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 Post subject: The Trouble with Upgrades
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:52 am 
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Archon mentioned in chat today that the devs are still considering whether they want multiple copies of the same upgrade to stack.

If they do, there's a major problem: Multiple 1-slot upgrades are almost always just as effective, and in many cases better in every way than their larger equivalents.

Examples:

2 Fuel Cans: 2 Eng slots, -10 speed, +4 stall, +100 fuel, G4,000
1 Fuel Tank: 2 Eng slots, -10 speed, +4 stall, +100 fuel, G5,000

2 Redesigned Wings C: 2 Wing slots, +2 maneuver, -20% stall, G10,000
1 Redesigned Wings B: 2 Wing slots, +2 maneuver, -18% stall, G50,000

As upgrades take more space, offering less flexibility, and cost more money, they should give more return on the space investment.

Independent of this issue, Archon also mentioned his concern that direct bonuses (I'm looking at you, R Sticker!) are way overpowered compared to percentage boosts. Two R Stickers on a stock Dauntless will increase its CKPH by 3300, while a two-space gutted hold costing 20 times as much will only increase it by 1288. Even if R Stickers are reduced to a 5kph gain, a Kingfisher pilot would only gain 20 CKPH (5280 vs 5300) by choosing a gutted hold over a pair of stickers. Percentage bonuses need more cowbell!

-c.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:10 am 
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My two cents, only some should stack. Sure, cram a bunch of tiny fuel tanks on there for some reason. But how could you bore out your plane more than once? Or put six air intakes on it?

I vote just make fewer-slot upgrades less effective. Fuel cans maybe maybe add 40 fuel, fuel tank adds 100.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:21 am 

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I vote to make upgrades that take more slots more effective. The low level junk upgrades feel about right to me (maybe bump the price up?) but the high level upgrades really don't add much to a plane. 3-500,000 Gs gets you a 10% bonus in one useful thing, 5% penalty in another useful thing. It's money best saved for a better plane.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:23 am 
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Wait, so I'm NOT supposed to be boring out my wings? That would explain a lot... :razz:

I concur with everything Deyo said. The issue may be more that % upgrades are underpowered. I think that an inflection point should be reached around about tier 6 or maybe 5 where % upgrades should start giving better results than pure integer upgrades. Of course this assumes the plane if of the relevant type, viz. +% speed upgrades should start being better than stickers at tier 5 or 6 for Performance planes. A tier 6 trader should probably still be seeing better results from stickers. And as you get to higher and higher tiers, the % upgrades, which are (and should remain) more expensive, should pull further and further ahead of +integer upgrades.

On the point of larger sizes of the same upgrade (small, med, large external cargo for example), I agree that there should be efficiencies of scale. If you are using more slots (and therefore giving up flexibility) you should be rewarded with something that is better per slot than its smaller counterparts. Another way to implement this would be to reduce the negative tradeoffs of the larger versions of upgrades. This make make more thematic sense in some places than in others, but its worth considering.

Which brings me to the stickers. One reason they are overpowered is that they have no trade-offs. The provide straight boosts. This won't be as much an issue if the more pricey upgrades are beefed up. The cost of having a no-negatives upgrade should be that it doesn't give you as much upside bang for your buck (and slot) as one that does have downsides. Specialization vs. Generalization = player choice = good.

Fex

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:01 pm 
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I like my plane shiny. Five Port and Polish's FTW. I mean... they polish my plane all over right? :remylove:

Anyways, I second as well. At the very least, the more expensive versions should either save cargo space or improve over their cheaper cousins.

... maybe we could change units from kph to m(eters)ph? That would solve our percentage problem, heh.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:20 am 

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The feeling I get was that the upgrades were designed without stacking in mind, and the stacking was unintentional. The devs will either remove stacking, or respec the upgrades so they make sense with stacking.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:08 pm 
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I've been doing a lot of analysis and thinking about this lately, and my eyes are going bleary from late hours of looking at too many Excel formulae.

Just wanted you to know that I'm working on it. I agree with most things said in this post. There are many, many things I'd like to fix about the balance of several aspects of the game. Lately, I've been focusing on combat and CKPH. Hopefully something good will come of it.

-- Archon


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