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Un-balancing Orion advantage?
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Predator06
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 71
Location: WV, OH, KY tri state region.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: Un-balancing Orion advantage? Reply with quote

First off, some times (quite rarely, but it has happened before) people have been known to make the mistake of thinking I am being sarcastic or Condescending when I write. Please don’t make that assumption here, as I promise it’s not my intent. (This hasn’t happened on this sight yet, And I hope it wont.)

While Examining the fighter rules I noticed something.

Orion Pirate Ships actually have a Very Un-fair advantage over every other race in the game. (so I Believe)

The whole “stealth bonus” in SFB really wasn’t that big of a deal, because with the ECM/ECCM rules, there were plenty of options to try to generate a shift to counter it.

But with the elimination of the ECM/ECCM rules all together, there is now no way
At all to electronically counter that shift. Which makes it a potentially very powerful
Advantage. And with races having full knowledge of all other races technology at all times, (as described in the game itself) it just Makes sense that other races would either try to Emulate or find a way to counter such a powerful advantage.

Now you are probably thinking that a simple +1 shift is not really all that big of an advantage. And it actually isn’t that big of an advantage all by itself. It’s when it’s combined with other things that I feel it becomes unbalancing.

For example. An Orion CA with a Stealth bonus of +1, Using Erratic maneuvering which adds another +2, gains an effective +3 shift that cannot be countered by any means.

This means that a Phaser one for example, has to roll a 1 or a 2 at a range of just six to eight, to do at best only 2 points of damage. The other Phasers (exception, the P4) are even more Hopeless. It Gets worse for heavy weapons. At a range of only 3 hexes, a disruptor would need to roll a 1 on a D6 to hit. And a Photon torpedo at the same range would ALSO need to roll a one to hit. An Orion CA could therefore, using EM, roll right up to a major Capitol ship from any race, with virtual Impunity, with full overloads, (or heavy plasmas! YIKES) Drop the EM, and then Blow the living Bajeesus
Out of it. That’s enough to make even the saltiest of klingon warriors Soil his battle amour.

Pretty good for an Obsolescent, 60+-year-old hull Design with a fancy black paint job eh? Why, the only way to take him out before he got to close, would be seeking weapons.

Also,, that +1 Stealth Bonus applies WHILE CLOAKED. So an Orion ship with a cloak gets over on his opponent there as well. Why would Any Orion pirate NOT take a cloak?

Am I Alone in this?

I hate pointing out a potential problem, without trying to suggest a possible solution to it. It seems to me that the Orion stealth bonus either needs to go the same way that the ECM/ECCM rules went, (away) OR, maybe all those High speed turns and banks used for EM should have the effect of Negating the stealth bonus. (Stealth fighters loose a lot of their “stealthy ness” unless they fly a certain way, to take advantage of their stealthy airframe, Why not orions to?)
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Magnum357
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Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps a speed limitation rule if this is a problem? Works kinda like a cloak, Pirates loose the +1 bonus if they fly faster then speed 16?

Just an idea I had, no idea if it would solve your problem.
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Paul B
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It came up another game we had, not with the Orions, but with Erratic manoeuvers, that photons and disruptors which hit on a 1-6 at very close range will hit if the ship is doing EM (and I believe stealth). As the rules say that +2 for EM, if the die roll is above 6 treat it as a 6. So if hit on a 1-6, you still hit. I think I heard that it's the same for stealth as well.
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul B wrote:
It came up another game we had, not with the Orions, but with Erratic manoeuvers, that photons and disruptors which hit on a 1-6 at very close range will hit if the ship is doing EM (and I believe stealth). As the rules say that +2 for EM, if the die roll is above 6 treat it as a 6. So if hit on a 1-6, you still hit. I think I heard that it's the same for stealth as well.


Yes, that is the way it works now. However, I would not bet a tournament game on that, as that was not the way it was intended to work. The cap was meant for phasers (and fusions and carronade), not for photons and disruptors.

On the subject of the Orion stealth bonus, in SFB the stealth bonus is lost if the ship doubles engines. Would instituting that help in FC?
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Predator06
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More play testing? I am sure a workable solution (or counter strategy developed) can be found. Dont know how this slipped by the play testors the first time though,, Question
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The +1 stealth bonus is pretty good, but it is balanced by the fact that Orion ships tend to be the smallest of their size class. They usually have no labs, few weapons, and small engines. The small engine problem is mitigated by engine doubling, but then the Orion is spending his repair points fixing engines, and on the CR and BR his engines are slowly degrading anyway. If you can even score "burn through", it's good because the Orion doesn't have any "stuffing" to absorb it, and can't spare repair points to fix the damage.

General tactics vs the Orion: In the words of a chess grandmaster, "Sit tight and wait for a mistake". You can't fly with him, he's too fast and too maneuverable, so don't try. Plot a moderate speed (8 or 16), keep power for a high energy turn ready, and hold overloaded torpedoes. Wait till he makes an attack run. To fire, he must drop evasive maneuvers at the beginning of the impulse, which will telegraph his intention to fire. On the last sub-pulse of the impulse, turn towards him (so he has minimal time to react). Blast him during the offensive fire phase. Your ship can take his alpha strike better than he can take yours.

If you're guarding a convoy, you know that he must get close to the convoy to win. You can't outfly him, but you don't need to. You know where he WILL BE, and can stay there and wait for his approach.

The cloak is an issue, but remember that it costs an extra 20%, so a Battle Raider with a cloak costs 138 points - at equal points, you will be fielding a D7, King Eagle, or Federation CA against it. If the Orion cloaks, use typical cloak hunting tactics. Stay on top of him, keep energy for an HET ready, and try to keep hitting the same shield with phasers. If he starts to uncloak, blast him while he fades in, then turn away and accelerate (using evasive maneuvers yourself, if necessary). In FC, you can still launch seeking weapons at him as he fades out, and the cloak won't cause them to lose tracking (unlike SFB). Keeping some drones or plasmas ready to launch could keep him from cloaking.

Quote:
An Orion CA could therefore, using EM, roll right up to a major Capitol ship from any race, with virtual Impunity, with full overloads, (or heavy plasmas! YIKES)


Predator, check the list of allowed Orion weapons in rule (5L1). Reading the list, plasmas heavier than Type-F are not listed, and those can only be in the wing mounts. Heavy plasma is not an issue in FC (fortunately!!).
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Predator06
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 18 Dec 2006
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Location: WV, OH, KY tri state region.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:
The +1 stealth bonus is pretty good, but it is balanced by the fact that Orion ships tend to be the smallest of their size class. They usually have no labs, few weapons, and small engines. The small engine problem is mitigated by engine doubling, but then the Orion is spending his repair points fixing engines, and on the CR and BR his engines are slowly degrading anyway. If you can even score "burn through", it's good because the Orion doesn't have any "stuffing" to absorb it, and can't spare repair points to fix the damage.


But the point, is that most if not ALL of those Orion advantages / dis-advantages existed in SFB as well. And doubling engines is an ability that no one else has, as well as Option mounts. THAT is what is supposed to make up for the afore mentioned Orion dis-advantages. Orion ships are supposedly weaker (partly) because they aren’t ships of the line. They are Obsolete Orion navy vessels pressed into Pirate service. And most of the time, if the scenario is realistic, they Wont even be facing a heavy cruiser, they will be facing some convoy guarded by frigates and POL ships, which are at even MORE of a dis advantage. Giving the Orion’s "free ecm" and then screwing every other race over by taking away there ability to counter it, is still un balancing.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Predator, Orions are not unbalanced.

1. I pointed out a viable counter-strategy in my post. Inability to counter the effects directly with EW doesn't mean the ECM can't be countered. For any ship, get close enough and fire a big enough volley, and that's a dead ship. The stealth bonus just means that you have to fire a bigger volley than you otherwise would for a ship of that size.

2. The ECM effect is weaker in FC than in SFB. At range 0-5, a phaser will automatically do damage no matter how much "ECM" the target has. This is different to SFB. The "ECM" bonuses are smaller or are also at a higher cost (note that in SFB, the Stealth bonus is +2, and you can fire and guide weapons while evasive).

3. Orion ships are not obsolete ships pressed into pirate service, they are purpose built stealthy raiders. That's why they have the Stealth bonus.

4. The most "realistic" scenario is a light raider or CR ambushing a lone freighter. Nobody plays that because it's boring. Scenarios like Target of Opportunity from Klingon Attack are realistic, but still balanced because the victory conditions reflect the difficulty of the convoy player's job.

5. Predator, I get the impression that you are an experienced SFB player, but have not played as much FC as SFB. FC is a very different game to SFB. I suggest you actually try playing the FC Orions under FC rules a few times, and you'll see that they aren't broken in FC.
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Maldus
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I played SFB, I often had fun as the Orions because I could brick up my facing shield, max out my speed, charge, alpha and then HET away. Well..most of that!

Seems to me the Orions are pretty balanced in FC because they can't brick their shields anymore. Given the weak innards, that means pain and suffering when they trade strikes. Sure, the EM +3 shift lets them get to overload range much more easily, but then...they need to!

Best way to see the true impact is to put two ships at ranges of 1, 2, 3 etc. and trade alphas. (Assume the Orions don;t take a scratch on approach because the other captain knows his shots would stink). See how the Orion fares against all sorts of opponents and at different ranges. The +1 shift may not be as daunting as it seems. Seekers are a bit harder to PT in this fashion, but give it a reasonable go and those can be examined as well.

And remember to match PVs!

Maldus
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the Orion can't "brick" his shields, he can use power from his engines to do a lot of shield repairs every turn. IIRC in SFB, there is a limit to how much energy you can spend on shield repairs each turn. In FC, there is no limit.

The Orion's best strategy seems to be to use his speed and maneuver to get in behind the enemy ship in the hopes of getting an unanswered shot. Alternatively, he can "sabre-dance" with disruptors and phaser-1s, like a Klingon. (Hellbores (with plasma-Fs in the wings) are even better here! Twisted Evil It's a pity he can't have PPDs Evil or Very Mad )
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, TerryO has it right. By far the best staregy we've found with the Orions is to use speed and maneuvering to get a deflection shot (one where the enemy is in your best arc's while you are out of his main arcs) fire everything and then manuever away. Use engine doubling when necessary to repair as many shield boxes as you can.

In a long battle with lots of sabre-dancing and maneuvering, by using engine doubling at the correct time and then using repair points to repair those same engine boxes - an orion ship can come out ofthe battle with few or NO internal damage points at all.
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jmt
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've flown the Orion Raider once and I noticed a big difference between the FC and SFB Orion - the Cocaine Effect of engine doubling isn't as pronounced in FC as in SFB.

In SFB, the engine doubling begins as a attack high, but as the toll mounts on the warp engines, it becomes necessary to just fly (a.k.a. the Cocaine effect).

The distinctions as to what power can be used for what systems, along with the power sinks of life support, phaser capacitors, and scanners, means that the Orion is mucch more limited in his power plotting. With none of the power restrictions or power sinks in FC, and the "all reserve power all the time", the Orions can avoid this Cocaine Effect.

The Orions in FC, using engine doubling judiciously, can "quick fix" his shields and keep his engines repaired - meaning he's as fresh as a daisy on turn 4 or 8 while his opponent will, hopefully, be a bit more ragged.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing
The Cocaine Effect...

I like that. I've never thought of it those terms, but that's exactly what it amounts to. In SFB, you're always "slightly" afraid to hype the engines, because once you do and get used to all that power... then you start taking engine damage and either have to continue hyping to maintain the agressive rush... or you stop cold-turkey and just try to survive...

Oh man! The next time I fly a BR, my opponent is going to think I nuts. Every time Energy Allocation comes up, I'm going to start thinking about teh "Cocaine Effect" and then I'll start this uncontrollable laughter.

Laughing
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read that it's called the "cocaine effect" because "it feels good while you're doing it, but you can't stop, and eventually it kills you".

The less severe effect in FC should probably be called the "eating junk food and not exercising" effect.
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USS Enterprise
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not all Orions have cloaks.

My light raider in klingon border doesn't.
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