DevTracker: About Weapon Heat

We always wanted to make heat management more interesting and integral in Elite: Dangerous – this is why there has always been the concept of weapon heat overspill, even though it previously had very little effect.
Elite Dangerous

I really think that bringing it more to the fore is the correct, long term choice – none of the feedback so far has convinced me that it’s a dead horse. Heat management in combat is not going away.

Now obviously, this should not be taken as a slight against folk who have tested/are testing the beta and are providing constructive criticism against the system. I love – and want – the feedback, and it is influencing our decision making process, as you’ll see.

The biggest issue that keeps coming back is the perception of the change reducing choice. Now, mechanically, that isn’t really true. But when you factor in the cost/risk of damaging your own ship and ultimately increasing the risk of destruction, it’s a fair argument.

What we want to achieve is the perception that running hot weapons/many weapons at once is viable, but not without significant, proportional risk. Allowing heat to damage your hull directly makes such a balanced choice quite difficult to achieve: too much heat and you’re effectively shooting yourself when you attack, that very quickly becomes too little heat with a negligible effect.

In essence, we really like the concept, but the levers we can pull to make it work are a bit indiscriminate.

So what we’re going to look at is a slightly different approach: we’re going to make heat damage affect modules rather than hull. There still might be a threshold where your hull starts to melt, but it will be *extremely* high, only likely to kick in during specific events (staying to close to a star, for example).

Why will this make it any better, you ask? Well, there’s a few compelling points:

Modules in general run into less cost issues that your ship’s hull. That’s not to say that we aren’t looking at various elements of the game economy – that’s a different discussion – but damaging modules allows us more granularity with costs, as well as with apportioning the damage.

Module damage and destruction does not automatically result in you being closer to ship destruction. Clearly, there are exceptions – pop the power plant and it’s sad-face time, but these cases are not the rule. Moreover, to deliver such killer blows you need to manage more challenges – targeting the module, hitting it and penetrating the hull, so success in such attacks is not guaranteed. However, damage to modules is still very much a real cost and risk, and therefore a real decision to think about during combat.

Damaged modules have more chance of triggering malfunctions. We like malfunctions – they pose entertaining, transitory challenge that is sometimes very different in nature to the standard risks of combat, and can mix things up in an interesting manner. And once a module is damaged, it can trigger malfunctions at a later point, again, increasing the potential for interesting challenges long after the fact.

I think that with this change we will have more control over the levers of ship heat to create real choice for players: run hotter, potentially more powerful and slowly wear away your systems, or play it a little more cautious and minimise unexpected setbacks and costs.

However, although we have the code ready to cause excess heat to damage modules, we’re not going to make the swap immediately, and the reason is due to more great feedback: feedback!

Plenty of folk are already struggling a little with heat damage feedback during combat. Whilst I could argue that there are several elements to indicate what’s going on, the point remains valid.

Moving heat damage over to modules compounds this issue – as there is currently no direct feedback to show that modules are taking damage at all.

So here’s the plan: we’re going to lower the heat overspill modifier a fair bit, so that it’s closer to the levels pre-update beta 1.1. It might still kick in, but it will take more work to trigger it.

We will bring this system back to the fore, probably (though no guarantee) in update beta 1.2, and we’ll make sure that there’s some nice clear feedback for it.

we have not altered the plasma accelerator, except possible to reduce it's heat output (as we're testing a global heat overspill effect, we've had to tweak some of the hotter weapons down a bit with regards to producing heat).

Weapons Overheating

The amount of heat that spills over to your ship temperature is directly related to how empty your WEP capacitor is - so the length of your bursts when say, using beams, will affect heat overflow (also, worth noting that laser weapons are less effective against hull).

*Any* ship that fits an abundance of "hot" weapons will be able to overheat itself to the point of damage if you fire without thinking.

To clarify: it's not a nerf to lasers. It's a nerf to weapons that fire "hot". We're not trying this to annoy or hurt anyone or just "kill" anything that might be considered "good". We're doing it to make the game more interesting.

Posted by Kornelius on 2015/04/27 23:55:20. Report
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