"Laser speed" - bit overkill?

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Deadlock989
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"Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Deadlock989 » Wed May 08, 2019 12:22 am

Back when lasers were pew-pew - they fired little red bolts - it made some sort of sense that you had one research which upgraded how much a bolt hurt, and another for how often the bolts were fired. (They were also homing, but let's not go there, that ship has sailed.) It matched the physical gun turret research.

Now lasers are beams and they're great, who doesn't love big laser beams. But we still have "laser speed research". By default, before any research bonuses, lasers actually last for 20 ticks, i.e. they apply their damage 3 times per second. "Laser speed" - because I'm assuming c is still a constant on Nauvis - suddenly gets to be a stickier concept. The beam isn't going any faster, it's just being applied more times per second. It's frequency, not "speed". It's effectively just a DPS multiplier. Lasers can't miss.

But you have laser damage upgrade research as well. I'm looking at my current loaded game which has completed level 7 Laser Turret Shooting Speed research, giving the turrets 3 + 9.6 = 12.6 laser "beams per second". But I also have the first tier of infinite Energy Weapons Damage research done, level 7, which has literally quadrupled the damage done (20 + 60). That is a total multiplier to DPS of 1680%. Yes, the turret speed upgrade does also massively increase power draw as well. But meh, power, it's not like it's hard to come by.

Even worse, it all applies to equipment grid personal lasers as well. Shockingly, their speed and damage have been multiplied by the same amount, but each piece of equipment did twice the damage of a stationary laser turret in the first place. And they consume massively less power. The upgraded laser turrets are pulling 7.6MW each when firing. The equipment? 750kW each. Double the damage of a turret - 2,016 DPS - for 1/10th the power.

I don't need artillery, or tanks, or capsules, or anything. I can just walk up to any biter base with just two lasers and a half-decent shield and run rings around them while the lasers fry anything and everything before my tired old retinas can even process what's happening. One laser can take out an individual nest in less than a second. I can kill a large biter base more quickly than it takes me to blow my nose.

It's getting the nerf hammer in my mods, bigtime. It's not double dipping - it's squared dipping.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Serenity » Wed May 08, 2019 12:31 am

Yeah, the PLD is completely OP. Even makes the tank viable in the end game. No problem taking down behemoths

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Ranakastrasz » Wed May 08, 2019 3:45 am

Personal laser defense costs space in your armor, and everything in modular armor produces and consumes less power anyway. The price of not having legs or shields is rather painful. But yes, it has probably been buffed too much. It was buffed to match other weapons when it doesnt benefit from research, but now that reseaech effects it, it wasn't nerfed to undo that previous buff.

The reseaech is for "Energy Weapons" and while we dont have more yet, it would effect them too.
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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Deadlock989 » Wed May 08, 2019 10:57 am

Ranakastrasz wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 3:45 am
The reseaech is for "Energy Weapons" and while we dont have more yet, it would effect them too.
That is the problem. And we do have more: electric "beams", currently only used by destroyer capsules unless you modded in some more uses for it.

I don't often play with biters enabled but when I do, in late game, I run around with two pre-configured sets of armour. One for building and running, the other for combat. There is no real sacrifice, no actual trade-off between legs/shields/weapons. Not unless you're still in baby armour. You only need to be one step faster than biters, they're not clever, especially when their projected lifetime after coming into PLD range is about 0.3 seconds.

I'm having a stab at rebalancing for my mod, which adds more turrets, including an electric turret and also one which fires projectiles which are a mixture of laser and explosive damage - they're all screwed up by the way energy damage research currently works. The core issues I'm having have been solved with two simple things:

1. Abolished laser beam speed research completely.
2. Energy weapon damage research buffed slightly and it doesn't apply to any and all beams any more, regardless of what is firing them: it applies to specific turrets.

This may have left PLD too weak for the time being but I will look at that properly later and I have a feeling it isn't. I feel like PLD's clue is in the name - defence. It should be an attempt to fend things off, not a full frontal Destroyer of Worlds that renders stationary installations that cost 100x as much to run completely obsolete.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Ultros » Wed May 08, 2019 7:04 pm

Laser defence is indeed OP (IMO mainly due to their greatly reduced power draw), however your argument that lasers are OP because their damage scales quadratically to research holds no water. Gun turrets also have shooting speed upgrade in addition to damage upgrades, and their damage also scales quadratically to research. In fact, their damage consistently outperforms laser turrets throughout the game, which makes sense given their additional logistics constraint of ammo production.

One soft-mod multiplayer game (Redmew Crash Site) nerfs all laser damage to roughly 1/4 of its original damage as well as massively increasing the damage/resistances of biters, and it seems to have roughly balanced the two, experienced players often go without PLDs, capsules are used extensively, and both lasers and gun turrets are used late-game in similar proportions.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by BlakeMW » Wed May 08, 2019 9:37 pm

Flamethrower turrets also have quadratic damage scaling. Each flame damage upgrade applies a damage buff to all fire weapons including flame turrets, and
a second damage buff specifically to flame turrets, so the flame turrets get buffed twice, multiplicatively, and they end up dealing truly obscene amounts of damage even without Space Science.

The logic that Laser Turret Shooting Speed makes no sense is sound though. Graphically and logically It fires continuously. In effect shooting speed increases the beam intensity (dealing the damage over a shorter time) but intensity is just damage. To be fair there is a distinction, damage helps penetrate resists (though nothing resists lasers) and does not increase power draw, shooting speed increases power draw and deals better with droves of low-hitpoint targets.

Despite the logical inconsistency it is nice that laser turrets draw more power as they get upgraded. In many ways I'd favor even more power draw with increasing upgrades, as laser turrets have few downsides which get even fewer as the game progresses.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Qon » Wed May 08, 2019 10:36 pm

It is good if PLD is instant death for everything once you have researched everything. At that point you should strive to improve base design and let your bots do the work. Your time is at a premium and even if you can go over there and have everything just die as you come close while being immortal you are wasting your time. Time that could be better spent in the base automating things. You are doing manual work if you are using PLD. Start automating death. Research artillery range. Use Recursive Blueprints.

Saying that PLD being useful for killing stuff is a bad thing is a bit like saying that the extra inventory space PAMKII gives you makes you a bit too good at doing the logistics of the base manually by picking up chest contents and dropping it where it is needed. That belts and bots are not needed because you can be the bot.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Theikkru » Mon May 20, 2019 10:17 am

BlakeMW wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:37 pm
Flamethrower turrets also have quadratic damage scaling. Each flame damage upgrade applies a damage buff to all fire weapons including flame turrets, and
a second damage buff specifically to flame turrets, so the flame turrets get buffed twice, multiplicatively, and they end up dealing truly obscene amounts of damage even without Space Science.
What? Flammables upgrades apply two bonuses, 1 to flamethrower ammo, and 1 to the turrets themselves. Since turrets don't use the ammo, these two bonuses do not stack with each other AFAIK. The turret bonus DOES stack with the fuel bonus (e.g. light oil), but that's constant.
Qon wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 10:36 pm
Saying that PLD being useful for killing stuff is a bad thing is a bit like saying that the extra inventory space PAMKII gives you makes you a bit too good at doing the logistics of the base manually by picking up chest contents and dropping it where it is needed. That belts and bots are not needed because you can be the bot.
No, that's different, because the complaint here is not that PLD kills things, it's that PLD is so effective that you don't need anything else for clearing nests. Biters effectively become a non-issue during base expansion for no maintenance cost whatsoever, and almost all other weapons (perhaps excepting artillery) become useless for that purpose by comparison. You only ever need to clear nests when you want to expand your base, which always requires some amount of your attention anyways, so being there with PLD on to clear out the biters when you do so is little to no extra investment on your part, especially since you can automate things back at home or plop down blueprints for your new expansion at the same time. Because biter evolution caps out at the behemoth level, this will always be true.

Conversely, logistic load of a factory is proportional to the factory's throughput, so it doesn't make sense to claim that a constant bonus to your inventory can substitute for logistics systems that have to scale with your factory.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Deadlock989 » Mon May 20, 2019 2:02 pm

Theikkru wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:17 am
What? Flammables upgrades apply two bonuses, 1 to flamethrower ammo, and 1 to the turrets themselves. Since turrets don't use the ammo, these two bonuses do not stack with each other AFAIK.
Something appears to be stacking. The base fire damage from flamethrower turrets is 90. Refined Flammables 1 research gives a 20% bonus to "fire damage" - unclear if that's flamethrower ammo or all fire everywhere in all circumstances - and a 20% bonus to flamethrower turrets. After you research it, flamethrower turrets get a bonus on top of the 90 base damage of 39.6. That's exactly 44% which is exactly the bonus you'd get if you added 20% and then another 20% on that result.

If you complete all the non-infinite Refined Flammables chain, you end up with damage of 90 + 518.4. That's a bonus of 576%. 20 + 20 + 20 + 30 + 30 + 40 is not 576. It is also a fair whack off the 1680% bonus laser turrets get.

Internally, some of the turrets and equipment do use ammo definitions - they just get an infinite supply of it. Laser beams are defined as an "ammo type", for example.

None of which is entirely relevant to the thread since I can't carry a portable auto-aiming flamethrower turret around with me which does double the damage of a stationary one about ten times the size, for one tenth the running costs.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Ultros » Mon May 20, 2019 2:21 pm

The thread keeps returning to the claim that "PLDs are OP" (which is pretty much accepted by everyone on the thread), but it's used as evidence that "laser speed research is overkill", which is a completely different issue that's only tangentially related to PLDs.

Nerf PLDs for all you want, but laser speed is a pretty reasonable upgrade that's in parallel with other upgrades for the gun/flamer turret, and should not be removed. It both makes sense from a physics perspective (capacitors recharge and fire faster, the beam path itself stays ionized by the firing), and is roughly balanced with the other types of turrets.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Deadlock989 » Mon May 20, 2019 2:27 pm

Ultros wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:21 pm
The thread keeps returning to the claim that "PLDs are OP" (which is pretty much accepted by everyone on the thread), but it's used as evidence that "laser speed research is overkill", which is a completely different issue that's only tangentially related to PLDs.
This is some other vernacular use of the word "tangentially" that I haven't come across, right? Some contextual meaning of it that can mean "directly related to"?

I think "laser speed" is dumb and I've said as much. There's no need for either of us to repeat ourselves.

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Re: "Laser speed" - bit overkill?

Post by Theikkru » Mon May 20, 2019 6:03 pm

Deadlock989 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 2:02 pm
Something appears to be stacking. The base fire damage from flamethrower turrets is 90.[...]

Internally, some of the turrets and equipment do use ammo definitions - they just get an infinite supply of it. Laser beams are defined as an "ammo type", for example.[...]
I'm beginning to suspect that the tooltip is using old math, because Bilka was nice enough to update the wiki page for flamethrower turrets for me when I pointed out that the numbers there were confusing and contradictory, and what's up there now is consistent with internal ammo definitions, but not the 90 damage that was there before (and is still seen on the tooltip in-game).

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