Sorry but my post will be very long. There is no other way to adress this.
When I first played the game I thought the balancing was not that bad at all. But after some testing I have to say it’s really bad. I am sorry to say but in fact I never played a rts before which such a bad balancing. Let’s start with the reasons for the mess.
- Gearbox tried to integrate the HW1 races into the game by giving them HW2 style stats. On the other hand they tried to keep the original playstyle behaviour of this races.
The combination of these two things is a big mistake. While it’s a really(!) good thing to keep the original playstyle behaviour of HW1 races they just don’t fit in the HW2 balancing scheme.
I can’t understand why Gearbox doesn’t even look at the HW1 balancing at all. In fact the HW1 balancing has been always way(!) better then the one in HW2. If you have a look at this post you will see why:
In HW2 the damage per second values of all ships (but especially destroyers and cruisers) are way too high. And there is now a much bigger gap between frigates/destroyers and between destroyers/cruisers then in HW1. In fact those gaps will render frigates nearly useless now, while in HW1 they were the workhorse of every fleet.
- And there is another problem which only affects HW1 strikecraft. Those ships were designed for specific tactics and formations. The ones which you could use in HW1. But those aren’t there or won’t work properly in HWR.
Despite being slightly more powerful statwise if you compare them to unupgraded HW2 strikecraft they will lose badly against them.
- Some modules (hyperspace inhibitor and especially fire control tower) will be a problem too. HW1 races may build a gravwell generator but it’s way easier to destroy and more expensive. They have nothing to counter the fire control tower.
- The last thing are the upgrades. To understand why upgrades are such a big problem some comparison of HW1 and HW2 ships, their health and the effect of armor upgrades. Kushan ships without brackets, Hiigaran ships in brackets:
Heavy corvette (Pulsar corvette)
Health 1x 630 (3x 400 or 3x640 with lvl 2 upgrade)
Shipcost 270 RU (625 RU)
Cost Lvl 1+2 armor upgrade = 1.150 RU
Ion canon frigate (Ion canon frigate)
Health 17.000 (16.000 or 25.600 with lvl 2 upgrade)
Shipcost 900 RU (700 RU)
Cost Lvl 1+2 armor upgrade = 2.200 RU
Health 85.000 (85.000 or 136.000 with lvl 2 upgrade)
Shipcost 1.800 RU (2.000 RU)
Cost Lvl 1+2 armor upgrade = 2.500 RU
Heavy Cruiser (Battlecruiser)
Health 200.000 (240.000 or 384.000 with lvl 2 upgrade)
Shipcost 3.600 RU (4.000 RU)
Cost Lvl 1+2 armor upgrade = 5.000 RU
Just examples here, this will be the same with every single ship that have armor upgrades. You can easily see how powerful those upgrades are. And they have to be because of the high DPS values everything have. Armor upgrades that for example would give your ships 10% more hull wouldn’t be barely noticeable.
Some of you will think now: “But upgrades are expensive.” Well they are but the more ships you build the cheaper and more effective the upgrades get.
In fact you will reach the point very fast where the upgrades make your ships cheaper then unupgraded ones in combat. Just build three destroyers with full armor upgrades for example, now the HW1 player has to invest more ressources to beat them then you spent for ships and upgrades together. If you build five destroyers it’s even worse for the HW1 player. The other upgrades (engine and special ones) will make the effect even worse.
Not everything is bad so here are some advantages or at least balanced things the HW1 races have :
- Collectors are slower and more expensive, but can carry much more RU (500 to 200) and have three times the hitpoints (6.000 to 2.000 unupgraded) then their HW2 counterparts, so you will need less of them and they won’t die that fast against interceptors
- All capital ships (including frigates) have hyperspace drives built in, but using them cost about 50% more then using HW2 hyperspace drives
- Motherships and carriers can build two ships at once, while HW2 races can built a shipyard. This is balanced as long as you don’t rise the unit caps, if you do HW1 races are doomed
- You have to research every ship you want to build. Research is quite expensive and needs a long time to complete. But as soon as you are done with it you can build the researched ship. There is nothing else needed. HW2 races have to build modules to construct ships but there are only a few ships they need to research if they want to build them. Seems to be balanced pretty well.
- Missile Destroyer. A capital ship designed to kill strike craft, the HW2 races don’t have such a ship
- Gravwell Generator. A device that can render every strikecraft useless in a certain area. Seems to be very powerful but with only 10.000 hitpoints it will be an easy kill for any capital ship. Only useful if your enemy has no capital ships in range.
Now let’s talk about some suggestions to fix the balancing problems:
“Put HW1 Strikecraft in HW2 formations too” is something I read quite often here. Sounds good but if you really think about it, it’s just a bad workaround and will make the HW1 races even more HW2ish. I don’t want a race that plays like a HW2 race but just have the looks of HW1.
There is a better way to address the strikecraft issues. HW1 strikecraft need their original set of tactics (defensive, balanced and aggressive) from HW1. The HW1 formations need to be fixed and actually work in combat again. This will fix the fighters.
To fix the HW1 corvettes give them their original behaviour back. They aren’t HW2 gunships that can shoot in every direction (except multigun corvette) but they just think they are at the moment.
HW1 Strikecraft will be fine then, without changing HW1 races playstyle.
Give upgrades to all four races seems to be an easy and good solution. But this would make the HW1 races more HW2ish too. And HW1 research ships are already busy researching new ships. If you give them upgrades you have to change the research system.
To fix this issue there is another way which will work better. Change the balance for all four races to a new one that is more HW1 like. Rebalance all upgrades to lower values and slightly reduce their cost. Speed and armor boost shouldn’t be higher then 15% on lvl 2 for all ships. Because of lower DPS values it will still be have an effect and give HW2 races a small advantage in the endgame but doesn’t make them unbeatable for HW1 races.
Higher numbers in terms of DPS and hull values won’t make a game better. But a better balancing does. And using a HW1 like balancing will fix more issues without further actions:
- More then one shipyard won’t be a problem because cruisers aren’t overpowered anymore
- Because of lower DPS special ships like gravwell generators will be better usable in combat, so they will be better balanced against special modules
- HW1 races now can compete in mid and endgame, without changing them to HW2 races with HW1 optics
- Frigates finally will be useful and powerful again
- Strikecraft will be more important for all races even in lategame
- No bigger is just better anymore
- Battles will take longer and give everyone much more possibilities