Nerfing without toning down their firepower
Basic Idea: Leaning heavily on observations of contemporary naval activities, the idea is that certain types of severe damage require the ship to go back to the shipyard for extensive repairs. In order to balance the Titan without nerfing its combat prowess, I propose that we introduce some way for Titans to sustain damage that simply cannot be repaired without paying a visit to a Titan Foundry (the shipyard that creates Titans).
Background: In the recent history of naval combat (e.g. WW II), we see that many large capital ships can sustain heavy damage, the character of which does not completely disable the ship, but makes it unfit for continued operations. In many cases, the ship can get back to a friendly port or drydock on its own power, after temporary repairs allow the crew to stabilize the ship, regain helm control, and preserve the lives of the crew.
BUT, when the ship sustains injuries of this type, it is essentially impossible for the ship's crew to restore the ship to peak operational performance with the resources available in the field. Replacement parts for major components may need to be manufactured and installed at a drydock, which is outside the scope of abilities for on-ship repair crews.
To limit the ability of a Titan to just go through grav well after grav well, haplessly mowing down enemy fleets, starbases and modules, Titans should mimic this modern-day naval vessel behavior.
Implementation in Sins: I have a couple proposals for what conditions might cause a Titan to receive an injury, and what consequences might arise from it for the Titan (note that each of these Proposals are completely separate and should not be considered as a group; also, please remember that the numbers I present are preliminary and probably need to be adjusted for balance):
- Proposal 1: Corvettes. Provide all Corvettes with a race-specific ability that gives them a chance to cause an Injury to a Titan. All of the abilities should only be manually targeted by the commander, with no auto-cast functionality. Each ability would apply to a group of corvettes (band select them). Each corvette would have a relatively low chance of success, but the whole swarm combined should fare much better. The manual use is to encourage a tiny bit of micro management in Titan engagements, to focus the player on these important ships. One possible layout might include:
- TEC Corvette: "Precision Strike": The Corvette makes an attack run on a known weak spot of the Titan, causing a chain reaction and a series of explosions on the ship. This causes a Type 1 Injury. Advantages: High chance of success; no extra risk to the corvette. Disadvantages: The Titan's shields must be down or very low for the ability to have any effect.
- Vasari Corvette: "Point-Blank Phase Missile": The Corvette makes a near-suicidal attack run against the Titan, using Vasari technology to penetrate the shielding around the Titan and fly between the shield barrier and the hull of the ship. The Corvette gets extremely close to the hull, slows down, and fires a phase missile at a key power generator, causing massive damage. This causes a Type 2 Injury. Advantages: Can be used while the Titan's shields are still up, at any strength. Disadvantages: The Corvette has a high chance of not having enough energy in its own power source to phase back OUT of the shield. So when the Corvette tries to escape from the Titan, it might hit the shield barrier and explode. Also, the phase missile could miss the critical target and only do regular damage.
- Advent Corvette: "Shield Raid": The Corvette dives at the Titan and overloads its weapons, firing lasers using a modulating frequency. Each laser shot has a small chance of going right through the shield. The corvettes target the engines as a matter of preference, attempting to block the Titan's retreat/maneuvering. If the Corvette is unsuccessful, its weapons overheat and it can't fire for several seconds. This causes a Type 3 Injury. Advantages: Very effective with large groups of Corvettes. Can be used when the Titan's shields are up. Disadvantages: Each successful hit on the titan is not very likely to cause an injury, even if it gets through the shields. Corvette becomes offensively useless for a period if it doesn't get the job done.
- Proposal 1, Continued: Injury Types. Each Injury type is cumulative with all the others, and the injuries can stack. Injuries can NOT be permanently removed without visiting a Titan Foundry and paying significant Credits, Metal and Crystal to have the injuries repaired. The ship can have an unlimited number of multiple injuries of the same type. It is assumed that the gameplay will be designed so that a large swarm of Corvettes could very quickly cause 5 or 10 separate injuries to a titan, resulting in about a 25 to 50% reduction in the below stats.
- Type 1: Each Type 1 injury reduces the maximum and current hull points of the Titan by about 5%. Research can improve this slightly.
- Type 2: Each Type 2 injury reduces the weapons damage, antimatter maximum, and current antimatter by about 3% each. Research can improve this slightly.
- Type 3: Each Type 3 injury reduces the maximum and current shield strength of the Titan by about 3%, and reduces all of its movement characteristics (maximum speed, turn rate, phase jump charge time) by about 3%. Research can improve this slightly.
- Proposal 2: General Damage. When the Titan's hull strength reaches a certain value, it will sustain an Injury. It's not important what type of damage or what ship is dealing the damage; all that is measured is the current hull strength of the Titan, compared to the total hull strength it can have when it's undamaged.
- 80% Hull: When the titan's hull strength is reduced to 80% of its undamaged maximum, it receives an injury. Weapons output is reduced by 15%; movement is impaired by 10%; maximum shield and hull strengths are reduced by 15%.
- 60% Hull: When the titan's hull strength is reduced to 60% of its undamaged maximum, it receives another injury. Weapons output is reduced a further 15%; movement is impaired another 20%; maximum shield, antimatter and hull strengths are reduced to 60% of their undamaged values.
- 40% Hull: One of the weapons systems of the Titan (selected at random?) is completely disabled. Shield strength, hull strength and movement are only half of the maximum, and all activated abilities are disabled.
- 20% Hull: Another of the Titan's weapons systems is disabled, and the Titan has a 50% chance of exploding each time it enters phase space. The captain of the Titan will verbally warn the commander of this fact (e.g. "I dunno if she can take it, commander, but we'll give it a try... Everybody, hold on tight!")
- 10% Hull: The Titan can no longer attempt to phase jump, except as stated below, and its maximum shields and hull are at 25% of undamaged values.
- Proposal 2, Continued: Injury Assistance. Some ships will acquire the ability to provide assistance to the Titan, allowing it to temporarily shrug off the effects of its most severe injury level. This will come in the form of a new activated ability that lasts for somewhere around 2 minutes at a time, with a high antimatter cost. For example, the Hoshiko can provide damage control teams to the Titan, so that a titan at the 10% Hull injury level would now operate as if it's only at the 20% Hull injury level, for 2 minutes' time. This would again allow it to phase jump. Similar effect would be applied at the other injury levels, but the effect does not stack if multiple ships provide assistance. A high-level research unlock would allow the assistance to remove two injuries instead of one.
- Proposal 3: Capital Ships. Cap Ships become the major threat to Titans instead of Corvettes, by developing unique race-specific weaponry that is designed to punch through a Titan's defenses. These new weapons can be retrofitted onto the primary combat capital ship class of each race through research, and they are designed to be extremely effective against Titans, but only moderately so against anything smaller.
- Example: the Kol Battleship could be retrofitted with a focusing dish, which allows its multiple beam arrays to combine into one large energy buildup, which is then transmitted to the target. Causes injuries similar to the Type 1 injuries of Proposal 1. This ability has an increasingly high chance to miss against smaller and more mobile ships; against modules it does less damage because of their high armor. Can't even try to target anything smaller than a cruiser with this ability (fighters, corvettes, frigates just give an error beep like trying to attack fighters with a battleship now).
This will probably fall on deaf ears, but that's OK. I had to get it out of my system.