Feature Idea: Ammunition Restock Limpets / Ammo Stock Module

I was thinking on the plight of the Type-10...there's a thread around here about it...anyways, an idea struck me on 'support ships'. I've always been a fan of search & rescue type gameplay as well as support gameplay. 'Force Multiplier' if you will. Generally in Elite, you don't really need to restock ammo except when carrying out many missions at once or hanging around conflict zones. Thargoid encounters, particularly, can require lots flying back and forth to stations.

SO...the idea is in the title: Ammunition Restock Limpets and Ammo Stock Module
Full Disclosure, I don't want anymore limpet controllers either...I'm just using the existing game mechanics to propose the idea.
Please, please, pleeeeease Frontier...combine limpet controllers already


Restock Limpet Controller - Can Be Equipped in Military Slots
  • Deploys Restock Limpet to target with load of ammunition
  • Must have ammunition in Ammo Stock Module to deploy
  • Unused Ammunition in Limpet will be lost if not used before limpet self-destructs in 15 seconds after attachment
  • Limpet will be destroyed if target ship is engaged in combat when limpet attempts to land
Ammunition Stock Module - Can Be Equipped in Military Slots
  • Dedicated Cargo Module that stores additional ammunition for the ship's weapons
  • Necessary for the use of Restock Limpets
  • Automatically replenishes online weapons ammunition at a rate of ____
How they work...(Edited After Discussion)
So if you're familiar with the auto-loader engineering upgrade for multi-cannons, think of that for the Ammo Stock Module. It does not just 'instantly' replenish ammo, but instead restores it over time at a specified rate depending on the weapon. Multi-cannons will reload the quickest given the size of their rounds, whereas missiles and torpedoes will load rather slowly. Railguns and PAs will likely load the slowest. NEW: To use the Ammo Stock Module, you will go to module list and select the desired weapon to reload. In addition to the usual options will be 'Reload'. Selecting this deactivates the weapon and begins the reloading process, which takes twice as long as when the weapon is online. The reload can be interrupted if the weapon is powered on prematurely. Once fully reloaded, you power the weapon back up and get back to shooting!

Ammunition in the Ammo Stock Module is quantified in 'units' much like the AFMU - it doesn't carry 'X missiles, X small rounds, etc.' but just a raw 'unit count'. The cost of replenishing ammo is dependent on the weapon type and size of the weapon. This is not a detailed list or researched count...just an example for explanatory purposes:

Small Multicannon - 1 Unit per 1 Bullet
Medium Multicannon - 2 Units per 1 Bullet
Large Multicannon - 4 units per 1 Bullet (These change in value because the damage values change with size - so the bullets aren't 'identical')
Small Missile - 25 Units per 1 Missile
Medium Missile - 25 Units per 1 Missile (Missile damage doesn't change with module size - so ammo cost wouldn't either)
Small PA - 25 Units per 1 Shot
Medium Railgun - 100 Units per 1 Shot

You get the idea - I'm not going to dig up all the ammo costs of ammo to figure out what the actual conversion rate it, but if we assumed the current balance of ammo costs was 'right' converting the Units would be straightforward: whatever the cost of 1 small multicannon bullet is, that's the cost of '1 Unit' of ammo...expand from there.

Ammo Restock Module comes in various sizes up to size 6. Because the smaller sizes are somewhat limited, it is possible they can't actually restock the largest weapon types because one unit of ammo is greater than the total amount in the module. This would be specified in the module's description. For a rough idea of (my opinion) of what the variations in sizes are:
  • Size 1: Restocks 25% of four medium multicannons
  • Size 2: Restocks 50% of "..."
  • Size 3: Restocks 100% of "..." (Size 3 essentially 'doubles' your total ammo count)
  • Size 4: Restocks 200%
  • Size 5: Restocks 400%
  • Size 6: Restocks 800%
Generally speaking, the typical solo commander won't use anything abut Size 3 or 4 because optional slots of that size become much more valuable with other modules. This and the Limpet controller are both 'military' modules given they are explicitly for combat and nothing else. For smaller ships, allowing the ammo stock to occupy a military slot allows more loadout diversity at the sacrifice of raw hitpoints/defense. I'd say that's a fair trade.

When the Limpet is deployed, it will take a specified amount of ammunition from the Ammo Stock Module(s). The size of the Limpet controller determines how much ammo a limpet can carry and how many limpets can be active simultaneously (much like other controllers). Obviously, a cargo hold is necessary to this arrangement to carry the limpets.

On a side note: you cannot synthesize ammunition into the Ammo Stock Module - it isn't a weapon. Synthesized ammunition (for bonus effects, particularly) will operate as normal with the existing ammo in the weapon(s).

If a weapon has been reloaded by the Ammo Stock Module or Restock Limpet, synthesizing ammunition for it will be unavailable until it is empty.


By providing these two modules, support ships can be outfitted to extend the longevity of a wing in the field. Obviously support oriented ships like the Keelback (and other SLF capable ships, to be honest) can rely on their optionals to support their wing and fight from afar. Wings of commanders engaging in combat zones can greatly increase their staying power (and enjoyment) if a commander will play the role of support.

Thoughts?

NEW EDIT: Alternative Idea for Ammo Stock Module
  • Ammo Stock Module doesn't use 'units' as described in OP, but instead carries actual quantities of each type of ammunition
  • Ammo Stock Module is much more expensive to refill in this version as you carry 'all types' of ammo, even those you don't use
  • Limpet is targeted at weapon module on target ship, not just 'the ship'. This means restocking a friendly ship will require multiple limpets for each weapon.
  • Limpets still only carry a certain amount of ammo based on controller size, but now only carry specific ammo type based on target.
  • Still can't synthesize ammunition until weapon is fully unloaded after using Ammo Stock Module or Restock Limpet
Additional Points of Discussion
Plasma Slugs and similar engineering methods for 'alternative ammo' have been brought up. As the OP, I personally don't support limiting the feature to certain ammunitions but for the sake of discussion the following should be considered:
- PA, Railguns, and Torpedoes cannot be restocked by these modules

This is to not interfere with existing engineering mechanics but also recognize the unique nature of these three types of weapons: they are very high damage, single shot weapons that likely would not interact with a 'belt fed' system like the Ammo Stock Module or Restock Limpet. In these three cases, Synthesis (or alternative means already in game) would be necessary to restock in the field for these weapons. Food for Thought, please discuss further.
 
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We already have something like this its called synthesis. I don't think we need another feature that doses the same thing but better.
 
We already have something like this its called synthesis. I don't think we need another feature that doses the same thing but better.
In my least smart#$! tone possible...
I want you to say that second sentence but slower.

Also, synthesis does not provide any means for wing-support. It's entirely a single-commander feature. Synthesis was also not designed for restocking regularly or over long periods of time - it was designed to provide boosts to various ship functions at a cost of materials, or an emergency restock due to poor planning / execution.

Ammo Stock Modules and Limpets provide another means of strategic interaction between commanders, one that is currently not present in the game in any form.

Your logic on redundancy with synthesis would also nix the usage of decontamination limpets, as you can simply overheat or return to station rendering the limpets pointless. Ironically, in the vast majority of cases, you'll run out of ammo long before you have to resort to either of these if you're a halfway skilled pilot...further proving decontamination limpets are arguably pointless, unless used in a wing setting with a commander dedicated to supporting or a 'spider-tank' setup where commanders partially support each other.
 
Quite frankly, I'd rather have a feature like this than the ammo synthesis. I don think synthesis should represent a desperate explorer far from everything jury rigging some improvised replacements for spent items, rather than "let me make superior ammo in middle of combat, lol". It should require you to be out of supercruise and completely stationary, preferably landed, and take much more time. If space legs becomes a thing, you should be required to leave the cockpit and go to a workbench to craft the item and then go to the module to apply it.

Ammo Stock Module interface idea: When self-used, make it operate like AFMU. You select the weapon, select re-arm, and its ammo reserve will slowly go up while the Stock Module's reservoir goes down.
 
Quite frankly, I'd rather have a feature like this than the ammo synthesis. I don think synthesis should represent a desperate explorer far from everything jury rigging some improvised replacements for spent items, rather than "let me make superior ammo in middle of combat, lol". It should require you to be out of supercruise and completely stationary, preferably landed, and take much more time. If space legs becomes a thing, you should be required to leave the cockpit and go to a workbench to craft the item and then go to the module to apply it.

Ammo Stock Module interface idea: When self-used, make it operate like AFMU. You select the weapon, select re-arm, and its ammo reserve will slowly go up while the Stock Module's reservoir goes down.
From a coding perspective (of which I am not qualified to actually discuss) this may be more sensible - only being able to reload a specific weapon, one at a time. The Limpet would simply reload all weapons at an even displacement of units across the weapons. But internally, for those who equip the ammo stock module for their own use, using it like an AFMU would make sense so you can selectively choose what weapons to restock.

My personal preference (so not necessarily the 'balanced' approach) would be to not have to deactivate the weapon to initiate reloading, but except in prolonged engagements, this isn't actually necessary. When talking prolonged engagements, like Thargoid encounters or conflict zones, being forced to offline a weapon is a small price to pay when measured against the total time spent firing leading up to the need for a reload.
 
@sandkid: I think I understand where you are coming from but I do not necessarily agree with your proposal nor with it's applicability to ED.

For Plasmas and Railguns we have an engineering effect (Plasma Slug) that does something along the lines of what you are suggesting but by using ship fuel.

IF your idea were to be implemented it would arguably need to have the following side-effects:-
  • Any benefits of normal ammo synthesis would be cancelled out
  • A 10% ammo damage penalty (maybe more) would need to be applied to the ship benefiting from the generated/supplied munitions (inline with the damage
  • Plasma Slug weapons would not be affected by this.
 
@sandkid: I think I understand where you are coming from but I do not necessarily agree with your proposal nor with it's applicability to ED.

For Plasmas and Railguns we have an engineering effect (Plasma Slug) that does something along the lines of what you are suggesting but by using ship fuel.

IF your idea were to be implemented it would arguably need to have the following side-effects:-
  • Any benefits of normal ammo synthesis would be cancelled out
  • A 10% ammo damage penalty (maybe more) would need to be applied to the ship benefiting from the generated/supplied munitions (inline with the damage
  • Plasma Slug weapons would not be affected by this.
Let me springboard off this and try and improve it:
- Ammo Restock cancels any synthesis in place and prevents ammo synthesis for that weapon until it is empty.

I don't think there should be any damage penalty - you're committing at least one optional slot to have additional ammunition, and a decent sized slot if you're truly building for longevity. The module is designed for that purpose - it doesn't improve damage or create strategic options (unless used with the limpet), it just creates longevity much like fuel tanks do. The engineering effect you mention is one of the few mechanics in the game that actually incents using fuel tanks, ironically.

For Railguns and Plasma, the 'tradeoff' is primarily in the cost of their ammunition - smaller Ammo Stock Modules (and Limpets) won't have much if any effect on these weapons ammo count because they are so pricey-per-shot. Which is intended. I can back the suggestion that ammo synthesis (primarily its benefits) is voided if you rely on an internal module.

Strictly speaking from a lore perspective, we could go an alternative route that makes sense: the Ammo Stock Module isn't a synthesizer - it's a storage compartment that directly feeds ammunition to the weapon(s) magazine(s). Under this assumption, we drop the 'units' like AFMU and instead do the following:

Ammo Stock Module
  • Size 1 carries 25% of each ammo type
  • Size 2 carriers 50% of each ammo type
  • Etc.
Now consider this: if we go this route, the cost of using the Ammo Module would be kinda high at first restock - because you'll be carrying ammunition types you will not use. Loss of ship will carry an additional credit penalty in refilling this module (if you chose to do so - wouldn't happen at rebuy, much like SRV replacement doesn't). Now a support ship has even more in the game: the cost of the ammo in that module could be fairly large! For the solo commander using smaller modules for just improving longevity, the risk isn't quite as high but it's still there - and we also explain away why Synthesis can't be used.

For the Limpet, programming 'specific ammo counts' might be trickier but it'd be doable. Alternatively - this is maybe a little too clicky - the limpet must actually target the weapon hardpoint on the target, which then determines what ammo it removes from the Ammo Stock. Limpet controller size still dictates count and how much quantity of the ammo it can carry in one trip.

How's that?
 
Let me springboard off this and try and improve it:
- Ammo Restock cancels any synthesis in place and prevents ammo synthesis for that weapon until it is empty.
What I was getting at was the auto restock should cancel any synthesis. If the unit is disabled or out of ammo and synthesis was then applied then it would make sense for it to take effect.

I don't think there should be any damage penalty - you're committing at least one optional slot to have additional ammunition
The mechanic is comparable to the Plasma Slug mechanic to my mind - ergo the damage penalty. The fact you are committing an optional slot is moot, with the Plasma Slug upgrade you do not lose out if you fit additional fuel tanks.
 
What I was getting at was the auto restock should cancel any synthesis. If the unit is disabled or out of ammo and synthesis was then applied then it would make sense for it to take effect.


The mechanic is comparable to the Plasma Slug mechanic to my mind - ergo the damage penalty. The fact you are committing an optional slot is moot, with the Plasma Slug upgrade you do not lose out if you fit additional fuel tanks.
Ah, ok, I got you - still...now that you've got the wheels turning, I rather like the alternative suggestion of just having the module carry specific ammo quantities rather than 'units' to synthesize into ammo. Either way, the ammo restock should not be able to benefit from synthesis.

...

As for the mechanic for the Plasma Slug, I'm still gonna disagree - you're getting a damage penalty and you're losing a module slot with that fuel tank. So the penalty of that mod is actually fairly stout, but keep in mind that's an opinion: I place high value on module slot count and size, where I'm sure other commanders don't. Maybe, at this juncture, it'd be safe to say that the inclusion of a damage penalty would be dependent upon balancing - which would be decided by devs, not us, if the feature actually made it to the table.

Way off the line here of what I intended, you could also render this module (and attendant limpet) unable to replenish PAs, Railguns, and Torpedoes - given all three are intended to be 'one shot' type weapons that aren't really capable of being reloaded in the field given their design. This isn't 'technically' true, thanks to synthesis, but again - we could go off the idea that the Ammo Stock Module uses some sort of 'conveyor belt' mechanism to 'feed' hardpoints, which doesn't make a lot of sense for these three weapon types. Personally (and I emphasize that, it's a personal opinion) I don't want to limit the module's ability to reload any weapons as that then limits its utility in wing settings as a support module.

I genuinely believe if balanced correctly, the usage of the Ammo Stock Module will only be effective for a solo commander at the sacrifice of a large optional slot - instead, the module is balanced to benefit a wing from a dedicated support ship that can sacrifice those slots to make it worthwhile, much as a Fuel Rat loadout would be generally ineffective to a solo commander. Usable, yes, but not effective.
 
As for the mechanic for the Plasma Slug, I'm still gonna disagree - you're getting a damage penalty and you're losing a module slot with that fuel tank.
The point is the additional fuel tank(s) are not required for Plasma Slug operation, that tanks are there just to ensure that you have additional travel fuel or ammo.

If we are talking about bespoke spare ammo units without a damage penalty, then there should be a time penalty and a requirement to retract the weapon(s) to reload them IMO. Afterall, synthesis requires time to generate and materials to produce.

Making more ammo available without some kind of trade off seems to be asking for power creep.
 
Keep in mind, too, the whole 'benefit' of this feature suggestion doesn't actually impact balance: it only extends the potential duration a commander can remain away from dock for the purposes of restocking. Even with a 1000% increase in ammunition reserves (which is obscene, I know) you'd burn through that in a typical single gameplay session - or you'd burn through your fuel or repairs before then. If we explore the 'self sustainer' route with this, we quickly arrive at a loadout that has very poor utility in combat.

Explorers don't need an Ammo Stock Module...neither do Traders (unless hauling rares and prone to taking fights over and over again). The Ammo Stock Module isn't really an advantage except in prolonged engagements in PvP. NPCs never run out ammo, so it's not an advantage over them. In PvP, the loss of that optional is a highly strategic decision that assumes you will last long enough to use it.

That's why I argue the feature is really more wing-centric than solo-centric. Balanced well, it will be just like other support modules: the utility to a solo commander is low (it has utility, yes, but not a lot compared to other modules) but is high to a team-based wing. And that's assuming the wing desires longevity in the field. If you're fighting Thargoids together in a conflict zone with a station 200ls away...yeah, you probably don't need this unless you just hate super-cruise. Anymore than you need that decontamination limpet or AFMU. The point is you have the ability to choose a playstyle of longevity and support.

Should we ever integrate deep-space combat - like what happened at the Gnosis, but with no restocks within many lightyears - this feature becomes a center-piece for wings, just as fuel tanks and fuel limpets are now for services like the Fuel Rats.
 
Keep in mind, too, the whole 'benefit' of this feature suggestion doesn't actually impact balance: it only extends the potential duration a commander can remain away from dock for the purposes of restocking.
In that case the requirement to retract weapons in order to benefit from reload kit and the restock of "spare" munitions happening over time is actually an appropriate compromise to minimise the impact on balance.
 
The point is the additional fuel tank(s) are not required for Plasma Slug operation, that tanks are there just to ensure that you have additional travel fuel or ammo.

If we are talking about bespoke spare ammo units without a damage penalty, then there should be a time penalty and a requirement to retract the weapon(s) to reload them IMO. Afterall, synthesis requires time to generate and materials to produce.

Making more ammo available without some kind of trade off seems to be asking for power creep.
Sorry, I guess that wasn't clear in the OP...

Basically, we're at three ideas for the 'trade-off' now:
  • The Ammo Stock Module slowly replenishes all weapon modules (similar to Auto-Loader). This isn't much of a trade-off, but was the original proposal for clarity sake
  • The Ammo Stock Module has to be targeted (like AFMU) at specific weapon and offlines the weapon while reloading it. Could reload at slower rate, too.
  • The Ammo Stock Module has to be targeted (like AFMU) at specific weapon and reloads it as normal, but there is a damage penalty (Negative Synthesis basically)
I agree there needs to be some sort of trade-off or case scenario for its usage as a solo commander. Personally, I'd go for the offline the weapon to reload - and I could probably live with the reload taking, say, twice as long as a normal reload? That equals slightly more than 2x reload because you also have to online the weapon again. I do think it should be usable in combat, still, which is why I agree there needs to be a trade-off. If not usable in combat, there shouldn't be any major penalties besides having to use the module menu.
 
NOTE FOR THREAD

Opening Post has been edited to include discussion up until this point.
  • Trade-off for Ammo Stock Module usage by owning commander clarified and reworked from original auto-loader idea to offline/reload penalty time idea
  • Alternative for Ammo Stock Module and Limpet provided at bottom for consideration
 
If ammo synthesis is kept alongside this mechanic and even if it isn't, another way to easily add an inteface for self-stocking is to make it simply allow a certain number of free basic syntheses that don't cost any materials. The number would depend of the size of the module and the cost assigned to the weapon type.
 
You have 75 to 150 refills with syntheses right now Mix this with Engineered based weapons with Extended Clip. This idea really not needed. We do not need Ammo Tanks. Start using common sense and use features of the game.
 
You have 75 to 150 refills with syntheses right now Mix this with Engineered based weapons with Extended Clip. This idea really not needed. We do not need Ammo Tanks. Start using common sense and use features of the game.
For the love of...good grief man. I keep hoping someday I'll see you actually post something other than, "We don't need this. Makes game too easy." You must be a huge fan of one-and-done released games that never see improvement. I'm tempted to dig up your thoughts on expanding materials storage, or reduced repair and refuel costs, or the introduction of SRVs to gather materials more easily...all features that 'aren't needed' but are very much appreciated.

The primary benefit of the feature isn't for solo commander usage - it's simply designed with them in mind. Your logic would dictate we not even have Open or PG or multi-crew or wings. That synthesis exists does not preclude the utility of the feature. Moreover, your presumption that synthesis is an end-all-be-all solution flies in the face of one of the foundational tenets of this game: player choice.

Players who choose to fly combat primarily and do not want to engage in material farming because that has nothing to do with combat shouldn't be forced to rely on an alternative play style to perform basic functions in their preferred playstyle. Even ignoring the obvious benefits to multiplayer interaction (which synthesis has none by the by), the feature stands alone as reasonable and normal strategic option for solo commanders that do not wish to haul out an SRV and mindlessly target tiny rocks spread across kilometers just so they can have longevity in the field.

Synthesis was not designed to replenish ammunition. It was designed to enhance it. The massive number of reloads is a result of material counts held increased for engineering...not reloading. You're trying to prescribe an intended benefit that doesn't actually exist. Again, this still ignores the multiplayer aspect of the feature entirely.
 
You have 75 to 150 refills with syntheses right now Mix this with Engineered based weapons with Extended Clip. This idea really not needed. We do not need Ammo Tanks. Start using common sense and use features of the game.
That is only really partly true and what the OP is proposing would be rather balanced once the feedback has been taken into consideration.

The idea of being able to either self-rearm or rearm others with respect to ammo based weapons other than the Plasma Slug enabled weapons is not a bad idea in itself and if done right should not equate to the power creep that both you and I are seemingly concerned about. There is also the point that the OP's proposal could be a base game feature benefiting those that do not have Horizons thus do not have access to engineering or synthesis in essence.

Of course, the key point would be for it to be implemented in a balanced way and there is no reason it could not be.
 
Synthesis was not designed to replenish ammunition. It was designed to enhance it. The massive number of reloads is a result of material counts held increased for engineering...not reloading. You're trying to prescribe an intended benefit that doesn't actually exist. Again, this still ignores the multiplayer aspect of the feature entirely.
So are trying to convince your self and others that the Basic Synthesis is not replenishing ammunition? It does and it uses Common easy to get Minerals.

We don't need an Ammo Tank. If you want to stay out in combat longer start use Synthesis and start mixing your weapon build some with lasers. Or if you want to stay out forever then use lasers only.
 
NOTE FOR THREAD

I forgot to include the discussion surrounding PAs, Railguns, and Torpedoes as not being restockable given their unique nature relative to other weapon types as well as acknowledging the existing engineering mechanics for PAs and Railguns in regards to ammo restocking. As stated in OP (now edited), I don't think the module should be limited in any way but highly encourage discussion around this topic.
 
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