User:Shiver/Balance Mod/List of Changes

From Ultronomicon
< User:Shiver‎ | Balance Mod
Revision as of 17:36, 14 June 2010 by Shiver (talk | contribs) (If I'm not going to use the Change Log page as an actual change log, then that needs to go.)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


  • The "Down" key has been unlocked. It does not perform any function normally, but commands may now be bound to it.
  • All ship point values are set to even numbers. This makes it easier to build a fleet up to an exact number, rather than a fleet of 197 or 199 when using a 200 point maximum limit. In practice, ships are scored between 1 and 15 rather than 1 and 30, but the old point range has been kept so that players can more easily compare the ships to their vanilla counterparts.

Androsynth Guardian

  • Point value raised from 15 to 20.
  • Acid bubble duration decreased from 200 to 192.
  • Blazer form energy drain occurs on a 9 frame delay rather than an 8 frame delay. If an Androsynth activates blazer form with full battery, it will have an additional second before its battery is empty.
  • The blazer form now leaves a visible trail.
  • Ship mass lowered from 6 to 5.
  • VUX limpets no longer attach to this ship while it is in blazer form. This is a continuity change and does not affect the outcome of Androsynth vs. VUX much at all. It was silly that the blazer could wipe out Orz marines but not VUX limpets.
  • Androsynth's facing angle reverses instantly if the ship collides with a planet or shielded enemy while in blazer form, bouncing the ship in the opposite direction. This lowers Androsynth's effectiveness against Yehat, which is now intended as a counter for Androsynth. The added planet bounce behavior is for the Androsynth player's benefit as it prevents a blazer from ramming a planet multiple times in a row.
  • Blazer collisions charge Utwig's absorption field the same as any other weapon for the sake of continuity.

The super-efficient Androsynth needed to be nerfed badly. While overpowered, it was also entertaining to play with so the nerf came in the form of a price raise rather than a performance penalty. Several ship characteristic changes were made, most of them being subtle. It's essentially the same ship in function.

Arilou Skiff

  • Laser range decreased from 100 to 88.
  • Battery capacity increased from 20 to 22.
  • Teleport warp duration increased from 5 to 7. The visual effect has been adjusted to work with this.
  • All ship functions are disabled for 5 frames after a teleport. This is to mitigate the ridiculous power of the offensive teleport function described below.
  • Arilou now has two different teleportation functions. Offensive teleport is triggered by pressing "Up + Special", while defensive teleport will kick in when the Special key is pressed in absence of the Up key.
  • Offensive teleportation moves the Skiff to a point that is directly forward based on its current facing angle. The exact distance varies somewhat, so be careful.
  • Defensive teleportation moves the Skiff to a random location that is always a long distance away from the Skiff's opponent. Remember to take your finger off the accelerator if you want to escape.
  • Arilou's teleportation function has a safety measure which transports it to a random location whenever it appears within solid matter. There is no longer any benefit in teleporting repeatedly for minutes on end, so the threat of teleportation-related death is not necessary.

Vanilla Arilou depended on a technique known as "chain teleportation" to be useful in competitive PvP. It involves teleporting over and over until appearing at a suitable location to attack from. Nobody seemed especially fond of chain teleportation when I asked around the Star Control fan community and several veteran players were convinced that it ruined gameplay, so an overhaul of Arilou was necessary. The new forward teleport is meant to replace that technique. This variant is also noticeably stronger than the underpowered vanilla Arilou.

Chenjesu Broodhome

  • Point value lowered from 28 to 24.
  • Ship mass decreased from 10 to 9.
  • Photon shard velocity increased slightly.
  • The photon shard's shrapnel explosion has been altered dramatically. Rather than travel straight forward, the fragments spiral outward and then back inward at a higher speed and longer duration. Shrapnel hits are much more frequent than before.
  • The shrapnel graphic has been swapped out for a similar graphic that is 5x5 pixels rather than 4x4 at maximum zoom. Weapon coverage has been improved as a result.
  • Shrapnel damage decreased from 2 to 1 to mitigate the weapon's vastly improved area coverage.
  • Shrapnel no longer inflicts damage upon friendly DOGIs. This prevents Chenjesu's improved primary function from obstructing its secondary function.
  • The Broodhome warps into combat with a free DOGI in tow.

Vanilla Chenjesu was not really worth using in competitive PvP. This necessitated drastic modification. The free DOGI, weapon uptweaks and price drop are intended to make Chenjesu viable while retaining a fairly high ship cost.

Chmmr Avatar

  • Ship mass decreased from 10 to 9.
  • Satellite laser color changed from deep blue to an even shade of red. The old beam was so dark that it was hard to see.

Chmmr's tractor beam is not very effective against the heaviest ships in vanilla UQM. To increase its impact against these, all of the heaviest ships have had their mass dropped by 1 point. This gives Chmmr a clearer advantage against Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah in particular.

Druuge Mauler

  • Point value raised from 17 to 18.

Druuge is considered one of several "must-haves" for competitive vanilla melee, yet I felt it wasn't really worth more than its default price. With Mycon, Arilou and Umgah becoming more viable, killing off Druuge is less difficult than before.

Earthling Cruiser

  • Point value raised from 11 to 12.
  • Point-Defense Laser no longer fires upon planetary bodies.

The default Earthling is already balanced and fun. It has been left alone for the most part.

Ilwrath Avenger

  • Battery capacity decreased from 16 to 12.
  • Energy recovery increment increased from 4 to 5.
  • Energy recovery delay increased from 4 frames to 7 frames.
  • Top speed increased from 25 to 26. This allows Ilwrath to catch Earthling with less difficulty during conventional pursuit.
  • The Avenger is now visible to its pilot while cloaked, appearing as a deep blue silhouette. An unfortunate side effect of this is that the cloaked Avenger will show up on screen when two players go head to head on the same PC. Homing weapons will not track a cloaked Avenger regardless of this.
  • Spontaneous re-facing towards an opponent no longer occurs when an Avenger fires its Hellfire Spout in a cloaked state.
  • Cloaking Device energy cost decreased from 3 to 2.
  • Hellfire velocity increased from 25 to 35. This increases the weapon's range.
  • The Hellfire Spout has be redesigned to fire in three separate directions (forward, left diagonal, right diagonal) to give the weapon better coverage. The two diagonal flame spouts have a very low rate of fire, so it's best to attack your opponent head-on when possible. Weapon energy cost matches the number of projectiles fired exactly one-for-one.

Originally I began to tinker with Ilwrath because a frequent sparring partner of mine had figured out how to consistently trick the ship's auto-turning capability (that thing that kicks in when a cloaked Ilwrath attacks) to miss its mark. While I wanted to get rid of that, the original Ilwrath without its auto-turning assistance proved to be a hopeless ship. This led to an overhaul of the cloak. Diagonal Hellfire Spouts were added to make Ilwrath more effective against the new Arilou in particular, though they do seem quite useful in general. I might have gotten a little carried away here, but the new Ilwrath does seem to fill the same niches it once did in competitive vanilla melee.

Kohr-Ah Marauder

  • Ship mass decreased from 10 to 9.
  • Acceleration increment decreased from 6 to 5. The ship handles more clumsily as a result.
  • Top speed increased from 30 to 32. This is to compensate for the lost acceleration somewhat.

Kohr-Ah is mostly the same as before, but adjustments to other ships should hopefully make it less effective. The slight mobility changes were implemented to penalize Kohr-Ah and make it feel heavier. Ur-Quan has also been given these propulsion characteristics to match, though the changes are a mixed blessing for that ship.

Melnorme Trader

  • Point value raised from 18 to 20.
  • Confusion pulse hitpoints lowered from 200 to 50. The only discernible effect this has is that a confusion pulse will disintegrate instantly upon contact with a Kohr-Ah FRIED cloud rather than pushing against it a bit before dispersing.
  • A confusion pulse will temporarily disable the other player's "Down" key in addition to its usual effects.

Melnorme has been priced up slightly due to its strong all-around performance at high level play. Ship characteristics are essentially the same.

Mmrnmhrm Transformer

  • Point value raised from 19 to 20.
  • Fixed "insta-switch" bug present in UQM 0.6.2.
  • X-Wing turn delay lowered from 2 to 1.
  • Laser range set to 144. It is ever so slightly longer than before.

The X-Wing's improved turn rate gives Mmrnmhrm much more leverage against flanking ships. This is significant in several match-ups.

Mycon Podship

  • Point value lowered from 21 to 16.
  • Top speed decreased from 27 to 26. This has an effect on Mycon vs. Kohr-Ah, making pursuit by Kohr-Ah a little easier.

The old Mycon was grossly overpriced. It was a fun ship exactly the way it was before, so rather than giving Mycon a tune-up its price has been dropped.

Orz Nemesis

  • Point value lowered from 23 to 22.
  • Top speed increased from 35 to 36.
  • Marine acceleration increment increased from 8 to 9.
  • Marine top speed increased from 32 to 34.
  • Marines will attempt to lead their target slightly during pursuit.
  • New feature: Marine Recall Signal. When used, all marines currently out in space turn green and retreat back to the Nemesis. The signal is triggered by pressing "Special + Down". This gives the Nemesis more flexibility in how marines may be deployed.

With Androsynth's price raised to 20, Orz has become more viable. Nevertheless, marines have been improved in several ways to make the ship competitive for its high price. Vanilla marines were somewhat underwhelming at a high level of play.

Pkunk Fury

  • Respawn chance begins at 75% and drops by 10% per respawn.

The Fury's respawn ability has been tweaked to make Pkunk more effective. You won't see 10+ respawns anymore, but it will respawn more often on average.

Shofixti Scout

  • Point value raised from 5 to 8.
  • Glory Device damage has been capped at 14. The explosion radius remains the same. Damage is still calculated the same way as before aside from this cap.
  • The Glory Device can now be negated by Yehat and Utwig shielding.
  • The Shofixti "homefield advantage" has not been fixed. This makes Shofixti mostly useless for any player that joins another player's game due to the way UQM 0.6.2 handles Glory Device kills. Sorry people, I have no idea how to fix this. You will have to wait for UQM 0.7.

Shofixti deserved a good beating from the nerf bat more than most other ships. It was too deadly in a wide variety of different situations.

Slylandro Probe

  • Point value raised from 17 to 18.
  • The lightning weapon's maximum range has been capped. It is now roughly equivalent to the Chmmr, VUX or Mmrnmhrm lasers. As you know, Slylandro lightning will zig-zag in different directions. Sometimes the ship will unleash a lightning bolt which doesn't zig-zag very much at all, giving it unusually long range. The fluctuating weapon range could be abused by firing from outside an opponent's reach repeatedly until scoring enough long shots to beat them. This tactic would lead to boring, unbalanced combat.
  • Lightning duration is longer. The minimum distance a lightning streak will cover is higher on average.
  • Lighting seeks out enemy ships regardless of whether they are cloaked or not. This is to keep Slylandro effective against the new Ilwrath.

Slylandro was consistently devastating in vanilla melee. With Spathi improved enough to counter this ship, pricing Slylandro up higher seemed unnecessary. The lightning weapon's reach has been tweaked but if you've never deliberately abused vanilla lightning you won't notice the difference.

Spathi Eluder

  • Point value lowered from 18 to 16.
  • Howitzer given a 1 frame cooldown between shots. This improves the weapon's ease of use.
  • BUTT homing capability improved. Torpedoes lead their target.
  • BUTT turn delay decreased from 1 to 0.
  • BUTT duration reduced from 30 to 26.

Spathi has been repurposed to act as a destroyer of flanking ships. This has been achieved by improving the homing capability of its torpedoes. Once considered to be a poor fleet addition in PvP, this ship can now take on the dreaded Slylandro.

Supox Blade

  • Point value lowered from 16 to 14.
  • The "Down" key causes Supox to accelerate backwards. "Special + Up" no longer performs this function. Lateral thrust remains exactly the same. The Blade may now accelerate in reverse and rotate at the same. The cyborg has been programmed to press "Down" where it would previously use "Special + Up".
  • Propulsion particles spawn from the center of the ship rather than the rear.
  • Reverse or lateral acceleration causes exhaust to spawn.
  • Propulsion particles spawn on a delay of 2, despite Supox's true acceleration delay of 0. This was implemented for aesthetic reasons -- 0 delay exhaust is quite ugly during lateral thrust.

Other than some foolery with the "Down" key, Supox is the same ship in practice. The price drop makes Supox more competitive.

Syreen Penetrator

  • Point value raised from 13 to 14.
  • Siren Song energy cost increased from 5 to 8.
  • Siren Song cooldown increased from 20 to 24.
  • Siren Song effectiveness against other Syreen Penetrator vessels is diminished considerably. It will hypnotize up to a maximum of 2 crew rather than 8. This was done to make the outcome of a Syreen mirror match less arbitrary.

Vanilla Syreen was thought to be overpowered, though not tremendously so. The Siren Song consumes more energy to force players to use it intelligently rather than spam indiscriminately. Penetrators bloated with extra crew will no longer be able to threaten heavyweight ships such as Chenjesu and Ur-Quan.

Thraddash Torch

  • Crew count increased from 8 to 10.
  • Battery capacity decreased from 24 to 16.
  • Ship mass decreased from 5 to 4.
  • The mark VI blaster has been replaced with a repulsor cannon. Repulsor projectiles have 1 hitpoint, 1 damage, a speed of 80, a duration of 9 frames and a cooldown of 3 frames. Two projectiles will fire at a time, each consuming 1 energy. This weapon's velocity is linked to the Torch's movement; see the Ilwrath or Pkunk weapon systems for an example of this in action.
  • Repulsor collision effect: If the target is a starship, knock it backwards and briefly disable its thrusters. Knockback force and thruster downtime are determined by the target's ship mass, with heavier ships being less affected. Knockback force is cumulative, while thruster shutoff is not.
  • The repulsor has a new graphic -- a magenta recolor of the Vindicator's fusion blaster projectile.
  • The repulsor has its own new sound effect.
  • The afterburner has been given a 1 frame stutter, triggering at half the frequency of the orignal afterburner.
  • For each afterburner flame puff that costs a point of energy, a subsequent flame puff will cost nothing. This only applies during continuous use of the afterburner. In practice, afterburner energy consumption is halved.
  • The afterburner's acceleration of 12 has been increased to 18. Acceleration occurs at 75% of the previous rate due to the afterburner stutter effectively halving it.
  • Afterburner flame puff hitpoints increased from 2 to 4. Damage remains the same.
  • Afterburner flame puff duration increased from 48 to 120.

Star Control's most broken ship has been given much attention. The afterburner was made more energy efficient while the main gun has been replaced by a another weapon with less range and more damage potential. The new torch is somewhat weak, yet fast and versatile.

Umgah Drone

  • Point value raised from 7 to 8.
  • Antimatter cone substantially increased in size.
  • Turn delay increased from 4 to 5.
  • Battery capacity decreased from 30 to 18.
  • Retropropulsion will consume energy every other consecutive zip, halving the ship's rate of energy consumption.
  • Retropropulsion speed decreased from 160 to 140.
  • Energy recovery will occur after 168 frames rather than 150.
  • Ship mass increased from 1 to 2.

Umgah has been given an upgrade. The new antimatter cone is big help. In fact, the new big cone turned out to be too powerful when it was first implemented, so a few penalties were applied to the ship to keep it under control. Retropropulsion changes were applied to make the ship easier for less skilled players. Umgah remains one of the more challenging ships to use well.

Ur-Quan Dreadnought

  • Ship mass decreased from 10 to 9.
  • Acceleration increment decreased from 6 to 5.
  • Top speed increased from 30 to 32.
  • New fusion bolt graphic. The new bolt is roughly 2.5x the previous fusion bolt's width.
  • The fusion bolt now homes in on enemy craft. This tracking mechanism is quite restricted, but the weapon is dramatically more dangerous.
  • Fusion bolt energy cost increased from 6 to 9.
  • Fusion bolt hitpoints increased from 10 to 12. This causes the bolts to overwhelm Chmmr satellites and continue onward; this is very important for game balance given how expensive fusion bolts have become.
  • Fusion bolt cooldown increased from 6 to 8.
  • Fighters are given a much longer time of ~17 seconds to return to the Dreadnought before expiring once their attack period is over.
  • In addition to dodging planets, fighters also evade asteroids and enemy ships rather than crashing into them and dying.
  • Fighters no longer die from friendly fusion bolts they come into contact with when making a return trip to the Dreadnought.
  • Fighters fan out from each other if they are too close together.
  • The fighter's beam weapon connects with its target the instant a target enters firing range.
  • The fighter's beam weapon has 64 firing angles rather than 16.
  • The fighter's beam weapon range is extended from 40 to 48.
  • Fighter weapon cooldown is 20, which is much slower than the previous 8. This may appear to be a crippling penalty at first glance, but there is more to it than that. The vanilla Ur-Quan fighter is heavily impeded by firing angle limitations, a delay between firing and scoring a hit, and a likelihood of eventually crashing into the enemy ship and dying; all of these flaws have been rectified.
  • Fighters are a light shade of yellow-green in color rather than brick red to match the Dreadnought itself.
  • The fighter's beam weapon is red rather than yellow to provide contrast between the new colored fighter and its laser.
  • Fighters will attack with a different, energy-siphoning laser that inflicts 0 damage and removes 1 energy when firing upon shielded enemy craft. This beam is light cyan in color and has its own new sound effect. This prevents Utwig--a ship which already excels against Kohr-Ah and Chmmr--from dominating Ur-Quan and has a lesser effect against Yehat.

Ur-Quan has received a massive overhaul. Rather than price it down to 20 or 18 as Ur-Quan is worth in vanilla melee, it has received substantial buffs to its capabilities, hopefully enough to make it equal to Kohr-Ah and Chmmr. Ur-Quan's mobility changes hurt in some places, while making Earthling much easier to catch. Orz is this ship's intended main counter.

Utwig Jugger

  • Point value raised from 22 to 24.
  • Maximum battery size increased from 20 to 24. Starting energy remains at 10. This improves effectiveness against Kohr-Ah and Chmmr, while having a negligible effect on all other match-ups.
  • The absorption field charges up normally during Androsynth blazer collisions. It will also bounce the blazer backwards.
  • The absorption field negates and absorbs Shofixti Glory Device explosions.
  • The absorption field no longer charges up by 10 points per frame when touching a Chmmr satellite.
  • Energy lance duration decreased from 10 to 9.

The Jugger's battery capacity upgrade will hopefully make Kohr-Ah more assailable. The minor weapon range penalty helps certain ships take on Utwig more readily, namely Supox and Orz.

VUX Intruder

  • Point value raised from 12 to 14.
  • Battery capacity decreased from 40 to 34.
  • Energy recovery delay decreased from 8 frames to 7 frames.
  • The "ambush" warp in ability is improved somewhat. The maximum distance an Intruder may spawn from the enemy ship is reduced. As before, VUX Intuders will rarely ever get the drop on an opponent which is already in motion at the start of combat.
  • Limpet energy cost increased from 2 to 3.
  • Limpet duration decreased from 80 to 72 frames.
  • A limpet's effect on enemy top speed and acceleration is diminished.
  • Limpets no longer attach to the Androsynth Guardian while it is in blazer form.
  • New feature: Immobilization. Once an enemy ship's top speed drops to 8, that ship's other movement characteristics (turn delay, acceleration delay, acceleration increment) will also hit rock bottom and the ship will become almost totally immobilized. A different "chomp" sound effect has been attached to all limpet collisions that occur at or beyond this point of immobilization to make it obvious. This feature was implemented as a time-saving mechanism; normally it would take as many as 100 limpets to effectively shut down a ship's turning capability.

VUX limpets have been toned down. Ships which would be doomed against VUX the moment they picked up a single limpet in vanilla UQM still are, while the rest put up a better fight. The laser is a bit more usable due to increased energy regeneration, making VUX play less one-dimensional. Limpet immobilization causes fights which the VUX has already won to end much faster. The VUX price hike coincides with Utwig's, which is widely considered VUX's favorite prey. The increased cost of cheap ships such as Shofixti also necessitates this.

Yehat Terminator

  • Point value lowered from 23 to 18.
  • Top speed increased from 30 to 32.
  • Acceleration changed from 6 every 2 frames to 8 every 3 frames.
  • Twin Pulse Cannon projectiles are now partially affected by the Terminator's velocity. This makes them more useful when fired while moving towards a target.
  • The shield negates Shofixti Glory Device explosions.
  • The shield bounces Androsynth's blazer form backwards.
  • The shield no longer triggers redundantly while it is already in effect. Previously the shield was very wasteful of energy.
  • Shield energy cost is set to 3.
  • Shield duration is set to 16.
  • Shield cooldown is set to 8.
  • Energy regeneration does not occur for the entire length of shield duration + shield cooldown.

Never liked the old Yehat. Any player that had the shield tapping technique down could keep a fight going for a very long time. The new shield is more player-friendly, somewhat less powerful and dramatically less irritating. The ship's price has also plummeted as even the original Yehat was not nearly worth its cost.

Zoq-Fot-Pik Stinger

  • Price raised from 6 to 8.
  • Tongue length increased substantially. The difference can only be discerned when the camera is fully zoomed in. All hit detection in Star Control is done with full zoom graphics whether you see them or not, so only the largest tongue image was altered.
  • Top speed increased from 40 to 42.

To improve reliability against Mycon, the Stinger has been given a few uptweaks accompanied by a price increase. ZFP was not nearly has good as Shofixti in vanilla UQM. Price and stat changes between the two ships have hopefully evened things out a bit.