The Information Problem

This was initially supposed to be a part of the big post on the many problems with weapon balance in the game, but I am too busy to compile it in full. Here I will talk about what I believe to be one of the core problems with the game, at least to those, who take it seriously.

It is how the game presents information to us. Or, to be precise, doesn't.
Anyone who spends long enough time building ships, sooner or later begins to use third-party services like EDSY or Coriolis, unless they are wiling to waste mats on experiments. This is partly because of how little useful information is communicated to us on the outfitting screen. I will make a whole separate post taking apart ED UI, but for now I want to focus on weapon stats.

You see, with simple weapons, like lasers or multi-cannons its simple, they deal damage of only one type, be it thermal or kinetic. Then you dig deeper and things get complicated. For example, "Incendiary Rounds" experimental effect "converts a large portion (of the damage) to thermal". And that's it for in-game description. Exactly how large a portion it converts? 50%? 70%? 90%? Who knows? Not a single internet source I could find definitively states the exact percentage. EDSY does not seem to know, leaving damage as 100% kinetic, Coriolis thinks its 100% thermal, and all the Wiki's on the game a filled with the same quotes from the game and endless questions.

Things are even worse with more advanced weapons. In the game railguns are stated to have thermal damage type, which doesn't make much sense for a weapon shooting solid metal rods. But thanks to my 2000+ hours in the game I remember hearing people discuss them having split damage. What are the proportions? Coriolis thinks its 50%/50% thermal/kinetic, but wiki and EDSY state it as being 66%/33%. Which one to believe?
I guess I can get a friendly pilot to be a target dummy for me, since I know the overall damage numbers, and with some engineering we can change resistances of our target, thus gaining at least rough understanding. Then we go even deeper.

Plasma Accelerators introduce new level of confusion. Game lists it as having absolute damage, but I again remember hearing it having three-way split between absolute/thermal/kinetic and that the exact proportions were changed some time ago. On this weapon, internet shows a surprising solidarity, stating 60%/20%/20% absolute/thermal/kinetic split. Though I do wonder how those numbers were acquired.
I hope most players find this as frustrating as me, but in above cases we at least know the over all damage. And what happens when we don't?

Enter AX and Guardian weapons.

Although being very much inferior to the normal human counterparts, in some cases even before we consider engineering, they do have an obvious purpose in the game, namely AX combat. But we poor AX hunters and researchers now have to contend with another questionable FDev decision. Which one? Well, you see, in the earlier days of thargoid invasion, AX and then-brand-new guardian weapons followed the same rules as all other weapons and displayed their total combined damage in their in-game stats.

But unlike AX weapons, which were specifically advertised for goid-killing only, guardian weapons, for some miss-guided reason, were stated to be "effective against both human and alien vessels". This, it seems, led to a large number of clueless players doing the (honestly disgusting) grind to unlock them, unaware that large portion of the stated damage was of Anti-Xeno type, and thus useless against human ships.
After the update hype began to settle people have realized that despite their stated stats, all guardian weapons are garbage for both PvP and non-goid PvE, they began to rightfully whine. I don't PvP and also could not be bothered to do bounty-hunting in a long time. My interests are solely in AX now, and I was quite surprised when in patch 3.0.4 FDev made it so "The damage values displayed for experimental weapons now more accurately represent the damage that they will deal against human vessels" .

I do not blame those who complained, they were lied to by in-game description and stats, but now FDev screwed us, AX hunters. Currently only very uninformed players, or those that don't really care about effectiveness, would use guardian weapons for anything other than AX. And current in-game stats make it impossible to accurately judge their effectiveness for their primary purpose.

Compare:
Medium Gauss Cannon before and after. -45% damage shown.
Medium Plasma Charger before and after. -46% damage shown (rough estimate due to small numbers and rounding of in-game values).
Medium AX Multi-cannon before and after. -60% damage shown.
Medium AX Missiles before and after. -53% damage shown.

As you can see from the screenshots, all damage was scaled by a different amount. It is also possible that damage values and/or damage type proportions were changed. And even assuming that current numbers display only non-AX part of the damage, we have no way to estimate true damage values for Shard Cannons, since they were released after the patch, and can only hope that split proportions are the same between sizes.

This all is compounded further by our total lack of any information about thargoid stats. The only thing we can measure is the damage they do to us, and even then, its impossible to do precisely. We only have our personal observations, experience and anecdotal evidence. Which we cannot effectively translate to into game terms and mechanics. A good example is effectiveness of shard cannons. They are very good against the easiest interceptor variant, cyclops, and can even be used to instagib it solo. But when used against bigger variants, their damage drops very sharply. My current theory places the blame on the lack of AP, to counter (seemingly) increasing AR of harder variants. On the other side, Gauss Cannon remains the king of AX weapons, precisely because it has an obscene AP of 140, which bypasses armour of all types of goids, and is a hit-scan weapon. But that topic is for another time.

Overall, this situation is very unfortunate, but FDev has no-one to blame but themselves. There is no reason why in-game stats should display only one "primary" damage type, and there is no reason to not display accurate values, and not the rounded ones we have now. Is it so hard to add a bit of clarity to your interface, FDev?

A link to the reddit post with (hopefully) helpful opinions of the players: https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/9ijmrq/the_information_problem/
 
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I agree that we need more information ingame about how our weapons work. They honestly need a full pass for consistency and readability.

We shouldn't have to do testing ourselves to figure out what the damage split is for railguns and plasma accelerators.
 
Yep, we don't have enough information about weapon and other thing
Like caustic resistance....
It protect from wich weapon ?
Only the caustic missile or also the primary fire of the goid ?
 
Maybe they think, we arestupid casuals who are not interested in the actual numbers. But that's bull, it's clear that we want actual numbers and they're just ignoring our wishes.

I would love to see the actual numbers behind the damage output of all weapons! They could hide them in the "details" option, so casuals can just ignore it.
 
Yeah FDev has so far yet to master, how to inform their players about anything in game. But with outfitting and engineering, that are at the heart for the live of every Independent Pilots and the result of extensive Research by Humans, we should get every nook and crany of Information available for them. Graphs to see behaviour over time, ability to gain a popup explanation for everything (like bin count or effective mass) and such things would also be nice. And while they are on it, a better UI overall for outfitting would be a blast.
 
This was initially supposed to be a part of the big post on the many problems with weapon balance in the game, but I am too busy to compile it in full. Here I will talk about what I believe to be one of the core problems with the game, at least to those, who take it seriously, namely PvP'ers and AX Hunters.

It is how the game presents information to us. Or, to be precise, doesn't.
Anyone who spends long enough time building ships, sooner or later begins to use third-party services like EDSY or Coriolis, unless they are wiling to waste mats on experiments. This is partly because of how little useful information is communicated to us on the outfitting screen. I will make a whole separate post taking apart ED UI, but for now I want to focus on weapon stats.

You see, with simple weapons, like lasers or multi-cannons its simple, they deal damage of only one type, be it thermal or kinetic. Then you dig deeper and things get complicated. For example, "Incendiary Rounds" experimental effect "converts a large portion (of the damage) to thermal". And that's it for in-game description. Exactly how large a portion it converts? 50%? 70%? 90%? Who knows? Not a single internet source I could find definitively states the exact percentage. EDSY does not seem to know, leaving damage as 100% kinetic, Coriolis thinks its 100% thermal, and all the Wiki's on the game a filled with the same quotes from the game and endless questions.

Things are even worse with more advanced weapons. In the game railguns are stated to have thermal damage type, which doesn't make much sense for a weapon shooting solid metal rods. But thanks to my 2000+ hours in the game I remember hearing people discuss them having split damage. What are the proportions? Coriolis thinks its 50%/50% thermal/kinetic, but wiki and EDSY state it as being 66%/33%. Which one to believe?
I guess I can get a friendly pilot to be a target dummy for me, since I know the overall damage numbers, and with some engineering we can change resistances of our target, thus gaining at least rough understanding. Then we go even deeper.

Plasma Accelerators introduce new level of confusion. Game lists it as having absolute damage, but I again remember hearing it having three-way split between absolute/thermal/kinetic and that the exact proportions were changed some time ago. On this weapon, internet shows a surprising solidarity, stating 60%/20%/20% absolute/thermal/kinetic split. Though I do wonder how those numbers were acquired.
I hope most players find this as frustrating as me, but in above cases we at least know the over all damage. And what happens when we don't?

Enter AX and Guardian weapons.

Although being very much inferior to the normal human counterparts, in some cases even before we consider engineering, they do have an obvious purpose in the game, namely AX combat. But we poor AX hunters and researchers now have to contend with another questionable FDev decision. Which one? Well, you see, in the earlier days of thargoid invasion, AX and then-brand-new guardian weapons followed the same rules as all other weapons and displayed their total combined damage in their in-game stats.

But unlike AX weapons, which were specifically advertised for goid-killing only, guardian weapons, for some miss-guided reason, were stated to be "effective against both human and alien vessels". This, it seems, led to a large number of clueless players doing the (honestly disgusting) grind to unlock them, unaware that large portion of the stated damage was of Anti-Xeno type, and thus useless against human ships.
After the update hype began to settle people have realized that despite their stated stats, all guardian weapons are garbage for both PvP and non-goid PvE, they began to rightfully whine. I don't PvP and also could not be bothered to do bounty-hunting in a long time. My interests are solely in AX now, and I was quite surprised when in patch 3.0.4 FDev made it so "The damage values displayed for experimental weapons now more accurately represent the damage that they will deal against human vessels" .

I do not blame those who complained, they were lied to by in-game description and stats, but now FDev screwed us, AX hunters. Currently only very uninformed players, or those that don't really care about effectiveness, would use guardian weapons for anything other than AX. And current in-game stats make it impossible to accurately judge their effectiveness for their primary purpose.

Compare:
Medium Gauss Cannon before and after. -45% damage shown.
Medium Plasma Charger before and after. -46% damage shown (rough estimate due to small numbers and rounding of in-game values).
Medium AX Multi-cannon before and after. -60% damage shown.
Medium AX Missiles before and after. -53% damage shown.

As you can see from the screenshots, all damage was scaled by a different amount. It is also possible that damage values and/or damage type proportions were changed. And even assuming that current numbers display only non-AX part of the damage, we have no way to estimate true damage values for Shard Cannons, since they were released after the patch, and can only hope that split proportions are the same between sizes.

This all is compounded further by our total lack of any information about thargoid stats. The only thing we can measure is the damage they do to us, and even then, its impossible to do precisely. We only have our personal observations, experience and anecdotal evidence. Which we cannot effectively translate to into game terms and mechanics. A good example is effectiveness of shard cannons. They are very good against the easiest interceptor variant, cyclops, and can even be used to instagib it solo. But when used against bigger variants, their damage drops very sharply. My current theory places the blame on the lack of AP, to counter (seemingly) increasing AR of harder variants. On the other side, Gauss Cannon remains the king of AX weapons, precisely because it has an obscene AP of 140, which bypasses armour of all types of goids, and is a hit-scan weapon. But that topic is for another time.

Overall, this situation is very unfortunate, but FDev has no-one to blame but themselves. There is no reason why in-game stats should display only one "primary" damage type, and there is no reason to not display accurate values, and not the rounded ones we have now. Is it so hard to add a bit of clarity to your interface, FDev?

A link to the reddit post with (hopefully) helpful opinions of the players: https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/9ijmrq/the_information_problem/
A+ Post. I agree, we need far more info about in-game stats for optimization, just like every other MMO gives us.
 
I really think Thargoids themselves should be a mystery, like maybe guardian weapons show how much damage they do to humans, and we have to complete a CG to determine how much damage they do thargoids like a research CG. But everything else is spot on, we shouldn’t need 3rd party tools.
 
I agree with you completely.
I think it would also be good to know how other mechanics work too, such as heat.
I have a clipper engineered for stealth with low emissions everything and it feels like it heats up even faster than before. God forbid I'm near a planet of any size cause then it turns into a flying pile nuclear waste if I turn.
 
I agree, on your post you focus mainly on weapons but that's very true for all outfitting in general.

The complete outfitting layout and process is managed very badly and you never have a complete overview of your ship, that's really really bad.

FDEV should really convert the complete outfitting page into Coriolis.io layout.


Anyway I suggest you to move this conversation to "Dangerous Discussion" to have more visibility. I have no evidence that FDEV look in here...
 
There are too many numbers to chase in the game already.

This assumes that weapon effects can be put on a simple linear scale. How would you do that for rock-paper-scissors?

If it comes down to known simple numbers then it becomes easy to find the optimal solution. Evryone flying in their local maxima.

It would also take away something that players could learn for themselves, which is another aspect of game play. This is share community knowledge earned empirically through game play - isn't that a share achievement to be proud of?

Silver spoon games are dull.
 

StefanOS

Volunteer Moderator
I simply agree that FD could help us with substantial info on the modules specs & we need an easier way to compare ALL the stats of several modules in 1 page.

With engineering the stats did get more complicated but FD did not enhance the info to really help us!
 
There are too many numbers to chase in the game already.

This assumes that weapon effects can be put on a simple linear scale. How would you do that for rock-paper-scissors?

If it comes down to known simple numbers then it becomes easy to find the optimal solution. Evryone flying in their local maxima.

It would also take away something that players could learn for themselves, which is another aspect of game play. This is share community knowledge earned empirically through game play - isn't that a share achievement to be proud of?

Silver spoon games are dull.
Balancing and powergaming has little to do with availability of information. I don't understand where you got that "linear scale" idea. I always wanted a diverse array of viable option for AX and game in general. Lack of clear data creates inequality between those who are willing to test everything themselves (or have access to such people) and those who are new or play casually. If the game is poorly balanced (and currently it is), hiding information will not solve it. People will just test the crap out of everything and then dominate over those who didn't. I never advocated for "simple numbers", I want clear information about things already in the game.
 
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