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    CS: Quickfire Initiative: Rebalancing StarMade

    Discussion in 'Web/Community News' started by DukeofRealms, Aug 12, 2019.

    1. DukeofRealms

      DukeofRealms Count Duku

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      This post is a Community Spotlight (CS), where we're bringing attention to cool community-driven projects for StarMade. We'll be posting some more of these in the near future.

      Check out the "Discuss with the Devs" that happened in our official Discord last month here: https://starmadedock.net/threads/discuss-with-the-devs-july-18-2019-sis-shortform.31343/


      ---

      Quickfire Team:

      Quickfire is a community-run project to modify the game’s configuration files for a more balanced, fun, and interesting game experience. The QF team consists of members from every part of the StarMade community, including several veteran PvP specialists, creative builders with technical knowledge, and a long-time administrator of one of the most historically popular StarMade servers, as well as several other veteran StarMade players.


      While the mechanical changes that can be made within configs are somewhat limited, we have done our best to correct the issues the community has been having with the current game and enhance combat gameplay. The Quickfire Initiative has also worked with Schine on refining certain game mechanics (e.g. armor stacking). We have, at the same time, made an effort to avoid undermining key design elements of the power and weapons updates (e.g. the chamber system and arrangement) when not absolutely necessary.

      We have also played a key role in testing, tracking down, and confirming several critical bugs with weapons and systems, which were fixed in the most recent patches.


      Quickfire has created a config package that includes everything from fine-tuned missile guidance to rebalanced chamber costs. Every system in the game has been looked over and re-tuned to address various balance issues brought up by the community and/or our team members.

      We have also adjusted or modified all of the weapon combos, with the goal of creating greater diversity, viability, and utility for each where possible. Weapon changes include eliminating the troublesome cursor recoil mechanic from cannons, significantly improving acid damage application from beams (reducing the need for output spam), adjusting missile guidance, flight speed, and turn rate, and eliminating the extremely exploitable Death Beam.


      Currently, we have addressed most of the issues and features that we intend to (aside from some minor tweaks), and have a configuration set available for testing. We are now in the phase of refinement and testing, and for this, we need the community! Feedback, suggestions, and thoughts on our settings for weapons, systems, and chambers are welcome, and will help us improve and refine the Quickfire Initiative’s configs and make StarMade a better experience for everyone. Our in-progress configuration set is available on a public Github (updated often), and we also have a public creative/test server running our configs, at QuickfireSM.com:4242.


      You can find an overview of Quickfire’s changes in this document. A longer, more complete list of changes and the explanations behind them is available here.


      If you have feedback, suggestions, questions, issues, or other comments about our config set, please post them in the project thread. You can also join the Quickfire Initiative Discord server.


      ---

      Schine:

      We'll be adding the Quickfire config changes in a dev build in the next week or so. Please make sure to try these changes out and give your feedback. This will help us (and the Quickfire team) to decide what changes we should or shouldn't adopt into the default configs. The purpose of the dev build and news post is to draw attention to the QF project to help us receive feedback. We will not officially adopt any changes into release until we feel a good solution for our community has been reached.

      At the same time, we'll also begin to start making efforts to lower the barrier for modding. We've been working with modders from our own community as well as others to come up with a plan to make modding StarMade much easier, without taking a big chunk of dev time from the universe update. If you're interested in modding StarMade, head over to our official Discord (Join the StarMade Discord Server!) in the #modders-dev channel.

      If you don't get a chance to test QF configs out before then, we'll be taking feedback with the Quickfire project when we officially adopt their changes and continue to address balance concerns.

      Thanks for playing StarMade,

      - The Schine Team
       
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    2. Thadius Faran

      Thadius Faran #1 Top Forum Poster & Raiben Jackpot Winner

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      I certainly look forward to future outreach efforts and the renewed community focus as a whole!
       
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    3. MrGrey1

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      • Disabled stabilizer distance and side-based bonuses. (for now.)
      While I understand it's been disabled to make things easier for testing I certainly hope it's re-enabled by the time you put it to release. This is the only mechanic that keeps the relationship between ship size and power output sane. It's the only thing preventing shells from being filled entirely with power and weapons.
      • Switched reactor level calculation to linear formula.
      I must protest this change. The game has a noted absence of any ship categorization or classification system. Having reactors that were slightly more efficient at certain sizes made for a nice inbuilt ship classification system. There also weren't only a couple of viable sizes. Any ratio above 6 (5 maybe? debatable,) was viable and there are a number of places in the graphs where that happens, the fact this is not acknowledge concerns me. Sounds like a one sided debate was had without any real opposition or alternative views discussed.

      The actual difference this mechanic made was relatively small, a not insignificant amount of mass but not a huge deal either. Certainly worth the payoff of having a built in ship classification system. A built in classification system means people will likely end up fighting each other in ships that are roughly equivalent ... rather then all over the place in the power output with gawd knows what in their shells.
      Bad change IMO. The game needs some kind of tiering system. This was working nicely if albeit, unintentionally.
      • Increased stabilization percentage for full power to 100%.
      Yay about time.

      With the weapons changes, I can't help but feel the different weapons are being made 'equivalent' rather then balanced. The best games I have played over the years have all had a rock, paper, scissors mechanic in them.
      One tactic is effective against one opponent and you have to swap and change depending on what you're up against.
      Lasers V Shields.
      Cannon V Armour.
      Missiles V Systems.

      Lasers Suck against Armour, OK against Systems
      Cannon suck against Shields, OK against Systems.
      Missiles suck against Armour, OK against Shields.

      You have to use Beams to get through shields, Cannons to get through Armour, Missiles to take out the systems and balancing your weapons for each task nicely makes a balanced ship.
      Beams should be bad against armour. Period. You should be required by game mechanics to have multiple weapon types on your ship. Otherwise which ever weapon is 'best' will be spammed no matter how well balanced the weapons may be compared to the other choices... If you can get by and make a viable ship with just one weapon type then the mechanic is broken. A single weapon type ship should always be beaten by a nicely balanced 3 weapon ship as a single weapon should be terrible against one of the particular defenses it has to get through.

      my 2c.
      Cheers.
      MrGrey1.
       
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    4. Tsnonak

      Tsnonak Let's_Kautsch!

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      I will side with MrGrey1,(nice post!).

      • Disabled stabilizer distance and side-based bonuses. (for now.)
      I also hope this is not disabled in public releases, this is an interesting (fun) mechanic.

      • Switched reactor level calculation to linear formula.
      I would also much rather see it stay : "exponential", but this is the least of my concerns.

      • Increased stabilization percentage for full power to 100%.
      I would like to suggest: 90%, or maybe even 85-75%.
      I mean, c'mon... 100% regen "only" with 100% stabilisation, where's the fun / immersion with that...
      Push the engines Scotty! give em all you got!!! The suspence is missing, Anybody getting this?
      How many are actually going to want to invest in Buffer (deadspace), when I need moar room for systems (some will of course)?

      I am also very concerned about small ships, but a distance of "0" distance, well, seems to me a little bit too small maybe?
      We have raised "free stabilisation" from 10 to 50, reduced the distance from -7.5 to 1 on the LK server and it is working out well. Only people who built for 25% stabilisation are not getting an improvement, but that was never intended to be "good practice".

      The Quickfire chamber stuff is good, I would also like more attention given to chambers, they need some serious improvements, when you cannot even make a ship excel at one thing "very well" (max), then something is broke bad.

      This is my bigger concerns...
      Exactly this, I have also tested effects, I found they work rather well "balancing" stuff, the only problem with the current public release is there are no (balanced) values set. I am also strongly against weapons "being made 'equivalent'".

      My biggest concern, is the PVP community leading the direction of developement (balancing), with their "vision" of how it should be (subjective), ... again.

      PVP veterans belong on the frontline in ships, not in the engineering room.

      Balancing should be done with an objective viewpoint.

      Edit: don't get me wrong, PVPers input is valuable, but also dangerous. It was just a generalized statement.
       
      #4 Tsnonak, Aug 13, 2019
      Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    5. Nauvran

      Nauvran Cake Build Server Official Button Presser

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      Fixed it for you


      Fuck no
      I want freedom, I want to be able to choose beams or cannons on my ship and not be stopped dead in the tracks because hurr durr beams dont do shit against armour for some stupid reason that isn't proper balancing.
      All weapons types should be amazing but in different situations that arent able to completely nullify one weapon type.
      each weapon type needs a proper interesting advantage and disadvantage not a rock paper scissor solution.
      If thats your solution then you really dont have any imagination.
       
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    6. Ithirahad

      Ithirahad Arana'Aethi

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      I'll just leave you with this table...
      [​IMG]

      A ratio of 4.4̅ or so vs. 8 is a pretty huge deal, especially with large numbers of chambers or particularly massive ones (i.e. high level). And that is only in the best-case scenario; if you don't go right to the upper edge of any given reactor level for whatever reason the ratios can get even uglier.

      Stabilizers are generally a harmful mechanic. In their current state the facing mechanic has issues where it can be exploited to make stick ships extremely efficient, but even with the less stick-forming and more balanceable BY_ANGLE version that Schema put in as a config option recently, it still punishes the wrong players.

      Stabilizers were conceived as a way to make sure that ship "sizes" (whatever that even means) tracked with power availability. Presumably this was because Lan and Schema saw that most competitive ships were packing in systems inside their hulls, leaving no gaps except for maybe minimal interior. The problems with trying to "fix" that are threefold.
      1. Not everyone agrees that ship filling was even a problem.
        Many players were happy with the creative freedom to do whatever they wanted with their interior space, whether they be creative builders or veteran PvP experts. The scaling restrictions imposed by stabilizers posed little more than an annoyance. Additionally, having less exposed block surfaces meant better GPU performance (granted, that won't be an issue post-universe update due to new optimizations).

        For the record, I personally don't like filling up ships at all. I don't hate it enough to sacrifice balance and creative freedom, though. :thinking:

      2. There's nothing about systems that inherently forces you to fill up your ship.
        The actual main reason for ship-stuffing is the excessive mass of armor. For any given volume of armored hull you would want to make use of the full capacity for systems, because that volume cost you a fair bit in mass on its own. Even pre power 2.0, competitive ships that didn't bother with the largely useless and overweight armor at all would sometimes have sizeable gaps in their systems compartments. The other reason, of course, is that there's no incentive to create interiors or anything. That one only Schine can fix with a crew system, and trying to force space inside ships is no substitute.

      3. ...But what is ship size really, though?
        Trying to define the size of a ship isn't really meaningful, or at least not easy, and no stabilizer mechanic can do it. Presumably the metric we're usually thinking of when we say "size" is internal volume, and that is nigh-impossible to measure in a performant way. It also is not really feasible to try and measure the volume using some sort of placeable system simply from a logical standpoint. You'd need blocks covering the entire inner surface of the hull or something. :P
        What you get instead with stabilizers is a very rough, dimension-based approximation of volume that runs into various problems depending on the situation. The simplest example is that there can be a very obvious difference between a 500x500 caltrops shape and a 500x500 cube, or a 500x500 octohedron vs. a 500x500 sphere, but a stabilizer distance system will think they're the same thing.
        A PvP builder won't care about this as they'll just use the shape that is most mass- and therefore thruster power-efficient. Creative builders are the ones who get the proverbial shaft, with the quirks of the system producing various inefficiencies in their ships that can't be avoided because they want to use a given ship design that they feel is aesthetically pleasing, or because it looked super cool on TV.
       
      #6 Ithirahad, Aug 13, 2019
      Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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    7. MrGrey1

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      That table is only part of the picture. Here. Let me provide you with the rest of it.


      power_optimum_graph.png

      As you can see, there's only a fraction of the graph, between about 500 and 1250 that's completely under the 5 ratio. (The orange line is the 6 ratio and my usual build target.)
      If we take the range from 150 to 2k 750/1850 or about 40% of reactors that are under 5. So half the reactors are crap and half are 'viable'. Remeber 50% of anything is below average? Unless everything is homogeneous... which is what you guys are wanting to do.... so here we have a situation where 50% of reactors are crap and 50% are viable... that's a pretty nice scale compared to all being the same IMO?
      Once again this adds a BUILT IN SHIP CLASSIFICATION....I hope you understand this? People have been asking for a classification system since day zero FFS and here we go about to actually remove a working classification system... for the sake of less then 50% of reactors being slightly heavier in mass IF you add a lot of chambers on them.. Remember ships without chambers is also a thing? you don't have to have chambers. Having a chamberless drone in the reactor dead spot would be a great way to fux up someones optimized fighter real bad... at least I think it would be. More tactics. More opportunity for game play. Are you really arguing to homogenize this and take all those factors OUT of the strategy?

      Did I mention BUILT IN SHIP CLASSIFICATION? Because I think that's a'kinda important.

      "Stabilizers are generally a harmful mechanic. In their current state the facing mechanic has issues where it can be exploited to make stick ships extremely efficient, but even with the less stick-forming and more balanceable BY_ANGLE version that Schema put in as a config option recently, it still punishes the wrong players."

      This is simply not true. I have built every shape imaginable of reactors on every scale up to 200k. I have the first post on these forums about splitting the reactors into the wonder dong. I've built ships specifically of every shape I can to test it and I do not agree period. I can fit the same longboy reactor in a vertical ship, in a winged ship (really nice) , in a saucer (very tough) and I call BS. All these ships have the same 2k reactor with approximately the same number of stabilizers... They are all equivalent and they all have strengths and weaknesses, according to their design, not their power supply... the power supply is the same in all of them.

      starmade-screenshot-0605_upload.png

      Honestly I'm not sure which design to pick for my own ships it's that close!!! (yes I still don't have 'my own' ships. lol.)

      "Stabilizers were conceived as a way to make sure that ship "sizes" (whatever that even means) tracked with power availability."

      This is a very important part of good gameplay and the way you dismiss is careless. Without some relationship between ship size and power you will get flying OP reactors... woo. I have been building with stabilizers constantly since they released. I am ashamed of the amount of time I've spent in this game but that's what you get on injury leave. Stabilizers are fun, they are a good mechanic, they work well and if you can't get your head around how to build them then just maybe a complex open world building game just isn't for you.
      You say ships will be built based on their power and system space. So you're taking away a mechanic that actually adds some kind of complexity, at least a little bit of engineering skill, to make it an otherwise literal, simple , no engineering whats so fucking ever, plonk some blocks down here and call it a day mechanic? May I say, What The?...

      "Trying to define the size of a ship isn't really meaningful, or at least not easy, and no stabilizer mechanic can do it."

      Completely untrue for reasons I have stated in detail elsewhere. If you can not fairly compare ships in an unbiased and pre decided method then you can not have competition, by definition, as there is no way to decide if the fight was fair and or if there was a winner or loser. Basic game theory... Aren't the PvP'ers all for competition? Or is the dance to a different tune now because it suits the current argument?

      "A PvP builder won't care about this as they'll just use the shape that is most mass- and therefore thruster power-efficient. Creative builders are the ones who get the proverbial shaft, with the quirks of the system producing various inefficiencies in their ships that can't be avoided because they want to use a given ship design that they feel is aesthetically pleasing, or because it looked super cool on TV."

      Once again your claims that the build system has quirks that are detrimental because they have inefficiencies is untrue. It adds variety and tactics. Pvpers, if they are fighting a fair fight will be fighting in ships with THE SAME POWER. ergo, making all power systems the same efficiency does not effect a fair fight AT ALL! I repeat. It will not effect PvP at all in a Fair Fight.

      Generalizing. I'm a creative builder. One of the most prolific around here if I'm not mistaken with one of the best 'ships seen on TV around'... I do not want this change. Any other builders out there want to speak up?

      While I appreciate your enthusiasm you really do sound like you don't want a game but a way to be the bestest. It should not be possible in any decent game to do what you want to do. It's bad game theory. If everyone has all powerful everything then it results in stalemate and static game play. Weaknesses must be inherent in the system so it remains unstable, fluid and volatile. Ie fun.

      "hurr durr beams dont do shit against armour for some stupid reason"
      How about the fact that beams are an energy based weapon and melting large armour plates takes a stupid amount of energy therefore they're ineffective? Honestly I've seen that trope in numerous scifi stories and games. You telling me you haven't?

      30 years playing computer games. All the best pvp games I've played have had some kind of rock/paper/scissors mechanic, especially the old ones designed for a smaller number of players with out all the modern window dressing and monetization gimmicks. R/P/S prevents stale mate and keeps things moving. Weapons and armour should not be all powerful. Weaknesses must be part of the profile otherwise it gets boring. R/P/S will add variety and inspires creativity both in building and game play. Having do everything weapons and armour results in static stalemate as you go head to head with someone with identical powers as you, ie no real gameplay.
       
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    8. Zephyrim

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      While I do agree that some rock papers scissors mechanic would be interesting, I think he's just expressing his concerns that it would be less interesting if the only way to win was to have rock, paper, and scissors all at once or get lucky.

      For example, instead of something excessive like armor having a 90% resistance to cannon fire (which he might have been worried about), the correct weapon type could deal 30% increased damage against the correct target.

      Also, as to which weapon and system should be rock/paper/scissors, I think it should be Lasers/Beams - > Shields (high thermal energy overloads them), Cannons - > Systems (think punching a hole in a pipe or circuit), Missiles - > Armor (this has a lot of real life precedent and imo just makes the most sense). The reverse would follow a different course, with Armor - > Cannons, Systems -> Lasers/Beams, and Shields -> Missiles (large kinetic force against what is meant to repel exactly that).

      If you do it this way, it allows a lot of thinking to be put into weapons. Do I want to stick to my intended theme of barrages of missiles? If yes, how will I deal with heavy shields? Oh, I could add lasers, or drones with lasers, or fly with another ship that has lasers.

      Importantly in the same scenario it wouldn't be a bad idea to use cannons either as they have no penalties against shields, though they are not as effective as lasers, making them second best against shields.

      Also, if it was set up like this, the percentage effect could be adjusted easily by the devs or even in a config file, thus players who want more or less effect are happy, and it can even be turned off effectively.

      I do think the rock paper scissors gimmick is actually good, and could be applied to other areas of the game as well, such as small vs. medium vs. large ships, but it's not always so simple to implement and the devs have to avoid implementing these things arbitrarily as it just adds confusion for newer players, or frustration for existing ones.
       
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    9. Ithirahad

      Ithirahad Arana'Aethi

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      We did pretty much this.
      Unarmored blocks, armor, and shields have -1 resistance to some damage type, and we've moved the weapon damage types around a bit. Systems -> kinetic -> cannons; armor -> heat -> missiles (though missiles are bad vs. armor anyway); shields -> EM -> beams. With the right weapon and the right secondary effect, you get around a ~30%-33% bonus to damage.
       
    10. Nauvran

      Nauvran Cake Build Server Official Button Presser

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      >bestest
      please
      So what you're saying is it shouldn't be possible to have a decent game that's properly balanced? Sure your idea is a lot easier but it's also a much more boring from a gameplay perspective. You're also limiting whatever creative freedom that's left in this game.
      Well sure beams should be slightly worse against armour than cannons but not so much that you cannot use beams against armour at all, that would just be stupid.

      "How about the fact that beams are an energy based weapon and melting large armour plates takes a stupid amount of energy therefore they're ineffective? Honestly I've seen that trope in numerous scifi stories and games. You telling me you haven't?"
      How about the fact it's a fucking game, fuck off with your realism. And stop trying to compare it to other scifi universes. Star wars does not equal Starmade.

      "oh no the old times where better" yeah sure board games are better than computer games. STOP COMPARING IT TO OLD SHIT THAT DOESNT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH MODERN GAMES, we can do so much more today that we dont have to resort to only using a rock paper scissor battle scenario. this isn't a fucking card game.
      >ones designed for a smaller number of players
      You're playing an mmo, I think you need to find another game to play.
      >R/P/S prevents stale mate and keeps things moving.
      right so we have two ships, yeah? both have as shitton of shields and both only use cannons, whoops there's your fucking stalemate.
      --- Updated post (merge), Aug 14, 2019, Original Post Date: Aug 14, 2019 ---
      30% is still too much, should more more around 10% max 15%, maybe depending on effect blocks?
      it should only give a small buff and not a significant advantage, otherwise what it will result in is just ships using all 3 weapons and then we're back at the beginning
       
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    11. Thadius Faran

      Thadius Faran #1 Top Forum Poster & Raiben Jackpot Winner

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      To me this is honestly irrelevant and not important, people will classify their ships however they want regardless of what a reactor screen says when they press a hotkey.
       
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    12. Tsnonak

      Tsnonak Let's_Kautsch!

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      Although i find it very nice of you to speak for the whole community, but I would have to say MrGrey1 has a good point which goes beyond just ship classification.
       
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    13. Nauvran

      Nauvran Cake Build Server Official Button Presser

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      for a shittier version of starmade? Yes, definitely
       
    14. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

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      I could be mistaken, but I think you and MrGrey1 are discussing two different ways to classify ships.
      1. Fighter/Cruiser/Battleship, etc.: effectively, a part of the ship's name
      2. Power/Capability level that a server can use for player-matching, regardless of the ship's name
       
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    15. Tsnonak

      Tsnonak Let's_Kautsch!

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      • Hostility I
      good ol' Nauv, adding his shitty 0.02€ = priceless
       
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    16. Zephyrim

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      Like I said, the number itself isn't important as the devs can simply just allow it to be changed or even disabled in a config file. I too think 15% would be a good starting point, but it might not be enough to get people to really bother with the system either, and having all 3 weapon types does have some limited downsides from an efficiency standpoint, even at 30% dmg increase.

      Also keep in mind there's always an off type of weapon that still does normal damage against one type of block and boosted damage on the other.
       
    17. Nauvran

      Nauvran Cake Build Server Official Button Presser

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      • Hostility I
      Good ol' Tsnoka not knowing shit about valancing
      --- Updated post (merge), Aug 16, 2019, Original Post Date: Aug 16, 2019 ---
      the number itself is very important since it's what is basically going to balance a big part of the game, if it's too high a weapon would be abselutely useless in a fight because hurr dee fucking durr you dont have the right one to fight 10m thick armour or some shit like that

      >Also keep in mind there's always an off type of weapon that still does normal damage against one type of block and boosted damage on the other.
      thats the fucking point, it just shouldnt be such a big difference that it hurts focused builds. My beam frigate shouldnt be useless against an armoured ship
       
    18. Malum Phasma

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      Priceless.

      *sip*
       
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    19. Thadius Faran

      Thadius Faran #1 Top Forum Poster & Raiben Jackpot Winner

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      And? I wasn't replying to those parts as you should be able to tell from the fact that I didn't quote them.

      Thank you for the absolutely unnecessary passive aggressive comment though. Cheers. :^D
       
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    20. Tsnonak

      Tsnonak Let's_Kautsch!

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      You seem to have overlooked the part before the comma?
       
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