3.6 "Orion" Open Beta - Fleet Combat Rebalance Feedback Thread

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I was just wanting to note starbases are having a real problem keeping up now. Not that they were not a little weak to begin with. Right now I've got a smallish 7.8k fleet. It's deleting enemy bases using torpedoes. By the time the 3x afterburner cruisers close and fire their first volley 2.5k bases are just gone. Starbases need some kind of help here or their officially going to be useless once torps are unlocked.
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I think we need a pass at evasion caps for corvettes and evasion/tracking in general. Given that corvettes can get massive evasion bonuses inherently… there is a good opportunity to lower it a bit and use evasion/tracking /accuracy as further differentiation of the classes.
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It appears that the size multiplier on weapons is a total multiplier rather than additional damage, most obviously seen in the 10% value on the unbidden matter disintegrator - here in the images a large matter disintegrator is pointed at a size 1 void cloud:



Assuming a fairly low roll on the attack, ~120 * 0.25 (-75% effectiveness vs shield) * 0.1 (1 ship size * 0.1 size mult) = ~3.
If it was extra damage as advertised you'd expect to see 30 damage at minimum there.

It wouldn't affect torpedoes with their 1.0 but the disintegrator at 0.1 and the scourge missile at 0.5 are really hurt by this.

Also perhaps consider making the 8x cap in the defines a cap on the final multiplier rather than the ship size - this wouldn't affect torpedoes since their mult is 1.0, but would let things with mults lower than 1.0 get the max effect against even larger targets (e.g. scourge missile at 0.5 getting 8x mult against titans, citadels) - this would be also very helpful for mods which add larger ships (such as Gigastructural Engineering), as we could make weapons with low multipliers that get a full 8x against a size 250 planetcraft without doing significant extra damage to normal ships. Even better would be doing that and also allowing a different cap in the weapon and falling back to the define if not specified.
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It appears that the size multiplier on weapons is a total multiplier rather than additional damage,
When I read the text, it implies it's a strict bonus. "Additional Multiplicative damage."
I just assumed the scourge missile had ~2x the base damage but half the bonus multiplier; as a more "general purpose" missile. Not literally has its damage cut in half. It seems like someone forgot to do a M = (1+0.1*Size) rather than M = 0.1*Size.

Likewise with the Matter disintegrator. Because as implemented, it can only ever do up to 80% of its base damage, which seems silly. Man, that explains why I absolutely swept through the unbidden yesterday. And I thought it was my brilliant tactics.
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There is no need to add a new ship type named Frigate.
For gunships, just adding build time and evasion modifier on corvette torpedo section.
the simplest way to make corvette and cruiser useful is making large ships larger.
an example is my mod: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2481709576
this mod do somethings:
enlarging cruiser and battleship, adding X-slot on cruiser and T-slot on battleship. X-slot is major weapon, while T-slot is required to reduce ships lost.
the way to prohibit player skiping cruiser and building battleship directly is expensive section cost and ship power. for more weapon slots on larger ships, it lacks reaction power to fill weapon slots, only if you have got dark matter reaction power from fallen empire. so before building battleships you must build massive cruisers to fight with FE.
even you are able to build battleship, the cruisers is cheaper and more flexible than battleships. only when you have overflowed alloys, the battleships is worthy to building. but battleship fleets is lossless than cruiser fleets while againsting large ships, for T-slots.
how about corvettes? corvettes is required to againist citadel starbase. citadels are only with long range weapon such as T-slot or X-slot, effective on destroying largeships. only corvettes or destroyers can get close to starbases and destroy them.
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and there is still a problem that have not been solved: what situations I must use S-slots and M-slots? H-slots is used to against small ships, and L-slots for large-ships? I am not sure, for large ships we use X-slots and T-slots, never use SML slots.
How about P-slots? P-slots weapons are much more effective to against torpedos and strike crafts, for P-slots weapons damage increased by repeatable techs, while no way to increase toepedo and crafts hull or amount.
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  • What composition ships did you use in your fleets?
    • The fleet used is pretty mixed. Even in early game when I'm stuck with only corvettes, I was trying to mix a couple of picket ones with a "bulk" brawlers ones (5 Pick to 15 Braw). Mid to end game my fleets are made of everything: one carrier battleship, 4-5 artillery battleship, 10 gunship cruisers, 5 energy torpedo cruisers (with rockets only), 5-10 picket destroyer, 20 corvettes. I never had more than 5 frigates and I stopped producing them completely after I unlocked cruisers.
  • Did you find certain weapons or technologies over or underpowered?
    • I tried to play a normal game so I have no idea. Combat gives little feedback, especially now that there are a lot of counters. However I can say that missiles and torpedos seems undepowered, mostly because they can be countered and they deal damage only after hitting the target: this can be good because it means that point defence works.
  • Did your fleets change composition as the game went on?
    • Yes and no. The type of ship do change as you unlock new ships, however I thought of maintaning a balance. Some screen, some artillery, one carrier (if possible) and the rest is divided between gunships and brawlers. Basically if I had an artillery computer for corvettes, I would have made full missiles corvettes to act as artillery in the early game.
  • How did disengagement feel? Did you lose too many (or not enough) ships during major combats? Did you use the Hit-and-Run policy, Psi Jump Drives, or Enigmatic Encoders to get more disengagement opportunities?
    • I used hit and run policy. I feel way to little ship do escape. One battle I basically lost all my fleet like it was nothing. Even with hit and run policy activated I lost my entire fleet in an accident (I'll talk about it later)
  • What would you define as the role of…
    • Corvettes?
      • Escort. They need to make a barrier between the enemy ships and your backline (carriers and artillery). They are basically cannon meat (alloy?)
    • Frigates?
      • I have no idea. They don't even seem better at taking down starbases. Maybe I should have made more of them to make their effect more noticable, but my fleet cap is limited and I would rather have one more corvette than one frigate. Torpedos can be countered.
    • Destroyers?
      • Corvette/frigate killers or THE picket ship (being able to have 3 picket slots). Not much versatile though, for exaple it can mount an L slot weapon, but I never used it.
    • Cruisers?
      • jack of all trades, master of.... actually no they are pretty good in what they are doing. Battleships are surely better at being artillery and carriers, but cruisers are gunships and missile boats (who needs frigates, am I right?)
    • Battleships?
      • Artillery and carriers.
    • Titans and other special ship sizes?
      • Titans are pretty useless if it wasn't for their aura, but they were like that even before this beta. Juggernaut: I have no idea, I make them but I never use them in combat (they are too slow). Menacing ships: I have no idea, I used them but their slot are so messed up that I have no idea what role they should pick, so I just put some weapons, looked at it from afar and said "yes, it looks like a brawler so it's a brawler now".
  • Did you use the Ship Role button in the Ship Designer? How did it work?
    • I used it and it's pretty messy. I like that it's trying its best to work with the few tech I have, but it can be hard to understand what's it's doing. Basically I design my own ships. I noticed 2 problems and both of them are about tooltips:
      • I have no idea what ship it is. I found myself using the ship role button just to understand what role it was picked. Like turning the light off just to be sure they were on. Especially frustrating when I didn't had much tech for the designer to work. So something like "this corvette is designed to be a brawler"
      • Tooltips talks about ship behaviour but that only gets unlocked after I unlock the ship computer. Can be confusing for new player (I was bambozled by it, so new player will surely find it confusing). Maybe behaviour is unlocked from the start and better chips only give better stats?
  • Do you have any comments on the aesthetics and functionality of combat? Do the changes to ship combat computers help?
    • No comment
  • Were combats too fast / too slow? Did this depend on when in the game you were?
    • I don't see problems. Combat in the mid-end game is maybe too fast, mostly because the enemy just escapes
  • Did you use Armor or Shield Hardeners at all?
    • Yes but I have no idea if they were necessary to protect my fleet or if they were effective. Mostly what I said about battle feedbacks being a little too complicated. Also reactive armor is currently not equippable.
  • What feels best about the changes?
    • I can finally make strategies with my fleets. I was tired of making artillery battleships only for every playtrhough. Now If I want to make a missiles only empire, I can and it's beautifull.
  • What feels worst about the changes?
    • Mostly not being able to understand ranges. It says 40, but.... is it a lot? is it not? I don't know..... I know that 100 is bigger than 40, but are they centimeters so it doesn't make a difference? Is 60 range enough to be an artillery, is 45 too short and so on. Second thing is feedback, with too much complex feedback I can't plan a strategy or a counter: basically I have 10 point defence destroyers, are they too much or too little? I know that if I see damage from missile in the reports it means I should make more, but how I'm supposed to know if I only need 2? Also searching for missile damage in the report, is damaging for my eyes.

Last worst thing, separated from the rest of the post since it's not directly battle related. I said I would eventually talk about the incident that destroyed my entire fleet at once. So the great Khan spawned, they payed my mercenary, making a hostile fleet spawn in my capital system completely destroying my fleet and my starbase. Yes I was not happy about that: crisis should not be able to use mercenary against you, at least don't make the enemy fleet pop up when it's inside my terrritory.
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Aside from fact that neither weapon should have 100% penetrating capabilites.
Shroud avatar, which suppoused to be powerfull, collosal (bigger than battleship) space entity, is killed by few missiles since it has only shields, and almost no hull points (3k same as defence platform). It should have at least some shield hardening (my suggestion is 100% shield hardening).
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What composition ships did you use in your fleets?
Two fleets of 10K, one with Battleships, one with Cruisers.
The Cruisers were set to Artillery and so were the Battleships.
Did you find certain weapons or technologies over or underpowered?
Not at the moment.
  • Did you use the Ship Role button in the Ship Designer? How did it work?
Yes, I designed all the ships to Artillery as said before, worked fine.

Overall, it looks really good, this is going to switch things up


Looks good guys, ofc I'll see what people do.

P.S I did cheat in my technology, so I could access the right technology.
While I like a lot of the effects of the combat rework *crystal armor is no longer always the best choice, the change to disengagements means that rapid fire weapons have practical lethality lategame, corvettes being effective point defense makes them more relevant, which makes destroyers more relevant, whether you want battleships or cruisers is a legit question depending on whether you want dedicated artillery or more self sufficient artillery* but some system changes have me worried about my favorite origin.

Here be Dragons
Obviously the whole, ascension tree not counting as ascending for the 6->4 discount on here be dragons is probably not intended, and makes it awkward to test the timing on the dragons power spike, but outside that I am worried about how much the battleship nerfs impact the sky dragon. Size being a detrimental stat makes the dragon significantly easier to counter, coupled with the armor regen nerfs making it much less resilient early game.

Yes it benefits from the increased armor values, but in any fight it has time to fire over three breath attacks, nerfed regen makes it less durable than before the patch, before accounting for missile multipliers and everyone else having increased armor/shield values.

As to my knowledge the sky dragon outside necro rush is far from meta, seeing it caught in the crossfire of nerfs aimed at stuff actually controlling the meta has me worried.
The disengagement rework leads to even worse snowballing effect, if my fleet got caught in a losing fight it bacisally means a fleet wipe.

Also if you guys wanna encourage ship diversity could you also look at reworking the fleet management system? Seeing hundreds of small ships clogging up the fleet menu because their destination became invalid and had to individually disband/merge everything really makes me feel like inorganic breathe.

Ideally the best scenario for ship components in stellaris is that they are modifiers just like economy modifiers, let's be real, the combat system in stellaris is not very engaging, you move your fleets in and see the auto-result

I remember back in 1.x days every empire has to pick a starter weapon type while other weapon types were locked behind techs. Maybe instead of balancing combat again and again and again, maybe you guys could consider merging weapon technologies into the tradition system? Each empire has its own unique flavour instead of everyone running around in the same fleet? One empire specialized in missile + armor + small ship doctrine while the other might specialized in laser + hull + capital ship doctrine?
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The Size Factor scaling indeed had an error for values less than 1, which handily proves the value of running this Beta, and explains the Unbidden being so hilariously weak.
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I'd love to give feedback from several abortive starts and one good long game i've had so far, but i just don't really understand what's actually happening in fights, i can look at the aftermath but i've little idea how much is down to mine vs the enemies configuration and how much is due to any possibble balance problems. I just don't have a clear enough idea of what's happening to give good feedback.

At the minimum can i suggest we get the fleet power broken out into ratings for each role type.

The sole thing i really picked up on was when a small frigate force with neutron launchers, (i had huge espionage on them), a fairly small force of them that got wiped out allmost instantly still managed to kill several battleships. Not enough to be really a problem in terms of combat power, but given how short the fight was they couldn;t have fired more than 1 or 2 volleys. Thats an issue and somthing i noticed as a general theme, battles ended way too fast overall.

I ultimately settled on carrier BB's and Missile Cruisers, seemed to work but no idea how much was down to dumb luck.

Overall my feeling is that the idea of the rework is good but it needs a lot of work to give players the means to understand whats going on, no idea if you cna do that before release but if not i'd strongly recommend holding it back till you can do that work.
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Steam player here with over 1100 hours~.

I played three games, unfortunately, all of them were lost on the new patch.
I play solely on the grand admiral setting with progressive AI bonuses set to always, this means that AI most often than not can field a much higher fleet than me at the time.

As mentioned multiple time in this thread, defensive stations are handicapped severely by new combat changes.

My usual tactic against AI was to pick up Unyielding tradition tree and Eternal Vigilance ascension perks early on, so even If I lost fleet combat or two during initial wars, my border would hold, and I could slowly gobble the territory or bait the enemy into attacking a base with fleet waiting in ambush in the next system.

Where previously a tier 3 starbase (buffed by traditon and ascension perk) equipped with hangars and gun slots without any defensive platforms could fend off a fleet that was roughly 1.5x its fleet power (except if it was equipped with torpedoes) till late-game or at least decimate it severely, now it dies miserably to a few measly corvettes and frigs due to newly introduced mechanics.

This is mostly due to the new minimum range mechanic, and due to how starbase assigns weapon modules:
  1. Missile slots give only torpedo slots, which on their own do nothing. Would be better to have a mix of normal missiles and torpedoes. I saw it too late in my missile playthrough... :(
  2. Gun slots generate whatever type the highest tech you have, so if you by any chance have gun technology higher than lasers, then the minimum range makes it unable to target corvettes and frigates that stick close. Yes, medium-sized guns don't fire at corvettes and frigates because they are too close and I just watch in despair as they slowly nip at my almost defenseless base. Would be better if it always used a mix of the highest anti-armor, and highest ani-shield weapon and doesn't have a minimum range if deployed on starbase OR even better, if we could make starbase templates like in the early versions.
  3. The hangars are overall decent slots, but due to missile slots and gun slots (with their minimum range) - three sets of strike craft can hardly fend off even smaller fleets.
This makes turtling with an unyielding tradition tree and eternal vigilance impossible and these two underwhelming options became just worthless - whereas before the AI couldn't penetrate all the borders at all, due to not being able to overpower specialized defensive citadels unless gathered into death stack - which made it much easier to bring my own death stack to counter it. It forced AI to play as I wanted - to have manly showdowns with their whole fleet, a grand space battle, instead of playing cat and mouse over half galaxy.

This is a bit of my rant, but I suggest, please give us:
- Starbase templates - which include both components AND defensive platforms (types and amount), and allow us to (one click) pay one time to upgrade/queue building at all. Components and upgrades should be first, then platforms (if any are defined). Because setting these 40 bastions manually late game is taking hours of my life.
- Remove minimum range on components that starbases/defensive platforms use - Because corvettes invalidate any stationary defense by just sticking closely :(
- Buff unyielding tree and eternal vigilance ascension perk - so it can at least partially mitigate new torpedoes mechanics, as citadels just seem to go boom by being near 10 frigates equipped with torpedoes...
- Give some point defense to stations - because citadel having zero doesn't make sense if it goes boom when near 10 frigates...

Overall good work, but I feel like the defensive structures aspect of combat rebalances was totally omitted.
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There have been a couple of comments about how Intel plays into the combat rework, and I'd like the add that the combat results screen also needs a serious refresh. I watched a battle where the enemy fleet clearly was using lasers -- and I had looted laser tech from them in a prior engagement, so I *know* they had lasers -- but the combat results screen showed absolutely no damage being done by any laser weapons.
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Can't say I enjoy this rework. As others have stated, I can't seem to get a handle on what is what, and what should be what I'm teching into. And the answer seems to be 'EVERYTHING' which is just not...possible giving the game's tech research limitations/resource production, or at least on the level I play. I feel like this is an overcorrect, that ultimately will be pointless. 'Shaking up the meta' never works because you just create a new meta, resulting in the devs having to 'shake up the meta' again. I also wonder what kind of performance effect the 'everyone uses torpedoes and missiles' meta will have...considering having in the past for a lark doing missile/torpedo/fighter runs and finding that very quickly the game simply bogs down in combat because of all the long duration artefacts that have to be generated.

Whilst the meta was boring, it was predictable, I could gauge how well I was doing, and how I was measuring up and what I was able to win or not. But in the last playthrough I did, I had a fleet that was a thousand combat power less than another fleet absolutely annihilate the larger fleet. I fought two wars, with empires that should by the combat numbers of their fleets have decimated me, and in both cases, I won the war, not white peace won, achieved my victory conditions won and that feels...on one hand awesome but on the other hand, unnerving because it means that the information the game is giving us is inaccurate and thus again I have no idea what's actually going on. The AI also seems to not understand the match-ups either, as there were a number of times that the AI sent in fleets against something they simply could not win against, an example being a destroyer and a corvette, all by their lonesome, deciding they could take on a 7K fleet with cruisers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes.... Where the prior meta was undoubtedly limiting in its strategic ingenuity, this patch seems to have over corrected on that front, and feels a bit too much like 'everything, all at once, all the time' which leaves me feeling constantly insecure in anything I do, which some people will be like 'well we want to be challenged, we want to put on the back foot' but I'm like 'I want to be challenged but I want to be challenged in a way that's expected, not because I don't understand how the game games'.

And as other's have mentioned, outposts, starbases/etc need to have modifiable weapons/shield slots. This has been an issue for this game since whenever pulsars/neutron stars/nebular effects became a thing...what's the point of a weapons revamp if the stations inevitably always have kinetic batteries and never spec into missiles or disruptors, especially the outpost/first two tiers of bases, I didn't even research kinetic weapons as I was spec-ing into missiles and disruptors and found most of my starbases/starholds, loaded down in tier one kinetic weapons in their small/medium slots rather than the tier two/three/four or five missiles and disruptors I had. If I didn't augment my bases with defense platforms some outposts/bases wouldn't have any weapons other than a couple fighters and tier one kinetics.

I feel like rather than making a torpedo frigate they should've just gave us torpedo destroyers, slap a G slot on a destroyer template and call it a day. This weird corvette feels...gross to both research and then slot into a fleet that may already have destroyers/cruisers depending on how your tech rolls go which means you're then having to cram it into the fleet and I don't like it, it feels like extra steps to get somewhere that I'm not sure is better.

Oh, I did play as Here be Dragons. Answer is, a pair of fleets amounting to about 25K was able to force me to retreat Hrozgar, but Hrozgar was able to do significant damage (~40% to the fleets)....Torpedoes are doing lots of damage, and regen nerf is in full effect. But even with that Hrozgar was able to tank alot of the attacks and like I said forced the fleets in question to take heavy losses before I was forced to retreat. In someways it's probably better than the late game Particle Lance/Neutron Launchers go brr of the current game, but the fact that I'm having a hard time getting the tech to even get the ascension line for Hrozgar to be a thing until like my fourth or fifth ascension perk means the dragon's viability is limited, but not useless...it would seem.
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A couple of ideas
  1. In the Ship Designer it would be nice if we had an option to select which class of ship vessels upgrade to. At the moment I find that sometimes a ship will upgrade rather randomly. While this is likely due to my naming conventions, the option to pick would be nice as it would allow:
    1. The ability to pick the upgrade for all ships of the class.
    2. The ability to pick the upgrade for all ships of the class which would be applied when a fleet is upgraded. The upgrade could then be changed, and a second fleet could be upgraded to a different version.
    3. I would make the default use the existing process.
  2. The fleet manager - just badly done.
    1. Ability to create and station training fleets. Training Fleets would gain experience twice as fast (modified by their Admiral's skill level) until their reach regular level of experience.
  3. New Construction
    1. Ship experience should
      1. start at L0 Green (0-100xp) and have penalties to accuracy, rate of fire, repair rates, and maintenance costs.
      2. Regular starts at L1 (101 - whatever xp) and all penalties are removed.
    2. Choice on how to crew new ships
      1. New ships crewed from a levy across the navy (Ship starts at the average for the fleet divided by 2 or Regular whichever is lower)
      2. New ships crewed from a levy across the merchant marine (Ship starts at Green L0 with 50xp)
      3. New ships crewed with new recruits (Ship starts at Green L0 with 0xp)
What would be useful is for you to provide test sets and scenarios on specific things you want people to provide feedback on in addition to general comments.
It would probably decrease the variance in the feedback and help it be organized in a coherent manner.
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