Luck/Skill Balance

General discussion about the game.
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Luck/Skill Balance

Postby Gimboid » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:58 pm

I wanted to ask an open question from the other beta testers about their current opinion on the balance between the skill and luck factor?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the game the addition of augmentations for example since the Alpha is cool and an another fun way to modify your ship but...

With so many different types of crew, modules, supplies, drones and augmentations, it seems like its impossible for the most part to try and build a ship the way you want as you progress, I think there's a little too much of a luck factor involved with the limited number of sectors you get to progress before being pitted against the boss.

With each station alternating between what it sells, and for example (just using augmentations since I already brought them up), you have to get lucky to find a station, you have to be lucky that its a station that sell augmentations, you have to be lucky that of the three it lists, it has the one you want and of course... you have to have enough scrap to afford it.

Suggestions would either be to make things more available (to make ship configuration more about choice than luck)... what do you guys think?
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby VladePsyker » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:20 pm

imho less random would makes things far too easy as you'd get exactly what you needed every time. I enjoy having to make do with what I can get on the fly.

as the devs have said half the fun is losing
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby Nori » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:29 pm

It is tough to say as the games are rather short to begin with... Currently though I feel like there is too few sectors to the end game. I never feel strong enough towards the end because I just don't get enough scrap....

Anyway, as to what you asked. I personally think the drop rate for weapons and equipment should be higher; you only get four storage slots, so its not like you will be getting a ton of extra scrap unless you get lucky with stores being around a lot. I rarely get something useful and most often have to buy things, which comes to your point about getting lucky with stores.

Maybe the issue isn't as much with the stores having the right stuff as it is with three other points. One, the player not being flexible in his/her spaceship build (ie. not wanting to switch to drones for instance), two, changing your build is prohibitively expensive if you get a ways into the game. Lastly point three is some ships are skewed towards a certain play type. The Kestral is primarily a weapons ship, with reasonable drone ability...

As far as point two, you could be playing and wanting to go for weapons. It is going well for the first few sectors but then you get bad store options and all your drops are drones. What do you do? Spend hundreds of scrap on getting a drone system and upgrading it? Or pray that you find a store with the weapons you need...

But given that the game is supposed to be hard and the fact that the game is short I don't know if they are really problems or not. You know that picking the Tarus that you will need drone drops/stores. If you get lucky great, if not I guess you restart...
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby Sacred » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:30 pm

I think it could use more items so it'd take more luck actually, if it was real life you wouldn't yell out into space "I need a repair arm" and have one hit the hull of your ship.
You can knock yourself out for all I care
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby temporal » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:45 pm

I think the difficulty is about right for a rogue-like. Maybe even a little too easy. I've played many hundreds of Nethack games and I've only won 10.

If it's too easy to win, where's the replay value?

That said, it does feel a little short. My ship is usually just starting to shape up by the time I hit the end-game. I often feel like if I had just *one* more sector I could finish my build. I think this is intentional, you're supposed to feel like you're taking a scrappy bucket of bolts up against a beastly flagship.

Still, I'd rather have more sectors but slower power progression to keep the endgame on about the same difficulty.

I second the more variety in items suggestion, though.
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby Lambchops » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:42 pm

I think the luck/skill balance is pretty good. There's plenty of tactics to figure out that give you a sense that you are getting better at the game all the time and closer to defeating that pesky boss but there's enough different items and events that it prevents you from relying on the same old tactics time and again by forcing you to work with what you've got. Every game with randomness like this is going to throw up a few particularly unfair unwinnables now and again but as long as they stay in the vast minority then it's fine.

I've only unlocked the Torus so far and haven't played with it much yet so I can't say how the balance works out when the ship is particularly skewed towards a certain play style, it might well be that the drops are more frustrating but I guess by that stage you may be wanting a new challenge and as such it extends longevity.

As for a wider item variety, I partially agree but it's definitely something that needs to be done carefully. Don't know if you guys have played Binding of Isaac but I've found it far less enjoyable since the new DLC. Maybe I'd just finally reached saturation point (I'd played the original release a lot and almost 100%'ed it) but I was finding it less enjoyable and I think that may well just be down to the fact that the game had too many items and was just getting bloated and perhaps losing a bit of the tightness in balance it had.
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby ThePsuedoMonkey » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:59 pm

Hold the phone: you can win at rogue-likes? :shock:
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby TenLetters » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:48 pm

I think not being able to make your perfect ship every time is how it should be. The game I'm playing right now, while I wanted a missile weapon I haven't found any. I adjusted my expectations and started picking up other weapons instead of holding out for the perfect missile.
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby Battlemage15 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:22 pm

I honestly don't think item drops and luck vs. skill are the problem. in 80% of my games, I've made it to part 2 of the boss. To me, the problem with the game is all the rules you have been playing by throughout the game are thrown out the window by the final sector and the boss.


The Boss breaks many the rules and does so in ways that most builds simply cannot cope with. Strategies that work on one phase are next to useless on another. The 'Death Blossom' attacks on phase 2 and 3 can rarely be defended against even with max shields and a maxed cloaker. The Overshield negates the two mantis boarding crew to the missile launcher (or the teleporting bombs), allowing it to make a real pest of itself.

Meanwhile, the unavoidable damage is constantly chipping at you AND if the wrong system is hit (read - most of them) you are DONE.

Honestly, I think the boss just needs to be toned down. Fewer shots on the final laser attack and fewer drones on the phase two attack. Or make the Oversheild a one-time deal that, once down, stays down. In all my games, I beat the boss once and it was PURE LUCK (three blaster laser II, two mantis boarding party, maxed engines, shields 4 and never took a hit on weapons once).
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Re: Luck/Skill Balance

Postby dojo » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:25 pm

Of course there is a saying that the first casualty of any battle is the "plan", and I think that might be what they are trying to capture in FTL. Granted that I think luck of the draw needs some refinment to say the least. It sure is exciting to jump into an asteroid field then straight into a solar flare then next though. If you weren't doing everything you can just to keep the ship together it wouldn't be much fun. If only I could get enough scrap together to bust out a pair of pikes... :)

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