Suicide bombing, why it's an issue and a suggestion for fixing it

#1

Heya, I was playing earlier today and was victim to a tactic which used a method that I would call exploitative. The tactic was suicide ramming or ejecting as a bomber after firing all your torpedoes, circumventing the usual reloading mechanics. In my case the group in question was also using a tactic of high speed accelerating the torpedoes which made the use of respawn reloading that much more amplified and noticeable. The two tactics combined resulted in cruisers dying within 60 seconds of spawning, and not being able to jump due to constant torpedo hits. As for shooting the torpedoes down, they were being accelerated up to 3 km/s or more and fired from multiple bombers, giving no chance to shoot them down, by interceptor or missile. By itself the high speed bombing wouldn’t be so much of an issue, as it would be limited to 6 torpedoes, before the bomber had to take the time to find a reload craft or dock.
The reason the respawn reloading is an issue, is that if the respawn tactic spreads as a meta, bomber/torpedo spam at spawn points will negate most, if not all capital ships. Attacking a base will become nearly impossible because your ships will be killed within a very short time by swarms of instantly reloading bombers. Some of you will argue you can destroy the bays, but if your ships are shot down in a hail of torpedoes, they never have a chance to get in position to fire on the bays, which leaves bomber runs. At that point the game is telling both sides if you aren’t a bomber you are wasting time. Crvs become pointless because the bombers just suicide and respawn with a full load of torpedoes if you are defending, and if you are attacking, you are slowed down by having no carrier after about 20-30 seconds from the hail of torpedoes. You end up just launching bomber attacks from any station or base you have left at that point.
Having a conversation with one of the pilots that was performing these tactics he suggested what he called 4 counters.
1: disengage speed cap, overcharge engines and move out of the way
2: speed up and warp out of the initial pass
3: spawn at a different station and wait to find our carrier
4: spawn in a smaller ship and attack with those
1 and 2 has the issue (assuming they work) of by accelerating away from the battle the cruiser is nullified by being forced away from the field, doing nothing to help his team at the cost of one bomber firing torpedoes at them. Warping is also an issue as a counter to torpedo spam, torpedoes break warp and friendly/enemy warp jamming can prevent it.
3 has the issue of while we are spawning at other bases your bomber swarms are destroying the base we can’t defend, leaving our bases destroyed one after another till there are none left. As for killing the carrier, you’d only slow down the rate of the bomber attacks on a base and that’s it.
4 Fighters cannot take down a bomber before it gets off at least a couple of torpedoes and that is assuming that they are already within range to do so. not to mention you’d need a similar number of fighters to bombers to counter them.
I believe if this is left as is, bombers will come to dominate the meta to a degree that nothing else will be viable.
If people only use the instant reloading bombers, bombers dropping chaff and torpedoes will be able to swarm capital ships while preventing missiles with countermeasures and overwhelming fighters with numbers stopping them from being able to protect them, negating capital ship attacks on bases, allowing only for bomber strikes from far off.
If people follow the example of the high velocity bombers on top of the suiciding, it will negate fighters as they can’t stop a bomber flying and shooting at 3+ km/s. It’ll negate corvette’s as they aren’t needed for reloading. Destroyers, cruisers and carriers have no defense as of yet against even one bombers worth of high speed torpedos, and even if they did, it wouldn’t be powerful enough to stop say 3 bombers from ganging up on cruisers, or that PD would be too powerful. So 300 credits worth of respawning bombers for 45 second kills on 1,000 credit cruisers, vs the intended time cost of at least a couple of minutes to kill a cruiser, I think is a problem.
This is a solution I am proposing. The game has a point system at the top (I don’t know how that is calculated/effected) but I think if people cost their team points for crashing/ejecting (but not dying to enemy fire) this would tip a team to losing from points if abused. An issue with this system would be griefing. My suggestion for this would be, if it’s done more than (X) times the points are returned and the person is banned until the next match on that server. The issue with that then would be someone waiting till a team was low on points but not above X to suicide to force a team to lose, but it likely wouldn’t effect the outcome of most matches at that point.
While the high speed bombing has it’s own balance issues, my main point here is still the sidestepping the reload mechanics of the game by suicide. This is my opinion, I don’t expect anything like an instant fix or whatever. But if people less patient than I fall victim to this to often, and write reviews and tell friends to the effect of “Don’t play this game it’s unfun/broken” I believe it will hurt the longevity of the game.
I was discussing it some after writing the majority of this, and one suggestion that was put out was to have a interceptor fire flares near ships to distract torpedoes. My problem with this is it completely negates a bombers purpose, as a ship killer if 0% of his torpedoes can hit, at the cost of an interceptors flare ammo (which he has more of than a single bomber’s torpedoes.
As an additional side note I think a way to potentially balance out firing torpedoes at faster speeds than intended can have the same potential consequences as warp overriding. Maybe the torpedo hits a micrometeor and explodes.

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#2

Thank you for detailing this in such a precise manner. I see what you get at.

I myself have never used that mechanic but I think it shows that the freedom Battlescape offers is something very unique. High speed torpedoes created by player action is … in my opinion … emergent game-play. I don’t say that I want it to be there and people not having fun. Just pointing out that I think the freedom is positive and that it holds its share of dangers as we can see here.

A similar problem is bombers hanging out of battle with corvette support firing streams of torpedoes into the fray.

The big ships are vulnerable against such attacks. More rounded fleets would help. The example I gave is easier defended then yours of course.

Burning trough stacks of bombers to dispatch of capital ships … hmm. They do have the home advantage with the spawn being right there.

There has been quite a few “tactic” fleet videos going around. I think I have to watch some of these to get a picture.

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#3

Allahu Akbar.

This isn’t nearly the issue you are making it out to be. 6 cruisers focusing 1 cruiser will insta yeet it in half the time it took our bombers to kill you. You are also exaggerating the amount of time it takes to kill. It took us more that 45 seconds just to get to you from the carrier and finish a single run, and it took multiple runs to kill you. The actual time to kill was more like a minute to two minutes from first bomber launch to last torp hit.

As to your point about us using bombers to take out your bases being why you can’t just spawn elsewhere, we have never done that with bombers because its next to impossible to take out a specific module with torps at long range due to having to dumbfire them. So we would have to go in close, at which point your teams destroyers, interceptors, corvettes, and bombers would have no trouble picking us off.

And every time we lost the carrier, we stopped the bombing runs because that long travel time is worse than just using a vette to rearm. So your point about that isn’t really valid either.

Your solution is effectively to ban people who ram too much. Thats just silly. Imagine if some new player is having a blast but can’t control his ship well and gets banned for “griefing” due to a silly point rule because he keeps ramming things to death. Also, it wouldn’t effect our strategy that much because we could all just wait for the hoards of interceptors chasing us to kill us. Unless you are really suggesting the counter to our tactic should be to just ignore us and sit at a cap dock repairing? How is that good gameplay?

Finally, you tip your hand about halfway through this post.

So 300 credits worth of respawning bombers for 45 second kills on 1,000 credit cruisers, vs the intended time cost of at least a couple of minutes to kill a cruiser, I think is a problem.

Your real issue isn’t that we were reloading with respawns. It was that we killed your cruiser faster than you would have liked. Well cruisers aren’t supposed to be all powerful, in fact the website describes them as :

Heavy weapons platforms capable of reducing enemy infrastructure and capital ships to rubble within minutes. Despite their awesome power they are particularly vulnerable against bombers fitted with long range weaponry.

Note that last part. Now what are you upset about? Long range weapons being used on bombers to destroy a cruiser. Just as the game advertises. Ultimately, I think our tactics fit perfectly into the game, and once credits get balanced so its not easy to farm them there will be no issue in the first place.

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#4

There are two key features relating to this that have not been implemented yet, which does mean that the balance of the game atm is a little out of whack.

First, capital ships, and possibly the corvette, will eventually have access to laser point defenses that will change how torps are used atm. In all likelihood, effectiveness of the LPD will increase the farther away the torpedo is fired. This will make close range bombing runs, which are more fun and exciting as well as challenging and dangerous, the much more effective bomber tactic, as long range, fire and forget torp spamming that is the current meta will not be nearly as effective.

Second, once load-outs are available, allowing players to tweak their ship’s configuration, specializing in anti-strike craft will become a viable choice for capital ships, in particular the destroyer. The destroyer does has flak canons available right now, but the destroyer is likely going to be more of a jack-of-all-trades escort ship, able to be min-maxed for one job or another.

With these and future squad mechanics going to be implemented, it is clear that fleet composition is going to be a crucial factor when attacking or defending.

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#5

I think these emergent tactics are fun and fascinating, but I do also worry that players will be quick to judge and slow to learn. I also agree that outright punishing players is poor design.

I myself use these same bomber tactics, and I really enjoy using a bomber, but I’m also certain that I have dramatically more impact on the battle if I spawn in a cruiser. Cruisers are more effective per player, so they should actually be less cost effective than a bomber.

Anyway, a much gentler solution might be a small respawn delay at stations which are under attack, and a slight increase in the cost of bombers. If you had to wait 30 seconds to spawn after dying, and bombers cost 40 points instead of a measly 30, that might be enough.

That might seem like too small of a change, but I think it’s still too early to say. Most of the player base is still learning. The only thing I think is truly game breaking right now is warp ramming.

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#6

First of all there are 2 major things going on here:

  1. Anti-missile systems have not been implemented yet - this is the single biggest issue for any captain of a capital ship right now as you are more or less defenseless against torpedoes.

  2. By the sound of it you were flying a cruiser without destroyer escort

Unescorted cruisers will get owned by a group of bombers every time, even once anti-missile systems are implemented, that’s by design. Cruisers need interceptors and destroyers to protect them against bombers - they are extremely tough to kill against everything else except other cruisers and mines.

Lastly, as @Arkenbrien mentioned, once ship configuration is implemented you’ll also be able to trade offensive firepower for greater defense, such as more anti-missile systems.

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#7

I was a cruiser at our spawn, while it was under attack by an npc and player force. While I get that things will change, again the issue is the instantly reloading bombers, not teamwork op. If a bomber squad of 6 takes out a cruiser with one load of torpedoes, then needs to take a minute to reload, there is the period of reload for cruisers to do their thing. If they all eject and rearm instantly for 30 credits each, cruiser kills go from being 1:36 or whatever the time cost is to dump the torpedoes and rearming costs, to 41 seconds per cruiser kill. Any attacking force at a base will have to deal with the instant rearming torpedo bombers if it’s not pointed out. Highspeed bombing and crashing/warp ramming have their own issues with the game state right now, and those are seperate things that were just amplified by having instant rearming bombers involved. With the highspeed bombing no destroyer interceptor or missile ability would stop a bomber 100km out from performing the runs they were on any cruiser. But that is a seperate issue. The main one is that where there would be an essentially “cooldown” period before a bomber could do a gang attack on another cruiser, these guys were just hitting eject to purposefully sidestep that.

#8

A simple fix can be that ejecting or even dying will start a cool down timer of a small amount of time preventing the player from respawning in the same class of ship. It wouldn’t have to be a big timer, maybe less than a minute. Odds are, players are going to spawn a different ship instead of waiting it out.

#9

I quite like that there currently is no spawn timer. Kind of fits the game.

If one is introduced, I would prefer the ones suggested elsewhere. Ones that start when you spawn and run in the background. If you live long enough you won’t see a spawn timer.

Or it could be like if you are allive for at least you won’t see a timer. If you die before you do. Could be too confusing though.

Usually spawn timers are to punish death and give an additional impact to destroying enemies by removing them from the battlefield for a certain ammount of time …
I:B usually has travel times though. Which already kind of server that purpose. If the team has a close spawn … well … that’s the point of carriers. To reduce that exact downtime.

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#10

For attackers mostly, as long as the target has spawn bays for the defending team (capitals of both teams have travel delay on ground bases). Carriers can also nullify travel time for attackers on small ships.

#11

I like this. Or maybe some sort of positive reward for staying alive longer?

I agree that arbitrary spawn timers are not needed for this game necessarily, but some sort of incentive for defenders not to kamikaze would be better.

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