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ZC balance tests


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Ive already had a whinge about the patch and justifiably so. I have been playing around with the map editor and as I did in EaW I have got ships to face off, one on one, and see how they compete. I tested on medium and hard difficulties to give me an idea of how comparable ships are. Obviously in real game play you have multiple and different ships that can totally distort balance by nullifying certain advantages and change the outcome. Of course in a one on one situation, all Imperial warships defeat their opponent due to the TIE support. They were tested without their TIEs, and since every player will usually have a corvette to escort a capital ship or frigate, this is not far off reality, since one corvette can slaughter many sqdns and with the crusader, intercept torps. I tested with both sides since the AI is obviously not up to human standard. I will have to admit from the outset that the order that you attack hardpoints is often absolutely critical and means the difference between victory and defeat.


VSD vs Vengeance = While I did win with the VSD on both difficulty levels it was only due to the AI not targeting the Turbolasers first. The VSD has good firepower, especially with its special ability and can win if the Vengeance concentrates on other hardpoints. Computers might make this mistake but a human wouldnt. The Vengeance should always have the initiative, being able to cloak and sneak up behind the VSD or relocate if needed.


Assault Frigate vs Vengeance = Again the Vengeance only needs to concentrate on taking out the Ass Frgs TLs and it will win easily. The Ass Frg is much more nimble than a VSD but this strength can be easily taken away by taking out its engine. If a VSD or assault frigate can somehow take out the mass drivers while still retaining their sheilds and at least one TL they can win.


Aggressor vs Assault Frigate = While the Aggressor is a capital ship and the AF a frigate, the Aggressor has no real counterpart and was tested against both Hvy Frgs and capital ships. The Assault Frigate actually defeated the Aggressor by using its speed and maneuverability and getting in close. It took quite some time to work down the Aggressors tough shields and management to avoid fire from the Aggressor but it was possible. This fight would very much depend on the ships positions when they encountered each other; the Aggressor easily dispatches the Ass Frg if encountered head on. The Ass Frg needs to fly at an angle, never dead straight.


Aggressor vs VSD = Surprisingly the VSD is quick and maneuverable enough to destroy the Aggressor but its weapons have far more limited fire arcs and requires alot more care than the Ass Frg. It also stands no chance if it engages head on. If the Aggressor takes out the engines on the Ass Frg or VSD then it has no hope.


Aggressor vs Mon Cal = Flying straight at the Aggressor or getting engaged in a slugfest is a certain death for the Mon Cal. It must fly at an angle and use its speed and maneuverability to get behind the Aggressor. Once alongside, the Aggressors limited fire arc and the wide fire arc of the Mon Cal gives the MC the advantage. The only risk is the Aggressor taking out the engines of the MC. If it loses its engines it becomes just as slow and cumbersome as the Aggressor and is in trouble. The Aggressor should try and take out the MCs engines first.


Aggressor vs ISD = The ISD is very vulnerable to the Aggressor since it does not have the maneuverabilty to keep out of its fire arc. This should always result in a defeat for the ISD, depending on how it encounters the Aggressor. If from the side or behind it has slightly more chance, however the Aggressor only needs to concentrate on the ISDs TLs and it will win. The ISD can only target the bottom mega cannon first then the turbolasers and hope for the best. I did defeat the Aggressor with an ISD but it was rather tricky and you only need to mess up the maneuvering of the ISD once and its a goner.


Keldabe vs ISD = The Keldabe should destroy an ISD with impunity by concentrating its fire on the TLs and leaching its shields. By the time the Keldabe loses its shields at least one or two of the TLs should be destroyed. With half firepower the ISD would be lucky to take out a hardpoint.


Keldabe vs Mon Cal = The Keldabe can be defeated by getting around to its rear, which the MC is capable of. Knock out the rear mass driver and take it from there. Once in the Keldabes rear using shield boost will protect from the good TL and Ion cannon coverage of the Keldabe. If you try to slug it out the Keldabe will make short work of the MC, again by targeting the TLs.


Crusader vs Corvette = The Corvette deals with the crusader very easily and does not even need to take hull damage.


Crusader vs Tartan = This is a little more competitive. The Tartan will take some damage but will still win. A timely use of the weapon boost ability will reduce the amount of damage the tartan takes. The high cost of the crusader is obviously due to its very effective special ability rather than its combat ability.


Interceptor IV vs Neb B = If the Interceptor slugs it out with the Neb B the Neb B will win provided it targets the missile launcher first. If used properly the Int IV should win every time by using its special ability and speed to make a pass on the Neb B and take out its TLs first and then laser cannons. It should withdraw out of fire after each run to recharge its special ability and shields. Knocking out the engines can further increase the speed advantage of the Int IV.


Interceptor IV vs Acclamator = The Int IV doesnt even need to use its special ability and the Acclamator is already in trouble. Its weak hardpoints are vulnerable to missiles and the Int IV should target the missile weapons on the Acclamator to protect its own. Both the Neb-B and Acclamator are at a big disadvantage since the Int IV has assault frigate armour and takes about 1/3 damage compared to a Neb -B or Acclamator.


Starviper Sqdn vs TIE defender sqdn = Starvipers never lose. If the Defenders are lucky they may kill one starviper. Buzzdroids really help while the defenders ion ability is useless and power to weapons ability makes them sitting ducks. This really should be addressed.


Starvipers vs Awings = By using their special ability the Awings should always win, even when surprised. Even with a good use of the buzz droids the starvipers will almost always lose. Only by sheer luck will they win but they wont have many fighters left.


As I have found, almost all ZC ships are clearly superior to their comparable craft. They are not invincible however and while some alterations could be made my biggest gripe is still the speed and amount at which the AI produces ships, which is most felt when playign against the ZC. Unless you take out their mines and slow their economy they outproduce you with superior ships and then it becomes impossible. I dont feel you should have to resort to taking out mines to beat the ZC; you should be able to do it militarily. I havent even touched on the imbalances in land combat with the MAL launchers, Canderous tanks, and proton turrets. The number of shield equiped units combined with their firepower make them devastating.

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Hey, that's a little rude! I'm pretty glad someone actually took the time to really test out if ZC ships are imba.

Very interesting observations, I would've thought the ZC were more OP - but again this may be just because the AI tends to spawn vengenace class frigates at tech level 1 ... :-/

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As I have found, almost all ZC ships are clearly superior to their comparable craft.

It seems like most of the scenarios you've described are actually very well balanced. I say that because in your analyses, the victor is determined largely through the tactics used by each player and not by some inherent value of one ship over another. With fully fleshed-out fleets, this probably comes out fairly well for all ships. Based on the encounters you listed, Rust_Lord, I would make only the following suggestions:


  • Decrease the Keldabe's armor and/or the effectiveness of its beam weapon.
  • Decrease the forward fire arc of the Aggressor.
  • Decrease the maneuverability, speed, shields, and/or firepower of the StarViper.

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Pretty much Wedge. I have to add two things though: Make it so Keldabe shield drain does not work on stations AND make it so crusader point defense doesn't work on torpedoes.


The problem with ZC ships is when there's multiples of them in a varied fleet. Nothing can really stand against them. Crusaders are by far the best anti-fighter corvette and can negate missiles and torpedoes, multiple aggressors take out critical hardpoints on capital ships pretty quickly (like hangars, turbo lasers etc) while keldabes are draining shields and vengeance are bypassing the shields of capital ships not targeted by the keldabes, or taking out corvettes and frigates.


When you build a decent ZC fleet nothing can stand against it. Heck, even a level 3 ZC station can withstand a massive assault, due in no small part to the overpoweredness of it's garrison units.

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Greetings all, merry xmas and happy New year...back to topic...yes Doctor I had little else to do....i thought I could actually do these tests or continue getting frustrated by trying to overpower ZC in skirmish without resorting to sending my heroes to blow up their mines....anyway.....the ZC ships are rather powerful and I found that I could be a bit lazier when I was using them as oppossed to fighting against them where I had to concentrate on what I was doing.


Just a point on corvettes, Crusaders are the least accurate against fighters, bombers and corvettes while Tartans are the most accurate but the difference is only a couple of percent at the most. Crusaders have 11 lasers hence the barrage of fire from them and the greater proportion of shots that would miss.


Valter as for the VSD, if you can can get it in close you can win but that is not easy, even in a one on one and being able to use the whole map. In regular maps you are restricted by debris etc. But yes I would feel more confident with a VSD than an ISD sadly. Just a point on the Aggressor tho, I did test the Imperial ships with their TIEs against the ZC and unless the ISD sits on its start point on the otherside of the map and sends out its TIEs the Aggressor will still close in and beat the crap out of it. It wont necessarily win but there wont be much left of the ISD. If an ISD advances on the Aggressor it is in serious trouble. The Aggressor moved quick enough to be able to outrun some torpedo salvoes fired at long range from the bombers. Against aggressors always fly at an angle and dont stop. They are not good at hitting moving targets.


I do agree with you Wedge, tactics played a big part, however the tactics I have used would have limited application in skirmish (only when you only had a few ships) and almost no application in GC where you are using fleets; as mrsparkle says its the ZC strength as a combined force which is really OP. I also agree with your suggestions and would like to add that mass drivers should be as inaccurate against fighters and bombers as a TL. TL inaccuracy is 70%(f)/70%(b) yet MD are 60/55. Ships with MD can basically provide their own support against bombers, even if they are shielded...as we all know the Keldabe can even fire at ships on its tail...:p I just want to make a clarrification too; Just because Imperials ships get TIEs doesnt mean they win automatically. When i used ZC ships against Imp craft, the Keldabe, Int IV and Vengeance could all destroy their Imperial opponent even with bomber support.


I can relate to your experience Mr Sparkle, when i used ZC, my lvl 4 and lvl 5 stations were attacked by rebel fleets over 120 cap strong and I didnt even lose a hardpoint.

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