Is the Pneumatic Ratsender Useful at ALL?

So, I don’t know if this is a bug or not, I only started playing SS once it hit release, but right now there seems to be NO benefit to purchasing the Pneumatic Ratsender.

I’ve gotten lots of Rattus Fabers, and without the Ratsender the option to use them shows up in my buttons during combat. And they work. Which means that the only crucial part are the one-time use Rattus Faber items, NOT the Pneumatic Ratsender.

Additionally, getting the Ratsender seems to confer no benefit to the Rattus Faber’s repair action. It doesn’t speed up their cooldown as far as I can tell, nor does it increase the amount of hull repair that they do, or allow multiple uses of the same Rattus Faber. It seems to be entirely useless as an item in the current build of the game.

Seriously, is this a bug, or intended functionality? Because if this is intended, then why buy the Pneumatic Ratsender at all? It’s just an Echo waste at the moment. I’d understand if I needed it to trigger the use of the Fabers. I’d understand if it somehow made their usage more optimal (adding a chance to &quotsave&quot the Rattus Faber used by not consuming them, or increasing the amount of repairs they do being the most useful potentials for the item). But right now it’s not necessary to use the Rattus Faber’s, nor does it enhance them so what’s the point?

That sounds bugged. Send it to the email.

Before I do, what’s the INTENDED functionality of the item? Am I not supposed to be able to use the Faber’s without it, or is it supposed to enhance them in some way?

The description says you shouldn’t be able to use them without, right? But I had the same as you - I could use them any time, with no problem.

With that in mind, it’s a bit useless anyway. 100 echoes for 10 hull (I think?) repair is more expensive than just using supplies to repair. The only advantage is that you can do it in combat, I guess.

Yeah, you shouldn’t be able to use rat-repairs without a 'sender. And, using supplies only works when you’re over 50% hull. You’ll want to send rats when you’re in combat and near death - they’re basically an emergency health potion.

You can technically repair using supplies in combat too actually.

Did it the other day on accident. Clicked the wrench instead of my blue gem of win, and started repairs while still engaged in combat.

This too, is probably also a bug now that I think of it.

Hell there are a number of combat related issues with that little pop up bar actually. OK I guess I’m writing a new email.

I thought maybe the Sender reduced the time it took for the Rats to reset. As in, they take four or so seconds to come back to you, but with the Sender you could ‘spam’ them immediately- important if you were fighting something mean on low health. Is that not how it works? (I can use the rats without the sender myself, too.)

I was, previously, able to use Faber’s without the sender (This is not how it’s supposed to work… you need the Ratsender to… well… send the rats) But on subsequent captains I was not able to us ethem without the Sender. And, as Tanah-Chook pointed out, you can only use supplies to repair at Zee if your hull is at least 50 percent
edited by GerbilSchooler on 2/19/2015

No, the potential use of the Rats as emergency repair “Health Potions” makes sense. It’s just that their functionality isn’t implementing correctly in the current build as far as I can tell.

The game explained that you need both Sender and Rat itself to use. This doesn’t seem to happen in my game. I didn’t need Sender at all to use the Rat.

Nope. It’s not useful at all. Even if it was required to use the rats, at 10 points of healing at $100 a pop, the cost is flat out usurious for anyone who isn’t sunlight-farming, and that is going to kill you faster than whatever you were healing 10 measly points of damage against.

Yeah, I do think either the cost of the rats needs to go down, or the amount of hull repair needs to go up.

It costs 100 Echoes to fully repair your ship in London’s drydock. This can take (using the cargo boat as an example) your ship from 1 to 300 hull, or 299 points of healing.

The rats, at the SAME cost, do 10 points of healing. Yes, it can be done at zee and below the 50% damage markation that prevents at zee repairs (which, at London prices for supplies is 100 Echoes for 25 points of repair), so it has some function as an emergency thing, but it really is so sub-optimal that even were the ratsender to work, it’s not worth the investment of a minimum of 500 Echoes (400 for the sender, 100 for at least one rat assistant) to install, especially since you then lose the slot for other far better auxiliary equipment. Hell, Torpedo nets are a better investment since they outright negate one type of damage, even if it’s a rare type of damage that few enemies possess.

I haven’t been to dock for a while (working through the spider story) but I saw on the wiki someone changed the repair values and costs.

[quote=SporksAreGoodForYou]With that in mind, it’s a bit useless anyway. 100 echoes for 10 hull (I think?) repair is more expensive than just using supplies to repair. The only advantage is that you can do it in combat, I guess.[/quote]It’s not meant to be an economical way to repair your ship anymore than buying fuel from a pirate at zee when you’re running out of it is supposed to be an economical way to purchase fuel. It’s meant to keep you alive in combat so it isn’t going to be cheap but it can keep you alive in situations where you would otherwise die. You can’t repair at sea while in combat at least you shouldn’t be able to, and it costs 1 supply for 5 points of hull repair over time as opposed to 10 instantly with each rat you send out. If you don’t think you’re ever going to die in combat or don’t care if you do or can’t afford it then it’s not for you but it’s there for those that want the extra insurance.


Currently you CAN repair at sea with the wrench in the middle of combat. I also put this in as a bug in my bug report on the Ratsender.

That said, the fix for the Rat assistants in making them a decent investment is to change the amount they repair by.

Because the issue is that 10 repair becomes completely inefficient for the cost with the later ships and fighting the tougher monsters. Sure it’s fine for the starter ship, 10 repair is a large percentage of the total hull value when the total hull is at 75. But when your hull is at 300 or 450 in the merchant vessel or the frigate and you’re fighting a behemothstache doing 16-20 damage per hit? 10 repair is nigh on useless, even as a clutch move.

So I nominate that it instead, does 5% repair of the player’s current maximum hull. Theoretically you’d need 20 rats to gain a 100% hull fix this way, which would be a heavy investment, but it would make them relevant throughout the game, while still not being very good compared to heading back to London and spending the same ammount on 100% repair in the drydock.

[quote=MisterGone]Currently you CAN repair at sea with the wrench in the middle of combat.[/quote]Doing so will bring your ship to a stop and disable your ability to fire weapons. As a practical matter you can’t be in combat even though you have your combat UI up since you can’t perform combat actions (firing and moving) at the same time as repairing. I think it’s working as intended.

It is not useless. You get 10 repair every 3 seconds. There’s a reason you can stack as many Rattus Faber Assistants as you want. You can’t think of the Ratsender as something you’ll have to only use once in tough confrontations. The 3 second cool down clearly implies an intent that this is a device you may have to use several times in one battle back to back to save your ship from destruction not to restore it to 100%. If you survive you should be heading to the nearest port that provides repairs or using supplies to make repairs at sea.

Having it repair a percentage of your hull isn’t acceptable. On a Frigate that would be ~22-23 hull points. You would need 5 supplies to make that kind of out of combat repair at sea with supplies costing 20-30 echoes at most ports. There is no way you should be able too make emergency repairs in combat for the equivalent to the same or less echoes than it takes to repair out of combat with supplies.

The Ratsender isn’t supposed to make your Frigate effectively invulnerable in combat but you’re proposed change would do exactly that with a ship being able to shrug off a Behemothstache’s hits every 3 seconds for as many Rattuses you’re willing to stock up on. It’s meant to be emergency insurance against death. It’s fine as it is. To the extent it might need some tweaking it doesn’t need something as radical as you’re suggesting.
edited by Dagmar on 2/24/2015
edited by Dagmar on 2/24/2015

Well, that’s just not true, since the Ratsender isn’t functioning at all. You can use the rats without even buying the sender, let alone equipping it. The intended functionality, as discussed upthread, is that the player has to buy and equip the sender as an auxiliary item to be able to use the rats to repair. This isn’t happening right now. You can just buy and use the rats.

Functionally, the Rattusses are health potions. That’s all they are. Poor rat souls that die for the hulls!

However, generally in most games health pots have scales to keep up with rising HP. If you’re playing WoW, the earliest health pots are useless when you get to higher levels and have a much larger pool of HP to heal. Right now, there’s no scaling with the rats, or more types of rats on offer that cost more but do more repair.

From a meta game perspective this makes the rats progressively less useful as the player gets better ships. They’re GREAT for the starter ship. 10 hull when your total is 75 is a HUGE percentage of your total Hull Points (specifically 13 percent). When you get to the frigate at 450 HP, 10 points of repair is worth a LOT less (2% repair). If you’re in the Dreadnought, it’s even worse at 1.6%.

The real problem comes in at relative cost here. Early on when echoes are sparse and you’re in the base steamer, 100e for 10 points of repair is a tough but fair trade for emergency repairs in the middle of combat with the weaker enemies. You’re still better served at disengaging and just using the supplies to repair however. The advantages are there, and the item is fairly useful for playing the game a bit more safely.

To play it safe in the frigate when you’re fighting, say, a Lifeberg that does 30 damage per hit, you’re going to be blowing through Rats and completely destroying your bank balance in the process for only minimal healing. Sure that extra 10 hull might come in handy as a last ditch save. But you’re talking about a really RARE occurrence here that most players are unlikely to ever see. More often than not the battle will be resolved before they blow a rat (with the player either winning or running away) and they’d be better served to go back to London and spend the same amount as they could on one more rat to get 100% repairs in the drydock, or blowing through some supplies if they’re really at a critical level. And if the sender was working properly this would be a huge problem because the player is sacrificing one of their 6 potential equipment slots to allow for this functionality.

When you only have six slots for equipment, every single potential item that can be slotted better be worth the player’s time.

What I’m suggesting does that. Moreover it makes the ratsender itself a functional device throughout the whole game rather than it being only useful right at the beginning if the player happens upon 700 echoes and invests in the sender and a few rats. It makes the highly circumstantial and mostly deadweight item much more useable and feasible and thus desirable. It makes it worth the player’s time.

Then make supply repairs work on a percentage basis as well. This would make more sense anyway. The whole idea there is that you’re burning through supplies to have the entire crew work on the ship, and feeding them during the process. Theoretically it’s sort of like raising the timescale as days pass while you sit at sea and just work on the ship (which is why it shouldn’t even be an option during combat at all in my opinion). The larger the ship, the larger the crew, and thus more repair should be possible. Hell, now that you mention it, this function should probably relate to the percentage of crew the player has on ship in some way, with the maximum amount of repair not attainable unless the max amount of crew is on board.

[quote=Dagmar]The Ratsender isn’t supposed to make your Frigate effectively invulnerable in combat but you’re proposed change would do exactly that with a ship being able to shrug off a Behemothstache’s hits every 3 seconds for as many Rattuses you’re willing to stock up on. It’s meant to be emergency insurance against death. It’s fine as it is. To the extent it might need some tweaking it doesn’t need something as radical as you’re suggesting.
edited by Dagmar on 2/24/2015
edited by Dagmar on 2/24/2015[/quote]

While I agree it shouldn’t make you effectively invulnerable, where you and I disagree is that it’s even useful right now in its current iteration (disregarding the bug that’s breaking the functionality). I don’t think it is - in general, but especially once the player gets to the Corvette or any ship after that in the progression. You think that the current amount is acceptable because of the in-battle functionality as a clinch save makes it valuable.

But I argue that the whole idea behind the item is for conservative players who want to maximize at least one element of safety - their hull. That is literally the only point of the item - to play it safe.

If it can’t do that because it repairs so little hull in the late game relative to the player’s total pool, then the item become nominally useful at best, completely useless at worst.

Now, 5% may be too high. Sure that’s actually less repair when in the starting ship than the rats currently do, but you’re right that on the later ships that will successfully negate a lot of attacks the player receives. So maybe it should be 3%. Or maybe it should be 4% but the player gains 1 terror every time they use it because the rats freak the crew out. Or maybe there can be later game ratsenders themselves that cause the rats repair to increase in value, so that the base sender lets the rats heal 10 points of hull, but an improved sender lets them heal 20, and some super secret quest in Nuncio will eventually result in a stream-lined super sender where the rats do 30.

I’m fine with other caveats being added to it to balance the item out, but right now, the items starts at an OK-ish amount of utility but quickly diminishes to almost nil as the player progresses.

Hell, I’d even add that in general, I don’t think a lot of the tougher zee beasts do enough damage right now. I just fought Behemoustache and it was only doing 16 damage on a charge. Considering the size of the thing, I’d expect it to be a lot more. A Lifeberg did 30 to me on it’s one hit, and that seems pretty low to me too considering how tough the later ships are.

Monster damage output is a whole other side of the balance equation though. I think the tougher foes should be doing a lot more than they currently are, but ALSO that the player should be capable of healing more. That would lead to a more interesting game, especially the late game. But of course, that’s just, like, my opinion.

edited by MisterGone on 2/24/2015
edited by MisterGone on 2/24/2015

Alternatively, there could be more expensive, more powerful rats - rat-mechanics with considerable skill and experience (LBs with great CVs, if you will), who’ll only sign on with a captain of a certain stat level and/or ship, but who repair a bigger chunk of hull.

But then I’d feel bad!

I already feel bad sending poorly trained rats to their deaths for the sake of my hull integrity. If I had to send one with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Fallen London Institute of Rattechnology, I don’t know if I could live with myself as a zee captain.

Maybe they’re not dying - maybe they’re only contracted for one ratsending per voyage, and you need to pay them extra before they’ll be loaded into a narrow tube and propelled at ridiculous velocities into the depths of your ship again! After all, they’re proverbial for being able to escape sinking ships - no skin off their nose if you get sunk while they’re bumming around in the hold regretting having been ratsent.