Tryptic's Mod Balance: Klingon

posted on December 23rd, 2018, 11:19 pm
With the new version of Tryptic's Mod, I'm attempting to evaluate the balance of all the stuff I've added. I enjoy talking to people directly, but I want to leave another way to reach me for people who can't catch me on Teamspeak/Discord/Hamachi.

The first topic I'm looking to really nail down is the Klingon faction. They're supposed to be almost done, but some of their balance is affected by other races. Here is a summary breakdown of their tech-tree:

Field Yard
Kbeajq - early tank unit, valuable because it is autotargeted before Kvorts and Sangs. Good damage special
Brel - Deals 2x damage to freighters while its special is active, designed to raid undefended mining and early anti-cloak
Kvort - combos well with Kbeajq, can serve as anti-cloak with careful micro due to its weapon-disabling special
Susa - good anti-large ship and anti-structure damage, a very niche ship
Veqlaragh - dangerous early-game kiting potential as well as long-range engine disable. Also a niche ship

Field Research
The Field Research is now required to build the Armory, the Sang, and the Qawduj. It is no longer optional and should be part of every build. To compensate for this I've made it cheaper.

Battle Yard
Since the Battle Yard can no longer build any ships without the Field Research, rushing straight to it is a little more difficult. However, the build cost has been reduced so that multiple Battle Yards are easier to get, especially for Taqroja. The battle yard also unlocks the starbase Heavy Industry upgrade which can build Shuvak heavy miners for faster mining
Sang - combos well with Kbeajq and can be massed effectively. Vulnerable to a few counters such as Monsoons, Rhienns, and Vutpa. A key unit for countering certain strategies such as early Spheres
Qawduj - combat support ship useful for countering enemy anti-small weapons, such as Intercept Scubes. The role of this ship is something I'm still working on because its Polaron Field is powerful, but the ship and the research are too expensive for this to be its only purpose
Chargh - raising assistance ship with a new special that shuts down weapons on an enemy station. A niche unit that makes Taqroja's raiding extremely hard to deal with
Vorcha - midgame core unit that combos well with Vutpa. Special ability is extremely effective against large single targets
Vutpa - requires significant tech investment but combos extremely well with the Klingon fleet. Tanks for the Vorcha and Neghvar and provides anti-torpedo, anti-cloak, as well as Command bonus for all Klingon ships that can receive it. Because the Command variant is a refit, it can even provide Command bonus to the rest of your Vutpa. Finally its special ability deals high damage, though it is spread out over the enemy
Luspet - similar to the vorcha, a strong core ship mostly useful for its resistance to medium range attacks

Armory
The armory is still an important step up for a Klingon player, unlocking the vorcha, heavy weapons platform, and starbase weapons upgrade. It remains cheap at 400/200 but perhaps more important is the build time when your constructors have other things competing for their attention

Experimental Yard
The main attraction of the experimental yard is the Edjen Command cruiser. The yard is cheap, but cannot repair ships which makes it pretty situational. The armory requirement is also pretty steep, and I am considering two options: either lower the requirement to the Field Research and allow it to get out much sooner, or buff the Edjen command passive to affect medium ships as well
Edjen - a fast cruiser with two main roles: it provides Command to small ships and it drops the scrambling probe. The +20% damage to a Kvort or Sang swarm can be incredible, while the scrambling probe helps to reduce incoming damage. See below for the Polaroid field/scrambling probe discussion
Brel with Romulan tech - it's tricky having such an early game ship with a mixed tech variant since it probably won't be worth it to build them so late in the game. This ship has an advanced cloak and is supposed to fit with the theme of "ships that can still raid in the late game" but I'm still open to the possibility of changing it
Kvort with Federation tech - a specific but useful option that allows a Klingon player to upgrade an early fleet of Kvorts into more dependable fleet ships with medium range and better survivability
Qawduj with Borg Tech - upgrades the Polaron Field to Nanites. Part of the balance discussion for Qawduj and how to balance them
Chonaq with Dominion tech - Martok's only access to artillery range. In Tryptic's Mod the torpedo platform, perimeter, and starbases have slightly less range so they cannot return fire against well positioned artillery

Ordinance depot
As the gateway to late-game tech, the ordinance depot costs 600/300. It unlocks the vutpa, Luspet, and Neghvar, all powerful ships.

Imperial Yard
The Imperial Yard does not require the Ordinance Depot to build, but players tend to want the Neghvar. The price has been reduced to 1000/300, and I have considered lowering it further due to the huge tech cost associated with just getting to it.
Chonaq - this vessel rests in an unusual spot. Too late in the tech tree to form the backbone of the fleet, but difficult to add to an existing fleet. The speed has been increased in Tryptic's Mod, and it can fire its main weapon for longer which makes it devastating against large targets but it has a tendency to overkill smaller ones.
BortaS - This ship is the answer to your problems. It starts out with the Combat Tractor Beam (formerly on the Chargh) that can hold an enemy in place for up to 21 seconds, plenty of time to dispatch a Diamond, Cube, or other battleship. Betwern this and the dreaded Ion Storm, the BortaS serves as a counter to the super-late-game fleets of the super late game. I need people to test it, specifically its hitpoints as I'm considering greatly raising the defensive value to allow it to survive at that stage of the game.
Neghvar - the final (and only) battleship in the Klingon armada. It deals extra damage to long range targets, which include some very powerful late-game targets (and most turrets), but due to its range it struggles to counter some of the ships that it is supposed to, such as Diamonds. It has two important upgrades in the form of the cloaking device and Weapon Overload. Its status as a Command ship is something I am still seriously considering since a Command ship cannot receive the command bonus.

Imperial Research
The final tech structure holds the research for Imperial Yard ships, including the BortaS Ion Storm. The cost is reduced to 400/200, but the Klingons still have the highest tech cost of any race for their final tech.

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If all you're looking for is a breakdown of the ships, feel free to stop reading here. The following is a deeper look at three important systems for the Klingons, and is likely to get pretty complicated and wordy. If you do read the stuff below, please let me know your input and whether you think I'm on the right track. You can also catch me in person on Discord
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Klingon Command Ships
The Klingons have three Command ships: the Edjen, the Vutpa Command Refit, and the Neghvar, although this final one is still under consideration.

The Edjen is the smallest and fastest of the three, but affects only small ships. It builds from the Experimental Yard, which currently requires the Armory, a pretty steep tech requirement. I would like to change the requirement to the Field Research, which would allow Edjen to be produced much sooner in a game, but I am concerned about the Scrambling Probe getting out of control. Player feedback is appreciated.

The second command ship, the Vutpa refit, is in an excellent place as it requires a fair bit of technology to produce. Furthermore, since it is a refit, it can be mixed with regular Vutpas which will still receive its command bonus. I will eventually add an animation for Command Ships so that it is easier to tell the refits apart from the regular Vutpas.

The third command ship, however, remains a difficult choice. On the one hand, it is thematic for the ultimate Klingon battleship, the Neghvar, to be a Command Ship. On the other hand, if you have access to Vutpa you don't really need it, and if the Neghvar is a Command Ship it can't receive Command bonuses.

Option 1 is to have the BortaS become a Command ship instead, so that the Neghvar is the ultimate expression of Klingon might and the BortaS is the ultimate expression of Klingon technology. It's not my favorite idea, but it's close.

Option 2 is to have the Neghvar remain a Command Ship, but to add a new ability to the Klingon Starbase that grants a Command bonus to all of the player's Command ships. I really like this idea as it's like they have a connection to a central command group, but there is one major problem. I have recently discovered a bug where, if a ship has a destroyed subsystem and docks at a repair yard, but a Command ship is affecting it, it might get stuck in the yard and never repair the subsystem, forcing the player to decommission it. If I'm unable to fix this bug, it would be impossible to implement a global command bonus of any kind :(

Option 3 is to create a special "Command Neghvar" refit, similar to the Vutpa, that allows a limited number of Neghvar to upgrade and get the ability (plus some extra stats). I like this idea also, but it's some extra coding work I'm not free to do right now.

Klingon Cloak Detect
The Klingons have 3 methods of countering Cloak: Sensor Stations, Manual Targeting, and Mass Seeking Missiles.

-Sensor Stations cannot move, and are only useful for defense, although they are incredibly cheap and efficient
-Manual Targeting is on the Brel, Vutpa, and several Veteran ships, although it can only detect enemies attempting to cloak, not those already cloaked
-Mass Seeking Missiles is on the Vutpa Refit and only decloaks a few ships at random, rather than the entire fleet. However it does this by disabling weapons on these ships and renders them extremely vulnerable.

This was not a problem in the past, but now that the Romulans are getting a permanently cloaked sensor station, the Klingons may need a mobile, active way to detect cloak. I am looking at the Qawduj for this role, either by including cloak detect in its second ability or by adding an anti-cloak effect to its Polaron Field. One possibility would be to take Mass Seeking Missiles from the Vutpa Refit and put it on the Qawduj, making it available much earlier in the tech tree. I need ideas.

Klingon Polaron Field/Scrambling Probe discussion
The Klingons need an AoE ability in their early-midgame lineup. Since their ships have plenty of firepower, I have been thinking that it should be a mostly defensive ability to help them survive just a little while longer against an enemy with massed small ships. The current state of their abilities is as follows:

Edjen Scrambling Probe
In 3.2.7, this probe lasts 60 seconds, targets 5 ships every 10 seconds, and has a 30% chance to disable engines, 55% chance to disable weapons for 4 seconds each. These effects are separate, which means that both or none can occur. In Tryptic's Mod, the duration was reduced to 20 seconds and the engine disable chance reduced to 50%, but with System value no longer affecting the chance, it is actually higher for most ships. Tryptic's Mod also limits you to 5 Edjen, while 3.2.7 allowed up to 10. It has a range of 400 units.

Qawduj Polaron Field
In 3.2.7, the Polaron Field lasts 11 seconds, targets 5 ships every second, and has a 10% chance to disable each subsystem for 2 seconds. In Tryptic's Mod I've increased the target count to 8 ships, but the ability remains pretty bad. The Qawduj is just very expensive, and doesn't do anything of value other than this one special ability. In addition, its effective range is only 200 units, half that of the Scrambling Probe and it can only affect a single subsystem on each target.

The problem with AoE effects in general, is that they can be layered. If a player can put down one Polaron Field, he can put down 10 of them. So do you balance it for 1-3 fields, or for 5-10? I want these abilities to be distinct enough that a player is motivated to use either or both of them.

For now, I'm going to start tweaking both the special abilities, and the ships themselves. I'll make a change, release a new version, and get peoples' feedback before changing it again in the next version, until we find something more balanced. Here's what I'm thinking for the next round, which will be version 3.2a:

Experimental Yard requirement: Armory (unchanged)
Scrambling Probe
-fires every 6 seconds
-lasts 24 seconds (5 waves)
-targets 12 ships
-range 200 units (aka Dogfight range)
-disable weapons chance 50%, 4 seconds
-disable engines chance 30%, 4 seconds
-max affected subsystems: 2

Polaron Field
-fires every 1 second
-lasts 11 seconds (12 waves)
-targets 20 ships
-range 400 units (aka Short range)
-disable subsystem chance: 10% each, 2 seconds
-max affected subsystems: 4

I'm hoping to start with big changes and work my way down to small ones, but we'll see how it goes :thumbsup:
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