WP Stagnation

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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby Crucis on Thu 20 Dec 2012 14:23

Dawn Falcon wrote:
Crucis wrote:Yeah, something along those lines. I don't want them to have much endurance, mostly to prevent them from being used as anything other than a WP assault weapon


Totally. You do NOT want to get into the situation you can in Ultra with "inter-system ballistic missile" MAD. (Drone2-DEEP with XO's...)


Yikes!!! :o


The thing that sort of bugs me about Ultra's armed drones is that they seem a LOT like 3E fighters, just without pilots. They can have XO racks. They can have internally mounted beam weapons. They are organized into squadrons. And so on. And people complained about how potent 3E fighter beam weapons were? Yikes!
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Thu 20 Dec 2012 15:12

Crucis wrote:I'll have to look at how minefields and energy buoys handle targeting issues. But my first inclination is that drones should have a priority list of targets. The first priority should be something along the lines of what you say. But given that these weapons are intended to clear the immediate area of the WP, and if they don't find a target fitting their targeting parameters they'll self-destruct once their (short) endurance runs out, I'd think that they'd settle for any hostile target in range (probably the closest), rather than doing nothing.


I wouldn't mind a priority list so that the drone at least has a secondary option.
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby procyon on Fri 21 Dec 2012 01:09

Crucis wrote:The thing that sort of bugs me about Ultra's armed drones is that they seem a LOT like 3E fighters, just without pilots. They can have XO racks. They can have internally mounted beam weapons. They are organized into squadrons. And so on. And people complained about how potent 3E fighter beam weapons were? Yikes!


My wife, tator93 (missile queen) likes drones in Ultra, but only to a point.
They are a little like 3e fighters, but only just a tiny bit.

The biggest difference my wife would give is that you have to preset the course. With the fighters you could manuever for a blindspot or react to your opponent. Drones just plug along on their course. Guess wrong and they may never come close enough to shoot at a target.
And if the target can see them coming from far enough out, they will just move out of the way. The drones won't follow.
They don't 'home' on targets. Against static defenses or targets they do ok, but against mobile ones they are limited.

They also are expensive, one shot items. 3e fighters could take on a target, then go home and reload to do it again. The drone only lasts a short bit and then is gone. If it fires its XO's, it is destroyed. If it has an internal beam and the target moves away from it - the drone isn't going to follow. It will just sit until it burns up.
And once activated, you can't just shut them down and pick them up for later. They are just a one shot item.

Dawn Falcon wrote: Totally. You do NOT want to get into the situation you can in Ultra with "inter-system ballistic missile" MAD. (Drone2-DEEP with XO's...)


Now, this is possible if you have a bunch of money to burn.
All of my players at some point have hit a 'hedgehog world' that just had to many PDCs to crack with ships. The easiest recourse was to try and build drones that could hit the world with missiles/torpedoes and reduce the population to where it was 'managable.'
But it is a horribly expensive proposition as PDCs do a pretty good job of tearing up drones.

And when sailing drones past a WP in the "inter system BM" mode - only 40% will head the right way towards a target. And if they have DEEP this reduces them to a single torpedo, single capital missile, or around 3 ish standard missiles (unless you have pretty high SL's). Not exactly a huge salvo.
So it gets really expensive for what you can accomplish.
(But my players have done this as a harassment tactic on occasion, just because...)

So are they a little like 3e fighters. Yes.
Are they anywhere near as effective. Not even close.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby Crucis on Fri 21 Dec 2012 01:21

procyon wrote:
Crucis wrote:The thing that sort of bugs me about Ultra's armed drones is that they seem a LOT like 3E fighters, just without pilots. They can have XO racks. They can have internally mounted beam weapons. They are organized into squadrons. And so on. And people complained about how potent 3E fighter beam weapons were? Yikes!


My wife, tator93 (missile queen) likes drones in Ultra, but only to a point.
They are a little like 3e fighters, but only just a tiny bit.

The biggest difference my wife would give is that you have to preset the course. With the fighters you could manuever for a blindspot or react to your opponent. Drones just plug along on their course. Guess wrong and they may never come close enough to shoot at a target.
And if the target can see them coming from far enough out, they will just move out of the way. The drones won't follow.
They don't 'home' on targets. Against static defenses or targets they do ok, but against mobile ones they are limited.

They also are expensive, one shot items. 3e fighters could take on a target, then go home and reload to do it again. The drone only lasts a short bit and then is gone. If it fires its XO's, it is destroyed. If it has an internal beam and the target moves away from it - the drone isn't going to follow. It will just sit until it burns up.
And once activated, you can't just shut them down and pick them up for later. They are just a one shot item.



So are they a little like 3e fighters. Yes.
Are they anywhere near as effective. Not even close.


Of course having to work from programmed orders is a significant difference. And their speeds in Ultra seriously affect their usefulness.

My point in comparison was only this ... look, you have a little "hull", and some engines, the ability to internally mount a beam weapon, and some XO racks. And they can operate as a "squadron". And voila, those Ultra drones look a little bit like 3E fighters. But I wouldn't take the comparison beyond that superficial level. ;)
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby procyon on Fri 21 Dec 2012 01:42

Crucis wrote: But I wouldn't take the comparison beyond that superficial level.


Very true.
And not particularly pertinent to this thread.

But on the idea of 'drones' for Cosmic...well... :?

I guess my biggest issue is how hard it is early in the game to shoot down anything that is treated as a smcft.
If they have much range at all - they will make enormously effective weapons to genocide a world from beyond its ability to defend itself.
At WPs, they should work pretty well as intended.
I just see someone unleashing a torrent of them at a world to avoid the ships they would lose in a battle for it.

And that is my issue.
If they can break a WP, sterilizing a world will be child's play.
If a world can defend against them - they will likely be useless against a decent WP defense.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby Crucis on Fri 21 Dec 2012 02:04

procyon wrote:
Crucis wrote: But I wouldn't take the comparison beyond that superficial level.


Very true.
And not particularly pertinent to this thread.

But on the idea of 'drones' for Cosmic...well... :?

I guess my biggest issue is how hard it is early in the game to shoot down anything that is treated as a smcft.
If they have much range at all - they will make enormously effective weapons to genocide a world from beyond its ability to defend itself.
At WPs, they should work pretty well as intended.
I just see someone unleashing a torrent of them at a world to avoid the ships they would lose in a battle for it.

And that is my issue.
If they can break a WP, sterilizing a world will be child's play.
If a world can defend against them - they will likely be useless against a decent WP defense.


I suppose that that's a concern. But so is trying to come up with something that will allow empires to not get stuck in WP stagnation. But it is a tricky balance, trying to come up with something to help break WP defenses, without creating some sort of uberweapon for other uses.
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby Crucis on Fri 21 Dec 2012 02:36

I suppose that another option might be to introduce an earlier version of the missile pod, say around TL6 or 7, maybe based on standard missiles.

Here's the Canon History argument... If you look at the history, the TFN didn't fight a major war between TL's 6 and 8, and wasn't faced with any incredibly powerful WP defenses. But when they were faced with such defenses in the Theban War, they developed a version of the "missile pod", the so-called SBMHAWK pod at TL9. They didn't need such pods all that desperately IIRC in ISW3 because the Rigellians didn't mount any heavy WP defenses with heavy bases, battleline ships, and so forth, so there was no pressure to develop missile pods then. (The tech pressure in that war was all fighter-related.)

But one might argue that if some race faced stiff WP defenses at TL6, they might have developed a version of missile pods at that point, just not as capable as the TL9 version.
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby procyon on Fri 21 Dec 2012 02:36

As I said, my biggest concern is if you make a weapon powerful enough to break a WP defense...it is just going to have to be VERY powerful. Which would make it prone to abuse by any player.

But perhaps this could be approached another way.
Instead of holding a hammer, and trying to look at everything as a nail - we might come at it from the other direction.

The problem with WP stagnation is that anyone attacking through it will sustain horrible losses do to the concentration of fire at the WP. This is very canon, but a problem in the game.

Perhaps instead of a weapon, look for a defense.
Something that makes ships transitting a WP very hard to target for just one turn. MF would be less effective, and so would defending ships.
But you can't use it do genocide a world. Or anywhere other than at the WP.

:?:
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby Crucis on Fri 21 Dec 2012 02:53

procyon wrote:As I said, my biggest concern is if you make a weapon powerful enough to break a WP defense...it is just going to have to be VERY powerful. Which would make it prone to abuse by any player.

But perhaps this could be approached another way.
Instead of holding a hammer, and trying to look at everything as a nail - we might come at it from the other direction.

The problem with WP stagnation is that anyone attacking through it will sustain horrible losses do to the concentration of fire at the WP. This is very canon, but a problem in the game.

Perhaps instead of a weapon, look for a defense.
Something that makes ships transitting a WP very hard to target for just one turn. MF would be less effective, and so would defending ships.
But you can't use it do genocide a world. Or anywhere other than at the WP.

:?:


Well, I know one WP defense breaker that's 100% dead certain to work, I just want to be careful how I insert it into the game. That is, Jump drives. The old, familiar Alkelda Dawn jump drives.

I don't like the way that they're done in Ultra, because I think that they're too weak and incremental. I see jump drives as a major revolutionary technology. And 3E has always been strong on revolutionary technological advances.

I see 2 different ways that jump drives could go.

1. The Ultra/SM#2 way wherein the jump range is rather limited and gets you over the immediate kill zone at the WP. But you're still well within range of the weapons of any OWP's around the WP. Minefields become far less effective, though energy buoys can still be effective. Of course, the degree to which MF's and buoys are useful depends on the range of the jump.

2. A Jump Drive model where the jump is MUCH greater than currently envisioned, perhaps on the interception scale, where you might jump out 1d6 or 1d10 interception hexes from the WP. Far beyond any close-in defenses. This model immediately turns any assault into a deep space battle from the get-go. This would be a truly revolutionary tech. But it'd also completely remove the WP defense from the game. Minefields and energy buoys would be mostly useless, except perhaps in a defensive role near a major inhabited planet. It would also lessen the value of SRW's in the game, since WP battles are where SRW's tend to be most heavily used. And in this model, every battle is a deep space battle, where LRW's would rule the day. (Of course, I suppose that the Missile Queen would relish this situation! ;) )


From a Canon Historical perspective, I suppose that one could just say that this is a technology that was completely overlooked by the Alliance races, and they were forced down different tech paths, like SBMHAWKs, etc., because they didn't have the ultimate WP defense breaker, the Jump drive.
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Re: WP Stagnation

Postby procyon on Fri 21 Dec 2012 03:13

Crucis wrote:From a Canon Historical perspective, I suppose that one could just say that this is a technology that was completely overlooked by the Alliance races, and they were forced down different tech paths, like SBMHAWKs, etc., because they didn't have the ultimate WP defense breaker, the Jump drive.


Anything you come up with will have to be missed by the Canon. Otherwise, if they knew about a good way to get around WP defenses - why didn't they use it?

Crucis wrote:Well, I know one WP defense breaker that's 100% dead certain to work, I just want to be careful how I insert it into the game. That is, Jump drives. The old, familiar Alkelda Dawn jump drives.


These would work also. Again, only useful at a WP. Can't be used as a weapon.
Just a way around the carnage.

As for the distance - that depends on the game you want.
tator93 would love to just be able to avoid the WP battle at all. When it comes to deep space battles with LRWs, she is hard to beat. She has dedicated all her time to perfecting her 'art' as it were.

I don't think that is a good game answer though. Especially if it will be introduced at earlier TLs.
If it just jumps in perhaps d6 or d10 hexes - that will make minefields significantly less powerful. They would have to be spread out a lot to cover that depth of hexes.
But it wouldn't make ships with SRWs useless. They will still be able to push in and hammer away.
It will likely make SRW assault ships more useful also. They will be able to jump in and be in range of a target or seek one out. All to often you need missile ships as the assault ships because the defenders will have positioned themselves beyond SRW range - so they can shower fire on the SRW minesweepers from beyond their ability to retaliate.

A short range jump drive would be a fair way to break up the WP stagnation without completely removing WPs as an important feature in the game.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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