Daynen wrote:1: Modules that are so similar as to be almost indistinguishable or even inferior, except in the most niche cases (i.e. proton beams-ONLY a better choice if your opponent has LESS THAN 73 armor, but more than enough to shrug off everything else)
Proton Beams can also be better than other beams if, for whatever reason, your opponent has chosen to design a shielded cruiser which does not carry a reflective shield generator, as unlike other common beam weapons, Proton Beams can penetrate any non-reflective shield in the game (they have 24 shield penetration instead of the 20 shield penetration of the cruiser beam laser, which means that Fast Recharge Shields and Mark II Shields are vulnerable to proton beams even though they're immune to cruiser beam lasers). Also, I personally like the fact that Proton Beams exist because it implies that within the game universe someone has been experimenting with design trade-offs - they sacrificed a little damage and a bit of range, but picked up a bit of anti-armor and anti-shield capability. There is also a significant difference between the Proton Beam and the Cruiser Beam Laser in that the tracking speed of the Proton Beam is significantly worse, which pushes the Proton Beam into more of a specialized anti-heavy cruiser role than the Cruiser Beam Laser sits in, which is more of the general use anti-armor role. I will also point out that Proton Beams are considerably cheaper than Cruiser Beam Lasers, which are their only real competitor in many factions. If you're trying to save on the budget, a proton beam just might be the more economical choice.
Daynen wrote:2: Modules that are inferior except for a single value in a meaningless quantity (i.e. frigate turbo shields--7 more shield strength has NEVER mattered for all the increased requirements and other inferior stats; why does this exist?)
Personally, I think the Turbo Shield is rather funny - it's a heavily hyped module (at least from reading its description) which fails to deliver on its promise. It could certainly have been more useful, e.g. if it had fit into the same role for frigates that the cruiser Multiphasic Shields do for cruisers, but I don't really feel that there's a significant issue with having some modules that aren't quite up to par.
Daynen wrote:4: Modules, most commonly fighter modules, that are only even legal, much less viable, on exactly one or two setups for exactly one or two races (i.e. fighter pulse laser; does anyone ever actually use this over a regular one? can hardly make a fighter that can actually run it, much less win with it. Also, Swarm micro-targeting booster. Really? This is a thing?)
Fighter Pulse Lasers are very good for strafing fighter designs, and all factions can create a valid design for it. It's not a good weapon for a dogfighter in most cases, however. The greater damage when compared to the Fighter Laser Cannon makes a significant difference when penetrating heavy armor and killing the ship after the armor is broken, at the cost of being somewhat more vulnerable to ship-borne anti-fighter weapons and being less competent in the dogfighter role. Swarm micro-targeting boosters suffer from the issue that all the targeting boosters have, namely that they don't appear to make a significant difference, at least without looking carefully, and compound that with being a nonessential module intended for use on a craft that relies on being fast for its survivability.
Daynen wrote:5: Race-specialty modules that are basically outclassed by more than 75% of available choices (i.e. swarm disruptor beam; awesome in concept, never worth the requirements in practice, and yet it's swarm only. Devalues a race choice a bit.)
Sometimes it's fun to be different and go in with an all-beam fleet, and Swarm is the only race that really has that as a valid choice since everyone else would get beaten by reflective shields. It also offers significantly better tracking than standard plasma or unpainted missiles at a similar range to the plasma weapons, which makes it much more useful against midspeed or higher frigates and fast cruisers when compared to plasma. Plus, unlike missiles, disruptor beams are unaffected by Swarm's other special cruiser module, the Smart Bomb Pulse Generator.
Daynen wrote:6: Ship hulls that have no clear build options or are clearly inferior to other choices (i.e. tribe heaven fighter. FIVE modules and ONE weapon? There is no reason to ever use this hull. I still can't even conceive a useful build with it. Nobody appreciates a noob trap like that. Also, Fed rabbit cruiser. WTF.)
Tribe Heaven fighters I agree are rather unusual, though you can make really tough fighters if for some reason you end up in a situation where a fighter's health is its most important quality (which is an exceptionally rare occurrence, I will grant). Federation Rabbits are basically an in-joke, are an indication that there are more ship designs out there than just the 'standard' faction designs, and indicate that the Federation might be more willing to employ mercenaries for its military campaigns or may keep older designs in use. Also, Rabbits aren't exactly bad cruisers. They're not great, certainly, but they aren't that bad either.
Daynen wrote:8: modules that require other modules to work properly, or to even be usable (i.e. point defense scanner. has to be used with point defense or scramblers, does nothing at all on it's own. I never take up the slots with one; just get more ships with PD instead of wasting the money. Perhaps just make more PD type modules with a better differentiation of accuracy stats. This would reduce clutter and unused game assets. Also, anti-fighter missile launchers. Highest tracking in game, still misses fighters with engines less than 50% of its tracking speed, has to combo with tractor beams. Again, WTF.)
I really don't have a problem with this, at all. Tractor beams are great for improving the effectiveness of a whole slew of anti-fighter solutions, be it escorting squadrons around your frigates/cruisers or shipboard anti-fighter weapons. Anti-fighter missiles have greater reach than the other purpose-built anti-fighter weapon and a 3-missile 1-tractor anti-fighter frigate is a reasonably effective support ship for your cruiser line. PD Scanners nearly quadruple the volume of incoming fire that PD and scramblers can handle if it's a missile with decoys, though they're held back by the effectiveness of unsupported scramblers and the popularity of the Multiple Warhead Missile. None of these are particularly bad options, nor do I see why it's a bad thing to allow players to boost the performance of a ship system by adding in something else. For that matter, this complaint can be extended to almost every module in the game - almost all modules require crew in order to function, and no hull provides any, so just about every module in the game requires that there be at least one crew module in place in order for the design to function; most modules will also require that a power generator be installed in the ship hull in order to function. Neither the crew nor the power modules accomplish anything on their own, nor do any of the other modules (aside from armor) function without these.
Daynen wrote:9: A campaign mode that neither presents clear rules, nor (seemingly) obeys them. Threat 100% is taken to mean an attack IS imminent at any time. Until that time, there shouldn't be much chance at all of an attack, or at least not an overwhelming one. However, multiple times I have lost a planet due to willing temporary sacrifice or error, and seen up to FIVE PLANETS taken BACK TO BACK, literally one turn apart each, which were previously under zero threat whatsoever for a dozen turns or more, ending in a single turn a campaign which had seen almost half the map conquered. This is neither fair nor fun. Explain the rules of the game so we know they're being followed fairly, please. It's fine that campaign mode is supposed to present a challenge, but the difference between a challenging game and a punishing one is very important. If this is working as intended and there are hidden rules to the campaign mode, then there need to be in-game ways of discovering and defining them. This is called a challenge. Otherwise, it's just frustrating with no redeeming fun factor.
As far as I can tell, the campaign mode does follow an internally consistent set of rules. The issue you're complaining about where you lost a series of planets that were previously under no threat? I bet most of those were inside your borders and then your fleet was beaten by an enemy fleet that emerged from the fight largely intact; it saw a string of unprotected hostile worlds and did what any sensible opponent would do - it attacked. What's the problem here?
Daynen wrote:10: Inconsistent victory conditions, especially in the campaign. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, raises my blood pressure about this game more than seeing it refuse to surrender a 100% guaranteed outcome. Just had four nomad plasma equipped cruisers sit at optimum range versus three outcast anti-fighter cruisers with over 70 armor and orders to sit outside their own firing range. TWENTY MINUTES LATER, they hadn't fired a single shot at me, and all three were destroyed due to the targeting behavior allowing the damaged ships to limp away. It should clearly have called the stalemate in my favor long ago since I had a larger fleet, took no damage, chipped them down and had 0% chance of losing, but it held out and denied me any salvage at all. Lack of vulture orders and targeting algorithms be DAMNED; It was perfectly countered and it knew it. That is the AI being a sore loser in the extreme.
Victory conditions are generally consistent. The fleet with the higher percentage score (the number with the green background, if both sides have equal percentages) in the top section of the screen wins when a stalemate is called. Pure fighter swarms and fleets where only fighters remain generally lose when they drop to half the remaining score of the opposing fleet, all other engagements end when one side drops to a score of 10% or less (the number displayed is rounded, so you may see an enemy sit at 10% for a little while before losing). The logic for the stalemate breaker could be better, of course, but it's usually not terrible. Also, if all three enemy ships were destroyed, then there shouldn't have been any stalemate in the first place and the only thing you have to complain about was that the game doesn't include a mechanic for the computer-side to surrender except when a stalemate has been called. Beyond that, aside from the edge case of a completely unsupported small group of cruisers which are, due to their own orders, completely incapable of engaging your forces, do you really want the computer to surrender to you in the middle of a fight? A large part of the fun of the game is in watching the fights unfold, and having the battles end early because the computer realized that its fleet is completely outclassed by your own. The only real exception to this, at least for me, is when something like an armor tank is involved and neither side is capable of harming the other for significant periods of time.