Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

General discussion about the game.
chanman
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:04 am

Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby chanman » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:25 am

What is everyone favoring in terms of armament?

I'm finding myself to be biased very heavily towards burst laser weapons.

Simply put, in FTL there's no substitute for quantity. Against high dodge rate opponents, more shots simply means more chances to hit. Missiles and bombs only get one chance to hit, and use ammunition as well as require a fair amount of power. Missiles are also largely mitigated by defense drones. Even though defense drone IIs can shoot down lasers, they still have trouble stopping more than one shot in a well-timed volley.

Against shielded opponents, simultaneous shots can drill through shielding - each shield bar stops one laser shot, regardless of whether the laser is burst, hull smasher, or heavy. Beam weapons demand total shield depletion to do any damage, and without knocking the system down or substantial system damage, it can be quite hard to get get full damage from some of the longer-duration beams.

Among the burst lasers, the Burst Laser II is my preferred weapon. It's encountered more frequently than the Burst Laser III and is more efficient than either the Burst Laser I or III

Basic Laser: 1 bar power, 1 shot (Does not seem to be available for purchase)
Dual Lasers: 1 bar power, 2 shot (Does not seem to be available for purchase)
Burst Laser I: 2 bars power, 2 shots
Burst Laser II: 2 bars power, 3 shots
Burst Laser III: 4 bars power, 5 shots

The other limiting factor is that it seems that all ships have the same hard limits - 25 bars of power and 8 bars of power to the weapon systems. On a 4 weapon ship like the Kestrel or Osprey, that averages out to two bars of power per weapon. Hogging up 4 bars with a single weapon leaves capacity for one two-bar and two one-bar weapon.

On a 3 weapon ship like the Torus or Nesasio, the Burst Laser III is a better fit, but it's still hard to come by. All three times I've finished the game so far, I've had burst lasers on my ship. I can only be lukewarm about anti-hull weapons like hull smasher lasers or beams - my aim is always to disable my enemy's weapons/drone control (and if they are trying to flee, their engines). After that, I can destroy them at my leisure. What's been working for you guys?
Last edited by chanman on Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gomisan
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:29 pm

Re: Non-burst laser weapons

Postby Gomisan » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:49 am

I've been putting together a spreadsheet with a rough dmg/min calculator, and the Burst II really does hit the sweet spot. Which is GOOD, it's important to have non-nerfed weapons, if they were all equal it would be pretty boring.

Like you said, different ships have different requirements, and if I had a 2 weapon slot ship I probably would hold out for higher damage, but being able to knock down shields with the Burst II is one of my main strategies.

My biggest complaint is how long shields stay down for, no where near long enough! It makes beam weapons almost useless.

As for the original topic title... there are a couple of 1 shot lasers, but I think they're a little underpowered. IMHO they should be quite quick to recharge, and quite powerful. They dont have the same shield negating prowess, so using them takes a bit more concentration and timing. I'd liek to see soemthing like a 1 shot, 12 sec recharge, 4 dmg laser. Something capable of doing almost 20 points of damage a minute, IF used right. Perhaps with very low effect on shields, maybe none.
Nox
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:31 am

Re: Non-burst laser weapons

Postby Nox » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:03 am

Don't think you're really seeing it.

The problem IMO is the extremely limited accessibility of speciality weapons and the randomness and contextual and situational usefulness.

A pair of Burst III's would be perfect for the first two slots in a 4 slot ship, heaving you with one set of situationally useful weapons. In the second two slots you could then put a pair of 2-power weapons to use with a burst laser combo - but chances are you'll find 1 of the weapons you want.

The problem as I see it, is that all you can really count on is getting a variety of 2/3-power laser weapons. Sometimes you'll get hull smashers I and II, sometimes heavy laser I/II, and sometimes you'll get burst I/II, but you can pretty much count on a random mix of those. Because of that overwhemling statistical likelihood, you are much wiser planning on a 3/2/2/1 power arrangement or 3/2/3/<spare>

I have never seen a single burst III in any game I have ever played. That said, the likelihood of finding two in a game is basically nil. Hence, no design or plan can really be formulated around what weapons one intends to get. The player's actions have zero impact on that distribution, which is one of the weak points of FTL.

Also don't discount the hull smasher 2 laser. I had a game with 2 hull smasher 2's and a burst II, and really I was tearing things completely down. 12 damage a round means that the combat is over in 2 volleys.
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chanman
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:04 am

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby chanman » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:15 am

Changed the thread title to more accurately reflect content.

As I see it, weapons that don't bypass shields must either be able to deplete them or have another weapon deplete the shields for them.

In theory, Hull Smasher II does everything Burst Laser II can, but with double damage on empty rooms. In practice, those are rooms I never shoot since job 1 is to damage enemy systems and impede their effectiveness immediately. As a result, it just uses more power consumption for no benefit.

Also in theory, you can pound shields down with ion weapons, then carve up the unshielded ship with beams. In practice, ion weapons often leave some shield remaining, or one bar recharges, or something and you end up wasting a beam shot (and they tend to have long charge times to boot).

A pair of Burst Laser IIIs would actually consume your entire power allotment. Whatever goes into slot 3 or 4 would not be usable unless you powered down one of the burst lasers.

I'm just finding the effectiveness of Burst Lasers in general tends to trump more exotic weapons that you might come across. Even a quartet of Burst Laser I will give you 8 coordinated shots at 8 power, and they're some of the most commonly encountered/salvaged/offered weapons. I think I've only managed 4 Burst Laser IIs once, but if you start with the Kestrel, you already have one set, and finding a second is quite possible, and even a third isn't out of the question.

I think what I'm trying to get at is that Burst Lasers trump all other weapon categories for general usability, and the Burst II is the pick of the lot among the Burst Lasers.

The Dual Lasers is actually more efficient than the Burst Laser, but it doesn't seem to be a purchasable item.

As an amusing note, because of the weapons, the Osprey looks less like an advanced cruiser and more like the old mothballed refit, while the Kestrel looks more like the line ship with its more modern weapons.
looptop
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:41 am

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby looptop » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:41 am

The Burst Laser mk2 is great. But dont discount beams, they are awesome if you have a means of getting shields down and keep them down.
Also a Halberd beam that does 2 damage per room will do 1 damage per room if 1 shield bar is up. The Glaive beam will in do 2 damage per room if 1 shield bar is up.
An Ion Blast mk2 or 2 mk1s and one of the more powerful beams are great if you have an additional weapon to bring down shields. The ion blasts will keep the shield down for longer which is great when using drones.
My quickest bossfight to date was with the torus equipped with ion blast mk2, burst laser mk2, halberd beam and 2 anti ship drones. Before the last boss phase I switched out the beam for a pegasus missile.
barelyhomosapien
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:47 am

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby barelyhomosapien » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:23 am

I really like Ion weapons, two ion weapons on a shield stack up their disabling effects to the point that once the enemy shield is down, you can keep it down with one of the ions and use the other to disable weapons/drones/whatever. In fact even if you stop targetting the shields, when one disable effect ends and the shield recharges, when the next ion shot hits the raised shields it'll disable them again.

The Ion blast, which is actually quite rapid firing will get even a tough shield down fairly quickly due to the stacking disable.

Using an Ion Blast + an Ion 2 with a heavy laser 1 and a boarding party put paid to every encounter I came across including the final boss.
temporal
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:44 pm

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby temporal » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:35 pm

IMO I will take 3 Burst Laser II's over just about any other combo. That's pretty ideal.

I agree about the hull weapons... very win-more. I feel the same way about most beam weapons as well.

Heavy lasers don't have quite the shield smashing capability per power, so I only use them when they're all that's available.
Muramas
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:54 pm

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby Muramas » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:14 pm

Another thing to think about is weapon CD. If you take a ship like the osprey which has 4 simple lasers and swapped one out for a Burst Laser 1, I often find that its less useful that a boost in damage. What happens is that the BurL1 takes more time to charge and gets out of sync with the BasL which means that you often have to wait a whole volly before it will be able to shoot again in sync and takes a lot of macro management. Its usually not worth putting the BurL1 on until you get two of them.

Also I found some weapons such as the hull smasher and Ion have different projectile speeds and you need to adjust when things fire as well.

I don't quite understand why beam weapons don't reduce the shield by one because unless you get a lot of good BurL to knock down the shield the lasers often sit around waiting and the drones have it worse.
aviphysics
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby aviphysics » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:45 pm

looptop wrote:The Burst Laser mk2 is great. But dont discount beams, they are awesome if you have a means of getting shields down and keep them down.
Also a Halberd beam that does 2 damage per room will do 1 damage per room if 1 shield bar is up. The Glaive beam will in do 2 damage per room if 1 shield bar is up.
An Ion Blast mk2 or 2 mk1s and one of the more powerful beams are great if you have an additional weapon to bring down shields. The ion blasts will keep the shield down for longer which is great when using drones.
My quickest bossfight to date was with the torus equipped with ion blast mk2, burst laser mk2, halberd beam and 2 anti ship drones. Before the last boss phase I switched out the beam for a pegasus missile.


Basically this, but with the addition that you shouldn't discount missiles either. Just remember to fire your missiles together against ships with defense drones and be wise about targeting the correct system first.

Hitting with beams is easy if you just wait for all your weapons to charge (preferably while cloaked), fire the lasers first, as soon as the shields go down pause the game and line up your beam. Normally the shields will stay down long enough for the beam to finish. Generally I start with the shield room, if I can, and send a boarding party to prevent repairs.

My best game yet was using the stealth ship with a Glaive, dual laser, burst laser, pre-ignitor and stealth weapons. I got the Glaive in a lucky weapon drop very early. The combo was good enough that the game actually got kind of boring. The Glaive can easily do 12 damage to most ship layouts. On at least one ship you can get 15.

The fire beam I have had almost no luck with. The enemy will almost always put out the fire before it can spread, unless I have a boarding crew to distract them. It then takes forever to actually knockout a system. It is really only useful if you have already overpowered the enemy.
barelyhomosapien
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:47 am

Re: Weapons choices and trade offs or <3 Burst Laser II

Postby barelyhomosapien » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:42 am

aviphysics wrote:The fire beam I have had almost no luck with. The enemy will almost always put out the fire before it can spread, unless I have a boarding crew to distract them. It then takes forever to actually knockout a system. It is really only useful if you have already overpowered the enemy.


The fire beam (and likely bombs as well, not had a chance to play with them though I think they do crew damage as well) is quite situational. If you're fighting a mantis, or one of the smaller ships that have isolated systems then the fires are quite helpful But against more populated or crewed ships all it does is distract.

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