Sudden, shocking failure of design

General discussion about the game.
Jakkar
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:32 pm

Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Jakkar » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:47 pm

Such disappointment. I truly loved this game, 27 hours so far and wrote one of the most popular entries on the fiction forum... Then in my lazy on-off campaigns, I came up against the end boss for the second time.

Truly exciting battle for the first phase, he nearly got my little Engi Torus before I managed to bomb the missile launcher.

Second phase - 'Power Surge' - What in the fuck were you thinking?

So many drones and missiles spawned my ship died in no more than a second and a half.. I am not entirely sure what happened, I simply saw red text about a 'Power Surge', then my entire screen was obscured by more units than I could count and my ship fragmented. What.. What the fuck? O.o

I'm sickened - I was truly enjoying myself, feeling real excitement at having gotten farther than ever before, then a fucking kill-switch?!

What possible benefit does this have? You've just killed my impulse to ever play the bloody thing again - why would I ever try to beat a game again knowing, vaguely, that the end boss can at any time perform an undodgeable, unblockable, simply unsurvivable one-hit kill and send me back to square one? Definition of futility, absolute elimination of the willingness to invest time. I've friends who've beaten the game, but none mentioned this 'feature'...

I have no idea what triggered the event, or what I can do to avoid it, but why would I want to go all the way back through that only to face another kill-switch?

I'd love an explanation of the design ethic behind this, of why this makes any sense, but as it stands... Christ, what a mood-killer.

I've beaten Demon's Souls, and loved it - I'm an avid Dwarf Fortress player. I'm hardly unaccustomed to high-difficulty games, even infamously complicated ones, but this is simply godawful design, from my perspective. Sorely regretting the number of people I've convinced to purchase it, knowing I've sent them toward such a dead end.

Game design 101: Never put the player into a situation where he has absolutely no means of winning. Never kill the player without an evident means by which he could have avoided the fail-state.

Do not punish the player unless he makes a mistake within the rule-set of the game.
IConquer
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:24 pm

Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby IConquer » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:23 pm

Jakkar wrote:Such disappointment. I truly loved this game, 27 hours so far and wrote one of the most popular entries on the fiction forum... Then in my lazy on-off campaigns, I came up against the end boss for the second time.

Truly exciting battle for the first phase, he nearly got my little Engi Torus before I managed to bomb the missile launcher.

Second phase - 'Power Surge' - What in the fuck were you thinking?

So many drones and missiles spawned my ship died in no more than a second and a half.. I am not entirely sure what happened, I simply saw red text about a 'Power Surge', then my entire screen was obscured by more units than I could count and my ship fragmented. What.. What the fuck? O.o

I'm sickened - I was truly enjoying myself, feeling real excitement at having gotten farther than ever before, then a fucking kill-switch?!

What possible benefit does this have? You've just killed my impulse to ever play the bloody thing again - why would I ever try to beat a game again knowing, vaguely, that the end boss can at any time perform an undodgeable, unblockable, simply unsurvivable one-hit kill and send me back to square one? Definition of futility, absolute elimination of the willingness to invest time. I've friends who've beaten the game, but none mentioned this 'feature'...

I have no idea what triggered the event, or what I can do to avoid it, but why would I want to go all the way back through that only to face another kill-switch?

I'd love an explanation of the design ethic behind this, of why this makes any sense, but as it stands... Christ, what a mood-killer.

I've beaten Demon's Souls, and loved it - I'm an avid Dwarf Fortress player. I'm hardly unaccustomed to high-difficulty games, even infamously complicated ones, but this is simply godawful design, from my perspective. Sorely regretting the number of people I've convinced to purchase it, knowing I've sent them toward such a dead end.

Game design 101: Never put the player into a situation where he has absolutely no means of winning. Never kill the player without an evident means by which he could have avoided the fail-state.

Do not punish the player unless he makes a mistake within the rule-set of the game.


It is highly evident to me that you haven't heard of the cloaking device.

Also: The beam drones are blockable. Shields. The anti-ship drones are dodgable. what was your dodge chance?

I just ran though the boss using a ship with 55% dodge chance and 4 shieldsand I could just sit there and let him attack me, power surge and everything (except his missiles. I kill his missiles first.) And he can't touch me.

I didn't really see it as a failure of design, but rather as a challenge. Once I saw the boss a couple of times, I saw the weaknesses and strengths and saw saw fit to work towards a ship that could beat it. In this type of game, shouldn't the player have new and better challenges once he reaches a new checkpoint? If the boss was easy enough to beat it once you can beat the first stage, it'd be kinda boring.

A few tips:
-Do your best to get a cloaking device. You don't have to use it anytime except in the boss fight, and you should turn it on after the first shot of each power surge is fired. The cooldown is only slightly longer than the time between power surges, so you should only be affected by the full force one of the power surges in the middle of the fight.
-A drone control is almost a staple, even as you're on your way to the boss. If you can manage to get a drone control + defense drone, missiles are no longer a problem.
Last edited by IConquer on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
karnisov
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:03 am

Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby karnisov » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:28 pm

second phase is very winnable if you take out the drone control subsystem, and keep it offline. even on "normal" difficulty.
Satonakaja
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Satonakaja » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:53 pm

Not really. Destroying the drone control makes the power surge more survivable by removing two drones (and stopping the boarding drone) but the second form's power surge is still a massive kick to the nether regions to newer players. . . and lots of more experienced players who didn't manage to get the scrap to get everything they needed.

I kind of agree with the OP, though. You shouldn't train the player for the entire game "kill the entire crew to win" or "destroy the drone control to stop the drones from killing you" or "zoltan shields can only be recharged by a FTL jump" and then completely flip all those things around during the last battle in the game.

@OP: Yeah, yeah. The flagship was (and still is) my least favorite part of FTL. A few pointers:
1) Get a cloaking device, as others have said before. It's expensive, but you don't need more than one bar of cloak.
2) When you do get your cloaking, save it for the power surges. Also, only use one bar of cloak. This is almost guarantee you will have it recharge before the next one
3) Defense drones and decent dodge are a must for the flagship, but you usually want those anyway.
4) Watch out for the boarding drone. I've had really good runs ruined because the flagship's drone landed somewhere horrible, usually the oft-neglected and rarely upgraded helm.
5) If you have spare mantis or rock, consider buying a teleporter earlier in the game. Send them to take out the flagship's weapons (mainly the missile launcher). If you do decide to go on a boarding spree, don't destroy ALL the flagship's crew, however, or another kick-into-the-nether regions will happen. Generally, you want to leave the triple laser gunner (left side center) as he can only be killed if you go out of your way to kill him.

The flagship is really frustrating to fight, but keep at it. FTL's a great game with an unfortunately horrible end boss.
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5thHorseman
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Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby 5thHorseman » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:05 am

If you play enough (For me it was about 30 games total, maybe 5-10 boss fights) the Flagship goes from the single hardest part of the game to the single easiest part of the game.

Nowadays, I generally die in the first few sectors or I beat the final boss. I can't remember the last time I lost in the 8th sector.
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Satonakaja
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Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Satonakaja » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:27 am

I'll have to agree there; but having the flagship have the exact same abilities every time just results in boredom for you when you kill the rocketman with your mantis boarders for the fiftieth time. Not much better than absolute frustration for newer players.

I made this suggestion long ago about it, actually. . .

http://www.ftlgame.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10529
Fadedsun
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:05 pm

Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Fadedsun » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:03 am

How could you have played this game for 27 hours,apparently written a fictional story? also gotten to the boss once, but not known about this?

I actually just got a win on normal an hour ago using the Engi A ship. 3 shield, 45% dodge, 6 crew and an Anti Ship II/Defense Drone I. Set Ion Blast II to auto fire on shields so your drones can get through to attack easier. If you have extra laser weapons, use those to keep shields down or fire them on something else when shields are lowered to power down other systems. It's not very difficult; you just need a good strategy and good weapons. It's more of a challenge than outright unfair difficulty. Like others have said, the drone power surge can be mitigated by powering down the drone system.

Cloaking isn't necessary in this fight, I think. I didn't even have cloaking on my previous run and my shields were only level 3. With other ships that I don't use drone systems with, I like to get a crew teleporter to knock out the bosses weapons. Send 2 crew members into the single weapons rooms to knock out each individual weapons system. Works like a charm. Just make sure to send them back to your ship. Once the teleporter has cooled down, rinse and repeat.
Satonakaja
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Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Satonakaja » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:07 am

Don't assume that everyone has the same gaming experience you do. It's quite common to reach the boss and not know that holy hell it does things that aren't found in any other part of the game.

Cloaking really isn't necessary to win the fight, but it sure as heck helps. If you don't have cloaking (which is possible) you want to compensate with higher than normal dodge or an extra shield. . . or, of course, a maxed artillery beam. Generally though three shields and decent (let's say 45%) dodge is adequate for having a chance at surviving the boss fight.
Fadedsun
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Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Fadedsun » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:24 am

Another thing I should mention is that the pause button is very much your friend. Use it often to reevaluate your situation, as well when attacking, especially if you're using beam weaponry.
Jerjare
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Re: Sudden, shocking failure of design

Postby Jerjare » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:58 pm

Cloak definitely helps. Its helpful for the superweapon on the 3rd form. Defeating the flagship is not hard with the following:

3 shield bubbles
Stealth
Teleporter
Weapons that can disable 4 shield bubbles

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