Balance Testing: Videos

Hey everyone. I wanted to provide some resources for us so we can make grounded statements about the balance in the game. There is a great deal of discussion around this subject, especially with regards to the port of HW1 into the HW2 engine. Things that went wrong and right, where it can be improved and so on. I’m mostly focusing on simple build time and combat testing here. There are a lot of tests to go but here is what I have.

I recognize that HW2 involves a RNG so there is always the possibility of fluke outcomes. For now I’m only doing one pass.

Many thanks to Laerei for helping me do this! Anyone else who wants to volunteer or run a similar set of tests is encouraged to contribute!

Combat Testing:
I tried to make these as controlled as possible for best results.

5 Kushan intis vs 1 Hiigaran inti squadron. No formation.

5 Kushan intis vs 1 Hiigaran inti squadron. Delta formation.

5 Kushan scouts vs 1 Hiigaran inti squadron.

3 Kushan scouts vs 1 Hiigaran scout squadron

1 Kushan Heavy Cruiser vs 1 Hiigaran Battle Cruiser

5 Kushan defenders vs 1 Hiigaran interceptor squadron

5 Kushan defenders vs 2 Hiigaran interceptor squadrons

5 Kushan cloak fighters vs Hiigaran interceptors

3 Kushan light corvette vs Hiigaran pulsar corvette squadron

3 Kushan light corvettes vs Hiigaran gunships

3 Kushan multi-gun corvettes vs Hiigaran pulsar corvette squadron

Kushan destroyer vs Hiigaran destroyer

Kushan destroyer vs 5 Hiigaran ion frigates

Hiigaran destroyer vs 5 Kushan ion frigates

Hiigaran destroyer vs 5 Kushan assault frigates

Hiigaran battle cruiser vs 3 Kushan destroyers

Kushan heavy cruiser vs 3 Hiigaran destroyers

Build Time Benchmarking:
Many of these can be used as strategy/build guides as well.

Hiigaran Hyper-Torpedo rush.

Vaygr Hyper-Heavy Missile Frigate benchmark.

Vaygr Assautl Craft benchmark.

Vaygr Corvette benchmark.

Vaygr Destroyer and Hyperspace rush.

Kushan Frigate benchmark.

Kushan Interceptor Benchmark: Goal here was 25 interceptors. Scouts were a bonus.


Interesting that the delta formation seemed to greatly increase the effectiveness of the Kushan interceptors before they broke it and scattered.

HW2 nerd here, setting strikecraft on aggressive makes them shoot better, but easier to hit. Opposite effect goes for evasive.

I would like to see a destroyer and cruiser benchmark, with cost tracking, cuz those can be really different I guess

I am curious about the interceptor fights. Interceptor damage seems extremely RNG. If you repeat the same test multiple times (same formation, same tactics), how much variation do you see from trial to trial?

I will look to take this into account in future videos.

I’m working on these. I already did one and am uploading it for the Vaygr destroyer rush. As for the cost; just a little math can do that. But time-to-build benchmarks IMO require simply doing it. to account for small things like resourcers moving distances and so forth,

As I said I will be wanting to run additional trials because you’re totally right about that RNG, especially with regards to strike craft. But for the time being I’m just trying to get the breadth of the build tree and the majority of possible combos. So keep an eye out for them as things go forwards.

Glad people are finding these insightful. More to follow.


I’m the one running tests with nld_deisu and here’s shorthand comment on how Kushan compares against Hiigaran so far in our tests. We have only tested ship vs ship, with no upgrades whatsoever.

Kushan | Hiigaran | Winner | Notes |

3 scouts | 1 scout squad | Kushan | Easy win |
5 scouts | 1 interceptor squad | Hiigaran | Easy win due to much sharper turn radius. |
5 fighters | 1 interceptor squad | Hiigaran | Easy win. However, kushan fighters fare noticeably better in delta formation. |
5 defenders | 1 interceptor squad | Kushan | Easy win |
3 light corvettes | 1 gunship squad | Kushan | Easy win |
3 heavy corvettes | 1 gunship squad | Kushan | Hard win. I think it comes down to manueverability. |
3 light corvettes | 1 pulsar gunship squad | Hiigaran | Easy win |
3 heavy corvettes | 1 pulsar gunship squad | Hiigaran | Easy win |
1 ion frigate | 1 ion frigate | TIE | Perfect balance |
1 heavy cruiser | 1 battlecruiser | Hiigaran | Won with just a small margin. |
1 destroyer | 1 destroyer | Kushan | Despite having lower stats, Kushan won with a small margin. It pretty much boils down to that hiigaran destroyers can not fire all of their weapons until the ship has turned it’s flank towards the target. Also, ion beams. |
1 destroyer | 5 ion frigates | Kushan | Barely survived |
5 ion frigates | 1 destroyer | Kushan | Lost 3 ion frigates |
1 heavy cruiser | 3 destroyers | Kushan | HC lost 25% of health. |
3 destroyers | 1 battlecruiser | Hiigaran | BC lost over 60% of health. |

Note: I left out multi-gun corvettes from the list as we only tested them against pulsar gunships. Since pulsars are meant to fight other corvettes and multi-gun corvettes are meant to fight smaller strike crafts, it was not a fair match-up. Also, multi-gun corvettes are broken anyways. I know from HW1R campaign that they can’t even hit fighters or bombers even if those just stand still in one place.

So as pretty much you can see, balance is actually in favor of Kushan. But when upgrades come into play, hiigarans have no trouble winning. Do keep in mind, that so far this is just pure ship vs ship combat testing without the utility ships. Kushan/Taiidan gravity well can influence the battlefield heavily in their favor but so can hiigaran/vaygr defense field frigate and fire control modules/tower.

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So what’s with the all the whining regarding balance, and hw1 races being weak? Upgrades aside, they seem to be pretty strong early on.

Simple: once you upgrade HW2 ships, they become overpowered. For example, hiigaran flak frigate has 16 000 health with no upgrades. With just a single level of upgrade, the flak frigate has 22 600 health. That’s a pretty big leap, no? And you can upgrade them to level 5! If a single upgrade improved the flak frigate by 6600 health, imagine how overpowered it’s at level 5.

Yep without upgrades the balance between the races is fine.
But even with one lvl1 upgrade the balancing is just terrible. HW1 races won’t be a match anymore.

And by the way the balance between the shipclasses is really bad. But this affects all four races.

Level 5? What are you even on about? Afaik there are only two levels of upgrades.

Is there? Oh nvm about that then, I’m not even sure where I took that. I just assumed, I guess. But the point still stands.

Not to mention, HW2 BCs tend to have their upgrades done before the first BC even comes out. It’s silly to compare an unupgraded one.

Upgrades wont make balancing work without a change on the upgrade system, either give HW1 upgrades or do a heavy nerf on HW2 upgrades.

Which is the same conclusion we came to, actually.

Just removing the level 2 upgrade would do a lot without making them the same. The level 1 upgrades are strong enough.

I don’t think most people understand that you can’t research everything at once so simply adding more upgrades to the already slow research progression of HW1 races fixes nothing.

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Second that :wink:

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Anyone else think it’s crazy that an HC is worth like 12 destroyers?

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I do, way too much firepower, need like a 20% nerf.

It’s not that bad actually. You can quite probably take down the HC with 5 destroyers. It’s just that to fire all of it’s guns hiig/vaygr destroyers have to turn 90 degrees. In the 3 vs 1 test, the HC destroyed one of the three before they had even gotten halfway to turning, so they never had all of the guns firing on HC for half of the battle. Compare to HW1 destroyers that can fire all of their guns right away.

Hiig/Vaygr destroyer also does 1000 more damage than kushan/taiidan destroyer, so 5 should be enough to take the HC down.