Lets talk HW2 2 tier upgrade system and how it often does nothing, and is actually useless fluff

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.


All sounds like a reasonable areguement. Just be sure to not lose sight of the effects of HW1 support.

For fighters, given HW1 has more fighter types, maybe instead of fighter upgrades we remember those types can be the counters to upgraded fighters? It’s too bad defense fighters took on a new roll. Inties mixed with defense for Tiiadan and inties with cloaks (if cloaks were buffed) for Kushan could be the answer to HW2 fighter upgrades. Both HW1 races can build defenders that the HW2 races have no equilivent.
We also have an additional vette type. And looking at the numbers suggested, it looks like the intent is for it to be a hybrid anyway.

On a side note about vettes, I like to see the research put back to HW1C so that repair vettes are available from the start, light vettes unlocked by drive, and salvage vettes unlocked by chassis. This would, after interceptors put us one tech away from our ‘hybrid’ fighter, and do nothing to extend or decrease research to heavy/multi/mine.

Do you have an image of the HW1 tech tree? I can’t find it.

I do really wish the tree was a tree in game instead of these tabs. :confused: With dessies requiring ions…

And HW2 might not have Defenders, but they certainly have counters to them. Just like how HW1 have nothing like missile corvs that hard counter other corvs, they’re all more general purpose. I see no problem there.

Also… speed doesn’t just make the fighters win out better in a dogfight.
HW1 interceptors are SLOWER than speed upgraded HW2 bombers. They really need their own speed upgrade.

I don’t have an image handy. But if you click the show all button, you don’t have to use that tabs system. It’s the first thing I click after pressing B or R every game.

And I realse they have counters, my point was that while HW2 is researching upgrades to limited units, HW1 has extra units they can research.

And interceptors aren’t counters to bombers, scouts are. Don’t forget that HW1 scouts have always been a formidable unit in their own right. Can any HW2 upgraded fighter out run a Z boosted scout?

Why does it look like you conveniently picked only some bits and pieces from a whole picture?

Corvette upgrades do matter. Missile corvettes do not overkill them - all you have to do is fix the bug. Also, mass interceptors is a viable counter to corvettes, especially in mixed fighter/corvette fights; and again, upgrades do matter then.

With frigates, hull upgrade matters the most when the map is small and a frigate vs frigate fight opens up. Also, upgrading ions make them much better against destroyers early on, when there aren’t too many of them around. Even later in the game, buffing ions make them last longer against destroyers.

There’s no reason to combine upgrades together - right now they provide some flexibility, instead of ‘all or nothing’.


Of course I couldn’t include them all since that’d be massive list, but largely it’s true from many comparisons I looked at. I did say that there are a few cases where it does help and that it helps give them a little buffer hp that makes “stray” non-counter damage mean more. I also said that still makes it bad, because it often largely doesn’t do what someone would expect.

Should the lvl 1 upgrade exist then purely for the case of Missile Corvs, then?
Just kidding, that’s still mostly wrong. Missile corvs almost always overkill. With the upgrade instead of the extra missiles exploding on a corpse, they are finishing it off. It’s still the same number of missiles being fired at the target to kill it in most cases.
So your own example of when that isn’t true isn’t a very good one.

Even if concussion missiles did hit instantly or retargeted better, it doesn’t change that there would be more strategic depth if there were clear meaningful timings instead of those things that sometimes sort of help in niche cases.
And even if that were true, isn’t it quite an imbalance that lvl 1 corvette upgrade effects missile corvs but not pulsars? And weird that that upgrade would exist for that one unit?
Isn’t it a huge newb trap for people to think their corv health upgrade is helping vs Hiigaran, but it’s not?

As for your frigate vs destroyer example, having it be one upgrade that’s roughly the time of them both would make it come out around the time the first destroyer does, so your argument only reinforces what I was saying about clear strategic timings.
You not longer need adv research, after all, and it’s an extra 10% health. So it’s roughly an extra 1.3-2s that they’d live with it coming out just in time.
It seems rather silly that you would get a destroyer out before lvl 2 frigate hull upgrade, anyway.

Again, they don’t provide flexibility. They provide what’s largely a newb trap with the level 1 upgrade in most cases. In the cases they aren’t a noob trap, well the timings aren’t significant enough to take advantage of them.
For example, when you get torps out, by the time you actually attack with 1 or 2 of them with them actually reaching the enemy, the lvl 1 upgrade is already done since it’s only 60 seconds.
There generally no significant timing where you can take advantage of there not being a research done, since it’s done so fast and movement is quite slow. Just another example of how the gradual progression reduces strategic depth.

There’s actually lots of reasons to merge them together and adjust their scaling/cost, like I gave. I think you just don’t like change even if said change would likely make the game better.

You seem to be stuck on the timing of the upgrades; it’s obvious you wish for something identical to SC2. Well, this may come as a surprise to you, but HW does have timings, they’re just not what you envision. There are plenty of tech timing that can be executed, including the upgrades themselves, as well as build choices.

If you wish for tech 1 fights, stay away from large and rich maps. Heck, even tech 0 rushes can be very good.

But, hey, you know what, I’m not going to stop you from believing that HW2 upgrades do nothing. You can go ahead and play without them, I don’t really care.

Perhaps you have some better examples, though, of when a lvl 1 health upgrade is super significant, and the timing of getting it gives a huge advantage?
Besides on BC, where you research it and get it done before the BC even comes out. (Which, isn’t that also really silly?)

The tier1 techs don’t-not do “anything”. On caps they certainly do, too much I think. But for corvs and a lesser extent they’re mostly a stepping stone to get to the tier 2 and don’t do a lot in of themselves, no.

Like also didn’t you mention the upgrade being significant vs destroyers?
Wouldn’t you be talking about ion frigs in that case?
You need advanced research to build ions to start with. The timing of getting ions is pretty similar to getting out a destroyer to begin with. Then you need to build a significant number of ions that could actually beat the destroyer. Then aren’t you talking about a lvl 2 upgrade?.. Because you have advanced research already, so you have access to that. By the time you have 6 ions, you could also have a lvl 2 ion frigate research.
I have trouble seeing that this timing actually exists.

Even though the HW1 race is extremely weak, they really show how timings can be clearly exploited. If it’s early on and they have support frigs out, you know it’ll be a while before they have salvages, and you can take advantage of that.
If they have defenders out, you know they heavily delayed destroyers, and you can take advantage of that.
HW2 tech just seems somewhat flexible-to-a-fault in addition to the other issues outlined.
Maybe that explains what I’m saying better? Instead of 2 upgrades that spread the upgrade effect, cost, and time, you have one upgrade that is individually more significant even if the max effect is lower than the two combined. This makes it more like the timings we actually see with the significant single upgrades the game has. Improved torps, improved bombs, emp, etc.
A, say, 110 second upgrade for say +40% or +45% hp on frigates that doesn’t require advanced research would make a much more significant timing than getting 30% then another 30%. It’s both a bigger opening to attack earlier when exploiting against it, and it’s also more significant when you actually get it.
For reference, the current 30% upgrade is 60s, then 75s for the second one.

Or like with improved bombs, I totally think that I can build 6 bombers from double fighter, research improved bombs, send out 4 while the last 2 are too building, and by the time they arrive and the other 2 are coming to reinforce, improved bombs will be finishing and I can do a lot of damage.
That’s a clear, exploitable timing.
I can’t see how you consider the same thing with the level 1 health upgrade which generally does little or even nothing.

Basically I really think you just research this stuff out of reflex and you’re not really consciously considering and taking advantage of timings when you’re playing. If you can show me otherwise, though…

That’s very interesting idea for a mod. Making upgrades to pop up only when you own the ship could be done.

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It seems silly to dump money into something you don’t even have.

I think it’s more just an issue of the quick times theselves, which are quick largely due to the number of researches, which is largely such a high number because of the two tier system. :stuck_out_tongue:

A Torpedo frigate is 55s build time. The torp upgrade and health upgrade are both 60s.

So yeah, unless you are spending RU elsewhere you tend to have the two researches done by the time your 2nd torp is done and you’re harassing/attacking with the duo of them. (Granted, may not go HP, since it’s not cost efficient with just 2 of them.)
There isn’t a really a “timing” there, it’s just something you do. I don’t really see why the timing of getting a (more significant) health upgrade and improved torps isn’t more in line with the time it’d usually take to get 4 or 5 torps. It’s much more about the time than the cost, and how you need to sacrifice the research time of one thing over another to have things come together at a certain timing.

Timing timing and timing once again… Is your health upgrade timing really that important in the first place? Granted, beiing able to recall all the timings in your sleep makes you more advanced player, but do frigate health upgrade times really matter as much as you make them to look? You call it an opportunity for strategy, but these are just frigates. And when it comes to Destroyers, Battlecruisers, aren’t there more important things about them than knowing when you can expect them to have armor boosts? Don’t you wish this to be Star Craft a little bit too much?

Well no, it’s not that important right now at 30%. If it was one upgrade that was 45% and slower, then yeah it would be more important. There’s multiple points to be made to change how the current upgrade tech is.

I’m not saying I want it to be like SC, but SC is a good example. Another thing, like I said, is that the upgrades often make people fall into “newb traps”. It’s something that sounds good that often isn’t and hurts a player by going for it.

That is a perfectly valid point. I for instance think of Planetside 2, when only the last tier of armor can grand you an extra survived bullet is some cases. And these upgrades are really costly. I just don’t see the timing as important as you do. I don’t think Homeworld is as precise game to really keep an eye on it. It’s by far not as micro oriented as SC.

Hey but why don’t you try it. It’s the easiest thing in the world to mod, you can have it working in less than half an hour. Yeah, it’s not official, you won’t find people playing it online, but that’s not my point. I simply would like to know if your experience will be so much richer with it. Open the research.lua, change couple of numbers, invite a friend to a match and tell us what you’ve found.

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Timings is macro actually, but sure that’s a fair point.
I can totally see where you’re coming from and it’s perfectly valid.
But here’s the thing: changing up upgrades like that would not really detract from what you’re saying. Being able to take advantage of timings more would be there, but if you want to play casually and not think about them it totally doesn’t matter.
How it is now, if you want to really break apart the game for optimal efficiency and strategy, it’s just so… random feeling.

There’s really a ton of issues I think replacing the two tiered upgrades with one upgrade, that feels like it has more individual weight to it, would solve.

I mean after all, even if you don’t want the game changed much, can’t we at least all agree that those upgrades like improved torp, emp, improved bombs, and such are much much more impactful? That should be an indication that how those upgrades work is largely much better.

Because people don’t play mods… It’d be the same as simulating it in my head.

Which is what I said, making a mod wasn’t my point. Seeing for yourself whether you can actually spot the difference when you get exactly what you want was. Simulating in your head is one thing, yes I know the ships will actually survive one more shot, that’s clear. But will you notice it, that’s experience, not a theory.

HW2 upgrades do matter. Being the strikecraft whore that I am when playing hiig, those inti/bomber speed upgrades mean everything when going for a sustained push with a carrier. The squad loss rates are significantly higher when going in without upgrades than otherwise.

Lvl 0 corvettes can’t hold against interceptors (cant speak for the broken missilers atm), but upgraded ones will be tanky enough to hold until the anti-strikecraft solution arrives.

Also, taking out the two-level upgrades would bring up a need for a complete rework of how Hiig tech works.

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What about the following idea:

while you fix the leaching system for hw1 support ships give hw2 ability to use the same technique with resource collectors BUT you make hw2 hull hp upgrades as follows:

keep the research and make every vessel (even after starting its production) to upgrade in space which will take time and cost and then you will be vulnerable. Now to justify everything, people will say that in this situation hw1 will be still inferior. But lets make this upgrade like all the upgrades (hp or emp). In result hw2 races will be forced to build only “stock” ships. Of course resource collectors which were teched as support vessels would not be able to mine and if they wanted they could after another upgrade which would cost time and money.

Don’t pulsars with no health upgrade handily beat interceptors cost for cost, or even half cost for cost, interceptors even when the interceptors have the speed upgrade?

Right, because it requires Advanced Research for Hiigaran. It would be a significant change indeed but I think for the better.
I wouldn’t call it a “complete rework” though. Currently a few things require advanced research. More frigate types besides torp, ECM probe, and level 2 upgrades.
For Vaygr, the level 2 upgrades are just much more expensive, slower, and rolled into one. I should note that their expensive and time is not usually worth their benefit. That is to say, Hiigaran tends to be much more cost effective and are able to take advantage of gaps in Vaygr timing while in Hiig vs Hiig that hardly happens except from a bad read or docked strike craft.
Well, I’m not too particular about how that’s resolved. I think it’d be fine to not require advanced research just as Vaygr doesn’t, except to make their combined costs more expensive than the single one-upgrades-all cost for Vaygr.
The only Vaygr upgrade tech that actually makes since with its cost/time compared to Hiigaran is the frigate one. The others are all completely bonkers and I think largely responsible for why Vaygr was worse in HW2.

Then, yes, you do wind up with the “advanced research” module only being for 5 or 6 ships or whatever. It could just be removed and replaced with an upgrade that unlocks the other frigates.
I think that’s ideal, I mean, like you mentioned before - or at least I think it was you - when advanced research facility is destroyed you can still build the additional frigates.
The way the game works is that when it’s built it unlocks this free hidden research that unlocks “InstaAdvancedFrigateTech” which doesn’t go away when the building is destroyed.
This would actually fix a ton of bugs related to that, since instead it would require an advanced research module and the tech, instead of either module and the tech.

I think that’s a bit too complicated, confusing, and understanding it requires out-of-game information.
It would make more sense to have to give them a resupply order, but I’m still not sure if that’s actually a good idea.

So when it comes to complexity maybe the best course of action would be to abandon hw2 upgrades (speed and hp) and repair hw1 support frigs and give hw2 races their equivalent while you nerf bcs hcs get back formations and tactics? Remodelling hwr with hw2 engine to act like hw1 and we get all the fun. That’s the only logical thing to do. Still hw1 was more playable than hw2 with more variety of tactics and simply more people lean on the hw1 side rather than hw2.