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Old 01-05-2015, 06:06 PM
Red-XIII's Avatar
Red-XIII Red-XIII is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 8

This mechanic exploit has been bugging me for a while, though I used to dismiss it as exploit, and was expecting it to be ignorable as any other exploit should be (if not removed, that is).

Now this thread have finally pushed me over the worried limit. It's shouldn't be a standard practice to use an exploit. It's bad enough that it exists, but the game should be AT LEAST built around the idea of NOT using it.

Ships for 460 points out of 500 are definitely NOT there for exploitless gameplay.

I hope that the developers will address this. It's not even THAT hard to deal with either.

First, to deal with the "core" of the problem.

This'll probably be the most work-heavy part.

Implement a downscaling debuff that reduces the core efficiency of a module (armour for armour plating, damage for weapons, shield strength and shield regen for shields etc.) as long as it's requirements are not met.

used_component_stat = base_component_stat * Min{(((ships_current_CP - component_CP_requirement)*scaling_const_1 + component_CP_requirement) / component_CP_requirement) , 1}
This method means that a ship using crew (or crew modules) as a supplement to it's base abilities would only be slightly harmed by having it's crew disabled (which it should be, shouldn't it?), but a ship trying to "crewswap" it's way "from nothing to high level modules" will not be getting more than what it's "natural" crew points would allow it.

After this you might as well stop the equipment restrictions altogether. Which gets me to an optional derail. A natural evolution of this concept, which I'm not really suggesting, just mentioning while we're at it, would be to allow the module efficiency to scale upwards as well.

used_component_stat = base_component_stat * Min{(((ships_current_CP - component_CP_requirement)*scaling_const_1 + component_CP_requirement) / component_CP_requirement) , 1} * Max{(((ships_current_CP - component_CP_requirement)*scaling_const_2 + component_CP_requirement) / component_CP_requirement) , 1}
In which case what used to be equipment requirement transforms into equipments "complexity level" indicating an proximate "skill" level of a specialist required to effectively and efficiently handle this piece of equipment. Corresponding to the fact that an under-skilled specialist could still try to handle and maintain it, but the result would lack effectiveness due to not being able to maintain the module in proper condition or operate it properly, while an over-skilled specialist could provide better handling (or "overclock" it, or reinforce the critical spot in the plating) and subsequently stronger effect, but would still be better off handling a more complex module.

But going that far would probably require extra balanceing, and we don't really need to go that far anyway. Just downscaling should be enough.

If it's too hard to implement on component level, a general debuff (something similar to the current debuff we get for going over the power limit) should do the trick too.

Debuff_percentage = Max{(CP_total_required - CP_total), 0} / CP_total_required
Were CP_total_required is the sum of the highest requirements of all the existing types among all the fitted modules and CP total is the sum of all the CP allocated to CP types used by requirements. Important part here is that CP used on command should NOT help against the downscaling. The Idea is that going 10% below the total requirements should equally debuff a ship that goes for less of better modules (low command) and a ship that goes for more of worse modules (high command), however a ship that has lost 20 out of 100 tactics that has other requirements at 50s shouldn't be penalised the same as a ship that has lost 20 out of 100 tactics while keeping the other requirements at 100s. So we count all the CP types that are used for requirements as a reference to the ships "module tier" including the ones that have their requirements met, but do not count the command, as it doesn't actually represent the quality of the modules, only the quantity.

Second, once the exploit itself has been dealt with, we will need to deal with the game balance itself. And the easiest way to do that would be to increase the number of crew points per level (and, maybe, some command requirements tweaking is due along with it), to compensate for the impact that the exploit had on the balance. It's not a 1 for 1 trade-off, obviously, as the added crew points also mean added stats (such as damage from tactics), so this WILL need some extra balancing to get the rates right, and/or to tweak the stats, but I believe that it's easier than to rebalance the whole CP requirement table (along with command requirements) for exploitless gameplay.

And if anyone is wondering "why not just leave it alone and accept it as a part of the game" the answer is:

First - because it's too inconvenient to be accepted as a gameplay mechanic. Swapping crew around every time you need to equip a module is by itself crazy enough to warrant a need to dispose of this mechanic.

Second - because it's too counter-intuitive to be accepted as a mechanic.

Third - because there should really be a balance between going for better modules VS going for more modules, and that balance can only rely on ONE CP requirement table. You can't make it balanced for the ships that don't "crewswap", and for the ones that do, both at the same time. Point is - a point of CP "redirected" from command to modules or the other way around does not have the same "worth" for a ship that relies on 500 total crewpoints as it does for a ship that relies on "fake" points effectively brining it's limit over 500 and it's "module tier" above what's normal for the same amount of CP left for modules. So, deciding to go for less modules without exploits means a lot more for your "module tier" than it does with the exploit.

The way I see it, the game should let the player decide which CP types to get above average, and which ones to get below average. So both the module requirements and the "command" requirements should end at "somewhat unreasonably high looking levels". AND at the same time it should balance these decisions in a way that, while not guaranteeing effectiveness of every possible combination, should guarantee that ALL possible CP types can receive more focus or less focus without making the ship steer far from "competing builds" in efficiency.

In other words if there's a type of CP presented to player, be it tactics or command or structure, the player should be able to redirect at least some points from that CP type to a different type, or from a different one to this one without falling behind the best builds. Doesn't have to be ANY type, but has to be at least one build per CP type "direction", should be on the same level of balance as all the other efficient buids, IE at least one build with decreased "tactics" and at least one with increased "tactics".

This is what proper balance is about, and this is something that "crewswapping" exploit stands in the way of.
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Old 01-07-2015, 05:50 AM
FDru FDru is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 10

I'm not really too bothered by the "exploity" nature of stat swapping. What I find a turnoff is that command/ship slots are so overpowered compared to everything else.

I also don't like the fact that I need to dump stat points into something to get a better hull, especially when those stat points do nothing the majority of the time (don't get me started on levels where you lose speed and defense and don't get a slot, and get some trivial amount of structure instead, come on everybody knows that is a terrible deal). And after that... the fact that I have no choice but to use that hull (or a heavier one).

Let's just look at what you get for, say... 50 points into Tactical. 50% damage? Okay. At what point do modules stop giving weapon damage? 200%? 100% for dual weapon damage + shield modules? Is there any question over which is a better use of stat points?

What is the cap of defense penalty for the hull? Almost 900? What is the cap for modules that give defense? Twice that? Again is there any question over which is the better use of stat points?

I don't like this kind of choice because it's a non-choice. You know you're gimping yourself for some short-term benefit if you choose anything but a larger hull.

And hey sometimes I just don't want to have a larger hull because they don't look as good? Where is my choice there?

What I'd like better is if the command stat was simply done away with, the other stats rebalanced somewhat and hulls to drop as items. The hull should get better naturally with leveling. I know it's way too late for this to happen, and that kind of thing probably isn't possible with mods... but it's probably my one wish for this game, because the current leveling progression just feels un-fun.
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Old 01-08-2015, 03:06 PM
Red-XIII's Avatar
Red-XIII Red-XIII is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 8

50 points in tactical gives you a lot more than 50% damage. It moves you nearly 1/3 of the way through the weapon module progression (assuming that there IS 1/3 of the way left to travel before you start counting).

And the caps you are talking about, you'll never reach them if you dump all your points in command.

...Or at least that's how it's supposed to work if you use the proper requirement mechanics. Which the game doesn't actually enforce...

Half the point of getting rid of that exploit is making module requirements an important part of the balance.
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Old 01-08-2015, 03:46 PM
Tuidjy's Avatar
Tuidjy Tuidjy is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: La La Land (California)
Posts: 847

A couple of points.

1) No one is forced to max out Command or use components if his ship does not have the necessary requirements. As a matter of fact, I have taken a hardcore ship to level 100 without increasing Command at all, and while maintaining prerequisites at all time.

2) Even if you max out Command, you can still use all of the components without having to juggle crew. It is trivial to have Command 460 and 150+ in all stats - I've seen neural interfaces that increase stats by a combined total of more than 150 and generalist crew members that increase stats by a combined total of more than 100.

3) I also agree that the game would be better if component requirements were enforced, but before this can be done, a few changes may be beneficiary:
- remove Command as a stat, and unlock hulls as a function of level
- reduce the number of hulls from 30 to 10
- make hulls much more different from each other, much varied maximum speed, maneuverability, structure, and numbers of slots that does not necessarily increase together or linearly.
- allow the player to choose a new hull for every sector, and pay for a different one at the home gate, if he wishes to do so
- improve the rewards from increasing stats
- introduce modifiers/chips that reduce component requirements
No good deed goes unpunished...
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