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Thread: (very) Experimental shield change

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1
    Sandro Sammarco is offline
    Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous
    Frontier Employee

    (very) Experimental shield change

    Hello Commanders!

    We’re going to experiment with a somewhat radical change to shields. We don’t necessarily expect it to stick beyond the beta, because we’re not sure if it goes too far or not far enough, or even if it’s the best avenue to explore.

    The best way to answer these questions is to try it out, and that’s why we love betas!

    The issue we see is how stacking shield boosters, and heavily engineering them, creates shields that can be an order of magnitude more powerful than improvements available to weaponry.

    This presents most obviously when flying the “big three” and FDLs, thanks to their abundance of booster-capable utility mounts. As an aside, these changes won’t affect smaller ships unless you are cramming all your utility mounts with boosters.

    The end result is top tier ships with shields can be almost impossible to break in 1v1 PvP engagements, and can make PvE engagements somewhat risk free.

    As we’ve mentioned in the last livestream, we’d like to reduce the disparity in durability between engineered huge ships and their basic counterparts, but we also want the big ships to remain durable when engaged by smaller vessels with less powerful weapons.

    So we’re going to make the following changes in this beta:

    * We’re adding significant diminishing returns to shield boosters. Past 4 standard boosters, or 2 heavily engineered ones, you’re going to see some monumental drop off. We’re reducing the shield strength of heavily engineered ships to approximately 40% of current capabilities on the live servers.

    * To offset this significant drop in shield health, we’re going to harden the “big three”. We’re reducing damage dealt to their hull by small and medium weapons by a factor of three, and large weapons by a third. It's worth pointing out that this affects both hull and module health.

    * Huge weapons are designed to be large ship breakers, so they will gain an increase in hardness penetration, allowing them to deal full damage at all times.

    * We’re increasing the base shield for the big three by a small amount; between 10 and 15 percent (the cutter gets the bigger boost).

    So to clarify, with these changes we’re shifting the durability of the big three away from shields and onto hull defence as well as reducing it from current levels in live.
    Caveat time!

    This is a pretty large change. Once again, we won’t be making any final decision until we’ve seen results in the beta, but we’re just as likely to roll it back as to push it through – it’s certainly one of our more experimental changes.

    We’re also aware that it will mean the top tier ships, such as the FDL and big three, will be at more risk in group PvP. Even with a toughened hull, they won’t be able to reach the sorts of defensive numbers that the current shield booster/engineered shield booster stacking can create.

    We have ideas about group PvP that we think could help, but that’s for a different discussion.

    Also, to reiterate, this change will make PvE encounters riskier. Even though NPCs don’t min-max their ships to ultra-kill levels, your large ships will still have less durability. We see this as a positive – a game without challenge is less interesting.

    We look forward to your feedback, and just what these changes mean to your actual flying experience.

  2. #2
    I think you went the wrong way with the shield boosters in the first place.

    It would make far more sense for them to boost recharge rates and limit the max shield strength by size and class. It never made any sense for the recharge rate of sidewinders to match those of the large ships; it's like trying to fill a swimming pool with the same hose you use for a paddling pool.
    CMDR Millican. (Acorn Electron : Elite, Atari STFM : Elite, PC Plus : Deadly) Elite Dangerous : Elite-Elite-Ranger

  3. #3
    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! 40% of current capacitor.....that's less than what they were in 2.0.

    If this change goes live, you will annoy an awful more people than what will please. No.


    You are balancing, once again, to 1v1 pvp. My experience on Xbox, is that most people don't primarily fly 1v1

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    * We’re adding significant diminishing returns to shield boosters. Past 4 standard boosters, or 2 heavily engineered ones, you’re going to see some monumental drop off. We’re reducing the shield strength of heavily engineered ships to approximately 40% of current capabilities on the live servers.
    Had to read this a few times - first pass sounded like the change was being made on the live servers rather than the Beta servers....

    Interesting change proposal - it will be interesting to see / read how it goes!

  5. #5
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    We’re adding significant diminishing returns to shield boosters. Past 4 standard boosters, or 2 heavily engineered ones, you’re going to see some monumental drop off. We’re reducing the shield strength of heavily engineered ships to approximately 40% of current capabilities on the live servers.
    When you say 2 heavily engineered ones, do you mean of the same type? If I mix 2 heavy duty + 2 resistance would I see a significant reduction or would I be softcapping the benefits?

  6. #6
    Sounds like an interesting proposal!

    Are modules on the large ships going to get some sort of hardening as well, or is it expected that they will be carrying lots of module reinforcements?

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by nathdixon92 View Post (Source)
    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! 40% of current capacitor.....that's less than what they were in 2.0.

    If this change goes live, you will annoy an awful more people than what will please. No.


    You are balancing, once again, to 1v1 pvp. My experience on Xbox, is that most people don't primarily fly 1v1
    That doesn't really matter - you balance against 1v1 because it is most fair PvP match you will get. 2v1 or 3v1 is already unfair to begin with but that's a life.
    Peteris Krisjanis
    Call sign: Eagleboy | Will play: All Online | Federation | Trader and Explorer, with a little of everything else
    Please support call for ED Linux port https://www.change.org/p/frontier-de...-linux-desktop

  8. #8
    The answer relies on what frontier think the large ships actually are there for.

    Are they the classic WW2 battleship like the Bismark, Tirpitz or Missouri. heavily armored, packing a huge punch and needing more than 1 smaller ship to take down (just look at what it took to sink the Bismark)

    OR are they like a modern destroyer, still packing a punch but vulnerable to a single anti-ship missile (like the Sheffield or USS Stark )

    I would wager most players would put the big 3 into the former category and given that lots of players have put a lot of effort and playtime into getting and then modding these ships then changing them from the former to latter category will not go down well....

    The answer isn't nerfing shields etc, but make it more dangerous by having more (or tougher ships) attack the big 3. For example, when spawning pirates and the player is in a big 3 ship, don't have them spawn 3 sidewinders but 3 Anaconda's, FDL or pythons.

    Basically Don't punish the player for having a big ship and putting the time in to buy it and mod it, but make it more dangerous through more interesting and challenging game play.

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by KevinMillican View Post (Source)
    I think you went the wrong way with the shield boosters in the first place.

    It would make far more sense for them to boost recharge rates and limit the max shield strength by size and class. It never made any sense for the recharge rate of sidewinders to match those of the large ships; it's like trying to fill a swimming pool with the same hose you use for a paddling pool.
    Good point.

  10. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #10
    Sandro Sammarco is offline
    Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous
    Frontier Employee
    Hello Commander nathdixon92!

    Originally Posted by nathdixon92 View Post (Source)
    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! 40% of current capacitor.....that's less than what they were in 2.0.

    If this change goes live, you will annoy an awful more people than what will please. No.


    You are balancing, once again, to 1v1 pvp. My experience on Xbox, is that most people don't primarily fly 1v1
    The health boost from shield boosters is lower.

    However, when combined with the health benefit from engineered generators, the raw health is substantially higher than 2.0 numbers.

    In addition, when adding in resistances, the shield gets tougher still.

    In summary, even after these changes, a huge ship shield can be three to four times tougher than in 2.0.

  11. #11
    Great, just finished my Imperial Cutter shield tank, and you're going to nerf it to garbage.

    Thanks FDev for wasting weeks of my time.

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    Hello Commander nathdixon92!



    The health boost from shield boosters is lower.

    However, when combined with the health benefit from engineered generators, the raw health is substantially higher than 2.0 numbers.

    In addition, when adding in resistances, the shield gets tougher still.

    In summary, even after these changes, a huge ship shield can be three to four times tougher than in 2.0.
    This is just going to be a massive kick in the teeth, once again, to everyone that has grinded to the pinnacle, got their dream ships and you've taking a great big wrecking ball to it.

  13. #13
    I think this is a good balance. Shields post engineers are a bit too good in general for both PVE and PVP. Very curious to see what balancing features you will be adding to fighters (with limited internal compartments) to make them balance with multi-role ships that have a natural advantage when it comes to hull tanking?

  14. #14
    Can we get the actual shield calcs? It's really hard to test this stuff on feel alone.

  15. #15
    Sounds reasonable shield changes to level field.
    Peteris Krisjanis
    Call sign: Eagleboy | Will play: All Online | Federation | Trader and Explorer, with a little of everything else
    Please support call for ED Linux port https://www.change.org/p/frontier-de...-linux-desktop

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