Author Topic: Missile Balance Suggestions  (Read 596 times)

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Offline SevenOfCarina (OP)

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Missile Balance Suggestions
« on: September 14, 2020, 04:16:57 PM »
I think I've been playing Aurora long enough that I meet the minimum qualifications for making this post, so here goes:

I love missiles. Missiles are freaking awesome. Practically every engagement I've had in Aurora involved at least one side firing enough missiles to possibly blot out the local star.

My maleficent merriment at massacring multitudinous militants through munificent misappropriation of multifarious missiles and miscellaneous munitions is, most miserably, maximally moderated by maddening minutiae magnified thus:

1. AMM efficacy is incoherent through tech levels. At low tech (<10,000 RP), AMM accuracy is so garbage that full-size launchers get out-competed by beam point defence. Size 1 launchers don't achieve 5s reloads till the 30,000 RP techs, so you'd be lucky to get four AMM salvos off with reasonably sized fire controls and active sensors. On the other hand, at high tech (>100,000 RP), size one AMMs achieve near-100% accuracy against ASMs, and warhead sizes have shrunk sufficiently that they do this while mounting ECCM.

2. There is an extremely strong incentive to maximise salvo sizes. Typically, this results in box-launchers and reduced size-launchers, to a lesser extent, proliferating on the battlefield. It also encourages micromissile cheese, with swarms of size one missiles turned to an anti-ship role. ECM doesn't really fix this, it's not enough of an advantage for quality to compete with quantity. For a base point-defence accuracy of 25% per shot and four shots, for instance, four size one missiles will always win out against one size four missile since three of them will get through while none of the larger missiles will survive defensive fire.

I'm proposing a few changes which should hopefully sort these issues out.

1. Remove the Missile Agility tech line entirely, and let missile accuracy be solely dictated by speed. The only thing it does right now is make AMMs terribly inaccurate at low tech and impossible to dodge at high tech, which is not conducive to enjoyable gameplay. Beam point defence has similar accuracy against equal-tech missiles across tech levels, why should AMMs be any different?

2. Increase the base accuracy of missiles from 10% to 20%. With a well-staffed command chain, it's pretty trivial to get substantial bonuses to accuracy. For instance, let us consider a ship with a Captain with a 20% tactical bonus and a Tactical Officer with a 20% tactical bonus, assigned to a fleet command with a Rear Admiral with a 40% tactical bonus, which is within a sector command led by a Vice Admiral with a 40% tactical bonus. It would have an effective accuracy multiplier of 1.60, which would raise the accuracy of AMMs to 32% against equal-speed ASMs. Against massed missiles, this would mean that you'd need to fire an average of three AMMs per ASM to ensure a kill across all tech levels, which is a good number since a size four ASM typically costs three times as much as an AMM.

3. Reduce the base reload time for missile launchers to 15s from 30s. At low-to-medium tech, full-size AMM launchers don't reload fast enough to meaningfully attrit box-launcher missile salvos, which results in combat devolving into a game of whack-a-mole with glass cannon vessels armed with nuclear hammers. Getting shot at first is a death sentence; this is not an environment conducive to the presence of vessels large than ~10,000 tons which can neither hide nor protect themselves. Enabling 5s reloads for AMM launchers at the same time as 5s reloads for 10CM railguns and lasers would go a long way towards correcting this. Additionally, this would make larger AMMs viable again since they'd be able to match the 5s reloads of size one missiles without major RP investment in reload rate.

4. Make the effects of ECM and ECCM against missiles multiplicative, and double the effectiveness of ECM against missiles. For instance ECM-10 would reduce the accuracy of shipborne beam weapons by ten percentage points (i.e., from 20% to 10%), and incoming ASMs by 20% (i.e., from 20% to 16%). ECM-10 modules on ASMs would reduce AMM accuracy by 20% (i.e., from 20% to 16%), and ECCM-10 would exactly counteract this effect. What this change does is prevent ECM or ECCM from becoming mandatory post a certain tech level (i.e. ECM-30 or so), allowing for variety on the battlefield. Mounting ECM would now simply change the cost equation, making larger ASMs cost-effective and space-effective against AMMs.

5. Let the per MSP strength of missile warheads scale with size. There is some precedent for this - reactors and shields, for instance - and IRL nuclear warheads also become more efficient as they grow larger. This is effectively a way to compensate for the fact that a smaller fraction of large missiles is likely to make it through point-defence than an equivalent MSP of small missiles by providing larger missiles with a qualitative edge. A possible formula would be : warhead strength = (racial warhead strength) x (warhead size in MSP)^1.5

These changers are relatively minor in terms of added work, but should significantly change gameplay. Apart from what I've mentioned above, there will be a limited, gradual increase in AMM accuracy as warheads become smaller. Micromissiles will become less effective due to the inefficiency of smaller warheads even at high tech levels, while a smaller number of large missiles will need to sneak through point defence to do the same damage due to their much larger warheads. Full-size launchers become effective, and beam PD becomes relevant again. Since launcher reload speeds will improve, full-size ASM launchers could reasonably be expected to fire every ten or even five seconds, which is fast enough that a full-size AMM launcher will be overwhelmed and unable to fire enough AMMs to intercept more than a fraction of the salvo, especially if ECM is involved. Right now, ASM launchers don't reload fast enough for this to happen.

Thoughts?

 
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Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 04:34:28 PM »
I agree with pretty much all of what you say... here are my own thoughts.

I do think that missile agility still can be in the game, but lock it at say 100 per MSP. There are still some interesting thing you can do with slower missiles using more agility to hit their target, both for ASM and AMM. I always lock agility at 100 in all my multi-faction games and mostly in normal games as well.

The problem with box launcher have much to do with missile fire-controls and how they work. There could also be work done in terms of fire-controls tracking or controlling targets. Fire-controls should have limited capability to track and control. You should be able to use say active sensors in an AMM to help engage enemy ASM as the AMM fire-control don't need to control the missiles perhaps at all once they programmed the missile with a target it can home in on it with it's own guidance system.

ASM fire-controls could have a capacity to control a certain number of missiles making box launchers with very small missiles more or less a none issue. It also will make full size launchers limited in the same way but active and passive sensors are better incorporated into the missile combat in addition to ECM and ECCM things can become more interesting and not just about the missile but also a sensor war.

In addition to what you mention I would like to see something changed in terms if missile combat that has to do with electronics and fire-controls, this could potentially "fix" the size 1 ASM "problem". The only way to avoid it currently is mainly role-play... sure range can become quite limited on really small missiles, but aside from that they still are extremely effective.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 04:38:51 PM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline Barkhorn

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2020, 05:17:07 PM »
In regards to #3, what about instead of using standard AMM launchers, you use box launchers?
 

Offline froggiest1982

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 05:27:49 PM »
I always have different ideas and not many are actually possible and or shared but I still like to pitch them so here we are:

I think AMM should have its own branch of tech and work more similarly to what has been done with STO to assemble. You will have to combine Missile launchers and Sensors. The tech will be to increase size, amount of launchers per unit, etc.

You will have then a sort of missile CIWS where you can decide the amount of firepower and range.

Offline Iceranger

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2020, 06:24:05 PM »
The only thing it does right now is make AMMs terribly inaccurate at low tech and impossible to dodge at high tech, which is not conducive to enjoyable gameplay.
Incorrect. AMM being crap in earlier tech is mainly due to the lack of engine boost tech. It is impossible to make them go fast enough. They match the PD hit chance at around internal fusion tech, which is mid tech of the entire tree, or rather late tech for many of the players choose to play at lower tech rate.

1. Remove the Missile Agility tech line entirely, and let missile accuracy be solely dictated by speed. The only thing it does right now is make AMMs terribly inaccurate at low tech and impossible to dodge at high tech, which is not conducive to enjoyable gameplay. Beam point defence has similar accuracy against equal-tech missiles across tech levels, why should AMMs be any different?
There have been many discussions on this before, and alternatives have been proposed. But I'm 100% against removing it as a whole. It will make missile designs too plain. Making the agility tech starts higher and grows linearly rather than exponentially, or slowing down the exponential growth rate is good enough. The current system also encourages different meta at different tech level, which to me isn't a bad thing.

2. Increase the base accuracy of missiles from 10% to 20%. With a well-staffed command chain, it's pretty trivial to get substantial bonuses to accuracy. For instance, let us consider a ship with a Captain with a 20% tactical bonus and a Tactical Officer with a 20% tactical bonus, assigned to a fleet command with a Rear Admiral with a 40% tactical bonus, which is within a sector command led by a Vice Admiral with a 40% tactical bonus. It would have an effective accuracy multiplier of 1.60, which would raise the accuracy of AMMs to 32% against equal-speed ASMs. Against massed missiles, this would mean that you'd need to fire an average of three AMMs per ASM to ensure a kill across all tech levels, which is a good number since a size four ASM typically costs three times as much as an AMM.
Relying on system on the other system is not a good game design. It gives the feeling of forcing the new system down the players' throat. Aurora's strength is its depth and flexibility, and players can play the way they like. You can easily impose the max agility amount you add to your missile and achieve what you suggested here in the current game.

Also, requiring 3v1 mode to reliably shoot down ASMs makes AMMs worthless as the current early tech AMMs.

4. Make the effects of ECM and ECCM against missiles multiplicative, and double the effectiveness of ECM against missiles. For instance ECM-10 would reduce the accuracy of shipborne beam weapons by ten percentage points (i.e., from 20% to 10%), and incoming ASMs by 20% (i.e., from 20% to 16%). ECM-10 modules on ASMs would reduce AMM accuracy by 20% (i.e., from 20% to 16%), and ECCM-10 would exactly counteract this effect. What this change does is prevent ECM or ECCM from becoming mandatory post a certain tech level (i.e. ECM-30 or so), allowing for variety on the battlefield. Mounting ECM would now simply change the cost equation, making larger ASMs cost-effective and space-effective against AMMs.
The current implementation actually does not make ECM or ECCM being mandatory on missiles, especially on AMMs. You can choose to add 0.25MSP of ECCM to counter the ECM on the incoming missiles, or choose to make it faster and more agile to counter that ECM. Making them multiplicative does make them mandatory past a certain tech level, since there is no way you can counter that *0% at ECM-10 (ECM-100 in your notation) without using ECCM.

Apart from what I've mentioned above, there will be a limited, gradual increase in AMM accuracy as warheads become smaller.
Your new formula will make AMM requiring (much) larger warheads than they have right now. As I mentioned before, with the other changes you propose, AMM would become cost ineffective.

Full-size launchers become effective, and beam PD becomes relevant again.
Full-sized launchers won't become effective, and beam PD is already one cause of the incentive of large salvo size. Let full size launchers fire faster won't make them more efficient against PD at all. For example, assume the ASMs are 8x as fast as the equivalent tier BFC tracking speed (so a 4x BFC has a 50% hit chance). Assume gauss firing tech 5. A single full size gauss turret will will be 8.4HS (6HS * 1.4), which can fire 5 shots, or 2.5 effective shots against the incoming ASM. 8.4HS is enough for 1.4 full-sized S6 ASMs on the attacking side. So on a per-tonnage perspective, full-sized ASM launchers cannot compete with PD already. Any nerf to missiles won't help them to become relevant.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2020, 07:38:50 PM »
I think that there definitely need to be something done to the electronics of missile combat in general.

I also think that both armour and shields perhaps be able to absorb some low amount of damage to make smaller yield weapons less useful as technology advance. In addition to make larger and higher tech weapons more powerful to compensate. This would make small missiles much less interesting to throw at an enemy.

There probably are a few ways to solve the big versus small missile, several ways might be necessary.


The box launcher versus full size launcher issue should also be looked at as well. Using either max reduced size or box launcher seem to be the only competitive way to fight once you have a solid missile doctrine. Beam PD simply is too powerful against full size launchers unless the launcher is using really small missiles and almost useless against large box launched salvos without AMM support. Using beam PD and AMM as a balanced approach is a good, but NPR use too much full size launcher so you often can wade through their ASM with ease and then you might struggle against their AMM spam... which seem a bit weird.

Some new rules or connecting active sensors with fire-controls and tracking of targets or control of your own missiles can be developed to make the electronic warfare of the game more interesting and limit salvo sizes and make both full size and box launched missiles useful in different ways. I don't have much of any concrete way of how to solve this, but I know there can be something done with this.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 07:50:13 PM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline Droll

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2020, 08:02:36 PM »
I also think that both armour and shields perhaps be able to absorb some low amount of damage to make smaller yield weapons less useful as technology advance.

I like the idea of thick armour plating being able to absorb stuff - kind of like anti-shock damage.
I would also love for an actual implementation of absorption shields to exist. I always assumed that they would absorb a % of damage and then let the rest go to armour. Additionally I think that shields should require reactor power but that is another discussion.

I also think that warhead size shouldn't scale linearly on missiles. Right now almost all my missiles will be below the size 6 bracket, these missiles will do the best against AMMs exclusively because of the fact that they have the smallest active lock-on radius and you can have a lot of them
 
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Offline xenoscepter

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2020, 08:46:08 PM »
 - I also like the idea of shields that negate a percentage of damage, but feel like they might be too powerful overall. :(
 

Offline drejr

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2020, 09:53:28 PM »
I would go in the other direction - giving larger missiles a chance for small amounts of damage even if successfully engaged by final fire, representing fragmentation or something.

It seems very difficult to balance AMMs and ASMs as long as they use the same damage system - the ideal ASM is very close to an AMM.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 09:56:20 PM by drejr »
 

Offline xenoscepter

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2020, 10:14:06 PM »
 - What if we brought back armored missiles? :-\

EDIT:

 - Or gave missiles a HtK bonus that scales with size. OR BOTH! Have the HtK bonus scale with size, AND have the armor add bonuses HtK relative to the amount of MsP dedicated to it. That way missiles with armor had a diminishing return for chance to hit protection per MSP, like VB6, but ALSO added a percentage of HtK to the missile based on the missile's current HtK. So smaller missiles could get some benefit from armor, but bigger missiles get more from it. And more and more the bigger they get. Giving the missile tracking bonus to missiles that have Active Sensors would be a nice touch, especially if they got that bonus against enemy targets, too.

Yeaaahhhh! :D
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 10:19:59 PM by xenoscepter »
 

Offline Iceranger

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 12:03:58 AM »
Making the big missiles more relevant only solves part of the equation here. With the current PD model, there is no benefit of having sustained missile fire, and a larger missile salvo will have less percentage being intercepted. Making the big missiles more relevant does not encourage the use of full sized launchers at all.
 

Offline xenoscepter

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 01:20:35 AM »
 - So buff the fire rate of missile launchers and maybe make those scale up as you make them larger. With a better reload rate as you get bigger. Perhaps a warhead buff for the larger missiles as well, scaled to their size. I think having armor on missiles again makes Beam PD and even AMM spam less powerful, and makes Mesons a relevant contender for PD again while it's at it.

 - Armor was good versus AMMs because you would need more of them to take down a missile. 2 MSP of armor in VB6 made a missile 75% harder to kill. Having that function in C# alongside the HtK of missiles scaling to their size and allowing armor to add even more HtK to that total, based on a percentage of the HtK it already has, will nerf down PD of all sorts a bit. I doubt it would nerf Beam PD as much, since Mesons would thus begin to come into play for use as a hard counter to Armored missiles by having them act to bypass the armor's percentage to ignore damage.

 - Having a tech line which adds a target tracking bonus to accuracy allows ASMs and AFMs with Active Sensors,or even Active Sensor based missile buses to be more useful overall, as this tech would scale organically alongside the Active Sensor techs as well as the reactor techs. Since the reactor techs make Active Sensors on missiles weigh less, while the Active Sensor techs make those sensors more powerful per MSP. It also makes bigger AMMs more effective by giving them what is essentially the Missile Tracking Speed bonus, but for missiles.

 - Additionally it could be made that Missile Agility added an evasion capability equal to the accuracy bonus that Missile Agility already grants. So if your facing powerful AMM based PD, you could switch over to an agility based ASM to counter it. Likewise if your having trouble versus enemy Beam PD, armor and speed might be better. If the enemy is out teching you by a significant margin, using AMMs loaded with Active Sensors with the target tracking bonus could help to even up the score.

 - As to launchers, I think out of the box, Reload Tech 1 Size 1 launchers should have a reload rate of 15 seconds, while a Reload Tech 3 Size 1 Launcher should have a reload rate of 5 seconds. A 15 second reload rate seems quite good for bringing full size launchers and even reduced size, non-box launchers up to scratch. Additionally, having Box Launchers reload times be in addition to the race's Ordinance Transfer Rate seems appropriate, given they are effectively magazines in their own right. Unlike other launchers they have no built-in reload mechanism, much like magazines, and likewise they have capacity to store missiles so I see no reason why the Ordinance Transfer Rate shouldn't be added to their reload times.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2020, 02:39:20 AM »
Making full size launcher fire faster really does not solve much as the bane of full size launcher is beam PD. Beam PD are too effective against full size launchers so it does not matter if full size launchers fire every five seconds or 30 seconds in terms of PD. Box launchers or reduced sized launchers would still be the only viable choice there the way the mechanic works today.

This is why I like fire-controls to have a limit on how many missiles they can control and targets they can track in a way you need multiple MFC to control large salvos. It would not solve the box launcher issue, but would be one step to changing the salvo mechanic to something a bit more dynamic.

Real world box launchers can' launch all missiles in ONE single salvo from ships, there are many reasons for why that is. Both physical and electronically... there might be some changes to how box launchers work in general so some of them becomes staggered over a few 5 second turns sometimes.
 

Offline SevenOfCarina (OP)

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 03:21:47 AM »
Incorrect. AMM being crap in earlier tech is mainly due to the lack of engine boost tech. It is impossible to make them go fast enough. They match the PD hit chance at around internal fusion tech, which is mid tech of the entire tree, or rather late tech for many of the players choose to play at lower tech rate.

Here's a comparison of three AMMs built with Improved Nuclear Pulse era tech (<6,000 RP), with the caveat that the second uses Missile Agility 80 (15,000 RP) instead of 48, while the third uses engine boost 3X (15,000 RP) instead of 2X. The difference in accuracy is marginal [100% hit chance at 5,940 km/s instead of 6,300 km/s] between the High Agility and High Boost versions. The Standard AMM achieves a 100% hit chance at only 4,400 km/s

Code: [Select]
Standard AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 22
Speed: 20,000 km/s    Fuel: 25    Flight Time: 40 seconds    Range: 0.82 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 0.98021    Development Cost: 98
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 440.0%   3k km/s 146.7%   5k km/s 88.0%   10k km/s 44.0%   20k km/s 22.0%   50k km/s 8.8%   100k km/s 4.4%

High Agility AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 33
Speed: 18,000 km/s    Fuel: 46    Flight Time: 78 seconds    Range: 1.42 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 1.15024    Development Cost: 115
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 594.0%   3k km/s 198.0%   5k km/s 118.8%   10k km/s 59.4%   20k km/s 29.7%   50k km/s 11.9%   100k km/s 5.9%

High Boost AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 21
Speed: 30,000 km/s    Fuel: 77    Flight Time: 30 seconds    Range: 0.90 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 1.21024    Development Cost: 121
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 630.0%   3k km/s 210.0%   5k km/s 126.0%   10k km/s 63.0%   20k km/s 31.5%   50k km/s 12.6%   100k km/s 6.3%

In any case, AMM launchers should not be able to match beam point-defence shot-for-shot. At this tech level, a 420 ton gauss cannon would achieve 3 shots at 12,000 km/s, for a total of 36,000 km/s (neglecting accuracy modifiers for brevity). 420 tons is enough to fit in three 50 ton AMM launchers and 270 tons of magazine ~(25 reloads), which would achieve 13,200 km/s total per firing increment, except the whole point of AMM defences is that they can fire multiple times at inbound missiles. Even garbage low-tech fire controls can throw out four to six salvos, which would raise that to 52,800 km/s to 79,200 km/s - twice as good as beam point-defence. Once you hit 5s reloads, getting eight to twelve salvos becomes trivial.

Essentially, beam point-defence and AMM defences should be good at different things - AMMs should excel at defending against saturation strikes (aka box launcher volleys), while beam weapons should be significantly better at defending against attrition strikes (aka full-size launcher volleys backed up with deep magazines).

Full-sized launchers won't become effective, and beam PD is already one cause of the incentive of large salvo size. Let full size launchers fire faster won't make them more efficient against PD at all. For example, assume the ASMs are 8x as fast as the equivalent tier BFC tracking speed (so a 4x BFC has a 50% hit chance). Assume gauss firing tech 5. A single full size gauss turret will will be 8.4HS (6HS * 1.4), which can fire 5 shots, or 2.5 effective shots against the incoming ASM. 8.4HS is enough for 1.4 full-sized S6 ASMs on the attacking side. So on a per-tonnage perspective, full-sized ASM launchers cannot compete with PD already. Any nerf to missiles won't help them to become relevant.

My point is that full-sized ASM launchers don't need to be able to penetrate beam point-defence, they need to be able to penetrate AMM defences, thereby making it necessary to actually equip warships with significant beam point-defence. When there's a fresh ASM salvo inbound every 5s, it becomes very very difficult for AMM defences to engage each ASM with more than one AMM. With AMM accuracy hovering around 30%, this would let a large fraction of each salvo leak through, unless of course you have beam point-defence. Having only AMM defences would leave you vulnerable to full-size launchers, while having only beam point-defence would leave you vulnerable to box launchers.

There have been many discussions on this before, and alternatives have been proposed. But I'm 100% against removing it as a whole. It will make missile designs too plain. Making the agility tech starts higher and grows linearly rather than exponentially, or slowing down the exponential growth rate is good enough. The current system also encourages different meta at different tech level, which to me isn't a bad thing.

Relying on system on the other system is not a good game design. It gives the feeling of forcing the new system down the players' throat. Aurora's strength is its depth and flexibility, and players can play the way they like. You can easily impose the max agility amount you add to your missile and achieve what you suggested here in the current game.

I'd not fun to have an entire class of weapons (missiles) become obsolete at high tech levels either, which is what inevitably ends up happening now as AMMs become ridiculously good beyond the Fusion era. There are certainly other ways to sort this with regards to agility, but I believe that we can both agree that this is a problem that needs to be looked at.

Also, requiring 3v1 mode to reliably shoot down ASMs makes AMMs worthless as the current early tech AMMs.
....
Your new formula will make AMM requiring (much) larger warheads than they have right now. As I mentioned before, with the other changes you propose, AMM would become cost ineffective.

AMMs are highly cost-effective against anything that isn't a micromissile, even at fairly low tech levels. Let me illustrate this with some examples at low tech (Improved Nuclear Pulse), mid tech (Internal Confinement Fusion), and high tech (Solid Core Antimatter):

Code: [Select]
Low Tech AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 22
Speed: 20,000 km/s    Fuel: 25    Flight Time: 40 seconds    Range: 0.82 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 0.98021    Development Cost: 98
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 440.0%   3k km/s 146.7%   5k km/s 88.0%   10k km/s 44.0%   20k km/s 22.0%   50k km/s 8.8%   100k km/s 4.4%

Low Tech ASM
Missile Size: 4.0000 MSP (10.0000 Tons)    Warhead: 4    Radiation Damage: 4    Manoeuver Rating: 12
Speed: 19,500 km/s    Fuel: 1,186    Flight Time: 2,572 seconds    Range: 50.16 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 3.07029    Development Cost: 307
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 234.0%   3k km/s 78.0%   5k km/s 46.8%   10k km/s 23.4%   20k km/s 11.7%   50k km/s 4.7%   100k km/s 2.3%
Code: [Select]
Mid Tech AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 44
Speed: 60,000 km/s    Fuel: 99    Flight Time: 33 seconds    Range: 2.04 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 2.42020    Development Cost: 242
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 2640.0%   3k km/s 880.0%   5k km/s 528.0%   10k km/s 264.0%   20k km/s 132.0%   50k km/s 52.8%   100k km/s 26.4%

Mid Tech ASM
Missile Size: 4.0000 MSP (10.0000 Tons)    Warhead: 7    Radiation Damage: 7    Manoeuver Rating: 24
Speed: 45,800 km/s    Fuel: 1,012    Flight Time: 1,104 seconds    Range: 50.60 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 7.41020    Development Cost: 741
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 1099.2%   3k km/s 366.4%   5k km/s 219.8%   10k km/s 109.9%   20k km/s 55.0%   50k km/s 22.0%   100k km/s 11.0%
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High Tech AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 88
Speed: 120,000 km/s    Fuel: 124    Flight Time: 42 seconds    Range: 5.09 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 4.80040    Development Cost: 480
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 10560.0%   3k km/s 3520.0%   5k km/s 2112.0%   10k km/s 1056.0%   20k km/s 528.0%   50k km/s 211.2%   100k km/s 105.6%

High Tech ASM
Missile Size: 4.0000 MSP (10.0000 Tons)    Warhead: 21    Radiation Damage: 21    Manoeuver Rating: 22
Speed: 100,000 km/s    Fuel: 1,093    Flight Time: 503 seconds    Range: 50.40 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 16.17040    Development Cost: 1,617
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 2200.0%   3k km/s 733.3%   5k km/s 440.0%   10k km/s 220.0%   20k km/s 110.0%   50k km/s 44.0%   100k km/s 22.0%

Low tech AMMs can intercept low tech ASMs for 141% of their cost, assuming that no tactical bonuses are in effect. Mid tech AMMs can intercept mid tech ASMs for 57% of their cost, assuming that no tactical bonuses are in effect. High tech AMMs can intercept high tech ASMs for 29% of their cost, with a single AMM being sufficient to kill an ASM without tactical bonuses. This is for a size four missile, which is absolutely on the smaller end. Even at low tech, size six missiles become cost ineffective against AMMs, and this is without even considering the effects of tactical bonuses, which would improve AMM accuracy by 20-60%. Granted, these missiles could be optimised a bit further, and I have neglected the ECM-ECCM fight for brevity, but it doesn't change the picture that much.

If my suggestions were implemented, with the base missile accuracy raised to 20%, warheads gaining efficiency with size, and the agility tech line being removed, things would look more like this: (Note that the warhead size is manually calculated.)

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New Low Tech AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1 [0.397 MSP]   Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 20
Speed: 23,600 km/s    Fuel: 32    Flight Time: 48 seconds    Range: 1.13 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 0.84000    Development Cost: 84
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 472.0%   3k km/s 167.4%   5k km/s 94.4%   10k km/s 47.2%   20k km/s 23.6%   50k km/s 9.4%   100k km/s 4.7%

New Low Tech ASM
Missile Size: 4.0000 MSP (10.0000 Tons)    Warhead: 4  [1.00 MSP]  Radiation Damage: 4    Manoeuver Rating: 20
Speed: 20,650 km/s    Fuel: 1,250    Flight Time: 2,443 seconds    Range: 50.46 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 3.07000    Development Cost: 307
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 413.0%   3k km/s 137.6%   5k km/s 82.6%   10k km/s 41.3%   20k km/s 20.6%   50k km/s 8.2%   100k km/s 4.2%
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New Mid Tech AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1 [0.25 MSP]   Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 20
Speed: 84,200 km/s    Fuel: 75    Flight Time: 24 seconds    Range: 2.04 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 2.36000    Development Cost: 236
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 1684.0%   3k km/s 561.4%   5k km/s 336.8%   10k km/s 168.4%   20k km/s 84.2%   50k km/s 33.7%   100k km/s 16.8%

New Mid Tech ASM
Missile Size: 4.0000 MSP (10.0000 Tons)    Warhead: 8 [1.00 MSP]   Radiation Damage: 8    Manoeuver Rating: 20
Speed: 55,900 km/s    Fuel: 1,150    Flight Time: 896 seconds    Range: 50.10 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 7.59000    Development Cost: 759
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 1118.0%   3k km/s 372.6%   5k km/s 223.6%   10k km/s 111.8%   20k km/s 55.9%   50k km/s 22.4%   100k km/s 11.2%
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New High Tech AMM
Missile Size: 1.0000 MSP (2.5000 Tons)    Warhead: 1 [0.158 MSP]   Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuver Rating: 20
Speed: 192,000 km/s    Fuel: 105    Flight Time: 28 seconds    Range: 5.42 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 5.05000    Development Cost: 505
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 3840.0%   3k km/s 1280.0%   5k km/s 768.0%   10k km/s 384.0%   20k km/s 192.0%   50k km/s 76.8%   100k km/s 38.4%

New High Tech ASM
Missile Size: 4.0000 MSP (10.0000 Tons)    Warhead: 16  [1.00 MSP]  Radiation Damage: 16    Manoeuver Rating: 20
Speed: 130,900 km/s    Fuel: 1,325    Flight Time: 384 seconds    Range: 50.39 Mkm
Cost Per Missile: 17.09000    Development Cost: 1,709
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 2618.0%   3k km/s 872.6%   5k km/s 523.6%   10k km/s 261.8%   20k km/s 131%   50k km/s 52.4%   100k km/s 26.2%

Low tech AMMs can now intercept low tech ASMs for 119% of their cost, with the corresponding numbers for mid and high tech being 103% and 101%, respectively. This does not take into account bonuses to accuracy or electronic warfare, and it's not an exact comparison since warhead sizes fluctuate slightly, but I think it does get the point across. The increase in accuracy across tech levels is now far more limited, and anti-ship missiles remain competitive in terms of cost even at extremely high tech.

Low tech AMMs do gain a bit of accuracy, but what's really holding them back is the launcher reload rate, which is why I suggested the base be lowered from 30s to 15s.

The current implementation actually does not make ECM or ECCM being mandatory on missiles, especially on AMMs. You can choose to add 0.25MSP of ECCM to counter the ECM on the incoming missiles, or choose to make it faster and more agile to counter that ECM. Making them multiplicative does make them mandatory past a certain tech level, since there is no way you can counter that *0% at ECM-10 (ECM-100 in your notation) without using ECCM.

This change is not strictly necessary unless the exponential growth of agility is countered. If missile base accuracy hovers around 30%, though, like I'm suggesting, then ECM-20 would be sufficient to reduce hit chances to zero. The exact formula can be whatever, I'm just saying that that needs to be taken into account and corrected for.

Would an exponential pattern work better? Like, for each level of difference between ECM and ECCM, missile accuracy will be multiplied by 0.80 - that wouldn't zero out, but might be harder to implement.

I do think that missile agility still can be in the game, but lock it at say 100 per MSP. There are still some interesting thing you can do with slower missiles using more agility to hit their target, both for ASM and AMM. I always lock agility at 100 in all my multi-faction games and mostly in normal games as well.

A 'slow' missile should be fine as long as it's still at least three times as fast as a warship. With base missile accuracy increased to 20% and good commanders, that should still be enough to achieve near-100% accuracy against warships. You might run into problems with superfast fighters, though.

The problem with box launcher have much to do with missile fire-controls and how they work. There could also be work done in terms of fire-controls tracking or controlling targets. Fire-controls should have limited capability to track and control. You should be able to use say active sensors in an AMM to help engage enemy ASM as the AMM fire-control don't need to control the missiles perhaps at all once they programmed the missile with a target it can home in on it with it's own guidance system.

ASM fire-controls could have a capacity to control a certain number of missiles making box launchers with very small missiles more or less a none issue. It also will make full size launchers limited in the same way but active and passive sensors are better incorporated into the missile combat in addition to ECM and ECCM things can become more interesting and not just about the missile but also a sensor war.

This would be a proper solution to box-launcher spam, yes, but the biggest question, as always, would be how difficult this would be to implement and whether this will negatively affect performance (it's less of an issue for C# than VB6).
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 03:47:37 AM by SevenOfCarina »
 

Offline SevenOfCarina (OP)

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Re: Missile Balance Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 03:38:24 AM »
Please note that I'm trying to minimise the amount of work Steve would need to do. At this stage of development, I seriously doubt that any significant changes to the code and the database would be implemented and I'd rather see at least some of these come to fruition. Out of the five suggestions I've made, two should hopefully require only a simple parameter change, one just needs a tech line deleted, and the remaining two are the only ones that need any significant coding work. The ECM thing is negotiable, but I'd really like to see warhead size efficiency implemented.
 

 

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