Okay, it's my favourite weapon so it hurts to ask this very loaded question ... do you think Plasma Torpedoes need a nerf?
Not if you can play with the design files to get the computer to close in the way it should with weapons like Titan Beams. A Titan Beam design ought to be able to destroy a torpedo boat at close range with its ~50% higher theoretical DPS. However, if the computer really does try to engage at 80% of the maximum range, it might be helpful to either boost the Titan Beam a little by reducing its damage loss or somewhat weaken the Plasma Thunderbolt so that they're less good close in than they currently are but remain about the same at long range, because at the moment 80% of the Titan Beam's maximum range is roughly the DPS/size unit break-even point between it and the Plasma Thunderbolt. DPS values and damage per shot values, given as Titan Beam:Plasma Thunderbolt damage per second per size unit (Titan Beam:Plasma Thunderbolt damage per shot per size unit), for the I/II/III versions of each at 80% of the Titan Beam's maximum range:
I. 0.895:0.613 (1.253:1.960)
II. 1.067:1.123 (1.493:2.247)
III. 1.319:1.337 (1.847:2.673)
It must be remembered that the Plasma Thunderbolt II and III require about 50% more reactor output than the Titan Beam II and III do, though at the point you're playing with these this probably isn't that much of a limitation, and anyways Titan Beams require greater reactor output per size unit (by a factor of two when comparing the Titan Beam to the Plasma Thunderbolt I, though only 25% more when comparing Titan Beams to the Plasma Thunderbolt II/III) so Titan Beam theoretical DPS per size unit suffers more when you start adding in the supporting components. Regardless, it looks like 80% of a Titan Beam's maximum range is roughly its break-even point, as far as damage per second goes, when compared to the equivalently upgraded Plasma Thunderbolt. If the ships chose engagement ranges on 'all weapons' dynamically based on the opponents faced, this is probably a good spot for the relative standing of the two weapons. Since your tests say 'all weapons' more or less sets engagement range to 80% of the maximum range of the shortest-range weapon on the ship, then it depends on how the two fare against one another in game, and I would tend to say that if Titan Beams routinely lose to Plasma Thunderbolts on default engagement settings, then the relative standing of the two weapons should be adjusted so that they just about break even (i.e. close starts = Titan Beams win, standoff range starts = Plasma Thunderbolts win, in between is a toss up). Missiles beating torpedoes at 80% of maximum range while torpedoes wipe the floor with them at close range is probably about right as far as the balance between those two weapons go, so I don't really feel there needs to be any adjustments made there.
I've tested "All Weapons" for ships focused on a single weapon, for a variety of weapons, using a stationary target and Hyperdeny to gauge range. As far I can tell the ships generally aims to stay at about 80% of range for the primary weapon. This is probably fairly reasonable for Rail Guns, Phasers and Missiles that are all zero loss weapons.
80% of the maximum range can be fairly reasonable for the weapons that lose damage with range, depending on the match up. For example, with blasters versus railguns, most blasters have sufficient range that 80% of the blaster's maximum range puts it outside of the railgun's range, and includes a decent amount of leeway for range loss due to maneuvers without costing the blaster all of the damage it can lose (for most blasters, 80% of the maximum range is roughly midway between the equivalent-tech rail gun's maximum range and the blaster's maximum range, which is in my opinion a reasonable location for a ship with a range advantage that suffers reduced damage at greater ranges to stay - it gives the ship a little bit of maneuvering room to respond to whatever the opposing shorter ranged vessel does without risking coming into firing range or allowing the opponent to temporarily move out of firing range while keeping the weapon damage to a reasonable level). I'd make a similar argument for torpedoes/missiles versus blasters and railguns versus blasters or torpedoes. The only times that it's advantageous to close with an opponent is when closing:
a. brings the enemy within the range of your ship's weapons
b. lessens the damage per shot and/or damage per second disparity if in the opponent's favor
c. increases the damage per shot and/or damage per second disparity if in your favor.
Thus, closing the range is a good idea for blasters attacking torpedoes/missiles and a good idea for torpedoes attacking missiles. Most of the rest of the time, sitting out at 80% of maximum range, while not necessarily optimal (torpedoes in particular could probably do with closing to ~50% of maximum range versus similarly upgraded rail guns), is a decent idea. Even in blaster versus blaster or torpedo versus torpedo fights, it's not really that great of an idea to close the range unless you already have an advantage, as shorter ranges mean that there's less time to react when the shields/armor start failing (though aggressive or incautious species should probably be more prone to closing in like this, while cautious and passive species should be more prone to stay further back; intelligence should ideally also be a factor in deciding whether or not it's appropriate to close the range, with stupid species making less appropriate choices than intelligent species).
< Message edited by Aeson -- 7/14/2014 1:52:26 AM >