How do we make Destroyers and Cruisers more desirable in the late game?

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slv

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For my two cents, I think it boils down to this: There are no alternative uses for your ships, so there is no need for alternative types of ships.

Players only need to do one thing, so they're only building one ship.

The way to fix this is to give fleets different roles and missions. If fleets needed to do things other than just blow each other up, then players would need to build the ships that are best at those different missions and assignments. While I haven't read much of this thread, people have referenced how Stellaris ships compare to real life navies. That's a good analogy. Actual navies have different ship classes not just for mixed fleets, but because their ships need to conduct a variety of missions. An aircraft carrier would make a poor choice to intercept pirates, for example, while a submarine is best for picking off lone enemy ships. Different ships exist to carry out the different missions that navies need to conduct.
There is another way to create different roles for ships without adding extra military mechanics, namely to diversify the cost. What shiptype is efficient is determined by how much you get per unit of "cost". On paper there are three different metrics for "cost"


  • Ships need to be built, a one-time payment of alloys/strategic resources is the "cost" in question
  • Ships need to be built in time, an amout of time it takes to build a ship is another metric of "cost"
  • Ships have an ongoing cost, each month a ship consumes energy/alloy

    Right now all measures of "cost" are almost proportional to each other, battleships are around 4 times as expensive as destroyers in all 3 metrics.

    Imagine if instead those metrics were different for all ships. For example battleships had the highest efficiency per unit of upkeep (this is achievable by having battleships have larger fleetpower per unit of navalcap), cruisers had the highest efficiency per unit of upfront cost, corvettes had the larger firepower per buildtime and destroyers were a middle option.

    Instantly depending on the situation you would need to build different things. Sudden war you weren't prepared against? Destroyers/Cruisers are your choice (depending if build time or cost is the issue). Got yourself into war of attrition? Probably time to build cruisers and let them die before upkeep bites you. Planning long-term standing fleet? Build Battleships. Feeling adventurous? Let's stockpile alloys and make shipyards with the intention of trying to build enough corvettes on time.

 
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methegrate

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There is another way to create different roles for ships without adding extra military mechanics, namely to diversify the cost. What shiptype is efficient is determined by how much you get per unit of "cost". On paper there are three different metrics for "cost"


  • Ships need to be built, a one-time payment of alloys/strategic resources is the "cost" in question
  • Ships need to be built in time, an amout of time it takes to build a ship is another metric of "cost"
  • Ships have an ongoing cost, each month a ship consumes energy/alloy

    Right now all measures of "cost" are almost proportional to each other, battleships are around 4 times as expensive as destroyers in all 3 metrics.

    Imagine if instead those metrics were different for all ships. For example battleships had the highest efficiency per unit of upkeep (this is achievable by having battleships have larger fleetpower per unit of navalcap), cruisers had the highest efficiency per unit of upfront cost, corvettes had the larger firepower per buildtime and destroyers were a middle option.

    Instantly depending on the situation you would need to build different things. Sudden war you weren't prepared against? Destroyers/Cruisers are your choice (depending if build time or cost is the issue). Got yourself into war of attrition? Probably time to build cruisers and let them die before upkeep bites you. Planning long-term standing fleet? Build Battleships. Feeling adventurous? Let's stockpile alloys and make shipyards with the intention of trying to build enough corvettes on time.

Maybe... I can certainly see where you're coming from in terms of time to produce. Having certain ships as the quick response fleet ("sudden war you weren't prepared against") would be great. I can definitely see that working well.

Beyond that, my concern is that there are a few mechanics in warfare that are based around cost (most notably devastation and armies). The logic is that you will balance military needs against the costs of any given strategy.

The problem with this is that absolutely nothing is more important than winning a war. No amount of resource costs ever counterbalance winning, nor can any resource savings ever be worth the risk of loss. So I'm not sure that diversifying costs would actually change anything, because costs aren't actually a relevant consideration when it comes to making decisions about a war. You build the strongest fleet you can, and pay whatever it costs, or else you lose.*

For example, if all battleships are the stronger fleet then you have only three options:

- You build all battleships and they don't, and then you win. That's worth any amount of resources to achieve.
- You don't/can't build all battleships and they do, and then they win. It's worth any amount of resources to prevent that.
- You both build all battleships, and then whoever has more wins. It's worth any amount of resources to try and be the navy with more.

That same basic formula would be true no matter what the "stronger fleet" format is.

Resource costs in warfare assume that you're making long-term tradeoffs. But that only works if you have long-term economic concerns that are more important than winning the war. That has never been true in my experience. The stakes of warfare are always more valuable than resources or income. (I would much rather spend every alloy than lose a bunch of systems, no less a planet.) At the same time, there are no consequences to spending as much as you possibly can.

So there's very little incentive to balance costs against power, and absolutely no incentive to voluntarily lose a war you could have afforded to win otherwise. The incentive structure would stay the same: Spend whatever it takes to build the strongest fleet and win the war, then balance your economy afterward.


*Unless you outclass the enemy empire that you can beat them without putting in a real effort. But in that case, you can build whatever you want anyway, so there's no real issue.
 
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GOLANX

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There is another way to create different roles for ships without adding extra military mechanics, namely to diversify the cost. What shiptype is efficient is determined by how much you get per unit of "cost". On paper there are three different metrics for "cost"


  • Ships need to be built, a one-time payment of alloys/strategic resources is the "cost" in question
  • Ships need to be built in time, an amout of time it takes to build a ship is another metric of "cost"
  • Ships have an ongoing cost, each month a ship consumes energy/alloy
Your missing 3 cost points
  • Reinforcement time: once built the time it takes for the ship to reinforce the fleet it is meant to be a part of, it doesn't help that the Reinforcement system is buggy and often deposits your ships randomly when they fail to make the trip, it also requires the player to spend time micromanaging to fix. As smaller ships take casualties more often this is a price that hits them hard.
  • Cost in shipyard slots: this is an underrated price as a battleship and a corvette take the same number of slots even though theoretically you could use the space for 1 battleship to build 8 corvettes simultaneously.
  • Basic transit costs: the cost in time for a fleet to reach the battlefield. Devs actually tried to balance this one but their are exploits that speed up BBs, these differences could be stepped up.
Right now all measures of "cost" are almost proportional to each other, battleships are around 4 times as expensive as destroyers in all 3 metrics.

Imagine if instead those metrics were different for all ships. For example battleships had the highest efficiency per unit of upkeep (this is achievable by having battleships have larger fleetpower per unit of navalcap), cruisers had the highest efficiency per unit of upfront cost, corvettes had the larger firepower per buildtime and destroyers were a middle option.
Your focusing on economics which by this point in the game aren't all that relevant, your going to have the economy to support your fleet.


In real life not every shipyard can build Supercarriers, many more of them can build frigates though and they can build multiple ships at once. I would make it so shipyards each produce 1 naval capacity 6 shipyards = 6 Naval capacity, you can build a building on your starbases that adds 1 naval capacity build to each shipyard stackable. 6 shipyards and 4 booster buildings gives 30 build capacity that's 30 corvettes, 15 destroyers 7.5 Cruisers or 3.75 Battleships. ofc you could also build a fleet academy and give up some production.

I haven't been able to find the math on the Reinforcement mechanics anywhere, if anybody has that math I'd be interested in seeing it. Either way smaller ships would be better to reinforce faster and have the bugs cleared.
 

PK_AZ

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Are there good reasons for the larger slots (both weapons and utilities) to have these bonuses, i.e., is there enough of a drawback for being a larger ship to justify this as balance? Well for one, a larger ship isn't going to be able to dodge as easily while a smaller ship does have some capability there and two, its typically larger weapons will hit less often than the smaller ship's comparable guns. But there is also an advantage in being a single ship with a single stack of hull, armor, and shield points rather than x2 ships each with only half (or x4 ships with only 1/4 each, etc.), in that a ship is mostly fully functional up until its last point (yes, there is a reduction during the last half of hull points) This means that two ships each doing 1/2 the damage of the single larger ship, match outputs up until the larger ship focuses down one of the two smaller ships, approximately when the two smaller ships have only gotten the larger ship down halfway (maybe more because it's easier to hit). After that, the larger ship is still pretty much doing exactly as much damage as it was before, but now the single smaller ship is at half that output, and the fight would end (if to the death) with the larger ship still having ~20% of its overall health (maybe 10-15% if low-hull penalties are severe and mostly felt by the larger ship) and the two smaller ships turned to atoms.
First off, weapon size and hull size are two different things. Enough to say that 3 out of 4 basic hull sizes can use L weapons.
Second, if you give every weapon size 2x damage (instead of current 2.25x [?]), then L guns will be reduced to alpha-strykers, but without range and punch expected from alpha-strykers. In meele, using only S weapons will become dominating option. Furthermore, L guns have low accuracy against light ships, so their alpha strike value will be reduced even more. In my opinion it would lead to situation where best ship of the battleline is all-S corvette. Actually it would make all-S battleships best ship of the battleline, but unfortunately no such model is available.

All of this is to say, if a fleet with larger ships and a fleet with smaller ships approach and just go to town on each other, would they basically blow up at the same time? If the answer is basically "yeah, most of the time", then that part of the system is much closer to balance. There are still tons of systems that would still need to be tweaked to make this more even (e.g., KA-like options for S- and M-slots), but if pure size is eliminated as such a great advantage, then it gets us closer to viability for all classes.
Why? As general rule, smaller ships do not win gun duels against bigger ships. That's the whole point of torpedoes. Allowing f.e. 8 laser corvettes to fight on equal footing against 1 laser battleship is just another step into corvette monofleets.
 
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Cordane

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First off, weapon size and hull size are two different things. Enough to say that 3 out of 4 basic hull sizes can use L weapons.
Second, if you give every weapon size 2x damage (instead of current 2.25x [?]), then L guns will be reduced to alpha-strykers, but without range and punch expected from alpha-strykers. In meele, using only S weapons will become dominating option. Furthermore, L guns have low accuracy against light ships, so their alpha strike value will be reduced even more. In my opinion it would lead to situation where best ship of the battleline is all-S corvette. Actually it would make all-S battleships best ship of the battleline, but unfortunately no such model is available.


Why? As general rule, smaller ships do not win gun duels against bigger ships. That's the whole point of torpedoes. Allowing f.e. 8 laser corvettes to fight on equal footing against 1 laser battleship is just another step into corvette monofleets.
Sorry, an alpha strike is when all of the attacks or abilities of the aggressor are able to launch either all at once or in rapid succession because they're all fully loaded, while any subsequent actions have to wait for individual cooldowns, reloads, etc., to complete. It's only extra high damage because of how quickly it all happens, not that they're intrinsically "alpha strike weapons". Something closer to what I think you're wanting from an "alpha strike weapon" would be realistic guided weapons, which would all launch at once or in quick succession and hit very hard, but they would be done in short order as well.

Actually a Corvette has a really big limitation in trying to fight Battleships with just S-slot guns: S-slots have their advantage (higher Tracking) nullified by Battleships not relying at all on Evasion for their defense (i.e., they never get any more accurate). They also have the worst situation for the divided-attack penalty, as 8 Corvettes will lose an eighth of their damage every minute of an otherwise even 8-minute fight with a Battleship, while 2 Cruisers would stay at 100% until the 4-minute mark (when 1 dies) and then 50% for the remainder (not counting low-Hull penalties). If an all-big-guns Battleship is going to get owned by all-S-slot Corvettes, I'm actually in favor of that within the context of this thread's discussion, as it gives reason to have escorts in the form of Destroyers and Cruisers.

Oh, and Battleships are not without options other than L- or X-slots, as they can choose from Hangars, M-slots, and even 2 S-slots each on the Broadside bow and Carrier core sections.
 
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spacefiddle

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Eve-Online vet here, played it for years starting in Beta. Started Stellaris, see things like "tracking" and "accuracy" range stats, and I thought I was in for a fair bit of careful planning. Turns out not so much lol.

Part of the problem is that range seems to be utterly meaningless, so it's impossible to have anything else related to ballistics matter at that point. My Carriers and Artillery platforms overshoot their mark, decelerating so slowly that they just casually drift forward into knife-fight range half the time, unless the target is stationary, and even then, the difference in ranges is miniscule.

Coming from a game like EvE I was expecting, like others have mentioned, slow-tracking weapons to find it nearly impossible to hit small, fast targets. This is true to *some* degree but I suspect it's more to do with the AI getting mightily confused, if what I just did the the spinning-in-circles Automated Dreadnaught is any indication.... poor bastard couldn't decide on a target for half the fight. So the state of the AI can't be ignored - whatever suggestions might be implemented in *mechanics* won't matter at all if the AI cannot utilize them properly.

I think a LOT of attention needs to be paid to overhauling the AI, spacing out ranges to meaningful intervals, and making tracking stats ("small ship fast, big gun bad") make a serious difference. Once that's done, you can go from there to develop further - but if that's not done, anything else you try won't matter.

Cordane's "alpha strike" explanation also takes me back to EvE hehe. I miss my Artillery Tempest sometimes...
 
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FlyingPhoenix

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Like others, I agree with the insight that ship roles are important. I also agree that cost is important, because you are paying a cost for the role you are getting.

Ships really have two roles in Stellaris - killing and surviving. It just so happens in the current balance that battleships are most cost effective at both, particularlyonce you hit a critical mass. Battleships are also best at killing corvettes because they have the most access to strikecraft (fantastic corvette killers) and so render smaller ships largely unnecessary to fulfil that role in a fleet. This also means that their designed counter impotent.

The design principle that applies is to keep things as simple as possible. Unfortunately, that principle isn't being applied in development of Stellaris, with a certain tendency to make elements of the game more complicated than they need to be and an aversion to simple solutions, rather a preference to over design and overcomplicate.

I think the solution to battleships dominating is simple: Chance to Hit is a function of accuracy, tracking and -evasion, and there are bonuses to Chance to Hit, Tracking and Accuracy easily available, but evasion is capped at 90.
The solution stems directly from the problem. The values are overtuned, so decrease the tuning.
 

Demoulius

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I only read the first 3 pages of this thread so please excuse me if im suggesting something someone else did before me..

I feel cruisers are missing out against battleships because 1: they dont have the firepower that battleships do and 2: they dont have the staying power that battleships do. I dont know if anyone else experiences this the same but carriers can deal with corvettes just fine so mixing in a few with your battleships completly takes away the need to bring destroyers or cruisers to counter them. So this leaves the cruiser in a situation where they cant outgun their opponent and they sure as hell cant outlast them.

I feel a small help to the cruisers could be to give them more utility slots. This allows us to make them abit more durable (at cost offcourse) while not adding an offensive buff per se. I mean, corvettes have 3 utility slots. Destroyers have 6. Then Cruisers get 8 and battleships get 6. The UI for having 12 Ulitiy slots are right there, so its probably an easy thing to implement. Maybe 12 is to much. Maybe 10. I dont know, but more then what they have right now. 2 Utility slots doesent make much of a difference... Cruisers together with Destroyers are the ship class that I lose the most often without them jumping away.

Next could be to make a split between guided weapons. Make a small and large guided slot. The torpedo NEEDS a bigger guided slot and the other guided weapons can do fine with a small one. Or call the big guided slot a torpedo slot or something, I dunno. Give that big guided slot to the cruisers and buff the torpedoes HP so people NEED to invest in PD to protect against it. Maybe even make strike craft incapable of dealing with them or something. That gives the cruiser a anti-capital ship option. And with a little bit more buffed utility slots could somewhat stay in a fight with battleships. And even if they lose that fight in the grand scheme of things, cruisers are replaced quiker and more easily the battleships so it would give you a war of attrition option if nothing else.

Would still leave missle corvettes as a viable anti-capital ship. Gives cruisers a weapon to at least fight back against battleships. Even though I feel a 1 on 1 fight should still be in the battleships favour.

For Destroyers. I honestly dont know. Aside from limiting weapons that can deal with Corvettes just to them (and maybe in limited quantity, to cruisers) I dont know what we could realisticly do here to keep them viable for longer periods of time. Theyre already quite niche in their picket ship utility but I dont know what we could add to that without further unbalancing things. Last thing we want to do is just replace 1 monofleet for another....
 
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Cordane

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I feel a small help to the cruisers could be to give them more utility slots. This allows us to make them abit more durable (at cost offcourse) while not adding an offensive buff per se. I mean, corvettes have 3 utility slots. Destroyers have 6. Then Cruisers get 8 and battleships get 6. The UI for having 12 Ulitiy slots are right there, so its probably an easy thing to implement. Maybe 12 is to much. Maybe 10. I dont know, but more then what they have right now. 2 Utility slots doesent make much of a difference... Cruisers together with Destroyers are the ship class that I lose the most often without them jumping away.
Cruisers already get more S-slot equivalents than simple progression would suggest. Corvettes get 3 S-slot weapons or, for the focus of this issue, one M-slot equivalent (G-slot) and one S-slot. Destroyers get a size increase, from M-equivalent to L-slot in the bow and from S- to M-slot in the stern. Cruisers transition to a 3-section format (1/3, 1/2, 1/6), meaning both the core and stern sections are forced to use a smaller weapon. So instead of being able to have an X-slot and an L-slot, the X-slot becomes at best an L-slot and 2 M-slots, meaning the Cruiser only gets a doubling of quantity and not a size improvement (an L-slot does 2.45x the damage of an M-slot). Because of this shorting on the weapon side, Cruisers get both a size increase (S- to M-slots) and a quantity increase (6 to 8 slots). By the numbers, the progression from Corvette to Destroyer to Cruiser on each side is as high as 3.45/3 to 8.45/7.35 to 16.90/19.60 in S-slot equivalents.

Battleships were allowed to get back to the equivalent of two size increases on each side over Destroyers. The utilities were easy as it still used 6 slots and they were each 2 sizes larger. The weapons were trickier in that the largest weapon package was "only" one X-slot and four L-slots when a straight 2-size increase would have been an "XX-slot" and an X-slot (over the DD's L- and M-slots). To get there to 6x the Destroyer's weapon equivalents would take 50.70 points, with only 24 points coming from the 4 L-slots. If following the normal progression of 2.45x per size increase, the X-slot would "only" be equal to 14.70 S-slots, but instead it uses a 4.45x modifier to get to 26.70. To check, look at an X-ray Laser (28.17 DPD) and a Particle Lance (111.56 DPD, and more favorable damage-vs.-defense multiples) - the ratio is 3.96x, pretty close.
 

Demoulius

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I feel comparing ship class in S-slot equilevants is kind of irrelevant to the topic. 1 M-slot might be equal to 2-Slots when it comes to the module department but once you hit L-slots and XL slots it kind of becomes moot. When fighting capital ships the low (or no) tracking downside of L and XL slots is moot. So you are getting the benefits of more damage and not necessarily the downsides of missing more. Maybe if they adressed that a nice balance between ship classes would just roll back into place?

So basicly just tweaking accuracy, tracking and evasion numbers across the board can be enough to give cruisers and destroyers a more priminent role. whilst not changing the game to drasticly.
 
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spincrus

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Maybe have ship command points change based on hull sections rather than just ship classes?

So (numbers are for the sake of example and may lack balance) while each class would have a base of 1, 2, 4 and 8 command point respectively, sections with mostly S, PD or MS could be 1, sections that are predominantly M or H could be 2, sections with L or double H could be 3 and XL could just be 5.


Hence;

- corvettes can still be swarmed,
- PD destroyers could still be a thing,
- cruisers with M and H would actually cost the points what they are worth now,
- we would cut down on spamming alpha-strike battleships since you won't be able to have as many anymore due to filling fleet command more.

So a 3 x M cruiser would cost 10, a 3 x L cruiser be 13, but an XL + 2L battleship could be 19.

May have butchered the balance here with the numbers but the idea is there.
 
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Demoulius

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I understand your idea but I dont think it would work. People would just have more fleets to counteract the smaller fleets that they could take. Since there is no cap on fleets and only on how many ships per fleet balancing it in that manner wouldnt work.

Heck going way over the naval capacity isent much of a problem either if your economy is good enough. Aside from more upkeep there are no drawbacks to exceeding it.
 

fourteenfour

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With that (and more that I cba to rehash) in mind I really only see 2 ways to limit fleets (arbitrarily) with the game as it is now:
  1. Upkeep costs, repair times and construction times for Battleships being (painfully) higher than other ships (notably making cruisers the budget battleship)
    • No adjustments to weapon ranges/targeting maths would likely still mean the trade off will be worth it "often enough", as the one-punch potential of KA battleships cant be underestimated.
    • ... The thermonuclear option for increased battleship upkeep costs would probably be this lol:
    • View attachment 738751
    • Attrition can further be increased by mandating that capital ships (battleships and bigger) can only repair at stations with shipyards - or do repair but do so far slower than smaller classes.

Definitely not a fan of using influence to solve this issue. Influence is so poorly applied as it is and needs its own overhaul

I am all for the idea of increasing the naval capacity cost for battleships but lets be honest there is no limit that can be applied that players won't just out strip in building their empires. Let alone I don't want to end up with just stacks of 200+ corvettes

I do agree and have suggested as others have that we should limit where ships can be repaired. Cruisers and larger should always require shipyards to repair them but I want to go further. Starbases and such should be reduced to outposts instead of just magically changing hands when beaten. There is no logic in that a shipyard for an alien's empire ships will work on mine. At least not in a reasonable amount of time.

The only other way to keep other sizes of ships relevant is to tightly limit what modules, component, and weapons, they can use. If we apply minimum range limits to Artillery and larger weapon loads we can boost the need for medium sized ships as well. After all the enemy will want to close to battleforce if you are using large and larger sized weapons.

It is all for not as I doubt combat will ever be revisited by PDX except in a wholly new game
 
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mercav

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This might just be me, and it might have been torn apart here already but since skipped most of the thread, but I would like to see some of the following:
  • Increased evasion on smaller ships or decreased accuracy/tracking on larger ships/weapons. Possibly tied to technology. Make it harder for BBs to target DDs or CRs.
  • Increased speed on smaller ships, possibly related to technology. Make them be able to FTL faster. Sure your BB fleet can eat up mine, but you have to catch me.
  • Give weapon sizes bonuses against specific ship types. Small get a bonus vs corvettes etc. My fleet of DDs with a large weapon each will tear up your BBs, and if you give them smaller weapons then I still have the range advantage.
  • Give ship types a scaling bonus (up to a certain amount) based on their % of a fleet makeup. Ie. more DDs could give a bonus to PD and vision range. I saw some people talking about how much it is easier to just build a ton of BBs, but using the fleet manager should fix that.
 
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ImaTomato

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Increased evasion on smaller ships or decreased accuracy/tracking on larger ships/weapons. Possibly tied to technology. Make it harder for BBs to target DDs or CRs.
That's already the case.And it doesn't make any sense,it does not matter how large a laser is it will still hit with the same accuracy as a smaller one.
 
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mercav

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That's already the case.And it doesn't make any sense,it does not matter how large a laser is it will still hit with the same accuracy as a smaller one.
Could make it more of the case. And there have historically been instances where larger guns were ineffective at shooting a smaller target, especially if you think in terms of armor penetration (which I assume lasers are).

It also could be that the time to charge the laser would effect its accuracy etc....
 
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Carl_Bar

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That's already the case.And it doesn't make any sense,it does not matter how large a laser is it will still hit with the same accuracy as a smaller one.

Depends on the range, at sufficiently great ranges it would be an issue IRL.
 
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Carl_Bar

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Said i'd create a test mod vis a vis the principles of getting tracking and evasion in line and keeping them so throughout the entire game. Well finally got round to finishing it.


Copy of the description below:

A mod created to for an ongoing discussion over on the Stellaris forums.

Adjusts evasion, tracking, and accuracy values to make the intended weapon size vs hull size system work.

This is not meant for serious general play as achieving these goals required removing every source of bonus evasion and tracking in the game.

As a result sensors only increase map visibility, thrusters and afterburners only increase movement speed, and all forms of combat computer provide only AI behaviour routines with no other bonuses, so effectively higher tier combat computers provide no benefit.

Compatibility: Extensive edits where made to ship components, ship hulls, and the technology files. Anything else that edits these will have compatibility issues.

This should also show some of he issues the developers would have to address to do it themselves as a number of components have lost much of their value now due to lose of sources of evasion and tracking and accuracy.
 

Cordane

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That's already the case.And it doesn't make any sense,it does not matter how large a laser is it will still hit with the same accuracy as a smaller one.
This was from just 3 pages back in this very thread:
I've said this elsewhere, but Tracking as a means to counter Evasion is based on four things:
  1. Turning a turreted weapon has to be quick, smooth, and precise - Speed of the turn is a relative term here, but ships booking along will cause turrets to have to spin depending on angle and range. The turn can't transfer too much vibration or sway to the weapon, and the dialing-in process has to be both rapid and constantly adjusting. A larger turret is going to have a more difficult time with speed, assuming proportional systems to its smaller versions (i.e., L-slots have worse Tracking); a spinal cannon is going to have an even harder with each of those categories (i.e., X-slots have far worse Tracking, not just size of the weapon but having to turn the entire ship).
  2. Sensor data has to be detailed and timely - The more information available to the gunners and their computers, the better they're going to be able to find their targets and know where to aim. But for most if not all sensors, light-speed delay is going to keep them from knowing exactly where the target is at the exact point the data is received, only where it was when the detected energy propagated from the target. (While Stellaris uses the term "tachyon" in its name and description for "Tachyon Sensors", what it describes has nothing to do with the purported capabilities of tachyons.) A weapon mount firing at a further target is going to have less timely data about that target than one closer to the weapon (i.e., L-slots aiming at a target at the furthest extent of their range will have worse Tracking than an S- or M-slot aiming at their furthest extents, but not any worse at the same ranges as either the S- or M-slots; the time involved gets added in to #4 below).
  3. Computer modeling of target movement has to predictively accurate - Taking the information provided by the sensors and comparing that to the data they have on the past maneuvers of this target (or ones similar to it), the computer can improve the chances of hitting those targets. (This is the hardest to officiate in game terms, as having an idea of where the target will be beyond ballistic extrapolation is all well and good, but the weapon mount must be able to capitalize on that information. So all weapon sizes should see improvements in their Tracking, but they should be stepped to keep larger weapons from either getting screwed by a percentile modifier being applied to a small or negative base value, or getting a massive boost despite the functional limitations of the mount.)
  4. "Projectile" flight times have to be minimized - A target's Evasion is based largely on its ability to deviate from its predicted flight path rapidly enough to displace its hull cross-section from the potential point of impact. The distance required to Evade an attack (and this can be done proactively by "drunk walking", rather than having to wait to view the attack and then reacting) is based on acceleration and time available on one side and the dimensions of the target. Smaller ships have less hull to have to move out of the way, and typically have more acceleration to apply to the movement. Time is a factor of range and "projectile" velocity - this applies to kinetic slugs, energy beams, or guided weapons, but is calculated from the last directional adjustment, which is from when it leaves the weapon barrel for kinetics or energy weapons but from the last thrust for GW. (Energy weapons having either light-speed or very fast "projectiles" have minimal flight times, while kinetics would realistically have very long flight times - this would likely be hand-waved to be not as crippling to keep them viable at any significant range. GW would normally present an incredibly small time from last adjustment to target impact - whether this would normally put them at pegged "Tracking = Target Evasion" or something less to maintain game balance is a conversation of its own.)
An L-slot weapon is going to have a fairly difficult turret to maneuver and more distant targets on average (both for sensors and flight time) than an M- or S-slot. A beefy computer is going to help that L-slot proportionately well, but not as much in absolute numbers as for those smaller slots. An L-slot weapon might still have respectable Tracking at relatively close ranges (as sensor lag and flight times will be quite small), but will see a sharp drop once ranges get short enough to see turret turn speed become a much bigger factor.

X-slots only having a base Tracking of 0% is nowhere near low enough, but all of the calculations for Tracking and Evasion in the game are based on a 0-100 scale, and wouldn't readily adapt to a wider scale. I think it would be helpful though, as a single continuum that also incorporated GW and SC at proper values would be, too.

Whether there should be Tracking improvements based on improvements in turret technology, rather than just sensors or computers, is another issue.
The ability for a weapon to hit a target that is making no deviations in trajectory is going to be based on the precision and robustness of its engineering, and yes, an L-slot weapon should be at least as good at hitting a target at a given range as an S- or M-slot. Actually an L-slot might even be as accurate at its "maximum" range as an S- or M-slot would be at their "maximums". But the longer range of the L-slot means it's giving its target more time to deviate so it will, on average, have a lower Tracking value (or more accurately, a higher Evasion value for its target), just from that consideration. As I indicated above, at some ranges, an L-slot might not have that much worse of a Tracking score than an M-slot because turret movements will be very small (though still tougher for the L-slot). Much closer, they can't turn fast enough; much further away, sensor lag and flight time become the real issue.
 
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Maglock

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To chip in and add to what some others have already said:

We are missing several ship types from the game. Notably -
- Submarines
- ECM
- Minelayers and sweepers

Destroyers and cruisers would have a much larger role if there was minesweeping to be done, hunting for stealth craft trying to raid your trade networks, trade route blockades, border skirmishes in undeclared wars, ECM jamming to lower tracking of enemy craft etc.

Warfare is currently one dimensional. Whoever has the biggest amount of guns wins. There needs to be more dimensions added.

So we need a new Expanded Roles, Guerilla Warfare or Trade and Border Conflicts DLC.
 
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