Homeworld 1 frigates - deep analysis about upgrades

First, a huge thanks to @Stuart98 for helping me out with the text.

Here we go.

Everyone who played homeworld 1 knows that frigates were the core of the fights, to the point where if you didn’t make frigates you were probably doing it VERY wrong. In homeworld 2, however, frigates are very vulnerable and it is both viable and easy to skip them completely.
The research tree in homeworld 1 is based on frigates, you basically need to research them to reach destroyers, carriers, heavy cruisers, and even resource controllers. In homeworld 2 frigate tech is only required for frigates and completely skippable if you want to get super-capital ships.
As homeworld 1 frigates are now using the homeworld 2 values, they have changed significantly. While the values are pretty ok for the early game, they put homeworld 1 frigates at a huge disadvantage in late game due the upgrade system.
I researched the values for building frigates. For the homeworld 1 example I’m using the ion frigate as basis, while in homeworld 2 I am using the missile frigate as an example. Frigates were analysed from 1 to 24 (max number)

Costs
In Homeworld 1 Remastered:
Research Ship – 750
Capital ship Drive – 800
Capital ship Chassis – 900
Ion cannon research – 1000
Total cost to unlock production – 3450

In Homeworld 2:
Research module – 500
Frigate research – 1800
Frigate production module X2 – 1800
Total cost to unlock production – 4100
Total cost of first armor upgrade – 5700 (+1600)
Total cost of second armor upgrade – 8500 (+2800)

Numbers
First the frigate cost:

Numbers shows that on unupgraded ships the values are close, but they start to turn in the favor of homeworld 2 races pretty fast, which shows the late game weakness of homeworld 1.
Things get even worse when you analyze the cost of each armor point. Below we have the numbers for RU cost per armor point.


So here is my idea: allow homeworld 1 players to research frigate armor upgrades, but on even higher levels yet with the same cost of homeworld 2, with a bigger research time.
First, the total armor upgrade would be 34000 armor for the ion frigate, divided by 3 levels of research of the capital ship chassis each one with 33% improvement of the basic value.
To reach the same ru cost per armor (as in the chart above) the total research cost would be 12000, that is 8550 more than the original cost, divided by the 3 research levels:
Level 1 armor upgrade – cost 1850 +33% of the basic armor to all frigates
Level 2 armor upgrade – cost 2850 +33% of the basic armor to all frigates
Level 3 armor upgrade – cost 3850 +33% of the basic armor to all frigates
The research speed would be slighter higher compared to the research of the homeworld 2 upgrade in the first 2 levels, because homeworld 1 can build more researchers and speed it up.
This change wouldn’t overpower homeworld 1 in late game, remember that even though those numbers look higher they only apply for frigates, and with a high RU cost and research time, and would allow homeworld 1 players to once again use frigates as they main ship.

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^^^^ This, giving Kushan/Taiidan players the option to research ship improvements like the Hiigarans/Vaygr is something that I’d very much like to see.

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Honestly, allow upgrade is the only way, plain buff will make hw1 even better in early game, and they are already good.

It’s really not such a simple fix because HW1 races already have far more research required just to unlock the ships themselves.

You add more research then you just fill up the queue which stiffles their progression more and costs more resources.

It would be better to do something like have Heavy Corvette Chassis Research also increase the hp of Light and Multigun corvettes HP by 30%, for example.
But that can also suck, because if you just want to up Light/Multigun corvettes HP, and don’t actually want Heavy Corvettes, well you’re paying double.

I saw someone suggest that Capital Ship Chassis research should upgrade frigate HP, and yeah that’s the same problem. What if you don’t want cap ships? You’re getting that anyway for the HP. I guess if the numbers line up to be similar to HW2 race hull upgrade costs, it’s fine… I don’t have those numbers on hand.

I suppose you could add an additional research queue for HW1 races, just for upgrades, but still you’re going to REALLY fill up the research screen with TONS more to research for HW1 races than HW2 ones have.

So no, the solution is not so simple and I’m not going to pretend I know what the right solution is. But yes, HW1 races definitely need something that keeps them more relevant into late. The numbers gathered and how they’re presented(well, going to 24 ships was a bit much), is helpful, though.

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I think the way forward here is to move the HW1 races towards quantity rather than quality. If you try to match numbers and quality with HW2 races then you will just emulate them. Better to keep the difference and make it more asymmetrical.

Let HW1 races produce ships which can match unupgraded HW2 ships and then let them get greater numbers to match the upgrade. Implement mechanics which permits the HW1 races to get higher ship caps, lower production costs and higher production rate via the number of research hubs. It would be a reasonable way to do it since it would let them match the damage/RU output of the HW2 races in an asymmetrical way and also is an interesting mechanic because it is vulnerable to having the research hub sniped. That stops it from becoming too OP from being a universal logistics upgrade. Additionally exponentially increasing costs in additional research hubs would make the higher number of hubs costly to achieve.

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I’m keeping it asymmetric, total armor and research is different, the only number that matches is ru per armor, for balance purpose, swarm capital ships is bad for a late game, and hw1 suffers on late game, for example if u match up 1 ship with 100hp and 10 firepower, against 2 ships with 50hp and 5 firepower each the first one will win, even though they hold the same total value, cuz they will lose half of the firepower during the fight.
I messed up a lot with numbers and ideas yesterday, for hours, this is the best solution I found so far.

I said that, but yeah, also saw this problem of unwanted research
About research hw1 has way less research, you can see in the graphic on the ending screen, the adding of more research can be balanced by research time tweaking

Well the HW1 research times are so long and they are in more of a tree.

In HW2, there is less branching out and more parallels.
So you have one big research, then lots of little ones under it, in parallel. Most of these are very unnecessary. Like you might not need bomb upgrades and yada yada.

Sure you can reduce the HW1 research times to conpensate, but now all of a sudden you get HCs out much faster because the research times for those were reduced to make up for the additional time for hull upgrades.

So yeah, again, it’s just not so simple.

I certainly want HW1 and HW2 races to be balanced against one another, and I also want them to retain their own unique flavors. The solution is just complex. I’d need to see a breakdown of all the research costs, effects, and the stats for all the units. No one has them on a spreadsheet, late alone one that displays them well, yet. And even if they did, it’s still a difficult problem to solve.

Well… right now that are not only individually weaker late game, but they get outproduced late game because HW2 races can warp in multiple shipyards.

You know honestly I think the level 2 upgrades on ships are silly and should be removed. :confused: 1 upgrades is enough. The second just seems like unnecessary fluff that’s also making balancing more difficult.

And then, sure, it would be easier to balance things out by just simply making HW1 frigates and larger ships just have higher HP without upgrades, so they fall around like where HW2 between unupgraded and upgraded ones. So they start stronger, then are weaker. But then you add a single research that increases production speeds for all larger HW1 ships that falls in line with time/cost of when the now removed HW2 lvl 2 upgrade would usually hit.

I never said it was :smile:
Races are really asymmetrical now, and this makes it really hard to balance.
But I still think this is the best solution so far, and bring that old hw1 frigates fight taste back, right now building 24 frigates you get 16 armor per ru used with hw1 and 24 armor per ru spent on vaygr upgraded frigates, the difference is huge.
Destroyers and hc will take longer, but now you have frigates that can hold the line.

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Well previous to my post, it seemed people were saying that “simply give HW1 factions matching hull upgrades” would simply fix it.

I think I’m way more on track in saying it’s both HW2 and HW1 research that need to be adjusted together, not simply trying to adjust HW1s alone and making it work somehow.

Really there’s a lot more silly stuff in HW2s balancing than HW1s!
Like take the Heavy Missile Frigate. Its main missile had a damage penalty against Strikecraft that reduced it to 10% damage. So it did 290 instead of 2900 damage. But… Most strikecraft have under 290 hp! So it still one shot them!
Yeah some have a bit more, and it made them take 2 shots, but still, was that REALLY necessary? Those heavy missiles were still an utter waste on corvettes that had 400 hp.
And then why do they have an actual anti-strikecraft missile, which together with the heavy missile, kills a corvette every firing cycle of the heavy missile launcher so it ends up completely canceling out that 10% damage modifier? It’s just… not logical for the most part. The end result is that it basically one shots corvettes with the 3 missiles every 16 seconds, or it’ll kill 3 fighter every 16 seconds. If it was 100% damage it’d… do the same! Well, almost. The only difference is that every 42 seconds it’d kill one extra Corvette. Was that damage reduction really necessary to do nothing except make Heavy Missile Frigates kill 1 less corvette every 42 seconds? It did make slight differences with corv hull upgrades, but still. This is HW2 balancing in a nutshell.

Another example is how virtually every weapon has a damage penalty to only be 20-30% against subsystems.
So… why aren’t subsystems just 3x higher HP, with bombers given a 750% damage bonus instead of 250%?! It’s the same exact outcome, but it makes things much more apparent to the player what they actually need to take down a subsystem since the damage penalty don’t show in the UI.
I feel like someone said “Huh, making this ion cannon have 165k hp on a 240k hp ship sounds like too much. Lets make it 50k and have everything do 30% damage to it”, which is just seems wrong and convoluted.

HW1 achieved very good balance without all this 10% damage here, 25% there, 200% at another spot. In some cases it works, like the 250% bonus to subsystems on bombers. In most cases, it’s just lazy and bad balancing.

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I 100% agree with you on that, after all it is a remaster of both games, but so far they only changed hw1 to balance, kinda sad.

I just brought out those numbers to show how things are bad for hw1, on a mid to late game.

My suggestion will not fix the balance, nope, that is for sure, but it will reduce the current unfairness, yeap, that is also for sure.

Don’t want to derail the thread much further since it’s supposed to be about frigates but I think you oversimplify the situation Kadeshi. What you stated about one ship beating two would only hold true in a simplistic representation, HW ships are not simplistic, they have targettable subsystems, weapon firing arcs etc… More ships can more easily take advantage of that against a single opponent.

In any case allowing growth in the HW1 production capability would still give us a reasonable scaling law that would let us balance overall ships produced against the power of the HW2 races ships, even if in a particular engagement 2 ships lose to 1.


@innociv I think you missed the bit where I mentioned increased production rate and reduced costs, obviously that part needs to be properly balanced but the HW1 races do need a way to increase production of super capital ships as well, not least because they need resource controllers for carrier only mode.


I definitely agree HW2 needs balancing alongside HW1 as well though, I never particularly liked how less survivable frigates were. .

the Hiigaran Research modules costs 1500 and you need 2250 for an advanced research module to unlock ion cannon frigates…If you’re not counting that you should disclude the iron cannon research for the homeworld 1 races.

It’s the Vaygr research module that costs 500.

You’ve made quite an error.

Values are for vaygr heavy missile frigate, as said, I used vaygr because they have class upgrades, and I’m suggesting class upgrade for homeworld 1. Heavy missile and ions match up since they are both anti capital ship frigates

Hmm actually how does the two HW2 races compare in the same/similar scenario?

First, thanks for your contribution on this topic, every opinion and suggestion helps and are truly welcome.

Your suggestion is valid, I just think that is harder to implement and less desired, on the current status, right now homeworld 1 frigates are way more expensive to produce in late game, with 24 frigates the cost for 1 kushan ion frigate is 1043 against 870 of an unpugraded vaygr, that is almost 5 vaygr frigates for the cost of 4 kushan frigates. With only 4 frigates vaygr already starts to produce cheaper frigates.

Sure you can change the value model for research and production in homeworld 1 to make population grow more viable, but that would require a wider and more complex balance, because it will affect other aspects of the game, research time/cost and production time/cost changes will affect early and late game drastically, making balance even harder.

Another point is the “homeworld 1 feeling” that I’m talking about, as you said, you don’t like disposable frigates, homeworld 1 players dislike it even more, and right now homeworld 1 remastered is using the weakest frigates in the game, in the homeworld history actually, to resurrect that feeling the best thing to do is increase frigates survivability and not the population.

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Your tables show how inferior HW1 races are to HW2 ones. Thanks for the effort :wink:

But to change this isn’t that simple. You frigate upgrade would be no more then a workaround. And it would render all other HW1 ships but especially HW1 Destroyers and Heavy Cruisers useless against HW2 races. And you have to change the HW1 research system which would change HW1 races even more compared to classic.

And while there is a heavy unbalancing between HW1 and HW2 races this isn’t the only problem. The balancing as a whole is flawed. It’s not just between the races but also between the shipclasses itself. This needs to be changed too, to make this game work properly. No bigger is just better anymore :wink:

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Another thing I would not mind seeing is also a rebalancing of the game such that fielding heavier classes of ships doesn’t become such an exponential improvement on the previous classes of ships in such a way as to make it closer to a HW1 balance where every classes of ships retained their usefulness through the game.

I’m noting this a lot with strikecrafts and not just in regard to flight patterns.

Actually, breaking formations after the first pass of attack on a target is very much on par with real-life maneuvering which was something HW1 did almost unrealistically by keeping ships in formation almost all the time and offering an unified blob of a target. The problem is the advantages ships would get from breaking up formation like that under even the HW1 engine(where shots are physically modelled) are pretty much often offset by HW2’s RNG system which still make a lot of weapons too accurate against strikecrafts even stuff not meant to be used against them.

Also the way damages scales between ship scales, to go back to frigates, truly disadvantages the smaller ships classe(even when massed) when faxing larger ships. When it come to capital class ships it feels like as soon as you have destroyers you can start forgeting about frigates and as soon as you get a BC you can start building less Destroyers and literally forget about frigates altogether so much will their firepower compensate for the lack of presence of frigates… and how it utterly annihilate anything frigate class like pop cans wiping the floor of even large frigate groups by memory.

In comparison, in HW1 Classic… there is something to be said how the concentrated fire of a group of ion frigate could bring down a Heavy Cruiser(and I’m not talking a sphere formation if you could pull it off).

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Yeah. I hope GBX cares a lot more about properly balancing this game than Relic did with HW2. It’s worrysome that they used it as a baseline to start with.

I don’t really care for any stopgap measures. They need to just redo it instead of tying to HW2 balancing and trying to fudge some numbers around. I’d be happy to give more input if they actually care to do that, or perhaps make a mod that illustrates what balance I think is roughly ideal.

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I do agree, hw2 balance model is pretty bad, but they started from there, just because they are using hw2 engine, bad choice though.
I know that this is a stopgap measure, but I don’t think that gearbox will do such audacious move with a total rebalance, but yeah, i also wish a total rebalance

Well, I’d still push for a total rebalance. There’s super strong arguments for it. :confused:

Well, I should clarify. That doesn’t mean that everything HAS to change, as there is plenty that does work, but everything should be looked at and not kept too sacred.

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