Can we talk about Shield drones?

General discussion about the game.
Jai
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Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby Jai » Mon May 19, 2014 9:40 pm

I've been trying to give these guys a chance lately, and I simply can't find a scenario where they earn their keep. I even tried them in the best scenario I could imagine - 2 shield drones and a cloak. Still....meh.

* Defense 2 Drones can fire with as short as a 1.5 second delay, taking down lasers, missiles, and drones. Shield drones stop at best 1 shot per 10 seconds and don't thwart drones.

* Even Defense 1 drones take out missiles and drones at greater speed.

* Super Shield from drones is up too infrequently to do anything against bombs or boarders.

* Shield Drones charge slower and slower the more super-shields you have, further reducing their efficacy.


With their current design, shield drones are somewhat effective Against players, because players tend to hold their shots for volleys - a shield drone makes it that much harder to punch through those shields and deal damage. However, they do very little For players, because enemy ships are balanced around firing on auto-fire. The 1 shield per 10 second is simply not as effective as a defense drone or extra 1-2 layers of shield, or extra 9-15%% dodge.

Is there something we can do that will make these a fun, worthwhile drone for players to use that doesn't also make them incredibly overpowered when the enemy has them?
itg
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby itg » Mon May 19, 2014 10:02 pm

I wonder if shield drones were designed the way the were mainly as a stumbling block for boarding strategies. If you're not prepared to take down the super shield, your boarders can become trapped and end up more dead than you would have hoped.

My solution to improve them would be to cut their power cost by one bar, and even then, they'd be kind of weak. Maybe we could also boost their charge speed by 10-15%.
project_mercy
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby project_mercy » Tue May 20, 2014 3:44 am

itg wrote:I wonder if shield drones were designed the way the were mainly as a stumbling block for boarding strategies. If you're not prepared to take down the super shield, your boarders can become trapped and end up more dead than you would have hoped.

My solution to improve them would be to cut their power cost by one bar, and even then, they'd be kind of weak. Maybe we could also boost their charge speed by 10-15%.


This was my thinking too on the stumbling blocks. They also pair well with Pulsars, which I seem to run into the combo of those more often than I'd like.

There's a thread about this in the tactics forum. My proposal was drop the cost of the current one to two, leave it as is. Then create a Shield II drone at 3 energy and drop it to 6 seconds. this would allow you to pair a defense II and Shield II and have a decent drone defense, assuming they didn't get shot or hit with an asteroid, which happens overly much.
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Twinge
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby Twinge » Wed May 21, 2014 12:04 pm

I think it hits a snag because you don't really want to buff it relevantly for the AI but it's garbage for the player as-is. Even the 2-power Shield+ Drone feels rather unexciting for the slot/power. I might look into making it different for the player and AI in the upcoming AE Balance Mod; the only real levers are charge time and power consumption (though there's also schematic cost), so I'll probably toy with it and see what feels right.
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tempthomas
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby tempthomas » Wed May 21, 2014 12:11 pm

They can be mildly annoying when they prevent you from hacking or mind controlling an enemy.

I don't mind them the way they are now for ai. Then again the only time I used and liked it was this weird ship in a pulsar. And more interesting is I found out zoltan power works even if system is ionized.
Captain_obvious
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby Captain_obvious » Fri May 23, 2014 2:14 am

Shield Drone + Defense II + a decent evade chance is actually a really effective defense. With so many shots being either shot down by the defense drone or missing altogether, the super shield has time to build up and it becomes difficult to whittle it back down. I've used this combo against the flagship a couple of times and once made it through taking zero hull damage.

The problem is, it's a really inefficient use of power and drone parts compared to cloaking or taking out weapons, and the chance of the drones being destroyed is a massive pain to contend with. It only presents itself as a viable tactic on ships designed around drone builds, like the Torus or the Simo-H.
Fibonaccio
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby Fibonaccio » Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:43 pm

I just experimented with it and kind of like it. The same way 30 scrap for a battery provides a temporary boost for when you need anti-enemy-alpha level of power, a drone part and 1 extra power vs. 2-bar per shields gives you an extra anti-alpha shield. Especially vs. ion damage, because it stops it from hitting shield system, giving you a "permanent" extra bar for the duration of the would-be ion damage, *along with* preventing the stacking ion effect by giving a kind of interrupt between volleys (similar to cloaking). Also, when you get lucky and evade, you can turn the drone off and yet still have the extra shield bar. The overall effect over a long battle is like having an slower charging but "stronger" extra shield without paying 180 for the system.

In cases where you want Defense I instead, you can run both by alternating as needed. It's very rare that you would desperately need both at the same time AND not be able to cloak/hack/whatever.

That said, the savings vs. a new shield bar and end-game-ness of the above battle scenario means it's not a sector 1 buy.
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R4V3-0N
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby R4V3-0N » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:45 pm

The shield does take in damage from bombs and beams.

Which deffense drones can't do.

It also prevents boarders coming in and depending on enemy weapons they do not have the firepower to bring down your shields enough that you lose it completely.

it also serves good if you got zoltan shield.

Unlike defense drones the shield doesn't have a miss chance.. and if it does 'miss' it's because the ship dodged the projectile.


Shield + defense drone is a good pair and it is useful.


It's just it's not for everyone.
Justin (the dev) loves this little thing. While Mat (other dev) hates it and rarely uses it.

It's just not for everyone I guess.
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Twinge
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby Twinge » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:44 am

The main issue with the Shield Drone is that it requires 3 power and is less useful than a Defense Drone I on average, which only requires 2 power. Like the Defense II it can block things the Defense I cannot, but it's also only up every 8 seconds at best while a Defense I can fire every second and Defense II even faster. You can also de-power Defense Drones when not in use to power other things, while the Shield Drone needs to be powered the entire time to do anything. Also worth noting is that it's almost entirely worthless against the Flagship.

In the Balance Mod I ended up dropping the power requirement for the Shield Drone and Shield+ Drone from 3/2 to 2/1 (leaving the AI's Shield Drones at 3). It still feels like something not worth buying or using in the majority of cases. (Unfortunately the time it takes to charge up a shield can't be altered with mods, or I would've looked into that option instead.)
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WhiteWeasel
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Re: Can we talk about Shield drones?

Postby WhiteWeasel » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:30 am

Twinge wrote:The main issue with the Shield Drone is that it requires 3 power and is less useful than a Defense Drone I on average, which only requires 2 power. Like the Defense II it can block things the Defense I cannot, but it's also only up every 8 seconds at best while a Defense I can fire every second and Defense II even faster. You can also de-power Defense Drones when not in use to power other things, while the Shield Drone needs to be powered the entire time to do anything. Also worth noting is that it's almost entirely worthless against the Flagship.

In the Balance Mod I ended up dropping the power requirement for the Shield Drone and Shield+ Drone from 3/2 to 2/1 (leaving the AI's Shield Drones at 3). It still feels like something not worth buying or using in the majority of cases. (Unfortunately the time it takes to charge up a shield can't be altered with mods, or I would've looked into that option instead.)

Actually I found the blueprint of it, can't you change the cool down?

Code: Select all

<droneBlueprint name="DRONE_SHIELD">
   <type>SHIELD</type>
   <level>1</level>
   <tip>tip_defense</tip>
   <title>Shield Overcharger</title>
   <short>Shield</short>
   <desc>Creates single Supershield barrier periodically.</desc>
   <power>3</power>
   <cooldown>15000</cooldown> <!--- cooldown for recharge, in ms -->
   <dodge>0</dodge>
   <speed>5</speed> <!--- Superficial change.. just makes it fly faster -->
   <cost>60</cost>
   <bp>2</bp>
   <droneImage>drone_shield</droneImage>
   <rarity>4</rarity>
   <iconImage>shield</iconImage>
</droneBlueprint>
Image

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