(disclaimer)I am a noob(/disclaimer)
It occurs to me that certain vanilla units are either underutilized or otherwise eclipsed. With this thread, I would like to:
Enumerate a list of units I think fall into this category
Modify said list according to community feedback
Make suggestions as to how some of the units on this list could be fixed
Modify said suggestions based on community feedback
Forthwith the list of units I feel might need a buff of some kind:
Cielo Command Cruiser
Dunov doesn't need any help IMO. The addition of titans(and consequently greater focus upon cap-ship & titan fleets rather then massed frigates) has done a great deal to help the Dunov.
Destra Crusader (just Ruthlessness)
Domina Subjugator (just Perseverance)
I agree with most of this list, though I'd be careful about messing with Ruthlessness....sure it sucks, but destras currently have the best damage per cost of all heavy cruisers(in part because of the weapon speed boost on advent plasma research)
Vulkoras Desolator (just Phase Missile Swarm)
no complaints here
The community seems to be in agreement: fighters are completely shut down by flak frigates. One way to fix this without throwing off the relationship between damage and armor types is by giving flak frigates a %chance to miss fighters.
In addition, I feel that fighters need increased ability to accelerate, decelerate, and turn, allowing them to come about and pursue bombers more effectively.
Finally, both fighters and bombers should have their antimatter costs rebalanced, allowing fighters to be built cheaply and bombers to be more expensive.
Not much to add here. I'm at a complete loss as to how to address fighters. Though honestly while they are countered to hard by flak, they aren't in as bad a place as most of the other ships you've listed.
As near as I can figure it, metagame is as follows: get LRFs for focused fire; get flak frigates as an early defense against fighters/bombers and as a counter to LRFs; get carriers for Moar Bombers; and get heavy cruisers/casters as the situation demands.
Note the absence of light frigates, which get ravaged by LRFs and can't kill anything else.
Light frigates are designed to function as anti-casters in the mid to late game. Their weapon system is designed to counter units with heavy armor (flak frigates; light carriers; and casters), and they all get an anti-caster ability of some kind. To balance them out, they're easy prey for LRFs.
I feel the best solution would be some combination of the following:
Increase their DPS
Improve their DPS against heavy armor (flak, carriers, casters)
Improve their anti-caster abilities so they can be used to cripple, rather than merely inconvenience, a fleet of support cruisers
For starters, it would be nice if Sabotage Reactor and Interference impacted light carriers
Honestly I think the problem is more their survivability in later game fleet battles. That said I don't think LFs should be touched- they may fall off into the late game, but their role in the early game is so pivotal I'm hesitant to mess with their general strength.
The Cielo Command Cruiser suffers from a number of problems:
Role confusion: Tier 5 cruisers in the Vasari and Advent are given a T6 "crowd control" ability; but the TEC crowd control ability (Demo Bots) went to the Hoshi. Since the Hoshi is available at a lower tier, it is often on the field in large numbers when Demo Bots hits the field, and the developers wisely chose to make it the least powerful of the three crowd control abilities
Conflict of interest: With 2.5 shield regeneration and +10% RoF, Embolden can't decide whether it wants to be an offensive ability or a defensive ability. Consequently, it excels at neither
Designate Target is... not that great
I honestly don't know how to fix this guy; I'm open to suggestions. The Cielo needs a complete overhaul.
What I was thinking would be good for the Cielo is to replace it's default ability(the small single target regen buff) with some sort of small scale multitarget damage reduction(think much smaller scale weaker version of the domina effect that only affects maybe 5-6 nearby frigates but has no channel).
With the appearance of titans, there's a lot more AoE damage flying around these days and the TEC have no way to mitigate it on a wide scale. Thematically the idea was each Cielo command cruiser has an ability to take command of 5-6 nearby frigates, reducing all damage they take by 15-20% for up to 1 minute(ending early if the cielo dies or a frigate moves too far away from the cielo).
not as astrong as the domina's effect(that is one of the advent's main frigate selling points after all), but it would synergize with hoshikos and provide the TEC with some means of mitigating wide-scale AoE damage.
By comparison, the Kol Battleship is a much simpler problem: all three of its abilities are lackluster. Just compare it with the Kortul Devastator!
Overcharge vs. Adaptive Forcefield: Godly regeneration and increased RoF vs. a slightly higher level of mitigation.
Jam Weapons vs. Flak Burst: Entirely shut down all attacking squadrons vs. an ability that needs two clean hits to kill anything (during which time you've already been pecked to death)
Disruptive Strikes vs. Gauss Railgun: Completely shut down a single capital ship's abilities vs. Slow the thing down and do a modicum of damage
But ph34r n0t! This is pretty easy to fix.
Gauss Rail Gun:
Now ignores shield mitigation
Also disables phase engines
Disables passive hull regeneration
Flak Burst: Damage doubled; radius halved
This allows you to completely wipe out squadrons with one shot at all ranks, but it requires much more timing and control to use effectively
Adaptive Forcefield: Now effects all friendly ships in an area, giving your fleet extra mitigation and phase missile block
Honestly I think your Gauss change is way overboard. even after for shield mitigation, Gauss Railgun can exceed the single target DPS of the vasari Evacuator's nano-dissembler- the problem is it drinks up too much AM to be spammed. That said, I don't think anything that deals high immediate damage should ever ignore shield mitigation(especially when it already ignores armor). Likewise I think jump-drives disabled is too strong of a mechanic to be on a damaging ability(and should be reserved for pure-utility skills).
I actually disagree with you a bit o the core problems: The Kol has 2 main problems IMO:
1). Too much of an AM hog. In reality, Gauss railgun would easily allow Kol to match the single-target damage output of any other capital ship if it could be spamming it every cooldown. As it is Kol has 3 active abilities, 2 of which are AM hogs. At the very least I think one of Kol's abilities(likely adaptive forceshield) should become a passive(with soem stat reductions of course. I also think it would be good to reduce the AM cost of Gauss a bit more and buff the effect of Flak burst, but give it a longer cooldown(stronger effect with longer cooldown will be less of a burden on AM)
2). Flak burst doesn't fufill it's role. This has 2 causes: it takes at least 2-3 flak bursts to get anything done(as it does nothing but damage and won't kill squads in a single burst), by which time massed bombers have already made capitalships dead. THe second problem is that it's a fundamentally difficult ability to balance the damage of since each faction's strikecrafts have wildly different hull strengths. If flak burst is balanced around advent bombers it will barely scratch vasari ones. Likewise if it's balanced to be useful against vasari bombers it will annilate TEC/advent bombers. Honestly I think it either needs some sort of utility secondary effect(such as a debuff), to deal damage equal to a % of each squad's maximum hull, or to flat out kill the nearest 2/3/4/5 squads when activated....somethingt hat guarantees a noticable effect and is equally strong against all 3 faction's bombers.
Though the Dunov sees more use than the Kol, it, too, suffers from the same issues: lackluster abilities. Since the Dunov's abilities are generally better than the Kol's, it just needs some slight tweaking. Fortunately, tweaks I can do.
Shield Restore: Now chains from target to target, healing a reduced amount per jump; there are two ways of doing this, and I'm fine with either one (though I'd prefer the one which is less OP):
Flat rate (X% of the total is removed with each jump)
Compound rate (X% of A, then X% of X*A, then X% of X*X*A)
EMP: In addition to depleting shields and antimatter, temporarily debuffs the target, preventing passive shield and antimatter regeneration for W/X/Y/Z seconds
Like I said, disagree here. EMP burst is good against the vasari and AMAZING against the advent. Both EMP & the level 6 ability were made stronger by the presence of titans and the greater reliance on capitalships as a result. Shield restore also has been improved by this shift in fleet composition.
This unit suffers from two problems:
It's tier 3
Its damage is spread out across three targets
Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to both problems:
Give the Illuminator an ability to toggle its beams between two modes, Single Target and Multiple Targets
Multiple Targets mode works exactly as it does now
Single Targets mode changes the angle of the flank-mounted beams to focus on the front target, thereby applying ALL of the Illuminator's impressive 17 DPS (almost double that of the Javelis) to a single target
This suggestion would be way too strong. 17 DPS(actually in the beta it's 18 now) is too great of an advantage over the other LRFs.
I think a more reasonable solution would be to either:
A). Change the % of damage allocated to the main beam vs side beams from 9/4.5/4.5 DPS to 11/3.5/3.5 DPS or maybe even 12/3/3 DPS
B ). Drastically increase how wide the firing arc on the sidebeams is(perhaps to maybe 150-160 degrees, whcih would allow sidebeams to fire on any target 10-15 degrees off center on their respective sides). part of the problem is that it's too hard to make sure all of your illuminators are firing all 3 beams at all times, which means illuminators don't regularly get their full 18 DPS
Honestly I think B is the bestter solution, though in all honesty I could see both being implemented.
The Destra Crusader:
Ruthlessness is a pretty easy fix: it disables passive hull and shield regeneration on all units around it. This is better than it sounds -- trust me.
Still not convinced the Destra need it, but if ruthlessness were to be changed this is a fairly reasonable solution. Well, may be necessary to make the effect not extend to starbases/titans as that would be a bit too nuts
The Domina Subjugator:
Now that Suppression is no longer channeled (!!!!!), Perseverence becomes easier to fix. It's pretty simple:
Perseverance is now a channeled ability
Perseverance now effects all units within a small area around the Domina Subjugator (around the same radius as the Stilakus Subverter's Distortion Field area of effect)
See what I did there?
Too strong IMO, since perseverance also affects capitalships and has a long duration. Honestly all I think needs to be changed is perseverance needs to be made omnidirectional.
The Radiance Battleship:
There are two main problems with this ship:
Energy Absorptive Armor
As near as I can figure it, the devs felt that Animosity would be used in three ways:
To restore the Radiance's antimatter
To synergize with the Rapture's Vengeance ability, which returns damage, the idea being that you cast Vengeance on the Radiance and then use Animosity to make everything attack the Radiance and kill itself (Shield Regeneration helps here to make sure your Radiance doesn't die, but it's rather wasted on the
To force neutral units to attack the Radiance, rather than his friends
Unfortunately, you don't often see a Radiance paired with a Rapture, as there's simply not enough synergy here to make this worthwhile. Also, this combination is dependent on your opponent being, well, brain dead -- but if your opponent is brain dead, you're gonna roll him anyway.
So, I propose the following buff: When Animosity is in use, attacks restore the Radiance's shields for W/X/Y/Z% of the Radiance's maximum shields.
Simple and effective. When it works, your Radiance is effectively immortal, but its success depends on your opponent being, quite frankly, stupid.
In other words: it becomes what I like to call an idiot check.
I've actually never used Cleansing Brilliance, so I can't say for sure whether its good or not.
WOuld definitely help with the fact that Radiance doesn't have the beefyness to actually tank damage late game(though there are other ways to accomplish this).
That said you haven't addressed Radiance's biggest problem: lack of early game firepower. Battleships are in direct competition with carriers as they are "pure combat ships" without much in the way of support or utility(such as the ability to colonize). At the moment carriers win hands down as most battleships(including radiance) simply don't have the firepower to compete with an extra 3-4 squads of strikecraft as an early game capitalship pick.
The problems with animosity & energy absorption armor are late game problems, but radiance's early game issues are as much if not more of a concern as the early game is when pure combat ships excel most(late game a large fleet make support/fleet synergy ships more attractive).
The Revelation Battlecruiser:
This is a tough nut to crack. I'll start out by pointing out the problems with this unit's abilities:
Clairvoyance is the LEAST problematic of the Revelation's abilities. I do, however, feel that Clairvoyance should reveal mines in the system on which it is used, making the Ravelation a minesweeper
Clairvoyance is not without precedent: in Warcraft III, the Night Elf Priestess of the Moon had a similar ability, as did the Orc Farseer. In both cases, the abilities were useful but circumstantial: searching for expansions and clutch reveals of hidden units
The problem with Guidance is that it has minimal synergy with the rest of the fleet; consequently, I recommend either one or both of the following:
Also causes strike craft to build 40% faster
Synergy with strike craft hosts of all flavors AND the Rapture Battlecruiser (which buffs strike craft damage at the source)
Also causes nearby kinetic weapons to fire 40% faster
For all you lore junkies out there, Advent orbital bombardment weapons are kinetic weapons
This buff would allow the Revelation Battlecruiser to facilitate orbital bombardment WITHOUT treading on the toes of the Halcyon Carrier's energy weapon aura
Reverie: I can think of two buffs for this ability:
The Revelation Battlecruiser cannot be disabled whilst this ability is being used
A small AoE effect, rather like the Stilakus Subverter's Distortion Field
Very interesting suggestions. I definitely agree that guidance is the problem, and while I have done a great deal of brainstorming on how to fix it myself I hadn't thought of strikecraft build rate.
That said, I think the other issue with guidance is it is an AM hog and uses AM that would be better spent on Reverie. I think it would be good to turn Guidance itno some sort of passive, regardless of the specific effect therein.
You're mistaken about reverie though: it's widely considered to be the best disable in the game and the only reason to even consider building a revelation(though doing so is rarely a good idea all things considered). Reverie needs absolutely no buffs.
Also one other issue with the revelation is how squishy it is. This is mainly a problem because when it invariably gets focused and is forced to retreat any currently active instances of Reverie end prematurely if it gets to far away from the slumbering enemy. This means the relative squishyness of the revelation means it's strongest tool will rarely get to see it's full effect against a smart opponent who will force the revelation to retreat or die.
The Vasari are in a pretty good place right now. That said, even they have a few underused units.
The Antorak Marauder:
This unit needs a little help, in small ways, here and there. My suggestions are as follows:
Phase Out Hull: Damage/healing scales with level: 100/200/300/400 (it is currently 200 at all levels)
Distort Gravity: The only problem with this ability is that it doesn't encircle the whole fleet most of the time, if it ends at an inopportune time, your units have to reposition themselves, which actually slows down the entire jumping process. To that end, I have the following suggestions:
Increase its radius from 5000 to 8000 (8000 being the radius of the Akkan's Targeting Uplink)
This ability no longer reduces phase jump departure range
This ability now increases phase jump charge speed by the same rate it used to reduce departure range (8/16/25%)
I like the idea of increasing it's range, but 800 is too much. Phase out Hull is a very powerful tactical tool. Also I think it used to have 7000 range as was reduced.
Subversion needs its own paragraph
Subversion, as compared to Embargo, sucks. Both abilities have the same limitations (the ship must be in-system), but in addition to doing everything Subversion does, Embargo STEALS 100% OF AN ENEMY'S TAX INCOME!
Rather than try to one-up Embargo, I recommend overhauling Subversion entirely.
Subversion: Sends an espionage team to the planet's surface to commit acts of sabotage and interfere with interplanetary communication for W/X/Y/Z seconds.
Tax income rate reduced to zero
Culture output rate reduced to zero
Planet upgrades, orbital construction, and ship construction are all DISABLED for the duration; all such projects are halted for the duration
Players can't build ships, can't build structures, and can't commission planet upgrades -- the buttons are greyed out on their interface
This ability would effectively paralyze a single planet as long as the Marauder is in-system, just by cutting off communications.
Too many effects IMO. Shutting down a planets economy, culture, and production is already on the strong side, and simultaneously shutting down the planet's chief tools to chase the Marauder out of the gravity well(orbital stuctures & production) is simply too much.
It would mean the only way to chase the thing away would be to commit a fleet, at which point it's mobility means you won't catch it anyway.
Adding an economic debuff may be a good idea, but your proposition is IMO way too mcuh for a single skill to do.
The Vulkoras Desolator:
Really, this is a solid unit, its primary weakness being Phase Missile Swarm.
The weakness of Phase Missile Swarm is the fact that its damage, and the number of targets, is capped.
Consequently, I feel the ability should be overhauled:
For the next 30 seconds, the Vulkoras' Phase Missile batteries fire at double their normal rate and attack an additional 2/4/6/8 targets; X second cooldown
I'm pretty sure this would turn out better, as it would scale with the Vulkoras' level and any upgrades you researched for Phase Missiles.
It's an interesting direction you're going, but the numbers sound way too high. in 30 seconds w/ researches the desolater could easily be putting out something like 3k-4k damage to each target. Way to strong of an AoE for a non-level 6 ability even with the 8 limit maximum.
Honestly I think the ability would be very strong without the inclusion of the weapon speed buff. Just give it a long duration so it's up most of the time-heck it may even be too strong then.
But strong attack based AoEs are dangerous in general as they are high susceptible to synergy with other ship effects & research weapon upgrades, which makes them hard to balance- which honestly makes me think as far as capitalships are concerned they should be relegated to level 6 abilities.
That said I don't think the current version of this ability is inherently flawed. The inclusion and efficiency of corvettes will likely mean any buff of this ability will make it an appealing tool. In my opinion the biggest issue with the ability is too many parts of it scale to level, resulting in it sort of sucking hard until it hits rank 3-4. I'd like to see the max targets fixed at 7-8 for all levels and the damage perhaps upped a bit(perhaps a bit of a AM cost reduction as well).
All in all, while I may sound critical, kudos on the post. You've clearly put a lot of thought into the matters and the formatting is beautiful. While I may disagree with you on many points this is the sort of post I'd like to see more of on these forums. Also I'm glad someone is finally pointing out the proverbial elephant in the room(classic ship balance) which has alrgely been skirted around and discussion only on a per-ship basis.