21/04/2014

Mastered

I was away from the internet for a week and had three posts pre-written and scheduled to be published throughout my absence. I was looking forward to finding comments in reply to them in my inbox upon returning home. Unfortunately, I messed up the scheduled publishing process, so none of them actually went up until I returned home and made them all go live manually. I suck. If you missed any of these posts due to them all going up at once, I just wanted to briefly point them out now:

Assault on Tython and Korriban
300 Posts!
Huttball on Quesh



I've pointed out before that, for someone who never misses an opportunity to mention how underwhelmed she's been by the Galactic Starfighter expansion, I've actually spent a not insignificant amount of time playing it. In line with this, I'm proud to announce that last Sunday I finally achieved mastery of my first ship, the SGS-45 Quarrel gunship. It only took me, what, four and a half months since the expansion's early access for subscribers? Go me.


I remember when I first looked at the way you can customise different ships in GSF: it seemed to me that the available options were all about playstyle choice. However, while there is definitely some of that in the different components that are available, there is a significant amount of vertical progression to it as well. Fully mastering a ship is essentially the equivalent of getting a player character to the level cap. The power difference between a ship with no upgrades and a fully mastered one is insane.

That isn't entirely bad, mind you. With some upgrades in particular, you can really feel the difference it makes once you get them, and that sense of having achieved something feels good. But the way people of such vastly differing power levels get pitted against each other at random... is less so. There's an achievement for getting a silly amount of kills without dying, which I figured I was never going to get due to not being all that great... until I ended up in a match against a bunch of clearly un-upgraded ships that popped like bubbles whenever my gunship shot them. While I was pleasantly surprised to get the achievement after all, I also felt vaguely dirty after that match, as if I had ganked a bunch of newbies - which, in a way, I had - except that it was simply a consequence of the game thinking that this was perfectly fine match-making! The problem is, I'm not sure they can afford to split the game into brackets for different upgrade levels without making queue times go through the roof. Not to mention that things like people with both mastered and un-upgraded ships would present difficulties for any matchmaking algorithm.

All that said, I have to admit that I've honestly warmed up to Galactic Starfighter. Having a fully upgraded ship certainly helps, but I also feel like I've got a better grip on how to play by now, at least when it comes to the slower ships. I'm still far from being a good player, and maybe I simply benefit from flying a gunship a lot (as a lot of people on the forums claim that they are overpowered), but during most matches I feel like I can carry my weight. I've also grown fond of my bomber - for domination matches at least, hugging a satellite of my choice, pooping out drones on cooldown and firing the occasional torpedo at people engaged in dogfights with my more agile brethren. It's almost relaxing.

Who'd have thought that starfighting could be an acquired taste?

5 comments:

  1. Actually, you don't suck, because you have tried to set these up automatically. As for me, you can figure out that I haven't even tried yet.

    So you're ahead of the game compared to me, you young whippersnapper.

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  2. GSF does matchmake according to total requisition gained. There is still the inevitable mismatch when teams wait too long. My win rates are pushing 90%. We've actually moved servers to find more competition.

    Congrats on the gunship! They aren't OP after the last patch, so if you're doing well now, don't let anyone take that away from you. I avoid gunships for the most part, but I play with some really skilled ones. What build do you use?

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    Replies
    1. It does have matchmaking? Wow, I genuinely wouldn't have been able to tell from how random most of my games are.

      As for builds, I'm embarrassed to say that due to my casual interest in GSF, I just maxed out the default loadout for the Quarrel. I'm rethinking some of my choices though, considering that I keep getting requisition and can max out spare components now.

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    2. Yes, though the MM may be based off total mastered components of the ships on your bar. Not 100% sure anymore, had a discussion about it last night. I just remembered reading a dev post where they activated MM with the official GSF launch patch. The randomness just comes from lack of people queuing. It seems to be one of those love it or hate it things, so the people that love it stay with it and end up with upgraded ships. This leaves newcomers with the short end of the stick. Sort of.

      And if you're interested the gunship build my buddies use is Burst/Slug/Ion/Distortion/Barrel Roll and Lightweight/Regen/Regen/Dampening. I don't have all the crew unlocked on my Imperial, so I can't recall the the lineup. You've played enough, so i'm sure you can pick what's best!

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  3. Sometimes the matchmaker hands you gold. I don't remember the details of the match, but I went in with a gunship that had the tier-1 upgrades to the slug railgun and the shield regeneration... and walked out with more than a dozen achievements, having made six kills, a dozen assists, almost 40,000 points of damage, and didn't die once (at the time, my most heavily-upgraded ship was a gunship on another character with a tier-2 upgrade to the slug railgun.

    I think Traitine has the right of it; the lack of people queueing skews battles hugely; I've had several six-kill battles with my gunship, and others where it seems as if the other side has two scouts on perpetual anti-gunship duty forcing me to keep shifting position. And there's the occasional laugh -- the four-kill battle where I was shooting from _inside_ the structure of an Imperial dreadnought and had all of its armor protecting me except for the narrow arc I was shooting through left me giggling after two scouts suicided trying to come in behind me without slowing down and rammed girders.

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