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 Post subject: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:16 pm 

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A long discussion in help led to a number of ideas for plane rebalance. They might be a little extreme, mine in particular, so I'm not going to suggest these be implemented this round (unless the devs come across a large block of free time and energy) but I love them nonetheless. Henri suggested a more permanent and open thread for the discussion to be opened, so here this is.

What some of us have concluded is that the current trade/combat/performance balance is forever broken. I say that perf isn't even a valid plane category, as speed and low sil don't earn money -- trade and combat do. Perf attributes simply make trade and combat planes different, unique. Some say that perf planes are balanced between the two, but stock/upgrade planes fill that niche that in a more straightforward way. Thus we think the actual axes aren't trade/combat/perfness at all, and instead are armor/firepower/speed/dodge/cargo/etc. The sums of a plane's scores on these axes give the plane's value in combat and trade, and those values are what players really pay attention to. Not understanding what makes combat/trade/perf planes what they are means we have some rather "off" planes, Veng/Ceta/Mantis/Tbolt included.

This gives the devs a different sort of balancing algorithm. Design a plane, determine what armor/firepower/speed/etc the plane should have, and from the sums of those values determine what kind of niche the plane fills and which tier it's best suited for. As long as combat and trade are the main ways to make money and advance in the game, I see there being two main "classes" for any given plane, combat and trade. Your heavy straightforward fighters will be combat: high armor, high firepower, moderate speed, low cargo. And your heavy straightforward traders: high armor, moderate firepower, low speed, high cargo, long range. Either of these that are less straightforward, lower armored, harder to hit, and faster will be combat/perf or trade/perf. Planes between them are combat/trade and have some balance of armor, firepower, speed, and cargo. Centered planes that could go in any direction based on upgrades, we'll call those upgrade planes and give them more upgrade slots/free weight so they can specialize. Currently I feel the planes are a bit off, some kind of halfway go about their tasks. While I sharpen the focus of each plane and scrap the idea of pure perfs, why don't I re-sort the tier list a bit as well, based on how well each plane looks it should do at its given task.

So here's my crazy revised list of planes. In my perfect game, you'd be able to upgrade any plane to do anything -- fight a stock Avenger in a Junker, and win, since you've dumped millions of Gs into it -- but you can't upgrade ugly (said Pen) so keep your eye on what else is flying. The tiers are just a general level of price and ability, and if the price can be exactly matched to the value of the plane, tiers can be done away with completely.


Tier 0:
Junker (Upgrade) -- Classic mass produced supercheap plane. No changes here.

Tier 1:
Mastiff (Combat) -- Twin engines, good speed, low profile, moderately armored and well armed fighter. Good front firepower.
Excelsior (Trade) -- Good cargo space in that funny hull, four weak engines but great stall speed and good armor.
Marauder (Combat/Perf) -- Tiny and quick, lightly armored, okay firepower.
KittyHawk (Trade/Perf) -- Quick, maneuverable, well armored, okay cargo.
Chapparal (Upgrade) -- Basic all-arounder, cheap old model, slow but small and maneuverable.

Tier 2:
Valkyrie (Combat) -- Slow, armored, hard hitting mainline combat machine.
Bullfrog (Trade) -- Bullfrog is here for you: slow, great cargo space, and good armor.
Thor (Combat/Perf) -- Trades some armor for above average speed and maneuver.
Mantis (Trade/Perf) -- Fast, agile, good cargo space, uninspiring armor.
Seafire (Upgrade) -- Simple low-tech big plane with a big engine, a few guns forward and back, and some good cargo room.

Tier 3:
Phantom (Combat) -- Slow, good firepower, great armor.
Seahawk (Combat) -- Quick, good firepower, good armor.
Halifax (Trade) -- A slow, well armed, well armored old heavy bomber.
Loki (Combat/Perf) -- Twin engined, high speed, low profile, poorly armored skimisher.
Cetacea (Trade/Perf) -- Big target, maneuverable, fast, good armor and good cargo.
Bolo (Upgrade) -- Another big target with pretty good cargo space, but better armor and all-around firepower.

Tier 4:
Mkii (Combat) -- A simple upgrade in every way over the Valk. More guns, more power, more armor.
Thunderbolt (Combat) -- Great speed, great guns, terrible stall and handling. Liable to fall out of the sky.
Barracuda (Trade) -- A lot of blimp. Surprisingly okay top speed.
Requin (Combat/Perf) -- Very powerful, very fast, lightly armed.
Nomad (Trade/Perf) -- Decent cargo, great speed, good handling and protection.
Dauntless (Upgrade) -- Good all around. Fine handling and speed, big forward gun, respectable cargo bay and extra room for crew.

Tier 5:
Hades (Combat) -- Many guns, much armor, good speed and handling.
Cyclops (Trade) -- Hard hitting tail guns and great armor in addition to its big cargo hold and seating.
Leviathan (Trade) -- Even more blimp. Also surprisingly mobile.
Nova (Combat/Perf) -- Sleek, fast, maneuverable, moderately armed and lightly armored.
Havoc (Combat/Perf) -- Quick and agile, packing a bit more forward firepower and extra armor.
Spectre (Upgrade) -- Moderate power, good guns front and back, and a deep cargo hold.

Tier 6:
Avenger (Combat) -- Straightforward plane wrapped around a big forward gun, pushed by two big engines, covered in big armor.
Bismarck (Combat) -- Enough firepower, ammunition, and armor to float around Tortuga for twelve hour stretches.
Kingfisher (Trade) -- Big, fast, and heavily armed. Carries a mountain of cargo and a full crew.
Ingersoll (Combat/Perf) -- Near-sonic toy fighter. No low speed maneuvering. Everything sacrificed for agility and one big gun.
Vengeance (Combat/Perf) -- Small plane, fast, agile, very big gun. Good armor.
Lancaster (Trade/Perf) -- Curious looking but wonderfully fast trader. Good armor, and no troublesome tail. Enough seats for a full crew.


As most of the planes lined up so neatly in six tiers, I consider this may have been done before. Either way, this should give each plane a more definite identity and make them good at what they do. Most importantly, it makes certain there's something useful/fun in each tier for everybody. Hopefully planes primarily designed for combat won't be embarassing dedicated trade planes with their CKPH. Planes that aren't part trade should have just enough space to do some non-trade, special delivery and taxi missions. I'd also love to see the number of crew required for effectiveness, as well as the number of seats in some planes, brought down a bit. That dodges the question of how you stuff all that crap into an Inger... with luck, combat becomes as lucrative as trade is in the later parts of the game, and missions favor trade and combat rigs equally, with the perf halves of each a little faster at it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:19 am 
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Ehh I don't think perf isn't a "legitimate" class, and it not making money because of...perfing...doesn't make sense. Upgrade planes don't make money by upgrading, one shouldn't assume the name necessitates what one does to get money in it. It's not like perfs actually have problems getting money, I'm not sure where this problem exists.

Perfs have an awkward role, but speed makes them good traders (just look at the Tbolt-it's the 6th best trader in the game) and their other stats make them more than capable in combat. Perf's a philosophy, not a way to make money.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:09 pm 

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The other thing I interpreted from the discussion (correct me if I'm wrong) is that Henri wanted Skyrates to move a bit more towards customization. The example he gave was keeping a Vengeance and hammering on a trade module.

My personal idea on where I'd like this all to go is complete customization. Give the user X amount of points to put into the various Axes (speed, maneuverability, firepower, sil, armor, health, cargo space, etc.), and let them choose what they want from the plane. It almost goes back to the old-school RPGs where you could put stats where you want them.

Tier progression in this model would essentially give you more points to put into the various categories.

There obviously a few problems that would need to be solved.

First, what should the plane's appearance be? Does the user just pick something out of the current planes? Does the system pick what the plane will look like for the user?

Second, some of the stats are hard to quantify. Does the Spectre have better firepower than the T-Bolt? What about a Hades vs. a Bullfrog? I'd argue the Spectre is more dangerous than a T-Bolt due to that Large Tail making it tougher to chase, but someone in a trading ship might find the medium front arcs less worrisome than the T-Bolt's large arcs. It's pretty subjective.

A possible solution is that the firepower could be split up however the user wants. What kind of arcs and where they're located would be up to the user's discretion.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Since I thought of it, I'll post what I said in general chat a bit ago-not totally related to Navvy's system, at least the teiring.

I think that relatively, the highest possible upgradability should be a bit higher for each lower teir-meaning, roughly, anything T7~ could be set up to be your final plane, and a T3~ could last you to your T7, it'd just cost more money than doing the same stats in the better plane.

An example (because I'm so biased towards the Havok and against the inger) would be Havok and inger have roughly the same max upgradeable stats in any given general category, but it'd be a LOT cheaper to do it in the inger instead of the havok, and not quite just "lets stick a 1.5 teir kit on here" which I don't think is the upgrade system the devs have in mind, anyway.

As an alternative, Kick the inger down to T8/7, and make the Havok T9. It's way too cool to not beat up the inger for it's lunch money :razz:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:21 pm 

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I envision the base stats being Armor, Damage Reduction, Maneuver/Turn speed, Cargo, Range and Speed. Silhouette would be a function of the plane frame and unchangeable.
Each plane would start with a set number of points in each stat; obviously, certain planes would vary in their base stats. The skyrate, upon purchasing the plane, would be able to distribute a one-time bonus of stat points based on tier and rank in flight time, combat and trade. The game would ask you, "Are you sure you want to distribute your points in this way?" and once you click yes, that particular plane is set in stone (although you would still be able to swap around upgrades and guns).

As an example, say I purchase plane X. Its base stats might be 100 cargo, 1000 speed, 1000 range, 10 maneuver, 10 armor, and 10 DR (this system would make DR and armor separate entities); and 10 sil. As a tier 10 plane, and a Wing Honor Chairman (5), Colonel (5) and Vice President (5), I would get a total of 25 bonus points to distribute. Each point I put into the combat stats, I get an additional point or two of that stat (armor, DR, maneuver). Each point I put into a trade stat, I get a certain percentage bonus, maybe somewhere between 5-10%, possibly on a sliding scale.

I distribute my points and finalize, and voila, I have my new plane. The advantage of having more stats and the ability to customize them with bonus points is clearly variability; the flipside is that too many gimmicks will drive the learning curve up and make things unnecessarily complicated. Obviously, there are those of us who like it messy and those of us who prefer to keep it simple; it's up to the devs (possibly with input from us) to figure out how to set the balance.

As a further example of how things could be even more complicated, those of you who play Disgaea know that various classes have different Equip aptitudes- i.e. the same armor yields much less DEF on a mage than on a warrior. I doubt we want Skyrates that complicated, but it's just an example.

One last note, firepower is really a function of the gun mounts you have, the positions they are in, and what you put in those mounts. Therefore, it kinda falls outside of the bonus point stat system.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:25 pm 
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Planes aren't Pokemon, frankly...I don't think it makes much sense for your experience level to make your plane grow a second cargohold.

/Cetacea has evolved into...Cactar!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:34 pm 

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No, but how experienced your skyrate is definitely affects how well he can use his plane. A veteran pilot will be able to cram in more cargo, fly it further, faster and kick more tail in the same plane as a newbie. Obviously the amount of bonus you get from ranks would be up for balance, but this system definitely gives players an incentive to keep going and even try different planes out.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:01 pm 
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Sounds like FE, CS, and the combat skills...

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:29 pm 

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If we're gonna talk about how to revamp plane tiering and progression, I have to say, I don't think it's all that broken at the moment.

What really stinks is that without upgrades to the engine, wings, or cargo hold, there's a very limited palette of plane choices. For most endgame players, the selection of acceptable planes is 1 - the Ingersoll. What's more, I feel frustrated at being in my endgame plane so suddenly, with virtually nothing left to spend my hardly-earned cash on.

I know we've got upgrades in the pipeline, and that's a good thing: finally something to consider, covet, and buy. What's more, maybe an answer to those who want their non-Ingersoll plane of choice to be as all-singing and all-dancing as the Little Yellow Needle.

That said, I like how the planes are tiered at present, in most cases. Some of the stats, especially Silhouette, are a little out of whack, but it's difficult to say exactly to what degree given the backdrop of influence and trade, as Zabrak! mentions here in the "Nerf the Inger" thread.

I also approve most heartily of the previous round's system of higher tier planes providing more and better upgradability. If they're gonna be further up the hierarchy, they ought to be, y'know, better. What's more, if we ditch the insanely overpowered kits of last round, and stick to more modest upgrades, there will be a continuing reason to earn money - no one will have much reason to stick with a lower tier plane, unless they are so bloody-minded as to choose a favorite design over their performance in the game.

If we're going to ditch the current tier system, if the emphasis is going to be on upgrades and customization, why not be bold? Why not ditch tiers altogether, and start with four or five basic airframes - airframes that can be upgraded like mad, with increasingly better (and more expensive - gotta have a money sink somewhere in the game!) modifications. This idea has worked reasonably well in miniature with the guns, so perhaps it could be as interesting with wings, engines, armor, and cargo holds? I think that this would be an improvement; absent that step, I see no reason to take the half-measure of shuffling the plane tiers and futzing with the upgrade slots (with the exception of eliminating kits, alluded to above.)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:26 pm 

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Until we have upgrades to put in the upgrade planes this exercise is nothing more than mental masturbation.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:47 pm 

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I think this thread is focused on future rounds more than the current one.


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 Post subject: Re: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:54 pm 
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true, but input is still needed for future gameplay.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:35 am 

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Kitteh wrote:
Sounds like FE, CS, and the combat skills...


wouldnt be half bad an idea to intergrate planes with the points. thus as you spend more time doing X your plane also turns into a plane more suited for X. :grin:

put it all on an exponetial curve and take it from there. drop in each of the upgrades as you reach checkpoints on the curve. (it can still be the same checkpoints.. roughly.. just prioritize. eg if you assume a "basic" player progression with combat skills to go gumption1, barrel roll1, etc... just let the cumulative points be the checkpoints.) then instead of points you spend. every say 20 combat points you gain at the beginning you can put 1 point into a combat stat of your choice. eg. 2 armor or 1ac or 50 ammo or -1% sil. then past the first 400 combat points it turns into every 50 points, every 100, every 200, every 500.. etc. that way as you gain "skills" you also pick up upgrades for your plane. of course... cap off the stupid amounts of stuff. eg you cant put more than 50 points into -1% sil. and you cant put more than 10 points into ac. but at worst, combat frenzied players will have something to do with their points (hey i got another 50 ammo cap to add to my 5000 ammo lol).

it also allows players to continue playing as they like. the source of income just matches their play style and so will their plane. trade skill could add flat versions of the skills. eg instead of 4% fuel, +20 fuel. 4% tax cut - 10 gold tax cut.

and since the upgrade choices are up to the players and the current "skills" are integrated with the curve, you avoid new players from being unable to compete due to bad choices.


another alternative would be fun... would be to have a total plane breakdown. if anyone has played gratuitious space battles/master of orion etc. fully customizable planes. give each model space limits, every gun has space requirements as do wings, engines, ammo, cargo space. so if i wanted to trade.. i'd buy another cargo hold upgrade and i can keep doing that as long as i dont run out of space.

Then each ship you can represent by bars
|Gun space | Hull space| Engine space| Upgrade space| = Total space. How much customization you can do is based on the upgrade space (as it allows everything else inside) .

Then for the newbies, you can upgrade as packages of space. e.g. a gun package would make a generic upgrade using the gun space. but for advanced players you could choose to upgrade your gun from machine gun to longarm. or you could upgrade the size of the gun. or just buy ammo capacity. unlike the package, you upgrade what you want instead of the next logical choice.

anyhow.. enough
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 Post subject: Re: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Holy thread necromancy, Batman! :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:26 am 
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Zambah thread craves mortal flesh :grin:

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 Post subject: Re: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:18 pm 

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With a new round and the upgrades out, I thought I'd take another look at this old topic. The nine tiers are staying, but they're far too sparse right now. In this exercise I'm sorting planes as I feel they should be tiered, which leaves a few open spots for future planes.

An XL gun mount should be made available, to better suit those few 'very big gun' planes like the Vengeance and the Avenger.

And because I'm so crazy, I'm going to redefine Armor Class as Armor, then Armor as Durability. Armor reduces damage taken, the durability of a plane's internal structure determines how much damage it can absorb before going down.


Tier 0:
Junker (Upgrade) -- Classic mass produced supercheap plane. No changes here.

Tier 1:
Mastiff (Combat/Perf) -- Twin engines, good speed, low profile. No armor, but a durable and well armed fighter. Good front firepower and fair rear.
KittyHawk (Trade/Perf) -- Quick, maneuverable, very light armor, okay cargo.
Chapparal (Upgrade) -- Basic all-arounder, inexpensive old model, slow but small and maneuverable.

Tier 2:
Valkyrie (Combat) -- Durable, hard hitting mainline combat machine. Good offset gun mount.
Excelsior (Trade) -- Good cargo space in that funny hull, four weak engines but great stall speed and fair armor.
Marauder (Combat/Perf) -- Tiny and quick, fragile, okay firepower.
Nomad (Trade/Perf) -- Decent cargo, great speed, good handling and durability. Good rear firepower.

Tier 3:
Phantom (Combat) -- Slower than average, great firepower, great durability and light armor.
3rd Tier (Trade)
Thor (Combat/Perf) -- Trades some durability for incredible acceleration, above average speed and maneuver.
3rd Tier (Trade/Perf)
Seafire (Upgrade) -- Simple low-tech big plane with a big engine, a few guns forward and back, and some good cargo room.

Tier 4:
Mkii (Combat) -- A simple upgrade in every way over the Valk. More power, more durability. Great offset gun mount.
Halifax (Trade) -- A fairly quick, well armed, well armored old heavy bomber.
Requin (Combat/Perf) -- Very powerful engine, very fast, lightly armed.
4th Tier (Trade/Perf)
Bolo (Upgrade) -- Large plane with fair speed, fair cargo space, fine armor and all-around firepower.

Tier 5:
Seahawk (Combat) -- Quick, good firepower, good durability.
Cyclops (Trade) -- Hard hitting tail guns, good speed and great armor in addition to its big cargo hold and seating.
Barracuda (Trade) -- A lot of blimp. Surprisingly good top speed.
Loki (Combat/Perf) -- Twin engined, high speed, low profile, fragile skimisher.
5th Tier (Trade/Perf)

Tier 6:
Thunderbolt (Combat) -- Great speed, great guns, terrible stall and handling. Liable to fall out of the sky.
Bullfrog (Trade) -- Bullfrog is here for you: slow, great cargo space, good armor.
6th Tier (Combat/Perf)
6th Tier (Trade/Perf)
Mantis (Upgrade) -- Fast, agile, good cargo space, uninspiring armor. Incredible upgrade slots.

Tier 7:
Hades (Combat) -- Many guns, much armor, good speed and handling.
7th Tier (Trade)
Leviathan (Trade) -- Even more blimp. Also surprisingly mobile.
Nova (Combat/Perf) -- Sleek, fast, maneuverable, moderately armed and mildly durable.
Cetacea (Trade/Perf) -- Big target, but maneuverable and quick, good armor and good cargo.

Tier 8:
Vengeance (Combat) -- Small plane, fast, agile, very big gun. Good durability.
Barashiki (Trade) -- Quick mid-sized trader with powerful guns forward and back and good armor.
Havoc (Combat/Perf) -- Quick and agile, packing great forward firepower and light armor.
Spectre (Trade/Perf) -- Moderate power, good guns front and back, and a fair cargo hold. Great speed.
Dauntless (Upgrade) -- Good all around. Fine handling and speed, big forward gun, respectable cargo bay and extra room for crew.

Tier 9:
Avenger (Combat) -- Straightforward plane wrapped around a big forward gun, pushed by two big engines, covered in big armor.
Bismarck (Combat) -- Enough firepower, ammunition, and armor to float around Tortuga for twelve hour stretches.
Kingfisher (Trade) -- Big, fast, and heavily armed. Carries a mountain of cargo and a full crew.
Ingersoll (Combat/Perf) -- Near-sonic toy fighter. No low speed maneuvering. Everything sacrificed for speed and one big gun.
Lancaster (Trade/Perf) -- Curious looking but burning fast trader. Good armor, and no troublesome tail. Enough seats for a full crew.

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 Post subject: Re: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:06 pm 
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This looks more like a review of the currently available craft than a list of buff or nerf suggestions (a la http://skyrates.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ/Planes ).


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 Post subject: Re: Crazy Super 100% Plane Balance Thread
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:22 pm 

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Oh how I wish the Avenger was a Tier 9 combat plane with a ton of armor and an XL gun! Maybe I'm too subtle, but half of this list is pretty notably different from the current game.

If a dev wanted me to stat these things, I could take a week or so and try it.

I also want one of these.

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