Dev diary #21 - Let’s start a conversation Today's topic: Balance
Posted on January 25, 2017

Hello, galactic pilots!

It’s time for our first Dev diary since the Steam launch! Every week (usually on Friday), we’ll release a new diary, where we’ll discuss the most important current issues, upcoming features and other exciting stuff.

We believe the best way to improve our game is to talk to the community. Therefore each diary should not be taken as a one way message from the devs to you, but as a start of a conversation! So don’t hesitate and let us know what you think in the comments below.

With that out of the way, let’s get right to the issue that is on everyone’s mind - balance!

 

Problem:

Since the release the game’s meta has been dominated by long-range sniping using the Heavy and Uber Gauss guns. We think there is nothing wrong with picking long-range weapons for your ship. However, currently, a large part of the community considers them to be powerful in too many roles. They are perceived as very efficient at both short and long range and against both fast and slow ships. This may decrease player motivation to try out different playstyles which other weapons offer and deprives the game of variety.

To check this claim we have looked at the numbers . Here’s are the stats for weapon use in the past few days (that is already after one balance patch).

 


How we interpret these numbers:

  • Long range gauss weapons (Gauss Cannon and Uber) are indeed overused and make up more than
    40 % of weapons used.
  • Surprisingly, both the Gauss Cannon and Uber are average in both kills and score.
  • However both the Gauss Cannon and Uber are below average in the number of deaths per match. Average deaths correlate with the range of weapons.
  • Based on stats the most powerful weapons are the Heavy Laser with the highest kill rate and score followed by the gatling. Both have an average number of deaths per match. These weapons have similar gameplay.
  • Phasers and Rocket launchers are not very popular, because they get few kills and a lot of deaths and they should get a power boost.
  • Using Cruise missiles doesn’t get you many kills, but you also don’t die as much.

 

We are considering three types of solutions:

  • Improving the maps - i.e. create fewer open spaces and more cover from long-range fire. This one will be a gradual process and will take time.
  • Adding new gameplay features to balance combat. Such as turret rotation speed, firing spread for the gatlings, limited view when zoomed in, healing etc. Which of these do you find interesting?
  • Numerical balance. This is the easiest way and we can use it right away (that is with the next patch on Feb 8). Here are our proposed balance changes. These are not final, we want to hear your opinions.

Proposed balance changes for the next patch:

Heavy laser:
Range 2500 -> 2400

Phaser
Range 1500 -> 1700
Dmg +10%

Rocket Launcher
Range 1500 -> 1700
Dmg +10%

Cruise Missile
Range 3000 -> 3200

Gauss Cannon
Range 3500 -> 3400
Projectile travel time 0.8 s -> 1,1 s

Gatling Gauss
Projectile travel time 0.28 s -> 0.4 s

Uber Gauss
no change

What we hope to achieve:

We’re considering buffing both phasers and missile launchers. On the other hand we would nerf the gatling’s ability to damage fast ships because of slower projectiles. The Phaser should fill the role as a short range precision weapon.

In the long-range department we would like to make Cruise missiles a powerful alternative to Gauss cannons. That’s why we would make the ranges of these two weapons more comparable. Heavy gauss should also excel mostly at damaging slower ships, which is the reason for the projectile speed decrease.

In general, our goal is for each weapon type to allow a different and similarly effective type of gameplay. Gauss guns should be ranged damage dealers weak against fast attacks. Missiles should be easy to use with their homing systems at the cost of precision. Lasers should allow extreme precision and target specific blocks on even the fastest ships at a cost of range.

 

That’s it for this dev diary. Let us know what you think of the game’s balance and our proposed changes in the FORUM.

What would you like to be the topic of the next diary? We’re considering the matchmaking system.

 

Martin "Gajxo" Gajarsky
Game Designer