The Let's Play Archive

Master of Orion 2

by Thotimx

Part 13: Combat Hit Mechanics (Olesh)

You don't get techs every time you take over a territory. I'm not sure what (if anything) factors in to it. My doomsaying would appear to have been inaccurate; capturing Meklar worlds gives you more territory and you can leverage your Meklar population (which are overall superior to your 0-pick Normal Humans) to substantially boost your own production. In a brutal eugenics sort of way, at this point you'd actually want to replace your population with assimilated Meklar wherever possible; they're no worse at farming or science than your own guys and substantially better at industry.

ECM Jammer was a solid pick; frequently when people play this game I see people taking Class I shields when really they ought to be taking ECM Jammers. Class III shields, which are the next shield tech, are the first shields that actually have a meaningful effect. Class I shields are better than nothing, certainly, but the opportunity cost for taking Class I shields instead of Mass Drivers or ECM Jammer is just too rough to justify, in my opinion.

So here's a simplified breakdown of how hit mechanics in this game work:

Hit Mechanics

Any attack that has a chance of missing compares an attack value vs a defense value - for example, Beam Attack vs Beam Defense. I'm going to use BA and BD as examples, but note that missiles use the same general formula but with different bonuses and penalties.

When BA and BD are equal, the chance to hit is 50%.When BA is greater, the chance to hit is something greater than 50%, and when BD is greater, the chance is less than 50%. The exact formula isn't given by the game, but you can subtract beam defense from BA to get a single number that I'll call "HIT"), expressed by this simple formula:

HIT = Attack - Defense
HIT isn't linear; it's kind of an S-shaped curve. When HIT is around 0, every point of HIT is roughly a 1% increase or decease in the chance to hit. A -30 HIT means the attack has roughly a 21% chance to hit. A +30 HIT means the attack has a roughly 79% chance to hit. For more extreme negative or positive values of HIT, the effect of additional points falls off pretty rapidly. 30 HIT is a 79% chance to hit, 50 HIT is a 90% chance to hit, and at 70 HIT the chance is 95%, with negative values being the reverse.

So. Now that we've gotten the "simple" out of the way, what really goes into these numbers?

Beam Attack:
 - Equipped Computer (+0 for none, +25 per level of computer)
 - Crew Skill (0/+15/+30/+50/+75)
 - Racial Picks, if present (-20/+25/+50)
 - Battle Scanner, if present (+50)
 - Scout Lab (if present vs monsters)
 - Battlestation/Star Base present bonus
 - Weapon mods. PD weapons get a +25, Continuous weapons get +25, while Auto Fire weapons have a -20, which can all stack if present on the same weapon.
 - Range penalty for distance is fairly modest and appears to be -1 BA per square. Range penalty is halved for Heavy Mount weapons and doubled for PD weapons.
Beam Defense:
 - Combat Speed of ship (Speed Rating * 5). Missiles and fighters also possess Beam Defense based on their speed. Ship size factors into your speed, but there is no additional penalty for bigger ships.
 - - Drive technology boosts combat speed by +2 for each drive level above nuclear, making each drive upgrade effectively a flat +10 BD over the previous.
 - Crew Skill
 - Racial Picks, if present
 - Any bonus from systems that we haven't yet seen in the LP (+50/+100,  or +80)
 - Augmented Engines provide an additional bonus of +25 on top of the +25 bonus from adding 5 combat speed in the Ship Design speed (total +50). 
This appears to be correct, but is not displayed correctly in battle. Augmented Engines are very good.
 - Immobilized ships negate their combat speed bonus and apply a further -20 penalty on top.
Missile Attack:
 - Is a flat 50. Never changes.
Missile Evasion:
 - Crew Skill, 50% of the the BD values
 - Racial Picks to Beam Defense also boost Missile Evasion.
 - Boosted by ECM Jammer technology (though multiple ECMs don't stack, only the best value is used)
 - Boosted by special systems that boost Beam Defense, typically for 50% of the BD value
 - NOT affected by combat speed or immobilization
 - Penalized by Scanners
 - ECCM mods on missiles halve the bonus provided by ECM Jammers
 - In general, the displayed Missile Evasion is frequently low
Phew, that's a wall of text, isn't it?

A couple of key takeaways:
- Missiles are very strong in the early game, because they hit 90% of the time, they're very difficult to shoot down with early game weaponry, and early on you can easily solve most problems by spamming tons of missiles.
- Late game, missiles aren't quite so dominant - better computers and weapons make shooting down missiles much more feasible and ECM technology is extremely effective as a defense against non-ECCM missiles.
- With drive upgrades, augmented engines, and other defensive ship systems such as ECM, you can make ships that are very evasive and extremely difficult to hit with beam weapons or missiles, even with all available offensive technologies. However, the inherent trade-off is that you won't have nearly the room for weapons, and overwhelming offense (provided you get the first turn) is a perfectly valid and effective means of reducing incoming damage. Races with preexisting defensive picks (such as the Alkari +50 Ship Defense) will find this a more worthwhile tactic in general.
- It's much easier and cheaper to acquire an overwhelming offense advantage than it is to arrange for an overwhelming defense advantage.