Deployable Drones - Should they be limited?

GiraffasaurGiraffasaur Moderator, Space Cat Posts: 1,102
edited September 2016 in GAMEPLAY (ES1)
Good morning Rockfish Games and Everspace community,

Been spending a bit of time with various streamers of Everspace, and I have to say it's particularly interesting how some people try to overcome the scenarios they are faced with.

One streamer capitalized on the fact that Drones can be spammed and stay indefinitely in any given area. In the late-game (Sector 5-6), I watched as every location he spammed 15-20 Drones (because of the surplus of resources to craft) and just watched the firestorm.

So my question for the community is this: Should Drone Spam be a viable tactic? Or should it be changed?

I'm a bit torn in my thoughts, myself. If the player has the resources, technically they should have the ability to craft what they wish, including a Drone army. You've earned the materials, you've unlocked the Blueprints, it makes sense.

On the other side, perhaps Drones aren't quite balanced in their cost in the game. Maybe a way to correct this, instead of ramping up their costs, is to cap the number of Drones out to roughly 3 at any time. And with this, maybe there could be an added Device that increases the number of active Drones by +1 (+2/+3 for the respective Marks)? There would need to be some elegant UI additions to show the player how many Drones they have out, as well as how many they can have total, in order for this to be an effective addition.

TL;DR - All in all, I think being able to spam a ton of Drones in a single instance grinds my gears a little bit, either from a mechanical perspective or a gameplay perspective. Should something change, or is it fine?

I'd love to hear what the rest of you all think about this subject!


  • DooplissDoopliss Kickstarter Backer ES1, Space Cat Posts: 12
    I agree that the game has a bit of a post-scarcity problem once you get past Sector 3 or so, and have what looks a lot like infinity "common" resources. However, I don't agree that this problem is restricted to drones. If you have enough resources to dump 10 drones in a level, you also have the resources to fight the enemies yourself with 50% damage reduction, double shields, 50% increased weapon damage and functionally infinite energy - and if you're going for the win instead of farming credits/blueprints, you can likely just start refueling and jumping to the next level ASAP. This becomes a very different game once you have a solid foundation of blueprints.

    I'd also like a solution not to be particularly focused on nerfing drones, because massive drone swarms are awesome, but that may be my biases showing through.
  • GiraffasaurGiraffasaur Moderator, Space Cat Posts: 1,102
    edited September 2016
    Doopliss said:

    I agree that the game has a bit of a post-scarcity problem once you get past Sector 3 or so, and have what looks a lot like infinity "common" resources. However, I don't agree that this problem is restricted to drones.

    I completely agree, but this issue is unfortunately the product of the Perk system's progression. I'd rather enjoy different ship loadouts (not just different ships) that create new ways to play instead of slowly upgrading everything at once through the Perks, because it snowballs into exactly as you've described. Not sure there is much to say or do about that mechanic at this point, though. Seems pretty locked down.

    With my focal point addressing Drones, with or without your bias, do you think they could be limited to their quantity if they were to be raised in performance (along with cost)?
  • DooplissDoopliss Kickstarter Backer ES1, Space Cat Posts: 12
    edited September 2016
    I'm a little bit leery about getting into a discussion of drone balance in particular, because I've used drones the bare minimum required to complete tutorials and challenges the game's thrown at me. It's possible I shouldn't even be saying that drone swarms are awesome, but it was a bit of a knee--BEEP- reaction. I played a necromancer in Diablo 2, okay?

    I do think there's hope to rebalance the game's drops/the consumable resource costs to stop you from having near-unlimited access to anything you have a blueprint for, though. Shove them onto scarcer resources like gel and compounds, and make scarcer resources like gel and compounds a bit scarcer. If you're already increasing the cost of drones to make them take a relevant chunk out of your resources (as you seem to be suggesting), the cap might no longer be necessary.
  • GiraffasaurGiraffasaur Moderator, Space Cat Posts: 1,102
    @Doopliss Summonmancer, nice! I played Poisonmancer with my wife who played Trapsassin. Good times, good times.

    But I'm glad you're hopeful about rebalancing. I may have sounded a bit dismal in stating that the current system is pretty locked down, though I do think values can be carefully modified in order to alter the late-game infinity-asset issue. In fact, I thought of a way of adjusting the Blueprint issue with a new NPC called the Architect. You can read about that suggestion here, if you're interested.

    But in regards to the cost increase, maybe another way to balance the system is to make all resource costs more expensive the further the Sector you've progressed. I'm not keen on the idea myself because it hinders the frequent user and benefits the hoarder, but it does make resource management much more important in the mind of the player.

    ...Or, you know, everything that is craftable needs to be more expensive, haha. :smiley:
  • cyberwingcyberwing Member Posts: 27
    Doesn't that counteracts the reduce the cost of making stuff perk and the get more from mining perk
  • GiraffasaurGiraffasaur Moderator, Space Cat Posts: 1,102
    edited September 2016
    cyberwing said:

    Doesn't that counteracts the reduce the cost of making stuff perk and the get more from mining perk

    Both of those Perks do little to add to the game because it does not enable the player's abilities in any regard; it simply changes some values.

    I think Perks should enable new ways for the player to experience the game, not slightly make everything easier. It's with this mindset that I write suggestions on the Forums, like the one posted in this thread.
  • ROCKFISH_AndiROCKFISH_Andi Administrator Posts: 1,176
    We're aware of the problem and have been discussing a drone limit and other solutions as well, but we have not made a decision, yet. It definitely is related to the abundance of resources skilled players with many unlocked perks are experiencing.
  • NenacuNenacu Customer, Collector Beta Backer ES1 Posts: 69
    See, I'm of the opinion that drone spam could absolutely be a viable tactic. Why not? I can melt things just as easily and frequently do in various Daredevil+Devastator combination runs. On that token, should we not make dark matter / dark energy less common in stores so such an overpowered combination is no longer so common? Keep in mind that I can usually make this run come online before sector 1 is out these days. Perhaps limit the amount of drones one can have at this point in time, yes, but I think a drone cloud is a perfectly viable way to play the game.
  • ForavenForaven Member Posts: 121
    I think quite a few of the problems we have when scarcity is no longer an issue is the AI don't know how to deal with a lot of the stuff we can throw at it. When the AI has many drones, we have AOE, long range sniper weapons and drone highjacking consumables to deal with them, but the AI just get steamrolled. Same with missiles, we can dodge or shoot them down but most AI enemies just soak them despite having the potential to deal with them. And don't forget the mines the AI completely ignore... I think everything we can abuse of should be counterable by at least some of the foes we face.
  • GiraffasaurGiraffasaur Moderator, Space Cat Posts: 1,102
    I agree completely, @Foraven . Hoping to see new enemy types that perform well in certain scenarios, like a Minesweeper Fighter that fires off mines and maybe can clear them efficiently as well (so they don't ironically die to a minefield), or some type of Anti-Missile Convoy that drops any non-torpedo weapon in a certain range, or an Anti-Drone Cruiser that deactivates (but does not destroy) all player ships until it is taken out.

    With more enemy types would be more diversity in how the player can fully utilize weapons, especially Drones.
  • GiraffasaurGiraffasaur Moderator, Space Cat Posts: 1,102
    I just thought of a new idea for the Drones.

    What if there were a couple slots where you applied the Drone you wanted to use? The player could drop the Drone into one of these slots and the Drone would be PERMANENT (regardless of jumping to the next area) until it was destroyed. This would allow the player to more freely utilize drones without cluttering other Consumables.

    This idea is stemming from a mindset that separates Drones from Consumables, so I might be playing around in dangerous territory. But all in all, I'd really like to see Drone usage more accessible without them becoming overpowered due to infinite casting.
  • borkfborkf Member Posts: 12
    @Giraffasaur I like this idea.

    You could have them deploy/recallable then, with them taking up a chunk of ship energy when deployed.

    To avoid jumping with deployed drones, maybe you could also lose them if they aren't recalled before a jump, or block you from jumping while they're deployed.
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