3.6 "Orion" Open Beta - Discussion Thread

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Lorenerd11

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Ring World Preference pops should have higher Habitability on Shattered Rings even with the Non-Adaptive trait

stellaris_VD3wF40gUf.png


Right now, if you put the Non-Adaptive trait on Shattered Ring pops, they have only +90% Habitability on Shattered Rings, while all the other pops have +100%.

This makes no sense, since the climate preference should give them an advantage over species with other climate preferences, even with the Non-Adaptive trait.

I think Ring World Preference should also have "Shattered Ring Habitability +100%" to guarantee they have full habitability on Shattered Rings too (once the Habitability cap blockers are cleared, of course).
 
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Parsec06

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Section: Range = good
This same thing applies with any long ranged weapons. They picked kinetics because there's no longer a long ranged L slot energy equivalent in the beta, but you'll see this same pattern play out even if you try kinetics against the Scourge (against whom kinetics are weak).

What they're claiming (that long ranged weapons provide an enormous advantage, to the point of making short ranged ones completely useless) is trivially easy to see on high crisis settings:
1. equip long ranged weapons and artillery computers (I used Arc Emitters and strikecraft, in mine)
2. watch as you kill the short ranged Unbidden before they get to you if you have enough firepower, with only 1 or 2 losses from battleships that inexplicably charged forwards.
3. repeat with a slightly larger enemy fleet (or have fewer of your own ships)
4. watch as your fleet is almost instantly annihilated if you take too long to kill the Unbidden and they manage to get in range.
5. repeat with shorter range weapons (or jump in on top of the Unbidden fleet instead of engaging from the other side of the system)
6. watch as your fleet gets annihilated every time, even with double or triple the fleet power of the engagement in #2.

Try the same thing with any weapon that doesn't outrange the crisis, and you can have 3x the fleet power without winning the engagement.

This isn't a particularly controversial thing, and I'm very confused by all these demands for evidence: if you kill the other fleet with your long ranged weapons before they get in range with their shorter ranged weapons, you don't take damage... because they were never in range, and couldn't fire. The only thing you need to know to be certain of this is the definition of the word "range".

This would be fine: range should be a tactical advantage and force multiplier (especially turning slight advantages into large advantages). What makes it weird is the way that damage and health scale: DPS scales quadratically, and 100% of it scales, while shields and armor scale linearly, and hull doesn't scale at all.
ex. If you have 20 repeatables, your armor will be 2x as strong, your shields will be 2x as strong, your energy weapon damage will be 2x as high, and your energy weapon fire rate will be 2x as high. So your ships (which were formerly roughly 1:1:1 hull:armor:shields) will have (2+2+1)/3=1.66x the total HP, and will be putting out 4x as much damage. So the time to kill is now only 41% of what it was before (things die 2.5x faster).

With 40 repeatables, it's 9x damage vs. 2.33x health, and TTK is only 26% of what it was before. And it gets much, much worse.

Early game, brawlers may be competitive because you can close the gap. The time to kill is long enough that you may lose 20% of your ships before getting into autocannon range (or matter disintegrator range), but your high DPS after that will win you the day. Late game, your entire fleet will be dead before you get into range because they're killing you 5x as fast.

And this isn't limited to repeatables: just weapons tech does this as well (to a much more limited extent). Ships with crappy armor/shield and no hull upgrades start out with roughly 1/3 of their end game health (before repeatables). To use L slot kinetics as an example, ships start out with a measly 63 average damage and scale to a whopping 390 (a 6x change). TTK is 1/2 what it was at the start, though this is partially offset by sublight speed changes (and partially compounded by range increases, so it's a bit fuzzy).

It's also not limited to this even-repeatables-split case, where you're investing twice as much research into damage as health because there are twice as many techs: if you split research evenly (or, to be even more generous to health, get equal numbers of techs despite the escalating costs), the disparity is still there, just lesser. 40 shield and armor repeatables vs. 20 energy/kinetic repeatables mean you have 3x the shield/armor (2.33x the total health) and 4x damage output. TTK is still only 58% of what it was originally, even if you have twice as many shield/armor repeatables as you have weapon ones, because weapons increase with the square of tech (damage x attack speed), while armor/shields are purely linear.

The way that TTK keeps going down means range becomes an increasingly large force multiplier as the game goes on. If both fleets have such lopsided damage:health ratios that they could kill each other in 3 days, and their sublight speed (which doesn't scale) crosses 20 units in 3 days, then the fleet with a 20 range advantage gets a 100% win, with zero (or near-zero) losses.

The new computers make this even more obvious: if the enemy fleets have only 70 range (Unbidden), and your artillery ships try to stay at range 120, then you just keep kiting away while you pepper them and you just auto-win. I've seen a 200k fleet with artillery computers beat a 2.3 million fleet of Unbidden by kiting (though, granted, this was in a system with sublight speed reduction, and I never managed to do it again).

The crisis also throws this into very sharp relief. After, say, 40 repeatables, you have enough damage to start to kill their ships in a reasonable time (your 9x damage can now hold a candle to their 38.5x increased hull/shield/armor). But your health has only increased by 2.33x, so their 38.5x increased damage will still utterly annihilate you. All those repeatables just mean you survive two shots, instead of one.

Section: what to do about it
I don't agree that making evasion into a time windows of pseudo-invulnerability is the right move. Allowing corvettes to use evasion to close the gap is good (for corvettes), but doesn't really address the issue, just bandages over it in one particular case. It would also be extremely opaque, and counterintuitive. You could even end up with corvettes that roll well just being completely invulnerable for long stretches of time.

Side note: One thing I would like to see is moving the 90% cap to time of evasion, though. So your dark matter thruster corvettes would have 120% evasion, the picket destroyer with 70 tracking would have a 50% chance to hit, and the artillery battleship with 30 tracking and 75% accuracy still has a 10% chance to hit (as evasion is capped at 90 at the time of the attack). It's really weird that your corvettes don't get any better, at all, with end game components, because there's an arbitrary 90% cap on how slippery they can be.

A better thing would just be to fix the scalings: TTK shouldn't be going to zero as the tech levels keep going up (or sublight speed in combat should scale with it, if battles resolving faster is desirable).

It would fix:
  • brawlers becoming irrelevant, except for ambushes, as they all die before they get to the enemy
  • strike craft becoming irrelevant, as the entire battle (in deep repeatables) will resolve before they have time to reach the destination.
  • monofleets with the maximum possible range being the best choice. Smaller picket ships or brawlers mixed with artillery would serve a purpose if they didn't just rush out ahead and get annihilated without firing (doing nothing but wasting alloys).
  • beating the crisis relying almost entirely on stacking range buffs
  • late game battles being on a knife's edge, where a 5% swing in fleet power by one side or the other can decide whether the battle goes entirely one way with 0 losses (as the slightly-outranging attacker annihilates the other), or the other way with heavy losses (as the shorter-ranged opponent can close and kill the other ships)
And there are lots of ways to address the disparity (not all of which should be done at once):
  • Ditch (or heavily nerf) damage repeatables, limit it to attack speed only to fix the lineary/quadratic disparity
  • Introduce hull repeatables, or possibly give some slight hull scaling to the shield and armor ones.
  • Somehow make shield/armor quadratic too, or at least super-linear. Many games do this by pairing health increases with a damage reduction stat which is linear (ex. Armor/Magic Resistance in LoL, Armor in WC3, Armor or Resistance in Diablo 3, etc.)
  • Give lategame in-combat speed some scaling, possibly tied to afterburners, so that TTK's downward trend is matched by a decreasing time to close distance.
  • Give strikecraft speed bonus repeatables, for the same reason: it's ridiculous that the entire engagement can be over before the first wave can even reach the other fleet.
  • Make ranges fuzzy: have there be an extreme range with severe accuracy/tracking penalties. Then if I outrange you by 20, I don't get to fire 3 fully effective volleys before you fire at all. Instead I would get to fire 3 mostly-missing volleys and start attacking with closer to full effectiveness as you start firing your initial (weak) volleys. This just sorta fuzzes the disparity, and makes small differences less brutal by limiting the impact of alpha-striking first, but doesn't fix big disparities, like brawler vs. artillery.
The way the late game currently works is serviceable, but it isn't great. The fleet combat just becomes increasing warped and one dimensional as the game goes later and later.

I don't know if this is the top priority, but if they're reworking combat, this is a great time to address late game combat.
i don't disagree with you on most parts but i think you miss another option.
your range tactics will work as long as you can keep the requirement, out-range the enemy. at the point where you cannot do this you are instantly obliterated ... as you described correctly.
the problem is on harder crisis lvl the dmg the crisis will do simply one-shot nearly every ship
BUT there is already kind of a solution
the crisis only gets a dmg-boost but not fire-rate. a crisis fleets in general have few ships and therefor limited weapon-slots. frigates could kill the unbidden as well if they could close the gap fast enough. currently one of the best solutions is to wait with frigates at the entry-point for crisis fleets with those ships. they dont have to close a gap there when the crisis enters a system and therefor kill harder fleets as well. yes you will loose some ships but those can be replaced very quickly.
(call this "sitting duck" myself)

i see many stellaris-fluencers comparing fleets in 1on1 combats where the fleets staring at opposing ends of a system, which rarely happens.
 

Sutopia

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i don't disagree with you on most parts but i think you miss another option.
your range tactics will work as long as you can keep the requirement, out-range the enemy. at the point where you cannot do this you are instantly obliterated ... as you described correctly.
the problem is on harder crisis lvl the dmg the crisis will do simply one-shot nearly every ship
BUT there is already kind of a solution
the crisis only gets a dmg-boost but not fire-rate. a crisis fleets in general have few ships and therefor limited weapon-slots. frigates could kill the unbidden as well if they could close the gap fast enough. currently one of the best solutions is to wait with frigates at the entry-point for crisis fleets with those ships. they dont have to close a gap there when the crisis enters a system and therefor kill harder fleets as well. yes you will loose some ships but those can be replaced very quickly.
(call this "sitting duck" myself)

i see many stellaris-fluencers comparing fleets in 1on1 combats where the fleets staring at opposing ends of a system, which rarely happens.
I don’t think balance should be solely considering PvE that AI is dumb enough to run right into your ambush. The reverse statement is also true, there is no reason an artillery doctrine player would jump into a system knowing the entrance being camped by brawlers. The one who has more range has the initiative if considering a PvP situation and thus it’s proper to test starting at max engagement range.
 
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Abdulijubjub

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I don’t think balance should be solely considering PvE that AI is dumb enough to run right into your ambush. The reverse statement is also true, there is no reason an artillery doctrine player would jump into a system knowing the entrance being camped by brawlers.

This is just describing defender advantage. Brawlers would be foolish to jump into a system with artillery sitting on the station in the middle, and and artillery would be foolish to jump into a system with brawlers camping the hyperlane exit.

When defending, both types of fleets can set up conditions that are favorable when the other fleet jumps in. A major difference, though, is that artillery's advantage is the default scenario: one fleet sitting at the center can guard all hyperlanes simultaneously, while brawlers require a great deal of micro (or access restrict to a single hyperlane) to achieve the same feat.

I think it's good that there's a tactical minigame like this. That's why I would like it if the ratio of damage::health didn't increasingly favor "whoever gets to strike first".
 
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malakhglitch

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I haven't read through all the Combat Rework Feedback thread, but what are the things to watch out for that would trip up those of us without access to the Steam beta in terms of starbase, ship, and fleet construction?
 

SirBlackAxe

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I haven't read through all the Combat Rework Feedback thread, but what are the things to watch out for that would trip up those of us without access to the Steam beta in terms of starbase, ship, and fleet construction?
  • Minimum range is a thing now on many large weapons.
  • Don't mix weapons with different ranges on artillery ships, they'll try to stay at the max range of whichever one is longest and never get to use the others unless the enemy charges them. This also impacts ships using 'medium' (aka median) range if you have more longer range weapons than shorter range ones. The only combat computers that use 'get close enough to use all my weapons' behavior are swarm for corvettes and torpedo for frigates and cruisers. Don't use those with weapons that have a minimum range.
  • Don't use the torpedo combat computer with energy torpedoes.
  • Corvettes and frigates feel pretty fragile. Budget for reinforcements and try to make sure your admiral isn't assigned to one if the fleet has larger, safer hulls.
  • With the slot forcing them to use missiles gone, starbases are much easier to avoid engaging. Don't use the torpedo battery module though, that mounts range 30 components. Getting at least one hangar module is a better way to force engagements.
  • You might want to delay researching disruptors and autocannons if you think you'll be on the defensive and want to prevent your starbases from using very short range weapons and just durdling while they get picked apart by artillery.
  • Armor hardening seems like a trap. Even if you're trying to counter disruptors, just use shield hardening instead since that also applies to missiles and strike craft.
  • Don't research shield capacitors if you'd prefer your starbases to use a different aux component like regenerative hull tissue.
 
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SeekingEtermity

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I've been trying to figure out why AI empires seem to be falling apart left and right in the midgame on difficulties where they don't get any bonuses like Cadet and Ensign. I don't know what of this is new in the beta, but some observations (looking at troubled empires around 2310):

  • Almost no use of raw resource designations. I looked at ~7 empires each of 10+ planets and found exactly one raw resource designated planet and two or three raw resource designated habitats. Lots of Urban Worlds, Forge Worlds, and Factory Worlds, zero Tech Worlds or Unification Centers. Some of these Urban Worlds would be better off as Rural Worlds; others might be better off as Tech Worlds or Refinery Worlds.
  • No use at all that I saw of pop base output booster buildings like mineral purification plants, energy grids, or the upgraded civilian industries or mega-foundries. Orbital Ring buildings that boost pop base output are entirely out of the question. Also no use that I saw of Ministry of Production, Planetary Supercomputers, etc, though I did see a Galactic Stock Market.
  • They're mostly doing decent jobs of keeping net energy and food incomes between 30 and 100 per month and net mineral incomes between 75 and 150 per month, and keeping their banks pretty thin. Typical mineral bank is about 1.5k. There is one case where he's got a mineral bank of 260 and 0 net minerals per month; I'm not sure exactly how this happened but he's already got one rebellion on and he's in the red on monthly energy, food, and CGs too. Definitely in a pickle.
  • Tons of refineries. They're making decent use of their gas for research complexes and their crystals for hyper relays but aren't using their motes for anything besides ship components.
  • Occasionally massive unemployment. One empire I'm looking at has 317 total pops and 92 of them are unemployed, and it's all one (recently synthetically-ascended) species plus their robots. This wasn't an influx of refugees or a recent conquest or something. Did they just immediately demolish all of their farms when they became perfect immortal machines without building anything to replace them, leaving all of their farmers unemployed? That still couldn't be a third of their population... Amusingly they're also still using Gene Clinics for their amenities even though the habitability and pop growth bonuses don't help them now that they're robots.
  • "Luxuries Distributed" on most worlds, even when they don't really need the amenities. Non-mercantile empires that don't have the CG trade policy are often running monthly CG deficits.
  • They build both holo-theaters and gene clinics on the same worlds and then deprioritize the entertainer jobs but leave the medical worker jobs to be worked.
  • Some brutally-mismanaged 0-stability habitats full of unemployed slave pops, unemployed refugees, etc. That's a rebellion just waiting to happen.
  • Materialists running monthly net alloy deficits because they built too many robot assembly plants.
  • They don't seem to fire governors with the Corrupt trait, and the planets in sectors such governors run end up with 35+% crime.
  • Some cases of settling planets with very low habitability. I saw one where they had 20% base for their species and then Hazardous Weather brought it down to 10% habitability, and they colonized it anyway. That's not a world that is going to have positive RoI.

It feels to me like they're trying to build economies focused on tech and CG and to a much lesser extent alloy production and want to sneak in raw resource production districts on the side rather than having specialized raw resource worlds. Generally they do a pretty bad job specializing planets. Maybe this works better on higher difficulties where they have the +% resources from all jobs and stations to make up for poor or nonexistent specialization? But down here it feels like there are a lot of problems that they could build their way out of if they had the minerals and were just a little less fixated on labs and refineries. You can solve unemployment by building more districts and buildings. You can at least mitigate not knowing to fire a Corrupt governor by building enforcer buildings.

So they've got these research-heavy economies built on a very thin raw-resource-production base and then if they suffer a disruption they don't have the raw resource (eg mineral) slack to deal with it. They're getting the vast majority of their minerals from mining stations, so when systems get temporarily occupied during a war (say, a rebellion from a 0-stability habitat) their mineral income dries up and they lose the ability to respond to anything else that goes wrong by building stuff, since they have thin banks, and then their problems cascade and they can't recover.

A human player can run a raw-resource-thin tech-rushy economy by reacting cleverly to things that go wrong. A GA AI can run a raw-resource-thin tech-rushy economy on the AI bonuses. An Ensign AI doesn't have either of those options.
Huh. In my current game (grand admiral with the extra bonuses but mid-game scaling), I'm conquering worlds and the main things I'm seeing are:
  • The basic resource districts are, like, anti-specialized. You'll have a planet with 1 of 8 mining districts and 2 of 9 food, but 2 of 2 generator districts and an energy grid. Whyyyy.
  • I do see the basic resource boosting buildings, but often two or even all three on the same planet, for no good reason. Not even planets that actually have a ton of different basic resource districts, either.
  • Absurd numbers of strategic resource refineries. Every single planet is at least six city districts (and I know they have enough tech to only need five for full building slots) and yet they fill up their building slots with 1-job buildings. Maybe with a single max-level lab on there.
  • No specialization in tech either. Three fully-upgraded labs and then... a bunch of alloy and basic resource buildings?!?
I thought they'd taught the AI how to plan planets better than that...
 

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btw if anyone is interesting in doing weapon stat analysis, I've got a spreadsheet for you:
also useful as a handy reference for each weapon's dps vs. each defense type
 
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SeekingEtermity

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  • Minimum range is a thing now on many large weapons.
  • Don't mix weapons with different ranges on artillery ships, they'll try to stay at the max range of whichever one is longest and never get to use the others unless the enemy charges them. This also impacts ships using 'medium' (aka median) range if you have more longer range weapons than shorter range ones. The only combat computers that use 'get close enough to use all my weapons' behavior are swarm for corvettes and torpedo for frigates and cruisers. Don't use those with weapons that have a minimum range.
  • Don't use the torpedo combat computer with energy torpedoes.
  • Corvettes and frigates feel pretty fragile. Budget for reinforcements and try to make sure your admiral isn't assigned to one if the fleet has larger, safer hulls.
  • With the slot forcing them to use missiles gone, starbases are much easier to avoid engaging. Don't use the torpedo battery module though, that mounts range 30 components. Getting at least one hangar module is a better way to force engagements.
  • You might want to delay researching disruptors and autocannons if you think you'll be on the defensive and want to prevent your starbases from using very short range weapons and just durdling while they get picked apart by artillery.
  • Armor hardening seems like a trap. Even if you're trying to counter disruptors, just use shield hardening instead since that also applies to missiles and strike craft.
  • Don't research shield capacitors if you'd prefer your starbases to use a different aux component like regenerative hull tissue.
Something like 1/3 of these could be fixed by just letting players design their own starbase loadouts... SIGH.

Something that's reasonably visible from the stats that you didn't mention though: Armor is now 33% more effective per module than Shield (shield modules got buffed 50%, armor 100%). This pushes the optimal build even harder in the direction of pure armor (which was already optimal in a lot of cases; the AI isn't always smart enough to go pure energy and even when they are, there are advantages to being armor-focused like just never caring much about power needs or missiles/strike craft).

Corvettes have absolute crap for hull HP. Base of 200 instead of 300, the techs that used to give +100 now only give +10% (so, 20) each, and the hull-boosting modules are weaker (or at least, weaker relative to other modules) than they used to be. On the flip side, there are now techs - late-game only though? - that give armor and shield hardening modules, which are directly subtracted from a weapon's penetration rating (e.g. if you have 50% shield hardening, a missile or disruptor will do 50% damage to the shields and 50% damage to whatever layer it would normally have hit).

Armor (and hull) regen numbers look insanely high right now, but they're kind of a lie; regen is nerfed to 1/5 while in battle. It looks like the modules were increased 5x to compensate, though?!? Still possible to make a massively regenerating battleship/titan, if you go with full armor and stack regen modules + regen aura. Similarly, leviathans with regen are still a pain unless you massively overpower them.

I am not convinced there's any point to carrier computers anymore. They will still combat-lock at longer range, but in every other way, artillery computers are better.

Frigates are not literally useless but they're very much a situational choice. They're only good against large targets, they do provide the max torpedoes per command point but in most other ways are really bad ships. Less durable and less evasive than destroyers, very bad at fighting against anything in their own weight class, not actually fast enough to close against carrier battleships using artillery computer without heinous losses, suffer the old corvette problem of tending to lose more ships than the enemy even when you technically win the fight, slower and more expensive to build than Corvettes... in many cases, if you want a torpedo boat, you're better off with cruisers instead. Indeed, cruisers are really viable hulls for almost anything except artillery right now.

Missiles are in a weird, but mostly good, place. You can mount them on literally every warship except titans (OK, battleships and juggernauts can't go pure missile and frigates arguably can't either since torpedoes are basically their own thing now), strike craft no longer hard-counter them (or counter them at all), flak is actually meaningfully worse against them so even having P slots doesn't guarantee the enemy counters them (though PD lasers are still quite effective), and they've kept their range (actually, Swarmers gained range). Standard missiles are now exclusively S-slot weapons and have had their damage adjusted downward as expected, but are still competitive in DPS with most normal weapons and retain both their shield penetration and their small anti-hull bonus. Swarmers are actually outright good now; their damage got buffed to compete tolerably with other M-slot weapons on raw DPS (marginally better than lasers, meaningfully worse than railguns, vastly exceed disruptors) while taking half the power (not sure why, but their power usage was reduced to use S-slot power scaling while having M-slot damage), outrange everything except energy torpedoes, kinetic artillery, and X/T slots, and retain 30 tracking and shield penetration. They lost a little of their high-ish fire rate but gained a bit of total HP (40 HP to 30 HP + 15 armor, for Whirlwinds; which will mostly ignores flak but gets shredded by PD lasers), so although they're still much better than normal missiles against PD they no longer basically hard-counter it (of course, PD can't be mounted in anywhere near the same numbers). They out-damage two standard missiles except against hull, and aren't far behind there. With that said, they still only have two tiers, which is kind of weird, and of course like all missiles they are delayed time-to-hit.

Disruptors got slightly buffed, especially S ones. M disruptors lost some range and only gained a little damage to show for it, while S got almost strictly buffed... and that's before you consider that hulls are weaker than before. In the early game, disruptors will absolutely shred corvettes, frigates, and even destroyers; a significant departure from their prior status as almost exclusively late-game weapons (once top-tier defenses and especially repeatables entered the picture). Indeed, their effectiveness now falls off in the late game, due to the availability of armor or shield hardening (though they still aren't bad unless the enemy goes all-in on hardening). Oddly, M-slot disruptors are significantly worse than a pair of S-slot; gaining a miserly 10 range (30 to 40) in exchange for more than twice the power usage, much worse tracking (60 to 35), and - weirdest of all - only 60-66% more damage. All this really adds up to making corvettes the lords of disruptor usage - they have the speed and evasion to reach knife range, and the best ratio of S slots to hull size - though of course with their tissue-paper hulls they will die extremely quickly to enemy disruptors too.

Autocannons are also in a weird but also mostly good place. We now have M and L slot autocannons, though their range is very short (30/35/40 for S/M/L) and they do lose much of their tracking although still better than typical for their size tier (75/50/25). Their power demand is increased, even beyond the way nearly all M and L weapons' power requirement increased, but their damage is through the roof. Even taking into account their heinous -75% against armor, they out-DPS railguns against armor at S size, and are about 3/8 as good as lasers; against shields or hull, they are the undisputed best. Oddly, as with disruptors, you really don't want to mount the larger sizes; compared to S autocannons, L autocannons take 5x the power for 0.33x the tracking, 1.33x the range, and only 3x the damage. No idea why PDX decided to do this. Anyhow, autocannons - especially on smaller ships - are ruthless anti-shield and anti-hull monsters and not even that terrible against armor. Seriously, S autocannons easily out-DPS literally all M-size weapons; it's insane. One interesting side effect of this is that it inflates fleet strength numbers through the roof; if you build a simple fleet of autocannon corvettes in the early game, many AIs will fall all over themselves asking to be subjugated.

Lasers are... not in a great place. They still do worse damage than rails (though this is now somewhat balanced by shields being less effective, for a given slot size and tech level, than armor) and have worse range. They retain literally just one notable advantage: they are the only standard L-slot weapon with more than 40 range and no minimum range (all others can't hit anything inside range 45), which makes them viable if for some reason you're making mid-range battleships. Never do this, though; mid-range anything is a terrible idea.

Plasma is outright awful now. They didn't get the autocannon treatment, and thus are only a little stronger in baseline numbers than disruptors (in fact, while S plasma got lightly buffed, M and L actually got nerfed). They did get a marginal range boost allowing them to match lasers (40/60/80) but retain their inferior tracking (40/20/5 vs. 50/30/5) and L plasma additionally got slapped with a very cruel minimum range of 45, meaning their effective range window is only 35 units deep. They retain the damage modifiers they had before (-75%/+100%/+50%) but with their new damage, they are less than half as good against hull as autocannons - in fact, only about as good against hull as railguns - and only trivially better (less than 10%) better than lasers against armor. This does technically make them the best choice for anti-pure-armor builds - they are (just barely) the best against armor, and significantly better than any other anti-armor weapon at dealing with hull - but against shields they're totally ineffective; an L plasma does less damage to shields than an M laser.

P-slots got an interesting treatment. Technically, we're back to the weird world where P-slot weapons are quite competitive with their non-P equivalents, at least in S class (still no forms of heavy PD). Each P weapon is now heavily optimized (+100% damage and 25% penetration) against either shields (flak) or armor (PD laser), while being terrible against the other (-75% damage). This makes sense given that strike craft now have tons of shields (and no armor) while missiles and torpedoes have moderate armor (and no shields), but they also have good damage (same as before for energy PD, with flak brought up to the same standard) and, in the case of flak, tracking. This has the interesting consequence of making flak highly viable against early corvettes, offering nearly twice the base damage against as any other S-equivalent starting weapon and being absolutely vicious against shields (although the shield-penetrating damage bleed actually a downside against targets with any amount of armor, as 25% of the damage is wasted against the armor instead of going to wiping the shield for the lasers you presumably have in the S slots to do their thing). Basically, flak is the autocannon for before you have autocannons. PD lasers, on the other hand, are easily the best anti-armor starting weapon; they not only do more base damage than any S weapon and have a higher anti-armor multiplier, they are the only starting weapon in the game that can start punching a corvettes tissue-paper hull before getting all the way through its armor. Remember that hull damage decreases fire rate. As such, corvettes or destroyers with PD lasers are in fact the strongest option by far for anti-armor among all S-equivalent weapons, doing strictly more damage against shields, armor, and hull than S plasma weapons! Admittedly you give up a little range and good bit of tracking to get this (though Guardian PD has tracking 30, the tier-1 Sentinel PD still only has 10), but they're corvettes; you'll be at range 30 or less anyhow. Of course, P slot weapons can get distracted by missiles or strike craft, but for my early-game corvettes, the P slot consistently did more damage to hull than the two S slots combined, no matter what I slotted.

Artillery... what is there even to say. There is now only a single L-slot artillery weapon in the game, the kinetic artillery. It's as good as ever, except for losing the ability to hit targets at less than 45 range, and a viable pick for an artillery battleship. You'll really want a lance in the X slot though, or you want have a single anti-armor weapon. Titans are really rather sad right now.

Torpedoes are now specialized killers of large ships and highly-upgraded stations. Standard torpedoes continue to operate much like missiles - they create projectiles that can be shot down, and have HP and armor - but their launch range is a piddling 30. Their damage is bad but non-trivial against destroyers but outright awful against corvettes and frigates; against cruisers it's pretty good and against battleships it's great. Energy torpedoes (proton and neutron launchers) also now use the G slot, though they are not guided weapons; they are still instant-hit. They retain most of their old range (120 instead of 130, though also minimum 45), but of course can't be mounted on L slots anymore... no anti-armor weapon with more than 80 range can. Energy torpedoes do crap damage even after accounting for being re-scaled to M-slot equivalent; although they retain their old multipliers making them good against armor and great against hull, they underperform all other weapons in their size category against any target smaller than a cruiser, and are merely adequate against cruisers. They're still a solid pick against battleships... except that standard torpedoes are MUCH better, if you can get into range (and aren't facing too much PD). That's especially true against shields, where standard torpedoes continue to penetrate and energy torpedoes continue to do halved damage. The one saving grace of energy torpedoes, IMO, is that they combine nicely with kinetic artillery in the two hulls that can mount both - cruisers and defense platforms - for a long-range big-ship-killer. They are strictly anti-synergistic in frigates and should probably never be used on that hull anyhow; frigates lack the evasion or durability to survive at artillery range.

Strike craft - despite losing the ability to kill missiles - are still some of the best all-around weapons in the game, and are also the best choice for anti-strike-craft. Flak works tolerably now - though PD lasers really really don't except against amoeba flagella, where they're merely inferior - but strike craft absolutely annihilate other strike craft; whoever brings more will completely cancel the enemy's DPS from them. As mentioned above, though, don't use carrier computer; artillery computer will generally do what you want, and gives better bonuses.

There's a weird thing where different rear sections now give different numbers of A slots. In particular, the destroyer's Intercepter stern (2xS) gets two A slots while the other sterns get only one; cruiser Gunship stern (2xS) gets three A slots while the other only gets two, and battleship Broadside stern (2xM) also gets three while the other only gets two. This is generally a buff to some less-used sections, but comes with some weirdness; fast battleships (and insanely fast cruisers or destroyers), or tons of regen, but you have to put missiles on your artillery battleship if you do (eh, you didn't need another kinetic artillery anyhow, right? At least swarmers don't have a nasty penalty to armor and can distract PD plus hit targets that get close besides... and they'll save you power without costing you range). Unfortunately, the destroyer's Picket Bow is still only 3xS-equivalent (2xS, 1xP) and hasn't gained anything in compensation (if not an A slot, give it an extra defensive S or two, or upgrade some of its defensive S to M?). Given how good P weapons are at anti-ship in the early game this isn't necessarily awful, but in the late game autocannons totally dominate flak for anti-ship roles, and the PD lasers are individually outright better than S plasma but a single PD is not better than 2x S plasma or 1xM plasma (or non-PD lasers in place of the plasmas).

I'm really happy that DDGs (guided missile destroyers) are not only a thing now, they're a legitimately viable design that retains some usefulness even after larger ships are unlocked, although cruisers are arguably the superior missile platform given how good swarmers are. Be very sure to select the artillery or at worst line computer on both.
 
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HFY

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Are Shattered Ring sections supposed to be able to fire off colony events? Somehow it feels weird to get Odd Factories and Dimensional Portals on a Ring World section.

If you built it yourself -- probably not a good event target.

If you found it collapsed and moved in -- yes, do fire events.
 
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Masked Ermine

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I bounced back into the patch to try and prepare for this when it actually hits. Still a lot of the same complaints as before. Battle feels chunky and unsatisfactory. Teching into stuff still feels like 'do all of it, now'...rather than previous where I could gauge where I'm at in comparison to others and ascertain some kind of goal to orient towards. And the AI is still way too keen to become vassals... I mean I'm winning, but that's because half the galaxy is my vassal...

I am playing Cordiceps which quickly gave me a 25K fleet of beasties and I've just manage to keep it all together with a Prospectorium, a Scholarium and a Tributary, but I'm finding that I don't know how much I like the lack of control for the undead spawn of tiyanki and amoeba (Yes, I do control both Amor Alveo and Tiyanki Vek)...I did have an early-ish food crisis resulting in me just deleting a bunch of acquired Amoeba (I erroneously cleaned out Alveo too soon)....

I just don't feel comfortable with this new system yet. It always feels...like something not quite right and I can't figure out what.
 
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HFY

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I was also very confused that the AI was never picking certain weapons. It seemed particularly allergic to energy weapons, even though I was way ahead in Physics research over Engineering.

This is for a reason, but the reason is secret and invisible and poorly documented.

Your ethic + civic + authority choices give your empire an AI Personality type, and each personality type has a weapon & defense preference.
 
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Lorenerd11

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From Ascension Path Feedback Thread:
To be able to play functional psionic, it required at least 3 dlc, utopia for accessing the ascension path, overlord for teacher of the shroud origin cuz without it, it is easier and faster to just synthetic ascend (not to mention the pay off is way way better than psionic too) and federation for the holy covenant federation type (so that you can keep up a little bit on pops efficiency cuz what dev said about psionic will more than compensate lack of pop growth with pop efficiency is a lie, it's not enough).

And this isn't even make psionic batshit op or something, just make it decent and competitive with other ascension paths.

It is completely bonker that psionic required 3 dlc to functioning, I don't think there is literally any other serious build in Stellaris that required this much investment from player.

Is Stellaris now a pay to win game lol jk.

Seriously tho, the dev need to reflected on this problem and how to fix it.
This isn't even the only dynamic like this.

The Mercantile tradition, practically a must-pick for Corporate Empires, requires Trade Districts for one of its main benefits. Trade Districts, which are exclusive to Ring Worlds and Habitats, which you only get to start on with Void Dweller or Shattered Ring empires – origins you require Federations for.

The stronger version of Trade Districts are Ring Worlds' Commercial Segments, and you can only build Ring Worlds with the Utopia DLC.

Meanwhile the planet type actually added by Megacorp, the Ecumenopolis, doesn't have any kind of Trade district at all.
 

KingAlamar

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Is there any way that we could improve the "weapon synergy" that AI ships get on harder difficulty levels -- possibly by using weapon & fleet design templates or similar?? The problem that I see now is that [most of the time] I'm not scared even if the AI significantly outnumbers me because I know that their ships are not designed with a coherent [and workable] philosophy and that gives my fleets a 2-4 X edge during fights. On the other hand if the AI had better synergy with their fleets I would need to be the one that likely needs to bring MORE to the fight to ensure victory -- OR I would at least have to run some intelligence ops to figure out what the enemy is running and then counter their choices :)

Examples of some templates that are examples of things that may be cool to see from the AI: [??]

  1. Early on it may be refreshing to see a fleet of corvettes with Missile & [mostly] Armour spam for example. Maybe later we could see the same fleet add in some Frigates to try to overwhelm any PD that may be present. Maybe later on the same fleet could add in some Cruiser or Battleship "carriers" [missile carriers?] to complete the theme and diversify their weapon types without necessarily loosing missile & torp synergy when they add strike craft??
  2. Maybe we could see an initial fleet of corvettes with some long[er] range anti-shield and some short[er] range anti-armor & anti hull tech?? Maybe this empire evolves into running a fairly balanced kinetics & energy build with balanced defenses?? [Default behavior?]
  3. Maybe another initial fleet starts out with "naked" missile corvettes and just tries to overwhelm you with cheap weapons platforms that ignore some of your defenses but in turn ignores their defenses??
  4. Maybe a final fleet evolution could be missile & armor spam with corvettes initially, moving into bypass weapons with corvettes, and then evolving finally into [strictly] Battleships with mixed Bypass and Carrier, with high shield focus, and 3 "advanced shield hardeners"??
IMHO most of the fleets above have [somewhat?] reasonable counters -- some of them almost hard counters -- while I could envision them having some [artificial?] rationale behind the design choices. I think this would make almost all of the AIs slightly more challenging, increase engagement, and also allow us to smooth any difficulty spikes if an alien empire happens to field well designed ships / fleets when you were expecting .. not so well designed ships / fleets.
 
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papryaka

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I played a arthropoid species overtuned with genetic ascension and a species of lithoid "servant"
for lithoid transgenesis I unlocked :
- scyntillating skin
- gasesous byproduct
- volatile excretion
for botanical transgenesis I unlocked
- phototrophic
- radiotrophic
- budding

obviously you can't place budding on a lithoid but I trough you could put crystallization on others species.
Feel like there is no point going for lithoid as botanical seems to have the best trait unlocked.
 

Paspinall

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What values have changed with regard to end game crisis weighting ? Outside of the beta we got the unbidden 50-60% of the time I would say, since the beta its been Contingency non-stop
 

HFY

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Is Stellaris now a pay to win game lol jk.

Since you're talking about Psionic Ascension, I think the term here is Pay 2 Pray. :cool:

You're right about the general need for DLC to enjoy the basic mechanic, though -- I'd be in favor of merging in a bunch of the older DLC into the base game, raising the base game price a little, and making life easier for your maintainers and your new players.