So you’ll notice that fighters have no health upgrade. If they did, it wouldn’t do anything, because most things that kill fighters do more damage than they have HP, and would still do more after even an upgrade that gave them 100% more hp. All it’d do is make their counters worse, since most fighter counters just barely do enough damage to one or two shot them.
Now, lets move up to corvettes. These do have two upgrades.
All HW2 corvs have 400 hp. They gain 30% from the tier1 upgrade, then 60% from tier 2. So it’s 400-520-640 respectively.
Here we get to more of what I’m getting at. That first upgrade generally basically does nothing. Let me give some examples:
Laser corvs do 350 damage per hit. They take exactly 2 shots at no, lvl 1, and lvl 2.
Pulsar do 150-160 in a two shot burst. In this case, the lvl 2 upgrade SOMETIME makes them survive one more hit. Though I’m actually quite certain that when weapons fire in a “burst” that either the whole burst hits, or it all misses, so it’s really 300-320, in which case the lvl 1 upgrade does nothing.
In frigates, sometimes the opposite happens.
Torps have 12000. It becomes 15600 with upgrades. Frontal armor reduces damage by 10%
It ends up taking exactly 6 hits from ions to kill. Then 8 with some overshoot. Then 10 with a lot of overshoot.
So this works out, except the lvl 2 upgrade costing so much more makes it really prohibitive without lots of torps out anyway. If you really want to be as good as possible, you’d have to know all these break points for all different weapons to know how many you should have before getting the upgrade.
For Vaygr, it’s even more cost prohibitive and I think largely responsible for why they were weaker until HWRM introduced those double damage bugs.
The +60% is not enough to make a frigate take an extra hit from a BC.
While for caps, it’s far excessive of what is needed to take an extra BC hit yet not enough if it was more reasonable lower to take two more extra hits instead from vaygr BC, at least.
Then you get to capitals, and they just get an insane amount of extra health that, due to that simple RTS rule that a dead unit does no DPS, is actually worth it early on, disproportionate to how long it takes for Frigate upgrades to become worth it.
There are some edge cases where the lvl 1 upgrade makes you survive with some extra hp so more “stray damage” (bombers, flak, etc) is needed to finish them off instead of a second shot from that weapon, but still.
Anyway, I feel this is a problem and was poorly thought out and just rather random by relic.
Namely, I think having two tiers of upgrades are really there just to be there. Like it took little effort to add, and makes it seem like there is a big research tree, but is actually detrimental to the way that game plays.
If it was just one upgrade that’s sort of the in the middle both in combined cost and time, you’d end up with something that adds more strategy because it’d
A: Hopefully be an amount that is actually significant when it comes to breakpoints of “hits to kill”
B: These are actually timings you can know. It’s difficult to know when to expect when lvl 1 hull is going to come out, then two. Furthermore, you might not know whether that lvl 1 upgrade even does anything, so it can be a worthless timing to know.
Contrast this to how you know when to expect emp to come out and make an impact, and when it’s significant, and when you can exploit something like that.
It seems to me that players largely don’t even know these timings either, because they’re rather inconsequential. (This reminds me of SC2, back in the early days of WoL where there would be one little skirmish at the start, then no one would attack until they had 200 supply. People then didn’t know that 'oh when I have 30 drones, 115 supply of roaches, this is a time I should attack because they won’t have such and such)
Strategy in RTS is largely about timings. When there are too many timings, and many of those timings don’t even matter, it really takes away from that.
With this fixed, you should be able to expect something like “His frigate facility just finished. It’ll be at least 2 minutes before he has even stronger ones” rather than upgrades just being something that are done by reflex without much consideration to whether or not there is a timing that can be exploited.
In short, what I’m saying is that level 2 health and speed should both go away. Lvl 1 should cost more, take longer, and do something in between them.
This would make it so that upgrade comes out later, in a more predictable timing, but should always have a clear effect.
Right now it just seems rather… random.
Corvs should definitely get more hp from their one upgrade than others get, as well, since it takes more for them to survive another hit, like +50%(the extra 40 from +60% over 50% seems to do nothing in all the tests I’ve run… except vs fighters and such). Frigs 40%. Super caps 30%. But lower costs, obviously.
The difference between a corv getting 50%, or 60% for that matter, and a super cap getting it is so immense. For a corv, it means it MAYBE survives one more hit. For a BC, well it means it survives, gets repaired, and fights another battle.
Of course, frigate and super cap upgrade costs should go down a bit with those reduced health increases.
The game is often so passive that people don’t take advantage of these potential timings either, as the potential timings just aren’t apparent enough (well, and lack of game knowledge for many).
Sure, potentially this “2 tier” system could wind up making gameplay where 2 Hiigaran fight and first one beats the other interceptors because they have lvl 1 speed, then the other gets theirs and it’s even, then there is another leap frog with tier 2, then even again. But that just. doesn’t. happen. What would add more to strategy is if the speed upgrade took longer than speed1 did, and had an effect in the middle, to where it’s super significant when they do get it and make use of that timing.
On a lesser note, the speed upgrades are just a bit much and should also be one upgrade that’s in between.
35% speed increase on frigates is rather crazy. 25% from one upgrade is enough.
Not only would a single upgrade help balance things out better for HW1 vs HW1, I think it will make HW2 play better since you have more key and notable timings with the upgrades, and you don’t have a bunch of upgrades that don’t actually do anything.
So yeah this seems like a major change, but really I think it isn’t since the current system often doesn’t work in the way someone thinks it would. You think you upgrade your ships HP and they survive better, but often they don’t.