Category Archives: Fun & Games

Vega Conflict: Ship and Tech Guide, Middle Game

Tier 5: Iron Star and Demon Corps Ships and Technology.

The mid-game features the introduction of the heavy-hitters. They outclass their VSec counterparts, and paradoxically are often quicker to build and easier to mark up (which is why so many VSec ships are on the “avoid” list). ISC ships are generally more heavily-armored and durable, while DC hulls have less armor but pack more of a wallop, particularly when paired with the Infernal weapons (Gatling, Wave and Vector Torpedo) that are unique to Demon Corps.

As a general rule, ISC are better for farming and DC are better for PvP. As a general rule, you should outfit your DC ships with basic weapons (Nova/Manifold/Siege) initially, then upgrade to Infernal weapons on a piecemeal basis, as each level-III Infernal weapon takes 1-3 days to equip (exception: when you have a build discount, then you should build out as much as you possibly can).

From here on out, all of ships have high mass limits. From now on, you should only bother researching/farming the highest-caliber version of each technology (usually “III”), and don’t bother with I and II, unless you have leftover points or plan on retro-fitting them on your smaller ships.

Must-have ships:

  • Vigilante: Tough and resilient, this is the best mid-level farming Battleship in the game. Equip it with Nova Rays or Manifold missiles, and add Skirmish Armor III for best results.
  • Machete: While the stock “MaShitty” is no better than a Lance, marking up this baby gives you a shield and an extra weapon slot as well as a resistance slot. Once upgraded to Mk IV this is a very powerful and tough destroyer indeed. Siege Drivers and Binary Thrusters are best for basing, but Neutron Drivers are good all-rounders. Deflector shields are best for basing and farming.
  • Hellfire: Not as tough as the Vigilante, but far more dangerous in battle when flown with care. Pair with Infernal Weapons for added killing power.
  • Python: Since cutters are designed for close-in brawling, the ability to stay in the fight and soak up damage is paramount. If you are into cutters, this is the one. Equip with Nova Ray or Manifold Missiles, Metaphase III shielding… and as much Skirmish Armor as you can for survivability.
  • Heretic: Most high-level Cruisers have two shield slots, but not the Heretic; the designers sacrificed one of the shield slots for two extra armor slots, resulting in an incredibly tough hull. The downside is insane repair times; a fully-upgraded Mk V Heretic maxed out with Skirmish Armor III requires nearly five hours to repair, which means more than a day of repairs for a fleet.
  • Damocles: When equipped with iWaves and Iridium magnets, these are lethal against bases, and pretty good in PvP. Shame that this hull is so fragile when compared to the Machete.
  • Dominion: Far better than the Freyja, this was the primo Carrier for the better part of a year until the Paladin showed up.

Ships to avoid:

  • Basilisk: not as survivable as the Python cutter, and it is harder to mark-up.
  • Legion: A poorly-thought-out design that does not seem to have any real-world use. Part under-powered battleship, part under-powered carrier, this hull excels at neither.
  • Freyja: There is absolutely no reason to build one if you have the Dominion as the DC hull outclasses the Freyja in every way..
  • Tornado: Ostensibly the best Frigate in the game. Build them only if you love frigates, otherwise the Hurricane is good enough.

Must-have Tech:

  • Infernal weapons. Infernal Wave (iWave), Infernal Gatling(iGat) and Infernal Vector Torpedo (iVec) are amazing weapons. The downside is that they take ages to equip – up to three days for a iWave III. That’s twelve days to fully arm a Mk IV Damocles Destroyer.
  • Skirmish Armor is useful for Iron Star Hulls.
  • Armored Thrusters: Demon Corps ships have plenty of firepower, but sacrifice shielding. This helps to right that wrong.
  • Volatile Fuel is useful on battleships when using explosive weapons.

Tech to avoid:

  • Unstable Reactor: Also known as the “Suicide Drive”, this engine causes a massive explosion, equivalent to the ship’s armor when the ship is destroyed, which made it great for taking about enemy Bridges and Alien Harvesters. It was great when it first came out — particularly on Heretics, which carried an insane amount of armor and hence generated an equally insane explosion — then Kixeye nerfed it, reducing the power of the explosion… and it became a pointless waste of time:
  • Raider Squadron: High damage, but short range makes it useless as a carrier weapon.
  • Strike Shield: Recharging shields on cutters is a really bad idea unless you are really really good at micromanagement.
  • Targeting Computer: This allows battleships to engage multiple targets simultaneously. Ostensibly useful as an anti-squadron measure, it requires the battleship to be upgraded to at least Mk IV unless you want to sacrifice the engine, which is a really bad idea.
  • Electric Rails: Frigate only, Adds 40% weapon weight. Adds a stasis element. Of limited use.
  • Blister Rounds – use Volatile Fuel where possible instead.
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Vega Conflict: Ship and Tech Guide, Early Game

With the bewildering array of ships, armor, weapons and specials that are available to beginners, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start, and, more importantly, which technologies can be safely ignored. So I put together this short guide to help new players along the way. I have divided the guide into three parts. Early Game (Tier 1 to 4; Rebel/Vega/VSec), Mid-Game (Tier 5 ISC/DC) and Late-Game (Tier 6 Xeno/A.X.I.S.)

Part I: Early Game ships and Technologies

 Must-have Tech:

  • Gladius Driver (I and II) Needed for Glad Rancs
  • Fusion Thrusters (I and III): needed for all
  • Binary Thrusters: Good on Destroyers and Frigates, where the ability to strafe is of paramount importance.
  • Thermal Beam: The base-level laser weapon. Hard-hitting and to the point.
  • Hydra Missile: The best low-level explosive weapon in the game.
  • Impulse Beam II and III: The next step up from Thermal Beams, and a must-have for Insta-Broads and Cutters
  • Aurora Ray (II and III) — All round, the most versatile weapon in the early game. Only Hydra missiles are better against squadrons in the early game.
  • Metaphase Shields: The best all-round shields in the game, due to their being good against all three kinds of weapons. Put Meta I on Gladius Rancors and Impulse Broadswords. Put II on Venoms, and put III on all the big (Tier 4+) ships.
  • Siege Driver: The primo Destroyer weapon for basing in early and mid-game. Longer range than anything else in the game (only Precision Gauss Driver has longer range, but it lacks the punch that the Siege Driver delivers)
  • Vector Torpedo: Replaces Hydra missiles.
  • Burst Ray: This “Energy Shotgun” works best at close range,m which makes it a great weapon for cutters, but pretty much useless for anything else. And don’t even think about putting Burst Ray Turrets on your base.
  • Capacitive Plates: The best base armor until you unlock Talonite and Tungsten plates.
  • Armored Hold

Tech to avoid:

The following items are less useful; research them if you have to, but bear in mind that they are of limited use. The weapons are of limited use, the specials became less useful when shields were nerfed and became mess significant in the game.

  • Gemini Driver
  • Bayonet Missile
  • Brimstone Torpedo
  • Arc Missile
  • Phased Magnets
  • Spectral Warheads
  • Ionized Optics

Must-have ships:

  • Genesis: Quick to build and upgrade, this is only useful as a combat vessel in the earliest stages of the game, after which they can be refitted as cargo haulers.
  • Rancor: The early-game workhorse, and the first battleship in the game. “Glad Rancs”: with Gladius Driver I and II, Spectral shields (upgrade to Metaphase I when you can), Iridium Magnets and NO armor (for instant repair). This allows you to farm Vega and VSec up to about level 35. Can be refitted as a cargo carrier in later stages of the game.
  • Broadsword: These are are the primary low-level glass-cannon heavy hitters.Cheap to build, easy to mark up, “Impulse-Broads”: Broadsword Mk III with Impulse Beam 3&2. A fleet of these can take down TWO Artillery 37 Crafting Fleets on auto with instant repair. This is important because this is the lowest-level fleet that drops Tier-4 patterns and parts.
  • Venom: Lovely early farming ship, but don’t build too many, as they are of limited use in the later game.
  • Dread: When it first came out, it was the most powerful ship in the game. After being nerfed in the great rebalance and supplanted by the Zeal, then outclassed by both the Vigilante and Hellfire battleships, this ship has been relegated to the mid-game. It is, however, a mandatory workhorse for the acquisition of all better technologies, so this ship is a must-have. Partner with Ragnarok Carrier.
  • Lance: The primo early-game destroyer. Add recharging Repulsor shields, Binary thrusters and Siege Drivers for basing wonderfulness.
  • Taipan: Quick to build and easy to mark-up, the “Tai-Spam” is an excellent idea for covering fleets, harassing enemies, and generally causing mayhem.. Equip it with Manifold Missiles or Nova Rays for best results.
  • Gharial: Tougher than the Taipan, and more versatile. More of the same.
  • Midgard:Not much use as a combat carrier, the Midgard comes equipped with the same Agility Support Field as the Ragnarok, but in a hull that only takes half the time to build and repair.
  • Ragnarok: Generally regarded as the best all-round Carrier in the early game due to its agility Support Field as well as long-range drones. The Midgard has the same field, but only half the drone range. This ship is the difference between grinding your way through events to taking down high-level fleets for big points. Partner with Dread Battleships.
  • Revelation and Apocrypha: Two excellent dual-shield workhorses, best used as tanks.

Ships to avoid:

Exodus, Trident, Corinthian, Fury, Zeal, Nexus, Rapture, Komodo, Valhalla, Valkyrie. Nothing wrong with these ships, but there are often better alternatives available, or they can be skipped. Research them if you must, build only what you need to. VEGA ships are generally almost as capable as their VSec counterparts, but are far easier to mark up. And in many case their  Tier-5 equivalents ships take about the same time to build.
This article is an excerpt from the forthcoming update to my Game Guide, over a hundred and ninety pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $3.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!
Part II: Mid-Game (Tier 5 ISC/DC) Coming soon!

Interstellar Pilot: Getting Started

Before starting a game proper, it is highly recommended that you do the tutorials. While woefully inadequate, they are a good starting point to learn the basics.

The next port of call is to do some combat missions. Even if you are conflict-averse, it is inevitable that you will encounter unfriendlies from time to time, so it is good to know how to handle your ship and weapons. These can be found in “Instant Action”, but a better choice is “New Game/Battles”, which will give you a progression of battles against increasingly stronger opponents, with better ships and weapons.

Once you has mastered the basics, It is finally time to enter the game proper.

Selecting “Universe”, then selecting one of the two options, gives you a bunch of options:

If you want to make some money,”Merchant” is the best start, as it gives you a Hauler-A with a 65-ton Cargo Hold and the largest possible amount of money – 10,000 credits. But to get you started, it is a good idea to raise as much extra cash as you can by selling the extras on your ship that you can do without:

  • You begin outside of Gatopea Station. Dock there, select “Equipment”, and sell your Countermeasures, Mines, and all your weapons.
  • Select “Trade” and sell any mines and ECM that you may have in the hold (this is a peaceful sector, and you’ll be upgrading soon enough).
  • Select “Sector Intel, on the right hand menu. This will give you information on every station in the sector, including those all-important commodity prices.

Trading is not difficult to do manually, but It is easiest if you do it on autopilot.

  • Select Orders/Special/Trade and allow your ship to trade on autopilot until your fortune rises to about 20,000 at it’s lowest (when your hold is full). This should take about fifteen minutes.
  • Dock at a nearby Military Outpost, and install the best engine you can afford (Frigate Engine 16.0). This will raise your max speed from 24 to 31, speeding up your trading operations markedly.  The engine upgrade does not cost all that much, but you will need money in the bank to finance your trading operations.
  • Set your ship to trading again. Once you have enough money, dock at a military outpost and buy a Cloaking Device – the Mk I will do; the only real difference between the cloaking devices is the amount of time they take to cloak and decloak.
  • Select Orders/Fleet Settings/prefer to cloak. This will cause your ship to cloak while in flight between stations. Then select Stance, and uncheck both checkboxes and set the slider to zero. Now your ship will avoid engaging enemy ships.
  • Select “Orders/Special/Trade” to send it on its way.

Let it trade for a while, and watch your fortune grow…

Astronest Review

While playing Vega Conflict, I saw an ad for another game – the oddly-named “Astronest: The Beginning“. That was before the brains behind Vega Conflict stopped offering coins in return for watching ads.. but that is another story.

I gave the game a whirl, and was delightfully surprised. While the initial concept looks similar to Vega Conflict, the execution is far different. For one thing, building ships and research are instantaneous, but use up a number of turns (called Access Points or AP), which accumulate over time. The player’s AP limit depends on the level of their “nation”.

Your Nation is a collection of colonized planets, Heroes (people that you recruit) and fleets. Each planet has facilities that generate Gold, Minerals, Research, Energy, Fleet Production and Cosments. Each facility can be upgraded for the requisite amounts of AP, Gold and Minerals. Upgrades are instantaneous, but AP takes time to accumulate, which amounts to the same thing. There is also one other currency – crystals – that cannot be mined, but may be received as a reward for missions or purchased.

Each planet may have a Minister – one of your heroes whose Governing skill gives the planet a bonus. Other heroes can be assigned to fleets (Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships or Motherships). A planet can be operated without a Minister, but a fleet cannot go into battle without a commander. All heroes level up with experience.

The Good: Compliments

  • Boots fast – under twenty seconds, far quicker than Vega Conflict or Star trek timelines.
  • Runs on lower-end hardware than VC, and does not require a persistent internet connection.

The Bad: Criticisms

  • The game does a good job of explaining the basics of combat, but leaves the player floundering when it comes to Trons, training, LDs, cosments, colonizing other planets and lots of other stuff.
  • All of the female heroes (heroines?) are slim and pretty. I am not sure how I feel about this. I despise political correctness as much as anyone, but when you say “female head of a planetary government”, I think Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel or Madelaine Albright, not some gorgeous Blonde babe. Having said that, I do not want to see old, unattractive women introduced to the game for the sake of political correctness, but at the same time I don’t want to see people who don’t look the part. There are some who may consider that attitude sexist; I don’t care – and that will be reflected in my purchasing decisions.
screenshot_2016-12-29-07-34-07Hi. I’m Kayla. You can like, take me to bed, or, like, put me in charge of your planet. Like.
  • On a similar note, half of the men look effeminate or gay. These are the less experienced officers. The other half, the most experienced S-class heroes – have the mature, grizzled look that one would normally associate with experienced fleet commanders.
screenshot_2016-12-29-09-51-04My Gaydar is going off. And the guy in the middle looks like George Lucas.

The Ugly: Errors, mistakes, and Bugs

  • Poor Grammar: e.g.: when fitting out a fleet, it says “Equipping” instead of “Equipped”.
  • Spelling errors: Nuff said:

 

screenshot_2016-12-29-11-59-28This. Should. Not. Happen.
  • In the Heroes screen, a Planetary Governor is erroneously described as a Fleet Commander.

Bottom line: A highly enjoyable game that I will continue playing, at least for the foreseeable future. Whether it will supplant Vega Conflict is yet to be seen.

Vega Conflict – Alien Invasion

No folks, this is not yet another screed about Illegals crossing our southern border, rather a new quasi-faction in the game. They are not a true faction, as you cannot build any alien ships, nor is this expected at the current time.

  • The Aliens first appeared in the “Incursion” event in September 2016. They were a total surprise, and were completely unexpected.
  • Unstable (one-way) wormholes appeared in every sector, and started disgorging alien fleets at regular intervals. These fleets would then head to regular wormholes and disappear.
  • Initially they would aggressively pursue and attack rebel fleets within ten levels of their own.
  • They initially came in Level 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 variants.
  • After a couple of months, they modified their attack strategy to only pursue fleets in extra-solar space (i.e., they would not attack within solar systems).
  • Soon after that, Level 40 and 45 variants started to appear, and it became possible for two players to engage one alien fleet
  • Only alliance members and players you have designated as “friendly” may assist in engaging an alien fleet.
  • As well as loot or intel, destroying an alien fleet yields “unknown objects”, which remain in the player’s inventory. Nobody knows what they are or what they are for.
alien-hunting

Hunting for Aliens with my good buddy Crescent Wind

Rules of engagement

  • An alien fleet typically consists of three carriers known as hives; usually one heavy and two light.
  • They launch waves of drones at the player fleet. Originally armed with beam weapons, these drones are currently a mixture of beam and explosive weapons.
  • Originally, the three carriers would spawn in different corners of the battlefield. Later variants spawned together, and later still they arrived in a tight formation, which made is difficult to engage them individually.
aliens2

When the going gets tough…

Battle tactics

  • Initially, Aurora rays did high damage to the aliens, but as they modified their weapons and tactics, explosive weapons, such as Creeper torpedoes with Volatile Fuel, became more effective. Currently the most effective weapon is the Manifold missile.
  • Current combat wisdom is to use a heavy carrier such as Ragnarok, Valkyrie or Valhalla. Freyja works too, but has lower range.
  • The carrier has to be protected. Heavy cruisers work well, but battleships appear to be best. Battleships in line formation protect each other and have the double-broadside ability to engage enemies on both sides simultaneously.
  • When using battleships, they may be arranged in a line in front of the carrier, or the carrier may be in the middle of the line.
  • Keep your ships in tight formation for mutual support; any ship that gets out of formation will be targeted and swiftly killed by the alien drones. “the nail that sticks out gets hammered”.
  • If you group them together they will all move and turn at the same rate.
  • When playing co-up, keep carriers together to double the damage.
  • The initial maneuver should be diagonally off to one side, in order to engage one of the hives while minimizing exposure to the other two.
  • You get the same number of points whether you engage a fleet solo or co-op with another player. However, two fleets deal out more damage than one, and take less damage. So co-op is generally better.
  • Successful co-op engagements yield two “corpses” of resources, each of which may be freed up by one of the players.

This article is an excerpt from my recently-updated Game Guide, over a hundred and sixty pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $3.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!

Boldly Going… Nowhere.

I recently stumbled across a game called “Star Trek: Timelines:

Thanks to Q’s intervention, you have access to characters from all Star Trek series, from Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the original series, to Archer, Tucker, Reed and Maywether of “Enterprise”. It is an RPG, which means you have to equip and upgrade characters, as well as upgrading your ship. Upgrades and items can be earned by performing different types of missions, or they can be purchased at the time portal.

Unfortunately, this excellent idea was killed by a nasty, ugly little problem.

Star Trek Timelines Error
This error message makes it impossible to progress beyond “The Mad Vedek”, so my Captain is stuck at Level 9.

When I reported this problem to support, I got the following reply:

I’m sorry for this inconvenience in your gaming experience. We are aware of this issue and our technical team is working on a resolution.

In the meantime, I have added 100 Chronitons to your account to replay lost mission.

Again, thank you for reporting this and appreciate your patience as we resolve the issue.

That was two weeks ago. In spite of an upgrade of the client, There has been no resolution of this matter. This is unacceptable.

I’m done with this game

Vega Conflict – What’s Wrong, and How to Fix it

Five things Kixeye can do to fix the game

  1. Quit playing silly buggers with Core Boxes. I just defeated a Level 45 fleet, and the Tier-4 Core box that it dropped contained a Tier-2 Core. We are sick of hitting powerful fleets and getting pitiful cores. It is bad enough not knowing whether you will be getting a Carrier, Battleship, Destroyer, Frigate, Cruiser or Cutter Core without also having to deal with the frustration of three difference tiers as well.
  2. Add a Refit Bay. Currently, all ship fittings and refits are handled by the Ship Factory, which also builds ships. So once you have started building a carrier you cannot refit any ship for a week, This is ridiculous. Allow users to add a Refit bay that does refits only. Kixeye’s excuse is that this would change the balance of the game. I say BULL — you had no problem rebalancing up the game when it served your purposes. Adjust build and refit times if you can, but do this. Most of us would pay 1000 coins to build and refit separately, do this and consider it a bargain.
  3. Pick on someone your own size. The game was originally designed so that you could only engage fleets whose level is within five fleets within yours, with the gloves coming off at 35. Since then we have seen Carriers, Cutters, Iron Star, Marked-up ships and player fleets approaching level 60. It is no fun watching your Level-35 farming fleet cut to pieces by a vastly superior enemy fleet of Cutters (pun intended). This artificial limitation has resulted in players finding creative ways to keep their fleets under level 35. Simply extending fleet handicapping all the way up will solve this problem at a stroke.
  4. Are you sure? When I asked Kixeye to add a confirmation before a big coin spend, I was sent away with a flea in my ear. Since then, in spite of many promotions and offers, I have not put a penny into this game, even though I would like to. This is the main reason why I will not spend money on this game; it is too easy to waste it accidentally — and no, Kixeye, a “one-time courtesy” along with an exhortation to be cautious is simply not good enough.
  5. What about ship parts? Patterns can be converted into cores in the scrapyard, Cores can be fused into higher cores, Armaments can be used on any ship of that faction, but parts for ships you aren’t interested in building are useless. Give us some way to convert ship parts into something that we can use.

Every one of these changes is easier than the still-ongoing “Great Rebalance” that has caused so much consternation and heartache among the players.

Vega Conflict – More Changes

The (build) times, they are a-changin’

Not content with having ruined a beautiful game, The good folks at Kixeye are making more changes; this time to ship build times. In this case, however, the change is both necessary and good.

It is necessary because the recent changes have made some ships (Such as the Taipan cutter and marked-up ISC hulls) more useful and others (Such as the Nexus Destroyer) less, and this usefulness should be reflected in build times. In addition, there is a new Faction – Vega Demon Corps – coming in  to the game, and room must be made for them.

It is good because the vast majority of the build times are coming down. These are shown in green in the table below.

VC New Build Times

Those in red are the ones whose build times will be getting longer. The biggest loser is the Heretic Cruiser, which will take about 55 hours longer to build once this change rolls in. Other losers include Taipan and Python Cutters, Genesis and Exodus Cruisers, and the Hurricane Frigate (whose figure is wrong, but you get the picture).

Note that Fitment installation times are not changing, so my advice is to build as many naked hulls of the ships shown in red as you can. I am building as many Heretics as I can before this change takes effect (probably at the beginning of July).

Vega Conflict: Flying in Formation

Every fleet has a variety of formations that can be employed. These formations can make the difference between victory and defeat in battle. Three are available at the start of the game:

BoxWedgeLine

  • Box – Useful in situations where you are protecting three “heavy hitters” (usually destroyers or battleships).
  • Wedge – This is the original, and for some years, the only – formation available. Best used when doing a straight-in charge at a specific objective, such as a carrier. For best results, put your heaviest-shielded – and most expendable – ship in front.
  • Line – Used when basing using destroyers, anti-carrier assaults using cutters, and also when using battleships may then be turned to form a wall.

In addition, there are three additional formations that can be unlocked by obtaining blueprints:

ChicaneConvoyPentagon

  • Chicane – This formation is unlocked with blueprints gained from Vega 27, 30 and 33 fleets. It is comprised of one ship (#1) front and center with a line of five ships behind. This is useful mainly against AI-controlled fleets. The #1 ship acts as a decoy, drawing enemy fire. Its forward position will attract the attention (“aggro”) of all enemies. The others are lined up in a wall to engage the enemy simultaneously, to draw fire. This formation is particularly useful with Cutter fleets; when engaging a Carrier, the cutters in the back will protect the front-runner, which absorbs the vast majority of the Carrier’s drone firepower; the #1 ship will take most of the damage, while the rest will arrive at the carrier largely unscathed.
  • Convoy – This formation, which is unlocked by getting blueprints from Vega 20, 23 and 25 fleets, effectively divides your fleet into two squads of three each.
  • Pentagon – This formation is unlocked by farming VSec 30, 33 and 35 fleets, and places your most important asset – usually a Flagship – in a protective circle. This is most useful if you have one high-value ship that must be protected from attack from any direction. So far, it has proved to be of limited usefulness.

Finally, there are a few additional formations that can be purchased from Larus in the Black Market using Blood Amber or coins.

Double EchelonIron BlockadeEnclavePrism

  • Loyal Battalion – This formation is an inversion of Chicane, with a line of five ships in front, with one ship – usually a Flagship – In the back, safely out of harm’s way.
  • Double Echelon – This V-shaped formation is used mainly by battleships, to bring maximum firepower with the potential for flanking maneuvers.
  • Iron Blockade – This inverted wedge formation is incredibly useful with Carrier/Battleship fleets. Put the Carrier in the #6 position and arrange the Battleships in front. At the beginning of the battle, move the #4 battleship forward so it is between #1 and #2, and move #5 forward between #2 and #3. The result is a closely-clustered line of Battleships that can lay down some seriously concentrated fire. Recommended for farming high-level VEGA and VSec fleets, but not recommended when going up with enemies equipped with ECHO Rays, as the proximity of your ships will then become a liability.Enclave – Similar to Double Echelon, but with a wider stance.
  • Prism – This is a new formation that has not been extensively battle-tested.

This article is an excerpt from my Game Guide, over a hundred pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $2.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!

 

Kixeye, What are you smoking?

A few days ago, Kixeye rolled out the first part of “The Great Re-balance”, (See forum posts Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Discussion), a set of changes to Vega Conflict aimed at making the game more fair, more fun and more fabulous. It says here.

So far, it has been an absolute bloody disaster. Why do I say that? Because since they made the changes I have pretty much stopped playing the game. I log in once or twice a day to keep upgrades and refits rolling along, but I have not taken my fleets into battle. The latest RIOT (currently ongoing) is the quietest one I have ever seen. Definitely not a good sign.

Not all of the changes have been bad, some have been quite useful, but on balance there is more bad than good.

  • Damage model changes: Before the rebalance, every item on the ship contributed to the repair time. Better thrusters, specials, armor and shields all pushed up repair time. This meant that a properly-configured Genesis Cruiser could be repaired in under five minutes, which made it a “free repair”. this led to the widespread use of “Insta-Gens” in farming fleets and spam fleets (players harassing other players with cheap insta-Gen fleets). After the rebalance, only hull, armor and shields matter. The first two made perfect sense, but shields? Those recharge between battles; why should they need “repairing”? As a result of this change, the repair time of insta-Gens went from five minutes to over half an hour. While it was good to get rid of Insta-Gens, thirty minutes is excessive.
  • Reduction of Shield Effectiveness: In particular, The Shockwave shield and the Metaphase Shield – two of the best shields in the game – are to have their shield capacities reduced significantly. This is a kick in the face for those who worked through an Event or a RIOT in order to unlock the Metaphase Shield, only to have  it “nerfed” (reduced in effectiveness).
  • Speed Normalization: One of the upcoming changes in the rebalance is that all ships of a certain class have now been “standardized” to the same speed. All Battleships will have the same speed. All Cruisers will have the same speed. All Frigates will have the same speed. Given that many ships (Destiny, Apocrypha and Rapture Cruisers spring to mind) were unlocked and built specifically because of their additional speed, this makes no sense, and it robs the game of much of its diversity. Without the extra speed, there is no point in unlocking and building those ships.
  • Faction Tiering: One new development is that there is now going to be a hierarchy among the factions. In the past, Different ships from different factions had different strengths and weaknesses. Now, the Rebel Ships will be the least-powerful, VEGA will be better, Vega Security (VSec) better still, and the Iron Star Company (ISC) ships will be the best of all. In the past, very few people built ISC hulls, as mark-upgrades for them have not yet been made available. Now those who built other ships will find that they have been left out in the cold. Gee, thanks, Kixeye!
  • Ship Mass Changes: The maximum mass of some ships is being reduced. In particular, the Dread Battleship – which I spent an entire weekend farming to unlock, and nearly two months building four of them – will have its maximum mass, and therefore its firepower, reduced by about a third, thus rendering it useless for the purpose for which it was built.
  • Fleet Bay XI: The Fleet Bay will now be upgradable to level XI. This is the only part of the rebalance that has my unequivocal support… though it would have been better if they had left things as they were and just increased the maximum fleet mass for level X.

Here’s what I would have done.

  • Damage to Hull+Armor ONLY. “charging” us repair time for shielding is ridiculous. Failing that, reduce the shielding “repair cost” to a fraction (a quarter or a fifth) of its current value.
  • Reduce Insta-Gen repair times to 10 minutes. That would be enough to put those annoying spam fleets out of business while still allowing their use for farming.
  • Do not Nerf the Dread Battleship, instead, buff the Zeal and Vigilante. they take longer to build, so they should be better ships.
  • If you are going to nerf a ship, offer an upgrade to a better one. For instance, If you nerf the Dread, offer players a free upgrade to a Zeal or Vigilante battleship. Failing that, at the very least, offer a Free refit for *every* ship whos behavior has been changed by the rebalance.
  • Change Ship Factory to build naked hulls and add Refit Bay. It is ridiculous to be unable to change the hull plating on a ship for two weeks because you just started building a big ship. Adjust ship build times upwards if necessary.
  • Increase Fleet Mass limit for Fleet Bay X. There is no need to make us wait for weeks for the Fleet Bay XI upgrade… unless you are hoping that some players will coin it.
  • Do something about the idiotic and unproductive Crafting System. I would get rid of it entirely and replace it with Black Market Upgrades like we used to have, but that’s not going to happen. Failing that, re-enabling conversion of patterns into cores would be a start. Then implement some way to turn unwanted parts into useful ones.
  • Speaking of the Black Market, can we have some useful stuff? For instance Generic Patterns or cores that can be used in the crafting of *any* ship.
  • Extend the five-level handicapping system all the way. Having your level-35 fleet or base flattened by a level-54 fleet is no fun at all.
  • Fix the game so that flagship (“Carrier”) fleets cannot engage non-flagship fleets.

Above all else, find new and innovative ways to delight the players – not piss them off!