Rebalance Tech Costs for Plasma, Disruptors, and Autocannons?

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Cordane

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Maybe someone can explain to me why the Plasma Thrower line of techs have the same tech costs as the Disruptors line and the Autocannons line. What I'm seeing is a technology that unlocks S-, M-, and L-slot Plasma weapons versus a technology that unlocks only S- and M-slot Disruptor weapons versus a technology that unlocks only S-slot Autocannons. Turning it around, should these technologies instead each unlock S- and M-slot versions instead of more or fewer slot sizes (thereby justifying the identical costs)?
 

HFY

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L slots are for Neutron Launchers and Kinetic Artillery.

You're right that Plasma could be put in L slots, but it's not common in my experience.


That said, it might be a fun idea to limit these special weapons -- Autocannon, Plasma, Disruptor -- to M-slot only, just to make M-slots slightly interesting.
 
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Dragatus

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Plasma is what you put in your L slots before you have Proton Launchers. Well, if you researched it, which admittedly I normally do not.

I would be in favor of limiting each weapon type to only 1 slot size though as that would force using a combination of different weapons.
 
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Maybe someone can explain to me why the Plasma Thrower line of techs have the same tech costs as the Disruptors line and the Autocannons line. What I'm seeing is a technology that unlocks S-, M-, and L-slot Plasma weapons versus a technology that unlocks only S- and M-slot Disruptor weapons versus a technology that unlocks only S-slot Autocannons. Turning it around, should these technologies instead each unlock S- and M-slot versions instead of more or fewer slot sizes (thereby justifying the identical costs)?
disruptors ignore shields, so the idea is if you want an L penetrating weapon you use cloud lightning.
 
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DeanTheDull

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Maybe someone can explain to me why the Plasma Thrower line of techs have the same tech costs as the Disruptors line and the Autocannons line. What I'm seeing is a technology that unlocks S-, M-, and L-slot Plasma weapons versus a technology that unlocks only S- and M-slot Disruptor weapons versus a technology that unlocks only S-slot Autocannons. Turning it around, should these technologies instead each unlock S- and M-slot versions instead of more or fewer slot sizes (thereby justifying the identical costs)?

They serve different strategic roles and military niches, so not really?

Plasma is your pre-L-only weapon armor/hull killer for if you skipped/didn't get mining drone lasers. It's for the purpose of killing ships rather than driving them to FTL, and that's a role that's valid until the neutron launchers are reached.

Autocannons are corvette and anti-corvette weapons for corvette knife-fights. It's what Torpedo-vettes use as their secondary to chew through shields, but it is NOT a vessel-killer due to the higher chance for FTL withdrawal from low-damage weapons.

Disruptors are a tech hail marry for when you try and focus on early economy techs instead of military techs and need a chance to reverse engineer and catch up. The L-slot limitation is partially a balance (and tied to the cloud-critters) for what it ultimately a catch-up tech you want to get out of.
 

SirBlackAxe

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Technology costs are calculated by tech tier, they don't factor in stuff like how many different sizes the same component they unlock comes in.

disruptors ignore shields, so the idea is if you want an L penetrating weapon you use cloud lightning.
There's a few problems with Cloud Lightning though:
  • It requires finding and killing a void cloud, which I can't do nearly as reliably as with other space creatures.
  • It has lower average damage and barely more than half the tracking of two medium Phase Disruptors, and only a 10 range advantage.
  • They're the shortest ranged L weapon in the game, and the only one that can't reach 80 range with a sapient artillery combat computer. In fact the only medium weapons with worse range are disruptors and plasma!
 
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Technology costs are calculated by tech tier, they don't factor in stuff like how many different sizes the same component they unlock comes in.


There's a few problems with Cloud Lightning though:
  • It requires finding and killing a void cloud, which I can't do nearly as reliably as with other space creatures.
  • It has lower average damage and barely more than half the tracking of two medium Phase Disruptors, and only a 10 range advantage.
  • They're the shortest ranged L weapon in the game, and the only one that can't reach 80 range with a sapient artillery combat computer. In fact the only medium weapons with worse range are disruptors and plasma!
yes, but they're fun, and they look cool, and if you run a fleet of nothing but arc emitters, cloud lightning, disruptors, and hangarbays (4 battleships with hangarbays 1XL 1L and a bunch of M), then it just neatly goes together :p
 
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Cordane

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Thank you, everyone, for the 101 course on what those weapons do... :rolleyes:
Technology costs are calculated by tech tier, they don't factor in stuff like how many different sizes the same component they unlock comes in.
But techs at the same Tier aren't all the same cost (e.g., Tier-2 techs usually cost either 4K, 5K, or 6K). The OP was asking if the techs that provide less benefit, in terms of fewer slot options provided, should cost less than the techs that provide more.

For instance, and tying back to this post I made a couple of weeks ago, a Kinetic Battery (Tier-3 but only L-slot) is 12K tech past an Advanced Railgun while a Gauss Cannon (Tier-4 and S/M/L) is 16K tech past ARG. The KB and the L-slot GC have the same Alloy and Motes costs (although more Power is needed for the KB) and end up netting out at the same effective damage (against a balanced Hyper Shield/Neutronium Armor Battleship) and cumulative disengage chance (against a Cruiser). Even if an empire eventually researches both KB and GC (if they plan on researching Kinetic Artillery, they have to), and then would never use an L-slot GC, there are still more benefits if an empire only has GC versus only having KB, justifying IMO the higher cost.

As I said in the OP, and especially if the thought process is "L-slot Plasma isn't going to get used once you have Proton/Neutron Launchers", should Plasma Launchers even have an L-slot option in the first place, even if there were a higher tech cost relative to Disruptors or Autocannons? If they only cover S- and M-slots, should their effectiveness be more like an "advanced" weapon (like PL/NL, that have outsized effectiveness relative to Tier) versus a "specialized" weapon (that does its schtick (e.g., anti-Armor) well, but its weakness holds it back overall)? If so, I'd probably recommend upping their tech requirements to include the same Tier basic weapon (e.g., KA requires both KB and GC, so Plasma Cannons would require X-Ray Lasers and Plasma Accelerators would require Gamma Lasers).

As a bonus, letting S- and M-slots get some of the KB/KA and PL/NL kind of love would perhaps serve as a way to make Destroyers and Cruisers more viable later on.
 
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GloatingSwine

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As I said in the OP, and especially if the thought process is "L-slot Plasma isn't going to get used once you have Proton/Neutron Launchers", should Plasma Launchers even have an L-slot option in the first place, even if there were a higher tech cost relative to Disruptors or Autocannons?

Although if you think about plasma exclusively in the sense that it will be replaced with launchers the real question is "do you research plasma weapons at all?" because they don't lead to anything and you'll replace the actual weapon, and whilst they are better than equivalent tier lasers due to getting bonus to hull are they enough better?

(Proton/Neutron launchers ruin everything.)
 

Ryika

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I don't really see a problem with them having the same costs. Just because something unlocks weapons for more slot sizes doesn't mean it's automatically more versatile, since you usually do not use all of these sizes anyway.

Disruptor weapons in particular are only really going to be used if you're spamming Disruptor Corvettes and using them in small weapon slots, so you literally don't need any other weapon tech until you decide to transition into something else. You probably won't get a weapon unlock that has better cost-efficiency in terms of unlock costs, and that's not because you get weapons for two slot sizes.
 
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HFY

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As I said in the OP, and especially if the thought process is "L-slot Plasma isn't going to get used once you have Proton/Neutron Launchers", should Plasma Launchers even have an L-slot option in the first place, even if there were a higher tech cost relative to Disruptors or Autocannons?

There are PL/NL nerf suggestions floating around, like giving PL/NL a minimum firing range. If PL/NL had a firing range of 130/80, so you could not fire them at targets under 80 units away, then L-Plasma might have a role -- it's the weapon you use after the PL/NL alpha strike, when the enemy is too close for artillery.

That said, I'd be fine with limiting plasma / disruptors / autocannons to M-slots only, and beefing up all three weapons such that M-slots have a reason to get excited about existing.
 

GloatingSwine

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There are PL/NL nerf suggestions floating around, like giving PL/NL a minimum firing range. If PL/NL had a firing range of 130/80, so you could not fire them at targets under 80 units away, then L-Plasma might have a role -- it's the weapon you use after the PL/NL alpha strike, when the enemy is too close for artillery.

I'm not sure it makes sense to have weapons with minimum ranges in a game where there is no behaviour which allows a ship to increase its range from another. Ships in Stellaris basically only understand "towards", they can't move "away" from a thing. Even the flee behaviour is always moving towards something (jump point or starbase).

No, the correct answer is the brutal one. Just get rid of Proton/Neutron Launchers. The game just doesn't have enough combat relevant systems to hang a role on them that isn't already covered by something else in the energy weapons group, so they're just Better Plasma at the moment. Drop them, then consider slot limiting Plasma. (Like make Disruptors S/M and Plasma M/L and do the same with Autocannon and Kinetic Artillery, and make KA a level 3-5 weapon not a level 5-6 weapon)
 
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No, the correct answer is the brutal one. Just get rid of Proton/Neutron Launchers.
Eww no, you don't pursue balance at the cost of content. Make it viable to run something else. Make it so I, the weirdo who likes to run nothing but penetrating weapons, don't have to switch off of my favourite designs into 50/50 antishield/antiarmour with kinetic and neutron late game.

The battleship designs I wish I could run till end of game:
Majority of fleet - 1XL focused arc emitter, 5L cloud lightning
4 battleship screen in each fleet - 1XL FAE, 4M disruptors, 1H hangarbay, 1L cloud lightning.

When I get the tech for KA and NL, I switch this beautiful layout to 50/50 kinetic artillery with the antishield XL, and neutron Launchers with the anti-armour XL.
 
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GloatingSwine

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Eww no, you don't pursue balance at the cost of content.

If one piece of content functionally removes all the other content, then you're increasing the amount of content not reducing it when you delete it.

The thing is that there's actually only one axis to vary weapons based on type which doesn't produce a degenerate "A is always better than B" outcome, and that's their balance of effectiveness against shields and armour*. That's why we're in this situation where Proton/Neutron launchers are just "plasma but more" becuase they have the same strength and weakness but are just better because of the strong skewing effect of megadamage causing the enemy not to be able to shoot back because of being dead on the first salvo.

So removing them is not a cost of content, because they're not different content to plasma, they're just the same thing but better.


* In principle there's also effectiveness vs. hull but that runs into the problem of being "just better" because hull is the one that makes you dead when you run out of it. I would also say that either no weapon should have bonus vs. hull or any weapon that does should have penalties against both other defence types and/or low headline damage. This, again, is part of why Launchers are just better, because they have really high damage and bonus damage to the bar that makes enemies dead when it runs out. That's not a niche you could put a long range slow firing weapon like Launchers in though, you want that on a relatively rapid firing weapon that fires after all the others.
 
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I'm not sure it makes sense to have weapons with minimum ranges in a game where there is no behaviour which allows a ship to increase its range from another. Ships in Stellaris basically only understand "towards", they can't move "away" from a thing. Even the flee behaviour is always moving towards something (jump point or starbase).

You would need something other than a mono-battleship mono-artillery fleet, that's the point.

You must find a way to hold your enemies at artillery range (> 80) or you deal with the fact that your alpha-strike weapon will not be usable for the full duration of the engagement.

Either way, the mono-artillery mono-battleship meta is reduced.


(Same deal with X-slot weapons, give them a minimum firing range so mono-FAE fleets are not universally useful.)
 
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GloatingSwine

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You would need something other than a mono-battleship mono-artillery fleet, that's the point.

You must find a way to hold your enemies at artillery range (> 80) or you deal with the fact that your alpha-strike weapon will not be usable for the full duration of the engagement.

That's just not a thing. There is no way to "hold" an enemy ship at any particular range. If it wants to come and sit next to you the only thing you can do about that is make it explode instead.

Whichever ship wants to be the closest always gets its preferred range in Stellaris. Even if the ship that wants to be further away is faster, because ships cannot voluntarily move away from each other. That's simply not a thing the combat mechanics are capable of producing.

Minimum range is not a concept which this game can support.
 
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That's just not a thing. There is no way to "hold" an enemy ship at any particular range. If it wants to come and sit next to you the only thing you can do about that is make it explode instead.

What you do is, you have it attack another fleet, perhaps a fleet of cheap Corvettes which are set to Swarm.

Then you sit back and snipe it.


This is a rudimentary tactic, but at least it's a tactic.
 
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GloatingSwine

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What you do is, you have it attack another fleet, perhaps a fleet of cheap Corvettes which are set to Swarm.

Then you sit back and snipe it.


This is a rudimentary tactic, but at least it's a tactic.

And when its target priorities say "go and fight this" the corvettes do what to stop it?

Absolutely nothing, that's what, because there is no actual way for them to do so.

You are positing mechanics which do not exist in this game. (Your suggestion would actually produce the opposite result in the current model as well because fleets will always target the newest enemy fleet for preference, so they would just run towards your second fleet being followed by the corvettes.)
 
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HFY

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And when its target priorities say "go and fight this" the corvettes do what to stop it?

They attack first and try to make the enemy's "go and fight this" assign the value Corvette fleet to the variable "this".
 

SirBlackAxe

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That's just not a thing. There is no way to "hold" an enemy ship at any particular range. If it wants to come and sit next to you the only thing you can do about that is make it explode instead.

Whichever ship wants to be the closest always gets its preferred range in Stellaris. Even if the ship that wants to be further away is faster, because ships cannot voluntarily move away from each other. That's simply not a thing the combat mechanics are capable of producing.

Minimum range is not a concept which this game can support.
Could a reduced effectiveness range work? Like having a minimum range that isn't all or nothing by giving some weapons reduced accuracy/tracking and/or damage at close range, but still allowing them to be used?
 
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