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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:43 pm 
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*starts a purely vanilla run*
*buys food from Lave*
*sells food at Leesti, buys 1 ton of computers and jumps to Diso*
....
*is greeted by 10 pirates waiting at the hyperspace egress point*
*GAME OVER*

O-okay.

*after several restarts, manages to trade up enough to get a ship with ECM system and beam lasers*

"Time to fight a couple of pirates!"
*trades laser fire with a smaller ship - enough to reduce the front shields to zero*
*enemy launches a missile*
"no problem, I have ECM!"
*Immediately hits ECM*
*BOOM*
*GAME OVER*

Huh... seems either ECM did not work, or worked too late to stop a missile launched from anything closer than a couple km away...

And with no front shields but almost full energy banks. It will still enough to 1 shot me.


...


So, I am guessing this game is totally unplayable right now without eye watering levels of save scumming? :(


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:55 pm 
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Well, no. The game is playable, but the older tactics of going full speed ahead with cannons blazing may not be enough anymore, as you have experienced. We have plenty of people here who started the game not with the MKIII, but with an Adder and they have made it. Yes, it is more difficult now - the AI received a notable upgrade after version 1.80, but I wouldn't say that you have to reach eye-watering levels of savefile scumming.

The ECM works, but if your opponent launched an ECM-proof missile against you, then there is only a small chance that the ECM will manage to destroy it. Also, kinetic energy is taken into account with object collisions, including missiles. A missile hitting you head-on will almost certainly destroy your ship, but if it hits you in the rear while you are running away from it, chances are it will cause some damage, but you will survive.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:17 am 
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Quote:
the older tactics of going full speed ahead with cannons blazing may not be enough anymore, as you have experienced.
Except, that is not what I did. We only traded fire for a few seconds.

Quote:
ECM-proof missile against you, then there is only a small chance that the ECM will manage to destroy it. Also, kinetic energy is taken into account with object collisions, including missiles.
It sounds like you are saying, the AI has a fair chance at close range to shoot a missile that I cannot ECM, is too fast to avoid at that range, and if it hits will probably 1 shot me.

IE close range dogfighting is obsolete now unless you save scum?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:32 am 
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Close range dogfighting works, just not head on. I find doing a corkscrew manoeuvre head on until I can get behind them works for me. Once behind them I usually have enough time to hit the ECM if I see a missile launched as it will initially be heading away from me.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:27 am 
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Until you have no Shield Boosters better if your only laser is in defensive position in aft view instead of front. This way you can keep up the distance from your attackers during fight and any missile hit you lose from its strength due to the lower speed difference at impact.

If a missile survive ECM then you can use injectors to left behind. Range of missiles is limited to 30km so if you run a bit more than a scanner range then you can stop, watch the self-destruction of missiles behind you then turn back.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:16 am 
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It sounds like you are saying, the AI has a fair chance at close range to shoot a missile that I cannot ECM, is too fast to avoid at that range, and if it hits will probably 1 shot me.
Not exactly. The AI does have a fair chance of shooting a missile, but not all NPCs carry ECM-hardened massiles with them. Most of the times they will be standard-issue missiles, which can be ECMed in time before they reach you. ECM does work for those standard missiles and works sometimes for the ECM-hardened ones. Of course, you have no way of knowing what type of missile has been launched against you unless you target it (Shift+T but you lose your current target). Reagrding the rest, the guys above have already offered some good tips you can use.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:59 am 
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The upgraded NPC AI makes the game more survivable at the start - because if you run into a pirate pack early doors you can do what they want (and what they tell you to do), and drop some cargo for them. Pirate encounters don't have to mean a duel to the death. Stashing a few TCs of low-grade cargo to buy your way past anything you can't fight or run away from is worth doing as soon as you can afford to.

It's also worth mentioning that NPCs firing ECM-hardened missiles is not a new development: it's always a good idea to be wary of getting too close, head on, to an opponent, and giving them the chance to drop a missile on you from close range.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:07 am 
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Early doors? You sound like a football pundit - are you Big Ron in disguise?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:17 am 
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Sorry, the season started last week up here, and I'm still coming to terms with it …

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:51 am 
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To be frank, I think the fact that people who post here are veteran players induce a significant bias towards a harder game, especially at the beginning.

I understand that veteran players value the non player-centric design but I think you should keep in mind that, if you want to recruit more OXP makers, you have to recruit players, and welcoming beginners with a frustrating first experience is a suboptimal approach.
Also, remember that the core game doesn't meet any more the minimum expectations of the average PC games player in terms of graphics and sound; one has to install first OXPs like BGS to get a game that looks and sounds good. Having to find this OXP and the few other ones that offer alternative starts among a list of 400+ OXPs is another show-stopper for many.
Not every newbie will make the extra step to register here and ask about it. Many will just un-install "yet another free but unfinished and shitty game" - which is of course not what Oolite deserves.

I like the non player-centric design too, but we have to acknowledge it is by itself a broken design because it makes the game easier as you progress (1). And it is the most obvious at the beginning and for beginners. Experienced players, on the other hand, learned a long time ago how to deal with those issues.

I think it would be an acceptable compromise to rename the "normal start" into e.g. "traditional start", and to offer as a "normal start" something less subject to bad luck (2) and a bit more immediately enjoyable, e.g. a Cobra Mk II with enough cash to buy injectors or a fuel scoop or a better laser or ECM.

(1) OTOH what's the point of progression if the game doesn't become easier, one may ask? That's the conundrum of vertical progression. Current games mix more and more both vertical and horizontal progression. That is, offer less power-ups and more options.
(2) IIRC there's also a system in the Old Worlds where one has a higher chance to perform a misjump.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:27 am 
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Some good and fair points there, Astrobe. I like the idea of creating a starting setup for the game which is more in line with (new) players' expectations - i.e. where the beginning is easy and things get harder. Possibly the quickest and easiest way to go about this is simply to start the player off in a deliberately easy, friendly set of systems, with very low pirate activity and high police presence.

However, I still think that the game is easier now for beginners than it was - simply because it's possible to avoid combat with pirates by dumping a bit of cargo. Part of the problem might be that Elite veterans might not realise this - might not realise that NPCs are now actually quite challenging opponents, and should be given rather more respect than before. It might be easier for new new players - who have never played any version of Elite before - to accept this.

Really, what we want is one where the whole progression trail is much longer - where the player starts out in an Adder (the smallest jump-capable cargo ship) and works on up from there. That does require quite a bit of work - at the top end, reworking the whole mass-lock/torus drive system to make slower ships playable (very desirable, I think, especially from a non-player-centric POV, but probably massively difficult); or the potentially easier player-centric finagle of making it easier to get out of non-hostile masslocks by making NPCs manoeuvre out of the way (or even just making player ships faster). It would also need an overhaul of ship and equipment prices and the profitability of cargo and parcel runs: not so difficult, but certainly time-consuming.

But making a "normal start" (as opposed to a "traditional start"), where the player begins in a pocket of planets that are all relatively free from pirates and all well-patrolled by Vipers, is probably a good idea. One way of helping make this clear to players would be to show little sub-polities on the map - which have already been done, on ClymAngus's vector maps, although we could maybe fill in some of the gaps as well - and give these sectors brief descriptions and "safety ratings". The Old Worlds could still be on top of things, pirate-wise, and newbies could be relatively safe in there (even so, don't go to Reidquat and expect a trouble-free trip); but if they head off into the Tortuga Expanse without an iron ass, hell mend 'em. It might also be worth linking profitability to risk, too: the range of prices between cheap and expensive in a safe system would be a lot smaller, to balance risk and reward.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Quote:
Also, remember that the core game doesn't meet any more the minimum expectations of the average PC games player in terms of graphics and sound; one has to install first OXPs like BGS to get a game that looks and sounds good.
I can't agree with that. If someone downloads Oolite, they're not expecting a 'modern' triple-A game - or they shouldn't be, anyway. The Oolite front page is pretty clear as to what to expect. As for the difficulty - the AI upgrade was the best thing to happen to the game!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:10 pm 
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After acquiring Injectors, the game changes drastically. A start option with Injectors and Scoops installed would make the game a whole lot more approachable. I called it "Fast-Track Start" in Start Choices. Maybe it should be called "Modern Start" and be included in the core game.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:43 pm 
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After acquiring Injectors, the game changes drastically. A start option with Injectors and Scoops installed would make the game a whole lot more approachable.
It only takes one run from Lave to Zaonce (usually a safe system) and injectors can be bought.
I've just done this with a virgin Jameson - no pulse laser, but I have fuel injectors.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:52 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
After acquiring Injectors, the game changes drastically. A start option with Injectors and Scoops installed would make the game a whole lot more approachable.
It only takes one run from Lave to Zaonce (usually a safe system) and injectors can be bought.
I've just done this with a virgin Jameson - no pulse laser, but I have fuel injectors.
That's true, but you need to know that to be able to do that. And a fresh player very probably don't know that, so he/she makes all the wrong choices, gets bored and plays something more approachable. Seriously, if it's that easy to acquire injectors, what's the harm in granting them at start?


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