As most of you know, certain bulky ships (Shipyards, HW2 carriers and BCs) are insta-captured upon being brought to a HW1 mothership with salvage corvettes while everything else has to dock and convert before being given to the player’s control.
However, an exploit exists that allows players to bypass the mothership as the receiver altogether, regardless of ship size, allowing a carrier to insta-capture anything that salvage corvettes can latch on to. This is done by latching the appropriate number of salvage corvettes needed onto the target WHILE the mothership is hyperspacing and this causes the corvettes to tow the target to the nearest carrier instead.
From the salvage corvette’s perspective, there is no difference between a destroyed mothership and one that is in the process of hyperspacing. This allows players to do carrier hotdrops on unsuspecting enemy ships and perform captures at incredible speed.
Demonstrating an insta-capture of an enemy carrier with my own carrier:
At the cost of simply hyperspacing my mothership on the spot (at 0:07), I avoid the hassle of towing the enemy carrier all the way to my mothership or even the risk of bringing my mothership directly to it.
The video also demonstrates the annoyance of salvage corvettes taking inefficient routes to capture certain ships. The Ion cannon frigate is caught by the salvagers and then towed to the mothership instead of the carriers themselves which they can dock with.
Demonstrating an insta-capture of an enemy shipyard with my own carrier:
Please do not point to these videos as evidence that salvage corvettes themselves are overpowered on their own. Note that there will be a combined effect on salvage corvette effectiveness and viability when this exploit is quashed and the Gravity Well Generator receives a strong nerf in the upcoming patch.
Demonstrating that the exploit does work against players, not just CPU opponents:
@aeon_walker, if you were curious, I was the one who did this to you in that game last week. Sorry you were on the receiving end of this. Voices are not mine, fyi.
Here is a flowchart of how salvaging behavior works right now in Homeworld Remastered due to this exploit:
Case 1: Salvage corvettes latch onto a ship WHILE all receiving bays are indisposed (all carriers and MS are either destroyed or hyperspacing).
Result: Corvettes will individually delatch as each of them finish latching.
Case 2: MS or carrier becomes indisposed WHILE salvage corvettes are towing a ship to it.
Result: The ships freeze but still remain stationary in the towed state indefinitely until the corvettes are destroyed/told to delatch etc. Reinitiating latching after the MS/carrier is no longer indisposed will carry on as normal.
Case 3: Salvage corvettes under the control of a HW2 player attempt to latch on to a ship.
Result: Same as Case 1.
- I’m fairly certain the game is indiscriminate about whether or not the player picked a HW1 or HW2 race for salvage corvettes to work and being able to successfully capture just comes down to whether or not you have a Kushan/Taiidan mothership or carrier in possession to tow ships to.
Comparisons with previous games:
Homeworld 1 Classic
Salvage corvettes in Homeworld classic would tow ships to the nearest receiving bay large enough for the towed ship to dock. There was no insta-capture mechanic (everything had to dock first) so losing the mothership meant losing the ability to capture or even disable ships too big to dock with a carrier (such as destroyers and cruisers). Any attempts to do so just results in the salvagers latching on to a target ship and being dead weight.
Cataclysm’s counterpart to the salvage corvette was a multifunction utility ship called the worker. Salvaging functioned in much the same way - a predetermined number are needed to latch on and tow the ship back to the nearest carrier or Command Ship. However, the target needed to be at or below 50% health and the towed ship did not need to dock. It insta-captured (not so instant, a small 5-10 second conversion animation) once it was within proximity of a carrier or Command ship.
Capture example of a ship in Homeworld: Cataclysm:
Summary of salvage issues and appropriate solutions in HW:R
Like Homeworld classic, salvage Corvettes should tow a ship to the nearest mothership or carrier that is large enough for it to dock. Currently, they always default to the mothership which causes unnecessary travel time and distance in several cases when a towed ship is small enough for a nearby carrier.
Secondly, the insta-capture mechanic should only be removed for the carrier, not the mothership. This mechanic is necessary for motherships to capture ships that are too big to fit inside its hangar bay which includes HW2 carriers, shipyards and battlecruisers. Programming them to dock normally would result in a poor display with models clipping through the hull especially with the huge sizes of shipyards. An alternative is to take a page from Cataclysm and make insta-capture ships go through a short conversion process (no longer than the time it would’ve taken if they had docked, converted and undocked normally). It wouldn’t have to be anything fancy, just something as simple as the capture progress bar from marine/infiltrator frigates.
Thirdly, there are some cases where certain subsystems on captured ships cannot be recycled by the new owner. In the 3rd video where I captured those two Vaygr carriers, the game would not let me recycle their corvette facilities.
Bring back the ability to give bandbox salvaging commands like HW classic. Also, salvagers deal damage to whatever target they are latched on to if the player does not have a large enough docking bay to tow it to - e.g. a player only has a carrier and salvagers latch onto a destroyer, the destroyer takes damage every second by each salvager attached.
Lastly, the final two issues which go hand in hand:
- The imbalance of carriers being able to capture ships too big to dock with it.
- The game treating a hyperspacing mothership the same as it would if it was destroyed which allows players to bypass mothership captures with carriers.
Making it like HW1 classic in this regard would solve both problems - have carriers no longer able to capture ships that cannot dock with it.
- Allow players to transfer control of captured production ships of other races only to teammates of that matching race (e.g. a Taiidan player captures a Vaygr carrier and then transfers it to a Vaygr teammate).
- Allow players to build other races ships from captured production capitals on a very limited basis (dependent on the level of tech at the time of capture and whether it has the appropriate production subsystems or not).
- Allow players to capture enemy strike craft with salvage corvettes perhaps only if they are immobilised with Gravity Well Generators (assuming the squadron mechanic which replenishes lost ships for free is removed in the upcoming rework).
- Allow players to toggle salvage corvettes between damage and salvage modes.
Combined these two together to potentially make gameplay more dynamic in team games and captures more rewarding.
Obligatory @scole paging.