State of Balance.

The Cylons have rebelled. The alliance of the Twelve Colonies falters. Take control of the Colonial Fleet and save humanity from an endless war.
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gigaus
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:38 am

State of Balance.

Post by gigaus » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:40 am

Link to Steam: app/544610/discussions/0/1699415798769889532/

Originally I planned on writing this after getting a few hours of the game under my belt, but between the DLC and other games, it got pushed aside. Now that I've been practicing more and trying out different variations for both fleets, and with the tournny coming up, I felt that I should post this now rather than later.

Overall, the game is good, it tickles that fancy for Leviathans that otherwise isn't all that accessable on PC. Managing a fleet with various different options in a 3 dimentional space in turns isn't something a lot of games do, or do right for that matter. And the idea of tapping on the first Cylon war story was smart, especially considering it added an additional management layer to what otherwise is just a straight combat sim.

However, a good chunk of the positive features of the game are underminded by glaring balance issues, which turns what should be several turn battles with stratagy and tactics, into short, one trick pony show. Expressly, the problems I've seen are with munitions, fighters, armor, accuracy, and general balancing.
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Firstly, there's only one muniton in the game. All other forms of munitions, from missles to mines, pale in comparison to Torpedos. Not only do they not need a lock, they have the highest total damage second only to Nukes. Not only that, they have the highest total ammo pool out of all options, making them the optimal choice. While they are dumbfire, and thus can be dodged, this only really applies at extreme range or with smaller, agile ships. Larger ships, even medium sized ships, will almost always be hit. Basestars, Cerbs, Arachne, Battlestars, Atlas, even Rangers are unable to properly move out of the way. And since they can be fired on turn 1 without a lock, it's possible to kill a ship before it has a chance to do anything, unless they premptively fire all munition defenses, if they have any. Even then, the likihood is that larger ships will just be cleared off the board straight away.

Conversely, all other munitions either need a lock, or can be disarmed. Mines don't do enough damage to be considered a threat, and as a result can be ignored for minimal damage. Or just removed with a fighter ability. Standard Missles do less damage, have a slower rate of fire, and require a lock. This means fighters can easily eliminate them, and even if they don't it's not a real threat. Armor Piercer is...Trash. Yes, it does more damage to Armor, but it requires a lock, fires less missles, and overall Torps do more damage to armor in total than multiple vollies of AP. Noteably, Nukes-- nuclear bombs-- have less usability and threat than Torps. Yes, they are a large burst of damage, but all Medium craft-- anything above a Talon effectively-- will be able to survive with most of their armor and HP intact. This makes them only good for dealing with smaller craft, which you need a lock for, and which are effectively made of paper. It's a waste. It's also worth noting that any weapon that deals direct sub-system damage, must first remove armor on a facing, making them especially useless.
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Fighters, or bees as I call them, are probably the most problematic thing in the game. At their worst, they're annoying; At their best, they're the strongest weapon in the game. If you don't have your own bees to help fight off their bees, even a single fighter becomes a problem. Most 'capital' ships are unable to do apperciable damage to them, even at max accuracy, due to the firing system, especially the smaller ships. And even when you do have your own, any squad above 3 fighter groups will be able to melt a single fighter each turn. This leads to a very weird dynamic, where you want the fighters to attack your ships, to take focus off your fighters, as well as to soften them up. However, if a fleet has a large enough swarm, nothing short of flak will be able to deal with them properly. After 6 units, a single small ship can be crippeled in one turn and killed the next, and all other ships will lose their armor facings, subsystems, mobility, and then die in anywhere between 3 to 5 turns. At 9, Medium ships will die in 2 turns, while smalls will be wiped. At 12 and above, everything can be wiped in a near single turn. This leads to a semi unbetable stratagy; Wipe the enemy team's fighters, or at least weaken them, launch your own, then run away. The capital ships effectively stay out of damage range, while the fighters cripple enemy engines. Whatever is left, can be obliterated by the capital ships focus fire.

More over, this all is in heavy favor of the Colonial side over the Cylon side. While I know they were expressly different, and worked on different tatics, the fact that Colonials have the means to AoE wipe out entire wings, while simaltanously having 2 means to deal with munitions means that overall Colonal fleet is stronger. While Flak can damage your fighters, and has severe issues of it's own, it's very easy to manipulate the fighter AI to force them between two flak fields and wipe themsleves out. Add into that you have Flak for blocking munitions, Sweepers for doing so without blocking your own, and PCM even still incase of whatever situation, defensively Colonial is better.
On the other hand, Cylon has effectively no defensive option for dealing with either fighters or munitions. While Cerbs are able to carry one more fighter than any Colonial, all fighters melt very easily, and Colonial mk 2s do more damage. It's enough that a swarm of 12 Raiders will be beaten by a swarm of 9 Viper 2s. And while PCMs are an option, against Torps they're trash. Moreover, I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but Cylon fighters, when set to defend a ship expressly, will not shoot down missles or torps, while Colonials will. Even if they do, I assume they do so as well as Colonial fighters, and only intercept half of the torps. This leaves Cylons wide open to Torp and even Nuke assaults, with no means to prevent it. Swarm attacks can be mitigated, but only just, effecitvely rendering both fleet's fighter options moot.
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While we're talking defensive measures, both fleets' armor is made of tinfoil. Serving as a second, directional HP pool, these armor pools drop in seconds under any form of sustained fire. It's not difficult for even a light scout set to focus fire to be able to wipe a heavy ship's armor facing in a single round. Even a single fighter is enough to wipe out a ship's armor facing easily. While I don't think they should be impossible to destroy, they need a serious upgrade. It's easy for any fleet focus firing on a single ship to wipe it out in a turn or two regardless of what ships are involved. Heck, I've had Atlas carriers wipe out two battlestars just by focus firing them. And since subsystems start taking damage once armor is gone, it can quickly lead to a case where a ship is unable to fight back or evade.
Additionally, that facing themselves are....Weird. I've had it where a shot of mine, be it a cannon or torp, will hit a ship in the front...And damage it's rear armor facing. How this makes sense, is beyond me, but it' such that some ships are effectively gimpped. The Cerberus ship only seems to take damage on it's rear or sides, I have rarely seen it take damage on it's front or top or bottom, even when directly facing a ship. The Arachne only seems to take damage on it's sides, as does the Adament, while Revenat just seems to take random damage. Not sure how it really breaks down, but the armor facing of many of these ships are strange in themselves.

And more over, with the reinforcement pack, we really see how weak the armor is. Phobo tech crusiers, which are supposed to be these major threats, are weaker than scouts. While they can flank, unless they are perfectly behind all enemy ships and out of any firing arc, they will die as soon as they enter combat. The utter lack of armor and HP means that a blink to flank enemies is usually met with resounding gun fire and an exploding ship.
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And with all that said, weapon Accuracy comes into play. I understand that a large part of the game is shifting power from one system to another for better results, but if the fire control of any ship is boosted to max, they become a killing machine regardless of role. Not only do you fire more Torps, your shots will rarely miss and recycle faster. Especially on ships with multiple overlapping firing archs, bumping up the fire control can mean wiping a whole ship off the board in a single turn.
Additionally, if you use focus fire, which seems to add even more accuracy and rate fire, almost no shots can miss. Add in focus fire on one ship with a grouping of ships, if not a whole fleet, and even the heaviest ships will go down in a single turn.

Conversely, if you neither boost fire control nor focus fire, ship cannons innately will miss their target 25% of the time. And upwards of 75% of the time if they planeshift or boost engines. I've had battles go completely wrong, and simply boosting engines and rising or sinking leads to enemy shots missing by a sizable amount. I've mananged to effectively dodge an entire fleet's shots on a single ship by moving it fast enough that the travel time of the shots means that they wis right by. The difference is night and day; One is effectively aimbots, while the other is stormtroopers.
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And that's all I really have to say on that. The only other things worth mentioning are that fleet commander abilities-- the ones that give special effects to their personal ship-- don't apply for whatever reason, and that asteroid collision is wonky as heck, as a rock a 1/10th of the size of a ship can instantly kill it, while not being all that visible. But those are minor things.
My feedback? Buff nukes so they kill pretty much everything in one hit, buff most other munitions to do decent damage, and add a firing delay on Torps. Or just drop their damage down by 1 or 2 to keep them in line. Make Subsystem damage go through armor. Reduce the damage fighters can do to capital ships, or increase the damage they take from capital ships. Fix flak so it has a 100% interception chance 100% of the time, nerf chaff somewhat, and buff PCMs to have a larger radius and a longer det timer, to be able to get a whole salvo instead of half. Especially if some form of anit-missle option isn't added to Cylons. Double or even triple armor pools on all ships, or possibly add some form of damage reduction that stacks with engineering to prevent tinfoil syndrome. And either make it so unboosted cannon accuracy doesn't mean 'majorily misses' or nerf boosted and focused fire cannons so ships can still 'dodge' shots rather than be attacked by LMG snipers.

Overall, the balance favors Colonial heavily right now, and gives them the option to counter most any stratagy, while still being able to dominate.

Likely I'll post this on both Steam and Slith forums, and link them together, for better visiability.

SiegeRollout
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:40 pm

Re: State of Balance.

Post by SiegeRollout » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:32 pm

It is tough that Cylons have virtually no anti-fighter or anti-missile defenses on capital ships. A single ViperII squadron can cripple just about any ship in the Cylon inventory with impunity, unless that Cylon ship is escorted by a Cerastes. Once a Cylon fleet is cleared of its fighter screen, a colonial fleet can wipe it out from a safe distance with missiles and the Cylons are completely unable to counter. Even when a Cylon fleet has fighters, I've yet to see a Raider try and intercept incoming missiles, even something slow & lumbering like a nuke.

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