Antanca Jan 21, 2013 @ 6:27pm
Difficulty in this game is all messed up
If I check info on the tech at a warp gate or in a system in general it's a few levels below me (about 31-32), yet if I go into research, their tech levels are above me in almost everything. Every area they have a tech level of 4, whereas I have a few 4's and somewhat to significantly below them in all other areas. And I repeatedly run into battles where the level is supposed to be well below me and it is physically impossible for me to beat them. I am unable to clear a level 26 warp gate right now because the tech level in the system beats the pants off anything I have.
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blorf  [developer] Jan 21, 2013 @ 9:09pm 
Hi mbsintros,

Sorry that you are having difficulty. The tech levels of the warp gates reflect the higher of the two tech levels at either end of the gate. The gate guards are shared between the two points, so say you are in a level 20 system, but there is a get to a level 30 system. Those gate guards will be level 30.

There are two possible causes for the problems you are having. I have been watching your other post as well. so will paste this there for anyone else who has issues in the future.

First of all, there is difficulty level. Normal is really your best bet for an initial play through. It is the most balanced. Insane should not be touched by a new player as it will be almost impossible for them to learn while being destroyed. It is possible to lower the difficulty in the options screen. If you are above normal, I suggest lowering to avoid frustration.

Secondly, there is ship design and research. This is critical in SPAZ. Research wise, you need to focus on only a few tech you want to excel in. Pick cannons or beams, shields, reactors, hull, and armor, secondary would be engines and sub systems (for boosters which are very important) The other techs are cool, but these ones are bread and butter. If you have ignored hull, armor or shields, you need to fix that. You can respec in the research window (the first time it is not too punishing)

If you post your large ship's config, perhaps we can help you with the design of it. Properly outfitted, it should have 0 problem destroying a gate of equal level (unless you got a really mean gate in which case you are encouraged to pay your way thru, get the bounty hunters to deal with it, or just come back later when stronger)

A decent large should not be using any surplus (green) tech. blue or better. If you are having trouble aiming cannons, let the computer do it for you (with turrets) Also, it is viable to be one of the smaller ships and let the AI control the bigger ones.

From what I remember, you found a Helix, which is a specialty ship (bomber) and not too great at brawling, but upgraded it could inflict some good damage. You are going to want boosters. They are very important and can hugely overpower your ship. Weapon boosters or shield boosters are best. They also stack.

Also, your gate progress is saved, so you can cherry pick a few ships, retreat and come back. That ship will be gone. You can also repair mid battle, your ship will warp out and a few seconds later come back fixed and with shields up. (you just need to watch out for the down time while the warp engines charge, so do it before you are almost dead)

If you post your ship design, we will give you some tips that will help. We will get you kicking butt in no time. It just takes some tweaking.
Antanca Jan 21, 2013 @ 10:01pm 
Thanks for your reply! I really do like the game a lot, which is why I'm so incredibly frustrated that I seem to be so stuck. I don't know if I've spread my stats out too much or what. Maybe I am completely misunderstanding what it means when it says what the enemy tech level is in the Research panel, because it doesn't seem possible that the enemy can have 4's in everything while I definitely don't and it is still a lower level than me.

This is what I'm using right now:
Mule with:
-large double turret with 2 medium overload emitters equipped
-2 large missiles
-large tractor beam
-large point defense
-small single turret with small disruptor cannon equipped
-4 medium armors
-standard reactor, shield, engine

Cyclops with:
-huge overload emitter
-2 small point defense
-beam booster
-standard cloak, reactor, engine
-medium armor

Left Hook with:
-2 tractor beams
-2 point defense
-missile
-standard cloak, reactor, engine

My Research levels are:

Beams - 5
Cannon, reactors, sheilds, engines, hull, armor, subsystems, crew - 4
Launchers - 3
Cloak, turrets, drones - 2

This is all at Normal difficulty. I feel like it would be incredibly lame to lower it but feel really outclassed in the battles I'm facing. With my setup, fighting things like 2 Crawlers at once or a flock of Ravens seems downright impossible, especially the "Improved" ones. Is there something fundamentally wrong with my ship builds that I don't see?

Thanks for your help!
blorf  [developer] Jan 21, 2013 @ 10:50pm 
Ok this is good. you have what you need to win this. First off. you got a mean MEAN random gate guard. 2 crawlers is very very bad news always. In these cases it is wise to pay or go around. That is mostly bad luck, but you can win. Crawlers are at least slow, so you can pick off any smaller helper ships and then warp out.

You have 2 options then. Use the fact that crawlers are slow against them and missile them to death from afar (leave the smaller ships at home while doing this (sell them you get 100% rrez back))

Else, beef up your mule into a death machine. I like option 2 myself. Since you have beam boosters, this becomes a viable option.

I cant remember if you have a fixed mount turret or not at turret level 2, but that lets you upgrade your weapon size in the turret slot by 1, which is great for fitting a larger booster, or a bigger gun. but our game is boosters today.

SO: the mule. You want to be fast as possible first off, so your rear armor should be light, the rest standard. The missiles have gotta go in favor of beam boosters tractor beam = engine booster if you have it, else shield booster (so you can kite) else beam booster, single turret should be upgraded with a fixed mod if possible, if not, that is ok too, in any case put a beam booster there too. Now your weapons should be VERY overcharged. One way to test this is to turn on damage numbers in the options menu. Do a before and after shooting something. You will need to refit the ship of course to see the change. But you should roughly double your damage output.

Now the mule should be able to take a bit of punishment, and dish out a lot. you may lose one mule but be sure to take out one of the crawlers. Then you can retreat. Your guns will also likely out range the crawler's guns now due to the boosters so you can use that too. If need be, self destruct on top of the crawler if your ship is sure to die (advanced options) This doubles explosive force.

The smaller ships can be missile support if you have missile boosters. Load them up with missile boosters instead of guns and they should kite for you. They wont do much damage until the shields are down, but then they will be a help. Don't bother with cloak right now as you want raw firepower.

The cyclops should probably be replaced with a ranger if you have one, for the missiles and booster potential.

Hopefully this helps.

As for the tech levels of the enemy ships. The system does get a bonus to all research techs but never more than you could achieve yourself. The reason we do this is to make sure that no system is malformed research wise, like has 0 hull research which would just be bad. They then pick a few research categories to specialize in, Offensive, defensive or balanced.

As soon as you beat this gate you are going to find other gates really easy, you really did just get a mean roll. This can make the game seem both unfair and exhilarating because I know that when you beat these gate guards it will be something you remember and the circumstances are unique to your play through.

Good luck, and please let us know how it goes.
Antanca Jan 22, 2013 @ 2:14am 
Thanks a lot for all the time you put into this! I read the other reply you wrote too about the Right Hook. I actually took the advice you gave in there by fitting it with a couple of cannons and then cannon boosters. It is a MUCH more kick ♥♥♥ ship than what I was using before. That was a substantial help - I also went to the nearest bounty hunter base and payed off my bounty because I realized it was at "extreme" and every time I warped I would have to fight a rather hefty response team before even starting the blockade battle.

I realized part of my problem was that I wasn't giving myself enough cannons to take out the armor of my larger enemies once their shields were down. The Right Hook solved that problem fairly well . I also wasn't really using boosters hardly at all. I had read some other poster somewhere saying they didn't use boosters so I took that to heart I guess, but I know now that it's a mistake.

I have progressed through a few systems now and have since upgarded the Clockwork so that I can have a medium hull as well as the large hull so now I have a Raven supporting me. I equipped that with emitters and some boosters as well as a cloaked drone bay. That seems to do am OK job of taking out enemy shields so I can hit them with the cannons of the Hook.

I also am fairly hard on myself in terms of what constitutes winning a battle. I usually reset to the last save if I lose my main ship once. I will tolerate a fair amount of loss with my other two ships but I hate to lose too much rez on a single battle because recouping it is annoying. I probably could have taken a loss with my Mule on those other battles and come back to win. I also am realizing that If I can get to a safe distance with my main ship I can repair it and come back fresh into the battle, which is a big help.

I may go back to the Mule and try the things you suggest as well. I had originally used it because I liked the turret and so I don't have to be facing the target exactly, unlike the Hook which you seem to have to face directly into stuff, but it does seem to turn faster too, so I dunno. I also started wondering if it just wasn't that powerful because my Turret research was down, but I didn't want to waste stats on it.

So I think I'm doing a bit better now. It looks like the main trick is to do as many boosters as possible for a certain role and have each ship specialize in more or less one thing. We'll see how it goes from here on out.
Troppamus Jan 22, 2013 @ 8:43pm 
You can have more than one thing on a ship, but its usually best if its mostly setup for whatever it's primary attack is. One of the higher tech missiles is the gravity missile, which significantly slows whatever it hits. It makes a terrific addition to whatever your primary attack is.

You mentioned putting points in turrets. If you do, you get only really 2 benefits. 1) your turrets turn faster. 2) it unlocks droppable turrets. I've been playing a run with droppable turrets and the last couple are quite powerful, particularly if you are stealthing and need a distraction. I wouldn't recommend focusing on it on your first playthrough unless you are loving the ships with turrets. The turret speed does help a bit, but for droppable turrets, you have to remember to drop them, or they are useless.

Don't give up and reload a save if you lose a main ship or two. The game gives you enough rez stockpile to be able to lose a few main ships on most difficulties. There are better ways to gather rez than just going to a mining system and sitting there.

I have three favorite ways to refresh my rez stockpile after a loss. 1) Go clear significantly lower level gate guards, and just knock a bunch of them out in rapid succession. You get data out of it, you get to fight stuff, and if you're low on crew, you'll fill them up rapidly too. Also, you will unlock a bunch of systems. If you're in your 30s, just skim around the edge of the galaxy and clear a bunch of systems in the teens. 2) Go pick a system where a faction hates you and that isn't in bounty hunter space, and blow up that faction's space station over and over again. Level 0 space stations are easy to blow up once you are in the 20s, and there really isn't any repurcussions for blowing it up repeatedly. The downside is that this probably won't give you as much rez as option 1. Option 3) go do a bunch of missions in an 'easy' zone. You get the same benefits as option 1, and you make the locals like you a lot. It also gives you practice doing the missions for when you hit the higher levels.

blorf  [developer] Jan 22, 2013 @ 8:59pm 
Glad to help, and it is great to hear that you are back to kicking butt.

Also, turret wise, at a certain point in the turret tree you will unlock triple mount turrets (for huge mounts) you will want those. They are awesomely powerful.
Hapxier Jan 23, 2013 @ 2:35pm 
As a note on the other ship selections, I strongly recommend that you manually control the Cyclops if you choose to field that ship type. The game's AI seems reluctant to fire, to the point where I could finish an entire mission without it shooting. Even during starbase attacks, where the base simply can't move, it would spend upwards of a minute just staring at the station. When it did fire, it would only hit once or twice before something knocked it out of its "happy place."

On a different note, a good method of prolonging the life of your beacon is to order a tiny ship, preferably a Dart, to some forsaken corner of the battle. If your main force is killed, the enemies will go after the dart instead of the beacon, allowing you time to rebuild.

And on a final note, a few tidbits about the Mothership:
  • The equipment it uses is fixed. For example, it is always equipped with Heavy Armor, even if you do not have the Armor research level or blueprints to use Heavy Armor.
  • Even though the equipment is fixed, the attributes of said equipment are not. If your research level gives you +30% hull, the mothership has +30% hull as well.
  • I believe it's equipped with Heavy Armor, Fortress Shield, Standard Missiles, Cannons on all turrets, one honking big fixed beam, a few tractor beams, and -no- booster modules.
  • It will try and rotate to fire its Titan-sized fixed beam mount at the closest target, but it handles like a brick. Focus on enemies that are behind the mothership, to get more use out of what is pretty much the pointiest stick in the game. Bit of a shame you won't get to see how it used to be, because a few patches back that thing could probably vaporize planets.
  • You may only get the occasional attack on the mothership right now, but later on the game will be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at it. Even though you can make some incredible designs with the more esoteric research options, you will want to heavily raise Armor, Shields, and Hull; the attribute boosts will massively increase the Mothership's survivability.
Antanca Jan 30, 2013 @ 12:37am 
Thanks for all the great suggestions and info everyone! All of that combined with some other little tricks I've picked up and just generally better ways of doing things, I've been doing much better in the game. I appreciate all the in depth help!
iNol iGunggung Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:34am 
I think the battle on warp gates, especially when near/the same with player level is well designed. At least that what I see playing on normal difficulty. The battle is always fierce. They don't go down easily. They being on lower level than you doesn't mean they can't blow off half your fleet. And they don't make that UTA bribing & putting bounty on warp guards for nothing. I assume some of the guards will be insanely powerful that player would want to use other means than facing them pound to pound. Just like they make you use that chicken out Retreat lol xD
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Date Posted: Jan 21, 2013 @ 6:27pm
Posts: 9