Cruiser Command

Cruiser command is a cooperative map between two teams. Simply put, each team controls one battlecruiser and the goal is to kill the opponent's battlecruiser.


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 Post subject: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:48 pm 
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This 'to be' rant was mostly sparked by a brief discussion I had with Degra in the Skype chat. This will be primarily addressing concerns regarding the general flow of gameplay from start to finish, alongside what I would consider to be a 'desirable' direction.

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Game Stages
Currently, the cruiser command gameplay is widely separated by a singular instance of kermiculite spawning. It is an extremely focal part of the game, and often times seizing the first kermiculite field will more often than not seal a game. Being able to seize a field also depends upon the tactics used before the actual spawn, however; if a team is too far behind to contest the field, then there is no need to fret about successfully capturing it.

In that sense, I would propose that the game is actually separated in the following way;

  • Launch Phase - Typically when players first launch the beginning small ships in order to mine and harass the enemy team. Depending upon the fields procured by the miners and the success of wraith raids, the game can easily begin to show favor towards one side or the other.
  • Kermiculite Phase - When the Kermiculite field spawns, it becomes a number one priority for all teams to acquire -- it is 'the' priority. And, generally speaking, one side will typically obtain most or all of it.
  • Preparation Phase - This is typically an 'optimal' phase, depending upon whether or not the team who lost kerm ends up waiting or not. I won't say there aren't cases where a team that didn't get Kerm can come back, but often times if a team does not follow up upon a failed kermiculite contest relatively fast, the upgrade spending will result in some fairly disastrous results. This can take form in an immediate BC attack, economy harassment, and other such things. However, unless the kerm-failed team engages in some way, the kerm-success team will inevitably be able to build up the upgrades the other team cannot.
  • Conflict Phase - It's roughly at this point that the two teams will go at one another and all in, or one team will chase while the other flees constantly. This will usually be pretty final, as either one team will die from an all in, or the other team will grow more disadvantaged as they fail to secure kerm after kerm. Basically, a true 'inevitability' is drawn at this stage.

... now, my only real qualms with this sort of setup is that often times, this means that a majority of the game is actually controlled by 'dead time' if it's allowed to progress into the third and fourth 'stages'. Furthermore, there are actually a lot of mechanics which push towards this dead time, and I'll go into that in a second. However, to be honest, I would recommend aiming for a slightly different series of gameplay phases if possible;

  • Launch Phase - Starting up, getting acquainted with the map.
  • First Kermiculite Phase - First kermiculite spawn, made to wet the appetites of a team -- not one to grant them enough Kermiculite for most of the rest of the game.
  • Active Engagements - Teams should be contesting one another for more pressing resource deposits through the usage of offensive small ship and battlecruiser plays.
  • Second Kermiculite Phase - Second kermiculite spawn, granting larger benefits than the first.
  • Pressing Engagements - Teams should be actively trying to suppress one another, whether that means directly destroying the enemy battlecruiser or obtaining a full economic advantage.
  • Third Kermiculite Phase - The largest kermiculite spawn, setting what should be the 'standard' value for the remainder of the game.
  • Endgame Phase - This should be a time when teams actively try and destroy one another.
This is what I would find to be 'desirable' at a first glance. Make aiming for Kermiculite at earlier stages give a smaller lead which could build up into a larger one, mid stage for a slightly larger lead, late stage for an even larger lead. A certain sense of a power curve should exist through Kermiculite, rather than simply outright getting a ridiculously high one immediately.

As for how I would suggest going about this, there are a few things that come to mind;

  • Resource to BC Proximity - I personally think it's a completely annoying game when you start on top of a giant field of resources with our BC. It means that nobody is going to be able to make any effective moves at the beginning of the game, and that creates a lot of boring dead time where offensive ships are pointless.
  • Kermiculite Distribution - As I stated above, a progression of kermiculite would be far more desirable in my eyes than an outright overpowering one right off the bat. I think it would be far more favorable to employ a distribution of kermiculite over time rather than giant blobs at once. By consequence, I would also suggest that kermiculite spawns occur more frequently in order to promote more frequent engagements as well.
I feel like addressing these two issues could be a very nice start. However, this does not necessarily fully address the largest issue at the table;

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Dead Time
There are a lot of times in cruiser command where there are actually situations where it's preferable to just sit around and remain relatively inactive. If possible, in a game, you should always be doing something, right? And if that's the case, I feel like all of these mechanics that promote this concept of dead time end up being a huge hindrance to good gameplay. Let me give a few examples;

  • Energy Capacitor - Lets be honest, most of the time the energy capacitor is just an excuse to wait around and gain an energy advantage due to superior resources. I can appreciate it to a certain extent, but I actually feel like in the overall scheme of things it actually lowers the amount of 'fun' gameplay. A lot of more instantaneous energy mechanics such as core purging and management are rendered mostly obsolete since a majority of energy management is 'preparing.'
  • Small Ship Energy - Same basic issue as the Energy Capacitor.
  • Kermiculite - I know I already talked about Kermiculite spawns, but I'd like to talk more about the effects of Kermiculite as a resource.
    The amount of gained kermiculite though an event spawn relative to the basic resources gained at the point of kermiculite spawning is detrimental. You end up with 300 or so kermiculite, and a bunch of upgrades that cost anywhere from 5-40ish of that resource, and yet you lack the basic resources in order to supplement your super resource. This inevitably creates cases in which a long 'wait' period is required in order to follow up upon your new, special resources. Arguably, this also gives a means of fighting back for the other team by immediately capitalizing upon that gap, or by denying basic resources, but it makes me wonder if this is really the best way of going about it.
    However, the inverse scenario also applies -- if you start the game and don't manage to catch any flying kermiculite, you are screwed. Sucks to be you, player. Given these two scenarios, while I can appreciate the value it puts on the resource and therefore the need to obtain it, I also feel like it's taking too much away by consequence.
  • Missile Loading - While arguably a very iconic part of Cruiser Command, I have to wonder if it's truly necessary to push for such a frustrating loading mechanic -- it's just that loading missiles in itself is such a frustratingly tedious task to do that I feel like it's rare for players to actually do it themselves. They'll just assign an AI to do it, and at that point, why not just make it more automated?
  • Refining - While you can be a lot more optimal refining as a player, and players often did in the initial stages, it is not a 'fun' job. Doing other stuff while refining can be amusing sometimes. Refining in itself is not, however -- it is simply a necessary mechanic in order to introduce certain concepts such as resource stealing via infiltration, blocking off refining through debris, and other such things.
  • Small Ship Respawning - While I feel like this is more of a necessary evil than most, it is still, ultimately, a source of dead time. I'm not saying I want to see it gone; by comparison, outright losing ships creates a far worse comparison, and having no consequence to ships dying is frustrating. However, I do think it means that, by default, there aren't enough basic things to actually do while on the battlecruiser that could be considered beneficial.

... so there are a lot of things to consider about cruiser command, and what you do while waiting for all of these numbers to go up. I can think of a number of suggestions off the top of my head for altering these mechanics to be less of an issue; lower the energy capacitors and focus more on energy generation vs. consumption. Alter refining to offer a little more choice, perhaps, allowing 'quick' refining to offer some resources immediately, but 'long' refining to offer more resources over a long period of time. Allow missile bays to be controlled as less of a resource dump and more of a weapons management system.

However, I feel like the most important thing to point out right now is that the general thematic of a lot of cruiser commands mechanics isn't about decision making; they're more about 'time investment.' If you want to use a particular type of missile in the middle of combat, it's not very often you're going to ask someone to go fetch that particular type of missile and load it up simply because it takes too much effort and time. What often ends up happening is that missiles are a form of preparation for combat due to the effort it requires to set up and prepare. This is a source of dead time. I imagine it would be much more fun if, by example, you had to unlock your missile bays and that rather than tediously going through the process of loading missiles in combat, one of the potential roles for a crew member could be a deckhand going about several none-console mechanics and shifting them as appropriate. Selecting the appropriate type of missile for the situation could be one such example.

With all of this in mind, I'm just going to just straight to another topic fast since I have no real way of leading up into it.

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Player/Ship Roles

Alright, so I touched upon this briefly with Degra who was earlier suggesting creating 'synergistic abilities' for small ships. Currently, I worry that the identity and purpose of cruiser command small ships might be a little out of sorts. By example, simply by upgrading the wraith it becomes a ship more than capable of dealing with most other small ships. However, that leaves the Corvette in a sort of dry end where it somehow has to compete against wraith as a killing machine.

Essentially, I feel as if there may not be enough distinguishing factors among some small ships. By example, many players could easily pick up a wraith, corvette, or minelayer to use as a 'killing' ship of relatively equal quality. Sure, there are some situations in which one ship benefits over the other, but this does not create any sense of synergy. If both a wraith, a corvette, and a minelayer possess the power to make an effective kill, what becomes the point in mixing these ships together for use? Why not just focus on upgrading one and being done with it?

Let me just outline fast what I think is wrong with all of the current ships in terms of their identity...

  • Wraith - This is supposed to be a ship that focuses highly upon harassing the enemy economy. Arguably, killing enemy miners can qualify as harassing the enemy economy, but I don't feel like the killing method should be the appropriate one. Wraiths should be great at flitting around from place to place, destroying miner packets, being irritating such that miners move because they're being prevented from mining, not because they're immediately being killed. In that sense, I feel like a lot more weight should be put into the wraith's EMP, Movement, and Side Thrusting and yet the main available upgrade for it are +Damage.
  • Corvette - Here's the issue I take with Corvette currently. If you want to kill miners, why not use a wraith? If you want to hurt the enemy battlecruiser, the only reason you would use the Corvette would be because you can't afford the destroyer. It's great for group fights, but there are no other ships with the simple job of fighting like the corvette does. Hell, even minelayers can be considered to have stronger bursting potential in terms of damage, and not only do they cost less but they're also more versatile against small ships. The Corvette has a job, and a fine one, but all the other ships steal from that identity sadly.
  • Minelayer - I feel like it's absurdly frustrating knowing that the Minelayer's most influential ability is not it's supportive ones, but it's damaging ones. It's a support ship with support abilities that, while are used, are technically inferior to its offensive capabilities. This is frustrating.

To be honest, I would very much prefer to see more weight being given to the intended identity of these small ships. Whether this comes in the form of a shift in upgrades, or their base abilities, or even energy costs, I feel like if you really want a situation where 'synergy' occurs between small ships, you have to give each ship a set of pros and cons in terms of their capabilities -- and currently, I honestly just don't see that with certain ships.

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... alright, I could keep going on about changes I think might be beneficial to the game. Believe me, just typing up this post got me thinking about quite a few things. But most of them would be big changes, and I feel like this is enough for now. Getting other people's input would be preferable rather than outright saying 'this is what you need to do to fix it.'

So yeah. Rant end.


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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:06 am 
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What if we turned the corvette into a chomper killing machine (can't be chomped) to distinguish it from wraiths? (and vs minelayers/destroyers)

As far as the ss specialization to "be done with it", I agree - it's not that great, perhaps just combine the weapon damage upgrade of the corv + wraith, make the minelayer have to buy mines (even the basic ones) to give it a different mechanic, and change it's healing spray (now that the long-range science heal exists, this ship is really only about the mines - I don't think it's even faster at repairing the BC than repair kits), maybe have the minelayer's upgrade be the healing spray (with no red cost, only blue/yellow)

Waiting around for SS energy - why not have the small ships launch with near-full energy, and simply drain/add to the BC's energy cap each time a ss docks or launches? that way a subjugator won't sit around for 100 seconds waiting for science to zap it and can go and be useful, and at the same time not have ships "waste" energy when they dock with full energy just because they need to heal (and then re-launch and have to build up energy again)

wraiths + mineral packets: lets give them more mineral-packet hunting abilities.. perhaps some sort of assisted detection for whenever a packet is launched and from where? and I also think that the side-boosts/etc. should be buffed, perhaps to allow faster movement than without them (like the old days where you would use both your main throttle + side boost for increased speed)

As far as the kerm spawn, I think the overall kerm spawned should be reduced from ~400 (which as you say is a TON that really can't be spent easily), to ~100-200 or so instead, which is more "spendable"

missile loading/refining - more automated than having an AI do it? I don't see much benefit to that, and sometimes it's beneficial to order the missile loading (i.e. sabers first, then hellfires), but some mechanic for where you can disable it with an infiltrator would be nice (i.e. can't load/fire missiles if there is a debris over there, and have the "loading mechanism" be attackable, such that an infiltrator can create debris without requiring the use of a c4 right there)

large fields spawning near be -> boring game: yes, all it means is rush chompers and have no SS offensive during the early game.. maybe if the asteroid gravity science buff was altered in a way that you could actually remove large fields from play or something, or anything really that requires more active scouting to find fields and have the BC forced to choose whether to guard the blue field, the red field, or sit between both and support (but not be able to fully protect) either field

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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:42 pm 
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whytedragon you should try playing a few games in Korea. Their use of kinetics and missiles fixes much of the problems you mentioned. But the gameplay in Korea has a host of its own issues too. NA and Korea both have their mainstream gameplay routes established; now it would be fun to see them merge, especially with the changes in patch 5.2.


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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Puppetbones wrote:
whytedragon you should try playing a few games in Korea. Their use of kinetics and missiles fixes much of the problems you mentioned. But the gameplay in Korea has a host of its own issues too. NA and Korea both have their mainstream gameplay routes established; now it would be fun to see them merge, especially with the changes in patch 5.2.

Can you specific which problems in particular? I have played about 20 or so games on Korea, but I still think these issues apply.


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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:35 am 
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whytedragon wrote:
Can you specific which problems in particular? I have played about 20 or so games on Korea, but I still think these issues apply.


-Small ship identity
-(BC) energy
-1st Kerm spawn deciding winner
-Boring game phases
-And missile loading if I understood correctly


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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:43 am 
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See, this confuses me. Because in all of the games I played, it still typically suffered from those issues.

I couldn't see the issue of small ship identity in korean games simply because it was so heavily focused upon economy, and people were so afraid of kinetics that they didn't end up being very offensive with small ships. However, that's more an absence of the issue due to the lack of usage for the mechanics that cause it.

I also feel as if the issue of first kerm deciding it was still a problem in the korean games. They also were very tentative about attacking I feel like, so once one team went aggressive for Kerm, they kept getting it. There was only one game where they really went after us after the first kerm, and so we simply kited them while upgrading until they ran out of energy, at which point we could turn around for the kill. This sort of also calls about the energy issue.

There was also a very frustrating game where it went on for 45 minutes because neither side would move their battlecruisers to do anything other than mine. The only difference was that because one team obtained all of the kerm spawns, they won.

And regarding the missile loading, the Koreans designate a drone to load missiles a lot more freely -- in this sense it's not an 'issue' for them. However, you could also say the same thing about refining -- a drone will do it so 'no big deal.' Rather than having an issue solved by the possibility of an existing mechanic you could purchase, I would prefer for the issue to simply not exist in the first place if possible is all.

... so yeah, I'm not sure I follow. Maybe we've just had very different games.


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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:01 am 
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These stories sound like your average NA newb game...
Have you met any of the 100+ korean players whytedragon? (there are about 10, and one of them already has 500 reputation (the korean version of Degra)) because they have adopted quite a few of our strategies with a few key differences.

-The high level Korean players love their chompers, and eco hard early game, while we tend to focus on ganking and killing a miner or two, they mostly use their offensive ships to defend (if they dont outright salvage them)
-They kinetics quite fast and try to get everything for it by the time first kerm pops (though ignores broadsides) and go in and pick off ships.
-Yes the koreans like their missiles, but I have noticed high level koreans using them less and less early game, and rely on kinetics more, then transitioning into mass missiles, instead of the laser switch.
-The scariest tactic that koreans use however is their infiltration, youl pretty much see infiltration from a high rep guy almost every game. They will bring C-4, nano gloves, and sometimes the cloak. If they are under attack they abuse the hell out of elevators, by constantly running through them (very annoying when they have the cloak and nano gloves, as you have to retarget them, and only have a second of DPS before they move off, and its impossible to chase)

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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:56 pm 
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The only thing new to me in that is the infiltration.
I have been gone for a month so maybe things have evolved. I also believe I know the 500 rep person you're talking about.

However, nearly everything you've said there pretty much confirms everything else I typically see in Korean games.


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 Post subject: Re: General Game Discussion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:06 am 
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Yes, there is a guy with about 600 rep. His name translates to Sheep Man (translates to "swip-gun" on Google Trashlate)

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