Q's anger management thread (chock-full of spoilers!)

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I understand the sentiment! But at least now you know, so you can check for yourself should something similar happen in later missions that you're suspicious of.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Dying by exploding capships would also happen to your wingmen if they weren't invincible. I've never seen one dying by friendly fire though.
Unfortunately they are too dumb to flee from exploding capships, and especially Darkets and Strakhas will not survive being near a capship (bigger than a corvette) explosion, even when at full health.
Making all fighters invincible whenever something big explodes could work, but it would suck I think.

At the moment I am working on a script that is supposed to make the AI get the hell away from an exploding capship near them and resume their mission afterwards. It isn't finished yet but that could be cool. Wingmen dying is pretty common in my Kilrathi mod at the moment. That makes balancing very hard.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Making all fighters invincible whenever something big explodes could work, but it would suck I think.
Can't you just drastically reduce the damage inflicted by the explosion? I think I pointed this out on the first page of the thread - it's absolutely not fun to constantly miss out on the big explosions because you're busy trying to get away from them. For me, it would be ideal if the damage was maximally around 5-10%, while the physical effects of the shockwave should be even stronger than they are.

I do not want to die in an explosion. I do not want to turn my back on every exploding capship. What I want to do is blast capships from the inside, fly through the exploding hull, and ride that shockwave. That's fun, that's gameplay. Hurtful explosions, meanwhile, are merely poorly conceived "realism".

(which may have had something to do with FS2 selling so few copies...)
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I think Quarto uses mouse control, so he doesn't have views. Joystick users just put the views on the coolie hat and use rear view to watch the beautiful explosion.
I also think it is exciting that you can wait just long enough near the exploding capship to afterburn away in the last second, still feeling the blast but not getting damaged by the explosion. I like it.

About the shock waves damage: I could change the table entries for all the capships to make their explosions less severe, but... I think it looks really bad if you have a huge station exploding, supposed to be killing all the docked ships, but the player sits in the hangar bay and doesn't get damage at all. That's not immersive. I still might do it but I won't drastically change it, more like 30% or so while trying to keep the blast and the visual effect. That may be sufficient.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Rear view is just not the same :). As for immersion - just try it and see how people react. Notice that nobody ever seriously complained about the lack of explosion damages in WC.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Q, when you're flying an Arrow or Excalibur, give a quick burst of afterburners away from the doomed ship, slide/glide to maintain momentum and spin around to watch the fireworks. It's not ideal, but it'll at least give you the satisfaction of watching the big crackers go boom.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
So, another day, another mission - Nephele 2. I wonder how deep into the game I am. Judging from the fact that the Behemoth is still alive, I guess I can't be much further than halfway.

Anyway. Depot-capturing mission - I found this one to be well-structured and generally enjoyable. As usual, one gets the impression that there just aren't enough Kilrathi fighters to go around, because at the very end, everyone ganged up on the poor troopship - and here I thought I could sneak in an extra capship kill by ignoring the escorts. Then again, this time there were only four Confed fighters, and usually about eight-ten Kilrathi, so how much more could I realistically expect? ;)

Although we've been told that Saga has lots of small branches, in the shape of things being transferred from one mission to another, you don't often get a chance to notice it, in my experience. I guess it probably happens to a significant degree with the Hermes' fleet of escorts, but I don't really pay attention to them. On the other hand, when coming back a second time to a Kilrathi station, you certainly do pay attention to the capships hanging around in the station's vicinity - so, the lack of one corvette after I blew it up in the previous mission was appreciated. It's nothing special in the Wing Commander universe, where this kind of thing was often done in various ways - but in the world of games in general, it's still not standard procedure.

I was a bit surprised to see those Spartan-class shuttles - once again, I go back to the point about constantly fighting Dralthi and Darkets. The light & medium fighters could definitely have used more diversity, and the response is that there just wasn't enough artists to do anything about that. In this context, having two shuttle types in the game is inexcusable largesse. By the way, where did the design for the Spartan-class come from? It looks familiar, so I'm guessing it's based on a concept for one of the cancelled WC games, but I don't recall where exactly I've seen it...

Also - I just noticed the Pelileu-class troopship in the ship viewer, but I can't for the life of me remember seeing it in the game. Can someone remind me what missions it appears in?

I was also surprised by the fact that the shuttles were invincible during this mission. A balancing issue? It seemed a bit odd, and also fairly obvious (I saw one shuttle take a direct missile hit). Most surprising is the fact that the dialogues actually seem to indicate that at some point, it was possible to lose shuttles - one of the final Marines' comment is that casualties were minimal because we'd escorted all three shuttles through.

Speaking of the Marines, I very much liked their comm videos. Not exactly realistic (where was that camera placed, to see the entire silhouette of the talking trooper? :) ), but awesome.

Finally, a fun little bug. The Kilrathi fighters launching from the station emerged from the same end of the hangar that the shuttles were heading for. Consequently, just as the first shuttle was going in, I saw a Vaktoth emerge and ram it head-on. Almost a kamikaze attack :).
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Oh, I almost forgot the most Earth-shaking event of all: in the end-of-mission banter, Psychopath, of all people, said something that implied he actually thinks of Sandman as more than just a rookie now. After twenty-something missions... amazing! ;)
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Aaand one more mission - the final Nephele mission.

This time, we went out to destroy a Kilrathi strike force. Not much to say about this one - the fight was pretty conventional, and things were pretty easy in general... except that I came home with 1% - that's right, 1% hull remaining. How did that happen? Well, when we saw the Kilrathi strike force, naturally I went straight for the carrier - I mean, what else is there worth killing, right? ;) I delivered my torpedo, then flew to the rear and launched all my DFs into the engines. So far, so good. Now I just have to match the carrier's speed and fire away at its rear until it's dead.

(funny how safe that seems, incidentally - you're safe from the turrets, and it seems like nobody else is really trying to kill you. I guess the AI doesn't much like getting close to a capship)

Everything would have gone perfectly, but as the carrier gets down to just a few percent, I see that magnificent hangar bay entrance, and I think to myself: yep, the moment that thing's down to zero, I'm gonna punch the burners and fly right through. And that's exactly what I do. I fly into the bay. All nice and by the book, I don't hit any walls, and I'll be outta there in just another second or two... and then I smack into an INVISIBLE wall in the middle of the carrier's bay. I don't know what the heck it was, whether it's a bug or if for whatever reason you guys wanted to prevent people from flying through the carrier. I don't know. What I do know is that I start bouncing around in there, and just as I regain control and turn the ship around, the carrier explosion kicks in. And 1%...

The rest of the mission - and you know, there's still a light cruiser, two corvettes and a few fighters out there - was pretty uneventful, all things considered. About all I was able to contribute is the destruction of a couple of turrets and engines on the cruiser's back. I couldn't really kill the cruiser even if I wanted to, because sooner or later someone would deliver a torpedo and grab the kill away from me. And the corvettes... well, I could certainly have killed one of them, but... you know, somehow I didn't have the appetite to deal with that rear turret ;). Back in WC3, I felt that the Kilrathi corvete was the single toughest capship to kill, it was an annoyingly well-armed target with very small blindspots. I find that capships in general are easier in Saga, but this still remains true - the corvette is the only one that ever really poses a threat to the player.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Last mission of the day: the Loki jump-in jump-out.

This mission was a disappointment. Knowing how things went down in WC3, I knew what to expect, of course. The one thing I wasn't sure of, was whether this mission would be a relatively simple interactive cutscene (like the Kinney, or that station destroyed early on that pissed me off so much), or whether it would be an ambush from hell. I'm definitely glad Saga chose to go with the second option, since at least I got a good fight out of it.

It goes without saying, the fight was actually a shock. You get used to feeling invincible in a Thunderbolt (I mean, come on: in the last mission, even down to 1%, I was still able to stay in combat merely by relying on shields). Flying through a swarm of Sorthaks and Pakhtahns with a few Vaktoths on your tail does help to dispel that invincible feeling a bit. I died once in this mission, having gone down to 37% in literally my first pass. Second time round, I was more careful, but still pretty soon my health was down to 9%. I stopped taking chances after that, and got through the rest of the mission in more or less one piece.

The fighting was pretty exciting. So what was the disappointment? Why, the scripting, of course! I can't stand visible scripts! In this particular case, I can't really say the mission is bad because of it - I suspect most people either don't care or don't notice. It's something that just bothers me, because as a designer I spend so much time obssessing over scripts. It's worse than that: as a designer, you become extra-sensitive to scripts. But on top of that, I'm a gamer. And any gamer worth his salt will exploit a script to the fullest extent possible. It's just that usually gamers aren't designers, so they don't notice most of them. Lucky bastards.

In this case, I felt very much deceived by the scripts: I saw the Olympia and John Paul Jones take a couple of torpedoes... and then they became invulnerable. Oh, they took half a dozen more torpedoes after that, but I could see that they were taking no damage. Well, all right then - I figure - the torps are a McGuffin, I should give up on trying to stop the swarms of Kilrathi bombers and just deal with the fighters trying to kill me. Soon enough, I find out the hard way, that in fact - only three capships are invulnerable, while the rest can die. On the other hand, given what's going down out there, I don't know if the rest isn't in fact scripted to die. The debriefing gave me no recommendations, so maybe I did exactly as well as was possible?

Anyway, as you can see, I'm not a fan of this mission, but in this case, I definitely won't call it a bad mission. I suspect for many players, this will be one of the big highlights in Saga, a mission to remember. I can't question that, even if I don't like what I saw out there.


Oh, but hey, I'm really excited about the next mission now! After all those missions with WC3 fighters, I finally get to fly a real ship! Still, that's not for today - time to get some sleep.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I wonder how deep into the game I am. Judging from the fact that the Behemoth is still alive, I guess I can't be much further than halfway.
I didn't do an exact count (in case you don't want to know so precisely), but from memory, I think you're roughly half-way, possibly a little bit past it.

Although we've been told that Saga has lots of small branches, in the shape of things being transferred from one mission to another, you don't often get a chance to notice it, in my experience.
I wasn't even aware of small variations like that happening. Everything seems fixed to me - for example, in one of the later mission, Sandman helps escort an entire carrier group... but it's not the Hermes group, which presumably allows for some capital ship losses which don't have too big an impact on subsequent missions. Maybe there are some small things - like presence/absence of capital ships depending on earlier performance - but I haven't noticed anything that stands out.

Oh, I almost forgot the most Earth-shaking event of all: in the end-of-mission banter, Psychopath, of all people, said something that implied he actually thinks of Sandman as more than just a rookie now. After twenty-something missions... amazing! ;)
I don't remember that... what did he say?

Everything would have gone perfectly, but as the carrier gets down to just a few percent, I see that magnificent hangar bay entrance, and I think to myself: yep, the moment that thing's down to zero, I'm gonna punch the burners and fly right through. And that's exactly what I do. I fly into the bay. All nice and by the book, I don't hit any walls, and I'll be outta there in just another second or two... and then I smack into an INVISIBLE wall in the middle of the carrier's bay. I don't know what the heck it was, whether it's a bug or if for whatever reason you guys wanted to prevent people from flying through the carrier. I don't know. What I do know is that I start bouncing around in there, and just as I regain control and turn the ship around, the carrier explosion kicks in. And 1%....
Was it the light carrier? I remember something like that happening to me once. Sitting cosily in the hangar bay, facing to the rear, both protected by the capital ship's own phase shields and able to pump all gun energy directly into the armour... when it came time to flee the imminent detonation, I somehow got myself banged around to the point that I couldn't orient myself away from the ship and... well, you know the rest.

Back in WC3, I felt that the Kilrathi corvete was the single toughest capship to kill, it was an annoyingly well-armed target with very small blindspots. I find that capships in general are easier in Saga, but this still remains true - the corvette is the only one that ever really poses a threat to the player.
I think the turrets do seem to find a way to hit you on other ships, but usually the design is such that you can hide in a blind spot to the rear somewhere, just as with the original WC. Still, I like that the corvettes' turrets seem to be easier to destroy in Saga than in WC3 - the collision detection didn't seem quite right in the latter.

Anyway, as you can see, I'm not a fan of this mission, but in this case, I definitely won't call it a bad mission. I suspect for many players, this will be one of the big highlights in Saga, a mission to remember. I can't question that, even if I don't like what I saw out there.
It was certainly memorable. I remember almost dropping my jaw at the fleet arrayed against Sandman and friends. (And then a little disappointed that they were far off in the distance, so I couldn't attack them even if I wanted to.)

I understand the disappointment with the scripts/invincibility, but I accept that sometimes it's a necessity, or at least a compromise when the alternative would be very hard to implement. I suspect you may find some of the later mission - ones involving lots of capital ships - a disappointment in the same regard.

The scripts that I did notice (and exploit, to a degree), however, wasn't the invincibility, but the incoming flights of Vaktoths and Paktahns. (I did this in other missions too, but this was one of the memorable occurrences.) It seems that the incoming fighters don't make any evasive manoeuvres until they are within a set distance of your fleet. Since I charged suicidally towards them in an attempt to fend them off before they got within torpedo range, I noticed that they maintained a direct course towards your capital ships and, thus, became very easy targets - so much so that it was worth putting up with the rear turrets. Tail one bomber, pump mega-Joules of lasers into its backside, watch the pretty explosion and move on to the next one. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Of course, all my efforts weren't enough to save many of the carrier group - they may well have been scripted to blow up, I didn't bother to check. Strangely enough, I find the missions in which you face such overwhelming odds are the ones in which you get the most prestigious medals: I remember the Kinney mission was my first Silver Star, I'm pretty sure there was a major award for finishing the escape from Loki and I think there's another major award later on.

Oh, but hey, I'm really excited about the next mission now! After all those missions with WC3 fighters, I finally get to fly a real ship! Still, that's not for today - time to get some sleep.
Heh, I don't think it's a spoiler if I warn you to enjoy the mission while it lasts.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I didn't do an exact count (in case you don't want to know so precisely), but from memory, I think you're roughly half-way, possibly a little bit past it.
Yeah, I counted yesterday, I believe that was actually the 25th mission, which would place me exactly at the halfway mark.

I don't remember that... what did he say?
Oh, just something about how he'd pit Sandman against Avatarr any day or some such.

Was it the light carrier? I remember something like that happening to me once.
Yes, the light carrier. I guess light carriers really are deathtraps :).

I think the turrets do seem to find a way to hit you on other ships, but usually the design is such that you can hide in a blind spot to the rear somewhere, just as with the original WC. Still, I like that the corvettes' turrets seem to be easier to destroy in Saga than in WC3 - the collision detection didn't seem quite right in the latter.
I've been thinking about that. Certainly, it does seem easier to hit turrets in Saga than in WC3. But there is something else that entirely changes the combat experience - and I'm hugely surprised I didn't pick up on it in my original gameplay issue thread. Namely, the fact that ships in FS2 have four-sided shields, but only one armour/core. In WC, it has been standard right from WC1 that ships would have four-sided armour and one central core that could be hit from any direction; on top of that were shields, usually two-sided, sometimes four-sided. Presumably, the core value in Saga combines the armour from all four sides into a single value. Of course, that's guesswork on my part, as I don't know the internal values in Saga. Assuming this is indeed the case, though, the implications of this change are pretty profound.

In terms of enemy fighters, this very much explains why gun capacity feels smaller in Saga: if you're shooting at a Darket, in WC3 you had to blast through 80 cm of shields, then 40-60 cm of armour (depending on the side), and finally, an unknown but small amount of core hitpoints (probably around 25 cm). Supposing the core is indeed 25 cm, killing a Darket from the rear would take 80+60+25 = 165 cm. In Saga, the shields are presumably smaller (those 80/80 shields need to be divided into quarters, so 40/40/40/40 - I assume...), but then in the middle of this is a whopper: 40+40+60+60 = 200 cm, plus maybe a bit for the original WC3 core value. Altogether, that gives us 240 cm to punch through. If this is indeed the case, then killing a Darket in Saga takes 1.5 times as much damage as in the original, and requires roughly as much damage as killing a Dralthi did.

For the player ship, there is an additional aspect: shield transferability. In WC3, when your front shields went down, the presence of fully charged rear shields was very little comfort, if that corvette was sitting in front of you and firing away at your aft armour. You'd have to disengage and wait for your shields to recharge. In Saga, you can stay on target much, much longer, because if only your front is being hit, you can just keep balancing shields until you've drained the other sides. If you add on top of that the fact that your internals are far better protected now (just like the Kilrathi, you have all your armour in one piece), your ship is simply a much tougher nut to crack for capships.

(and of course, there's a final aspect - just like the other ships, the player is no longer enclosed in a big collision sphere, so is also a harder target to hit)

I sure hope someone from the Saga team confirms whether my guesswork is correct or incorrect. It certainly seems consistent with what I'm seeing in the game, but appearances can be deceiving.

I understand the disappointment with the scripts/invincibility, but I accept that sometimes it's a necessity, or at least a compromise when the alternative would be very hard to implement. I suspect you may find some of the later mission - ones involving lots of capital ships - a disappointment in the same regard.
I'm sure I will. The irony is that we've got Tolwyn on record on the first page of this thread saying that Saga offers a pure gaming experience entirely different compared to modern blockbusters like ME3, which, he says, is highly scripted. So, all those scripted Saga missions are kinda at odds with the primary objective here :).

Of course, all my efforts weren't enough to save many of the carrier group - they may well have been scripted to blow up, I didn't bother to check. Strangely enough, I find the missions in which you face such overwhelming odds are the ones in which you get the most prestigious medals: I remember the Kinney mission was my first Silver Star, I'm pretty sure there was a major award for finishing the escape from Loki and I think there's another major award later on.
Yeah, there's a Gold Star to win in this mission. It does seem a bit strange, because it doesn't feel like you did anything to win it.
 
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Aginor

Vice Admiral
I don't have much time to answer today but here's something:
About the light carrier and the wall: I didn't notice anything like that and it certainly is not intentional. My guess is the following: You were flying a Thunderbolt, which is pretty big. You may have hit the floor or the ceiling and the engine just bounced you a bit strangely. I don't like the collision bouncing thing all that much (in any game) but I'm not sure if it can be changed at all. So I can assure you there is no wall preventing flythroughs. Before I replaced it I had that type of carrier as the player's carrier in my campaign, and I flew through its hangar quite often. I did it flying Darket, Dralthi, or Vaktoth though, which all are shorter and smaller than the Thunderbolt.

About the shields and armor: In the tables there is one value, which is either the sum of all quadrants or the strength for one quadrant. I have to check that. So anyway, shields are equally strong in all directions.
Then there are "hitpoints" for the ship, which is the hull integrity. Subsystems (engines, comm, weapons, turrets etc.) have their own hitpoints and can be destroyed without damaging the hull (if it is possible to hit them without hitting the hull which it normally isn't, but you can prove it by shooting at a capship turret from the sides without hitting the hull). The hull does not have different parts, it is one core. So there is no front armor or rear armor but just armor. But as soon as the shields are down you can also take damage to your subsystems, regardless of the armor.
So yeah, it works a bit differently and I'm sure we can explain some of the differences with that.
But the damage a ship takes until it is destroyed is quite similar to WC3. If you hit a Darket well with a Thunderbolt you kill it almost instantly, just like in WC3 (but it depends on the difficulty setting as well IIRC).


After all those missions with WC3 fighters, I finally get to fly a real ship!
Is that some hardcore WC2 fan inside joke? The WC3 fighters are not less real for me than the others...
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Oh, just something about how he'd pit Sandman against Avatarr any day or some such.
Oh, that's right. But then he follows up with something about just wanting to see Avatarr and Sandman fight, or something like that.

I didn't analyse the damage systems that thoroughly, but it does seem to be an interesting difference between WC3 and Saga.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Is that some hardcore WC2 fan inside joke? The WC3 fighters are not less real for me than the others...
Yes, it's very much a hardcore WC2 fan joke :). I've never been a fan of the WC3 fighters, because they all look like flying bricks - and the Hellcat in particular is of one my least favourite ships in the entire series. It's just incredibly dull and good at nothing.

Anyway, I'm fresh off the Sabre mission. I certainly did enjoy it while it lasted, and since it was the only Sabre mission, I'm glad it was pretty long.

This was, of course, a classic endurance mission. Putting the player in an underperforming (by WC3 standards) ship and giving him an extended patrol with never ending combat is all part of the package. I won't complain about too many things happening, I think in this case it was great.

Flying the Sabre is, of course, very different. You've been flying the Thunderbolt for half a dozen missions or more, you're used to having strong shields and armour. So, when I flew up to the very first corvette, within a few seconds I had bits of Sabre falling off me. Once I readjusted my tactics, I did fine - but I still left that first navpoint at 46% hull.

The Sabre's gun arrangement continues to impress. She may have less shields and armour than her uglier, more modern friends, but the gun array is just great. With the Thunderbolt, I've often had the impression that when I run out of gun energy, what comes out of my guns is about as effective as spittle. The Sabre just keeps on firing mass drivers, and they're still deadly.

The battle with the light cruiser was a bit anti-climactic, because, as a matter of fact, I did save my torpedoes for later. So, I heard the TCS What's-His-Name announce they're gonna ram, then I fired off a torpedo, and that was the end of that. Ramming strikes me as excessive dramatism in a situation like this - but whatever.

The fight with the bombers was, of course, much more interesting. I don't know if they could have really damaged the Olympia, but I always keep my priorities straight, so I ignored the fighters and went after the Pakhtahns. Dealing with them in an undershielded, underarmoured ship is a unique experience. Suddenly you pick up an all new appreciation for flank attacks, and it occurs to you that those tail turrets aren't just for decoration.

Anyway, then stuff happens, and more stuff happens, I take a bunch of hits, and I'm down to 13%. A minute later, I look at my damage, and - this is a remarkable repeat of what happened two or three missions back - it turns out that someone knocked the "3" away, leaving me with just 1%. I still shoot down a fighter or two in this state, and then we go back to base. Somewhat nervously, I make a torpedo run, which I somehow get through without losing shields (I'd know if my shields were down, because, you know, I'd be down :p ). I shoot down another Darket, but all in all, things seem to be well in hand, so I finally just sit back and watch the fireworks.

Annoyance: just as the second destroyer was about to go down, he fired off one more capmiss. Being the dutiful fool that I am, I turn my nose and start firing away at the capmiss. It explodes, but according to the debriefing, no thanks to me. But thanks to that one capmiss, I MISSED the destroyer's explosion. Again. Just when, for once, I was sufficiently far away that I could just sit back and watch. Argh.

Ok, that about sums up the Sabre mission. All in all, very happy with that one.

There's just one negative thing I should mention: Psychopath is definitely not growing on me. Most of the time, I'm just ignoring the dialogues now - that is to say, I let them fly in one ear and fly out the other - so the fratboy thing has stopped really getting on my nerves. But let's be clear about this: the fact that I'm praising these missions doesn't mean I'm praising the dialogues ;).
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Ah ok, so the WC2 ships vs. WC3 ships is just a personal taste thing. For me it is the other way round, I actually prefer the WC3 style (although I admit that WC2 confed fighter design is not as bad as WC2 Kilrathi IMO).

About the mission: The biggest difference between the Sabre and the Thunderbolt is the shields. The Sabre has less shields but they recharge faster. That's something that is also a main difference between WC2 and WC3 in terms of play style.
The guns... well, I prefer centered guns under the fuselage, I don't like the convergence thing the Sabre has (although it is worse when flying a Gothri or Sorthak so the Sabre is still somewhat ok). All WC3 ships except the Excalibur (which has auto-aim so it doesn't matter) have their guns in (or under) the fuselage.

And yeah, you don't like the dialogues. We get it. :p :D
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
The guns... well, I prefer centered guns under the fuselage, I don't like the convergence thing the Sabre has (although it is worse when flying a Gothri or Sorthak so the Sabre is still somewhat ok). All WC3 ships except the Excalibur (which has auto-aim so it doesn't matter) have their guns in (or under) the fuselage.
Hehe, yeah, I was going to make an inside joke about it being hard to hit things with the Sabre ;). But it seemed pretty much ok to me - certainly not as bad as with some fighters in Standoff :D.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Finally, had a chance to play another mission - this would be what, Loki 5? The Longbow recon flight in Loki.

This mission wasn't much fun. I don't mean there were some horrible problems with it that made me dislike it. No, it was just boring. Combat in a Longbow is just not exciting, because most of the time, you're watching other people get all the kills. Sure, you could easily get a bunch of kills by firing off your missiles at every opportunity, but... well, Saga has trained you to save your missiles for the big surprise (you know, the one that happens so regularly, it's hardly a surprise any more ;)).

In this case, unfortunately, the big surprise never came. Finding a heavy cruiser and a destroyer seemed positively routine. Maybe I'm just that good, maybe it's because I went straight after the capships ignoring everything else, but whatever the case may be, I never found out if those ships were going to actually put the Confed capships we found in danger.

I expected some big Kilrathi attack on the way back. All I got was a bunch of Dralthi.

At no point during this mission did I feel like we were truly in a system filled to the brim with Kilrathi. After what we saw in the last Loki mission, this was just bizarrely uneventful.

The fact that we left Loki immediately afterwards was also a surprise. Here I thought we'd be going deep into the system, checking out the wreckage of the Behemoth, and so on - but no! As it turns out, jumping in and out of Loki was actually just filler, to keep us occupied until the WC3 plot picked up with the Temblor bomb.

Which leads me to the last point - the briefing to the next campaign. If it had been strange to hear the captain telling everyone about the Behemoth, it's even stranger to hear him telling everyone about Paladin. Usually, people from Special Ops would be strictly need-to-know. I mean, the Kilrathi would stand to gain a lot from the mere knowledge of Paladin's presence aboard the Victory, and here we are being told about it with no concern for security. Surely, surely, there must have been a better way of handling this? Even simply making a big mystery of it ("we don't know why our presence in Cairo is so critical, blah, blah, blah, but...") would have made more sense.

Anyway, I hope things pick up in Cairo - maybe we'll be running into more heavy fighters, and the Longbow won't feel so dull any more?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ok, got one more mission done - Alcor 1 (I guess I got confused about heading to Cairo - it seems Alcor was first), the minelaying mission.

Not much to say about this one. Avatarr was there, Psychopath was there.

I'm not enjoying Lonbows, but they're definitely a change of pace - I guess I can't complain about them being big and slow, that's exactly the point. From that angle, it's a job well done - when the player finds himself having to adjust his tactics to get the same result, that means that you've really given him a substantially different machine to play with. They certainly do feel nigh-invincible.

I do wonder if the Longbows don't seem worse than they are in these missions compared to WC3, because of mission design differences. In WC3, you never had any Hellcats operating alongside your pair of Longbows. The competition for kills was significantly less fierce. Here, I do find myself frustrated a lot.

Then again, I'm still not using my missiles too often against fighters. In this mission, hearing about how there would be no capships, I saved them for the inevitable capships, obviously ;). That's no criticism, by the way - yes, the capships were predictable, but you had to have them or the mission would have felt very uninteresting. And of course, telling the player in the briefing to expect capships (well, telling him this using reverse psychology) is smart, because it does allow the player to save his missiles for the big fight.
 
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