Homeworld 1 frigates - deep analysis about upgrades

I really like this idea. It has potential.

The damage reduction makes them tankier against capital ships (and I assume this also encompasses frigates too) without affecting the time-to-kill from strikecraft. Perhaps the damage reduction should differ depending on what ship class it is receiving fire from e.g. 10% reduction from frigate damage, 20% from destroyer etc.

This would certainly be one of the more interesting options for HW1 frigate buffing. Not only are the ships getting fairer RU efficiency, but they will also feel and play closer to their HW1 counterparts.

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HW1 and HW2 frigates are actually the units that are the most similar. Similar speeds, similar hp. It’s the HW2 caps that are far more HP, and the strikecraft that are far less.
And in HW2/HWRM ships in general just do far more damage which makes everything seem “tankier”.

Frigates seem quite alright to me, though. I have more of a problem with how insane BCs and slightly insane Destroyers are in comparison.
Though buffing frigates would probably make people feel like BCs and Destroyers aren’t being nerfed when they really are…

First off I want to kill the HW2/RM ship balancing train wreck before it starts again. Lets stick with HW1 frigates.

And them being the same is a problem in my mind. HW1 Frigates were front line ships, by simply making them similar to HW2 frigates they lost most of their purpose (and effectiveness).

Sure they can compete with HW2 frigates off the hop, but that’s not the point. They were made in a different era, when frigates were actually scary and because game-play in HW1 was based on that, and >balancing< at the time was based on that… Game-play was obviously affected in HWRM when the ships were in essence … completely changed.

Now I’m not saying HW2 frigates are bad. They are just serve a different purpose than the ones in HW1.

As a side note: I think with HW1 frigates acting more like the capital ships they were, late game balancing against the obviously superior HW2 battlecruisers (especially with research) may not be so one sided.

Thanks for your contribution on this and yeah, exactly, they are small capital ships in HW1 and act in front line, very robust and durable, HW2 frigates have a different role, they are specific for certain situations and are spammable, build time for HW2 frigates is way shorter , look the building time for the anti capital ship frigate of each faction:

heavy missile frigate in - 45 seconds
Hig Ion frigate – 45 seconds
Kus/Tai Ion frigate -73 seconds

Now the funny fact is that HW1 frigates not only were brought to HW2 level, but they are even under, because they can’t be upgraded, and take way longer to build, and are very expensive, the result is that they are terrible compared with HW2 frigates, and can’t even be compared to what they used to be in HW1, they are expensive, slow to build and way weaker after upgrades.
With that said I think that we have the following options:

1 – Allow upgrades to HW1 frigates, but in higher levels, since they have a different role, the values that I got in the first post are ok I guess

2 – A BIG buff on their armor, a really big one like +100% of the actual armor, that would result in a small increase in the cost, and a small increase in building time, I would say something like +30% on each, that is just a guess, I didn’t made the math on this one like I did in the upgrade suggestion, I could do that if you guys want. To be honest i like this option better.

The option that you gave isn’t bad also, but nerf destroyers and cruisers brings up two problems, HW1 will still be really bad when it comes to HW1 vs HW2 frigates, and HW2 fanatics will be mad about that nerf (lol it is true).

Right now I’m pretty ok with the balance on each ship class in HW1, fighters, corvettes, destroyers even the HC, i can use them with some good effectiveness.

Stats wise, still need a few tweaks, like a small decrease of the price on scouts, a increase on build time and cost of defenders, and so it goes, just small tweaks, but overall it is kinda ok for every ship, but when it comes to Frigates, oh boy it is pretty bad, i mean really bad, we need a total rework on those, to make them usefull again and to make them resemble the original HW1.

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I wish I had jumped in this conversation sooner. Good work Kedeshi highlighting all of this. However I can’t help but bring up the missing element I see that is support frigates.

Right now they are crap. But the hope from me and probably others is that some workable solution is found to make them as close to useful as they once were. It makes absolute since to me that the HW1 frigate should be better armored with less firepower than the HW2, but if they are buffed to the point that they are better on their own where does that leave the HW2 races once support frigs are added to the mix?

I realise there is a cost to building a support frigate that the HW2 race won’t incure. And on small scales wouldn’t be worth it even if they were working correctly. E.g. 1 assault + 1 support frig will lose to 2 torp frigs. But the moment the we get back the ability (if we get back) to overlap repair, 2 support + 1 assault may beat 3 torp frigs. Or 4 support + 3 assault may beat any number of torp frigs until the torp frigs have the critical mass needed to combined 1 shot a support frig through dual beam repair.

If support frigs stay as they are then I’m with these ideas, I just don’t want to lose hope that we get back the real hero of HW1 frigates.

Btw if I had to chose a favorite of the ideas above, I think I like the damage reduction scaling from frigs and above.

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The problem I see with returning support frigs (and corvettes) to the way they worked in HW1 (if possible) is that they will be horrendously overpowered compared to anything the HW2 races can field. In fact they become as much a ‘have to use/have’ as BCs are currently, probably more so as a game can be over before BCs even come into the picture.

If you don’t use them you are guaranteed to lose. That is not an interesting tactical mechanic, that’s boring flat gameplay. You can try and balance it but at the point it isn’t OP it doesn’t do what it did in HW1 anymore then what’s the point?

I’d be all over enabling this when not in combat to speed up/make easier maintenance of a fleet between engagements but the magic healing beam that heals ships as they get hit is a little silly. At least HW2 got that right with actual repair bots having to patch up the hull. HW2 always felt more ‘real’ than some of the sillier things in HW1 (salvettes, magic healing beams, mining beams -weren’t that bad but HW2’s mining was better-) The fuel was kinda nice but too micro manage for me. If they could make healing of strike craft squadrons cost RUs that’d be nice. But I digress I’m getting off topic.

You have to be careful to not want to include bad mechanics just because ‘that’s the way it used to be’ as that’s literally the worst reason. In fact just as bad a reason as keeping BCs the way they are because ‘that’s the way HW2 was balanced’. End of the day HW2 is the engine they chose, that’s where we have to start. I think we should look for NEW and interesting tactics to develop, not try and force/shoehorn old tactics back into the game because it’s convenient for old timers. We’re better than that.

That said, some asymmetry in how frigates function between the HW1 race and HW2 races wouldn’t go amiss I think, definitely something I would support experimenting balance wise with.

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Not true, unless you’re talking about making them heal 5x faster to account for everything doing 5x DPS as well.

Just add more support frigates and get the same effect? It becomes a case of who has more support frigates. Kinda like who has more BCs…

what… really? No, that’s not true at all.

I think you are confusing two things: game play (how the game feels to the player) and game engine (how that experience is implemented in code).

I have modded both HW1 and HW2. I like HW1 game play much better, but it would have been stupid to implement that on the HW1 code (it was so much more rigid and so much more difficult for programmers to make changes to).

give Gearbox a chance: they have been very responsive so far.

I also want to say that I think the fans here have had very thoughtful discussions about the impact that different kinds of changes would have on everything else about game play.

I have mentioned it elsewhere, but I think part of the solution is to do away w the different armour types in HW2’s familylist.lua file. ships that are harder to kill should just have more health. General DPS should stay essentially the same (yes there new to be ways to account for early and late game imbalances, but that would be easier to do w what I suggest here) AND the "to Hit probability calculations should be something like:

ToHit = BaseValue/( SomeConstant + SomeAdjustment * TargetMovementSpeed )

using the HW2 calculations to start w, a BC’s heavy guns would do a lot of damage per hit, but a relatively high adjustment value (for instance a 5) multiplied multiplied by the speed that something like a fighter or corvette is moving at (when not being immobilized by a gravwell) would make it very hard to hit that way.

At the same time something that his meant to be an AA weapon might have a high rate of fire, a low adjustment (maybe something like 0.5) so that it is far more likely to actually hit it’s target but do less damage each time.

where the balancing would come in to play is that DPS against a middle target (frigates) should be comparable for roughly equal firepower weapons. AA (which might have a 90% base “to hit” rate) would almost never miss a slow moving BC, but it would be far less devastating as the ion (which might have only a 30% base “to hit” and a 5x adjustment factor) which would ALSO be scoring hits w almost every shot against such a slow target.

Not true, or, wasn’t true in HW1. Swarmers had no need for support frigs, though the new UI makes it a nice docking platform. And you also can consider the actual tactical use of them as a differentiator. Do I go with 3 supports and 4 assaults or 4 supports with 3 assaults. Or do I say screw it and use all my units as combat units and rely on out mining and out producing.

But comparing then to a BC and calling them tactically boring, and saying that you have to build them to win; I could say the same thing about a collector.

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no, research costs and times should stay the much like they are. the change should be in distinctive capabilities for each of the different races and for a better combat damage system.

I think if the 2x damage bug was fixed and a more consistant way for ALL ships to potentially attack each other was used, strike craft would be useable through the game (they are very maneuverable) frigates would be the backbone of any assault group but the heavier ships should be comparatively tougher against other big ships and reasonably tough against everything else: essentially a BC is a squadron of smaller ships that always move together.

what people forget when thinking tactically is that a BC concentrates so much in one hull that killing it is a huge loss. the BC might be equivalent to 10 Frigates in cost AND be as capable as having 12 frigates (yes, more cost effective), but to stop the 10 frigates you have to kill or capture all 10 of them.

I like how in the game manual this, all of this was predicted 16 years ago. I’m having a good ole laugh. Anyone who has the HW1 game of the year manual will know what I’m talking about, the bit where the two admirals are arguing about tactics. One if pro capital, the other is pro strike craft. It sounds exactly like this.

*It’s not meant as an insult, I just thought people who have the Manual might get a kick out of it too.

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^ This.

It is important for a player to see the raw numbers of damage and armor and be able to intuitively figure out which ship to build at any given moment. Hidden damage reductions and hidden damage bonuses just make things needlessly complex.

If ship stats say one thing, then I should be able to go into battle and expect a more or less general outcome of the battle. I do NOT want to have to IGNORE the numbers and practice going out with ships to figure things out as I go. I want to know beforehand if I can.

Frigates.

Fighters.

Cruisers.

We always come back to the same question: How close do we want to stay to the original games? Honestly, it’s a hard question to answer.

Homeworld 1 fleets often relied on frigates to be their capital ships. That is very true. Homeworld 2 had frigates that could be cut through a lot easier. They were weaker.

The PURPOSE of Homeworld 1 frigates was a line-holder, capable of dealing with bigger ships. The PURPOSE of Homeworld 2 frigates was a stall tactic until the bigger ships came out.

It becomes clear to me that to make multiplayer balanced, and to keep the races from being similar, and to keep them in line with their original games. . . AND to go along with how the ships LOOK like they’re supposed to be, this needs to happen:

Make Homeworld 2 fleets rely more on Capital Ships. Keep their frigates as is.
Make Homeworld 1 fleets rely more on Frigates. Allow them to hold that line.

Reminder: Fighter formations being fixed in future will determine how strong frigates will need to be. I highly suspect that formations are going to make fighters and corvettes more deadly for both sides. Which leads me to an idea I will share in the Fighter thread. . .

I am saying that HW2 had hidden and complicated stuff and I’m suggesting a way to streamline it while still having different weapons effective against different things (I’m sorry if my discussion of both game play and game mechanics confused you).

an AA gun is designed to throw lots of chaff up to stop missiles or strike craft. it can be used to attack a battleship’s armour and it WILL damage that armour, but w a smaller effect like chipping paint of the hull (to use a little exaggeration here).

mechanics: provides a consistant way for it to work that is as streamlined as possible.

play: all the player needs to know is what the weapon is intended to be used for and it’s relative value (you don’t need to know how it accomplishes what it does, just have have enough information to know how best to use it).

I agree w you about the different purposes or emphasis of HW1 frigates vs HW2 frigates and that is a game play or balance issue.

I think that maintaining that uniqueness in emphasis for each race’s frigates would do a lot to help differentiate them and make effective strategy different for each.

Although I think increasing the stats on the HW1 frigates either through research or just a base stat increase is a must, I don’t think it should be done to the extent you suggest, as it will undoubtedly influence overall game balance in a big way. For instance, on a basic level if you made HW 1 frigates twice as strong, it would take literally twice as long for every ship to destroy it. Bombers and corvettes would no longer be useful or viable counters as the frigates would be able to do twice as much damage to whatever they were engaging (be it strikecraft or a carrier) before they were destroyed.

And that is just looking at assault and Ion frigates… Drone frigates would be disgustingly effective against all strike craft, and support frigates would allow larger ships to last exponentially longer in combat as targeting them with smaller vessels would be pointless…

Frigates cannot be adjusted to the point where fighters and corvettes are no longer worth it (and even minefields).

As for ‘nerfing destroyers and cruisers’. HW2 cruisers will never care about frigates (unless they are boarding frigates) because they overkill targets by staggering margins so there is no problem there… and the time between shots is so large it justifies that. HW1 Cruisers (due to their higher sustained damage output vs burst damage) and destroyers would indeed lose effectiveness against HW1 frigates, but that is (I thought) the main issue with HWRM take on HW1 frigates.

Perhaps even extending the damage reduction to frigates will give them the survivability against HW2 frigates, without influencing the effectiveness of fighters and corvettes.

Armor per RU is definitely a component, but I think the balancing should be tackled mostly through the specific ‘percentage effectiveness’ components rather than blanket base stat change. I’m not to familiar with it, but it stands to reason that more nuanced control would limit game breaking changes.

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I disagree. The different different kinds of armour types allows for a much greater customization (and realism to a point). Here is why this is a bad idea:

Torpedo frigates do 305 damage, ion frigates do 315 damage. Ion cannons are used against capital ships and frigates, torpedoes against corvettes and frigates.

With this in mind, the Ion cannon becomes completely useless, as the torpedo frigate does equal damage, but can hit smaller targets.

To balance this, using your logic the ion cannon damage has to increase in order to maintain it’s credibility vs frigates and capital ships… But wait! The torpedo frigate is also effective vs capital ships so it’s damage would need to increase as well in order to compensate for the increased HP of frigates. But now they do too much damage to corvettes… So corvette hp needs to increase…and now fighters can no longer compete so their damage needs to increase…

And at the end of it all, battlecruisers get defense fields.

It gets to be like that.

You can’t have fixed damage AND have ships that are effective against multiple craft types without breaking something.

You can with armour types. And that is pretty much the reason why it exists in games like Starcraft and Warcraft etc.

Armour types also allow for research upgrades that allow for bonus damage against subsystems, or increased damage against a specific type of ship without giving the base damage of the craft a massive boost against everything.

Edit: Perhaps just having the armour type visible in a ship description would help?

Thx everyone for the participation.

I know that a 100% armor buff looks kinda extreme, but when you analyze it along with the +30% building time and cost you will realize that it is not, take a look:

Rebalanced Kushan Ion Frigate
Armor - 34000
Firepower – 315
Building time – 90 seconds
Cost – 1200

Vaygr Heavy Missile Frigate
Armor – 16000
Firepower – 351
Building time – 45 seconds
Cost – 700

As you can see you can get 2 heavy missile in similar time and similar cost, and will get 2X the firepower of that Ion Frigate, also the heavy missile will be upgraded, the ion will not, maybe those penalties should even be a little smaller, anyway looking like that it still looks kinda bad for the HW1 frigate, but we also have support ships, that can repair, so it is very situational, needs some practical testing, theory is too vague, the good thing is that with the mod balance we can try out things like that and see how it goes, and tweak from there.

I rather the straight buff over the upgrade option for two reasons, first is that HW1 is already too busy with the necessary researching, the existing research takes too long in HW1, and building additional research ships takes too long (might need some changing) and sacrifice one production line, so add more research mess up things for HW1 researching, and second because it is unnatural, HW1 doesn’t have upgrades researching.

That is what i would like to see, and that is what i’m trying to reach with those suggestions.

Support ships are kinda trick to balance, and honestly need some field testing.
As crazy as this can sound, latching can have a few advantages, first one is that they are harder to hit, once a support ship is attached to the one being repaired, the ship being repaired might block the line of sight of the attackers in certain angles, and second the ship being supported can retreat and fire at the same time, and still be repaired, I use this a lot with HC, command with HC being repaired, move backwards while engaging , since the repairs ships use to stick in the back part of the ship they will be out of range and will still repair while moving, it is a nice trick.

Biggest issue with latching so far is that it takes too long to happen, support frigates move speed should be equal to another latching ships, like the infiltrator and the marine frigate, or even better, second problem is it can’t repair corvettes.

I’m not saying that I prefer the latching, I just saying that it does have some pros along with the cons, but that is IF the buff their speed and maneuverability

I wouldn’t worry about those buffs take place and become too good if the repairs beams come back, the repair amount can be changed according with the ships class being repaired

  1. “RepairCommand”: [
  2.          1,
    
  3.          750,
    
  4.          7,
    
  5.          "{SuperCap=14}",
    
  6.          "{Battlecruiser=10}",
    
  7.          "{Flagship=14}"
    

So it can be tweaked if it is being too effective, also the buff itself can be tweaked

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Erm, nope, I’m not getting those confused at all. Not sure where you got that from.