I’ve been playing the game for a week or so now, and so far it’s been pretty fun. There are some development pains that are showing through but that’s to be expected in a beta, after all the point of one is to smooth those out. Now I can’t tell for certain what the design goal of this game is, whether that be a skill based twitch game with equipment supporting players, or more eve like where equipment is the game. It may not be a good sign that I can’t quite tell. I’m going to give my rundown of things I’ve seen in the game thus far assuming that the goal is the former and not the latter. This will be in no particular order, just bits here and there that have struck me as needing improvement.
This’ll be the first of a few “I win” buttons I’ll be going over. Essentially if I’m fighting an interceptor or if I have a few allies targeting something of a heavier class, I can just hit this module and win. It doesn’t matter if they’re the worst or best player in the game, I can just stop them completely and they can do nothing. The recent nerf to duration and the conservation of momentum is nice, but not quite right in my opinion. With Ion Beams having the same function - minus the movement restriction - they don’t have a real role in the game if you do something like make the target invincible for the duration of the effect. I would personally remove these, and the main tactical role one would use them in (stopping bomb carriers in detonation) could be accomplished another way. E.g. a module that forces the target to drop a bomb if they’re carrying it (or detonates it pre-maturely or something). This would seem a bit strong except for the fact that you would be replacing any number of other useful modules with one that has only one purpose and you can’t even intentionally pick that game mode.
These things do an obscene amount of damage to interceptors and have no counter other than distance, which of course opens them up to attack. Fighters can generally tank the damage and still lay down a hurt on frigates but are screwed if multiple frigates trigger them. In large furballs a single frigate could potentially cause tens of thousands of DPS, massively shifting the battle in their side’s favor. Personally I feel these modules are far too strong, but at the same time if you nerf them in damage they lose the effect of forcing opponents to a distance. I would propose an alternate solution where instead of raw damage it simply pushes away anything within the distance around your frigate. Either make it one burst that swats people away or a very short term field that does so. Increase the range a bit and this would allow frigates to open up some distance on opponents close by, as well as serve more tactical roles like forcing people away from a beacon to break their capture, or forcing a bomb carrier away to reset their plant timer.
First of all the range is absurd with the 75% bonus. A weapon like this should not be able to cover the entire battle area end to end. Second of all, the recharge on the module starts the moment you fire the torpedo, not when the torpedo is detonated. That means if your target is far enough away the instant your torpedo explodes you can launch another one. This I feel should be changed so that the cool down starts when the torpedo explodes (it could be reduced to compensate). As far as counters go, the drones on the Fed frigates are good, and the missile defense system is good (though not present in T1/2), but IR Flares are nearly useless even though the last patch was supposed to make them work. I haven’t experienced this yet myself, but from what I’ve seen/read they simply make you unable to see or move the missile for 2-3 seconds, but can still detonate it. The time on this should be increased (even 4-5 seconds would be good) and missiles should not be able to detonate while under the effect. Finally, friendly fire on these things should be reflected back on the person who shot it. I can’t count how many times I’ve been TKd by these, or how many times I’d be in the middle of a losing fight with a captain and 3 other ships only to have one of their team torpedo me and kill their own captain. It should do 2x - 3x as much damage as would have been dealt to a friendly to the launcher instead. Do it twice in a row or detonate it in the middle of a bunch of friendlies and you die from self-damage.
The refire rate on this thing needs to be halved or more. You have a hit scan weapon that shoots nearly across the entire map and does enough damage to two-shot an interceptor. It should take more time between shots and you should actually have to aim, missing should be a serious penalty with this on the order of 10-15 seconds between shots.
Personally I’d like to see these changed to be an area wide ion rather than an area wide stasis (and maybe increase the duration a bit to compensate). I’ve seen plenty of people have no trouble outrunning the radius in the 6 seconds you get, but like the stasis module it’s something that pushes the game away from skill and towards equipment being the primary influence.
This ability doesn’t know what it wants to be. The damage it does is pathetic and can be out-regenerated in most cases, yet at the same time if you increase the damage it turns into another “I win” button where you just hit “F” and the target dies. The only use I’ve found for it so far is that you can pull fed fighters out of their Armada and generic cloak (since the Vanguard one ignores damage). This ability should be re-designed or replaced, perhaps with something that fits the interceptor’s nature as, well, an interceptor. Maybe something that leeches a target’s agility or speed, something that reveals all enemies via radar for a brief period (like the Captain gets), allows you to steal missiles from a target or something. I can’t really say what would be a better ability for the Fed int but it needs one.
Specifically that they are hit scan. No real aiming and no leading required. Just hold your mouse over the opponent’s ship and click. I knew second hand how bad this really seemed, but it wasn’t until I hopped in a frigate with a set and racked up around 20 kills and equally as many assists (using just lasers) in my first battle with them did I actually know how bad it is. Now there are a few ideas I had tossing around in my head on these. For one the damage could be nerfed. This would hurt laser frigates when fighting faster ships because they can only keep one or two of their six lasers on the target. At the same time fighters and interceptors that use them will still do a decent amount since they’re more able to face their target and have all guns on them. The best solution in my mind though would be to make them more like lasers in say, Star Wars. Projectiles that you can see, that you need to lead with. Rather than a straight beam make them rapid pulses, basically assault plasma with very low spread, faster projectile and refire speeds, and lower damage (and thermal instead of EM of course). If you give them the fastest refire rate and fastest projectile speeds, they can still be effectively used at taking out smaller, quicker targets but still require some skill in leading and aiming (or at least pointing at the lead indicator).
This one is a bit tricky, the balance on these is oh so close to feeling “right” but there are a few things here or there that I can’t quite pin down. Their agility is their lifeline (at least with Fed ints that have paper thin hull and shields) so reducing this would dramatically drop their effectiveness. At the same time they’re quite hard to hit when your ship can’t even attempt to keep up with them. Their damage seems a bit high when used against ints, good against fighters, and practically nothing on frigates who take forever to kill. I don’t know if I have any real complaints on them overall yet, but perhaps some attention to fixing the above points would need to be looked at first to see how they would affect interceptors.
These things feel like the fighter and interceptor classes were figured out then everything else was dumped on frigates. Empire and Jericho frigates are very tanky considering their special abilities should make them the opposite of that. At the same time Federation frigates have lower shields than either side, and only barely have more hull than Jericho frigates. Their ability however would suggest a more front-line tanky role which they don’t have. It almost seems like there should be a fourth support class, the Fed frigate should be buffed a good 30% in hull and shields and moved into this class, the Jericho and Empire frigates should drop 30% shield / hull respectively, the Feds should get a new frigate with some sort of long range ability to match the Empire and Jericho, and both the Empire and Jericho should get a tanky support ship to match the Fed one. Weaponry wise they either melt targets (in front of them) or hardly scratch them (ints circling them). Obviously making all their weapon mounts 360 degree would turn them into death boats, but what about making it so that their arcs are more spread over the ship so any direction should have three of the six turrets firing (with say, four for the front 45 degree cone or so). That way they’re able to wade into battle and help out rather than have to hide back and snipe, yet won’t be able to dominate anything that flies in range of them.
Whew. Well I think that’s all I have for now. As I’ve only had the game for a week or so I’m sure there is plenty of stuff I haven’t seen yet or gotten a feel for to report on. I may update this post with more in the future. If you read through the whole thing, thanks, whether you agree with me or think I’m insane. I’d like to see this game succeed, even if only because I love the genre, and perhaps my input could help in the beta in some way.