Over the years I remarked on the state of scale of the game.
When flying over the giant ships lately I noticed that there is something that still could be done.
It only takes a few seconds to cross the biggest ships with all small ships and it did take a much too short time to reach these speeds.
(now that it’s possible to hug them even closer with patch 0.3.5)
I propose to dramatically increase the percepted sizes of Capital ships, Stations and Installations.
I propose doing this by scaling down, gameplay wise, the scale at which small ship combat is happening.
Following things need to be rebalanced for it to be achieved:
- Small ship translation characteristics / Turbo (Main engine and manoeuvring thrusters)
- Small Weapon travel speed
- Small Weapon max travel distance
- Small Turret Tracking Speed (With addition of a feature that makes “death zones” more fun … someone suggested that but I can’t find it)
- Warp Entry and Exit Speeds for Small ships
- Small fixed weapon spread or damage (If the benefit of smaller engagement distances to hit probability is too high)
I think following things don’t need to be touched for this to be achieved:
- Turn Characteristics of Ships
- Most Capital Ship Characteristics
I think the scale should be at least cut in half, if not more.
Combat Speeds in interceptors should still feel fast and thrilling. Be more around 200m/s though. Currently takes about 12 seconds to reach 500m/s (Without boost). If it instead took 12 seconds to reach 200m/s that would be one first step.
Boost throws a big wrench into all this balancing. Although it only does this to one/two factor. Time to reach speed and manoeuvrability. Those are quite important though and one main reason why players choose higher combat speeds.
The importance of warp will increase due to this. Players would use it to get closer to installations and even to get from one part of the installation to another.
This would also lower the aiming floor, as engagement distances are reduced drastically. If it overshoots and is too easy other things can be balanced.
Engagement distances haven’t been talked about here a lot but they also play a big role of how combat goes about of course. I lay the focus here on trying to increased percepted scale primarily.
Note that I talk about relative velocities here. When it comes to station and installations this is, of course, the absolute speed reading.
If a convoy flies along at 1km/s and small ships are attacking it, the relative speed matters in that situation when it comes to sense of scale.
In my opinion this is due to the high “combat speeds” usually employed for small ship combat.
The high combat speed, from what I can figure, is a product of ship capabilities, survivability and damage projection. All these factors come together to create a region of optimal speed, depending on the play-stile of the pilot of course too.
- How big is my own ship
- How fast is the enemy fire and how well can it track my own ship
- How many hits can I take before I destroy the threat
- Damage Projection
- How long is my attack window
- How easy is the target to hit
- How much damage can I inflict
- Ship Capabilities
- How fast can I accelerate (engine and ship mass consideration)
- How fast can I change course
As a bonus one there’s pilot capabilities. If too much is happening for the pilot to act/react to at once due to high speeds, this is also a limiting factor to chosen combat speed. Often this is the first way new players choose their combat speed. This in combination with the feel of the ships momentum.
All these factors come together to create the “combat speed”.
- The Bigger the ship. The faster it needs to go to outrun the tracking of turrets and players and to survive longer
- The faster and the better the enemy tracks the faster you need to go to survive longer
- The more hits you can take the less important surivability becomes
- Damage Projection
- If you go faster, you have less time to aim and inflict damage
- The harder it is to hit the target, the more time you need to inflict damage on it (attack window(s))
- The more damage you can inflict, the less important other considerations become
- Ship Capabilities
- The faster I can accelerate the more time I have to do other things
- The better I can manoeuvre, the less important other considerations become
- Higher Speed
- Takes more time to reach, takes away time where you can attack (boom and zoom vs dogfight)
- More Survivability
- Due to momentum, less manoeuvrability
- Less Survivability (Marginal, Tactical Consideration)
- Less Damage Projection (attack window), no time to speed up, slow down just for the one attack run
- Less damage Projection due to less time to aim and fire guns
- Lower Speed
- Takes less time to reach, more time for attack
- Less Survivability
- Due to momentum, more manoeuvrability
- More Survivability (Marginal, Tactical Consideration)
- More Damage Projection (attack window), time to speed up, slow down just for the one attack run (stretching the window)
- More damage Projection due to more time to aim and fire guns
Now, it is debatable to say that even when this is executed perfectly we would be at the exact same point as we are right now, just with small ships fights being closer together and the goal achieved of making these big ships and structures truly seem massive … but still, gameplay wise we would sit at the exact same point we are now … is it worth it?
I think it is. A big selling point of the game is the massive space battles and the limiting factor to this currently is, in my oppinion, how far away everything is and how fast, even with a hundred ships in a battle where most of them are not visible, the battlefield can be crossed in seconds by a small ships going general battle speeds.
It takes away the importance of distance and size as well as the volume these stations, installations and ship take up.