So, I have put much time and energy into playing the game for the sole purpose of examining the balance in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. Here are my findings:
TEC: Overall, I am fairly pleased with how the TEC has emerged into Rebellion. Currently, Both the TEC Rebels have their fare share of advantages and drawbacks. At the end of the day, I believe that the TEC Rebels have a slight edge on the TEC Loyalists. This is because I generally think that the TEC Rebel Titan is more effective at killing corvette spam when used with proper micro. The Loyalists do not give enough advantage for an eco start. I almost wish that instead of easier access to the Novalith cannons, the TEC Loyalists would have cheaper trade ports (750 credits, 100 metal, 125 crystal). I get that the TEC Loyalist is designed to be mainly defensive and a superweapon focus, but from a lore standpoint and a game standpoint this does not make much sense to me at all. If they are the Loyalists, why are they digging in if their race is in rebellion? Shouldn't they be the aggressors trying to reunite their race? Seems backwards to me, maybe I'm crazy.
Bottom Line: TEC Loyalists should be the one subfaction that gets cheaper trade ports for an enhanced eco start. Based on my observation and discussion with other top tier players, TEC Rebels seems to be the more popular of the two subfactions.
Advent: I think Advent is the outright weakest faction overall, and the Advent Loyalist subfaction is simply pathetic. The Advent Loyalist titan is terrible, and they only have 1 unique tier 8 tech, and it is pretty pathetic. Damage boost in culture? Really? That's what you have to look forward to late game as the Advent Loyalists, I mean that's it. You look at other races like the Vasari whose subfactions have unique tier 7 weapons upgrades that give MASSIVE damage boosts, and the Advent Loyalists have only a feeble 5% damage boost in its own culture. Amazingly, the Advent Rebels have 0 unique tier 8 techs, and are still better than the Advent Loyalists, simply on the merit of their titan alone. I just don't understand how the other factions and sub factions could get such cool end tier stuff, and an Advent player has almost nothing new to look forward too.
Bottom Line: Part of what made Advent playable in Diplomacy was it's advantage in the "tier 0" or immediate early game, where the combination of disciples, scouts, and defense vessels was pretty mean. Now, everybody can get corvettes easily and the Advent lost it's early game advantage. It is now the weakest in the early game, mid game, and late game, and the combination of those three means that, yep you guessed it, the weakest over all. I used to like to go random, but rolling advent is such a disadvantage that I don't do it anymore. I would suggest:
- Tier 0 corvettes (does not require a military lab)
- Each subfaction gets "elite" damage upgrades. For example, the Rebels get a fourth grouping of upgrades for laser and plasma weapons, while the Loyalists get a fourth group of upgrades for beam weapons. This makes sense after you gave the Vasari and the TEC a similar opportunity.
- More unique techs in general. Seriously how could it be that there is no tier 8 unique weapons tech for the Advent Rebels? How does this make any sense? The unique techs that are there are barely worth getting.
- A great example for the Advent Rebels could be allowing them to use their repair platforms to repair shield and hull damage. I have always thought the Advent to be at a big disadvantage purely because they can heal less of the total health of their ships.
- Total rehaul of the Advent Loyalist Titan (seriously... wtf)
- Total rehaul of the Revelation Battlecruiser, this thing is so incredibly terrible I think the only time I would build one is by mistake.
- The antimatter cost of the "Fracture" ability on the Discord Battleship should probably be increased to 55 or 60 because it really is a terrific ability and the Discord is probably my favorite new capital ship.
Vasari: I seriously just don't know what the developers were thinking when they developed the Vasari for Rebellion. This race badly needed some beta adjustments that it never got because the beta was unplayable with minidumps and desyncs. The Vasari Loyalists and Rebels come in ranking #1 and #2 respectively of all of the subfactions. The Vasari Loyalists are so terribly broken with "Strip to the Core" that most hosts with the slightest desire for balance ban players from choosing Vasari. There is almost nothing good about the ability. It takes away late game strategy by destroying planets logistic slots and gives way too many resources and credits. More on this and how to fix it in the bottom line. The Vasari Rebels are awesome, but due to the sheer brokenness of the Loyalists, they are overshadowed. The Moving Starbases, massive late game phase missiles makes this race a huge competitor.
Bottom Line:The Vasari are overpowered. Not just a little bit, they are broken. I really can't think of many disadvantages besides having to make two weapons labs to research the early game corvettes, but even this is hardly a disadvantage. So many changes need to be made I will break the "what needs to be done" into two sections.
For the Loyalists:
- Strip to the Core just needs to be removed. There is no way to balance this ability that will make it fit in with the rest of the game. It just dumbs down the game to have so many planets deemed worthless except for extractors. If even 2 people play the Loyalists on a Huge Random Single Star, 40 minutes in, 1/3 of the planets or more could be gone for the rest of the game. This just ruins the game for me almost completely. The other three techs that lead up to the Strip to the Core are still good enough where I would consider getting them without the possibility of core stripping.
- If the Strip to the Core stays in the game, it should take three minutes instead of one, to force people to kill at least the siege frigates before leaving. This should also not be affected by the "Improved Salvaging ability". It should also give half the credits and a third of the resources. The tech itself should be a tier 8 tech, and shipboard labs should be a tier 6 one.
- The Level 6 ability on the Vasari Loyalist Titan is really pretty silly. Named "The Maw", it is admittedly the only redeeming quality of an otherwise pathetic titan, but SERIOUSLY? The immediate destruction of all nearby enemy ships, and on top of it extra resources! After all the fuss about how OP the avoidable missile barrage was back in vanilla sins, I don't know how this ability snuck past quality assurance. At least give the victim of the Maw a chance to escape if he is paying attention.
- The Tier 8 tech "Accelerated Wave Cannons" is maybe too big of an upgrade for wave cannons. I don't know how it seems wise to grant 40% extra weapon damage in two techs. This ideally should be halved, so goes from 30%->40% and then 40%->50% on the second tech.
- The Vasari Loyalist Titan spawning phase stabilizers on "Capital Victory" mode is pretty rediculous. This combined with Kostura Cannons makes it almost impossible to defend your home planet. Player A fires Kostura at Player B homeworld, lays down a phase stabilizer, and then streams ships into the homeworld until there is nothing the defending player can do.
- Returning Armada needs to be fixed.
For the Rebels:
- My First complaint is they have 0 unique techs in the Empire tree, yes, 0.
- Secondly, Jumping Starbases is, a little broken without some limitations. I propose that there be a cooldown on the jump timer, and that After you research the jumping ability, it also takes up an upgrade slot on the starbase. I think the upgrade cost should be proportional to 2700 credit level of upgrades. Another possibility is no cooldown on the jumping and making the upgrade also include a capital ship supply and 100 fleet supply.
- I also think the "Phasic Strike" tier 3 tech in the Warfare tree should not affect starbases.
- The tier 8 Armor-Hull combo upgrade for the Rebels is amazing, but too much so. It should be broken to 4.0 Armor and 20% hull and in two techs, so each tech does 2.0 armor and 10% hull increase.
- It seems like nobody put any legitimate thought into the Rankulas, and you ran out of time and were just like, "let's put 3 abilities that are pretty unoriginal.
Flak: These ships should never have been nerfed as badly as they were. The reason corvettes seem overpowered is that the best counter, Flak, got nerfed into oblivion. I think the Flak need to be buffed again, and then the corvette spam will meet its match quicker and there won't be massive battles of 200 corvettes vs 200 corvettes.
Corvettes: I don't really like corvettes, but I am getting used to them. I think they are too good at countering too many dfiferent kinds of ships. The only ships that I tihnk they are really weak against is flak, but they counter pretty much every other kind of ship out there. I propose:
- The Corvettes should remain a viable counter to Long Range Frigates and Titans.
- The Corvettes should do less damage vs light frigates, heavy cruisers, and capital ships.
- The Corvettes should struggle against flak.
- The Corvettes should cost 10% more across the board.
- They even the playing field in fighting for neutrals, to the point where it takes one of the classic advantages of the vasari away because of corvettes strength against scouts. One possible thing you could experiment with is making scouts a little more powerful so the Vasari player does not feel like he cannot fight far away for neutrals because the closer Advent and TEC players can pump out corvettes and keep him away with relative ease.
- Ideally, corvettes should have their own armor and damage types to make balancing them a lot easier.
Comments, Criticism, Insults are welcome.