Hoping I don't screw up the multiple quotes...
- Combat is arcade-like. I'm not finding any tactical nuance to it whatsoever. Hold down the right-mouse button for a constant stream of fire since - at this point, anyway - you have a nearly endless stream of power and there is no need to worry about your energy level. Even with heavy use of 'turbo', I'm barely moving the power meter.
One encounter last night it was me versus 8 random fighters and I didn't stand a chance.
Interesting contrast there :)
You don't have to fight the enemies when you get pulled out of a trade lane. You can book it instead. Hit your turbo; since it barely moves the power meter.
I don't see the contrast. A lack of nuance does not necessarily equate to an easy fight. Simply throwing more numbers at you doesn't change things much except that you burn through shield batteries, missiles, and mines faster (against 3-4 enemy craft I don't normally use any of those) and use boost a lot more.
Note that my comment about the power meter was at the start of the game, when I had the first ship and it was equipped with weapons that are on the weaker side of things. With more and stronger weapons my second craft did have me draining the power meter. I only noticed that power was "drained" when I would look down to check the shield meter and find that the yellow bar was fully depleted, but it's not like the rate of fire dropped appreciably when that occurred - certainly not enough to notice "Oh, crap, ran out of power!". If you're low on power then the ship should behave that way; otherwise, what's the point to it? It might be that this actually becomes a problem when the ships and weapons get more powerful as the game progresses. For now, weapon power capacity is a non-factor.
I have tried using turbo to get away but the enemy is equipped with the same turbo and can match velocity. The yellow power meter is for your weapons but boost capacity is shown by a percentage to the left of the meters - one does not affect the other and I have run out of boost with a full weapon meter. And yes, I upgraded to a more efficient thruster. What has worked a couple times - not on these trade lane encounters, but other times - is jumping on cruise quickly (shift-W) that puts you at full steerable speed outside of the trade lanes. If you can get your speed ramped up before they get close enough to fire missiles then you can make the escape. Once engaged, cruise likely won't activate since it shuts down once you're hit and you might get knocked out of cruise if they fired a missile at you before you hit 100% activation.
There is no power balance feature between thrust, shields, and weapons, unlike in some other games.
As the difficulty of the enemies increases, you start to learn more about that "balance". :)
BTW If you attack as many Bounty Hunters as you can; while not attacking anyone else you don't have to, should slowly have your "rep" getting better and better with many of the other factions that attack you. That will help when landing/taking off (nice to have "only" bounty hunters on your ass instead of who knows who)
Thanks. Nice to know that there is some bit of dynamic movement to those meters beyond the scripted story missions. For now the bounty hunters are more helpful than not - at least in open space away from the bases - but I'll keep that in mind if things get out of hand. Checking out some news stories it does sound like they are not particularly respected in the world... For the same reason, that's why I find it odd that the Junkers are shooting on sight - news stories had me thinking otherwise.
Same with the trade vessels and the rest. Basically, if they're not red (enemy) then they almost may as well not be there at all.
It's a good thing to have a "universe" that "lives it's own life" whether or not you're there - that's what all those other ships "are there for" - giving life to that universe. And, even though you can't chat it up with; or "join" those convoys, you can attack them and demand their cargo - so you can pirate if you want. It's a choice that you have in the game - the ships aren't just completely "for nothing" or just "set dressing". And they also fight each other based upon their own faction likes/dislikes.
I get it, you don't care for the game. But it does look like you knock it for one reason - then knock it for the opposite reason later. No power balance; no nuance - oops got my ass kicked. :)
I'm not trying to sound like a Negative Nancy here. The action is fun, so long as A) one understands this is arcade and not sim, and B) one further understands that you're going to get a LOT of not-so-random encounters. Land early and land often, and that's why I pointed out previously that it's nice that the navigation route you set up doesn't get wiped when you land. But the player will be landing to restock and repair quite often.
And yes, I'm going to harp on the random encounters. I can fly to the middle of nowhere, say, the far side of an asteroid field, in order to do some prospecting. I mean, very, very far away from anything. "Random" encounter every two minutes. Enough already. At least scale the frequency of encounters to the distance from any sort of civilization or trade lane..
I've noticed the other ships doing their thing and you get some background radio chatter. And yes, there have been fights between the green blips and the white blips. My initial perspective on this comes from I-War 2, which is older and does it better; for me, this game takes a step backward in comparison with regards to this particular item. So I DO wish you could hail the other ships (key 'P' but nothing happens so I think that's a multiplayer thing), even if they have nothing in particular to say. That would make the game space feel a bit more alive and could also be used as an avenue to flesh out those faction relationships.
And it really would be nice to know why I'm being shot at. Last night I was bouncing around Bretonia, which provides a lot of raw materials at its bases and planets and at one stop I found hull plates for $80. Checking the trade list showed that one of the shipyards in New York would buy them for $561. Okay, cool: 30 plates for $2,400 would net around $14k profit not counting consumables, and I think I need to raise $25k to get to the next story line mission. Knowing that I was a fugitive in New York where I would try to dump off the cargo, I made a special save and then set my nav route. Surprisingly, it took me through places - even systems - I hadn't seen before so it was nice to see new areas (surprising because if I can't see find the same path when manually manipulating the nav map then how does the nav system know about those routes?). I ended up jumping into Cortez as part of the route. I hadn't been there before, yet as soon as I get there the jump gate and trade lane defenses start shooting at me. None of the ships were hostile, none of the stations - just those gates. And I was able to land at Curacao with no problem. Why are the gates shooting at me? No idea. The police didn't care that I was flying in their space but those automated gates sure did! Uh, okay. Weird bit of AI.
I think that I would be taking more advantage of the piracy opportunities if the game did flesh out those interrelationships between factions. As said before, the 'instant enemies' thing has me a bit gun-shy, not wanting to make even more enemies - I got enough simply by doing nothing that I don't need more by doing something. ; ) That attempted high-profit jaunt back to New York showed me how bad it can get when everyone is against me: the 'Important Contacts' window was a sheet of red.
I'll find my balance with the fights - that's part of process of learning these games. But the large amount of random encounters and the enemies that hate you simply for being there - without knowing why - are things I don't like. What I do like is the potential for trade, the easy access to the game (it was a simple matter to learn how to fly, navigate, work the trade screens, etc.), that the action is actually fun, that it barely makes my laptop break a sweat, that there have been no crashes thus far, and that the graphics and sound get the job done well even under today's expectations.