Waffles

06-27-2012, 10:18 AM

The ship upgrade scale is brutal and needs a rework. Please pardon the massive walls of tables if you find them hard to grasp. I think they're really illuminating and necessary to illustrate the present issue, my points, and my solutions.

For those who haven't worked out the numbers: 455 points into command are required to reach 9/9/9, over 27 ship upgrades, which give 81 extra stats. Refer to the table below:

4/4/4 - 26 points, 26 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 14 CP or 3 levels

5/5/5 - 68 points, 42 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 30 CP or 6 levels

6/6/6 - 143 points, 75 CP in 5 tiers, +15 extra stats: Real cost = 60 CP or 12 levels

7/7/7 - 220 points, 77 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 65 CP or 13 levels

8/8/8 - 320 points, 100 CP in 5 tiers, +15 extra stats: Real cost = 85 CP or 17 levels

9/9/9 - 400 points, 80 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 68 CP or ~14 levels

10/10/10 - 460 points, 60 CP in 3 tiers, +15 extra stats: Real cost = 45 CP or 9 levels

EDIT: Thanks ShadowyFigure for the more accurate information!

The investment to getting a better ship is an enormous one, to say the least, and for a player to have a huge and impressive ship, well, it wouldn't end up impressive at all. In fact, it would probably move at a crawl, and be unable to gain any experience ever.

Beyond the harsh scaling, there are problem spots after every 2nd slot because of the "you only get structure increase" levels. It takes from 11-26 to get a 4th heavy slot, from 35-56 to get a 5th medium slot, from 68-95 to get a 6th light slot, from 110-143 to get a 6th heavy slot. Three crucial level ups to get really a second heavy weapon slot - Expensive but worth it. Four crucial level ups to get an additional medium slot... a tough call but potentially worth it. Five and a half levels for another light slot... are you kidding me? This is really rough. Also, the extra slots are really all the player is getting, as well as the prestige of a larger ship, because the structural amount is negligible, and far offset by the negative... one ship tier in three is actually a downgrade.

A more limited rework would simply involve removing the "structure increase only" ship levels, accelerating the acquisition of component slots. Refer to the table below:

4/4/4 - 18 points, 18 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 9 CP or 2 levels

5/5/5 - 45 points, 27 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 18 CP or 3-4 levels

6/6/6 - 81 points, 36 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 27 CP or 5-6 levels

7/7/7 - 126 points, 45 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 36 CP or 7 levels

8/8/8 - 180 points, 54 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 45 CP or 9 levels

9/9/9 - 240 points, 60 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 51 CP or 10 levels

10/10/10 - 300 points, 60 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 51 CP or 10 levels

This would get rid of the useless ship upgrades, accelerate ship improvement, and I think largely increase the fun factor of the game and the feeling of having a powerful ship. I don't think this quite does the trick, however. The player's ship starts out with more base stats than just number of slots - structure and weight already scale with ship level - though inherent power, thrust, energy, and energy output do not, and a race-specific stat does.

I propose instead that ship levels increase the inherent capabilities of the ship: the number of slots, structure of the ship, base power output, weight, thrust, base energy, and base energy output (not base shield regen, because that should be a percentage of the shields equipped but that's a different problem). Having a bigger ship shouldn't, however, make you more capable of equipping higher technology: It shouldn't increase stats. The cost per upgrade should start at 5, and increase less precipitously. The change to the points required formula is to reflect this.

These numbers don't need to remain exactly as this, however, it is a starting point. 3/3/3 numbers are presently identical to ingame parameters. Also, S means ShipLevel, or upgrade tier.

0 - 3/3/3 - 0 points - 25 structure, 60 power, 50 weight, 50 thrust, 65 energy, 2.5 energy/second

1 - 3/3/4 - 5 points - 35 structure, 80 power, 70 weight, 60 thrust, 80 energy, 3.5 energy/second

2 - 3/4/4 - 11 points - 45 structure, 100 power, 90 weight, 70 thrust, 95 energy, 4.5 energy/second

3 - 4/4/4 - 17 points - 55s, 120p, 110w, 80t, 110e, 5.5eps. Real Cost = 17 CP or 3-4 levels.

4 - 4/4/5 - 24 points - 65s, 140p, 130w, 90t, 125e, 6.5eps

5 - 4/5/5 - 31 points - 75s, 160p, 150w, 100t, 140e, 7.5eps

6 - 5/5/5 - 39 points - 85s, 180p, 170w, 110t, 155e, 8.5eps. Real Cost = 22 CP or 4-5 levels.

...

9 - 6/6/6 - 65 points - 115s, 240p, 230w, 140t, 200e, 11.5eps. Real Cost = 26 CP or 5 levels

12 - 7/7/7 - 96 points - various stats. Real cost = 31 CP or 6 levels

15 - 8/8/8 - 131 points - various stats. Real cost = 35 CP or 7 levels

18 - 9/9/9 - 171 points - 205s, 420p, 410w, 230t, 335e, 20.5eps. Real cost is 40 CP or 8 levels

Where S means ShipLevel, all stats are derived from the following:

Total Points Required = S * (5 + S/4) [Note: Currently equals S * (5 + S/2)]

Light Slots increase at S = 1,4,7,10,13,16 [Note: Currently 1,5,10,14,19,23]

Med Slots increase at S = 2,5,8,11,14,17 [Note: Currently 2,7,11,13,20,24]

Heavy Slots increase at S = 3,6,9,12,15,18 [Note: Currently 4,8,13,17,22,26]

Structure = 15 + S*10

Power = 40 + S*20

Weight = 30 + S*20

Thrust = 40 + S*10

Energy = 50 + S*10

E/sec = 1.5 + S*1

Now, the bonuses aquired directly from the ship seem large, and they are, at first. However, as the number of available component slots increases and especially as the effectiveness of the installed components increases, these will seem less impressive, and finally less relevant. On a level 80 ship with two power plants each pushing 1500+ max power load, the 420 a giant ship would provide inherently would seem pretty tiny.

If requested, I believe I could justify all the numbers included here, more or less. I do think that maybe the scale of points required for ship upgrades could be tweaked beneficially. Here are a few other possibilities for required CP formulas, as well as a list of the milestones of 1 more of each component type:

NOTICE: ALL OF THESE ONLY GO TO 9/9/9. MY ERROR: SLOTS GO TO 10/10/10.

S * (5 + S * 0): 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90. Analysis: ~1 Command per Level to max out ship size. As kind as the scale could get.

S * (5 + S / 6): 16, 36, 58, 84, 112, 144. Analysis: ~1.5 CpL to max. Seems moderate.

S * (5 + S / 4): 17, 39, 65, 96, 131, 171. Analysis: ~1.75 CpL to max. It's what I proposed.

S * (5 + S / 3): 18, 42, 72, 108, 150, 198. Analysis: 2 CpL to max. About as harsh as is reasonable. Probably perfect.

S * (5 + (S-1) / 2): 18, 45, 81, 126, 180, 243. Analysis: Half CP go to Command to max. Super harsh.

S * (2 + (S-1) / 2): 9, 27, 54, 90, 135, 189. Analysis: ~2 CpL to max. This is the current scaling, adjusted for free points given, if the filler/structure levels were taken out. Early upgrades are pretty easy to get, but that could be a good thing! The game is much more interesting with a few more slots.

S * (1.3 + S * 1.1): 14, 44, 104, 170, 275, 377: Analysis: ~4 CpL to max. This is an approximation of the current scaling, for the same slots, with the filler/structure levels as they presently are, adjusted for free points. This is the current state of the game. To get to 4/4/4 is balanced, and everything after that gets all messed up.

For those who haven't worked out the numbers: 455 points into command are required to reach 9/9/9, over 27 ship upgrades, which give 81 extra stats. Refer to the table below:

4/4/4 - 26 points, 26 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 14 CP or 3 levels

5/5/5 - 68 points, 42 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 30 CP or 6 levels

6/6/6 - 143 points, 75 CP in 5 tiers, +15 extra stats: Real cost = 60 CP or 12 levels

7/7/7 - 220 points, 77 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 65 CP or 13 levels

8/8/8 - 320 points, 100 CP in 5 tiers, +15 extra stats: Real cost = 85 CP or 17 levels

9/9/9 - 400 points, 80 CP in 4 tiers, +12 extra stats: Real cost = 68 CP or ~14 levels

10/10/10 - 460 points, 60 CP in 3 tiers, +15 extra stats: Real cost = 45 CP or 9 levels

EDIT: Thanks ShadowyFigure for the more accurate information!

The investment to getting a better ship is an enormous one, to say the least, and for a player to have a huge and impressive ship, well, it wouldn't end up impressive at all. In fact, it would probably move at a crawl, and be unable to gain any experience ever.

Beyond the harsh scaling, there are problem spots after every 2nd slot because of the "you only get structure increase" levels. It takes from 11-26 to get a 4th heavy slot, from 35-56 to get a 5th medium slot, from 68-95 to get a 6th light slot, from 110-143 to get a 6th heavy slot. Three crucial level ups to get really a second heavy weapon slot - Expensive but worth it. Four crucial level ups to get an additional medium slot... a tough call but potentially worth it. Five and a half levels for another light slot... are you kidding me? This is really rough. Also, the extra slots are really all the player is getting, as well as the prestige of a larger ship, because the structural amount is negligible, and far offset by the negative... one ship tier in three is actually a downgrade.

A more limited rework would simply involve removing the "structure increase only" ship levels, accelerating the acquisition of component slots. Refer to the table below:

4/4/4 - 18 points, 18 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 9 CP or 2 levels

5/5/5 - 45 points, 27 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 18 CP or 3-4 levels

6/6/6 - 81 points, 36 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 27 CP or 5-6 levels

7/7/7 - 126 points, 45 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 36 CP or 7 levels

8/8/8 - 180 points, 54 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 45 CP or 9 levels

9/9/9 - 240 points, 60 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 51 CP or 10 levels

10/10/10 - 300 points, 60 CP in 3 tiers, +9 extra stats: Real cost = 51 CP or 10 levels

This would get rid of the useless ship upgrades, accelerate ship improvement, and I think largely increase the fun factor of the game and the feeling of having a powerful ship. I don't think this quite does the trick, however. The player's ship starts out with more base stats than just number of slots - structure and weight already scale with ship level - though inherent power, thrust, energy, and energy output do not, and a race-specific stat does.

I propose instead that ship levels increase the inherent capabilities of the ship: the number of slots, structure of the ship, base power output, weight, thrust, base energy, and base energy output (not base shield regen, because that should be a percentage of the shields equipped but that's a different problem). Having a bigger ship shouldn't, however, make you more capable of equipping higher technology: It shouldn't increase stats. The cost per upgrade should start at 5, and increase less precipitously. The change to the points required formula is to reflect this.

These numbers don't need to remain exactly as this, however, it is a starting point. 3/3/3 numbers are presently identical to ingame parameters. Also, S means ShipLevel, or upgrade tier.

0 - 3/3/3 - 0 points - 25 structure, 60 power, 50 weight, 50 thrust, 65 energy, 2.5 energy/second

1 - 3/3/4 - 5 points - 35 structure, 80 power, 70 weight, 60 thrust, 80 energy, 3.5 energy/second

2 - 3/4/4 - 11 points - 45 structure, 100 power, 90 weight, 70 thrust, 95 energy, 4.5 energy/second

3 - 4/4/4 - 17 points - 55s, 120p, 110w, 80t, 110e, 5.5eps. Real Cost = 17 CP or 3-4 levels.

4 - 4/4/5 - 24 points - 65s, 140p, 130w, 90t, 125e, 6.5eps

5 - 4/5/5 - 31 points - 75s, 160p, 150w, 100t, 140e, 7.5eps

6 - 5/5/5 - 39 points - 85s, 180p, 170w, 110t, 155e, 8.5eps. Real Cost = 22 CP or 4-5 levels.

...

9 - 6/6/6 - 65 points - 115s, 240p, 230w, 140t, 200e, 11.5eps. Real Cost = 26 CP or 5 levels

12 - 7/7/7 - 96 points - various stats. Real cost = 31 CP or 6 levels

15 - 8/8/8 - 131 points - various stats. Real cost = 35 CP or 7 levels

18 - 9/9/9 - 171 points - 205s, 420p, 410w, 230t, 335e, 20.5eps. Real cost is 40 CP or 8 levels

Where S means ShipLevel, all stats are derived from the following:

Total Points Required = S * (5 + S/4) [Note: Currently equals S * (5 + S/2)]

Light Slots increase at S = 1,4,7,10,13,16 [Note: Currently 1,5,10,14,19,23]

Med Slots increase at S = 2,5,8,11,14,17 [Note: Currently 2,7,11,13,20,24]

Heavy Slots increase at S = 3,6,9,12,15,18 [Note: Currently 4,8,13,17,22,26]

Structure = 15 + S*10

Power = 40 + S*20

Weight = 30 + S*20

Thrust = 40 + S*10

Energy = 50 + S*10

E/sec = 1.5 + S*1

Now, the bonuses aquired directly from the ship seem large, and they are, at first. However, as the number of available component slots increases and especially as the effectiveness of the installed components increases, these will seem less impressive, and finally less relevant. On a level 80 ship with two power plants each pushing 1500+ max power load, the 420 a giant ship would provide inherently would seem pretty tiny.

If requested, I believe I could justify all the numbers included here, more or less. I do think that maybe the scale of points required for ship upgrades could be tweaked beneficially. Here are a few other possibilities for required CP formulas, as well as a list of the milestones of 1 more of each component type:

NOTICE: ALL OF THESE ONLY GO TO 9/9/9. MY ERROR: SLOTS GO TO 10/10/10.

S * (5 + S * 0): 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90. Analysis: ~1 Command per Level to max out ship size. As kind as the scale could get.

S * (5 + S / 6): 16, 36, 58, 84, 112, 144. Analysis: ~1.5 CpL to max. Seems moderate.

S * (5 + S / 4): 17, 39, 65, 96, 131, 171. Analysis: ~1.75 CpL to max. It's what I proposed.

S * (5 + S / 3): 18, 42, 72, 108, 150, 198. Analysis: 2 CpL to max. About as harsh as is reasonable. Probably perfect.

S * (5 + (S-1) / 2): 18, 45, 81, 126, 180, 243. Analysis: Half CP go to Command to max. Super harsh.

S * (2 + (S-1) / 2): 9, 27, 54, 90, 135, 189. Analysis: ~2 CpL to max. This is the current scaling, adjusted for free points given, if the filler/structure levels were taken out. Early upgrades are pretty easy to get, but that could be a good thing! The game is much more interesting with a few more slots.

S * (1.3 + S * 1.1): 14, 44, 104, 170, 275, 377: Analysis: ~4 CpL to max. This is an approximation of the current scaling, for the same slots, with the filler/structure levels as they presently are, adjusted for free points. This is the current state of the game. To get to 4/4/4 is balanced, and everything after that gets all messed up.