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GSF Discussion: Ship Balance

First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

Verain's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 05:52 PM | #21
The core problem with any suggestion to nerf railgun range is that everyone is pointing to the same issue: the one of the five maps that tends to have a lot of gunships on it. Shipyards TDM has a vast amount of space that can be protected by railguns, so, the thinking goes, reducing the range will reduce that. But then the reduction has to be massive: the gunships will of course get closer to each other to defend that. Eventually you hit a breaking point where they can't cover each other effectively, and suddenly you have no more gunships on the map that favors them the most. Is that a victory? And what about the other four maps? The gunships as-is are completely fair on those maps.

It's a terrible change. I'd much rather they deleted shipyards TDM than gunships, if it comes down to it. After all, we have four other maps, but only two other ship types (three if you count strikes, which you shouldn't).

Railguns basically need 15k. Maybe slug doesn't need 15k exactly, but anything shy of 13.5k is gonna mess everything up really hard. The amount of time it takes to dive a gunship is already trivial. The only reason I bring slug up here is, as an armor piercing railgun he will have a job even if his range is reduced a tad- after all, nothing else is as good against bombers.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

Ryuku-sama's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 05:55 PM | #22
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Hey folks,

This week, we are creating three separate forum threads for GSF discussion. You can head to this thread to get links to each of them.

For this thread let's focus on ship balance and how you feel about it. Let us know your thoughts below, here are a few questions to get you started:
  • Are there any ships you feel are over or under powered? Which ship(s) and why?
  • Are there any ship components that you feel are over or under powered? Which components and why?
  • Are there any crew members that you feel are over or under powered? Which crew members and why?

Note that this discussion is not about the addition of new ships, components, or crew members. Just about the balance of existing ones.

Let us know your thoughts!

I'll likely sound like an ******e here... But here we go.

2.5. November/December 2013. GSF Pre-access.
2.6. February 4th 2014. GSF Launch. Bombers are added to the game.
2.7. April 8th 2014. Last ships and map added to the game.
3.0. December 2nd 2014. The patch broke some stuff in GSF, took us two months to get fixes.. Some of the stuff is still broken (Sabotage Probe T5 slow upgrade break the whole probe)
May 28th 2015. Alex Modny post on the GSF forum to get idea for buffing strikes and balancing the game.
June 1st 2015. Second and last post of Alex Modny on the thread. No discussion. Just an empty thank you.
April 8th 2016. 1010 posts later, the thread finally die. How many of the suggestion some of the veteerans took hours to imagine and discuss were even planned? None.

You want idea to balance the game? Go to that thread.. Read Verain's, Drakolich's or even my posts. Don't start another thread you will likely ignore. We gave you tons of idea and feedback. You never even considered it.

Eric. You are a community manager. You don't make the choices. But don't consider us stupid. Just the first 200 posts are full of stuff that could be used. The meta hasn't changed in 3.5 years. Everything you will find is still true. Just bother to actually read it.

Here is a veteran's sincere opinion of your post.
"If it wasn't broken, we shall break it. If it is balanced, we shall beat it until slow and painful death follows. If it is overpowered, it is working as intended." - Bioware 2015

Verain's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 06:10 PM | #23
While I share your disappointment in their past actions, I'm of the opinion that their GSF team basically got defunded twice, and they are currently looking at improving the game, and am responding in kind for that. I don't think the devs walked away from GSF, I think they were pulled away by bizops.

A dev walking into that thread will feel overwhelmed. Maybe these players aren't playing any more! Maybe the game is different now! But yes, your point remains: a dev trying to address GSF needs, should read all or most of the strike fighter thread. It will take awhile, but nothing has changed. I feel that many of the ideas from the strike fighter thread will end up copy-pasted into this thread, and for good reason, but it IS reasonable to ask them to read it. We certainly spent enough time writing the damned thing.

Anyway, we are best off assuming that thet devs have always wanted to fix things, and now they are going to be able to do so. That's exciting, at least.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

DarthNillard's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 06:21 PM | #24
1) Take away gunships abilities to disable other ships. It's bad enough they can snipe you from 15k meters away, but they can also stop you from trying to escape and regroup and just blow you to bits? Garbage.

2) Enforce group make-ups. The biggest problem is that when a team is winning in capture the nodes mode, they just all hop on gunships and bombers and there's literally no way to take back any satellites. Or in deathmatch same thing, they just spread out and gunship you to death with some bombers sprinkled in. Very few Scouts or Strikefighters that anybody mains. I would say enforce a rule where they can only be 1 gunship and 1 bomber per group in an 8 vs 8 (flex it up slightly in 12 vs 12 or 16 vs 16). Enforce one of the ships someone has on their bar is a scout or a strikefighter, and whoever picks the gunship and bomber first get to use it (which would also encourage people to take the queue pops faster so they could pick the ship they want). And then do something where if you die 3 times, it forces you back to your other ship so another person can get a turn in their gunship/bomber. It can also encourage people to be good at different rules and to have conversations in chat....nobody really talks in Ops chat during GSF (hey man, i got a fully souped up bomber, let me get that).

Costello's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 06:34 PM | #25
Others have put a lot more into the ship balance than I'd be able to even comprehend, for my 2 cents.

When GSF first came out I played a Strike Fighter, it was the Star Wars Experience. You didn't see Vader in a gunship sniping rebels over the death star he was out there in the thick of it. And it was good for about a month and then it became obvious Strike fighters just couldn't compete so I took up the Scout, it was similar but more burst and more evasion. Things were okay it wasn't the same but it was still in the thick of things.

Then perhaps a month later it became obvious that gunships were where it was at, couple of them tag teaming and you can take most people down before they can get close to you. Then if they do you have full engines and a reflect shield and the like giving you options. A little after this I realized that GSF had been abandoned and there really was little enjoyment to the matches with it being bomber clusters, gunships and the occassional scout.

Verain's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 06:49 PM | #26
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthNillard View Post
1) Take away gunships abilities to disable other ships. It's bad enough they can snipe you from 15k meters away, but they can also stop you from trying to escape and regroup and just blow you to bits? Garbage.
The ion debuff is a valuable part of the metagame. It allows for utility versus heavy shields and can punish a player for being out in space in a way that just damage wouldn't do. It is good if there are controls in a game, even if it is annoying to be hit with a control.

Note that we aren't completely sure if the ion tier 5 talent is bugged. The original version of that was:
Stop energy regen for 6 seconds.
Weak 6 second snare.
Then it was:
Reduce energy regen by some trivial amount for 6 seconds.
12 second snare.

As you might imagine, almost everyone chose the energy regen halt during "generation 1", and the 12 second snare during "generation 2". Right now, on live, the tooltips are from "generation 2", and the effects are from "generation 1". No one knows what is actually intended: either the tooltips are bugged, or the in-game effects are bugged.

Personally, I'd like them changed. I think the engine lockout is a bit too strong, but only a bit. Maybe 4 seconds would be better than 6. The 6 second snare is a bit too weak- it should probably be 10 seconds, more similar to its second iteration. I feel that would actually result in a choice. It would keep the utility of the engine lockout, and keep the snare, and probably make both worth taking at similar to even levels.

2) Enforce group make-ups.
No, this is a terrible idea. If this game was about dogfighting exclusively, there would be more than one ship archetype capable of dogfighting, and more than two that were intended to be good at it. Almost all the maps give a good balance of the three ship types (ignoring the useless strike, which desperately needs buffs). The one that requires crossing vast spaces without any terrain to help that happen is the only one that ends up with too many gunships in non-super-serious games (when we've had super serious matches on that, nobody runs all gunships: if they do, they get punished really hard for their mistake). This isn't something where you need to artificially limit the number of gunships, or increase the ability of the amazing type 2 scout to solo a gunship even faster- you need to make it so that a diverse team has an easier time of punishing a team of one ship type than it does right now. It should require less effort, not equal or greater effort, to deal with that situation.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

Brutonis's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 06:51 PM | #27
There are many GSF issues related to balance that I would love to see get adjusted if for no other reason than to see what shakes out of it. But the fear that it would only get one casual pass and then nothing scares me away from wanting anything changed. Changing a few things that shift one setup into being OP and not correcting it would be far far worse than leaving nothing changed. Imagine strikes getting a few well intended changes to improve their role only to have the implementation end up making every match 8v8 strike fest.

Gunship railguns and burst laser cannons are ridiculous relative to anything else in the game. But take away what makes them ridiculous and suddenly bombers have no counter. 8v8 domination becomes 6 bombers with a couple tensor scout racers.

Bomber mines are ridiculous for the low bar it takes to be effective with them. But nerf them or remove them and suddenly nodes become ring around the node scout chasing.

Battlescouts are ridiculous in general but take away their best setups (blc/pod, blc/cluster, quad/pod) and you might as well just remove the class and have type 1 racers and type 3 tensor bots.

I would love to see strikes get help. I think most of us would prefer a strike to a battlescout for most situations but in a tight match you're hurting your team to trot out there in any strike configuration.

I like the idea of strikes getting much deeper energy pools for weapons, shields, and engines. But how much would be too much? The type 3 is already a tank and a chore to kill. Give it even more shield and armor and it could replace bombers for holding nodes.

I also liked an idea that would be a nightmare to balance. Give strikes a mid range laser similar to blc. But instead of crazy burst it has a chance to mark what it hits for a short period of time. During that time missiles with long lock on times (torps, concs) get an instant lock that the strike can dumbfire so long as they are facing the target. But again, the balancing would be nightmarish. Would engine maneuvers break the lock? What about distortion field? Would evasion completely trivialize it or would the laser be able to punch through evasion?
Brutonis - Vanguard <The Krayt Council>
Brutaxis - Bounty Hunter <Obscuram Concilium>

The Shadowlands Server

caederon's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 06:52 PM | #28
I, too, am astounded to find common ground with Lendul.

Missiles are weak.

Improving missiles would be a large buff to Strike Fighters. They rely pretty heavily on missiles, especially the Type 2 Strike, which is widely considered the worst ship in the game. It is the worst because its missiles fundamentally fail to get the job done.

Cluster Missiles are fine, they don't need to be touched.

Concussion Missiles are pretty decent, the only real complaint against them is that missile breaks are so prevalent that they rarely land.

Ion Missiles are utterly useless. Their reload time is comically long and they don't accomplish anything when they hit. Maybe an AoE component to them would help fix this.

EMP Missiles are one everyone wants to love, and conceptually they are great. Their damage and blast radius are inadequate, their lock-on time is prohibitive, and the reload time is again hilariously long. They would be a great utility missile if they actually fulfilled their purpose.

Interdiction Missile is pretty neat, but doesn't get a lot of play because it is mystifyingly only availale on the T3 Gunship. It should be available to all Strike Fighters.

Both Torpedoes have issues, mostly stemming from the long lock time and prevalence of missile breaks.

Improvements to the utility missiles would also be fantastic for the T3 Strike and T3 Scout, both of which lack a meaningfully useful secondary weapon.

The Type 3 Scout really only sees play for Tensor Field, and by 'play' I mean 'three seconds after launch most people plow it into the capship after they Tensor and get a real ship to be competitive.'


A lot of the reason ships, missiles, and components are thought of as underpowered comes down to damage being more valuable than utility. It is nearly always better to kill something outright than to mess with its stuff. This leads to a lack of variety in team compositions and in ship builds.

Improved 'utility' components would be a great incentive to fly a ship like the T3 Scout for a whole match. It would also give people who are not necessarily big damage-dealers some tools to help their team out in a meaningful way without having to lock themselves into playing a bomber (which remains the only really viable support class/ship).


Both the minor Sensors component and sensor-related aspects of abilities like Targeting Telemetry and Sensor Beacon are largely irrelevant. When the Infiltrator class got scrapped, all of these things that detect enemy ships lost their purpose. It may be worth it to re-evaluate Sensors in their entirety and either replace the effects with something more useful or greatly magnify their effects.


Quick-charge Shields and Rapid-fire Lasers both would benefit from some serious buffs. The fact that both are part of the starting strike AND scout that players get means these absolutely should NOT be bad component choices, and yet they are among the worst.

The paltry shield pool afforded by QCS leads to new players dying at near-instant speeds when under fire. The miniscule damage and range of RFL means that if they do avoid death, they will not likely accomplish much.

I've always thought that RFL need a specific niche: ignoring Evasion. This actually would lead to new players landing more shots (assuming they don't just start spamming RFL when they launch from the capship) and being able to contriubte meaningfully. It would even make them a viable choice for veterans with certain builds.

Without improvements, these components should absolutely be replaced with better choices for the new pilot.


The most underpowered part of the Gunship arsenal is the Plasma Railgun. It is largely irrelevant because it lacks the Accuracy buffs the other railguns get (leading to many more missed shots) and the DoT is flat out worse than just killing a ship outright. I've always thought it could be made interesting by giving it AoE splash like the Ion Railgun gets. That and the Accuracy buff would bring it up to a level that would at least merit real consideration of using it over one of the other two.

Fortress Shield could use even more of a boost. Right now, it is essentially a 'come shoot me to death while I hold still' button.

Mobility is life in GSF.

- Despon

bncsmom's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 08:07 PM | #29
Quote: Originally Posted by Verain View Post
Stop wasting time with this crap. You can master a ship in a day now, or meaningfully master all ships in a week or two. The devs give the gear out for free. The player skill discrepancy is a real concern. Your thinking was wrong before they vastly increased the gearing rate and decreased the cost, as proven by good pilots on totally stock ship farming like crazy, many many times. That thinking is laughable now.

This idea is bad. It discourages players from gearing their ships, and it makes gear a debuff that splits the queue. Please watch videos of stock pilots owning geared noobs. Your friend, you, and your lengthy discussions are all misinformed and wrong.
Like behinds, everyone has an opinion. Telling me my opinion is a waste of time and crap doesn't help further the discussion. Learn how to discuss without throwing crap at everyone.

Verain's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 09:48 PM | #30
Quote: Originally Posted by bncsmom View Post
Like behinds, everyone has an opinion. Telling me my opinion is a waste of time and crap doesn't help further the discussion. Learn how to discuss without throwing crap at everyone.
Time is still ticking, sigh.

Gear is trivial. The devs just made it about three times easier to gear up. You can gear almost immediately, and plenty of good players have run around on stock ships just... farming. The gear is unimportant comparatively.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."