to scramble bombers as far as I'm concerned. If you want to kill a starbase, get Subverters, an Egg and anything that has DPS. Done. You dont need this crap that will die to the SB's AOE in a split second.

Greater nanite swarm - LOOOOOOOOOL. Ok ok so you sacrifice all your swarms, all your healbots, all your anti-structure ticklers/debuffers and all your peashooting flies, to create one piece of junk that's about as durable as a level 1 capital ship and deals about as much damage as a heavy cruiser. WTF? However I look at this one, it loses hard to replicate forces.

 

The ONLY thing that I can see this ship REALLY doing better than Skirantra is scouting - the nanites can actually phase jump and scout for you without a need for a scout. 
Does that, however, justify picking this situational piece of general crap over the used-to-be-OP Skirantra, that you just can't play late game without?

What is it that am I missing?
Cause I'm surely missing something...

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December 26, 2013 2:33:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

creates a corvette-ish little piece of shit that does about as much damage as a scout. Even in huge numbers all these pieces of junk can really do is soak damage (if someone is stupid enough to shoot them), cause their DPS is just bleh.  
In potential DPS, this ability loses hard to scramble bombers in 95% of real game situations. 

Actually it has the armor and weapon type of a light frigate.

ok, ok, so it has that tiny whiney itsy bitsy debuff. Great. It still loses hard to scramble bombers as far as I'm concerned. If you want to kill a starbase, get Subverters, an Egg and anything that has DPS. Done. You dont need this crap that will die to the SB's AOE in a split second.

I suppose it's possible these might be better at defeating a TEC Starbase surrounded by flak frigates. It's noteable as the only way the Vasari can get a proper antistructure frigate but that's about it.

 

But yes, any sort of buff to the Rankulus would be appreciated. As far as the new capitalships go, I think its clear that the Discord > Corsev > Rankulus. Still, it will probably always suffer late game, since any ability that creates new ships tends to be less important as the fleets get better, but unlike say the Sova it's only average early game as well.

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December 26, 2013 2:51:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Combat nanite swarm - creates a corvette-ish little piece of shit that does about as much damage as a scout. Even in huge numbers all these pieces of junk can really do is soak damage (if someone is stupid enough to shoot them), cause their DPS is just bleh.
In potential DPS, this ability loses hard to scramble bombers in 95% of real game situations.

 

Early game it can provide some free firepower that does not need fleet supply, but you are right, not an I win button.

Greater nanite swarm - LOOOOOOOOOL. Ok ok so you sacrifice all your swarms, all your healbots, all your anti-structure ticklers/debuffers and all your peashooting flies, to create one piece of junk that's about as durable as a level 1 capital ship and deals about as much damage as a heavy cruiser. WTF? However I look at this one, it loses hard to replicate forces.

Yes, it's a joke, I hope it will get changed to be a real level6 ability..

Does that, however, justify picking this situational piece of general crap over the used-to-be-OP Skirantra, that you just can't play late game without?

I only choose this when I have nothing better, still more useful than the marauder for me though..

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December 26, 2013 5:03:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Turchany,
I only choose this when I have nothing better, still more useful than the marauder for me though..
to be honest, after my last game where I thoroughly tested all vasari caps and the rebel titan.... I don't think I will ever pick this thing again.
Ever.
There is always something else that does the given job better.
90% of the time the better choice is called skirantra.
And it remains a better choice even if you already have two of them in game.

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December 26, 2013 5:27:33 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting N3rull,
There is always something else that does the given job better.
90% of the time the better choice is called skirantra.

 

It is true but diversity makes the game a bit fun when you have a bunch of capital ships, it is better to have more types than only one or two. But I must agree, I never use this ship for it's strength..

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December 27, 2013 3:46:26 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

It is generally better to have a more diversified fleet... but not when this is the alternative.

Think about it. Let's say you have x capital ships as Vasari in semi-late game. What are they going to be?
1. You definitely have an Egg. Dont' lie.
2. You have a kortul. If you don't have that, you are likely going to die to bombers and you'll also have zero control over enemy capital ships' abilities. You need a bloody kortul.
3. You definitely have a skirantra because it's your only source of AOE heal. There's no way, no way, that you can win a major engagement (that is not one-sided from the very beginning) with any other faction without a skirantra, considering other factions have tons of AOE damage at their disposal. Attacking starbases is a suicide without that heal.

Now comes the fun part, what will you choose next? Considering that both your and your enemies' cap ship numbers are on the rise (they aren't likely to stay far behind I reckon), you will face more interrupts, more AM drains, more disables and more AOE damage and healing. In fact, if you meet an Advent player with 5 caps, you are likely to have all your caps frozen for a minute at the start of the fight.
In this case, my next caps would be:

4. Another kortul for increased AM draining and cooldown nerfbatting on key enemy PITAs and to make sure my weapon jams are not completele shut down with my single kortul (one detonate antimatter = no weapon jam = enemy bombers on a rampage). Two volatile nanite shots in a row an added bonus.

5. Second skirantra, for pretty much the same reason as above. You don't want your key ability (aoe heal) to reside on a single cap ship when enemies are likely going to throw AM drains and disables left and right. I would pick a second skirantra (maybe even before the second kortul!) because:
- it makes it much harder for the opponent to shut down my healing
- it halves the AM drain spent on healing for each skirantra (or, in other words, doubles the AM pool and AM regen for your heal buses), letting them keep the heal on your fleet 24/7 with much more ease, as well as start using scramble bombers and replicate forces more freely.

What happens when cap numbers go beyond 5?
I believe that Kortuls start to shine more than ever, with their endless torrent of shield points and persistent AM denial. More Jams aren't really necessary, so you can focus hard on Disruptive Strikes and your third Kortul might even look (or aim to look) like 4-0-4-2, which means that it zeroes any enemy's AM pool and triples its cooldowns by as much as looking at them. With three kortuls in a fight, the key enemy caps will last only 15 seconds before they say goodbye to their last AM point.
Then I would consider getting more Skirantras to further make sure your tea party is restoring 35 HP/sec all day long, you have dozens of free frigates and hundreds of free bombers flying around.
Vulkoras is a situational tool I find and in spite of being my favorite cap in the older days, I find it pretty useless now outside of bombing planets. It has zero survivability except for the (interruptable) Disintegration heal effect and it's not the toughest nail in the bucket by itself. If I have a Vulkoras in a big fight, I usually see it fall very early and I don't really feel that it does too much damage. PMS is a massive drain on the AM pool and its target-capped effectiveness dies out rapidly with armor and HP upgrades. Even assaulting starbases is not easy for this thing because the extra damage gets highly mitigated and SB guns hurt this defenseless brick very badly.
Marauder is also a very situational cap that only makes sense to take as a direct counter to ships with strong channelled abilities, e.g. lvl6 Marza. Leveling this thing is a pain, for it has either no survivability and poor damage (if it doesn't POH itself) or no influence on the fight whatsoever (if it POHs itself). When you have it at level 6+ it's a useful asset, but getting there is essentially playing with your hands tied behind your back at your own request.

And then, at the very, very end, comes the Rankulas with its overseer ripoff crappy healbot spam that becomes useless at the present of any AOE damage, seemingly pathetic anti-structure debuff and an ultimate ability that takes all of those away in order to spawn a single, free, overweight heavy cruiser with no utility at all.

Srsly Egosoft Ironclad, what were you thinking?

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December 27, 2013 6:26:40 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If it was up to me, I'd change the Rankulas as follows (of course things could change with balancing):

1. Combat nanite swarm
cost - 30 AM
duration - 120/140/160/180 seconds
cooldown - 25/20/15/10 seconds
nanite swarms increase effectiveness with with cap ship level only, not the level of this ability.

The end result should be that a Rankulas with CNS at level 4 is theoretically able to field up to 18 combat swarms (if it is willing to dump all antimatter in this ability alone - note the drain!). Those swarms should eventually (cap level 10) have about ~50-70% of a Vasari LF's durability each and have a damage output of about a light frigate each if draining the AM pool on this ability is to be worth it, considering how one AOE damage source can erase all of the nanites at once.

2. Support nanite swarm
cost - 40 AM
duration - 60/80/100/120 seconds
cooldown - 25/20/15/10 seconds

Each nanite swarm has a healing ability that heals for a flat amount of 100 HP every 10 seconds and applies a buff giving 1 armor for 10 seconds, stackable up to 4 times. Each nanite swarm has about half the durability of a vasari LF or a little less.

The end result here would be that a Rankulas that goes heavily into this swarm type is able to (at max level) field 12 healing swarms that can do a total of 120 heal per second to a single target and keep it at +4 armor (or spread the heal to keep up to 3 targets at +4 armor). This is significantly better than right now, but if you look at the Overseer, you will note that it's still not overpowered. It would be an effective healing per second on the level of about 2 overseers and the extra points of armor at the cost of constant 4 AM per second, 4 points in a single ability and the risk of having all of the nanites blown up by some AOE.

3. Assault nanite swarm
cost - 40 AM
duration - 30/40/50/60 seconds
cooldown - 25/20/15/10 seconds

Each nanite swarm has a durability of a light frigate but a 300% damage reduction from structures' attacks and abilities (meaning, in Soase terms, it takes 25% damage from structure attacks, making it about as tough as a lvl1 cap against those foes).
Each nanite swarm has no attack, but a castable single target ability:

Structural Decomposition
targets structures and starbases only
no cost
duration - 10 seconds
cooldown - 10 seconds
stacks up to 10 times

Each active stack of the ability on the target applies the following effects:
- -3% to weapon cooldown (stacks)
- 10 damage per second to target's hull (stacks)
- 10 damage per second to target's shields (if there are any) (stacks)
- 20% of damage dealt by this ability to target's hull is restored to each friendly frigate in 3000 radius from the nanite swarm (including itself) as hull points (does not stack, i.e. at 10 stacks and 100 DPS to hull, 20 healing is done in AOE)

This ability allows the Vasari fleet to better engage starbases without the need for anti-structure cruisers. Such cruisers defeat starbases by outranging them; this ability makes them less threatening, so that the fleet itself can take them on. It provides:
- a mild debuff to weapon cooldowns (stacks up to -18%, which translates to ~15% reduced weapon damage output of the target structure); this, as all the other effects, is meant to "soften up" the starbase and make it manageable for your fleet of smaller ships that would otherwise be wiped out in seconds.
- a steady DPS to the enemy starbase (up to 60 DPS to hull and shields each, 120 DPS total if there is one rankulas and up to 100+100 DPS if there are two working together); while not truly terrifying, it reduces the effectiveness of passive regeneration and heals, allowing you to slowly and surely work your way through the target's hit points with your fleet; remember that this damage part is going to get highly mitigated by the target's armor and shield mitigation
- a steady heal to friendly ships (stacks up to 12 hull points per second if one rankulas is chaining this ability and up to 20 heal per second max); again, this is not truly outstanding when you take into consideration that the nanites can be easily destroyed by anything OTHER than the starbase, but it further reduces the threat level of the starbase, making it manageable for your fleet in a straight up fight. This heal applies to frigates and cruisers only, because they have less armor/mitigation than caps, titans and orkulus and will be taking much more damage from the starbase; besides, the whole idea here is to make the starbase a manageable target for your fleet which normally dies in seconds. Also remember you need two Rankulas caps with both of them at 4 points in this ability in order to hit the stack cap!

4. Reassemble

cost - 100 AM
duration - 120 seconds
cooldown - 100/60 seconds
range - 7000

All nanite swarms owned by this ship (anywhere) and all other nanite swarms owned by the player within the ability's range (!) are combined into a single Greater Nanite Swarm. This GNS has a base durability of a level 2-3 capital ship, receives +100 HP for every swarm assimilated, has no weapon and has a passive ability with the following effects:
- all enemy targets in 3000/4500 radius are dealt 1 point of damage per second for every nanite swarm assimilated, stacks up to 50 times
- all friendly targets in 3000/4500 radius are healed for 0,5 hull point per second for every nanite swarm assimilated, stacks up to 50 times
- all enemy attacks have a 5%/10% chance to miss friendly targets within 3000/4500 radius, does not stack
- highest bonuses apply if two or more GNSs are present; auras do not stack.

Now, before you think "hmm... permanent 50 DPS to everything in a large radius and 25 heal per second at the same time?? OP!!", please note what it takes to use that this ability in the first place:
- a TON of AM spent on nanite swarms,
- enemy must not wipe them out with something AOE or drain the cap of antimatter, which will prevent it from building up the swarm numbers,
- finally it sacrifices all of those nanites (their DPS and utility ends immediately).
- it will take more than one Rankulas to hit the stack cap of 50 assimilated swarms
What you should receive after all this hassle, AM spent and sacrifice done is a monster to behold. That's why it has the potential to be so good.

TLDR:
Of course, all of it would be subject to balancing, but the general idea I would put behind this capital ship is:

-> lots of weak nanites. Lots. High risk (individually weak, prone to AOE), high reward (massive DPS/Healing if left unbothered)
-> ability to field massive fleet of swarms of a single type OR field lots of different swarms, depending on player's leveling choices. The strength of a single swarm remains roughly the same through ability levels, it's the numerical composition of the swarm hordes you can field that you're choosing between with the use of ability points.
-> ultimate ability taking a form of a single, solid, persistent buff/debuff; something that would make this ship in any way useful against massive AOE damage sources
-> unique ultimate that allows you to neatly use numerous Rankulas ships to a great effect

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December 27, 2013 8:42:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting N3rull,

1. Combat nanite swarm
cost - 30 AM
duration - 120/140/160/180 seconds
cooldown - 25/20/15/10 seconds
nanite swarms increase effectiveness with with cap ship level only, not the level of this ability.

As it is, a level 1 combat nanite actually has the DPS of a light frigate (although the infobox does not correctly show the applied 100% damage output). At level 4, the output is 1.5 light frigates (18dps = 6ps + 200% output). I don't know how increasing the number of fielded frigates with ability level will compare with Missile Batteries (Sova Carrier) but it doesn't sound like a bad idea:

Missile Batteries
Cost - 70 AM
Max units: 5.14 (Duration 180s/Cooldown 35s)
DPS: 13/17.53/23.20/30.78 Peak: 66.86/90.14/119.32/158.29 [AntiMedium]
Durability: 982.5/1314.8/1670/2054.4 [Light]

Spawn Combat Swarm (Current)
Cost - 40 AM
Max Units: 6 (Duration 180s/Cooldown 30s)
DPS: 12/13.5/15/18 Peak: 72/81/90/108 [AntiHeavy]
Durability: 713.75/914.5/1115.25/1316 [Medium]

Spawn Combat Swarm (Your Proposal)
Cost - 30 AM
Max Units: 4.8/7/10.67/18
DPS: 12 Peak: 57.6/84/128/216 [AntiHeavy]
Durability: 713.75 [Medium]

Ravastra Skirmisher
DPS: 12 [AntiHeavy]
Durability: 1316 [Medium]

2. Support nanite swarm
cost - 40 AM
duration - 60/80/100/120 seconds
cooldown - 25/20/15/10 seconds

Each nanite swarm has a healing ability that heals for a flat amount of 100 HP every 10 seconds and applies a buff giving 1 armor for 10 seconds, stackable up to 4 times. Each nanite swarm has about half the durability of a vasari LF or a little less.

I would prefer to see the cooldown on the ability reduced from 15s to something more in line with the Overseer, which is 4s and the Hoshiko, which is 3s. Even repair platforms have a cooldown of 5-6s

Spawn Support Swarm (Current)
Cost - 40 AM
Max Units: 3
Cooldown: 15
Repair: 165/240/325/420 [Cast in Range]
Repair Rate: 11/16/21.67/28 Peak: 33/48/65/84
Durability: 713.75/914.5/1115.25/1316 [Heavy]

Spawn Support Swarm (Your Proposal)
Cost - 40 AM
Max Units: 2.4/4/6.67/12
Cooldown: 10
Repair: 105 [Cast in Range]
Repair Rate: 10.5 Peak: 25.2/42/70/126
Durability: 713.75 [Heavy]

Overseer/Reactive Nanite Armor
Cost - 75 AM
Cooldown: 4
Repair: 275 [Needs to Face Target]
Repair Rate Peak: 68.75
Durability: 990 [Heavy]

Hoshiko/Repair Droids
Cost - 50 AM
Cooldown: 3
Repair: 300 [Cast in Range]

Repair Rate: 20 Peak: 100
Durability: 1142.5 [Heavy]

Repair Cloud
Cost - 100/90/80/70 AM
Cooldown: 12
Repair: 200/300/420/560 [All Units in Range]
Repair Rate: 20/25/30/35

3. Assault nanite swarm
cost - 40 AM
duration - 30/40/50/60 seconds
cooldown - 25/20/15/10 seconds

Each nanite swarm has no attack, but a castable single target ability:

Ugh. Somwehat TL;DR and complicated. The ability you propose has quite a large number of effects and in some ways sounds more powerful than the Vulkoras' ultimate. I doubt that the devs will implement this, but perhaps a compromise might lie in your above proposals, which woule be to reduce the cooldown on the spawn time (so you can have more than 2) and increase the weapons range with level. It would also be nice if the armor reduction affects starbases as well as planet modules.

4. Reassemble

... all other nanite swarms owned by the player within the ability's range (!) are combined into a single Greater Nanite Swarm.

You are aware that reassemble already does this, right? All swarms present in a grav well (including greater ones) are converted regardless of which cap ship owns them.

...GNS has aura abilities...

Greater Nanite Swarm (Current)
DPS: 23 [AntiHeavy] + 5% per swarm
Durability: 2145.5 [VeryHeavy] + 217/267.63 per swarm

I think the first buff needed is the damage type should be composite, like a heavy frigate, since you get the worst of both worlds with this (vulnerable to bombers and only LF type attack). I like the idea that the swarm should do both healing and damage since this is what they are made of, after all, but I don't know if auras are the best way to achieve this. Perhaps the nanite repair beam could be enabled with decreased cooldown per converted swarm, and the damage could be increased by giving one weapon bank in each direction rather than just the forward bank. The aura idea could be approximated by also making the swarm immune to disablement (so you can't turn it off).

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December 27, 2013 10:46:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'm inclined to agree with N3rull's assessment that the current Rankulas is somewhat... underwhelming. The situation is further exasperated by the fact that it is fairly easy to exhaust a Rankulas' antimatter reserves by a combination of phase jumping and casting all three abilities on full tilt (the trick is to use them sparingly).

That said, I have a few nitpicks:

  • On the subject of the Marauder, this thing is actually pretty useful to me -- Phase Out Hull can be used to cancel focus fire on a single friendly unit -- it is effectively the opposite of a taunt, because it breaks target lock. Likewise, Distort Gravity essentially allows your fleet to chase the enemy fleet WITHOUT a space egg. I find the Marauder to be a very useful second capital ship despite its poor health and lack of firepower.
  • The Rankulas does much better in small-scale engagements than large-scale engagements -- you really feel the difference those extra units make in small-scale battles. This is actually an argument for making them spawn in groups at higher levels
  • Their Assault Swarm is, actually, REALLY good. You have to be careful of over-buffing this one. I actually prefer these guys over bombers -- they chew through structures obscenely fast, particularly if you research improved pulse beams, and they don't suffer from attrition the way bombers do
  • Aside from the long cooldown on its heal ability, the Support Swarm's primary weakness is its unfortunate tendency to target other swarms for healing. A heal spent on a swarm is a heal that is not spent on a unit that costs money. I would like to see Support Swarms target other swarms ONLY when there are no undamaged real-money units in range. That said...
  • The strength of the Support Swarm over Nanite Cloud is precision. The best way to demonstrate this is by example:
    • Example 1: I have a Skirantra with a fleet of twelve or so Ravastra Skirmishers against a small fleet full of LRFs (let's say Javelis frigates, just to keep things simple). My opponent, naturally, focuses fire on one Skirmisher at the time. After the targeted Skirmisher has blown its Reintegration cooldown, I have two choices: let it die; or use Nanite Cloud. But why should I use Nanite Cloud to save one unit? Nanite Cloud can heal a whole fleet! Why waste the antimatter to spare a single frigate?
    • Example 2: I have a Rankulas with a fleet of twelve or so Ravastra Skirmishers against a small fleet of Javelis frigates. This time, when they focus-fire on my Ravastra Skirmishers, I use Support Swarm. If the Javelis frigates focus down the Skirmishers one at a time, the Support Swarm heals them -- that's 200 more health with high shield mitigation! If the frigates focus down the Swarm, on the other hand, that's damage that is NOT being dealt to my frigates.

In the second example, the Rankulas trumps the Skirantra, because you can actually use your ability. Naturally, the Skirantra is the better choice against AoE abilities, but that's the point: it is a MEANINGFUL CHOICE! Do you want to do better against focus-fire? Pick a Rankulas. Do you want to do better against AoE? Pick a Skirantra.

That said, I feel this guy needs a few changes. Building on your suggestions above, here are the changes I propose:

  1. Combat Swarm:
    • Increased ability ranks spawn more swarms (1->2->3->4)
    • Combat Swarms no longer gain health and damage with improved ability ranks
    • Combat Swarms retain the damage bonuses based on the Rankulas' level
    • Combat Swarms now gain increased health based on the Rankulas' level
  2. Support Swarm: I actually have three suggestions; pick one
    • Suggestion 1: More frequent heals (same HPS); more frequent swarms
      • Spawn Support Swarm cooldown reduced as ability ranks increase (15->12->9->6 second cooldown)
      • Support Swarm Heal ability: heal amount reduced to 1/3 at all ranks
        • Current: 150->200->250->300
        • Proposed: 50->66->83->100
      • Support Swarm heal ability: cooldown reduced to 1/3 (from 15 seconds to 5)
      • Support Swarm heal ability: now prioritizes permanent units over temporary units
    • Suggestion 2: More frequent heals (improved HPS); swarm frequency remains the same
      • Support Swarm Heal ability: heal amount reduced to 1/3 at all ranks
        • Current: 150->200->250->300
        • Proposed: 50->66->83->100
      • Support Swarm heal ability: cooldown reduced to 1/3 (from 15 seconds to 5)
      • Support Swarm heal ability: cooldown reduced as ability ranks improve (5->4->3->2)
      • Support Swarm heal ability: cooldown reduced to 1/3 (from 15 seconds to 5)
    • Suggestion 3: Static heal amount; more frequent heals
      • Support Swarm heal ability: heals for 200 at all ability ranks
      • Support Swarm heal ability: cooldown reduced; increased ability ranks further reduce the cooldown (5->4->3->2 seconds)
      • Support Swarm heal ability: provides 2->4->6->8 bonus armor
      • Support Swarm heal ability: now prioritizes permanent units over temporary units
  3. Assault Swarm:
    • Current values for damage remain the same
    • Cooldown to spawn Assault Swarms reduced as ability ranks increase (90->70->50->30 seconds)

That should do it.

Discuss?

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December 27, 2013 11:18:14 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Seeing some interesting and promising suggestions here. One thing remains certain, the Rankulas definitely needs to be buffed.

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December 28, 2013 7:04:35 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frostflare,

 Their Assault Swarm is, actually, REALLY good. You have to be careful of over-buffing this one. I actually prefer these guys over bombers -- they chew through structures obscenely fast, particularly if you research improved pulse beams, and they don't suffer from attrition the way bombers do.

They may be better than a few bombers but as frigates, they are worse than both the TEC and Advent anti-module cruisers because they have less or only slightly more DPS per single target (21-27 versus 22.5 for both) and their range is also less, and just outside the range of most defenses (9000 versus 12000). Their only saving point is that they have module armour, which is more resistant to fighters and corvettes, and slightly more vulnerable to bombers, but you can't field more than 2, so against a significant fleet, they won't last long.


Example 1: I have a Skirantra with a fleet of twelve or so Ravastra Skirmishers against a small fleet full of LRFs (let's say Javelis frigates, just to keep things simple). My opponent, naturally, focuses fire on one Skirmisher at the time. After the targeted Skirmisher has blown its Reintegration cooldown, I have two choices: let it die; or use Nanite Cloud. But why should I use Nanite Cloud to save one unit? Nanite Cloud can heal a whole fleet! Why waste the antimatter to spare a single frigate?

Example 2: I have a Rankulas with a fleet of twelve or so Ravastra Skirmishers against a small fleet of Javelis frigates. This time, when they focus-fire on my Ravastra Skirmishers, I use Support Swarm. If the Javelis frigates focus down the Skirmishers one at a time, the Support Swarm heals them -- that's 200 more health with high shield mitigation! If the frigates focus down the Swarm, on the other hand, that's damage that is NOT being dealt to my frigates.

You should note that the Skirantra has 18% more antimatter regeneration than the Rankulas, so Nanite cloud is about 15% less expensive in AM to cast on a comparative basis. Also, nanite cloud always repairs faster than a single swarm so you either need to have 2 swarms present or you could still lose the frigate before you can create the second and the swarms have the chance to heal it. Furthermore, the Skirantra also has more strikecraft, so you could also make fighters to help take out the Javelis.

The strength of the Support Swarm over Nanite Cloud is precision. The best way to demonstrate this is by example:

...


In the second example, the Rankulas trumps the Skirantra, because you can actually use your ability. Naturally, the Skirantra is the better choice against AoE abilities, but that's the point: it is a MEANINGFUL CHOICE! Do you want to do better against focus-fire? Pick a Rankulas. Do you want to do better against AoE? Pick a Skirantra.

True, but then, it's not exactly a free choice because when you are actually picking the cap ship, how do you know whether you're going to need a heal over time versus a focused heal? Once you pick, you can't change your mind, and as N3Rull implies, it's XP that could have been used on another cap ship that you can't get back. I would have thought a bunch of Overseers providing a focused heal with a Skirantra in tow to keep them alive would be far more effective than a Rankulas with an adjusted-equivalent number of Overseers.

Support Swarm: I actually have three suggestions; pick one

Suggestion 1: More frequent heals (same HPS); more frequent swarms

Spawn Support Swarm cooldown reduced as ability ranks increase (15->12->9->6 second cooldown)
Support Swarm Heal ability: heal amount reduced to 1/3 at all ranks

Current: 150->200->250->300
Proposed: 50->66->83->100

Support Swarm heal ability: cooldown reduced to 1/3 (from 15 seconds to 5)
Support Swarm heal ability: now prioritizes permanent units over temporary units

I prefer this one; It's more consistent with most of the suggestions and mitigates against loss of said swarms although perhaps the cooldown should be less dramatically different (e.g. 60/40/30/22.5= Max 3/4.5/6/8). I would still keep the armor buff, though, since it can't be removed by damage, in contrast to the Overseer.


Assault Swarm:

Current values for damage remain the same
Cooldown to spawn Assault Swarms reduced as ability ranks increase (90->70->50->30 seconds)

Heh, 90/70/50/30 = Max 2/2.57/3.6/6, which is a bit non-linear. Perhaps 90/60/45/30 = Max 2/3/4/6 might be better.
In addition, the range should be increased (either with level or as a fixed value) and the armor reduction also target starbases.

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December 28, 2013 7:22:41 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frostflare,
Discuss?

Quoting Frostflare,
Combat Swarm:

I think the group spawn would be the best way to make this ability useful at all stages of the game. I dont care about the other details, just don't make the swarms weaker and make higher level abilities spawns more of them.

Quoting Frostflare,
Support Swarm:

More swarms would be better here I think, if not, then the cooldown should be decreased drastically like in your suggestion 3.

Quoting Frostflare,
Assault Swarm:

I agree, more swarms the better, and this nanite is good the way it is now, just we could have more of them.

Frostflare, do you have ideas for the greater nanite swarm?

 

I think for a level6 ability and destroving every single nanite currently deployed, it could really be a weak or medium capital ship, so a strong damage type (like capital ship or composite) high damage (more combat swarm higher damage), and getting every nanite ability based on what types of nanites are involved in it's construction, and more nanites the stronger this ship will be. And faster ability cooldowns as well, like more healing nanites much faster healing cooldown or more healing. But no area effects.. I don't think that would be really good here.

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December 28, 2013 7:49:04 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thank you guys for contributing to the thread in such a serious and constructive manner. It's nice not to have to deal with trolls within two posts from the OP at least this once. 

@ Agaricus (first post) - you analyzed my suggestions thoroughly and gave constructive opinions, for this you have my thanks. However, please remember that my suggestions are just drafts, the main point of the message being to make Rankulas truly associable with the words "nanite" and "swarm". In my mind, Rankulas should be able to spawn dozens of small and weak units that work along the "strength in numbers" philosophy, which is so alien to the Vasari who generally have fewer but stronger ships. I believe that was Egosoft's Ironclad's plan from the start, just the implementation of the idea is.... underdeveloped. 

Rankulas is currently stuck somewhere between the regular Vasari design (few but tough) and the target "swarm" design (individually weak but many). I believe it should be pushed towards the latter and I'd love to see it done all the way. Basically, it's a wonderful opportunity to give Vasari a completely unique spin and the opportunity is currently being wasted on something "in between" that not only doesn't feel right, but doesn't work either.

 

@ Frostflare - thanks for your post as well. It actually looks like Yarlen's change logs!

> I will have to take a better look at the assault swarm, if you say it's that good. 

> Good idea about the support swarm prioritization.

> About your argument why Rankulas heal is better than repair cloud in some situations, I agree with your arguments per se. HOWEVER, there is one very important aspect that makes such a comparison completely moot.

It's called the Overseer.

Vasari are already in possession of The Best Single Target Healing Capability In The Bloody Game®. What Vasari are hands down weakest at is AOE healing and your only source of that is the Skirantra (or Kultorask to an extent).

So, putting things in this perspective, the choice is not between
- "doing better against focus-fire" or
- "doing better against AoE".

The choice is actually between
- "having any sensible counter to AOE" or
- "wasting a cap slot on one additional, albeit oversized and overpriced, overseer"

If Vasari didn't have the Overseer, the choice would be valid. With the overseer available and so strong at what it does, it's like trucking sand to the desert... when you could've brought water.

> Having said the above, your suggestions would turn the "Rankulas Battleship" into "Sir Spawn-a-Lot", which is the direction I completely agree with and support.


----------------------------------------------------------

EDIT. 

as I finished the above, Teun-A-Roonius was the last poster

@ Agaricus (second post) - you pretty much speak my mind, so there's nothing to argue about in here for me

@ Turchany - mostly agreed;

I also agree that AOE effect on the Rankulas, particularly my suggestion for the GNS, might be hard to balance out. However, I'd like to explain my reasoning behind this idea.

You see, I suggested an AOE effect for the GNS to push it to the very limit of the "swarm" ideology. 

Think what kind of design would you put as the absolutely most "swarmy" unit design. More numerous and individually weaker than frigates and corvettes. Something even smaller than strike craft, so numerous that it can be hardly seen as individual units anymore. A true swarm, a cloud that consists of ridiculous amounts of tiny objects, a shapeless and formless mist that no longer "targets" but simply "engulfs".

That is exactly what I would put as the very pinnacle of nanite swarm technology. And my idea intended to reflect just that.

Of course it needn't be uncapped AOE. It can be a target-capped persistent AOE (think of autospammed, weak Phase Missile Swarms from the Vulkoras) or simply a starbase-like design, with 4 banks of standard guns and numerous targets per bank to give it that "I swarm u" feeling. Only that no gun models would be visible, making it feel as if the targets were taking damage from being "consumed" by the big swarm.

As an added bonus I would make the GNS hit box very small and give it a huge, transparent model - think about a combat nanite swarm that has a the same hit box size, but the model is half the size of the Iconus Guardian's bubble. Now THAT would be awesome. 

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December 28, 2013 8:28:02 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting N3rull,
or simply a starbase-like design, with 4 banks of standard guns

This would be nice, and would justify "killing" those little things when building this swarm. Oh and it could have disintegrators, I really love that weapon type, looks very cool but it is currently found only on the starbase..

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December 28, 2013 11:55:15 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Really some very nice discussion and observations here. Certainly most of everything said is on target, and nobody can make the case that the Rankulus is a great capital ship.

Nevertheless, I will submit that it is one of Vasari's best options for first 10 to 20 min of the game. You make that ship and get those heal nanites going, and you will lose no ships in early game. You can crush a big neutral planet for XP (of course you can do that in other ways with scouts, colonizers, and cannons...) or you can engage an enemy early and wrench a planet from him. The early fleet of Rankulus + 15 corvettes beats enemies. The problem is after 10 to 20 min.... Enemy takes everything back from you and then some.   

 

 

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December 28, 2013 3:07:05 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

@N3rull:

About Assault Swarms...

Well, let me put it to you this way.

I was once teaching a friend of mine how to play Sins. He had a Radiance and a half-dozen Disciples. I had a Kortul, a Marauder, and a pair of Rankulas Battleships.

To teach him about micro and planetary defenses (and, let's be honest, to troll him a tiny bit), I sent a few waves of two Combat Swarms at him, just to see what he'd do. Eventually, he built a few defense platforms. By then, I had manually leveled my Rankulas battleships, so I started sending pairs of Assault Swarms at him.

Two of these things, rank-1, took down his defense platform with health to spare WHILE UNDER FIRE from both the platform, his Disciples, AND his Radiance.

Like I said: the Rankulas does well in small-scale engagements.

Might they need a range buff? MAYBE. Maybe range could increase with ability rank. Just be careful with buffing them -- they're not the best at what they do, but they are certainly FORMIDABLE at what they do.

On the subject of the Support Swarm versus the Overseer:

I don't think ANY faction is particularly good at AoE healing!

I mean, if you think about it, what kind of area-of-effect heal abilities does each faction have?

  • TEC Starbase Resupply (restores health and antimatter)
  • Vasari Skirantra Nanite Cloud
  • Vasari Rebel Titan AoE Heal (restores health and antimatter instantly)
  • Advent Progenitor Mothership Shield Regeneration

That's it. All the rest of the heals in the game are single-target:

  • Overseer, Support Swarm, Hoshiko, and Domina Subjugator are single-target heals
  • Repair bays are single-target
  • Dunov shield restore is single-target
  • Kortul, VR Titan, and Corsev heal themselves
  • Iconus Guardian provides AoE MITIGATION, but mitigation is more proactive than a heal

Consequently, unless I'm forgetting something, I would argue that the Vasari have the BEST AoE healing in the game - Nanite Cloud is more accessible than Starbase AoE heal and better against phase missiles than Shield Regeneration.

What you might have been trying to say is, "Vasari have no Heal-over-time abilities except for Repair Bay and Reintegration (Ravastra and Skarovas ability) and Nanite Cloud." This is true.

It strikes me that that, within this context, the Support Swarm can free up supply that would normally be spent on Overseers. With a Rankulas or two, I usually get only about four Overseers (I never research the phase jump slowing ability; it's useless and wastes antimatter); the Overseers are supplemented by Support Swarms.

Finally: in a way the Rankulas fits in with the modern metagame better than the Skirantra.

To my knowledge, the predominant strats are as follows:

  • Bomber spam from light carriers
  • Light frigate spam
  • Corvette spam

I'm not sure if LRF spam is still around or not. The point is, though, that their counters are as follows:

  • Bomber spam: either build a truckload of light frigates to kill the hosts (with or without fighter support) or outspam them with your own bombers
  • Light frigate spam: get LRFs
  • Corvette spam: fighters and flak

Within this context, the Skirantra can provide:

  • More bombers, which kill light carriers and structures OR fighters, which kill corvettes
  • Healing

Within this same context, the Rankulas can provide:

  • Combat Swarms, which are effectively light frigates, which kill light carriers
  • Healing
  • Assault Swarms, which kill structures

To be clear, I DO NOT feel that the Rankulas, in its current state, is competitive with the Skirantra in terms of AoE healing or stopping power. With a buff, though, it could be an equally valid choice.

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December 28, 2013 6:06:52 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting N3rull,

@ Agaricus (first post) - you analyzed my suggestions thoroughly and gave constructive opinions, for this you have my thanks. However, please remember that my suggestions are just drafts, the main point of the message being to make Rankulas truly associable with the words "nanite" and "swarm". In my mind, Rankulas should be able to spawn dozens of small and weak units that work along the "strength in numbers" philosophy, which is so alien to the Vasari who generally have fewer but stronger ships.

Rankulas is currently stuck somewhere between the regular Vasari design (few but tough) and the target "swarm" design (individually weak but many). I believe it should be pushed towards the latter and I'd love to see it done all the way. Basically, it's a wonderful opportunity to give Vasari a completely unique spin and the opportunity is currently being wasted on something "in between" that not only doesn't feel right, but doesn't work either.

Heh. I went into detail because I could see the potential in your "draft"; I hadn't really thought about the Rankulas much beyond choosing it in SP because it looks good, but the fact that it isn't exactly a good choice in many MP situations indicates that it ought to be buffed/balanced. With some of the other replies, I am now preferring the idea of increasing the number of spawned units rather than decreasing cooldown: it "spring-loads" multiple spawns into the start of the activation period, rather than requiring multiple over-time actions, thus you get higher peak DPS and heal, and it also defers problems due to AM drain, disablement or destruction.

The only caution would be balancing the max (effective) fleet supply increase with other races.
AL can capture up up to 0.15*8 enemy units about every 7s via Subjugation and AR gets 20% extra fleet supply using Return of the Fallen and 20% of enemy losses via Reanimation, with Domination also allowing for 1 capture every 60s.
TEC can produce up to 5.14 missile turrets per Sova (= about 14.4 Javelis, supply 57.7) and at best capture 1 every 60s with Boarding Party.
Currently, the Rankulas can produce 6 combat swarms (= about 9 Ravastra, supply 63) 3 support swarms (= about 4.8 Overseers, supply 33.6) and 2 assault swarms (= 2 Ogrovs, supply 24), total about 120 supply (adjusted for 15% Phasic Transmission boost to 104 supply). The Skirantra can produce up to 10 bomber squads (= 5 Lasuraks, supply 70) and clone up to 4.4 frigates, total about 130 supply (adjusted to 113).

You see, I suggested an AOE effect for the GNS to push it to the very limit of the "swarm" ideology.

or simply a starbase-like design, with 4 banks of standard guns and numerous targets per bank

This would be nice, and would justify "killing" those little things when building this swarm. Oh and it could have disintegrators, I really love that weapon type, looks very cool but it is currently found only on the starbase.

As in my original post, I don't like the AOE idea, but I am definitely behind at least using all four banks for attacking as well as incorporating a healing ability with decreased cooldown per healing swarm. Disintegrators would be cool if you had assault nanites but I don't know how you would ensure the weapon targets only structures. The "always on" aspect of AoE could be approximated by making the swarm immune to disablement.

I believe that was Egosoft's plan from the start, just the implementation of the idea is.... underdeveloped.

Are you still cracking a joke here? I assume so based on the title of the post and the recent release by that company which I am glad I didn't pre-order, but I am a bit confused.

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December 28, 2013 8:35:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frostflare,
@N3rull:
About Assault Swarms...

As I said - I will look at them more closely when I get the chance. I admit the after seeing the meh combat swarm and the meh support swarm (they only start being good after 2 minutes of fight when you have 3 of them, assuming they don't get killed before then) I kinda extrapolated the "meh" over to the assault swarm since I didn't see much difference in how the enemy starbase disappears to my fleet, with or without the assault swarms. But of all the swarms, I didn't look at these too closely, so I should not have judged them I suppose. 

But all the other swarms are shit

Quoting Frostflare,
@N3rull:

On the subject of the Support Swarm versus the Overseer:

I don't think ANY faction is particularly good at AoE healing!

...

What you might have been trying to say is, "Vasari have no Heal-over-time abilities except for Repair Bay and Reintegration (Ravastra and Skarovas ability) and Nanite Cloud." This is true.

I don't know which is more annoying, dealing with trolls or dealing with people who nail every imprecise statement you make and prey on it... (j/k)

I used the "AOE Heal" too lightly it seems. What I had on my mind is "Counter to AOE damage".

As it is, Overseer is a wonderful counter to focus fire and Vasari doesn't need anything else to amplify that, in my humble noobish opinion. The only vasari counter to AOE damage, however, is the Skirantra (I refuse to accept Kultorask in this place for dozens of reasons: titan ability, one faction only, really poor effective healing-per-second potential, huge cooldown reduces its potential to actively counteract persistent AOE damage... lastly, I believe the most important part of the ability is the uncapped AOE AM restore, not the mediocre heal).

Whichever of the "predominant strats" the enemy chooses, there will always be sources of crippling AOE (or, still more precisely, multi-target damage) damage in there: 
- Marzas with their bombs (I suppose their ultimate should get interrupted instead, not tanked...)
- Vulkoras with their PMS
- Starbases with their 2301309 guns
- Illums with their side beams zapping random targets
- Destras with their passive
- Raptures with their Vengeance
- Any Titan with their respective anti-frigate AOE
- ...........

There really is a lot of that around, even if the core of the enemy fleet is going to be mass whatever. Most of those have the potential to hurt you badly and for this you will need a counter. Overseer sucks balls against such sources of damage because of how its ability is designed (the target needs to be hurt before it gets autotargeted and x overseers have to intelligently split their heals over y targets and not stack heals on a single target, which is very hard due to autocasting AI and Overseer's turning speed).

NOW, here's where stuff like Hoshiko and the Advent battleball come in.

Hoshiko can't stack heals. It is a disadvantage when dealing with focus fire, but it's a blessing against AOE damage, because several hoshikos can keep their heal over time on dozens of ships at once. Hoshiko effectively works as an AOE heal from what I experienced in actual battles. It definitely works well as a counter to AOE/multitarget damage effects.

Advent's Iconus Guardian and the Progenitor, either when working alone or in tandem, are also wonderful counters to AOE damage.

So, wrapping it all up : Vasari has a great counter to focus fire (Overseer) and imo doesn't need more of the same; it does however need a counter to AOE/multitarget damage sources, in which case you need the skirantra.

Quoting Frostflare,
To my knowledge, the predominant strats are as follows:

(...)

Within this context, the Skirantra can provide:

A lot More bombers, which kill light carriers and structures (and caps and pretty much anything except flak and fighters, to be honest) OR fighters, which kill corvettes
Buff to strike craft in general to reduce the effectiveness of enemy flak/fighters (Aura)
Healing
A little bit more of anything that is currently needed (replicate forces)

Within this same context, the Rankulas can provide:

Combat Swarms, which are effectively quite slow, weak and poorly armed light frigates, which kill tickle light carriers
Healing
Assault Swarms, which kill structures

I let myself edit my opinion on the subject into your quote, I hope you don't mind

Quoting agaricus5,
I believe that was Egosoft's plan from the start, just the implementation of the idea is.... underdeveloped.

Are you still cracking a joke here? I assume so based on the title of the post and the recent release by that company which I am glad I didn't pre-order, but I am a bit confused.

I dunno why I keep saying Egosoft. I meant Ironclad. No joke intended, just a... well... derp 

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December 28, 2013 9:09:06 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting N3rull,

 As I said - I will look at them more closely when I get the chance. I admit the after seeing the meh combat swarm and the meh support swarm (they only start being good after 2 minutes of fight when you have 3 of them, assuming they don't get killed before then) I kinda extrapolated the "meh" over to the assault swarm since I didn't see much difference in how the enemy starbase disappears to my fleet, with or without the assault swarms. But of all the swarms, I didn't look at these too closely, so I should not have judged them I suppose.

You're not missing out, I can assure you. They eat structures, but no more so than an Ogrov, and there is a bug where they won't apply their full armor reduction if you reload a game while a swarm is already spawned.

The only vasari counter to AOE damage, however, is the Skirantra [you imply it's not particularly effective against AOE damage].

Advent's Iconus Guardian and the Progenitor, either when working alone or in tandem, are also wonderful counters to AOE damage.

Egh. Not really to both assertions. The Iconus Guardian only shares the damage, so you are just transferring it elsewhere and not actually negating it (Iconuses do not have increased mitigation or damage reduction or self-heal and the ability halts when out of shields), and Iconuses also suicide themselves if the shared damage bypasses shields  (http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/448817/page/1/#3405796).

Shield Restoration is more expensive and has a longer cooldown than Repair Cloud, and in fact on a numbers basis, loses comparable effectiveness by level 4. Also Shield Restoration is channelled, while Repair Cloud is not:

Repair Cloud
Cost - 100/90/80/70 AM
Cooldown: 12; Duration 10/12/14/16
Repair: 200/300/420/560 Hull [All Units in Range 2500]
Repair Rate: 20/25/30/35

Shield Restoration
Cost - 100 AM
Cooldown: 20; Duration 8
Repair: 300/391.6/483.4/575.0 Shield [All Units in Range 3000/3533/4067/4600]
Repair Rate: 37.5/48.95/60.42/71.88

Remember that hull repair is affected by armor, so repair cloud increases in effectiveness even more on armored units and +25% (VL) or 40% (VR) with research, while Shield Restore does not improve except with better mitigation.

I think there is even a case to be made to buff the shield restore duration to keep it restoring 50% more shields than Repair Cloud restores hull (e.g. 8/9/10/12 = repair 300/441/604/863)

I believe that was Egosoft's plan from the start, just the implementation of the idea is.... underdeveloped.

Are you still cracking a joke here? I assume so based on the title of the post and the recent release by that company which I am glad I didn't pre-order, but I am a bit confused.

I dunno why I keep saying Egosoft. I meant Ironclad. No joke intended, just a... well... derp 

Heh. It was funny, though, if the reviews about X: Rebirth are to be believed.

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December 28, 2013 11:05:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting N3rull,


Within this context, the Skirantra can provide:

A lot More bombers, which kill light carriers and structures (and caps and pretty much anything except flak and fighters, to be honest) OR fighters, which kill corvettes
Buff to strike craft in general to reduce the effectiveness of enemy flak/fighters (Aura)
Healing
A little bit more of anything that is currently needed (replicate forces)

Within this same context, the Rankulas can provide:

Combat Swarms, which are effectively quite slow, weak and poorly armed light frigates, which kill tickle light carriers
Healing
Assault Swarms, which kill structures

The quote didn't highlight your amusing edits, but I take your point.

I have two quibbles:

  • Yes, light frigates merely tickle light carriers -- but not to mangle metaphors, enough bite-marks make a hole. Light frigates are cost-effective to mass; they don't cost crystal, and they are both supply-efficient and cost-efficient in terms of health and damage. They CAN chase down light carriers AND their DPS against heavy armor was just buffed to 150%. If you're willing to endure the attrition, you CAN mass light frigates against light carriers; bombers do a truckload of alpha strike damage, but seriously: how many attack passes can they make before your less expensive swarm of light frigates kills the hosts?

  • I wholly agree: the ONLY Vasari hea; that can deal with area-of-effect damage comes from the Skirantra (or, to an extent, the VR Titan). Likewise, the Hoshiko is far more effective at dealing with AoE damage than the Overseer or the Support Swarm.

    That said: AoE is a fact of life. The Advent have it (Malice, Psionic Scream, Rebel Titan), the TEC have it (Marza, Corsev, Dunov EMP, starbases, and both Titans), and the Vasari... don't, except for on their Titans (Phase Missile Swarm doesn't count); but then, the Vasari get phase missiles, so we'll call it even.

    I would argue that healing is just one part of the solution to AoE damage; crowd control (such as Phase Out Hull -- another reason I get the Marauder) and choosing your engagements carefully must also be used to deal with AoE damage.

 

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December 28, 2013 11:17:57 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting agaricus5,

You're not missing out, I can assure you. They eat structures, but no more so than an Ogrov,

Can't say no to a free ogrov. As I said, will take a look when I get the chance.

Quoting agaricus5,


Quoting N3rull, reply 17
The only vasari counter to AOE damage, however, is the Skirantra [you imply it's not particularly effective against AOE damage].
lol what? No, I did not imply that Repair Cloud is bad! It's wonderful. I said that KULTORASK's Nano Remit, which has been mentioned as an AOE heal before, is not really worth a mention in this regard for reasons stated.

Quoting agaricus5,
Egh. Not really to both assertions. (...)

You miss out a few very important things (skip to TLDR if you want):

1. Shields are the first line of defense that always works (except against highly upgraded PMs) ; hull is the last line of defense that must not fail.

Every point of damage taken will be absorbed by shields if there are any, while a lot of damage may not hit the hull. As such, a Progenitor can start using the shield regeneration as soon as any of his allies are hit and will always actively counteract any damage taken. Before any hull damage is done, a lot of damage taken may already be reverted if shields are actively restored. Repairing hull, although more effective point for point, has to be initiated only AFTER your ships have already taken noticeable damage and lost all of their shields. This means that, despite applying a stronger heal, you are:
- FORCED to start healing LATER, when you have FEWER total hit points (as in: hull+shields=total HP) left before the ship blows up. You have a smaller window of opportunity to prevent the loss of the ship.
- your heal will only restore hull and will therefore stop working as soon as hull is at max. While it sounds all fine that hull is on max, the healed ship is still at 70-80% durability at this point because it's missing the shields. So you not only have to start healing the ship once it's noticeably weakened, you also leave the ship noticeably weakened after the heal.

Think of a car with a driver inside. Even if the car has no ABS, the driver is most often capable of noticing danger ahead of time and stopping the car safely.
Now give the car ABS so it can brake stronger, but replace the driver with one who has a significant vision defect. He may be able to brake harder, but he can't see shit beyond 30 meters ahead, will react later and will have a significantly smaller room for error.

Whether it's better to be in the first situation or the latter is not as obvious as you seem to think.

2. By distributing damage among themselves, Iconus Guardians allow more ships to regenerate lost points.

This multiplies not only the effectiveness of SR, but also the passive regeneration of shield points!

1 + 2 = 3. Iconus guardian's Shield Projection multiplies the effectiveness of Shield Regeneration.

Quick example. Progenitor regenerates 70 shields per second (approx.).
A destra crusader takes 560 points of damage to the shields. Progenitor should need 8 seconds to restore all the shield points, which is the full duration of the ability...

BUT

Three Iconus guardians are in the vincinity and spread half (or some such amount) of those 560 points between themselves, so now it's about 280+93+93+93 damage taken. ALL of those ships restore 70 shields per second, so ALL of those ships are at 100% within 4 seconds. The efficiency of the Shield Regeneration ability is effectively doubled in this scenario. Even more so, because guardians are at 100% within less than 1,5 seconds and can start soaking damage from other sources.

In fact, there could be 4 Destras instead of one and it would still take 4 seconds instead of 8 seconds to get all 7 ships to 100% shape.

 

Adding it all together:

Repair Cloud 
+ benefits from Armor, effectively restoring more durability per point
+ synergizes OK with Overseer (by slowing down the loss of hit points among all ships, this ability buys time for overseers to apply their strong heals to all affected targets one by one)
- starts working when the ship is already weakened
- will always leave the ship weakened (if you had to use the heal, the shields are already down and will stay down)
- one effect heals one target
- can't use two Skirantras to increase effectiveness of healing, so either you keep only one and risk getting it drained/disabled and losing your only AOE heal OR you keep two and risk watching your ships die to heavy damage while not being able to use the other skirantra's heal at all (because the first skirantra was using it all the time, it just wasn't enough)
- Vasari are not the most hull-centric race; TEC is 

Advent mechanic (SR+SP)
- heals less per point because armor is not taken into account
- doesn't last for the whole cooldown
- can get trolled hard by phase missiles in later game
+ can start repairing immediately, reducing damage before hull even takes a scratch
+ has the potential to keep a ship at 100% durability 
+ thanks to SP, damage is distributed among several ships and ALL of them regenerate the lost shields, multiplying the effectiveness of the ability well beyond "71.88 shields/sec" 
+ can use two Progenitors to chain SRs for redonkulous sustain if not interrupted (remember, it's yet another thing the opponent has to take care of if he wants to deal any damage at all)
+ Advent is the most shield-heavy race, boasting a truckload of bonuses to shields' effectiveness

 

TLDR: 
As with many things, it is not as simple as "hull points are more valuable because of armor". Advent has several mechanisms that make Shield Regeneration much more effective than it seems at first glance.

I, for one, am not so sure if it's really easier to break through SR+SP rather than a Skirantra's Repair Cloud.

 

MY POINT TO ALL THIS SEEMINGLY OFFTOPIC EXPLANATION:

> Despite only spreading damage around, SP lets more ships regenerate damage taken (passively in the worst case) and this counters damage
> Advent's "AOE healing" is in no way worse than Skirantra's if you take all factors into consideration
> Vasari need the Skirantra, Vasari need the Overseer; Vasari don't need the Rankulas' support nanites 

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December 28, 2013 11:50:35 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

@N3rull:

A minor quibble with your analysis of shield repair vs. hull repair, you forgot one thing: SHIELD MITIGATION.

Yeah, if you lose your shields, you're already half-way boned. BUT!

  1. If you lose your shields, your shield mitigation is probably through the roof, and shield mitigation applies at all times, shields or no shields. By contrast, if you haven't taken damage already, your shield mitigation will be low. Consequently: because of shield mitigation, each point of hull can be worth up to 40% more than each point of shields.
  2. The only difference that matters is the difference between one and zero. A ship with one health is still firing and still regenerating. The only difference being topped off makes is how much damage can be dealt in a single volley.

I know this is off-topic, but it's a subject of import.

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December 29, 2013 8:01:09 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

@ Frostflare

If you look through the forums, there are at least 3 posts where I explain shield mitigation to newcomers in full detail and get karma for it. Trust me, I did not forget about it.

Ad. 1. You claim that hull is more valuable, because you are getting your hull damaged with maxed shield mitigation, while your shields go down faster because the ship is only building up mitigation when the shields get hit.

The facts you present are true, but the claim is false.

After the first couple hundred damage, your shield mitigation is going to be at maximum and will stay there if you're getting damaged. From this point onward, shield mitigation applies at peak efficiency to every point of damage taken, whether it blows shields or hull.

It does not matter whether you restore shield or hull, every restored point will benefit from maximum shield mitigation once that hits the cap.

Of course, armor still makes hull more valuable and is a factor; but shield mitigation is not.

Ad 2. This point really caught me speechless. You speak openly that it does not matter how many hit points you have as long as the ship is alive and the only difference is how much damage you can take in rapid succession.

In my humble opinion, this is the most important drawback of restoring hull only and ignoring the shields.

It matters, it matters a whole fucking load. Damage in this game, except for damage-over-time effects, is not dealt at a completely constant rate. Whatever ships are shooting at you, there will be seconds when only 20% of them are actually just now loosing a volley and there will be seconds when 80% of them fire together.

It makes a whole load whether you can take a spike of 1000 (raw, unmitigated) damage and heal it up afterwards when the enemy's weapons are on cooldown or whether you die in flames to that.

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December 29, 2013 9:46:25 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

This is getting off topic, for which I apologise, but I guess it's interesting to ask if the Rankulas could be a better AoE attack counter as opposed to the Skirantra.

lol what? No, I did not imply that Repair Cloud is bad! It's wonderful. I said that KULTORASK's Nano Remit, which has been mentioned as an AOE heal before, is not really worth a mention in this regard for reasons stated.

Heh. Oops. I misread that. Sorry.

In my humble opinion, this is the most important drawback of restoring hull only and ignoring the shields.

Your argument in a nutshell is that shields can always be filled, while hull repair relies on loss of shields first more or less, so you always have a durability advantage if you are restoring shields, while repairing hull leaves your units 33-50% weaker, and thus closer to death. I agree that we assume full mitigation in all cases (as is the case once you've refilled the shields after taking damage).

I didn't actually say I had a problem with the above; my argument is that Shield Regeneration is inferior to Repair Cloud as an AoE heal because:

- Shield Restore does not refill much more shield than hull
- Shield Restore is more expensive on a heal point per AM basis
- Shield restore has a longer cooldown
- Shield restore is channeling and interruptible

On the plus side, as you say:

- Shield restore can be chained (i.e. 2.5 Progs can give continuous heal)
- Shields can be filled at all times, and hull will concomitantly repair itself

The devs I think neglected to balance Shield Regeneration because in Entrenchment/Diplomacy, Repair Cloud had a fixed duration of 10s, meaning that SR always did at least 50% more repair than RC (200/250/300 versus 300/400/500). If SR is now buffed in the same way as RC, then this would remove most of the negatives and I would agree with you that the two are comparable.

2. By distributing damage among themselves, Iconus Guardians allow more ships to regenerate lost points.

No. Sorry. In this case you are incorrect. Iconuses cannot stack Shield Projection on units multiple times. The first Iconus to project shields onto a unit will share the damage with it; the second Iconus that comes along will not share any damage with any units already covered by the first. The damage is also not propagated from one Iconus to another; Iconuses take turns to shield a fleet.

Iconuses as a counter to AoE are questionable IMO for two reasons:

- The damage reduction (effective shield augmentation) is decreased with the size of your fleet, so for example, an Iconus with 2000 shields can only absorb 100 damage per ship with a fleet of 20 ships.
-An AoE attack (e.g. Chastic Burst, Explosive Shot) that causes the total shared damage to exceed the Iconus' durability will cause it to self-destruct. So for example, if you have 30 frigates hit by chastic burst (Lvl 4 = 1115), all of which are sharing damage, then this will kill the sharing Iconus even if the Iconus isn't hit.

The latter point is actually quite good when you are dealing with large amounts of damage, because the excess damage is completely lost to space, so to speak (in this situation, this equates to an instant repair of about 300 per unit = 9000 total) but this is balanced with losing the Iconus and so being unable to use it again. The Iconus as it is protects against AoE effectively in a way that is different from SR (it requires the Iconus to die), which IMO means it doesn't synergise well with the Progenitor in the way you describe, particularly if the fleet is large.

However, on that note, perhaps this is what Frostflare was trying to say:

You speak openly that it does not matter how many hit points you have as long as the ship is alive and the only difference is how much damage you can take in rapid succession.

...

It makes a whole load whether you can take a spike of 1000 (raw, unmitigated) damage and heal it up afterwards when the enemy's weapons are on cooldown or whether you die in flames to that.

The issue is not whether you can heal after a spike, but whether you survive it in the first place. In this case, SR is moot if there is a question of survival, while SP could be the difference between survival or death.

To bring this back on topic a bit, the instant heal of repair clouds is superior compared to a heal over time like RC for this reason, but I don't know if making the Rankulas produce enough healing swarms is going to make it superior to RC for generalised fleet healing without completely unbalancing the swarm mechanics.

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December 29, 2013 2:59:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting agaricus5,
No. Sorry. In this case you are incorrect. Iconuses cannot stack Shield Projection on units multiple times. The first Iconus to project shields onto a unit will share the damage with it; the second Iconus that comes along will not share any damage with any units already covered by the first. The damage is also not propagated from one Iconus to another; Iconuses take turns to shield a fleet.

This is not quite right either (unless it was changed in some patch I forgot about). If you have two guardians with shield projection active at once, it is true your ships will still only have a third of their damage absorbed by guardians. However, the second guardian will absorb a third of the damage taken by the first one, including the damage the first one is absorbing. So that of the 33% of damage the guardians are taking, the first one is taking 66% (or 22% of total damage) of it and the second one is taking 33% (or 11% of total fleet damage). In this way multiple guardians can absorb more damage and make shield projection last longer, but the damage shared is still a third.

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December 29, 2013 9:42:18 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The damage is also not propagated from one Iconus to another; Iconuses take turns to shield a fleet.

However, the second guardian will absorb a third of the damage taken by the first one, including the damage the first one is absorbing. So that of the 33% of damage the guardians are taking, the first one is taking 66% (or 22% of total damage) of it and the second one is taking 33% (or 11% of total fleet damage). In this way multiple guardians can absorb more damage and make shield projection last longer, but the damage shared is still a third.

I've just tried it in the Dev.exe (I have the 1.82 beta) and I can't see the second Iconus losing shields when the first is sharing damage, nor does the damage rate from sharing decrease by a third. The only way the second Iconus can reduce damage is if the first Iconus receives damage directly. I don't think I saw the damage sharing chains you describe in Diplomacy happening either, so if this was changed, then it must have been some time ago.

Similarly, Vengeance will actually reflect shared damage back at attackers if cast on the first Iconus (which is perhaps an interesting way to take advantage of massive AoE damage), but has no effect on the second one unless the first Iconus is directly fired upon.

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