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GSF Discussion: Friction Points

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
GSF Discussion: Friction Points
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Glzmo's Avatar


Glzmo
07.07.2017 , 08:28 AM | #121
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.

Galactic Starfighter, like all group content, is a system that we want to see being used by as many players as possible. This thread is to discuss the friction points that you see in GSF. Whether it stops you from playing frequently, or from playing at all, we want to understand that friction.

Here are some things to consider to get the conversation started:
  • Is the learning curve too steep to get into?
Yes, it is rather steep, especially for Strikes and Scouts. The Gunship curve is way easier. Same goes for the upgrade viability curve.
The tutorial could be fleshed out a bit more and show new players that it isn't the best course of action to just sit in a gunship and snipe away, but that roles of other fighters are often even more important.
It also doesn't help that people get into their first match(es) and get completely destroyed by veteran players that build their gunship/bomber walls and such.


Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
  • Is ship balance preventing you from playing?
It definitely ruins the fun when you go up against a group of 6 gunships and 2 drone layer bombers (or playing with them stealing your kills after you slowly chew down an enemy in a dogfight). This says alot about how broken the balance is. Strike fighters are too weak, scouts are okay in the hands of good players (but the learning curve/upgrade curve may be too steep). Gunships are easy to get in and rather easy even without upgrades to get a bunch of kills with. Drone layers can just lay their way too powerful drones and hide somewhere protected AFK while their drones rack up kills.
The problem with the "Little Death Stars" aka Gunships (and Bomber Railgun Sentry Drones!) and drone layer/mine layer bombers is that they totally ruin the Galactic STARFIGHTER aspect. They ruin Dogfighting, the Star Wars-like Dogfighting feel (play the X-Wing/TIE Fighter games to see what I mean!). Groups of little Death Stars that cover each other and (often one-shot) kill everything that gets close enough to even do damage to them and are tough enough to not get killed quickly isn't fun.

Balance suggestions:
In general, Strike fighters need to be boosted, scouts remaining mostly the same (perhaps some minor decreases for some builds), Gunships and offensive drone laying bombers need to be brought down quite a bit.

Strike fighters need to be boosted and made more attractive across the board. Increase their speed/boosting power a bit, decrease lockon and reload times of their long-range warheads like Proton Torpedoes, Thermite Torpedoes, Concussion missiles, etc. and perhaps increase their range a little bit.
Also, the missile lock breaker ability cooldowns need to be normalized at 15-20 seconds. Right now it gimps you severly if you take barrel roll with it's 30 second cooldown compared to other abilitites like Power dive with 15, Retro thrusters/Koiogan turn with 20, etc..
Also, abilities like Interdiction Drive, Shield Power Converter, etc. need to have a missile break included, too (although it should perhaps be on a separate missile break cooldown timer with abilities that have lower cooldowns than others) so people won't gimp themselves when taking them.

Scouts are mostly fine, but one could adjust the Burst Laser Cannon which just isn't too strong a bit so it's on par with Quad Laser cannons and others. Evasion may also be decreased slightly (but not too much), but maybe become more effective against Railguns. Perhaps tweak Rocket pods a little as they are perhaps deadly in the hands of skilled pilots (although the learning curve to use them well is steep). Maybe boost the Tier 1 scouts slightly as well.

If Gunships are to keep their offensive one-shot power, they need to be made true sitting-duck glass cannons and die quickly. Right now, Gunships are able to one or two shot kill strikes, scouts and sometimes even bombers before they can get in range to fire their weapons and if they do, they are able to withstand alot of punishement and even able to outrun even some scouts (and strikes as well, of course), which shouldn't be the case.
My suggestion is to greatly decrease the hitpoints and defenses as well as engine power of gunships and mostly keep the offensive output the same, except reduce the range of their railguns and other weapons so they are at least on par with Strike fighter's Proton torpedos.
Or greatly decrease their offensive capability.
The problem is also that a big perimeter net of coordinated gunships (especially when hiding in a drone/mine field of a bomber or more) can easily dominate everything since nobody can get close enough.

The automatic kill capabilities of Bombers need to be greatly decreased.
First, make all (offensive) drones and mines killable with one shot.
Second, Railgun Sentry Drones need to be removed completely. They are basically auto-aiming gunships which is just too overpowered.
Drones that heal and provide buffs to teammates are good, perhaps there could be extended a bit.
Bombers should transition more from offensive mine/drone layers into the traditional Star Wars Bomber role with hard-hitting warheads that are mostly meant to take out capital ships, space stations, ground targets and other objectives (in conjunction with new game modes that introduce such!).

Perhaps it might be wise to limit the maximum amount of Gunships and bombers active at a time in a match per side as well.

In Team Domination, Ships should be unable to fire from within the perimeter of their Spawnpoint's capital ship's turrets. It's incredibly annoying when Gunships (but also others with long range weapons, gunships are most prominent since they have the longest range) just sit in the safety of their capital ship turrets while killing people without repercussions.

On a side note, perhaps EMP Missiles/Pulses should destroy all mines/drones in the vicinity to be really desirable to be used instead of just disabling them for a few seconds.


Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
  • Are you not playing because you feel GSF needs something new to bring you back in?

1. Server merges into one megaserver per region and/or at least cross-server GSF queues to get more pops at all times of the day. Waiting hours and hours for a pop is ridiculous.
2. More modes. Perhaps a proper battle with captial ships where Bombers (repurposed as Bombers as we know them from the Star Wars Universe instead of mine/drone layers!) need to be protected and take out hard points like shield generators, turrets, hangar, bridge, etc.. of the capital ships and Strike fighters and scouts cover them.
Also co-operative PVE GSF missions when.
Maybe have capital ships with mannable stations, as we have seen in Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed.
3. Co-operative (also flyable solo) PVE GSF missions (at least missions with bots) when there aren't enough people to pop queues.
4. Private, invite/challenge based GSF PVP matches where you can make an ops group and challenge another ops group (of any faction) to a match (or allow randoms to join), select the map, objectives (how many kills/captures are needed, etc.), which fighter types are allowed (for example strikes and scouts only, no gunships/bombers, only limited number of a certain ship active per side at a time, etc.).
5. Possibly some combination of GSF and ground missions in stages, similar to Star Wars Battlefront (2015)'s Death Star Assault mission series, where you disable a capital ship in GSF and escort a shuttle first, then do ground combat to rescue someone, bring them to the shuttle and then fight it out in space again. This could be done for both PVE and PVP.
6. Add open space, with one open space sector/system around every planet where you can freely fly around in your GSF starfighter, meet NPC craft, players, do quests, etc., like the excellent Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed Expansion, which is still one of the best MMORPG expansions of all time and would be a no-brainer to re-create in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
7. There should be Astromech companions with all passives and active abilities or you should add a crew slot for "Audio/Voice" only so we can put any crew member we prefer the banter (or chirping!) of into. It's stupid that one has to sacrifice immersion (having a astromech chirping as your "copilot" as you fly) for effectiveness.

Also, Weeklies/Dailies need to advance the same for winning and loosing. As it is now, the winners just win more due to being better equipped due to double the speed in gaining rewards/advancement and the loosers just being kept worse and thus keep loosing more (this is a general problem with PVP in this game, it needs to be changed for both GSF and Warzones!). Also, once the winners finish their dailies, they often log off and it often leaves the loosers with half their daily completed and take another day to finish their "daily", especially in conjunction with almost no pops. So they sometimes can only advance a fourth the speed of the winners, which is frustrating.
One could even argue that loosing should give you more experience, since you learn from falling on the face. But we all know this isn't possible with people that will start loosing on purpose otherwise, so rewards/advancements should just be even and the same, no matter whether you win or lose a match. Effort should be rewarded, not whether you are with the better equipped side or not.


Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
  • Matchmaking issues?
Queues don't pop for hours at times, even at high times and when there is GSF bonus. As mentioned earlier, either servers need to be merged or cross-server queues implemented.
Also cool would be (in general) if you could queue to any content with any character and when you get a popup, you can choose which of your characters to take to it. That way you could do something with one character that doesn't fly and when a GSF match pops, you could select your pilot character instead.
Also, it would be nice if the popup shows which Instance and match type it is so you can decide to accept or decline instead of people joining and leaving the match when they see what it is.
It would also be a good idea to be able to switch the loadout during matches (before each spawn) so you could select the components most suitable for the group and match setup.


Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
  • The fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy?
It would certainly be good if all GSF unlocks as well as Ship and Fleet Requisition would be legacy-wide. Grinding them up for every character is just tedious and not fun most of the time.

Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post


Let us know your thoughts!

-eric
On a side note, that you increased the reward for the "Introduction to Starfighter" mission to 25k Fleet Requisition is good as it allows one to buy all the fighters and also crew that they want. However, it isn't fair that players that completed it before didn't get that benefit. I suggest re-granting that mission to all characters that had completed it before the last patch or just add the 25k Fleet Requisition to them.

caederon's Avatar


caederon
07.07.2017 , 08:46 AM | #122
Quote: Originally Posted by Glzmo View Post
It definitely ruins the fun when you go up against a group of 6 gunships and 2 drone layer bombers. This says everything about how broken the balance is.
No, it really doesn't say everything about ship balance. It says that the players on your team do not know how to counter that tactic the enemy is using. Stacking any ship type (or even a mixed comp like you cite) requires an appropriate counter. This is a knowledge problem, not a game problem. Scouts, used properly, are extremely deadly against gunships. They can melt a gunship very quickly. With some team support, a few scouts and a mixed comp of other ships (a few gunships, a bomber or two for support) can be very reactive and proactive.

I agree wholly that strike fighters need improvement, and given that flying a strike is one of the initial experiences a pilot has, this is an important source of friction. So many of these other complaints stem from people not having the knowledge that would enable them to react to a situation properly, or the mechanical skills to enact the counter (like hitting their targets). When half of your team has a shooting % under 10%, you're not going to counter a whole lot.

GSF has never been a 'dogfighting' game. There is an element of that in GSF, but it isn't its focus, which is tactical space battles using a mix of ships and roles. The funny thing is, if most people had experienced a scouts-only TDM, they would know that it is one of the more frustrating experiences in the game because everything has a ton of Evasion and ample missile breaks. Shots rarely land. People just swirl in circles not hitting anything for large stretches of time.

Better in-game tutorial resources are imperative to upgrade GSF and decrease discontent. In the meantime, I have produced a wide variety of videos teaching beginner-level skills to analyzing more complex situations with advanced tactics. Head over to GSF School if you want to check that out.

- Despon

Ramalina's Avatar


Ramalina
07.07.2017 , 08:55 AM | #123
Quote: Originally Posted by stu_ungar View Post
Ships skipping around IS NOT caused by lag, it is caused by speedhack tool. If you deny that, it is you who doesn't know what you're talking about.

Lagged ships would follow some imaginary trajectory not change it randomly while still being able to interact with objective/other players. Either you're lagging so you can't get your position to server and can't get other players position back either, or you're not lagging at all. You can't regularly benefit from lagging.

Speedhacking is finally being quenched down in PVP and hopefully it would be so with GSF too.
Ships skipping around is diagnostic of lag. The server will keep waiting for the client to update for at least 15 seconds in cases of slow or missing data transfer, any update that makes it through will be updated on the server. For the lagging person it's fairly seamless, you can shoot, turn, but things like missile locks and on cooldown abilities won't actually register with the server unless the relevant packets get through.

Jumpy movement and impossibly fast and sudden direction changes are exactly what you'd expect from that sort of server-client relation where the server just uses the most recent data it has from the client and extrapolates during gaps in data transmission.

I've seen it playing on Wi-Fi with weak signal, I've seen it when auto-updaters hijack most of a computers network bandwidth.

It's possible to lag with deliberate interference with wireless (partially block the signal with metal or something) or by having a really bandwidth greedy download or peer to peer application running that you can start or stop with a hotkey.

It does work fairly well at avoiding blaster fire, but it severely degrades your ability to do everything else in GSF that matters in combat.

If you understand how the server deals with severe lag, it's quite possible for a skilled pilot to do things like guarantee missile hits or mine hits on the lagging player. That's why you typically only see it from fairly desperate new players, if you know what you're doing the cost of what you lose to lag is far greater than the modest protection it provides.

Bioware certainly knows all this, and there's not any indication that they've ever considered doing anything about it. After all, why fix an "exploit" that makes the exploiter more likely to lose? At any rate the physical realities of networking mean that there's not much you can do about it from a software engineering perspective.

If speedhacking were a thing in GSF on a regular basis we'd see it in Domination matches where getting to the satellites first can outright win games. You'd also see it in all the strikes spamming proton torpedoes as fast as cluster missiles. Speed hacks do very specific things, and we just don't see the symptoms of those things in GSF. Lag we see plenty of, especially from those poor APAC players.
"A padawan's master sets their Jedi trial, Rajivari set mine."
- Zhe Lian, Sage.

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xkcurtisx's Avatar


xkcurtisx
07.07.2017 , 09:07 AM | #124
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.

Galactic Starfighter, like all group content, is a system that we want to see being used by as many players as possible. This thread is to discuss the friction points that you see in GSF. Whether it stops you from playing frequently, or from playing at all, we want to understand that friction.

Here are some things to consider to get the conversation started:
  • Is the learning curve too steep to get into?
  • Is ship balance preventing you from playing?
  • Are you not playing because you feel GSF needs something new to bring you back in?
  • Matchmaking issues?
  • The fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy?

Let us know your thoughts!

-eric
Cos it is a mini-game with no ties to your character. Make it a free system such as EVE or the previous MMO SWG. Huge space systems filled with npcs occasionally meet an enemy player. Make space mining and with resources gathered you could craft stuff that is useful for your character, consumables cosmetic gear decorations whatever. Escort missions where you can earn some credits. Seek and destroy missions so on. Just seriously u guys esentially work on a Lucasart game just look at what Sony did with SWG space and make it like that.

Currently GSF's only purpose is that you can AFK level your command rank, and never get kicked or punished for it.

phalczen's Avatar


phalczen
07.07.2017 , 09:17 AM | #125
Quote: Originally Posted by Ramalina View Post
If speedhacking were a thing in GSF on a regular basis we'd see it in Domination matches where getting to the satellites first can outright win games.
Well said.
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Verain's Avatar


Verain
07.07.2017 , 09:55 AM | #126
Quote:
Lagged ships would follow some imaginary trajectory not change it randomly while still being able to interact with objective/other players.
The trajectory can still appear "random" because the server is getting only intermittent updates from the player, which are incorrect. If you are facing due level north and boosting at time 0, you roll and pitch so you are now heading "down and east" and continue on that trajectory for several seconds until time 5, and all packets between 0 and 5 are lost, you might see a ship appear to boost north for 5 seconds then suddenly appear in a new direction, with the client drawing that as rapid movement. It looks exactly like what you are talking about, and it the natural result of player lag. Heck, I've even had nights where the whole server will be laggy for a few minutes and people will complain about it and then it will be normal again.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

Carnassis's Avatar


Carnassis
07.07.2017 , 09:56 AM | #127
(1) In my opinion: Not really. Those who play the tutorial and read through the skill slots will have a pretty decent understanding of how to play. That being said, many players new to GSF may think so.. As the veterans are more than willing to off them right off the bat. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if there was a larger player base, so that these veterans are more spread out across the matches.

(2) Again: Not Really. Ships seem to be fairly balanced. With a little work, you can build any kind of ship to a point where they'll rip the enemies apart. The issue is more with player skill and willingness to cooperate.

(3) I've still been playing GSF... But I would appreciate having something new. We've been playing the same game types and maps for far too long. There needs to be some more variety... Something fresh to bring life back into GSF.

(4) There is a big problem with matchmaking. No one on BC wants to play GSF any more, even after the recent update. I can spend hours in a Queue waiting for just a single match. While I may love GSF, it's very clear that most players don't, right now. There needs to be something new to draw them in, or give them more incentive to play.

(5) Admittedly, the fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy based makes things pretty difficult. I often shy away from playing on new characters, simply because I dread having to work so hard, again, just to get my ships up to spec. A Legacy-wide system for this would be appreciated.

Verain's Avatar


Verain
07.07.2017 , 10:02 AM | #128
Quote: Originally Posted by Ramalina View Post
If speedhacking were a thing in GSF on a regular basis we'd see it in Domination matches where getting to the satellites first can outright win games.
Agreed, and if ANY hacking was a common, uncommon, or even rare thing in GSF, we'd at least see it sometimes. I mean, like, regular GSFers, many of whom cross servers, do not report an epidemic of hacking. It's either very rare or nonexistent. The fact that it is seen exclusively by new players who are listing stuff about a game (in every case, at least one of which is trivially wrong, and usually most of it) that they don't understand, is very telling. It's mostly some kind of imaginary creature, only in the minds of noobs.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

DanNV's Avatar


DanNV
07.07.2017 , 10:06 AM | #129
Quote:
Is the learning curve too steep to get into?
The learning curve is VERY steep. However, I don't know if a way to change that. Unfortunately, issues with matchmaking and equipment make the learning curve issue substantially worse.

Quote:
Is ship balance preventing you from playing?
Type to type, no. Beginner ship to fully modded out, yes. Mods for the ships make WAY too much difference. Just like regular PVP, skill should be the issue, not gear, but you've done GSF to make gear even more of an issue than it is in regular PVP. You need to change all PVP to be skill based, not gear based. Gear progression shold not be a factor in PVP.

Quote:
Are you not playing because you feel GSF needs something new to bring you back in?
Not me, no.

Quote:
Matchmaking issues?
The matchmaking algorithms are totalyl broken throughout the game. Making teams of similar skill and then trying to match them to other teams is the backwards way to do matchmaking and why you end up with teams steamrollering other teams.

Matchmaking should match opposing players of similar skill then create teams from those matched pairs. That way your teams have approximately equal skill levels.

Quote:
The fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy?
BW needs to go back and look at the legacy system. It has lots of potential but has been pretty much ignored since it was released (like many other things in the game - seeker droids, anyone?). There should be a lot more use of legacy in general and the perks should never have been moved to such a front loaded setup. So, GSF should be legacy. CXP should be legacy. Etc. Etc.

When I (rarely anymore) do GSF, I stop queuing when there are players who manage to skip around the map, sometimes to crazy distances, and you can't lock onto them or when people are moving just crazy fast. I know there are people who claim those issues don't exist or are just lag, but I don't buy it. People don't just happen to get lag as soon as someone starts shooting at them and they don't just magically go crazy fast because of lag.
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Ramalina's Avatar


Ramalina
07.07.2017 , 10:10 AM | #130
Quote: Originally Posted by caederon View Post
No, it really doesn't say everything about ship balance. It says that the players on your team do not know how to counter that tactic the enemy is using. Stacking any ship type (or even a mixed comp like you cite) requires an appropriate counter. This is a knowledge problem, not a game problem. Scouts, used properly, are extremely deadly against gunships. They can melt a gunship very quickly. With some team support, a few scouts and a mixed comp of other ships (a few gunships, a bomber or two for support) can be very reactive and proactive.

, , . . . .

GSF has never been a 'dogfighting' game. There is an element of that in GSF, but it isn't its focus, which is tactical space battles using a mix of ships and roles. The funny thing is, if most people had experienced a scouts-only TDM, they would know that it is one of the more frustrating experiences in the game because everything has a ton of Evasion and ample missile breaks. Shots rarely land. People just swirl in circles not hitting anything for large stretches of time.
Couldn't pass up the urge to have minor quibbles with these bits.

GSF was a pretty dogfighty game to start out with. Evasion and Barrel Roll mobility made gunships weaker against scouts than they currently are and there were no bomber minefields for gunships to retreat to. Gunships were fearsome, but charging in at a whole team of them in a scout was a lot more viable than it is today. The current meta is better I think, because Battlescout swarms are not as fun as one might initially hope, but GSF is not as dogfighty as it once was.

While stacking certainly doesn't say an awful lot about balance, it isn't free of effects on balance. The effects can be pretty powerful. Gunships and bombers stack well and stack easily, and once they are stacked the easiest way by far to counter that is by mirroring the stacking. Scouts don't really stack well (unless hunting strikes hidden in cover), and strikes have deadly allergies to stacking. On the whole it motivates a meta shift to teams that are mostly gunships with a few bombers for backup in TDMs and bombers with a few gunships and one tensor scout in Domination matches. Granted this is really strong only in certain brackets of skill, but those brackets happen to characterize the vast majority of GSF games played. Once players figure this out it also discourages them from spending enough time in scouts and strikes to gain the experience needed to deal with stacked bombers and gunships. It varies by server culture of course, but there is a real gameplay incentive that could be considered to favor a sort of "degenerate" balance.

The problem is that ranged fire support and area denial are critical to balance at moderate to high levels of skill, so you can't go crippling those roles.

Stealth ships were too hard to balance properly, but I think they were probably intended to have a "stack breaker" effect that would have likely been particularly effective against low to moderate skill players. Noobs in general find stealth killers hard to deal with in MMOs.

Batllescouts are semi-decent stack breakers but it requires pilots of a skill level that are in short supply.

Making it so that strikes aren't such easy food for stacks of other classes would help considerably. Bomber and gunship stacks aren't feeding on gunships and bombers as much as they are on scouts and strikes that don't have the skills to handle them.

I think there's also a certain amount of betrayal of expectations going on. In a Star Wars context you say, "starfighter battle," and the typical first reaction is X-wings and TIEs in a dogfight. GSF presents itself in a way that caters to that assumption. So when you get into GSF on a sever where there's a lot of stacking and discover a game that's basically "bombs and sniper rifles" there's a very good case to be made if a new player says in effect, "this is not what your ad was selling me and this is not what I signed up for, refund please."


I don't know that this is something that has to be addressed outside of hopefully making strikes strong enough to be viable in high skill brackets, but to the extent that this stacking incentive can be cured (probably not a great extent given the way gunship and bomber roles work mechanically) without breaking things in the moderate to high skill brackets it would be a very good thing to do.

Edit: even things like changing default ship loadouts would help. If you're not quite sure what you're doing there's a substantial difference between flying a T1 scout with Distortion Field past a cluster of gunships versus flying one with Quick Charge.
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