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 22175 times)

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
As though all this wasn't bad enough, I'm also now having to deal with disabling the Agincourt while the capship battle's going on; in previous revisions I remember only having to worry about that once the escorts were down.
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.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I had a lot of trouble in the following mission, too, where you have to destroy the strike corvette that shows up as Serkr team departs. That thing always manages to kill the Indus, or me, or all of my wingmen. I finally got lucky by calling in Durgas which just completely annihilated the ship (by accident!) instead of going for the main beams. That seemed to work better, which seems backwards to me, but I think ordering pilots to attack the turrets just means they will be constantly repositioning while under fire instead of firing warheads. A simple destroy order means "shoot it wherever" and lands more hits, clearly.

Once I cleared those two missions, though, everything else in WiH 1 and 2 was a walk in the park by comparison. Even the showdown at Saturn against the Carthage and all those fighters and escort ships is a piece of cake when you can just Slammer entire wings out of the sky and pluck off heavy beams with impunity using the railgun. Very satisfying, especially after the nail-biting Agincourt saga. I even managed to save both civilian platforms in the previous mission! \o/

The biggest problems I have with difficulty in WiH come with escorting friendly ships. Even in the Carthage battle, all four of my ships almost died before the Imperieuse showed up. Maxim strikes are absolute hell for Karunas, and if you aren't packing an interceptor with an insane top speed (like the GTVA one you get to fly), you're not going to take out the Hercs before they do massive damage.

I think the UEF frigates need an armor overhaul, or more advanced self-repair systems (i.e. some health regen every so often). It shouldn't be possible for one wing of Hercs to take a Karuna from 100 down to 50 hull in 30 seconds. If you are caught up dealing with fighters or the Hercs spawn far from your location, you have no way to prevent them from dealing serious damage, far more damage than any bomber wing could ever hope to inflict. If I sent four Hercs to attack a Deimos with Maxims, or, hell, even a Rahu miner, I'm fairly sure they'd not drop it to 50% hull integrity that fast, even with sustained fire.

Frigates are the UEF's main workhorse, and look much bigger than Deimos and even Chimera / Bellerophon corvettes, yet they feel far, far more fragile. A frigate should be able to take on two Hyperions and a de-fanged Chimera without serious risk of destruction, let alone two frigates, but I failed The Plunder multiple times because one of the two died before we could finish cleaning up the capships (which, as Phantom Hoover noted, will totally wreck you if you stay too close). Further, when I did succeed, it was only barely. Each frigate was in critical condition when the mission ended. Same with the following mission: almost all of my failures were from the Indus going down or getting killed by the enemy corvette when attempting to prevent that outcome, rarely ever because of fighter cover.

Seems like a simple solution that would make a lot of missions much friendlier for the player would be to increase friendly ship durability. Maybe make them more resistant to Maxim rounds and lighter weapons from enemy capships, or boost health, or something. They should be most vulnerable to beams and torpedoes / bombs. Otherwise, they just feel like giant cruisers and go down nearly as fast. /2c
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 02:48:28 pm by Buff Skeleton »

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
No, a straight buff to frigate health would make a lot of these missions self-playing (especially as they do have limited health regen in a few spots!)

A Rahu and a Deimos will definitely go down faster than a Karuna: the Karuna is comparably well-armored to a Deimos, and benefits from an armor class (which the Rahu doesn't have).

Something I've been thinking about is giving larger ships an armor class that flat subtracts a small amount of damage from each impact. This would make big hits like torpedoes and beams more vital.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
That sounds like it would be a good way to reduce the battery they take from Maxim-toting Hercs, too. Sounds like a smart alternative.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I played around with The Plunder a lot tonight, and made a few minor changes all over —

The Kent got a slight hull buff and a major afterburner recharge buff
I improved the agility of the Paveway's terminal stage (I guess I could also enhance its speed...)
The UEF support ship is faster

The mission seems pretty beatable on Normal, though. It's very hard on Insane but so it should be.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Tweaks have been released in latest patch.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Very noticeable improvement -- was able to get through the mission in one piece the first time. It felt a lot easier, almost too easy now, but still pretty intense when the capships are going at it. I'm going to give it a couple more runs to see if this was just a fluke. Indus and Yangtze both finished with >30% hull this time, one around 40-50 I think.

One thing I've noticed is the support ship acts like a complete idiot sometimes, flying way off into nowhere, then holding still for 30 or so seconds, and then finally going to dock. I've also seen the support ship just give up on me many times and go for another fighter, though I still have the "abort rearm" option in my comms. This never was complemented with a "rearming sequence aborted" message or anything, and the "Support Ship: Busy" status box disappears. I was out of the fight for a few minutes waiting on its lazy ass to come patch me up :) I had to cancel and then re-request a rearm to get it to cooperate a few times. Not sure what's up with that.

Only other issue is the escape pods aren't targetable with the "target next nearest enemy" function, which I use extensively. I keep the "target thing in your reticle" bound to my mouse wheel, though, so that worked fine, but it makes it easy to think you've mopped up when you still have stuff to destroy.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
It's a pretty old issue with the Kent's rearming path. The ss will sometimes fly off a few kilometres above you before slowly descending to dock. It shouldn't be happening with an Uhlan, Uriel, or any of the GTVA ships.
quadpost of ultimate whinery

Git gud, son :P
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Offline CT27

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
No, a straight buff to frigate health would make a lot of these missions self-playing (especially as they do have limited health regen in a few spots!)

A Rahu and a Deimos will definitely go down faster than a Karuna: the Karuna is comparably well-armored to a Deimos, and benefits from an armor class (which the Rahu doesn't have).

Something I've been thinking about is giving larger ships an armor class that flat subtracts a small amount of damage from each impact. This would make big hits like torpedoes and beams more vital.

Storyline wise if the UEF ships got buffed too much, people would wonder how the UEF is militarily losing right now to the GTVA, correct?

 

Offline Darius

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
The Alliance does have strong weapons, but the causes of the Federation's dire military straits are manifold.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
All right, I've griped about the stuff that gave me a hard time. Now I want to call out all the good experiences I had, focusing on gameplay since this is the balance thread (though wanted to note that the technical implementation, narrative, and art direction have been consistently fantastic throughout the entire series).

Everything is Permitted
Holy ****. This has got to be one of the tensest missions I've ever flown -- hell, one of the tensest experiences in a game ever. The tactical options available are fantastic, too. I didn't try all of them, but I found lots of success with a combination. The only issue I had was trying to use a Mjolnir to kill the transport -- I had one fire, but it didn't destroy (or even hit) the transport, and I think another Mjolnir actually took out my hacked one shortly after I powered it up. Then I got splashed because I was confused by the lack of transport destruction and scrambled to take it out myself, but obviously failed :p

Everything from the very beginning of the mission right to the supercharged action sequence (which only lasts about 10 seconds if you do it right) is a nail-biter beyond belief. I loved sneaking around at Artemis station and checking out things I could hack, and figuring out which transport is your target is an interesting mechanic too. All the decoy traffic chatter is believable, and I like how it's even subtly relevant. All the other ships in the area make the station feel more lifelike, too, like the drydocked Deimos and the transports and stuff.

I really like how the enemy patrols were implemented. They can see you, and if they do, the mission is over... but you get so much more warning and capability to evade than similar missions, like that goddamn scouting mission in Freespace 1 where you fly the Dragon. Ugh, I HATED that! This one takes the same style of gameplay and actually makes it a whole lot of fun instead of a frustrating scan fest where missing a single target = failure. BTW, I loved the reference to that FS1 mission later on in the Dreamscape. Got a huge laugh out of me.

Probably the best part, though, is when you know your target, you've deployed your beacon, and now are just trying to decide -- under extreme pressure -- when to open Pandora's box. Nerves, nerves, nerve, my god. As soon as you fire that EMP missile, it is ON. I end up deploying the transport just a bit before I fire, letting the escort go after the suicide, then close in and hammer the **** out of the transport before activating the sensor scrambler, burning like hell, and jumping. I never tried to power down or attack the AWACS, since I figured those would be suicidal unless you did things REALLY carefully!

Just a fantastic, well-made mission with extremely unconventional (and highly satisfying) gameplay. Solid work.

Her Finest Hour
Who hasn't raved about this one? One of the most epic engagements in Freespace by far, and there's a lot of epic battles to choose from. The mission is balls-hard if you are reckless, and yet, still offers enough wiggle room to allow for diverse tactics. Player agency is at its maximum here. Being able to control every aspect of the tactical battlescape is intimidating at first, but immensely satisfying when you start to see your decisions playing out successfully. And I loved the music choice for when you declare the attack. That + watching your artillery frigates pounding away on the damaged-but-still-formidable destroyer is one hell of an experience.

Being able to accept the Carthage's surrender was a welcome surprise, too. As a Freespace player who remembers the Carthage and Dashor mission, and who was moved by the description of Admiral Lopez' care for her crew, I never wanted to destroy it, even though I could see why the character I'm playing might. So it was nice to be able to take that route. I only wish there was more direct reference to the actual choice you made in the following narrative rather than generalized "I did what I had to do, now let's not think about it anymore" stuff, though I can imagine writing tons of branching dialogue is a giant pain in the ass and there was already a lot of good stuff for the Gef colony. Which brings me to...

One Future
When I first played BP and WiH, I was playing on Medium. It was hard, but definitely survivable. This was the first mission where I realized, OK, I need to tone things down, because I got my ASS kicked multiple times in a row. I chalk that up to unfamiliarity with the capship battle controls. I fled immediately to the reactor core, took out the colony, and bailed. The haunting debrief made me feel genuinely chilled, so I decided to refly and Do Better(TM). I also had the two Gef cruisers to deal with due to my mercy-weakness in the first Fedayeen mission :) Nice touch! I eventually managed to win the "good" way.

On my second run though WiH, I kept the difficulty at Medium, and this time, I was the one who kicked some serious ass, and it was amazing. Flying that cruiser has to be one of the coolest things I've seen done in this engine. The mission went a lot better the second time around since I'd gotten the hang of targeting, swapping missiles, gliding, and smarter tactical usage of the shield boost / self-repair system. I also didn't have the extra Gef cruisers to contend with since I'd popped off the Gef survivor in Mission 1, knowing what would happen later if I didn't. That definitely made duking it out with the MacDuff a lot less difficult, but still not a cakewalk!

Taking down the fighter wings was an interesting tactical shift, too, after the MacDuff went down. I liked being able to unload on slow bombers with CAPSHIP WEAPONS, which made me feel just immensely powerful in a hilarious kind of way. Though it was still tense clearing a path for the transport, since if you wait too long to deploy it, you're screwed. Fortunately, the enemy fighters and sentry guns seem content to focus on the big bad rather than the marine dropship sneaking in to their base.

Love, love, love this mission. Great music for it, too, as usual.

The Great Preservers and Keepers of Hell
FIGHTER-MOUNTED BEAMS AND STUPID-FAST FLAK GUNS. You had me at hello. And then we also get subspace missiles and those flechette things?! God damn, flying Vishnan fighters is satisfying as all hell. Pulping Nahemas in milliseconds is something I never expected to see in Freespace, but here we are!

This mission is no walk in the park, either. If you don't make good use of your wing...things, and take care to nullify warship beams, your Keeper is going down. Bat**** crazy powerful weapons can't be used all over the battlefield all at the same time, so you have to think and act carefully despite the overwhelming firepower and agility you're given. It's a great combination.

Universal Truth
This was one hell of an epic firestorm of a battle. Escort missions usually irk me, but the sheer amount of ordnance on display, the high-stakes narrative, the two superjuggernauts slugging it out ahead, and the massive waves of Shivan fighters and bombers made it into the best kind of escort. I didn't have a lot of trouble keeping ships alive, either. There's not a lot of complexity to this mission, but it's a blast to play through. Really makes you feel like you're fighting for something so, so much bigger than yourself.

Eyes in the Storm
Can't not mention this one for the sheer novelty of a tower defense mission in Freespace 2, of all things! It was well-executed for what could have been an unplayably buggy mess, too. It's tense at times, but compared to the other missions, felt a bit too easy, and it also seems like the turrets sometimes don't deploy reliably or open fire when you'd expect them to, and I never got the rearm to work. But otherwise, it's a hell of a great experience. The atmospheric setting looks awesome, and the inbound Supernova strike was really terrifying as well.

I only wish you had a few more waves to fight off and there was greater emphasis on the turrets you place. Being able to fly an Uriel was an immensely welcome change of pace, though. Definitely my favorite UEF ship (so far)! I also like how you can swap the Archer out for a UX Accelerator. I tried out some Warhammers last time, but it doesn't seem like they did as much damage as I thought they would. Darts seem more effective. Also, is it just me, or does anyone else think "User Experience Accelerator" when they see that weapon? :p

Pawns on a Board of Bone and Delenda Est
I really enjoyed these from a gameplay perspective mainly because they introduce the Uriel's utter badassery. Being able to snipe off capital ship turrets at long range is immensely satisfying, and then having the capability to absolutely wreck any fighters that dare close in with six (!) Rapiers is amazing, not to mention the two Gattlers which are also incredibly satisfying to fire. Having a turret seems almost like overkill on these beasts. And when you use Slammers to annihilate entire wings at long range... holy hell. Raw power.


Overall, the unconventional missions have been the most entertaining so far (i.e. pretty much all of the WiH 2 missions trump WiH 1 and AoA), though there are definitely some great brawlers in the mix with straightforward goals. I hope to see some more AoA-esque major engagements with Shivans in subsequent campaigns, especially using UEF assets. Uriels vs. Ravanas would be pretty interesting, if hilariously easy for the Uriels... unless the Shivans deploy like 10 wings, which certainly seems likely given the numbers seen in AoA. Good stuff. Can't wait to see what crazy Fredding you guys pull off for the final chapters.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 10:36:27 am by Buff Skeleton »

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Just a very small stupid comment: the fudging in AoA's Temeraire blockade mission is too obvious, when each Rakshasa's beam turrets take all your payload to destroy, while the Ravana's main beam turrets only need two missiles and a few pew pew shots to take them down.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Just a very small stupid comment: the fudging in AoA's Temeraire blockade mission is too obvious, when each Rakshasa's beam turrets take all your payload to destroy, while the Ravana's main beam turrets only need two missiles and a few pew pew shots to take them down.

Are they actually fudged, or is that just a side effect of how ridiculously tiny Rakshasa beam turrets are? I've always had trouble killing those, even in retail.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Just a very small stupid comment: the fudging in AoA's Temeraire blockade mission is too obvious, when each Rakshasa's beam turrets take all your payload to destroy, while the Ravana's main beam turrets only need two missiles and a few pew pew shots to take them down.

I don't think anything is fudged there.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
I have no idea what is the problem then. The difference in how much harder to destroy the Rakshasa beam turrets compared to the Ravana ones is ridiculous, when in terms of ship lore, it should be the other way around...

I'm not complaining, it's just that I'm going through a new run and after trying to destroy those first cruiser's beams, I thought it would be near impossible to destroy the Ravana's for I had almost no missiles at that point. And then, lo and behold, I barely shot a few times plus two missiles and bam it was done. That was really odd.

Now, I'm just pissed at that Meridian mission, mostly because I'm dumb and a bad pilot. Also hilarious are the various recommendations. First I got one that told me "hey why not take that Meridian main beam first?", then another failed mission debriefing one came along with "absolutely stay the **** out of main capital ships and let gamma deal with the Meridian". Each time I read these dozen or so recommendations, they always say something different, and it pisses me off. YEAH I know, I'm doing everything wrong, just gimme a break ****ing hell.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
That is definitely a tough nut to crack. I never tried ordering Gamma to attack the main beams, but I think that may be the safest bet, since I always went in for them myself and usually took a hell of a pounding from some fighters. The wiki article on that mission suggests sending Gamma to take out the beams while you surge forward and destroy the Ares fighters, which will otherwise obliterate Gamma with Trebuchets. Sounds like a decent strategy to me, so maybe give that a shot?

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Just kill Aquarius at the start, Delta ought to get those beams 100% of the time!

You don't need to give them any orders (nor can you).

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
That's the thing, I think they didn't, at least not before it was able to do some damage to the Indus and its twin. That's when I got that recommendation telling me it was perhaps, maybe, why not a good idea to take those beams out. Been doing that since then. It kinda goes downhill from there, where I do get to destroy all those maxim troublemakers and everyone else, but somehow I'm still missing something for, for some reason, either Indus or the other one always goes down. It's "git gud" time I guess. I just have to play it less haphazardly.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
If you keep Delta alive, run away until the Maxim strike shows up, and then spam "1" at them with your long range missiles, the rest of the mission should basically play itself.

 
Re: Thoughts on Blue Planet Complete difficulty [POLL]
Hi all,
I played WiH on it's first release back when the Karuna was unoptimised and the Diomedes was as asymmetrical, it's interesting to see all the small changes over time. This isn't the first time I've re-played since then but it is the first re-run I've done since voice acting, playing on normal mode.
Overall I've found the missions play as they were although I've only just got through Aristeia. In act one the only real change I found was that the maxim strikes on Post Mederian seemed more potent, previously I found that after killing the Ares fighters the Meridian was de-fanged and I could just watch the fireworks. Now I have to chase down Hercs to stop them and the Juarez killing a frigate, that's not a bad thing just a bit of a surprise.

In act two so far I've found The Plunder a bit harder, perfectly doable but the frigates took more of a pounding than they used to.

Aristeia seems to have gotten much more difficult partly it seems because it takes the frigates and torpedo two, too long to drive Serkr from the battlespace. Two of those corvettes were still around when the Medea jumped in; I recall in previous versions the corvettes were critical and pulling out by the time the Medea arrives. Having Serkr around makes it much harder to save Torpedo Two as they are shooting at the cruisers while the Medea is beaming. The fact that paveways can be shot down also makes it much harder to de-beam the Medea. Strangely the Hydra was still around even after the Medea had been killed and it jumped out with most of it's health still left, which just seemed odd. I played the mission again in the tech room just to be sure it wasn't a one off and took a screen grab to illustrate. Maybe this is all working as intended but IMO the mission flowed better before.

Aside from Aristeia the difficulty of the other missions seem fine, although I haven't gotten to the end yet. I don't want to sound too gripey because the work you guys have done on Blue Planet over the years has been amazing.

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