*** UPDATE ***
First, I just wanted to thank everyone for their feedback. It's been extremely useful and we're very grateful.
So, it looks like we're going to give this experiment a run, see where it takes us.
Additionally, after more internal discussion, we're going to lower weaponised heat diminishing returns so that they kick in at 65% and lock at 95%. What this means is that basically, heat weapons will not be able to cause module damage by themselves. All other tweaks will be as discussed in the original post.
The general consensus from feedback leans towards this so we'll give it a punt.
As usual, we reserve the right to further change or revert these numbers (Sandy "No" Sammarco rules for the win).
Hopefully, this experiment should start with the next build deployment (keep an eye on heat tweaks in the changelog). Your feedback will be, as usual, be greatly appreciated!
*** UPDATE ENDS ***
We've been having a good old chew over the heat meta, and we want to float an idea past those of you who are interested (in fairness, the concept of this idea has been thrown around and discussed in various forums - we're just formalising a version of it).
We want heat to be a useful combat resource to manage, based on builds and tactics. We don't want it to be a path of least resistance, and we don't want it to be irrelevant.
Currently, there is an argument that heat is a path of least resistance when ships stack heat delivery weapons. The target can be pushed into a high heat level and kept there, causing significant damage to modules and even hull in extreme cases, with little defence against it.
We've been making various adjustments to limit these excesses, by improving heat resistance of cold running, improving heat sinks, lowering weaponized heat maximums etc.
We think we're making decent progress.
We've also been considering a more fundamental change to weaponised heat. The concept is to make the use of a smaller number of heat delivery weapons more viable as a way of causing damage, whilst removing the benefits of stacking lots of them together.
The changes we’re proposing are:
- Thermal diminishing returns cut in later but much harder, previously they would start at 60% and prevent you going over 190%, whereas they will now start at 80% and prevent you going over 120%.
- The heat effects of Thermal Shock are doubled.
- The heat effects of Thermal Cascade are 25% more than they are on live (the previous beta heat nerf is being reversed, and then a small buff), combined with a slight nerf to PackHounds to stop them being so superior to other missiles.
The effects that this should have are slightly different depending on how many thermal weapons you use compared to the size of your target ship.
For Thermal Shock:
- If you use one or two smaller weapons, they’ve gone from minimal effect to being able to cause some heat damage if the defender uses hot equipment.
- If you use 2-4 appropriate sized weapons for the ship, you should be able to hold them between 100-110% heat, taking steady slow module damage.
- If you stack a full heat loadout, you can hold them near the 120% cap doing slightly more heat damage.
How the defender acts will obviously affect this. Activating hot equipment will increase the damage they take, but it should never become game-endingly high and the benefits of stacking more than a handful of these weapons are probably lower than the direct damage you lose.
Missiles with Thermal Cascade behave a little differently, it’s relatively easy to spike someone up to 120% heat briefly with a volley, but a full alpha strike won’t do anything more, you’ll generally get better results from a steady stream of fire (which is also more able to beat the newly improved ECM defences).
As you can see, this would represent a pretty big change to heat meta.
Take some time to think it over. We're still discussing it in the office, and debating it's pros and cons, and whether we should go for a test run as an experiment, with the explicit caveat that we might completely revert the changes if we didn't see a marked improvement.
Your initial thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I'll keep you updated if we decide to move further with this.