Author Topic: Mesons  (Read 5921 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Mesons
« on: December 27, 2018, 08:10:12 AM »
I am considering changing mesons for C# Aurora. They are very powerful, especially against large, otherwise well-protected, targets. As C# Aurora is intended to improve the usefulness of much larger ships, the current implementation of mesons goes directly against that principle. There are a few options (and the solution could be a combination or two or more):

1) Simply remove from the game entirely
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech
4) Leave as is but make very expensive
5) Change the mechanics so they are pass through against shields but not armour
6) Change so they can only pass through a fixed amount of armour (with larger calibre passing through more armour). If the armour is too thick, the meson impacts the surface for one point.
7) Remove turret-capability so they are less flexible and using them would require separate research into PD (same as particle beams).
8) Open to other ideas, including replacement by one or more entirely new weapon concepts.

 

Offline King-Salomon

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2018, 08:15:14 AM »
Spoiler exclusive - if they were salvage-able and player-tech after salvage they should be pretty expensive too...

maybe add some stats (range) for the higher costs and to make the spoiler-race even more dangerous
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2018, 08:42:25 AM »
9) weighing the damage calculations for mesons specifically to less critical systems. Or at least to things not as prone to explode the way generators and engines are.

Frankly, the big issue with mesons that I can find is that while the game has two protection stats, in VB6 the only one that could be partially pierced is armour. Even the heaviest direct fire weapon or missile could be stopped dead as long as there's shield strength left. Microwave cannons are kind of similar to mesons, but they actually have more drawbacks, as while they do triple damage to shields, they do no damage to non-electronic components. A microwave only equipped ship is actually incapable of destroying its target as a result.

It can mission kill it, rendering it a liability to enemy forces, but it can't destroy the ship.

Mesons are just plain cheating though, because there is no defense to be had against them except for padding the ship with as much dead weight as possible without losing effectiveness.


To be honest, I consider 5 and 6 pretty good choices, as it means that armour thickness remains important after shields become practical.
 

Offline Scandinavian

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2018, 08:43:47 AM »
1) Simply remove from the game entirely
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech
4) Leave as is but make very expensive
5) Change the mechanics so they are pass through against shields but not armour
6) Change so they can only pass through a fixed amount of armour (with larger calibre passing through more armour). If the armour is too thick, the meson impacts the surface for one point.
7) Remove turret-capability so they are less flexible and using them would require separate research into PD (same as particle beams).
8) Open to other ideas, including replacement by one or more entirely new weapon concepts.
I like a combination of 5, 6, and 7: Penetrating shields and ignoring a certain (caliber-dependent) number of armor layers gives an aesthetically pleasing symmetry with the microwave array's 3x damage multiplier vs. shields and ignoring armor (for full symmetry, maybe make the microwave's shield damage multiplier caliber-dependent as well). And I see no reason they should be turreted, though I would probably let the Swarm capital ships retain their ability to turret mesons, to keep their point defense in theme.

This solution would yield a weapon that is a hard counter to doctrines that rely entirely on shields. Microwaves already provide a counter to doctrines that rely on armor. Turreted lasers provide a counter to doctrines that rely on evasion. And particle lances provide a counter to doctrines that rely on kiting from extreme range. Which are the four basic ways to deal with incoming direct fire. (There's a fifth: Soak it with internal systems; but this is not a generally recommended approach.)

An alternative armor penetration model would be to let them follow the railgun damage template and damage progression by caliber (but without the 4x shot multiplier), but your original idea seems more in keeping with the current flavor.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2018, 08:51:17 AM »
The swarm won't be using mesons - I have some entirely new weapons in mind for them - so don't consider the Swarm a factor when looking at mesons.

 
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Offline papent

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2018, 09:15:06 AM »
I agree with an combo of options 6 and 5 for mesons.
Also if modifications to the mechanics of how high-power microwave is on the table could that weapon system also cause crew death in addition to killing electronics.
 

Offline Jovus

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2018, 09:20:23 AM »
Another option, though probably too late in the game: leave mesons the way they are, but change the way HTK work to make 1 point of isolated damage less likely to disable a given component with more than 1 HTK. Vaguely, you might involve a binomial distribution role rather than a rectangular one. (Something like 'damage against components is number of dice you roll, looking to get over some target number defined by a translation of HTK. Maybe you're looking for a target number of 4 for previously 1HTK components, 7 vs 2, etc.)

The numbers in this example stink, and the system would need some massaging, but hopefully you get the idea.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 09:24:21 AM by Jovus »
 

Offline El Pip

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2018, 10:18:23 AM »
Remove entirely would be my preference, just because I find them unpleasantly cheaty. If we have to keep them then 5 and 7 combined seem best. Players have to keep using armour and shields for their designs, which forces more meaningful design decisions and that's always good.

For a new weapon type to replace mesons, a tactical tractor beam? Pulls the target ship in close so weapons do more damage, so would work well with Plasma Carronades or if you have short range BFCs. Tech increases would give the tractor beam a chance to work even if the target has more EP or is larger.

I like it because it would make Kiteing type tactics riskier and make 'perfect' victories harder to achieve, a tractor beam enemy would have a chance to pull you in and do some damage.
 
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Offline Darkminion

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2018, 10:23:50 AM »
I like the ideas of 2 and 3, making mesons recoverable rather than immediately researchable. I also like 5 and 6 which make them a lot less deadly to larger ships as mentioned.

Would it be possible to have it have a chance to hit individual armor squares anywhere in the grid on top of ship components? So instead of just straight up ignoring armor it just adds each grid square to the list of things that can be hit lowering the chance of it striking something critical. Could it be possible for it to strike underneath the top layers of armor?

I am once the fence for #7, leaning more towards the nerf of removing them from being turreted. Meson PD is quite powerful against fighters and armored missiles
 
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Offline Whitecold

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2018, 11:19:44 AM »
I like the ideas of 2 and 3, making mesons recoverable rather than immediately researchable. I also like 5 and 6 which make them a lot less deadly to larger ships as mentioned.

Would it be possible to have it have a chance to hit individual armor squares anywhere in the grid on top of ship components? So instead of just straight up ignoring armor it just adds each grid square to the list of things that can be hit lowering the chance of it striking something critical. Could it be possible for it to strike underneath the top layers of armor?

I am once the fence for #7, leaning more towards the nerf of removing them from being turreted. Meson PD is quite powerful against fighters and armored missiles
Armored missiles are no longer a thing, though, so that for one is no longer any advantage. The new ECM just makes you miss.
 

Offline clement

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2018, 11:56:51 AM »
I am considering changing mesons for C# Aurora. They are very powerful, especially against large, otherwise well-protected, targets. As C# Aurora is intended to improve the usefulness of much larger ships, the current implementation of mesons goes directly against that principle. There are a few options (and the solution could be a combination or two or more):

1) Simply remove from the game entirely
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech
4) Leave as is but make very expensive
5) Change the mechanics so they are pass through against shields but not armour
6) Change so they can only pass through a fixed amount of armour (with larger calibre passing through more armour). If the armour is too thick, the meson impacts the surface for one point.
7) Remove turret-capability so they are less flexible and using them would require separate research into PD (same as particle beams).
8) Open to other ideas, including replacement by one or more entirely new weapon concepts.

In my games I have always house ruled them out due to how over powered they have seemed to me. If keeping them, I would use a combination of 5 through 7. Make them a foil of microwave weapons seems like a nice balance.

Also, I like the idea of a tactical tractor beam. Perhaps give it levels of research that allow it to reduce a ships speed by X km per second. So, while not locking a ship down, it does give you the ability to set the engagement range. I think that kind of weapon would need to be very energy intensive though.
 
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Offline Zincat

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2018, 12:30:12 PM »
A combination of 5) and 6) for sure. Right now mesons are overpowered, I'm very happy they are getting an overhaul.

I think mesons should remain viable as a counter against shield only ships and lightly armoured or not armoured ships. So, in regard to the above, they should definitely pass through any amount of shields.
After that, I am ok if they can pass through a FEW armour layers. Perhaps a number of layers equal to the square root of the meson tech level,with a minimum of 1? So meson lvl 1 can pass thorugh 1 layer of armour, meson lvl 4 can pass through 2 levels of armour, and so on.

This would provide great usefulness against unarmoured ships, civilian ships without armour, and shield-exclusive ships. Also, against ships who lost their armour due to other weapons like missiles and such.

In regard to the turret option, I think it should stay because turreted mesons are strictly worse against missiles compared to lasers, railguns  and gauss. The role of turreted mesons could be anti-fighter weapon. It would make sense, against fighters.

So all in all my vision for a meson weapon is:
Bypass all shields
Bypass a very modest number of layers of armour
Can be turreted, similar to current balance in VB6 Aurora. Turreted mesons against missiles are worse than railgun (which have more shots), lasers ( which have more range), and gauss (which have more everything but range))

Mission of mesons would be:
Anti fighter
Anti shield exclusive ships
Anti armourless ships or ships who lost their armour
 

Offline ndkid

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2018, 12:35:39 PM »
What about turning mesons into weapons with a 1 x N damage silhouette, where N can be increased via an expensive tech line? So, at the lowest level, mesons are just 1x1, and less useful than equivalent lasers, but once they get up to the 1x4 and above, they become armor piercers. Make shields function against them, which means that a fleet with a mix of microwave and mesons as a way to engage enemy forces, the need to protect the meson ships until after the enemy shields are down... that feels like a tactically interesting compromise.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2018, 12:36:47 PM »
Personally, I've always liked the idea of a type of weapon that penetrates shields (but not armor), and a type that penetrates armor (but not shields). Not only would it add some variety to the combat system, but the combination would encourage you to have at least some of both on most ships.

That said, if you go with the penetrate some armor but not all option, what would you think of giving them an 80% (or whatever number) chance to pass through each layer of armor? So against 8 layers of armor, they'd have a 16.8% chance of hitting internals but otherwise would do one damage to armor. That keeps there from being some magic number of armor layers that is most effective, but if the performance hit would be too high I wouldn't worry about this one.

Another possibility would be to drop one of the meson tech lines (either size or range) and replace it with armor penetration, either as a % chance per armor layer or a maximum number of layers they could hit through.
 
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Offline Iranon

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Re: Mesons
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2018, 12:41:10 PM »
I've never found them terribly attractive, and that's with them being dirt cheap and their quirky cost scaling (nothing for capacitor, rather little for range modifier).
Options 5 and 6 seem ugly and hackish. 7 Changes little, they already suck as PD and at the moment turret gear is usually not worth it (if it is, it's a niche requirement against fast ships).

If big well-protected ships are seeing upgrades, a straightforward cost-effective natural counter is desirable. Otherwise players may feel forced to keep fights entirely one-sided (which seems likely to be even more of a problem in C#).
 

 

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