The Let's Play Archive

Master of Orion 2

by Thotimx

Part 39: Beam Weapon Scaling (Olesh)

The guardian is technically considered a "space monster". You can't board it or capture it.

The biggest problem with MoO2's balance:

I've talked about this a little bit, but the scaling of beam weapons in MoO2 is broken. I've got no idea whether this is due to a planned mechanics shift somewhere along the line that never happened, or if the game was originally designed one way with the documentation written a certain way and then the systems changed later without updating the documentation.

There's 14 beam weapons in the game, and the expected design of the research system is such that non-creatives are expected to weigh trade-offs between researching improved weapons and other, valuable Physics technologies. The assumption is that the highest level beam technology is the most effective option available, but as long as enemy shields are not improving you can make do with miniaturization alone to improve your ships' damage.

This really needs a list of beam weapon damage to properly illustrate. Most beam weapons have a base size requirement of 10; here's a listing of all the beam weapons and their damages, as well as an additional number normalizing damage/space to a 10 space number, for weapons that are not 10 space by default, and any special properties, ignoring miniaturization and modifications. These are listed in order of the total research necessary to acquire, and beam weapons not in the Physics tree are indicated.

Laser Cannon - 4
Fusion Beam - 6
Mass Driver - 6 (no damage falloff, miniaturized via Force Fields)
Ion Pulse Cannon - 14 | 7 (bypasses armor and structure, ineffective against planets, space monsters, and Antarans, uses Power to miniaturize)
Neutron Blaster - 12 (kills marines)
Graviton Beam - 15(30) | 10(20) (special; damage that penetrates shields deals bonus damage directly to structure)
Phasor - 20
Gauss Cannon - 18 (no damage falloff, miniaturized by Force Fields)
Plasma Cannon - 120
Disruptor Cannon - 40 | 20 (no damage falloff)
Mauler Device - 100 | 20 (never misses)
Particle Beam - 30 | 20 (exotic, can't be miniaturized)
Death Ray - 100 | 33 (exotic, can't be miniaturized)
Stellar Converter - 1600 | 32 (never misses, infinite range, no damage falloff)

You can see that there's kind of a problem with one of the items on the list. One of these things just doesn't belong.

It's pretty much impossible to overstate this - Plasma cannons are head and shoulders the single most effective and efficient beam weapon in the game by an absurd margin. They are wildly out of scale with every other option.