Poll

What did you think about BPC difficulty

Consistently too easy
1 (1.3%)
Consistently too hard
5 (6.5%)
Generally balanced
36 (46.8%)
Some missions were too hard(post which)
34 (44.2%)
Some missions which were supposed to be hard were too easy(post which)
1 (1.3%)

Total Members Voted: 77

Author Topic: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]  (Read 21821 times)

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Jumps don't have to be more accurate if you have assets in the area. It's just that having assets in the area helps you know where the **** you need to jump in the first place. Unless, of course, you have ridiculously powerful sensors that can poinpoint enemy locations down to the kilometre from half a system away.
Yes, you're right, that's generally what I meant.

Reread earlier posts in this thread. All your questions have been answered, in particular #2.

FS2 is full of ships, even and especially cruiser-and-corvette sized warships, popping in roughly within the engagement zone but not in any kind of optimum attack position.
I'm not talking about a situation where a ship approaches for 15-20 seconds or turn over a bit, it's totally understandable. In AoA the distance is far bigger - so big you could repel 2-3 waves of fighters before enemy gets close enough.

Ships arriving significantly beyond fire range are a minority. I didn't count them, but the very few that come to my mind are Maelstrom and Repulse. Perhaps you'll find several more, but rather not many. Ships arriving in fire range are met almost every mission.

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The Orestes positioned itself for the engagement using its subspace agility, its sublight speed, and the advantages gained by spending a long while leading the Sath around by the nose and observing its pursuit behavior.
Yes, and I'm ok with it. Orestes tactics was logical assuming it had no ability to warp out at that time. 

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It's ezpz to think of this stuff using the tools the BP setting provides you. Just come at the mission with the question 'why does it work like this?' not 'why DOESN'T it work like this?' What happens in the missions by definition makes sense: it's the canonical material. If it happens, there must be a good reason for it.

All fictional universes are ultimately built on arbitrary rules created by humans. They are not the merciless and autonomous issue of a blind tautological physics.

Understand this, and you can move from 'but this doesn't make sense' to 'what does this say, and what clues can we obtain from it?' This is how BP resolves all the weird inconsistencies between FS1 and FS2, for example. They must be true because they are present in the gameplay. What could explain them?

So we go back to your initial statement: things don't happen in BP for gameplay reasons. Fiction works with gameplay and vice versa.

It's your right to create lore as you wish, put things in missions in a way you wish and even not explain things accurately. It's your campaign. And AoA is a great campaign despite those small plotholes I mentioned.

It's just after you stated everything in BP has logic behind, I was curious how you would elaborate those few moments I always thought their only explanation is to make mission more attractive and deeper.

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
All fictional universes are ultimately built on arbitrary rules created by humans. They are not the merciless and autonomous issue of a blind tautological physics.

Understand this, and you can move from 'but this doesn't make sense' to 'what does this say, and what clues can we obtain from it?' This is how BP resolves all the weird inconsistencies between FS1 and FS2, for example. They must be true because they are present in the gameplay. What could explain them?

Huh.  I shall mull over this.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
It's just after you stated everything in BP has logic behind, I was curious how you would elaborate those few moments I always thought their only explanation is to make mission more attractive and deeper.

You can use the information presented in BP on Shivan behavior, subspace tactics, and the 'command authority' present in AoA to understand why the Shivans jump in where they do.

How does the Lucifer engage the Orestes in AoA?

How does the SD Tantalus engage the Bastion in FS1?

What can you see happening there?

We try never to do anything 'just' to make the mission better. A thoughtful player should be able to look at an enemy behavior and imagine a reason why it happened.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
How does the Lucifer engage the Orestes in AoA?
Same story - it's too far away and it's hard to explain it realistically, other than it's for gameplay reasons. But it doesn't bother me from enjoying the mission at all.

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How does the SD Tantalus engage the Bastion in FS1

What can you see happening there?
Well, FS1 is a totally different story, as capships are almost defenceless there and their primary role is deploying fightercraft, so it's logical they try to remain far away from each other. Tactics of space warfare underwent a complete evolution between FS1 and FS2.

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We try never to do anything 'just' to make the mission better. A thoughtful player should be able to look at an enemy behavior and imagine a reason why it happened.
That's what I was trying to figure out here. Sure I can make up any reason to make all the pieces somehow fit together, but I was curious if an official explanation of some mission events exists. Now I know :).

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I'm trying to lead you to an answer here. What's different between the FS2 Shivans and the AoA Shivans? What's the link connecting the Tantalus engagement to the standoff attacks in AoA? How can you use what you know about Shivan totipotence and animas to explain the different Shivan behavior?

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Different animas managing the different engagements?  Death of the lucifer perhaps?

e:  Wait wait wait, so are you saying that the AoA shivans are being managed by the lucifer anima whereas its dead meat in the fs2 universe?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 02:12:29 am by QuakeIV »

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Yeah

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
That is... an interesting thought.

e:  Time to replay all the FS1 and AoA stuff.

 

Offline Nyctaeus

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
If the Shivans use quantum pulses or/and subspace communication, why each fleet need separate anima? I was actually thinking that Shivans are acting like single mind. A single emanation of Nagari superbeing. If the communication between the shivans is happening in real time despite actual distance, there should be no need of individuality for animas for each fleet. In practice all the shivans in the universe would be able to know what happen to any other individual shivan even despite distance between them. Space in case of Nagari communication might be virtually noexisting.

And BTW. I was always wondering how you created the whole Nagari thing, guys. Is this based on some non-mainstrem science theories [like the one by dr. Ervin Laszlo] or you were inspired by older concepts? Akasha's Sphere for example? I've seen this concept many times over the years.
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Offline Snarks

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I don't think the Shivans have that kind of ability to instantly communicate. We know the Lucifier guided the first Shivan incursion. We also know that in FS2, there are what seems to be Shivan comm nodes. So taking the logic that Blue Planet's lore builds on events in FS, it seems more likely that animas are necessary to coordinate Shivans.

We also know the Shivans/Vishnan have been able to communicate to select Nagari compatible individuals, but the fact that they pick a few individuals seems to suggest it's resource intensive. When the Fedayeen communicate in the Dreamscape, they seem to require specialized devices. There are in canon a lot more Nagari sensitive individuals, but only a few are ever present in the Dreamscape. The Dreamscape we see is a localized environment. We see two gates representing different segments of Nagari space.  All this suggests that Nagari space does have distance in it, which means no free communication.

Another explanation might be that Nagari sensitive individuals are susceptible to manipulation, in which case, the Shivans keep the majority of their vessels insensitive in order to prevent them from being hijacked. The Lucifier and Shivan comm nodes probably serve as their Nagari interfaces. Those in turn can guide the rest of the Shivans. Rather than a single Shivan Nagari superbeing, I suspect the Shivan animas form a gestalt entity, similar to Al'Dawa.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
The Shivans are exactly the opposite of a single mind. Their architecture is actively hostile to high-level coordination and cognition. Communication is purposefully obfuscated and any higher-order movement towards efficiency and networking is jammed up by local resistance.

There are no Shivan 'individuals' in the sense of self-aware entities in a body who run around doing stuff. Or, well, there may be a few, but they are not exactly type specimens.

Nagari is inspired mostly by FreeSpace 1, digital physics, Teilhard, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I see what you were saying about the Tantalus.

And now, sleep.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Not sure what you mean, but I could probably oneshot medium or maybe even hard without using any of my prophetic prescience. I'd bet most of the people who regularly play on insane could oneshot most campaigns on medium or below. And it's not like our 'skillset' is above what a real combat pilot should have. It's probably below that.

Then again, even furyAI isn't good enough to give the player a real challenge even on insane. You still have to use superior numbers and conlifcting objectives.

Though if this was 'real life' the only difficulty option would be insane, as that's the only difficulty that doesn't give the player artificial damage reduction and magic reactors that refill your shields and guns 2 times faster.

Okay, this is feedback from a guy who's been playing Freespace 2 for quite some time, but really just pops in now and then to enjoy the new content.

It's very, very clear these mods are designed for Freespace 2, and I do mean Freespace 2, veterans.

Now that's fine, as long as you understand that for 90% of players, they are going to fail, multiple times, completing these missions. I did, and I've done Ironman runs of FS1 and FS2 on medium (death = campaign restart).

In AoA, you could complete the game without much difficulty, it was expertly crafted, and in general gave you time to react to new situations. But if you don't know that Ravana is jumping behind the Temerarie? You're going to lose, period.

WiH is generally much harder than that. You WILL fail each mission over and over. The mission to engage the Hood had so many directives, it's really not possible to defeat unless you know exactly what to do and when. Nyx fighters are tough as nails and can chew you up in seconds. Staying within a Frigate's flak cover shouldn't mean, "hiding behind a hull until half of them are dead." Failing to disarm a beam or an AWACS is a death sentence.

Now, trial and error is an acceptable way to make a game difficult. Look at Dark Souls. That requires "Edge of Tomorrow" like reflexes, planning, etc.

But it is important to state that for an average person that plays FS2, and makes the jump to WiH, the difficulty is going to be jacked. I realize this is a conscious choice. But, well, "ALPHA ONE DO EVERYTHING" is a perfectly legitimate critique of Act 3, even for it's great highs. And I played Act 3 before the training missions were added! :P

The easiest way to deal with this would be to have one or two "sub battles" within a mission. There should also be enough time to complete them, such as breaking off to deal with a large flanking bomber force with escort. Or a small cruiser group coming in from above. Crucial to the battle, but not in the middle of a meat grinder all the time.

For specifics, the Hood mission's difficulty for me was borked. Same with the platform defense mission where you had to disarm the beams of the GTVA corvette.

The end of Act 2 was great with the battle with the Carthage. Her Finest Hour and the Elder Assassination mission were fine in their polished form. Harsh, but fair.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 01:53:24 pm by manwiththemachinegun »

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Staying within a Frigate's flak cover shouldn't mean, "hiding behind a hull until half of them are dead."

Several people have stated this before but it's really not necessary. It's just about how good you are at big furbally dogfights. Though with the GTVA fighters and weapons dealing much more damage than any Shivan fighter it brings the difficulties closer, at least in terms of time to kill. Medium makes the player take 66% damage but that means instead of getting killed in 2 seconds by a Nyx you get killed in 3 seconds(that's with balors only, if you get hit by Tornados you'll evaporate almost instantly).  You live 50% longer, sure, but it's still quite short if you haven't mastered dogfighting against multiple opponents.
Against Shivans those numbers would probably be 6 seconds vs 9 seconds or something like that, and faster shield regeneration comes into play once you're not getting bursted so quickly. Maybe some table tweaking should be done to make Medium a bit easier.

[19:31] <MatthTheGeek> you all high up on your mointain looking down at everyone who doesn't beam everything on insane blindfolded

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
First Run is the difficulty to play on for your first run!

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
OK, I've got some thoughts on The Plunder.

I genuinely can't figure out a way to beat this one on "higher" difficulties. I played it on I think Second Run the first time through and, while I died a few times, I did finish it. I think it's a great mission on paper, and has a lot of potential to be truly challenging and fun every single time while offering a variety of ways to succeed, but right now it's just frustrating. I'm playing WiH on Medium. I had some trouble with a few of the earlier missions, but nothing like this. The difficulty spike is extreme.

I can finish the retail FS2 campaign on Hard without much trouble except for the SOC mission where you defend the Iceni -- I found that one to be impossible to beat above Medium because the Iceni's hull goes from 100 to 0 at unimaginable speeds, and you don't have the firepower or armor to deal with the Sobek yourself directly, etc.

Firstly, general WiH game balance problems that I've noticed:
  • UEF Interceptors feel like they're made of tissue paper and shielded with hopes and dreams. While this is somewhat expected for an interceptor, I've always felt a lot tougher in a Perseus every single time I've flown one compared to the Kentauroi
  • Paveways are extremely difficult to use and ineffective when you do. In an interceptor, you can only carry six of them, and it takes at least two to kill a single beam cannon on a single ship (!), AND they can be shot down, making their one and only advantage -- range -- absolutely useless. Even Stiletto IIs were better since they at least didn't need a lock, had longer range, lesser refire delay, and tended to hit hard if you got them to land. The description on the weapon selection screen says Paveways have some kind of stealth, though I have never seen enemy ships struggle to shoot them down unless there's a ton of them in the air at the same time coming from multiple angles (i.e. a bunch of your wingmen open fire as a group), or you close to extremely short range
  • Scalpels feel horrible at killing subsystems compared to even the retail Akheton SDG despite the high ROF
  • All other early- and mid-game weapons are geared toward killing fighters. The best anti-hull weapons are mounted on Uriels which you can't enjoy until much later in the story. There is no analogue to the Prometheus S for the UEF. If the Maul is supposed to be that, it fails horribly due to its short range, and it doesn't even feel as powerful as the Prometheus
  • Why does BP not show weapon ranges? This makes loadout / tactical decisions a lot harder to make and seems weird and artificial to me

My experience with the mission itself:
  • If you go straight for the Siren's beams, it takes enough time to kill even one that other cruisers and fighters will be ready to shred you before you can pull out and return to the frigates. And that's if your Paveways actually manage to hit their targets
  • If you go for the fighters, you'll inevitably wind up inside the AA envelope of the cruisers and get shredded
  • If you go for the cruisers' subsystems or turrets, you don't have the firepower to do any significant damage to the overall threat, enemy fighters will come after you, point defenses will hammer you, and you will be shredded
  • If you go for the Auroras, you'll either be drawn into the fighter / AA cluster**** and be shredded, or you'll spend too much time hunting them down to help with other critical objectives before one of your friendly ships goes kablooey
  • If you try any of the above EXCEPT going straight for the Siren's beams, your wingmen will take out at most 2 of them, and one of your frigates will be pummeled. Ignoring the beams means your friendly ships will not survive long enough to take out the cruisers or the corvette, and you will fail
  • I've also noticed that the Kentauroi can't carry Slammers in Bank 2, yet the AI wingmen carry them there just fine -- intended or bug?

I see these being the biggest problems with The Plunder overall:
  • There are multiple Perseus and Erinyes fighters with incredibly effective anti-fighter weaponry, which while believable story-wise, makes this mission extremely hard even if you spend all your time dogfighting and try to avoid capital ships
  • Your friendly ships' best long-range weapons -- the torpedoes -- are jammed by a wing of fighters that are nimble and far away from the start point of the battle, making it nearly impossible to take them out early enough for the torpedoes to start helping you -- AND on top of that, you also have to take out comm subsystems on cruisers, which is already extremely difficult
  • Frigate health is far less than you'd expect for a ship of that size, meaning at least one will be below 50% hull before you even notice, even if you manage to somehow take out all three of the Siren's beams and survive long enough to avoid the cluster**** in the center of the battlefield
  • Your ship is massively undergunned and underarmored for the tasks at hand. It has awful survivability, even for an interceptor, given how prevalent rapid-fire turrets and beams and enemy fighters with rapid-fire main guns are
  • Your own weapon selection is limited to anti-fighter duties when you have multiple capital ships to contend with as well. There are no effective long-range weapons available for this mission despite how critical it is you remain well away from cruisers

It seems to me this is the kind of mission where a Herc II would be ideal: you've got solid armor, good shields, huge secondary weapon banks, and good weapon mounts for a Subach / Kayser paired with a Prometheus S / Maxim / even Akheton. You can then fill the secondaries with Tornadoes / Hornets and Trebuchets / Stilettos / EMPs. You'd be able to disarm capital ships from a safe range or, at the least, survive when you close in to clear out some of the anti-fighter turrets. You'd also have the survivability and firepower to contend with the fighter screen, and the maneuverability to dogfight where a strike bomber would struggle. There are no bombers to intercept, so you don't need interceptor speed and agility. You need pummeling power and a thick skin.

The UEF has no such heavy assault fighter, which makes missions like this one really hard. I get why -- ship models as high quality as what we've got in BP are not easy to make -- but there really needs to be some more ship selection. Even considering the UEF is the underdog faction here and have lost tons of ground to the GTVA, they should still have had some more variety to their navy way before the Tevs showed up. But all we have are space superiority fighters, interceptors, and gunships. Hell, I'd even take a retail Morning Star if I could. The kinetic effect of that gun is seriously underrated around here.

Some possible solution ideas:
  • Increase Paveway effectiveness. This could be done in a variety of ways: give it significant splash damage, make it unshootable, increase range, decrease refire delay, increase projectile speed, increase damage, increase missile capacity, allow more weapon banks to carry them, make its movement more serpentine like a swarmer missile to dodge pulse lasers, or a combination of any of these
  • Introduce a UEF heavy assault fighter before or at this mission. We need one!
  • Increase the survivability of the Kentauroi: more armor and/or better shields
  • Decrease the enemy presence or weaken them: fewer fighters or fighters armed with less effective weapons, or swap Erinyes with Myrmidons, etc.
  • Make unjamming friendly ships' torpedo launchers easier to accomplish (i.e. just kill the Auroras, no comm subsystems) or remove the jamming altogether
  • Introduce a Prometheus S analogue for the UEF: long range, solid hull damage, high energy drain... but good for hitting cruisers and beam cannons just outside the AA danger zone
  • Increase effectiveness of the Scalpel: much longer range than the SDG, or comparable damage + power usage

Thoughts? Am I doin' it wrong? How do you guys manage this on Insane? The only thing I haven't tried yet is flying an Uhlan instead, but I don't get the impression that's going to help much, if at all, for this one.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
The Rapier is the UEF's Prom S "equivalent".

The Paveway can't be shot down until it goes into its terminal attack phase — it's untargetable until it gets close.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
...wait, really? I thought it became targetable a set distance from being fired, which is hugely different.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I believe it's contingent on distance.

The Plunder is pretty hard and I will be playing through it a few times to see how it feels. I am slightly concerned there's been a crash in player TTK over the past few updates.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I am slightly concerned there's been a crash in player TTK over the past few updates.

Woah, are you guys actually able to gather stats on that, or is this just a rough impression from player feedback? I'm assuming TTK = Time To Kill, or how long until the player dies, right?