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TheDerpNukem

Destroyers - A rebalance of TTK, Progression and Mobility

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Okay so let's bring this to the front - this is gonna be a long post with no tl;dr. You've been warned.

In each segment I will be addressing problems with the Destroyer class which hold back the majority of the lineup and economical issues which hinder the new player experience/limit build discovery for newer players.

 

1. Mobility and Respawn times

 

1. Mobility

So what's the issue?

As of the current version of the game (1.6.5b) Destroyers are holding the lowest speed class in the game, with even the fastest Destroyers barely holding pace with an Engineer. Sirius in particular which is meant to fill the position of the most mobile Destroyer reaches 211m/s with a Federation capacitor and no catalyst injector - a Cerberus with an Armour plated hull goes 233m/s. It is currently out paced by a rank 8 Long Range Frigate with a speed penalty. The slowest Destroyer on the other hand the slowest Destroyer - Vigilant without an Empire energy router and an Armour plated hull goes 113m/s, more than half the speed of the Cerberus with an Armour plated hull.

 

So how do we fix this?

Empire Destroyer base speed (with afterburners) needs to be increased to 200m/s - so by rough estimate... an 80%-90% speed increase (with afterburners again)

 

Why such a high number?

Empire Destroyers rely on hull tanking to be viable, which with such low mobility a current solid build requires an engine slot at minimum to counter the low speed, rotation speed or both. This in turn lowers the potential of damage output via CPU slots or Capacitor slots and lowers the tanking viability due to slots being used to counter poor mobility or countering weapon malus' (like Meson spread) with CPU slots - meaning slots that could be used to bolster shield or help with hull are put elsewhere.

 

Jericho Destroyer base speed (with afterburners) also requires an identical speed boost, if not higher to differentiate the faction differences - as Empire's malus holds low speed and shield whilst meant to be holding higher damage output and hull capacity. Jericho is meant to hold average speed capability.

 

Federation Destroyer base speed (with afterburners) needs to be bumped up by 10%-20%. This should bring the Federation destroyers up to par with the slowest frigates with a speed penalty.

 

Why do Federation need to be on par with slow Frigates in particular?

Federation's Faction passive of bonus speed and capacitor regeneration at the cost of overall durability often make their larger ship classes as fast as their smaller counterparts from other factions. For example, a Federation Engineering frigate will usually come very close to 400m/s, which a Jericho fighter often looms around 350m/s. By this logic, a Federation Destroyer should at the *least* be able to hold pace with an Empire Frigate, if not outpace it.

1.1 Respawn times/Warping

So what's the issue?

1.1.1

As per the title of the sub-heading warping on Destroyers hold the overall mobility of the class down. The speed cap at 500m/s makes Warp gates a death trap for allies attempting to traverse through one at the same time as a Destroyer and is furthermore held down by the fact the main counterplay to Destroyers, the Covert Ops class and the 'Stingray' ship are able to travel normally at 500m/s whilst retaining control. This enables them to attack a warping Destroyer with no hinderance. The extremely low warp speed also makes using the warp gates on larger maps, such as Iridium Strand pointless as Womrhole Projector can cover more ground faster than the Warp gates on the map, which were placed there to go travel between different objective locations on the map.

1.1.2 

Respawn times for the Destroyer class are far too long, with all the changes made to make the TTK (time to kill) of Destroyers lower and lower, further sped up by bugs the respawn time does not reflect the current average TTK of a Destroyer. Being knocked out for 40 seconds when the average TTK from the standard counterplays is under 10 seconds is not fair on the Destroyer user. A 40 second respawn time, coupled with the aforementioned warp penalties means being knocked out during a Beacon Hunt game at the starting half of a Beacon which your team has captured and then holds for the uptime can mean a Destroyer user can be knocked out for over a minute and a half before being back on the field to even begin moving towards the objective once more.

 

So how do we fix this?

1.1.1

Simple, raise the Warp speed to 2000m/s to match other classes. This will prevent allies from killing themselves by running into a Destroyer using the same Warp gate as them and furthermore make traversing larger maps less penalising on Destroyer users.

 

1.1.2

Lower the respawn time from 40 seconds base to 20 seconds. This will result in the respawn time still being higher than a Frigate but not penalising a Destroyer user excessively for being killed in battle.

 

2. Progression and Module/Weapon availability

So what's the issue?

With the current state of item acquisition in the game, obtaining a Destroyer for the first time leaves you with no module or weapon choices available for credits. Even beyond this issue, there are even less available in Open Space with only:
For rank 8 Destroyers

  • Photon emitter
  • Pyro Emitter
  • Plasma Turret
  • Repelling beam
  • Gravitational lens
  • Blaster turret
  • Multiphase shield emitter

For rank 11 Destroyers

  • Pyro Emitter
  • Plasma Turret
  • Blaster turret
  • Multiphase shield emitter

For rank 14 Destroyers

  • Pyro Emitter
  • Plasma Turret
  • Blaster Turret
  • Multiphase shield emitter

Every other module or weapon is manufactured with Parts available on daily rotations for low to medium amounts of Iridium and the blueprints requiring high amounts ot Iridium. As a result, upon making a Destroyer for the first time you will have access to no modules or weapons other than the Halo Launcher you get upon building one without paying Galactic Standards for trading - which a new player should not be expected to do.

This is only made worse as there are missions within the main campaign which require players to build a Rank 8 Destroyer and then later a Rank 11 Destroyer, guaranteed to expose them to this issue.

 

So how do we fix this?

Make the Coilgun and Meson Emitter available for credits again, refund Iridium spent on Learning the blueprints for their respective weapons. The recipe can remain in the workshop akin to the other discontinued resources.
Make Multiphase emitter, Pyro Emitter, Blaster turret and Plasma Turret available for credits again. These modules should never have been removed from ease of access. This would allow for new players to at the minimum have some modules on their fresh Destroyers.

Or alternatively:

Make all weapons and modules available for credits once more (excluding rank 14 ship exclusives) refunding Iridium for learnt recipes where necessary.

 

Why should all modules be available for credits once more?

With the current method of acquisition of unique modules/weapons build diversity is much more strict as players are unable to experiment with builds, often opting to go for "meta modules/weapons" instead of trying out different setups for themselves. 

The market itself holds very little value anymore in Destroyer weapon/module components with only Photon Emitter and Gravitational lens holding value anymore due to their prevalnce in PvP/Sector Conquest - so in turn allowing modules to be obtained for credits once more would have a small impact on the economy overall in comparison to per say - making all regular weapons/modules available for credits, as there are far more regulars than Destroyers.

 

3. TTK (Time to kill) and damage input

So what's the issue?

As per the heading, on of the main aspects holding the regular lineup back from performing as well as their Ellydium Counterpart is the average time to kill and incoming damage.

One such source of this is the "bonus damage field" which multiplies incoming damage for the host Destroyer from all sources. As found out unfortunately, the damage multiplier is seemingly appened to the end of damage calculation, increasing already high multipliers from explosive damage/piercing damage and doubling them. The average TTK also is especially non-linear with it drastically shifting depending on range and damage type (projectile vs explosive). The main influence on major shifts in TTK however is module destruction, with modules being destroyed often dropping even a Vigilant's hull by 10%-15%, further made worse by currently present bugs (as of 1.6.5b) which triple module destruction damage and destroyer component damage.

 

So why is module destruction so bad?

Module Destruction as a whole was a good idea upon the classes release as there were no bonuses to incoming damage for the host Destroyer. In the current version of the game however, with the bonus damage field, high explosive presence in most PvP and player awareness in general of the weakness' of a Destroyer being far higher - Module Destruction only serves as potential burst damage to the host Destroyer and furthermore an extremely long term stun.

Module respawn times aren't listed furthermore in game and the host Destroyer has no clue how long until a module respawns with modules like Photon emitter and Gravitational lens being crucial in coordinated PvP and Wormhole projector being crucial for the survival of the Destroyer itself.

Per observation the capacitor/special module of a Destroyer respawns the fastest at 20 seconds, followed by engines at 30 to 40 seconds and then secondary modules (Pyro, Tempest, Multiphase) then primary modules (Photon, wormhole, main cal, gravi) at 90 to 120 seconds with others not noted personally. With the current state of Destroyers and overall player awareness having a 90 second stun available for minimal effort is seemingly unfair on the host ship, with common tactics for destroying modules/components including a cloaked Covert Ops approach followed by a plasma arc, a stingray aggressive push often ending with a sting destroying modules/components either in the initial rush or follow ups and high explosive damage at point blank - often proximity mortars within the bonus damage field coupled with EM torpedoes and an Energy converter, often with this combo either outright killing the Destroyer or leaving them at critical hull with often most modules destroyed by the explosive splash.

 

So how do we fix this?

<this one is gonna be controversial>

To lower the incoming damage and to furthermore make the TTK linear across ranges - the bonus damage field should be removed along with module/component destruction.This would make mid to long range attacks just as effective as close range whilst removing the large burst of damage caused by module and component destruction. However, the overall effective health of Destroyers would need to be lowered, potentially by 33%-50%.

For example, a Sirius with 110,000 hull (roughly) could potentially be lowered to 73,700 total hull or 55,000. Although this is still drastically higher than a Frigate can reach on average, it still compensates for the large hitbox of a Destroyer and furthermore the fact they cannot dodge shots like their smaller counterparts (even frigates can strafe out of the line of fire). 

This change overall would raise the average TTK (keep in mind, the lower end is still looming around 7-8 seconds) whilst making the TTK potentially linear across ranges, given the usual exemption of static barriers blocking incoming from range. 

Removing module/component Destruction will help to give regular Destroyers the ability to disengage from heavy fire and furthermore allow them to fight back against attackers looming in their dead zones - which currently Destroyers have very little counterplay to a ship simply sitting dead behind them due to the ease of module Destruction.

 

 

 

Also just as a footnote before stopping - the secondary slot/missile slot of Destroyers should become a univeral 7 seconds, instead of leaving Empire dead in the water at 15 seconds when they often take such high incoming damage.

I probably won't be replying to any comments on this topic for a while because it's getting late, so also probably excuse any spelling errors. I tried my best to make this topic readable, despite the length.

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