0.5.1.0 feedback - Balance patch (experimental)

#38

I like the two weapon solution, and I’m glad to hear that it will be implemented. I’m totally fine with being shot dead by better skilled players that use harder-to-use weapons, but I want to be able to engage other players on my level with weapons that are not frustating to use and land some kills while doing so. Don’t force me two be a sniper when I just want to play carelessly.
In most first-person-shooters noobs can use “spray-and-pray” to get into the game and become better without immediately hitting a road block. I view the two-weapon-solution in the same light.

2 Likes
#39

I’d go further and base the whole progression not on ship hull but on upgrades, and have interceptor to destroyer hulls be available as starter ships, but with a light load-out (no torpedoes, no mines, etc).
Then players can go strait to what fits their playstyle.

2 Likes
#40

I would prefer that the any personal ship progression is permanent between matches, credits for these upgrades should be grindy. The usual credits should go into the team pool and finance the respawns. That way the match intensity would be bound to the teams resources. Players that want to use cap ships can do so all the time and elite players that prefer fighter combat could do that without accumulating endless credits that they will never use.

2 Likes
#41

It’s a good point about the interceptor being the default starter ship and yet caters only to a specific playstyle.

Maybe being able to freely try these 3 ships at the start would be a good way to lure people in. Or have starter versions of those ships even, that can only earn a reduced amount of credits (and are maybe a little weaker).

  • You like playing as the starter bomber, so you save up your credits and buy the full bomber, which accumulates credits at the normal rate and has access to all the gear.

It would allow a sense of specialisation from the beginning.

5 Likes
#42

The ship upgrades should be the same way as in World of warcraft character gear. Lots of people just play to have the best gear, it gets addicting real quick. Battlescape should do the same, but with a maximum of stat difference so that geared up players aren’t suddenly double as powerful as ungeared players.

3 Likes
#43

I agree in principle, though it shouldn’t be too much like MMO-style equipment. The idea of earning more powerful weapons by playing the game longer is very dicey and can lead to the game being very difficult for new players that arrive later (once everyone else has upgraded already).

For all its faults, Star Wars Battlefront 2 has a good solution for the equipment race, which works in a pvp-shooter environment. All the weapons are pretty balanced with each other (even the starter weapons) but provide different advantages, and can be modified with earned upgrades. Not made stronger, just tweaked.

E.g. For interceptor the options could be something like:

  • Standard weapon - medium ROF, small gimbal, medium damage
  • Fixed weapon - medium ROF, no gimbal, high damage
  • Cannon - low ROF, no gimbal, very high damage
  • Machine gun - high ROF, gimbal, low damage
    (ROF = Rate Of Fire, in case it was unclear)

Each of these could have sub-modifications that could be earned by using them which affect its functions.

E.g.
Cannon modifications

  • Increased zoom - allows better sniping (if you’re good enough)
  • Shield penetration - sacrifices some damage in return for more hits penetrating shields
  • Burst fire - rapid fires 3 shots instead of a steady stream of single shots.
6 Likes
Don't fall into "superman" trap
#44

Horizontal progression basically.

1 Like
#45

To add along the lines of this: People starting with interceptors feels a lot more like something that just happened because “that’s how it usually works” without a good game play reason. I would argue that smaller ships require more skill (as they should), and therefore should not be the the default starting option. If the starting ship is the most skill intensive in terms of aiming/manouvering, making the game fun for newcomers without crashing the skill ceiling will be awfully difficult, for no good reason.

The corvette (maybe a variant without repair capabilities), feels a lot more like an appropriate middle ground between small ships, and capitals both of which are challenging to fly for different reasons.

2 Likes
#46

A great discussion to read here, very pleasant.


Some exposed thought processes while writing this ... an hour gone with nothing said

Before I give in to my urge to jump into this, I want to note that I find it kind of peculiar we are having this problem … now.
I mean, it sounds like a pretty big problem, it’s not the first time talk about by the way, and even though I like the ideas brought up, it makes me wonder … how are we even discussing these things? Shouldn’t some of these things be locked down long ago by overarching game design? Anyhow …


First off. Why does this problem exist? Or rather, why is it perceived as a problem. I think it is because I:B has become quite the big and content rich game. Yes, indeed. Just looking at all the aspects we consider in all this we can see that I:B has far surpassed any FPS … and yet we expect new players to catch onto I:B the same way?
Step out and look at the context for a bit. Most FPS have much simpler rules for movement, fight and weapons. Additionally most gamers have played FPS and thus already have an “unfair” advantage of already having learned these basics in countless other games.
Yet, other games have also complex systems, for instance the popular “Mordhau”. Quite hard to learn the basics there too.

The main goal is FUN! Everyone that plays the game should have fun. Be it 10 minutes or 300 hours.

Bots really muddle our view here. If they were all players, adding gimballed weapons wouldn’t help, because the more experienced will mostly always dominate! Even on an equal playing ground.

Every game has that problem. Even the basic ones or the classic board game ones. (Excluding ones with high dependency on chance)

One solution is handicaps. If we read into the patches and discussions we can see that this is on the table and has been tested and highly controversial. Be it by boosting low skill equipment or reducing the ability of experience to play a role in a fight.

The solution most often employed is skill level separation. Why? Because being dominated or dominating is most often not fun. We don’t have enough players for just sepereating them in different servers …
Yet. Flavien just mentioned that it is planned to have different levels of NPCs … PvE can be fun, mostly if the player can choose his desired difficulty.

What has been suggested a bit, yet not much tested, is … another form of skill level separation, by, as suggested, distinctively not trying to widen the appeal of certain ships to certain skill levels.


Is this still part of the game design direction as I have heard several times during the years:

  • Linear progression from small ships to large ships with players being incetivised and expected to follow this progression throughout the progress of a match?

Up to this point we never had a representable situation where this idea could be tested as intended. Either players stayed as the ship they liked or they switched by grinding for a few minutes. The progression, at least for players, does not really exist. Sure, you could increase the grind, that is not my point though. My point is that people had fun with all the ships and play-styles nevertheless.

I think the progression is nice and fun … for the bots and the commanders. Let them have at it, with their resources and match and situation depended possible fleet compositions. It seems pretty well balanced too when it comes to values of ships and what they can do in the field.

When it comes to playstyles, skill requirements and skill ceilings … that is a whole different story.


Fun. The goal is fun. Fun for the player who plays for his for 20 minutes or the one who plays for his 300th hour.

Good news. Most ships are fun and on top of them, differently fun.
Bad news. Some people don’t have fun when they first start to play. Unknown if they would have fun with the other ships or play-styles.

Now I am boldly going to ask … because honestly, I am not sure.
Why don’t they have fun?

I guess they already struggle with many other game systems, like Flavien mentioned, and in this experimental test we tried to alleviate one specific, alleged, reason for the unfuness, not hitting and killing stuff.
Blowing things up can be fun. For a while. It is more fun if it is preceded with a nice fight.
But the new player lacks most of what is needed to blow stuff up. So he doesn’t have fun … yet.
I am not sure though … so if anyone is more certain.

And here we are at the root of the conflict. Every solution has a drawback.
Introduce trash mob? No resource for that and when would it even come into play?
Lower the challenge and value of interceptors? People who now have fun with the interceptor won’t have fun anymore …

I like the starter ship suggestions and I am looking forward to the load out system … you know, that will totally destroy whatever solution we come up now anyway …


Here’s one, crazy suggestion. Separate the Starter Ship game-play wise.
Good high accuracy, high damage, arcade like against all NPCs. Lower economic impact on enemy.
Good high accuracy, low damage against enemy players not using starter ship weapon.

This way the player can stay in the the starter ship as long as he wants and try out the custom loadouts and weapons of the interceptor for an additional challenge or more to different play-styles with bigger ships.

(This mechanic and the choice for the player to switch would have to be clear though as to not just move the frustration of not killing into a later phase when he tries to kill other players and then gets frustrated)


Can you maybe elaborate how you see this is in any way compatible with the current game and plan for the game?

MMOs, RPGs, Looter Shooters are distincly different from Arena Shooter.
Whereas in former you clearly see what you describe, increasingly more powerful gear, in the later you see unlocks that are “horizontal progression” as described or give new abilities that are not DPS or health enhancing.

Most online games I played used the later method. If you see a way to have the addictive nature of “the next better loot” in the game while at the same time not making it pointless to pick up the game one year after launch, please share.

Actually, I have an idea. Artificial average power-creep compensation. Players that really like the addictive grind for new loot can do that and will be ahead of the curve. Yet. Every month or arbitrary time-frame players get free loot and new players get automatically lifted to the average of currently active players.
It needs some form of protection against crazy players that could break the system by pulling extremely faar ahead of the average of active players. The average could be lifted up so such system breaking players never get ahead more then a fixed maximum amount. They seem to constantly increase in damage yet the free loot always keeps a fixed distance.

2 Likes
#47

I think the idea of separating players by skill ranking would work. It’s fine in arena shooters like War Thunder because a match only has maybe 20 players in it. In Battlescape, a match supposedly has a few hundred players, so the matchmaker would have a hard time if the range of skill was too small. So each match/server would have to be somewhat diverse in skill level unless AI could fill all vacancies.

If equipment meta progression will play a big role, then separation should be based on the equipment levels. If equipment will not get objectively more powerful, only more diverse, then some sort of skill rating like Elo should be implemented.

Depending on your performance in a match, your skill rating would change and this might change which servers you can access.

#48

I love it when we get like this. This community is the best. And the dev team are the best+3000. :smile:

I would like to take a stab at this.

Undoubtedly, one reason is having difficulty landing shots.

I suspect another reason is the unfinished nature of some of the systems: missions, tutorial/help tips and menu.

My biggest thing is the UI (by which I mean the whole thing, not just the ship HUD). Since it isn’t finished yet, it’s in a weird transition phase where nothing is quite finished and everything is a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

Second to this, I would put the current lack of clear and beneficial missions. You enter the game and… what do you do?

Thankfully, we know these are in progress, but what needs sorting first? I’m not sure.

3 Likes
#49

Add a 7th vehicle for npc and humans, hoverbike or hover truck for exploration and to help the noobs sight in their guns on an easy target for practice. add planet props you already have like water trees clouds and possible environmental procedural life to have interaction with the environment and to promote exploration as another “fun” activity the noobs can get into right away. add a commander role. pick up scrap metal and take it to a land base for credits.

1 Like
#50

I find that I need to force myself to play IBS, it’s not fun, wish it was otherwise. Now I tried to comprehend why it’s not fun, and a few things come to mind.

  • Fatigue, as a dev tier backer it has accumulated in great quantity.
  • Player numbers, there are just not enough players online to experience this game as intended.
  • Design as you go, it seems to me that the gameplay was never really designed in detail, the patches change everything so much that the overall vision is murky.
  • Market saturation, this is an external factor, but there is so much great indie stuff to play out there that finding time for something that is not fun is a challenge.
  • No extrinsic rewards, I’m not getting rewarded in any way for logging into the servers on a daily or weekly basis, there is just about no extrinsic drive to play.

For some reason the actual gameplay is not even an issue, because I just can’t get myself to play.

6 Likes
#51

Some good points Critic. Fatigue is a big part of long drawn out development-build-playing, and i even had to take a pretty long break from Battlescape for it was quite frustrating for me a while ago.

The problem with all us veterans is we do not have the fresh perspective anymore, as much as we may like to try and get into the mindset of a new player. Sometimes we are lucky to get feedback from new players, but there is a self-selection mechanism where those who like it are more likely to show up on discord and forums and leave comments than those who quit in frustration fast.

Critic’s reward point is super important: A simple reward just for coming back and playing goes a surprisingly looooong way for multiplayer games. Heck, i even still play Planetside 2 after 6+ years and countless frustrations. A: Because it is a unique game and B: I still have some stupid arbitrary directives (sort of long term challenges/grind goals) to finish. It gives me something to do within an environment that is pretty much a permanent team deathmatch you never win or lose really.

If we could reward players for returning AND reward new players for leaving feedback somehow (and make it super obvious for them how to leave feedback in the first place) that would be quite helpful.

4 Likes
#52

Small note on the UI:
The warning for exceeding safe warp speeds is blinking too fast. I also suggest not animating from fully transparent to opaque but instead half-transparent to opaque.

4 Likes
#53

Got my TrackIR/vjoy/FreePIE solution to work tonight. Works pretty well. One issue is the you can only move 90 degrees side to side. The view range is less then using the mouse. This is ok for the small ships, but means you cannot fire at targets behind your capital ship.

I use Direct Mode to fight the capital ships. You don’t have a gun sight in Direct Mode. You only have the gun dots which are hard to see in a fight. The axis are borked in Capital Ship Mode. For example throttle controls pitch. Please correct the axis in Capital Ship Mode and add a gun sight to Direct Mode. For joystick users, there really no need for the two modes.

1 Like
#54

I’ll fix the view range limit and probably the gun sight ( it should still be displayed, but it always faces the front of the ship, so if you look in another direction you have no crosshair at the screen center ).

I’m less sure about the pitch axis vs throttle. It’s not a bug, it was done that way by design. We want capital ships to be controllable ( turning them around ) even when you’re looking in another direction, so turning them manually via keybinds is mandatory.

If we bound throttle back to WS, then how would you pitch the capital ship ? We alkready tried RF in the past but it felt awkward, just slightly too far from your left hand.

We also have the same problem with strafing; at the moment it requires holding ctrl, which is very awkward.

We’re still looking for a “miracle” setup that would allow independent look-around and manual keybinds for both turning and strafing. Any ideas are welcome.

1 Like
#55

Move from wasd to esdf? That would give you a/g for side strafing, q/t for up/down, and pitch/turn would be the same as wasd, just shifted over to the right one key. Actually, I’ve been thinking about suggesting something like this for a while. There are a lot of things you need to control, but having only q be the only key available to the left of wasd configuration (not counting z/x, although honestly you can remove z and just rely on the mmb) really limits what you can do. esdf gives you two additional easy access keys.

Other options would be to eliminate the throttle control via the numbers. You do not need ten keys to pick a specific speed. Use one, slap a radial menu on it to have the previous speed options, and now you have nine extra keys to play with for less-used options. I wouldn’t recommend using ship controls for the number keys, but you can move less-used stuff up there to accommodate the esdf transition.

4 Likes
#56

Well that would be interesting to test… my brain doesn’t want my left hand to do that though, would take some time to re-train my hand position. It’s an interesting suggestion, although I’m not sure how easy it would be to use the Q and T keys for up/down strafing.

I personally want to see the “Set heading” function return, instead of only having “Auto-Rotate” as a toggle. Auto Rotate is useful in some cases, when in warp, or in tight combat situtations, but being able to quickly set heading and then turn back to a target keeps the turrets closer to the previous position.

3 Likes
#57

The upside down Y is still shown in Direct Mode. The gun sight I am talking about is the white circle that in the center of you view in Capital Ship Mode. Just add the circle to Direct Mode.