Author Topic: patch 7.2 released  (Read 19780 times)

Offline Drath

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2015, 08:47:10 am »
On Kinetic Vs Pulse upgrade analysis:
Ok basically the deal is: for every Kinetic strike that you put out, you get around 2+ Pulse strikes (assuming cost comparable cost reduction upgrades, refer to attachment for more detail). This 2:1 ratio starts midgame and gradually amps up to 2.5 and has a likelihood of hitting 2.67 in the last few battles).

Again assuming cost comparable damage upgrades, Pulse damage is likely to have at least about a 0.87 damage ratio (470/540) to Kinetic damage after Ongess (refer to attachment for more detail).

Coupled with cost reduction upgrades and taking into account 2:1 strike ratio, overall pulse damage to kinetic damage ratio tends to start around 1.74 in early MoA and progressively increases to 2.17 after Ongess and will in all likelihood leave kinetics further in the dust by end of MoA. In other words if your kinetics are doing 1000 dmg per turn, pulse should be doing roughly 2170 dmg if you had opted for it.


Some other associated thoughts on the whole matter:
I actually prefer the old balance, where there was a time for Assault if mooks were near, there was a time for Pulse when dealing with semi-armored ships like frigates at middling distance and there was a time for Lasers when facing high evasion ships like Nightmares. Kinetics were the usual bread and butter of course, which fitted the idea that they were main weapon. So basically every attack option had its place.

These days, its Pulse city all the way. I've actually not used Kinetics for quite a while ever since getting Mining Union Frigates. Definitely did not use Kinetics at all at the 2 Ongess fights and the 2nd escort mission. And even before then, Pulse was also strong in the early game, in fights with just Sunrider and the first 2 ryders. I sometimes don't use missiles early these days (preferring to reserve them for reinforcements which spawn far away) because pulse is comparable in damage and energy cost.
Laser/Pulse deserved a boost certainly from v7.1, but its difficult to see kinetics as Sunrider's main weapon when energy upgrades are so potent.

How strong is Pulse? Well I actually cut off 1 turn for the 2nd escort mission from my 7.1 Hard playthrough, despite playing on Space Whale and having 10% FF dmg, and had just 1 enemy unit left on turn 9, so if better optimized, cutting off 2 turns could be possible. I also used way less orders (2FF, 1SRW, 1VC) compared to my original mess up of (2FF, 3SRW, 3VC, 2Res). You could say part of it might be due to my familiarity with the battle this time round but I maintain that apart from the fact that spawned enemy ryders do not act on the turn they are spawned, Pulse was a major factor in making the battle easier.


Disclaimer:
Admittedly I did sell the Wish All this time round to get more credits as I felt a little cramped by Space Whale tax. Mostly I wanted to give Laser/Pulse a serious try. Its good to see at least the Wish All isn't taxable (and don't you dare change it :P).
There are some previous upgrades that I nixed. For instance, I didn't even get double kinetics for Seraphim this time round. On Space Whale, her damage is not sufficient to one shot PACT Supports so Phoenix has to tackle that job most of the time.
So yea, 7.2 Pulse for the win lol... probably by too much of a margin.


Summary:
Pulse is VERY strong in MoA late game and extremely upgrade efficient in terms of overall credit cost compared to other upgrade options. People on Steam, various recent v7.2 reviewers who are still ranting about Energy weaponry being weak and not a viable upgrade path in the endgame, need to wake up lol. I didn't upgrade to triple kinetics on Sunrider in my old Hard playthrough but as you can see from the attachment below, for the price of triple kinetics, you can basically get OctaPulse mania!!! xD
Waiting for v7.3, where Laser/Pulse accuracy upgrades are fixed but Laser/Pulse damage and cost reduction upgrades get the nerfbat :P


EDIT: The previous table was done in haste and had an error for the Pulse dmg column, which I have now corrected. It does not change the conclusions above. If anything it makes the difference between Pulse vs Kinetics even more marked.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 10:27:27 pm by Drath »

Offline Marx-93

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2015, 03:28:44 am »
I concur that the problem seems to be the upgrades more than the base. That was clear in fact in Liberation Day, where, while I noticed the improvement in pulse, I was busy using the fairly nicely upgraded laser in comparison to the more base pulse. Drath's tables make it apparent, specially on the damage upgrades: In late First arrival pulse needed an increase in power due to the heavier armour of enemies. Not only that, there was the not-so-great accuracy (against Ryders) and shields: of all that power at least 50% would be lost with misses, armour, etc.

Now however you can basically duplicate pulse's power by 4000$, which is a pitiance at MoA end-game. The bigger vessels, which before where protected by distance now are left open to it, and  with around 60 power Pulse laughs at even 20 defense. Their target before were mainly Ryders and the odd frigate, but now are the bigger ships. Still, I think Drath exaggerates a little when talking about breaking the game: against Assault carriers they are godsend, but one of the changes in 7.2 is that now the main enemies are not only them, but also battleships. And battleships have enough shield and armour to outright block pulse. While you can go around that (Paladin and Seraphim), it's not like you can "pulse everyday", which is what in my definition would break the game. Simply change the upgrades on power (not even need to change the cost) and they will become a good weapon and not a balance breaker.

Also Drath, how it worked with the pulse on the BlackJack? If the reason are mainly upgrades, then hers, with lower bases and so lower growths) shouldn't be as brutal.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2015, 04:09:55 am by Marx-93 »
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Offline Drath

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2015, 03:43:56 am »
Not only that, there was the not-so-great accuracy (against Ryders) and shields: of all that power at least 50% would be lost with misses, armour, etc.

The not-so-great accuracy in previous versions has been improved a ton by having 10% accuracy loss per hex for energy weapons in 7.2 (previously 15% for both energy and kinetic weapons), so accuracy is not a major consideration against capital ships. Once energy accuracy upgrades are fixed, they shouldn't be an issue for smaller ships either. It was predicted that Pulse would be strong in 7.2 as a result of this and massive upgrade boosts are not really needed.


Now however you can basically duplicate pulse's power by 4000$, which is a pitiance at MoA end-game. The bigger vessels, which before where protected by distance now are left open to it, and  with around 60 power Pulse laughs at even 20 defense. Their target before were mainly Ryders and the odd frigate, but now are the bigger ships.

Indeed!


Still, I think Drath exaggerates a little when talking about breaking the game: against Assault carriers they are godsend, but one of the changes in 7.2 is that now the main enemies are not only them, but also battleships. And battleships have enough shield and armour to outright block pulse. While you can go around that (Paladin and Seraphim), it's not like you can "pulse everyday", which is what in my definition would break the game.

My answer to missions featuring lots of Battleships (and Cruisers to a lesser extent) is Vanguard Cannon. You get a base of 528 dmg in Space Whale, upgradable to 660 dmg with another extra hex thrown in, which takes Battleships down to 940hps. Throw in 1 kinetic and you'll find that its armor now drops below 20 and is a viable target for Pulse after being deshielded. Of course if you're trying to Pulse a fully armored, fully shielded Battleship, that will be an exercise in futility.

Assault Carriers are ideal targets because they come unshielded, don't have high evasion and start with only 20 armor which isn't much for a capital ship. Throw in a kinetic or two and they're ripe for Pulse destruction.

PACT Elites are also good targets if you can get close enough, either through Short Range Warp direct to their spawn point for better placement, or using Gravity Gun to pull them closer. They feature no shields and very little armor so their only defence is their considerable evasion.
Once energy accuracy upgrades are fixed, Pulse will become even stronger Vs Elites, Supports and regular mooks and bombers, but even as things stand to this day, there isn't a marked lack of suitable targets if you play carefully.

So yea I maintain that any ship can be Pulsed as long as you can make the conditions suitable for its use, which as of the present is certainly achievable. I wouldn't say that Pulse is "breaking the game" but at least in my eyes, it is now the Sunrider's main weapon, replacing kinetics by a good margin, due to its superior damage output.


Also Drath, how it worked with the pulse on the BlackJack? If the reason are mainly upgrades, then hers, with lower bases and so lower growths) shouldn't be as brutal.

I'm up to QuadPulse currently on Blackjack. She starts at a base 50EN for Pulse so its a bit more difficult to get PentaPulse. Blackjack's Pulse has fewer shots (8 Vs Sunrider's 10) but has slightly higher base damage, and so is good to use it first on units with medium armor while leaving subsequent clean up duties to Sunrider. Depends on your definition of brutal, but I'm doing roughly 1k+ damage with her per turn on Space Whale. I don't recall chalking up such numbers previously unless I was massacring suicidal mooks with Assault.


Simply change the upgrades on power (not even need to change the cost) and they will become a good weapon and not a balance breaker.

Raw damage is just one part of the equation. Certainly reducing +10% per damage upgrade back to 7.5% as originally suggested would be a good start. But I think the cost reduction needs to be looked at as well. 7.5% cost reduction is huge and can result in OctaPulse. Dialing it back to 5% would make a max of QuadPulse or PentaPulse more likely, which is fairly acceptable. Pulse at 7.5% damage increment and 5% cost reduction increment will probably result in a total pulse:kinetic overall raw damage ratio of around 1.6. That's a good deal lower than the current ratio of 2.17+. While Pulse could still be ahead of kinetics, they suffer greater armor reduction and need more care in battle planning to lower enemy shields, so the slightly improved damage to reflect more precise play is an acceptable reward IMHO.

Offline Vaendryl

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2015, 07:27:25 am »
it seems the improvement to energy cost upgrades wasn't necessary. I think I'll roll those back.  :-\

welp, the goal was to make a energy focussed build viable. I still call it a success :)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2015, 07:29:35 am by Vaendryl »
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Offline Marx-93

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2015, 10:30:11 am »
Uhm, I think that the upgrades on pulse damage are slightly more determinant. As you say, Cost is also a factor, but overall energy costs and firing of pulse itself need to be optimized well, and it's something that can be a little tricky: you need some experience or skill to make use of it. Giving a higher ratio due to needing more skill is a good reward. However, raw damage can be easily seen, and now with Elites and its accuracy improvements pulse already has his niche filled, so it being able to reach such a base power and basically being good against everything is kinda OP. For the rest not much to say: on one hand, having the BlackJack being finally viable for heavily investing is nice, on the other, lack of use not always means that weapon is bad per se, but more that it requires some finesse (missiles were a good example).

Something I thought; for assault increase of base value is slow, but for pulse not so much, so maybe in the future making increasing the damage as adding shots could be a good idea. It would basically make it better at its own niche (low armour evasive and distant enemies) while also making sure that it does not grow up too much. Food for thought for Liberation Day
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Offline Histidine

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2015, 02:38:20 pm »
I'd say the accuracy degradation change alone was sufficient and put energy weapons in a pretty good spot, giving them a distinct role that's useful and which kinetic/assault can't substitute for effectively.

Offline Drath

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2015, 11:24:44 pm »
Had some issues with Steam not updating properly. Somehow on my desktop, it autoupdated back to v7.1a once online on Steam and I can't seem to find 7.2 on the list of updates. Tried fiddling around but couldn't go back to v7.2. :(
Anyhow, I copied my saves over to my laptop, together with previous changes to FF/AG and played and finished v7.2 offline over there.

My thoughts are about the same as before: Pulse is horridly powerful in the endgame. Got up to SeptaPulse on Sunrider and PentaPulse on Blackjack. Played very aggressively as opposed to previous playthrough, aiming to kill most enemy units in turn 1 with SRW, VC and and soak damage with a beefed up Sunrider.
I had fun, despite my gripes, and IMHO if laser/pulse accuracy upgrades were fixed and damage and energy cost upgrades dialed back a tad, this would definitely be an ideal release.


Thoughts on units in v7.2 playthrough

Felt weaker:
Seraphim: Part of the reason why she felt weaker is due to higher damage penalties and FF at 10% damage on this playthrough. When you can't 1 shot enemy units (apart from mooks), that takes away quite a lot from the role. The other reason is of course being totally outclassed by Blackjack and Sunrider in damage in 7.2. Double kinetics is simply too expensive an investment, when compared with pulse upgrades. Still plays a vital role to help take down high priority targets such as PACT Supports and Pirate Ironhogs, but overall damage output is lackluster. Wasn't targeted the entire game and I never bothered to up her hps.


Felt about equal in strength:
Bianca: Made her a Gravity Gun bot in this playthrough to assist Phoenix/trigger counterattacks and also to facilitate maximum VC carnage (4620dmg). Previously, would serve defensive duties via Aim Down and sometimes use kinetics. With heavier damage penalties in Space Whale, her damage is a little too low for my liking, and so I opted for going with 120EN, full Gravity Gun action. Not weaker than before, just used differently.

Liberty: 120EN as before, with good flexibility of either 3 FlakOffs/2 ShutOffs/1 Disable. No real change, but she pretty much has her hands full, trying to get shields and flak down for the fleet.

Phoenix: Did not really feel stronger despite cheaper EN gain in upgrades. I attribute that to placement (7.2 forces you to start 6 hexes from edge instead of 7 hexes in 7.1). One hex is effectively 10EN which counterbalances faster EN gain.

Paladin: About the same potency as before. Starting 1 hex further away dampens kinetic accuracy but it is made up by having Bianca drag her around with improved Gravity Gun (40EN).

Alliance Cruisers: With Sunrider going full Pulse, the kinetics from these ships are more important than ever before, to reduce armor for pulse carnage.
Mining Union Frigates: With Sunrider going full Pulse, ShieldJam is an absolutely vital part of tactics.


Felt stronger:
Blackjack: Strong at the beginning with cheap laser/pulse upgrades and maintains that power throughout the game. Never bothered upgrading missiles much. They were useful at the start and so were straight lasers, but towards the end, the only option you'd pick would be Pulse. With the new boosts to pulse and few units with shields in the last Arcadius battle, Awakened Blackjack absolutely eats Assault Carriers for supper.   

Sunrider: Pulse was actually a good deal cheaper to use in the endgame (19EN) as compared to missiles (30EN). Never really bothered upgrading missiles much as a result. There was a good gap in damage and EN cost (between pulse and missiles) in previous versions, making missiles meaningful, but in 7.2 that gap was more or less erased. The other options, Assault, Kinetics were left even further behind. If you were worried that Sunrider wouldn't be able to bring down Legion with pulse, well the answer to that is simply straight lasers. The ratio was about 7 pulses or 4 lasers or 2 kinetics, in the Legion battle, and at a 2:1 ratio, laser still beats kinetics hands down. So yea, you can basically forget kinetics once you get Mining Union Frigates.



Something I thought; for assault increase of base value is slow, but for pulse not so much, so maybe in the future making increasing the damage as adding shots could be a good idea. It would basically make it better at its own niche (low armour evasive and distant enemies) while also making sure that it does not grow up too much. Food for thought for Liberation Day

I actually quite like this idea. But you would need a good number of proper enemies to make it worth the investment (these would be low armor but high hp enemies which like to close in).


EDIT: Included an attachment showing effect of proposed changes (damage, energy cost) to pulse/kinetic ratio, with respect to current 7.2 and old 7.1 ratios. Personally I would like to see both, but if people think that both are too extreme, you can compensate by tweaking damage or energy cost to be a little cheaper.

EDIT2: Played with 10% dmg FF all throughout and while it did feel a bit limiting at times, in general it was still tolerable. But I doubt if people will like the next version if they get too many nerfs, so maybe 10% dmg on Space Whale, 15% on Hard and 20% as usual for the rest? :P
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 12:54:06 am by Drath »

Offline Vaendryl

Re: patch 7.2 released
« Reply #52 on: October 14, 2015, 01:48:30 am »
Thanks for the analysis, Drath :)
I'll keep it in mind for LibDay!
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