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A game of survival, trade and exploration in the universe of Fallen London

Suggestions on improving combat and early game Messages in this topic - RSS

Lmaoboat
Lmaoboat
Posts: 31

3/9/2015
I know this is primary story driven game, but I think cheaper, more accessible ships and equipment could help with some of the more common criticism of Sunless Sea, the main reason being that something that noticeably improves the capabilities of someone's character is one of the most effective ways to reward them and make feel as if they've made some progress.

I think the first thing that could be done is given each background a starting ship that plays differently from the others, for example, Iron would could start with no deck gun but two forward slots for some more riskier but deadlier combat, or Veils could start with some sort of enhanced smuggling capability. From there players could be given access to a wider variety of ship equipment for various character levels from stores, story rewards, and salvaging from defeated enemies, which would help bridge that large gulf where you're spending the majority of the game with the starter ship and equipment.

Engines are something I think would need to be looked at first due to obfuscated the way speed, fuel efficiency, and weight interact that confuses new players. I think they could be binary weight ranges to determine what sizes of ships they should go in, and then given a wider variety of capabilities, like full power duration, turn rate, noise reduction, fuel efficiency, weather slowdown resistance, and so on.

The higher end glim lamps that don't affect your stealth are pretty cool, but overall I think they're too expensive for the benefits they provide. They, too, could use more variety with capabilities like have narrower but faster firing solution, varying terror reduction and fuel consumption, or more powerful ones that slow or slightly damage enemies caught in the beam.

Weapons are pretty good, I think, apart from how long it takes to get a ship with anything other than a deck slot, which leaves you with little to experiment with.


Combat, while not as big an issue, is something I think could do with a lot of improvement. I think one step toward this would be to allow players to safely use full power to the engines as long as they keep an eye on the engine temperature. My reasoning for this is that you could have combat built around the idea of players having a reliable way to dodge, and only when the player makes a mistake in terms of positioning or dodging at the wrong time, do they then have to decide weather to risk an engine explosion from more power to the engines or take a hit from the enemy. A sneak attack bonus for the first shot on an unsuspecting enemy would also be nice, not because it would allow for more player skill, but because sneak attack bonuses are always satisfying. Perhaps there could also be some firing solution decay as both a way to reward agility, a way to deal with ships that have weapons on all arcs, and make it more challenging to fight more agile enemies.
edited by Lmaoboat on 3/9/2015
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Dagmar
Dagmar
Posts: 25

3/10/2015
Lmaoboat wrote:
I know this is primary story driven game, but I think cheaper, more accessible ships and equipment could help with some of the more common criticism of Sunless Sea, the main reason being that something that noticeably improves the capabilities of someone's character is one of the most effective ways to reward them and make feel as if they've made some progress.
I'm not sure Failbetter Games is interested in providing more accessible ships and equipment. I think the game is designed with the intention that combat is generally to be avoided at all costs until you can upgrade to a Corvette with better deck and forward guns. That being said, once you get over the hump of surviving long enough to uncover enough map and learn voyage routes that have a good profit margin, accessibility tends to accelerate significantly.


Lmaoboat wrote:
I think the first thing that could be done is given each background a starting ship that plays differently from the others, for example, Iron would could start with no deck gun but two forward slots for some more riskier but deadlier combat, or Veils could start with some sort of enhanced smuggling capability.
Two guns of any sort on a starter ship is unbalanced. I think a more balanced approach would be to give a slightly better gun, i.e. the Denunciation, for the soldier and new Auxiliary or Bridge items that give appropriate moderate bonuses for the other background selections.


Lmaoboat wrote:
From there players could be given access to a wider variety of ship equipment for various character levels from stores, story rewards, and salvaging from defeated enemies, which would help bridge that large gulf where you're spending the majority of the game with the starter ship and equipment.
There are already several storylines that give players unique equipment (Awakened Sea of the Red Science which can evolve into Memento Mori, Serpentine Engine, Black Icarus). Are you thinking of something similar to those but somewhat simpler to obtain for weaker items? One way they could do this is by changing your default officer's storyline so that resolving it gives you such an item (e.g. instead of my cook just running to shore and saying bye bye).


Lmaoboat wrote:
IEngines are something I think would need to be looked at first due to obfuscated the way speed, fuel efficiency, and weight interact that confuses new players.
You'll find a lot of players agree on this. I'm not sure we even have a detailed understanding of how these factors interplay with one another (I know I don't).


Lmaoboat wrote:
I think they could be binary weight ranges to determine what sizes of ships they should go in
That would address a lot of the disappointment that players feel when they find larger engines to be a net loss for their ship.


Lmaoboat wrote:
and then given a wider variety of capabilities, like full power duration, turn rate, noise reduction, fuel efficiency, weather slowdown resistance, and so on.
Fuel efficiency already exists for two engines as does noise reduction for one (from a practical perspective). Turn rate is dependent on the ship and shouldn't be affected by the engine. Given how infrequently it factors into the game, I don't know if any player would ever choose weather slow down resistance over fuel efficiency. I guess full power duration could be useful for some players.


Lmaoboat wrote:
The higher end glim lamps that don't affect your stealth are pretty cool, but overall I think they're too expensive for the benefits they provide.
Awakened Sea of the Red Science is not expensive or particularly hard to obtain.


Lmaoboat wrote:
They, too, could use more variety with capabilities like have narrower but faster firing solution
A Lump of Blue Scintillack instantly resets your firing solution. Anything that boosts mirrors, like Awakened Sea of the Red Science reduces firing solution time. Actually reducing the firing solution time would be unbalanced once you realize what the equivalent in Mirror Skill would be to achieve the same result.


Lmaoboat wrote:
varying terror reduction and fuel consumption, or more powerful ones that slow or slightly damage enemies caught in the beam.
Allowing different ship slots to affect similar things in the game can lead to balance issues from stacking. The avoidance of this is probably deliberate on the part of Failbetter, and even if it's not intentional, it's good game design to avoid this for that reason.

Lmaoboat wrote:
Weapons are pretty good, I think, apart from how long it takes to get a ship with anything other than a deck slot, which leaves you with little to experiment with.
A Corvette does not take that long to obtain. Some players don't think that anything other than a Cruiser or Frigate is worth upgrading but that's their loss. The Corvette makes for a good upgrade and lets you handle anything in the game other than objectives that require you to move 20 units of X from point A top point B. You can still cover a lot of story and make a lot of echoes before getting a second upgrade to finish off those objectives.

Lmaoboat wrote:
Combat, while not as big an issue, is something I think could do with a lot of improvement. I think one step toward this would be to allow players to safely use full power to the engines as long as they keep an eye on the engine temperature. My reasoning for this is that you could have combat built around the idea of players having a reliable way to dodge
You already do have a reliable way to dodge if you have better ship and engine than the ones you start off with. If the game is designed to not make combat particularly viable for most of the content until you get a Corvette with good guns then this is probably something that the developers will not want to pursue. I guess it all depends on what their intentions are regarding where combat viability should really begin.
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MisterGone
MisterGone
Posts: 139

3/10/2015
Dagmar wrote:

Two guns of any sort on a starter ship is unbalanced. I think a more balanced approach would be to give a slightly better gun, i.e. the Denunciation, for the soldier and new Auxiliary or Bridge items that give appropriate moderate bonuses for the other background selections.


This I like. That'd be a good way to help differentiate background choice more.

Though what would the Poet and Priest get? Urchin might get a quiet engine that adds more Veils, Veteran a better Deck gun, Nat. Philosopher a decent starter lamp, but Poet and Priest are more esoteric.

Also, yeah, combat isn't really super feasible until you get a Corvette, and the Corvette is a great early game goal to shoot for. Really, it becomes TOO feasible for the Corvette, because once you have that you can probably take on most any monster in the game (one notable exception, but really only one), making upgrading to Frigate or Dreadnaught more or less redundant.

The tramp steamer being terrible is totally intentional. The goal is to learn to get around the limitations of the Steamer. When you can do that, you know how to play SS well.

The rest from the OP - well, I'm partial to agreeing on the idea of targeting acquisition degredation and the whole idea of differing arc and range values on guns, as well as having differing speeds of target aquisition based on range as well, but that's all because I think it would make the combat infinitely more tactical and dangerous, and hence a lot more fun.

Past that, I agree with Dagmar on most everything. A lot of what's suggested would be unbalancing in favor of making the game too easy too early. It's already really easy once you get past the initial difficulty wall. If anything the game needs to be harder past it, not easier during it.

--
If you'd ever like to enjoy a good round of pugilism or discussing the higher mysteries, Reginald Drownheart may be the dapper gentleman for you!

http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Reginald~Drownheart~
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Lmaoboat
Lmaoboat
Posts: 31

3/10/2015
Dagmar wrote:
I'm not sure Failbetter Games is interested in providing more accessible ships and equipment. I think the game is designed with the intention that combat is generally to be avoided at all costs until you can upgrade to a Corvette with better deck and forward guns. That being said, once you get over the hump of surviving long enough to uncover enough map and learn voyage routes that have a good profit margin, accessibility tends to accelerate significantly.

People got to have a reason to go over the hump. Even the first time through, the story only takes up a fairly small portion of the game, and making Salt Lion runs is far from engaging gameplay.


Dagmar wrote:

Two guns of any sort on a starter ship is unbalanced. I think a more balanced approach would be to give a slightly better gun, i.e. the Denunciation, for the soldier and new Auxiliary or Bridge items that give appropriate moderate bonuses for the other background selections.


Doesn't really need to be two, point more was that forward weapons have a different play style than your standard starter ship. I didn't really think most of my suggestions should be just put in without adjusting the current balance though.


Dagmar wrote:

There are already several storylines that give players unique equipment (Awakened Sea of the Red Science which can evolve into Memento Mori, Serpentine Engine, Black Icarus). Are you thinking of something similar to those but somewhat simpler to obtain for weaker items? One way they could do this is by changing your default officer's storyline so that resolving it gives you such an item (e.g. instead of my cook just running to shore and saying bye bye).



Unique equipment is usually mid to late game, and doesn't usually have much competition for that slot. Ideally the weaker ones would still be effective and varied enough to give you some interesting choices until you get the unique ones, and then here'd be a few more unique ones to choose from. as well.

Dagmar wrote:

Fuel efficiency already exists for two engines as does noise reduction for one (from a practical perspective). Turn rate is dependent on the ship and shouldn't be affected by the engine. Given how infrequently it factors into the game, I don't know if any player would ever choose weather slow down resistance over fuel efficiency. I guess full power duration could be useful for some players.


A player might not necessarily choose slow down resistance over fuel efficiency, but if in that Alteration they come across engines with that and some slightly better speed than the default, then I think that would make for a run unique to the last.

Dagmar wrote:

A Lump of Blue Scintillack instantly resets your firing solution. Anything that boosts mirrors, like Awakened Sea of the Red Science reduces firing solution time. Actually reducing the firing solution time would be unbalanced once you realize what the equivalent in Mirror Skill would be to achieve the same result.


Blue Scintillack is just an intermittent extra burst damage that synergies with everything, so I think any balance problems are probably the fault of the Scintillack. Reduced solution speed is just one suggestion, but the idea is it would be balanced by having a much more restrictive area of effect.


Dagmar wrote:

Allowing different ship slots to affect similar things in the game can lead to balance issues from stacking. The avoidance of this is probably deliberate on the part of Failbetter, and even if it's not intentional, it's good game design to avoid this for that reason.


I can't imagine game breaking stat stacking being that hard to work around, especially given the small amount of slots that could reasonably expected to modify those stats. And by fuel consumption, I meant the cost of using the light rather than overall efficiency.

Dagmar wrote:


A Corvette does not take that long to obtain. Some players don't think that anything other than a Cruiser or Frigate is worth upgrading but that's their loss. The Corvette makes for a good upgrade and lets you handle anything in the game other than objectives that require you to move 20 units of X from point A top point B. You can still cover a lot of story and make a lot of echoes before getting a second upgrade to finish off those objectives.



You already do have a reliable way to dodge if you have better ship and engine than the ones you start off with. If the game is designed to not make combat particularly viable for most of the content until you get a Corvette with good guns then this is probably something that the developers will not want to pursue. I guess it all depends on what their intentions are regarding where combat viability should really begin.

I think a Corvette is still past that hump though, and you can balance the ability to dodge around the enemies you're generally expected to be fighting in that sort of ship anyway. I supposed stronger enemies already punish weaker ships for not dodging, and making bigger ships more nimble doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but perhaps bigger ships could be less staggered by the attacks of bigger enemies.
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Lmaoboat
Lmaoboat
Posts: 31

3/10/2015
I don't really want the game to be "easier", just more varied.
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Dagmar
Dagmar
Posts: 25

3/10/2015
The reason to go over the hump is to explore and benefit from learning from exploring. I'm not talking about Salt Lion runs. That's a very finite loop which ends fairly early in the game and therefore has very limited redundancy. I also found it to be engaging towards the end as you discover two new factions as a result. The hump I'm talking about is learning the basic game mechanics and techniques to get echoes, fuel and supplies while netting decent profit in general by knowing how to explore without overextending You don't need a reason to go over the hump other than to want to play the game, i.e. to explore and learn more including things that can help you survive and profit with each port you discover.

The story doesn't take up a small portion of the game. I don't why you would say that. It's more than one story. It is several stories. It's the story of every single possible officer you can get in the game. It's the story of the patronages that you obtain and fulfill in the game. It's the story told by every single possible port action and dialogue you can unlock in the game. I suppose if you go through the entirety of the game several times it can seem that way but I don't see how one can say that all the dialogues and storylines are a small portion of the game. I still haven't done them all on my current and most successful run and I'm close to fulfilling my retirement objective which I will probably forgo to explore more first.
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Passionario
Passionario
Posts: 776

3/10/2015
Dagmar wrote:
Two guns of any sort on a starter ship is unbalanced.

On other hand, a starter ship that has a forward gun but doesn't have a deck one would be an interesting tradeoff.

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lexiconical
lexiconical
Posts: 19

3/14/2015
I like the item that allows you to use full engine power. I'm okay with the way things are. I'm using a dreadnought. I use the sunlight and tomb colonists a lot, and infinite port reports. Took me a while to realize that you could turn two strategic info into one vital info. I think that combining info with Great Game should be worth more, but not sure how much more.
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Gregg Johnson
Gregg Johnson
Posts: 263

3/14/2015
lexiconical wrote:
I think that combining info with Great Game should be worth more, but not sure how much more.

It's already "worth more" in the sense that it unlocks at a lower Mirrors stat. Once the other two are available you should never use that option.
edited by Olorin on 3/14/2015
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