The Issue of HV/SV Balance

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by notmanhattan, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. notmanhattan

    notmanhattan Lieutenant

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    Currently there is a large imbalance between HVs and SVs, as well as with the SV as a whole.

    In PvP SVs have always been a pain to deal with, since their small size and quick movement makes it hard to hit them. The changes in A9 have only worsened this problem, as the nerf to rocket speed means that rockets can no longer even somewhat consistently hit a fast SV. Since rockets are the main way for HVs/CVs/BAs to hit moving targets SVs have become incredibly strong in both atmosphere and orbit, as it is practically impossible to get enough damage onto the SV to disable it as long as it is piloted competently. The SVs high mobility combined with its slow projectile weapons mean that SVs struggle to kill other SVs as it is also extremely hard to hit another SV and is usually down to just luck with homing rockets. These factors combine to mean that SVs can easily kill BAs, CVs, and HVs while SVs cannot be easily killed by HVs, other SVs, CVs, or BAs.

    Also, in late A8 the HV was sitting at a fairly good position balance wise, where HVs would serve as the main attack vessel on planets with SVs to support, and HV duels would be fairly short compared to SV and CV duels (15-30 minutes vs 1 hour +). If anything the HV could have used with a buff to their damage as they were already being replaced by SVs as the main attack vessel due to how strong the SVs increased mobility is in almost every situation. However, in A9 for some reason HVs were significantly nerfed, with HV rockets going from 1170 damage to 500, along with the massive nerf to rocket speed this led to HVs becoming effectively useless in PvP. The decrease in damage means that HVs, which were already being out shined by SVs, are now pointless to bring to attack BAs. Also, the nerf to rocket speed means that HV rockets (which already missed moving targets sometimes) now miss over 90% of their shots even against other HVs, and can almost never hit a moving SV. This combined with the new thrusters for HVs means that HV duels can now also last for hours, as most of the shots miss and the few that do hit do barely any damage.

    With the addition of shields in A10 there is a good chance the SV will end up becoming practically immortal, where a brick of thrust can just use the shield to absorb any shots that do hit while dodging 99% of incoming damage. One solution to this would be to increase rocket speeds back to what they were in late A8, or even making them faster, along with increasing HV rocket damage back to at least 1170, if not even higher. Also, SVs could either have homing rockets significantly buffed to make them hit much more consistently or be given a new weapon specifically meant for SV v SV duels. This would allow SVs to be more easily hit by all types of ship which would make combat much less frustrating along with shortening duels as a whole, as shots will hit more frequently with faster rockets, and as anyone who has done a large of PvP will agree with, long fights where nobody hits anyone aren't very fun for either side.
     
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  2. mybrainismelting

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    Very much in agreement. I really don't like this trend toward slower fights due to the numerous nerfs to weapon damage and projectile (meaning all traveling shots not hitscan) velocity. I hope either damage and projectile speed across the board gets buffed considerably or armor/future shields are weakened enough to make fights actually matter.

    On ground in A7 and 8, it used to be a well built HV could drive virtually any well built SV away because it had superior firepower and, while I'm a bit fuzzy on this, range as well. The SV had to use it's mobility, and usually help from another teammate to gain advantage in such a situation. In A9, SVs can now stay just out of an HVs range and hit them with their superior rockets, and there's nothing the HV can do. This greatly undermines the the worth of HVs on the battlefield. SVs should have less range and firepower than HVs on the ground otherwise, why even bother with them?

    In space the same dynamic was present, where the CV was the undisputed master and SVs generally had a secondary role of harassment and drawing of fire in the context of primarily CV driven combat. In A9, an SV can avoid virtually all CV damage if it flies correctly. While most engagements between the two are pointless stalemates, there's a greater chance a CV could be pecked to death slowly if the CV chose to stay and fight. CV vs SV fights are 100% pointless except as a tactic to annoy and frustrate.

    The SV, while not particularly good against other vehicles or even other SVs, excelled and continues to excel as a platform for attacking bases due to it's high mobility and alpha damage potential from it's array of fixed weapons. Then and now, SV on SV fights between well built equals was pointless as neither had sufficient useful firepower while moving to make an engagement decisive.

    I know a lot of people want a Star Wars, dog-fighting type experience with SVs but in thier current form, they lack good tools to do that kind of role in Empyrion. I'm sure many of the nerfs that have come down the pipeline were likely a response to players wanting a more powerful and meaningful SV. The thing is, that hasn't been solved at all. A duel between two class 5 SVs built to the highest current standards still result in a lot of kiting and occasional hits from homing rockets and to a lesser extent rail guns and Gatlings, though they account for significantly less than the homing rockets. It's certainly not the action people want. Nerfing CV and HV weapons is not the way to accomplish this problem. The SV as a whole needs a massive overhaul to make it the platform people want it to be while still fitting into a proper rock/paper/scissors dynamic with other vehicles. The only way I could see this getting accomplished would be some kind of mechanic for specialization of SVs for distinct roles
    such as bomber (vs base), attack (vs HV), fighter (Vs SV), torpedo boat (Vs CV) etc. Each specialization would allow it to be effective against it's chosen target type while losing capability against others, while still of course being a smaller, more delicate vehicle who's main defense would be mobility. Let CV be dominant in space, HV dominant on ground. Just gutting the capabilities of the others isn't accomplishing anything.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  3. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Ultimately, the problem is that we have 3 different vehicle "classes" that operate with different rules (and then we wonder why it's hard/impossible to balance them). If all ships were actually subject to the same physics and had devices whose properties scaled with device volume, we'd then be in a position to do things like tweak weapon damage and range. As it is, doing any kind of serious balancing in the absence of proper physics is asking for interminable iteration without any actual progress toward a solution. I'd argue that the overall solution is pretty straightforward, but it would require Eleon to give up their (misguided in my opinion) idea of creating hard separations between CVs, SVs, and HVs.
     
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  4. SGP Corp

    SGP Corp Commander

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    This assumes that the large and small voxels sized ships are an artifact of attempting to create separate SV and CV classes rather than as means of addressing optimization issues when attempting to create a ship at the scale of CVs using SV scaled voxels. Since EGS isn't the only game using voxels that has come up with a system of having two separately sized and scaled ship classes I suspect that this is at least part the reason and attempting to combine both sized voxels into one system and doing away with the SV/CV concept would result in degraded performance issues.
    While I think combining the entire SV/HV/CV into an integrated build system would make balancing easier as you suggest, I suspect you would wind up sacrificing being able to build giant battleships without the computer performance hit. This would potentially make EGS become a game only enjoyable by those using high end computers leaving the rest feeling frustrated by poor performance and stuttering. I play GalCiv3 and I upgraded my computers memory just to be able to play on higher field settings and I still only can play at medium size. My latest computer isn't more than 18 months old and was medium to above medium when I bought it.

    If its simply an issue between SV/HV classes then I think your points have merit since they use the same scale voxel. In my mind the difference between the two should be a matter of trading firepower and defense for lift. I.e the power cost for a heavily armored hovertank with 155mm main gun should be the same as lightly armored SV fighter equipped with 35mm guns and rockets or an unarmored and lightly armed SV cargo hauler.
     
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  5. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    There's two separate issues here: build size and division of roles. As the game currently stands, those two are mixed together, when they properly shouldn't be.

    One must always have build limits of some kind and I'm not disputing that. Having different sized grids enables large ships to be created without destroying performance and this is all to the good. This leads to a tradeoff between absolute size and detail; part of ship design, then, is choosing a grid size that will let you build as large as you need to, while giving you as much option for detail as possible (e.g. if you want to build a 1:2 model of a Star Destroyer, you'll need to use large blocks, but a 1:10 model could be done with small blocks). Importantly, this choice should not have any bearing on the final capabilities of the ship; it should be a purely aesthetic choice.

    Unfortunately, that's not the case right now, because ships with different-sized grids are explicitly given different capabilities. You can build an SV larger than many CVs, but it will only ever be an overgrown fighter rather than an actual capital vessel. I want to stress that these distinctions are artificial in nature; what determines the role of a ship isn't what size of blocks it's made of, but how it's designed. Or, at least, that's how it should be.

    Achieving unification like this isn't hard, from a mechanical perspective. The main thing that's required is a set of volume-based scaling relations for each device, that describe how its properties change as it's made bigger. Then one can easily have T1 1x1x1 small-block devices all the way up to T8 8x8x8 small-block (2x2x2 large-block) devices and beyond. Combine this with consistent mass and volume for all items and blocks, and you're essentially done. Ships of the same configuration will have the exact same performance no matter what size of blocks they're built out of. And most balance problems will simply cease to exist because all block properties will be set in a self-consistent manner.

    The biggest obstacle to unification isn't the implementation; it's that Eleon decided a long time ago that they wanted these explicit role divisions between small-block SVs and large-block CVs. They'd have to change their minds on this.
     
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  6. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    That's exactly the idea. The difference between an HV and an SV should come down to configuration: a ship with highly-efficient hover engines gains the capacity to move very large amounts of mass efficiently, at the expense of being able to fly. In principle, there's no reason why one couldn't build a ship with both hover engines and conventional thrusters, but such a hybrid would be strictly worse than a dedicated design (the hover engines would be dead weight when airborne and the conventional thrusters would be mostly dead weight when on the ground); here, efficacy has been traded for versatility.
     
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  7. vscuorzo

    vscuorzo Commander

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    Very much in agreement on this. I've gone into detail about my opinion on this topic in other threads on a few occasions. In short, if a few relatively simple mechanics are put in place then these balance issues won't occur and specialized ship classes will come to exist organically. There is the issue of game performance due to block counts but I think with the right algorithms in place performance will be fine while still allowing plenty of flexibility in terms of what we can build. I very strongly think Eleon should reconsider their position on this topic or at least give some more detail to support their stance.
     
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  8. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    The thing is, nothing about the way grid size limits are handled needs to change, which might be the biggest misconception everyone seems to have whenever unification is talked about; any given grid size will still be limited to ~250 blocks in each dimension.
     
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  9. vscuorzo

    vscuorzo Commander

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    True, as long as the max block count is the same then performance shouldn't change. I'd like for even that artificial limit to be removed and have physics and resource consumption naturally limit things but I guess at some point I have to acknowledge the fact that it's a game and the engine has its limits.
     
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  10. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Right, that limit is a concession to the realities of game engine performance (as is the max speed). And I'm perfectly fine with such performance-driven limits, as long as they're applied consistently (which is why SVs having a higher max speed makes no sense).
     
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  11. Inappropriate

    Inappropriate Commander

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    Honestly, the grid size limit idea was stupid to begin with. A simple total block count limit would be more effective, more flexible, easier to implement and would have less overhead. The only down side to this would be potential issues with render distances. Im confidant any AI issues issues that might come up as a result could be worked around.
     
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  12. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    True, in principle, sparse matrices or similar data structures ought to allow this kind of flexibility.
     
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  13. SGP Corp

    SGP Corp Commander

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    If I understand @geostar1024 explanation correctly he's not so much suggesting combining or mixing small and large blocks in the same design (please correct me if I'm wrong) but simply making each scale in line or consistent, game stat wise, with the other.
    I.e a small block 4x8x4 engine equals a large block 1x2x1 engine in thrust and performance or a large block 1x2x1 cargo box could be put on a SV as a small block 4x8x4 cargo box and have the same volume limit.

    Let the player decide which scale system to use with the understanding that since either one is limited to a max 119 blocks in each direction they must chose which one fits the max size envisioned by the players design. The already in place limitations for each block group that handles issues of performance degradation now will still continue to function adequately.
     
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  14. mybrainismelting

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    While the discussion so far has been interesting, I think we are straying too far from the OP's intent. The goal is to highlight problems with the current balance within the restrictions of the game as it is, not suggest radical changes that would be difficult for the developers to implement.

    I'm not sure what OP's opinion is on this but I could easily interpret what geostar is doing as a hostile attempt to derail this thread. This may not be the case and geostar might just be obsessed with particular aspects of the the game to the point it interferes with his judgement and if that's the case I apologize. Regardless of the particulars of why it happend, it's time to put this thread back on track and actually address the issues OP spoke of without veering away into Not-likely-going-to-happen land.
     
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  15. Politary

    Politary Ensign

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    I do agree that there is no reliable way to fight svs in the base game. In my opinion, SV v SV battles can be fixed with following changes:
    - Make pulse lasers automatic (no need to mash LMB with a weapon with such high ROF)
    - Greatly increase damage for pulse lasers against common sv blocks
    While everything above can be applied on servers by changing config, there is one major issue with doing so: lagshots.
    Pulse lasers are hitscan weapon, so they don't have projectiles and hit immediately after you press the fire button, so the nature of pulse laser lagshot is different and in theory should be easier to fix without a complete change of how the netcode in this game works.
    The way pulse laser lagshot work is also different: most of the time the shot hits after passing several blocks inside the ship armor, and it's less affected by surfaces inside the ship. The shot can hit inside a chunk with no rendered surfaces around. My theory is that it happens because of the delay between the "hit" on client and server side.
    Why pulse lasers out of all weapons?
    - High ROF makes hitting target consistent.
    - Hitscan nature of weapon reduces lag because there is no projectile to calculate trajectory for.

    The fix I listed requires some changes to netcode of the game, so the initial solution may be a great buff to homing projectile weapons' damage/speed/homing ability for SVs and everything listed before plus range increase for HVs, CVs, BAs.

    Generally talking, ships/bases need role rebalancing because at this point, weapons on HVs/SVs are put solely for dps counts, and for CVs/BAs some weapons are simply better than other ones (Rockets are better than Flak in every way, cannons are better than miniguns, etc.)
     
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  16. vscuorzo

    vscuorzo Commander

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    I highly doubt there was any hostile intent, just a desire to share a different viewpoint. Fair point about derailing though so I'll stop discussing that alternative idea here.
     
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  17. CHAR

    CHAR Lieutenant

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    I have all these problems fixed for the server.
     
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  18. notmanhattan

    notmanhattan Lieutenant

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    Although this isn't a bad idea, making the pulse laser just a knock off gatling with higher damage seems pointless. Having pulse lasers as a dedicated SV v SV weapon would be nice, but having them act differently than gatlings would be more interesting. One way to do that would to have pulse lasers be an actual laser with a short cooldown (.25-.5 seconds) where it fires in bursts of .1-.25 seconds. Along side more consistent homing rockets (maybe with much higher damage and much longer cooldown) would make SV duels much more exciting.
     
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  19. notmanhattan

    notmanhattan Lieutenant

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    Thanks for trying to derail the thread into a discussion of fundamentally changing the game.


    Also thank you for this very valuable input.
     
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  20. James Grayson

    James Grayson Lieutenant

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    Something that I like to keep in mind when thinking about pvp balance is that server admins have considerable control already. I believe that server admins can adjust the range of individual weapon as well a how atmosphere denisity and gravity affects the weapons. I could be mistaken though.

    With that in mind, it might be more appropriate to ask your server admins to tweak balance rather than going to the game developers. Having a game developer circumvent the owner of your server by changing things for all servers might have negative balance consequences for other servers in which the PVP mechanics are different.

    That said, I do think a great many servers do leave things on the default and even if they didn't there is merit in discussing general balance.

    The OP seems interested in the balance between the vehicle types so I will give my thoughts on that. I do not agree with OP on how that balance should work, but I have seen a number of people on this forum, in discord and on my server's global chat who do agree with him so his opinion is certainly a solid option.

    I will give my opinion on how a different balance might work, but will also share my thoughts on how to achieve the OP's desired results too.

    I will also add that the OP must be much better at SV pvp than me. I fair much better in HVs and get my butt handed to me whenever I try SV combat.

    My ideas:

    Rocket speed: The rocket Nerf was to cut down on lag shots because the developers seem to be unable to fix that problem any other way. Being one shot through 5 layers of combat steel is incredibly frustrating and lag armor is not a good solution.

    Maybe A10 fixes lag shots once and for all but webmay not be able to rely on faster rockets to provide balance and thus must look elsewhere.

    SV: give the SV a warp inhibitor that blocks the use of warp drives in range. Make the inhibitor effect very short, maybe 100 meters. This way inhibiting a CV requires you to be in range of flak and rockets and trying to inhibit another SV requires you to stay on top of them.

    Power the inhibitor directly from the small warp tank via pentaxid and do not create a CV version of the inhibitor.

    If shields are introduced, either don't put them on SV or do not allow the inhibtor and shields to be used at the same time. Alternatively, if both are active double the pentaxid consumption of both.

    Another option is that a warp drive and warp inhibitor cannot be fit to the same SV.

    I don't think a SV should be able solo a CV easily but I also don't think a CV should be able to run down an SV. I think the SV should have a mobility advantage that allows it to dictate wether it fights or disengages but be at a disadvantage if it does engage a CV.

    With a warp inhibitor the SV now has something to motivate them to engage a CV despite the disadvantage. This also encourages team work. I.e a SV pairing with a CV, wherein the CV is the damage dealer and the SV prevents the target from warping out.

    The ship under attack also has the chance to focus on the destroying or driving off the SV so it can escape.

    The inhibtor range should probably be something the sever admin can tweak. 100 meters is just an arbitrary number I chose that didn't seem too close or too far away. It may not be an ideal range and would most likely require testing to dial in.

    HV/SV balance: My personal opinion is that HV should have slight advantage vs BA/CV. Similarly BA and CV should have alight advantage vs SV. Keeping with the trend an SV should have a slight advantage over the HV.

    I think this rock-paper-scissors balance should be accomplished by first buffing some combination of tracking, range and damage to flak cannons on BA and CV when used on a planet. Also this might already be the case but flak should not be able to fire on HV or CV.

    Unlike the other weapon systems the flak shell does not penetrate the SV and then explode. The Flak explosion is extrenal to the SV. External explosions do less damage in the vacuum of space because there is no medium to transfer the energy of the explosion. This is why in the real world grenades have a much larger kill zone underwater than in the air.

    In space a flak shell would do most of it's damage via shrapnel while planet side the shrapnel damage would be enchanced with concussive force damage transferred through medium of the atmosphere.

    I propose keep spaceborn flak damage as is but increasing it on planets.

    Similarly, the larger weapon systems of BA and CV could be nerfed vs HVs. This could be done either directly to the turrets or by buffs to the HV vs them.

    I personally would like to see the range of Artilley on BA doubled but the tracking speed reduced to 1/4th.

    There could also be given a HV jammer decive that reduces the range and tracking speed of the heavier turrets against them. This would make them stronger vs bases.

    Another option is a HV only shield type that is strong vs plasma and laser turrets. Again this would make them stronger vs bases. The fluff could be that the shield generator requires too much power to be viable on an SV but can't be made large enough to protect a BA or CV.

    I still think SV should have a mobility and range advantage over HV. However, the HV should he tougher and do more damage.

    HV should be able be able to be constructed from combat steel, while SVs hardened steel at most. In addition to this admins should be able to dictate if SVs can only be made from only regular steel.

    I'm going to assume that for now buffing rocket speed isn't an option due to the lag shots bug.

    Perhaps an HV's speed could be reduced to half if any turret bigger than a mini gun is active. This could represent the increased difficulty of tracking targets from a moving platform but still give HV an option for full cruise speed by turning off the turrets. Modern tanks can't fire artillery while moving at all.

    This would mitigate the problem of overly long HV duels due to constantly missing each other. This would also give a mobility advantage to SVs vs HVs without having to buff SVs in ways that would also make them way stronger vs BA or CV than they already are.

    Perhaps the same jammer that effects BA artillery could reduce the range at which an SV's rockets can home in. Alternatively the jammer might even prevent homing in on the HV at all. Even though the HV is now slower, the SV's homing tockets work just like regular rockets when fired at an HV equipped with a jammer.

    Bases, CV and POI might also be given homing rocket jammers.

    Inconcert with this reduced or negated homing vs HVs/CV/BA/POI the SV homing rocket could have it's homing otherwise improved. Perhaps a device similar to a detector that unlocks at 25 and improves homing on targets not protected by jammers. Call it a fire control radar if you like.

    By improved homing I mean you don't have to get the cross hairs right on the enemy. Maybe if you can get the rocket with in 15-20 meters of the target it starts homing in. The range should probably be tweak able by serverbadmins.

    Since other SV can't fit a jammer the problem of SVs not hitting each other is solved.

    To balance this, the range of HV rocket turrets might have to be reduced in range on an HV with an active jammer. An HV pilot has the option of deactivating his jammer to match the range of an SVs rockets, has better armor than the SV, but is still moving at half his cruise speed and the SVs fire control radar now applies improved homing vs the HV.

    To summarize:

    SV would be more vunerable to flak fire from CVs and BAs on planets but have a mobility and range advantage over HV.

    However, HVs would have a jammer that reduced Artillery tracking speed, negated SV homing rockets and have a shield effective vs plasma and laser fire . Projectile weapons would be moderately effective against both.

    HV would be slower when turrets are active but be Armored with combat steel.

    In space combat the SV would be given motivation to stay engaged with a CV.
     
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