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Old 08-22-2011, 06:58 PM
Sing_In_Silence Sing_In_Silence is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 28

Ooh, info on the next Star Wolves!
The up-side of being offline for ages:
Lots of cool stuff when you get back

At this point it's probably too late into the developement cycle, but probably better saying this stuff than not, so.

Everything is imo, obviously.
The following is based on a fair amount of SW3:CW, a runthrough of SW1 (Just finished blowing up the Berserk Mainframe in Kronos), and reading the manual and watching a gameplay video of SW2.

It is also very very tl;dr.
I apologize for that in advance.
I know it's intimidating, so bullet points are provided.
Find the asteriskes, the rest of the lines can be more-or-less safely ignored.

=> - derived from/subsequnt to the above.
^ - related to the above.
Gen = Generation.
Cap-Ship, Capship, etc. = Capital Ship.
PL = Pulse Laser
P.Accl. = Particle Accelerator
MS = Mothership
MG = Missile gunner

Also, I speak of 'levels'. I'm refering to power-level rather than actual level, naturally.

The Star Wolves series is a good strategy game.
SW 3, at least, is (imo) not so good a tactics game, though, as there's very little you can do during the fight to affect the outcome.
(Activate skills, De/Activate missiles, change targets/asignments, dock/undock.)

To illustrate what I mean:
You're in a serious fight. You've whittled the enemy down from 2 4-fighter wings to 2 each.
2-3 of them decide to attack the same target (possibly excluding the MS).
If they manage to get through its shields, it's probably as good as dead (even with someone on repair), and the only thing you can do about it is:
Pray and A) Make it run away (either solo, in which case it loses any defensive bonuses added by the wing) or
B) set it to wing leader with the rest in 'defense' (and hope they attack the ones pursuing instead of the others. In which case you (probably) *still* lose any leadership bonuses,) or
C) Try and dock.

None of which allows player skill to make much of a difference, and I've yet to feel that a game that bases player efficiency on the player's prayer is a good idea.

Furthermore, (your pardon, but) ship-handling (which is completely automatic) and the automatic target selection (which can be done manually) are just awful.
e.g. My gunner is riding an enemy's tail. Will he try and stay there; shooting all the while? No.
If his max velocity is higher he'll overtake (since he can't slow down?) and then start banking wildly around looking to reacquire his target.
If he's slower, his target will get away, causing the same.

Or, early game in SW3, I'm in a Heavy Transport (2 Poleaxe turrets, both on the top) fighting a pirate in a Yari.
He starts out above me. This is fine. He strafes down and we shoot at each other.
He breaks off down and to the right, leaving turrets' arc of fire.
All my MS needs to do to get him back into (the turrets') line of sight is roll to the right (and if it wants to, aim its nose at the Yari).
What does it do?
Rolls to the left, presenting its vulnerable stomach, and start chasing the Yair with its nose.
And it continued to do this for upwards of 40 seconds (on x4) before I just told it to 'Stop', and it leveled out.
Granted, the MS' accuracy at the time was bad, but that fight (against 1 Yari) took ~4 minutes on x4, and at its end, my MS was down to 1/3 HP.

Or take fighter vs. Capship.
I finally manaully positioned my team in, say, a Mastiff's blind spot (behind and slightly beneath). Will they sit and fire until it dies? No.
They'll start strafing runs, costing firing time. And not only that, they'll break off at angles when they're done, taking them out of the blind cone I so painstakingly put them in, and back into the Mastiff's turrets' crosshairs.
^ This one, by the way, appears to be an automatic offender in any 3d space combat sim, e.g. Homeworld series, Freelancer (though somewhat warranted there, as you can rarely ever get a fighters vs. capship fight uncomplicated enemy fighters), Freespace 2 (iirc).

On the bright side, the AI isn't better at them, so at least it's even.

Note: I'm not claiming that I could do it better.
I'm pointing out what are - to me - the sticking points.

That being the case, note that a lot of the following will be from the perspective of a Missile Gunner hero, as - in my opinion/experience - that's the specialization that lets <the player> make the most active difference (and Missile Gunner AI pilots are - as far as I've seen - generally rare, late-game or both, with Red Corsair being the exception).

* Requesting a 'De/Activate all rockets' hoykey.

* Requesting an 'Assign all in wing to X' (Attack, guard) hotkey.

* Requesting a 'Smart Pause on (area) load', and a toggle hotkey.

* The ability to manually assign the fighter-launch order would be good. (Alternatively, if the ability exists, documenting it would be nice. I haven't managed to figure out the Hangar-order -> Launch-order logic (though admittedly I haven't put much effort into it. I just disable auto-launch).
* Also, The ability to launch selected fighters than simply automatically 'launching all'.
Both of these would make a very big difference in some of the 'as soon as you enter the system' scripted events. i.e. "ARGH! There's an ambush over here! Why the $(*@ does my <special purpose ship> always launch first?!"

* A method of making money (and/or gaining experience) outside the main plot. e.g. Return the SW2 random 'Jobs' from trade stations.
^ In my SW3 experience:
If you need to do this, it's because you're not strong enough to fight through a scenario in the plot, probably meaning that you're either Gen1-1.5 and with a non-combat spec or Gen~3 and coming up against one of the first large-scale battles.
So, your options are:
A) Try to find a system with 'level-appropriate' encounters.
And since finding a level-appropriate area isn't possible without actually scouting every single system (without digging into the randomcontacts.script), odds are that you're going to get your MS pulped so many times (by higher-gear wings) you'll just give up (from experience). Leading you to
B) Finding lower-level enemies to bully. Less risk of dying, but the exp/loot-value drop-off is too steep to be worthwhile. Or
C) Find a system that spawns equal-or-higher level wings from opposing factions. Let them kill each other. Pick up the loot and resume your plot-line.
The problem with this is:
A) Worthwhile ones are very rare, so you're unlikely to find them without textfile digging (which a newbie won't (know how to) do).
And B) likelier than not, your gear-Gen is high enough that you're 'overleveled' and the previously unwinnable fight will now be (more or less) a breeze.

* Deadly Missiles >>> Missile Salvo. (Although the two together are awesome )
=> I'll say more than that: A Rocket Gunner is only as good as his Deadly Missiles skill. It's rather absurd, and possibly overpowered.
(Thank goodness that the AI doesn't use abilities )
(And also makes a Rocketeer Hero in SW1 essentially useless at anything other than spamming torpedoes at capships. (Yes, as a Guru he can actually hit with missiles, but given how few he can tow at a time (and how weak they are compared to the same with DM), that's what? 1? 2? enemy ships destroyed before he's just a gimped Ace/Sniper?), even more-so if you take Corsair (who *has* not only DM but both abilities).)
==> Which makes the most effective way to use a Missile Gunner (in SW3, possibly SW2 as well) (in non-scripted encounters, and in some of those as well) as a solo DM2 T4 Eraser(!) torpedo sniper. (There's no benefit in overkill, and the cost-efficiency ratio of higher tier gear makes it financially unfeasible besides.)
^ Doing this, my SW3 MG Hero can clear Fronn (including the Stone Arrows) solo, with breaks to reload.
^ -> In a Bident or better (i.e. 4 Rocket ship); scout carefully (bonus points: Use a Ghost and Agent) until you find a spot on the map where 3-4 patrolling wings are visible. Launch 1 torpedo at each. Before the first gets into AMS range, activate DM (which works at missile hit rather than launch).
^ All the patrols die 9 times out of 10, and you just killed 12-18 fighters (or 2 Stone Arrows at 2 torpedoes each) at the cost of 1 DM and ~2.4k cr. Return to reload, send MS to loot while you scout for your next targets.
==> A skilled Missile Gunner can kill most fighters in 2 missiles (w/DM), (More, my Missile Gunner SW3 hero took out the Alien Frigate, solo, in 1 attack run; flying a Hrimthurs carrying 4 S32 Hailstorms (btw, since they don't launch simultaniously, most of them got prematurely detonated by the blast of slightly-sooner-launched S32s) and burning both DM3 and MS2 iirc.)
* The ability to target multiple enemies simultaniously with different launchers would be appreciated.
Note: I realise that this is unlikely, as it'll probably require completely overhauling how weapons work.
Hmm. Now that I think of it, that's actually how idle MSes work.
Note to self: trying changing a Missile Carrier from inteceptor to bigship.
Note to self: Won't that stop it from docking? Find out.

-> Unguided missiles are next to useless against fighters (Point-blank range sometimes hits, anything else is a waste of rockets, berthing space, money). Intended?
^ Then why the heck are they so ubiquitous? The only allied non-scripted cap-ship generally around is MY FRIGGIN' MS.
Which means that, unless I distract every single missle-carrying trash mob with my fighters, my MS will get pounded by un-AMS-able dumbfire rockets.

* Is it possible to disconnect missiles from launchers? (i.e. carry missiles as cargo, split as demanded between launchers.)
Note: This'd probably require giving fighters cargo capacity, and unless there's something more to do with it, it's probably not worth the coding time, and capships can't fire missiles.

* Why can AI Missile Carriers stand off and pummel me with rockets and I can't return the favor? (It keeps strafing.)
^ -> Rocket Attack seems... not to be working as intended, imo. When used beyond missile range, nothing happens, when used in range, it - as far as I can tell - just attacks normally, i.e. strafing.

* Make friendly kills (i.e. last shot on hostile by a green-name) share exp. PLEASE.

* SW3: The ability to 'hang on' to the (scripted) 'long jump' so it's not a 'now or never' would be great.

* The 'Scanner' ability added in SW3 is awesome.
* Now, can it be expanded to a display mode in the map/tactical view? Not an issue with small fights, but would help with large-scale battles. (Possible issue: Clutter.)
^ Or even just the ability to manually add visual tags to ships. (e.g. star, skull, triangle, etc. and I'll assign meaning to picture. "Oh, that ship has a triangle. It's an AMS ship." or "Oh, that ship has a skull. It's a Torpedo-carrying missile-ship." etc.)
^ Or possibly just precache all the correctly sized picture files (with the right extension) in a specified directory, so the player can customize his choices.


* Lasers are completely outclassed by both P.Accl.s and Pulse Lasers. This wouldn't be a problem if Lasers didn't (try) to scale all the way to Gen5. Why not just let them petter out at Gen3 and move along to P.Acc. and PLs?
(P.Acc <> PL is okay for high <> low accuracy pilots. Same as Plasma/Kinetic cannons, though the latter scale less well; as with lasers.)

* Kinetic machineguns suck (due to horrible pilot accuracy (I mean, who other than special-purpose-ship pilots use them if you have an alternative? Berserk Lasers would be a good upgrade if it didn't take so *long* to get the proficiency. Speaking of which, why bother (at the *beginning* of SW3) have Heretic even offer 2 mk1 Berserk Lasers instead of the 12.5k cr? You can't use them until you devote 95 xp (45 engineer2, 50 for Berserk Prof) on Ternie to get the prof.) & innate high spread). This is a problem.
=> Why do snipers get Fav:laser (2 exp for basic aiming + 30/35 exp for Fav), and then, *much later* also get cannon adjustment (iirc: 5 + 35 for basic and expert engineering + 75 for cannon range + 200 for cannon adj.) and no one else gets either one? I assume that it's against Diamond-users, but, well, that's what I have wingmates :p

* SW3: WTFin'F is up with drunken pilots ffs?
^ What do I mean? I'm not sure why, but sometimes *not a single one* of my ships, including the MS, can stay level.
Bah. Was going to fraps a short clip before posting this. Forgot.
^ To illustrate: Imagine a realistic FPS game. You're wielding the Sniper rifle, in scope mode. The scope moves in circles *around* where you're aiming instead of being spot-on to simulate muscle trembling and breathing's effect on steadiness).
They do that.
It makes flying a nauesiating experience, makes docking take ~3 minutes per ship (x.x) and is just plain irritating besides.

* One-shot systems are barely worth using (i.e. only if you have *nothing* else to put in those system slots, and even then I almost never end up using them). Is this a problem?

* MS Stealth modules: By the time you: A) Can afford it, B) Can reach a trade station that's selling it, you almost never *need* it anymore, since you're probably quite well decked out at that point, and don't *need* to avoid patrolling wings.

* The ability to store/call manually pre-configured ship loadouts (without having to actually have them (taking up one of the limited slots) in the hangar) would be nice, as it'd make putting a goal-specific ship together less of a hassle when you have a (nearly/) full complement of pilots.

Last edited by Sing_In_Silence; 08-23-2011 at 04:45 PM.
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