Reworking the Bomber

    • Reworking the Bomber

      Hi everyone. I am here to discuss this ship that we all know - somehow - but virtually never use, the bomber. The original concept is simple enough: wreck defenses with it. Why do players then still prefer to use either destroyers, light fighters, or a mix of both when they ram head first into a bunker, and RIPs aren't an option? Well, quite a few reasons for that:

      1) Bombers are slow. Pretty straightforward argument, but it's just as slow as the destroyer. However, destroyers have other uses and advantages that bombers clearly don't have, and a few will appear in the next lines.

      2) Bombers are thirsty. Again, just as much as a destroyer. And again, almost everyone would rather build a destroyer than a bomber in its current state, because of the destroyer's versatility.

      3) Bombers lack freight capacity. They're, in fact, the only ship for which the base consumption is higher than the freight, and that means they can't go much farther than a couple dozen systems away before they need to be slowed down manually, or accompanied by cargo ships. If your goal is only to destroy defenses, that would be somewhat fine, but more often than not, you want to plunder the resources behind the defenses as well, and that's where problem number 4 comes into play.

      4) Cargo gets destroyed by the defenses. Bombers are "so effective" against defenses that you don't need a whole army like you would for destroyers or battleships, but that also means that your cargo ships are more vulnerable when crashing against defenses. With this in mind, it becomes quite the conundrum to find a cheaper AND equally efficient fleet composition than full destroyers.

      5) Bombers also get wrecked by the defenses. At equal technology levels (and even at armour+1 for the bombers), a single hit of a Plasma launcher can one-shot a bomber. Adding to the fact that each bomber is very likely taking hits from multiple missile launchers and light lasers, and you can be sure that your bomber fleet will suffer heavy losses against what it's supposed to be efficient against!

      6) Light fighters are at the very least equally efficient against defenses, for the same building cost. And they consume less deuterium to fly. And they're useful in other situations, too. So, unless you're trying to recycle someone's army of Cruisers hidden behind a bunker - in which case, you'd likely be using destroyers - you're never better off with bombers.

      That's a lot of reasons, isn't it? Well, we're in the Suggestions threads for a reason, so here we go. I'll be giving my solution(s) for each point above in the same order.

      1) Bombers are slow. But just as much as destroyers, so they can remain where they currently are. If they get improved, speed will not be an issue anymore.

      2) Bombers are thirsty. Again, just as much as destroyers. They can remain where they currently are too, because the main offender isn't so much their consumption than the limited freight that doesn't allow them to go the distance at full speed.

      3) Bombers lack freight capacity. Honestly, this is probably the number one issue with this ship. Not only does it limit its tank size for deuterium, but it forces cargo ships to accompany them on attacks, and those cargo ships get destroyed, which increases loss and decreases plunder. 5000 units would be the very minimum I see fit, but I will let people who play with bigger numbers on a daily basis debate on how much would be best.

      4) is solved through 3)

      5) Bombers need to be able to take a big hit plus some weak defense collateral without risking to break. Let's consider the following scenarios
      5000 bombers versus 15000 missile launchers + 15000 light lasers + 2000 heavy lasers + 1000 Gauss + 250 Plasma
      • Attacker's shield + armour levels equals defender's weapons: ± 32.5 million in losses
      • Attacker's shield equals defender's weapons, attacker's armour is 2 above defender's weapons: ± 22.4 million losses
      That is a massive difference, isn't it! The good thing is, we have a few ways to increase the bomber's survivability.
      • Increase the cost to 60k/30k/15k per ship. This has the same effect as adding 2 levels of armour. An increase in price might be justified if the ship actually becomes usable, and maybe even more so if multiple improvements are made (see below for more ideas)
      • Increase the ship's base shield from 500 to 1000. This nearly has the same effect as adding 2 levels of armour, and makes the ship even more resilient as the shield fully recharges between each round of the battle. It would also make the Shield technology itself more relevant since, with the exception of RIPs, this technology is basically worthless. I've simulated a few of the world's best OGame battles, and for the side(s) that didn't have RIPs, the losses incurred by completely removing their 15+ levels in the shield technology only amounted to an extra 3 to 4% when facing conventional fleets. Of course, let's not increase both the base "health" and the shield, that would be too much.
      • Alternatively, one could make use of the Laser technology to give a % damage reduction to bombers from defenses. RP-wise, this could be justified since the Laser technology is the base for Plasma, which is a prerequisite for bombers, by saying that the targeting lenses become better at destroying or deflecting enemy projectiles before they hit the ships, as the Laser technology is increased. A 15% damage reduction would equal the above possibilities. Feel free to figure out at which point in the technology that threshould should be reached, if you were to opt for this solution.
      6) Light fighters are at least equally efficient. This is another opportunity to give the Laser technology a use past level 12. The RapidFire values for the bomber against defenses could increase as the technology is leveled up, and additional values would appear at certain thresholds. Here's an example:

      RF vs Missile
      & Light Laser
      RF vs Ions
      & Heavy Laser
      RF vs
      RF vs
      Tech cost (from previous level)Notes
      102010Required to unlock Plasma
      Same as current base values
      1626132.66.5m metal + 3.2m crystalUnlocks a RF of 1 vs Gauss
      2434173.43.41.67b metal + 838m crystalUnlocks a RF of 1 vs Plasma

      As you can see in this example, each level of the Laser technology would grant an additional 10% of the base value for all RF from the bomber against defenses (no change against probes and satellites or from RIPs), and unlocks additional abilities at level 16 and 24.

      I'll leave people with the appropriate tools to make simulations with all the upgrades together and check whether or not they would be too powerful when combined. Surely a bomber with a RF of 3.4 against plasmas AND able to resist a full blast from one plus some minor scratches would make RIP users sad. If the new bomber ever becomes a thing, it could always make for an opportunity to give the somewhat abandoned battleships a small RF against it, for example.