October 21st 2017
Weapons and their hardpoints. The next several topics of discussion focused on the new Ship Matrix are possibly some of the most important areas we’ll cover, and relevant to everyone who’s concerned with how their ships perform in combat. Since the start of the project we’ve gone through many iterations of design on our ship hardpoints and with SC Alpha 3.0 we’ll complete another small iteration to them in our continuing effort to address much of the confusion regarding their sizing, what can be done with them, and more.
To begin, every item on a ship is attached to a hardpoint, or “itemport” as we sometimes refer to them by their in-engine designation, and each one has restrictions on what type of items can be attached to it. This system prevents people from putting power plants where turrets should go, fuel tanks where the radar is supposed to be, and other similar examples of undesirable customization.
In this article’s topic, for the specific itemports we classify as “weapon” hardpoints, they have some restrictions of their own:
They are restricted to a single size item, no more ranges of item size such as Size 1-3.
They can only take a weapon directly attached of that size or a gimbal mount of that size attached to it.
Some specific instances may have additional restrictions to limit them to individual items or types, such as the Vanguard nose weapon array.
Attaching a weapon of matching size to the itemport directly is what we call a Fixed weapon mount, and has the inherent benefit of being capable of using the largest weapon made possible by that hardpoint while contending with limited aiming and a requirement to land their shots more accurately.
As an alternative to attaching the maximum sized weapon to your itemport, you may choose to use a Gimbal Mount. Gimbals allow players to attach a smaller sized weapon that will enable the user to line their shots up with more ease than a fixed on it’s own. The Gimbal Mount must be the same size as the hardpoint, but can only support a weapon at least one size smaller due to the space it occupies.
These are the only two types of items that can be attached to weapon hardpoints and gimbal mounts can only contain a single weapon hardpoint.
Aside from twin-link weapons, many of the items described by various designers over time have not made the transition from drawing board to implementation. These include things like “tri-link,” “quad-link,” “barrage” and others. Most of these had problems at various stages, including the sizing penalty applied to them which soon became very unwieldy to manage. For twin-link weapons specifically, these are now as turrets, specifically remote ones, and will be discussed in that article.
There are a fair amount of ships with these sort of items attached so we encourage you not worry if you see their “weapon” count drop down, as they more than likely now have an extra turret to account for this. The primary driving factor in this was physical size. Simply put, by the time we had two weapons on a mount this was often significantly larger than the base weapon that could go on that mount and caused visual or physical clipping and often resulted in the firing arc having to be limited to such an extent that it became virtually useless. This change from twin-link to remote turret is designed to give the player as much functionality from the item as possible.
Ships that now have these Remote Turrets will find that in the majority of cases these bespoke items will only be swappable with other custom tailored turrets made for that ship. An example of this can be found in the Mustangs current Chin Turret (with 2x S1 hardpoints) that will be swapable with a new Mustang Chin Turret containing a 1xS2 hardpoint. This system will be covered further in the dedicated articles on turrets.
The Ship Stats Update has been a long time coming. In addition to refining our own internal policies and metrics, work was needed in order to display that information to you in as comprehensive, yet understandable a manner as possible. To that end, in addition to the changes to the Technical Information panel discussed in Part 3, we have made significant alterations to how default loadouts are presented to the backer.
To the right you will see the legend that guides all items found in the Technical Overview. For the purposes of this section, we will be focused on weapons, but the information here will apply to reading all items found in the Technical Overview.
To the right of the Technical Overview, you will find the weapons pane, where the various armaments for a ship are found. This section is itself broken down into four sub-sections.
Weapons. The hardpoints we’ve been discussing in this article, where you can attach a variety of ballistic and energy-based armament.
Turrets. Covered in more detail in our next part. You will find both manned and remote turrets here.
Missiles. The things that go in the Missile Racks used to blow stuff up. Torpedoes or missiles can be shown here.
Utility Items. This is where you will find things like the Stor*All box on the Hornet F7C.
While this article is specifically about weapons, we’re not ignoring Turrets, Ordnance and Other Hardpoints. We’ll be covering each one individually in the next few articles, so stay tuned.
A: No, these are counted as Ordnance hardpoints and will have their own post in the next few days dedicated to all things Ordnance.
A: This is primarily due to game balance. Gimbal weapons provide a natural advantage due to their independence from the ships movement when aiming. By reducing the maximum size they can take by 1 from the itemport, their damage output is naturally reduced and should keep fixed weapons competitive in terms of DPS.
A: When we looked at it, there were very few ships that actually had this set up. It was primarily the Aurora line and upon examination, we found it not particularly useful long term and an easy cause of various inconsistencies.
For example, having a range of S1-S2 gave you the option of having Fixed S2, Gimbal S1 or Fixed S1 and nobody ever would pick Fixed S1 as an option when you can Gimbal Lock to achieve the same result. Removing this option cleans up the design rules and overall setup significantly across the board and does so with virtually no impact on players.