Thanks for your thoughts everyone.
I think 2) already exists ('T' key)?
ECM could just disable a missile for X seconds, or induce other funny malfunctions like changing its target.
Doesn't Erectile Dangerous do something similar vs missiles?
Missile tennnis could be fun for a while but not for much longer I suspect.
I find that in smaller ships with a lower amount of energy available, hitting the ECM is pretty serious in terms of energy use.
True but when using an adder I'd still hit the ECM nine times out of ten; plus I suspect players in smaller ships tend to move on to larger ones, at least in terms of energy (IIRC most fighters have three energy banks to the adder's one).
<opens can of worms>
It would be nice to get the basic missiles working in a more interesting fashion before adding more variety I think; by the same token there is an argument to be made for discarding hardhead missiles - they just create a situation of extemes.
I quite like some of your suggestions though.
Prabably stating the obvious here, but I find that with the introduction of big ship groups the probability that at least one of the ships has an ECM is quite high. One can of course see those ships as specialized group members, but I find it a bit boring that the basic missiles are very often useless.
Worth stating/re-stating as it is the crux of the problem (at least as I see it).
On Thargoids from the elite manual:
So Thargoids had ECM but other ships very rarely. Worked quite nicely from a player-centric point of view in that you had your bank of missiles to help you out of tricky spots (the player is often outnumbered but never outnumbers his opponents) but there was a tougher class of enemy where that strategy would no longer work (thargoids).
An ECM System (literally Electronic Counter Measures System) is offered for sale at Tech level 2*
So they are relatively cheap and highly abundant.
*3 in Oolite.
Probabilities for NPCs to carry an ECM equipment is one side of the problem. The other side is that their standard missiles are not a threat for the player either (except when shot point-blank...).
So, for ECM to be less common suggests higher tech level and expensive operation whether energetically or financially.
I'm not so sure about missiles not being a threat but they seem to be less deadly than in elite, besides, if we can justify them being harder to come by (for the player too) then low damage could prevent them being utterly deadly in the early game (especially to pilots who trade down frrom the mk III).
If ECM were very high-tech then not only purchase but repairs would often not be possible.
Another option might be to give ECM a higher probability of being damaged - perhaps it is particularly sensitive equipment and so often fails (another reason to make it rarer for non player ships).
A few simple changes that I think would be complementary:
- Higher Tech Level (much higher) for the ECM
- Standard Missiles more expensive (perhaps x3)
- Hardheads redefined as a heavy damage missile with limited ECM resistance
What does this solve?
- Standard missiles are now more effective (but not cheap enough to stock up indiscriminately)
- Player ECM is both harder to aquire and more difficult to maintain (making it less reliable as a defence)
- Reason for non-player ECM to be rarer now present (and is non-player-centric)
- A genuinely dangerous missile now exists (but ECM is still fairly effective against it, stopping it from becoming all powerful)
Perhaps apart from the changes to the hardhead, I think it's all just simple plist editing too.
Have I just given myself another oxp to make?