HW1 vs HW2 Balance Issues

Howdy! Long time homeworld player here, even played some complex 8 and 9. There are a few balance issues that I have noticed just in the games I have played already, and it appears others have noticed them too. The units are pretty balanced for the most part which is really encouraging to me, and great job Gearbox for bringing this IP back to life!

Homeworld 1 races have instant access to Hyperspace, without the need to build a module. This is a huge tactical advantage to them and allows them great early game flexibility, as the HW2 races must build and research in order to jump. I used this to jump some detroyers in my brothers base while he was on the other side of the map and killed his mothership before he could recall anything big enough to take them out. An easy fix for this would be to make a research tree and hyperspace jump array similar to the sensor array that allows jumping for the HW1 Races. Or keep it how it is and figure out a way to asynchronously balance that.

Homeworld 2 races can build shipyards, and HW1 races can’t. This is really a huge issue in mid to late game, as it allows HW2 races to outbuild HW1 races in the heavy classes (Destroyers-Crusiers). An easy fix for this could be taking the scaffold from the first and third single player missions and creating a “shipyard” for the HW1 races with it. Also there are some iimproved manufacturing research techs that HW2 races can use to build faster, HW 1 races are severely lacking this.

FIghters in squadrons vs Fighters out of squadrons. So far I have seen a few people complain that the HW 1 fighters are horrible compared to equal numbers of HW2 fighters. While that may be true, I have seen lately that the HW 1 fighters actually are better when used in conjunction than the HW2 fighters. HW1 Defenders are nearly as good as corvettes at killing fighters. Furthermore, it seems that fighters from HW1 have and advantage versus fighters from HW2, because they are not stuck in squadrons. Each individual ship maneuvers freely and as the enemy squadron tracks down one HW1 fighter, it misses the other 4 that wen’t different directions. This allows the squadron to focus fire one enemy down, but after that it is outmaneuvered by the rest of the HW1 fighters. An easy fix for this would be to put all HW 1 fighters in squadrons as well.

Thats all I have for now. More to come as I play this game more!


This depends on what conditions the game is meant to be balanced around. On default unit caps this is not an issue as only one shipyard is allowed per team thus both Kushan/Taiidan and Hiigaran/Vagyr have almost the same amount of production queues for super capital ships: K/T can build a heavy cruiser and destroyer at the same time whilst Hig/Vagyr can build a battlecruiser from the shipyard and a destroyer from their mothership simultaneously.

The issue is K/T permanently losing their ability to build supercaps when their mothership is destroyed whereas H/V can bring in a replacement shipyard from their carriers even if they lose both their mothership and first shipyard.

This is not an “easy fix” as it involves much more dev time and resources compared to other alternatives. The scaffold would most likely have to be resized and remodeled as well as appropriate subsystems and ship spawn points implemented. Additionally a Taiidan equivalent would need to be created - simply copy and pasting the thing from singleplayer as is for both races would be approaching the standards of quality expected from the average mod, not from a remastered game.

No such ship existed in HW1 multiplayer and homogenising units across HW1 and HW2 races is a bad design choice. Adding new ships should be a last resort.

An actual easy fix would be to allow K/T players to hyperspace in a replacement mothership from a carrier IF and only IF it is destroyed.

Well originally both races used the same scaffold, you can see this easily running the classic game and choosing Taiidan race.

Still your point holds about the model requiring some work, mostly downscale and closing it so that ships don’t appear from nothing. That or some visual effect that makes ship build partially in empty space: think like the hyperspace effect, just modified a bit or something like the derelicts degradation could work too (@BitVenom this could be your job!).

Makes sense, still it woudln’t work with larger ship caps when an enemy can simply spawn multiple shipyards and build battlecruiser far faster than you can build a single heavy cruiser…

Yeah I completely agree.
Allowing as many motherships to be built as there are shipyards would look a little out of place but it wouldn’t be a terrible solution. It would tip lategame production in favor of K/T however this might be offset by the fact that Hiigaran/Vagyr still have their Improved Manufacturing research tech and armor upgrades which make their supercaps far more cost-efficient.

Here is my experiance for today:

I played as Vaygr the and my enemy as Kushan.

I sent a probe and saw him just building resource collectors so I did the same. Sent my carrier to the other asteroids. I started doing research on coverts and then frigates.

The the relic shows up right under my mothership. At that point I had one missile corvett and the enemy had some scouts.

Now he jumps his carrier to my mothership and starts to shot up my resource collectors. I start making assault fighers. He starts making defenders. And that is where I lose the game. He was able to make more and more defenders who I had nothing to counter with. He proceeded to make about a 100 by the end and kept taking out my fighter and corvertt production mods. The end.

Thats why u should focus for the most part on corvettes with Vaygr. They rek defenders. Also making a hyperspace disabler is not a bad idea to counter this balls in tactic.

I played a game with Taiidan yesterday and i think the corvettes need some kind a buff because they just die so fast. At a price of 250 ru I would expect them to take some damage but now they all die with 1 hit… Therefor making corvettes is kinda pointless atm at this cost…

Also playing Vaygr mainly I think a cost decrease would be fair for the HW1 factions due the fact that HW2 factions get free units for sending there squads back to the carriers… Or they buff there effectiveness by a lot.

I would argue that the mothership being able to complete two ships at once is a big advantage to the K/T side, and giving them the ability to warp in more could work. But that does not fit in very well with the “one mother-ship only” style of the original game and HW2. Being a game developer myself I realize creating an entirely new ship is not an easy chore. But since the behavioral code for a shipyard and the model are already created, it is a simple task to combine them together.
I agree though that this might be a bad design choice. Having the homeworld 1 races balanced with the hw2 races in a asynchronous way would be much better for the longevity of the game. Truthfully it might be fine to just allow the K/T carriers to warp in destroyers and heavy cruisers. But I also think the K/T should get some more techs of their own.

Yea those defenders are really dirty, but corvettes wreck them easily.

1). Adjust HW1 corvette flight characteristics, maximum turret arc, and turret traverse rates for maximum effectiveness
2). Create new weapon class(es) for Light Corvettes, Heavy Corvettes, and Assault Frigate turrets designed for greater damage against corvettes and frigates, allowing these units to function more effectively in the anti-corvette role
3). Charge HW2 players resource units for rebuilt fighters / corvettes, such that they suffer monetary attrition in the same manner as the HW1 races; this will partially address the attrition situation
4). There are three possibilities to address the upgrade situation; I am a fan of the first one (thanks, Stuart98), but I feel compelled to list all three:

  • Reduce the cost of HW1 units to compensate for the health upgrades received by HW2 units; if necessary, remove the speed upgrades or provide HW1 units with a speed boost.
  • Remove HW2 health and speed upgrades completely
  • Give the HW1 races access to equivalent upgrades

5). To address one aspect of the Shipyard situation, allow HW1 races to research an additional production track, allowing them to build one more ship simultaneously (they can already build two at a time, if I recall correctly)
6). To address another aspect of the Shipyard situation, allow HW1 races to research an upgrade that will allow Carriers to build capital ships by hyperspacing them in (at significantly reduced build rates – anywhere from 50% slower to 90% slower). The completed capital ship will appear out of hyperspace near the Carrier.
7). Rebalance HW1 race fighter health and damage to compensate for their grain size, for the lack of formations, and for HW2 unit stats
8). “Emergency Thrusters” for HW1 fighters and corvettes that would allow them to boost out of combat for a very short duration when given a Dock order (consuming fuel in much the same way the HW1 scout does, only much more rapidly – 2-10 seconds of increased speed, at most, just enough to get them out of the fight)

The following is a summary of suggestions to address the squad issue

  • Emergency Thrusters: HW1 fighters and corvettes gain a short (2-10 seconds, depending on test results) speed boost when a dock command is issued (in order to help players avoid losing units). This speed boost depletes an energy bar (similar to the currently implemented Scout speed boost). This compensates for the fact that HW2 races have an advantage in keeping their investment alive (squads provide significant room for error).
  • HW2 races are charged RU every time they replace a fighter or corvette squad member, so they suffer the same monetary attrition that HW1 races do. For example: if a Vaygr Missile Corvette squad costs 400 RU, replacing one corvette costs 100 RU.

That should do it.

The argument goes “HW2 races can replace their MS + Shipyard being destroyed with a carrier, while the HW1 races are screwed when they lose their MS” = nonsense.

Has ANYONE here ever seen a HW2 player lose their MS + Shipyard + their fleet (except a carrier group), and then go on to build a Shipyard and then win the game? The HW1 player would simply use their victorious fleet to cut off that single carrier from collecting any further RUs by keeping an eye on the remaining resources. The HW1 would plunder these RUs (becoming even more powerful) while the HW2 player wouldn’t have the $ to rebuild. The HW1 race would simply use PING and then destroy the HW2 race!

*I’ll grant that players who play with the Massive Resource Injections + Crates turned on = the Carrier wouldn’t need to harvest/scavange anything to get RUs. These type of games COULD POSSIBLY allow a HW2 player to rebuild his Shipyard and Fleet against a NOVICE HW1 player. Possible…but insanely situational.

Hypothetical situation, Kushan and Taiidan simply wouldn’t win in the first place with the current balance, but if the game was balanced with corvettes that could aim and accounting for upgrades and squad attrition…yes Kushan and Taiidan could have a victory.

But I agree that rebuilding their shipyard after they’ve lost their mothership and shipyard and proceed to win is also impossible. No matter what race you’re playing against.

I really don’t think HW2 having Shipyards is necessarily the hugest deal.

Like in my mod I rebalanced them to make BCs much more sane. HW2 BCs nerfed the most. They’re still a little stronger with all upgrades, but when you increase like 4k+ in upgrades, each effectively costs more. So even if they outproduce and get more, well you should be able to have more of other ships.

The shipyard thing is only a major problem when BCs remain being 3x hp and 5x the dps for 2x the cost of destroyers. When they’re 2x the hp and 3x the dps, it’s not so bad and it works having HW2 races having that extra little thing.

If BCs are more balanced, it’s not really a HUGE deal if a HW2 race builds a second shipyard to produce them faster. If I’m not mistaken, it takes like the cap of collectors all mining to support building of 2 BCs, anyway.

You are completely discounting team games in your argument - I have experienced games where a player was reduced to his carrier but managed to slip away into the defense of his teammates, rebuild and eventually pump out capitals again.

Granted that was the exception rather than the rule. However, not correcting a game imbalance based on the fact that it is too situationally-dependent before it manifests is not good game design nor is it an appropriate counter-argument.

Given your rationale, would you object then if HW2 carriers were stripped of their ability to call in shipyards?

Either every race gets to rebuild their capital production capabilities from their carrier or not at all - how often it happens is actually irrelevant.

I did a 2000RU strike craft test fight with a friend, and what you say about HW1 actually being better is damn true.

500x4 - 4 Vaygr Assault craft squadrons (7 ships in each, meaning 28 fighters total)
100x20 - 20 Taiidan Interceptors

On standard population cap, that’s 4/15 for Vaygr (~27% of cap), and 20/70 for Taiidan (~28% of cap). So maxing out on population wouldn’t make a difference, this is pretty balanced.

With no micromanagement or docking to repair, just a ctrl + drag attack, the results averaged at:

All Vaygr Assault craft destroyed
16 Taiidani Interceptors still alive (only 4 killed!)

That’s a K:D of 7:1 in favor of the Taiidan, which is insane.

2000RU in losses to the Vaygr, 400RU in losses to the Taiidan.

Now if a HW2 player was microing/telling squadrons to dock when injured it might make a bit of an attrition difference, because if 1 of those 7 assault craft get back to a carrier all losses are replaced at no cost, whereas every HW1 loss is a small cost that stacks.

Those assault craft did die damn fast though.

Yup, I find the HW1 races plenty powerful right now. I use all their special ships as well though.

As for the 'HW2 fighters/corvettes can dock and repair for free!" argument…ever try docking damaged squads in the middle of a fight? They usually get picked off (and don’t even fire back) long before they get into the hangar.

To get the ‘free’ repair, you have to actually survive the fight.

I’ve done a lot of tests and the HW1 intercepters lose.

Perhaps when it’s 5 intercepters vs 1 squad they’re worse, but when it’s 20 vs 4 suddenly they’re better? Like maybe the HW2 ai messes up from all the targets? Very weird if true. I’d like to see videos or something.

Also intercepters get out like a whole minute sooner, so you can have 4 squads of them by the time HW1 races are making their first one.

And these are UNUPGRADED

I think HW1 classes suck after trying to deal with torpedo frigate rushes. How do you beat that as a HW1 race. You just can’t tech fast enough.

Bombers, and frigates for HW 1 races, SHOOT THE facilities out

HW 1 races build just as many fighters as it takes for a HW 2 race to build a squadron of (5/7)
HW 1 actually gives you more fighters and Frigates compared to HW 2

HW 1 players need to learn to play HW 2.

LAST NOTE: everyone overlooks.
HW 1 has support frigates, which HW 2 only has Cap ships for docking ships.
Learn to macro and dock fighter constantly to win swarm fighter fights.

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