[TM] A big Borg post

I want my 15 rapid-fire quantum torpedo launchers Uber-Defiant now! - Get help from modders. Share your work. Discuss modifications.
posted on June 2nd, 2020, 2:43 am
Over the past few years of working on Tryptic's Mod, I've explored a lot of different ideas for the Borg faction. Some were excellent, while others were less excellent. Recently I feel that I'm getting really close to the "final" version but there are still some changes to make. So I want to lay out the comprehensive design of the Borg in TM and get some feedback from you guys. Some of this is already present in the current version (3.9) while others will be in future versions.

Vinculums (3.9)

The Vinculum mechanic has been a great success. It puts a limit on the number of Borg ships while allowing them to rebuild destroyed forces more cheaply, not just with resources but with time. It gives the Borg a unique kind of planning and encourages them to raid throughout the entire game.

The one problem that needs to be addressed is the amount of space and player attention it takes to rebuild a fleet of 5+ ships. For this reason fleets of Small Vinculum ships or Assimilators are unpopular. I am looking for a way to let players spawn uplinks quickly in the late game; I also might reduce the footprint of Uplinks slightly and maybe even make the Cube build from an alternate Uplink type.

Ship costs (3.9)
This is a preview of how all 5 races will be once I'm finished with them. Tech buildings will cost equal amounts of Di and Tri, early game ships will cost mostly Di and late game ships will be balanced with special ships costing extra Tri. This means that a map with extra Di moons encourages fleets of early game ships while extra Tri moons encourage building late-game ships. For the Borg this means that things like blue-beam Assimilators are Di heavy instead of Tri heavy.

Optimize vs Assimilate (3.9)
There are a ton of small changes designed to make both Avatars viable. The Optimize Chassis cost reduction has changed from 30% to 20% and Assimilate may get a cost reduction to something in the future. Assimilators and Pyramids are more viable for destroying ships, while adapted photons kill crew and all Borg ships have a bonus to boarding strength. The idea is that either destroying or capturing ships (or both) is viable for both avatars, and in particular an Assimilate Borg is not helpless against an Optimize Borg.

Research and Upgrades (in progress)

Version 3.9 has Adaption levels 1-3, which increase the number of Collective Features and upgrade weapons damage. These Features are then spent on techs which cost no Di/Tri. In future versions, I'm going to separate the Weapons upgrades and tech research.The Command passive will be removed from the Borg and replaced with 4 or 5 tiers of Weapon upgrade instead. While factions like the Federation obviously use field commanders in their fleets, the Borg don't operate that way so it doesn't make sense for them. The extra Weapon upgrade tiers will give the Borg more opportunity to spend their Tritanium on upgrades, similar to the other races.

As for tech research, I am considering removing Features and making the Borg just research things normally, but this change isn't certain. What is certain is that the Adaption Matrix will become a part of the normal tech tree, similar to the other factions' Experimental Yards. However the Adaption Matrix is also a repair yard and can get Allied Repair, which will fix a huge weakness of the Borg in team games.

Regenerative Processes (3.9) - This tech was added in TM and allows scouts, freighters, probes, and small vinculum ships to regenerate. Ships with a Regen module regenerate rapidly while those without have a slower version that takes 1-2 minutes to restore full health. This makes smaller Borg ships way more viable and also helps keep miners alive.

Cloak Detect (3.9) - In TM, when a scube or adapter with an EM module flies near a sensor relay or dode relay, the relay sends out a tachyon ping every 10 seconds. In addition, when a Diamond flies near a dode relay the relay gains a huge vision radius. When a Diamond flies near a sensor relay, the relay gains extra vision that lasts for 5 minutes after the Diamond moves away. Combined with Nanites in the late game, I feel this is a sufficient amount of cloak detect for the Borg but I may adjust the size of the pings.

Ships (in progress)

Probe - This ship got a bit cheaper and can be built without the Conduction Matrix for rush defense. The real cost of the ship is the time spent building it when the Assimilation Matrix isn't building freighters or scouts.

Scoutcube - The regen module is stronger to compete with the Interception module which remains the most powerful for raiding. In 3.9 the Transwarp module grants Transwarp to nearby ships, but in the future it will be removed and Transwarp will be researched as a tech again. It's just simpler this way; maybe Transwarp scubes will return someday to support larger ships.

Dodecahedron - Adapted Photon torpedoes have been adjusted to deal less damage to small targets, making this ship less extreme. The torps kill a small amount of crew and can have a high chance to disable life support, so the ship works well with Assimilation tactics. Support Dodes are also excellent: a Vinculum/Regen dode or two can keep a fleet topped up on energy with the Neural Transceiver special which restores 300 energy to all nearby Borg ships.

Adaptor - In 3.9 there is a module that grants the Command passive. In future versions this will be replaces with a Holding Beam module that's weaker than the ones on large ships. The other modules are all in a good place, with Regeneration making the ship a lot more useful since it doesn't take 10 minutes to recover from heavy damage.

Assimilator - The Assimilator is very cheap, slow, and has good options both for combat and assimilation. Its main weakness is the problem of rebuilding lots of uplinks, so once this is addressed I think the ship will be fine.

Sphere - The main issue with this ship is the Beam module, which adds extra targets in TM and much higher overall DPS. This effect is weaker in small games and stronger in big team games, which explains why it is the most used module in our testing. I have plans to lower the damage output a little in the next version.

3.9 also introduces a new system for ship prices where ships with many copies of the same module are more expensive, while ships with many different modules are cheaper. Out of all the Borg ships this affects the Sphere the most since many builds use 3 of the same module; if you want a cheaper sphere you can use different modules to bring down the cost.

Pyramid - With the number of Holding Beam modules capped at 2, this ship can be good at either killing or capturing, but its real strength is doing both at the same time. Support Dodes work incredibly well with these energy-hungry ships, since the HHRR configuration can use both Holding Beam and Regeneration.

Diamond - The new ship costs mean that it's impossible to spam only diamonds without a good source of Tritanium. In future versions, Nanite swarms will destroy existing Nanite swarms when they spawn, so layering them will no longer be an option. The diamond is still a powerful support ship but needs to be combined with other ship types.

Cube - The Cube is much cheaper in Tryptic's Mod but still requires a long time to build. I am considering raising its speed from 70 to 80 in the next version as people have requested, and possibly giving it more multitargeting weapons. I'd like to note that this ship is clearly designed to work with Diamonds using Bring Order to Chaos, so if your cube doesn't have a +70% rate of fire bonus you are doing it wrong. We'll test it until we find a good balance.

Conclusion

There are more minor changes of course, but this is the overall framework of the faction. Early rushing is limited by the long Small Vinculum build time but an early Scoutcube and Probe can be devastating. In the midgame, Small Vinculum ships can be used with Regeneration, or the Borg can transition to bigger ships. Extra Small Vinculums left over from destroyed ships can be used for raiding scoutcubes, support dodes, or turret dodes.

In the late game, medium vinculums from destroyed ships can be used for Diamonds if you have Tritanium, while Dilithium is spent on frontline Spheres or small raiding ships. Ship building takes more time and attention for a Borg player than for other races, which is fair since their combat management is simpler. A Borg player needs to multitask and build more uplinks when there is a major battle, so they can replace destroyed ships as fast as possible. A Cube is a weapon that should be used immediately, as even if it dies it can be rebuilt for much less than the battleships of other races. All of these things put together make for an incredibly Borg-like gameplay style, I think.
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