So, I have a serious issue with how the devs are going about balancing warp ramming. Now I would like to start off by saying that warp ramming should be nerfed. I understand why its an issue and I fully support it being addressed. But the way its being addressed is not the right way to do it.
Lets go over what they’ve done step by step since the release of early access to address warp ramming, my opinion on them, and how it actually effected warp ramming.
First they removed they removed the ram bonus on the destroyer, made low health reduce ram damage, made damage symmetrical and made rams deal more damage at lower speeds. The first change is fine, though it removes a potentially interesting mechanic. Having health effect ramming might be more realistic, but it partially removes the ability for a dying ship to make a “final stand” ram and take an enemy with them. Making rams symmetrical is a great change, however I don’t see the reason for low speed rams getting buffed.
Now how did these changes effect warp ramming? They made it less profitable, but still very viable. Unfortunately the “symmetrical” aspect of the change did not actually happen, and cases of a full health destroyer dealing less than 1% of a cruisers shields in damage while dying itself were very common. This lead to corvettes being used to warp ram, and guess what? They could actually 1 shot a cruiser as well. All in all, warp ramming got more buggy and less profitable but still was completely viable on the right targets (ones that weren’t bugged). This also lead to ships taking massive damage at low speeds when grinding up against a stationary target, making undocking a large or crash landing on a planet much more damaging and even deadly than before.
Next they made rams above 1000m/s deal reduced damage in a logarithmic manner. This is a bit of a cheap fix IMO and makes ram damage even less realistic, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes ram damage feel off when comparing how much damage multiple low speed collisions deal vs 1 high speed one.
This change killed warp ramming in vettes, but the destroyer had no problem securing kills, it just had to go faster. It also seemed to have partially fixed the bug where the slower target took no damage, with the bug happening much less often, resulting in an overall increase in the effectiveness of warp ramming. However the fact that destroyers had to be used meant that the warp rammer had to spend 10 minutes farming credits in a cruiser before going on a rampage.
Finally, they halved ALL ram damage to address the issue with low speed rams, and halved warp ram damage on top of that. I’ll be frank, this is not only a bandaid solution but a silly one.
And it didn’t even stop warp ramming. It made warp ramming more difficult, for sure, but a destroyer going 15k+ can still insta-kill a cruiser. Worse, if the destroyer fails to reach that speed, they will still be going fast enough to take the cruiser our of action for the foreseeable future as it spins like a bayblade out of the fight at mach 8.
So lets compare where we are now to where we were when EA released. EA had an interesting destroyer mechanic. Now we don’t. EA had realistic feeling ram damage. Now we don’t. EA didn’t have an issue with multiple low speed rams (scraping) rapidly draining a ship’s health. Now pitch up on a pad and you lose up to half your shields. EA had easy warp ramming, now we have slightly difficult warp ramming. EA had pretty predicable warp damage, now we have a bug that has resulted in full health cruisers dealing 0 damage to destroyers when ramming them at warp despite dying themselves.
We got rid of an interesting mechanic, added an annoying bug, messed up low speed collisions, and made warp ramming a bit harder but still able to one shot cruisers. We didn’t accomplish the intended goal of any of the changes and made the game worse.
The reason we got this outcome, I feel, is that the devs have been focused on quickly fixing warp ramming instead of properly fixing it. They want to just tweak the collision damage formula instead of adding counterplay to warp ramming. Theres two major issues with this strategy. First off, I can always go faster (till I reach the clipping through speed, but that should NOT be used to balance things), and second the collision formula heavily effects other aspects of the game beyond just warp ramming.
The solution the devs should be pursuing is to add counterplay against warp ramming. For example, give destroyers/corvettes the option to autofire their warp jammers when a nearby ship warps, or give them a alternative version of the jammer with less range that is always active when not in warp. If such solutions were added, a smart cruiser pilot with a good escort could completely negate warp ramming, while still allowing for a smart destroyer pilot to use warp ramming to pick off a bad cruiser pilot who is flying without escorts, npc or otherwise.
Now solutions like this take more time, so I understand why the devs are pursuing the easy solutions instead, but I don’t think thats the wise choice. I also get that something needs to be done ASAP to stop it from chasing off players, but if thats the case why not temporarily disable all warp damage or collisions until you can add a more effective counter to warp ramming.
In short, I feel that the way the devs have been balancing warp ramming has made the game worse and been doomed to fail because they are trying to implement a quick fix instead of adding counterplay. Instead they should implement a temporary fix to warp ramming until they have the time to properly fix it.